Ask Liz; Navigating Life's Little Speed Bumps
If there’s one thing people are always asking me for, it’s advice. you might say I have a bit of knack for it...
That being said - advice is a little tricky. Always look within for your own answers. No one, and I mean no one, can give you the answers for your life, no matter how good they are. The best anyone can give you is their perspective. Take that and run it through your own filtering system and decide what's best for you.
Have a question you'd like some advice on? PM me on Facebook! Let me know if you want to remain anonymous, otherwise I’ll use your initials when responding. xxoo, Liz
January 2016 - Using What You Have
Q: How can I make my life extraordinary right now using the gifts I already have…not waiting for improvement any way and not waiting a second more for anything other than who I am right now. Not waiting for circumstances to change in any way. Signed, S.M.
A: The simple answer is DON’T WAIT and absolutely don’t give a bit of focus to the question “What am I waiting for?” because that will keep you mired in more questions, spinning your wheels. Remember this. You have everything you need, right in this moment to go in the direction of extraordinary.
Try this exercise. It’s one of my faves. Press pause on your life and get out a clean sheet of paper and in the middle of it, write something you’ve been waiting to take action on, a passion or a dream perhaps. Now draw a cloud around it…we are going to do a Mind Map.
Start writing down every action item that comes to mind around this thing you want want. Write these around your dream, drawing a cloud around each one. Don’t overthink this, as a matter of fact, don’t think at all. Let these come from your gut and be specific. When you find yourself thinking too hard, that might be a sign you’re finished. HINT: If you get stuck and realize you may have a few gaps in the ‘how”, don’t fret, taking a few steps in the direction you want to go will act as a magic wand. You will be led to the next step and the next. Also, if you need to go back in and add more specifics to any of your action items, do that now.
The last step is take these steps and put them in your planner or on your To Do List listed by What and When they will be completed and then make sure you follow through on them.
This quick little exercise has power and so does this piece of paper. Why? Because what it contains is something you want in your life and a map for how you’re going to get there. Bam! Instant clarity. You can do this for anything and everything you’ve been waiting to have in your life.
January 2016 - Feeling Guilt
Q: K.M. writes…”going through life changes and transitions, how do I prioritize me without feeling guilty?”
A: This is such a great question because we can all relate, especially if you’re a woman. It takes honest-to-god practice and an understanding and belief that YOU are more important than the other people in your life and that includes family. The bottom line is, if YOU don’t win, no one wins. Sounds cliche and it’s absolutely true.
If you put everyone’s wishes in front of your own, what are you telling yourself? The consistent message you send to yourself is “I don’t matter”. Keep that up for a few months/years and you’ll end up with a lot of anger and frustration. Trust me, I know this one. I played the leading role in the play called ‘People Pleasing’ for years. That’s a road to nowhere.
As I mentioned, it takes practice…small baby steps, kind-of-practice. Here’s a suggestion:
1) Start in the morning with the day ahead and think of one area (or person) in your life where you always cave in to the demand. A husband, a sister, a friend, a co-worker. It's that same niggly situation where you don’t put yourself first. You know the feeling that comes up when you realize you’ve made yourself small and put what they wanted ahead of what you want? It’s awful…your body literally contracts.
2) Now imagine doing the exact opposite and putting YOU first. No anger, calm and peaceful you. How does that feel? Expanded? Freeing? Joyful? Empowering? Hold onto that. It’s what you want more of.
3) You’ve visualized it, now it’s time to put it into action. A real life everyday situation (and remember to start small) will occur and you will have the opportunity to put YOU first.
4) Fist bump! You did it! Now, you can practice again! If you didn’t do it, that’s ok too. You thought about it and that means you’re taking ground. Give it another go!
HINT: The people in your life may not act favorably. That’s ok too. They will learn after awhile.
The more you practice this, the better you’ll feel and the more courage you’ll have to keep putting yourself first. The guilt starts to go away when you feel the results of this new action. If you can’t shake the guilt, then go back and strengthen your belief about yourself.
The most important person in this equation is YOU. In the long run, others will start to honor you in a way they see you honoring yourself. It’s a beautiful thing.
January 2016 - Setting Boundaries
Q: I read your post last week and thought it was great, but I have a more specific question about boundaries. How can I set them for myself so that I’m not always getting stepped on?
E.D., Dallas, Texas
A: Why are boundaries so hard to set? Because they require a focus on ourselves. Many of us are taught that to focus on ourselves is selfish. Abraham Hicks says that everything in life emanates from self, so it would be impossible not to consider ourselves first. This concept takes the sting out of the word ‘selfish.’ Break down the word SELF-ish. See? Self first.
Jennifer Hoffman says (and I love this one) that having strong boundaries keeps people in, not the opposite. I believe you do yourself and everyone else a favor by setting them. It’s almost the “you teach others how to treat you” thing.
The other piece of boundary setting is that they need to be clear. If they aren’t, you will get muddy results. To help figure out what your boundaries are if you’re not sure, go on a little treasure hunt. When was the last time you got really pissed about a situation…did someone cross a line with you? If so, than it was probably a boundary issue. Think about all the situations where someone or something really got under your skin. These are all clues.
Some of you may already know exactly what your boundaries are, but don’t enforce them...that’s “people pleasing” stuff. You can get rid of that with practice. The key is to take small steps. Once you’ve got your boundaries pretty well mapped out, begin to use them with people in your world. Start with the easy situations first until you build your confidence.
If you find yourself frustrated with this process, it’s normal, just keep at it and be kind to yourself. I will get easier, I PROMISE!! Happy boundary setting!!