I was at our local high school the other morning walking around the track. There were a few other people there including one woman, who I noticed was struggling to walk around the track. Others were running. One was even running and doing the stairs of the stands. I was doing my usual “wogging” (walking and jogging) and then there was one woman who could barely walk around the track, but was managing to do it. I felt like I had pushed myself to be there, but I believed this woman really had a chat with her determination side and was pushing through a lot of issues to be there. As I walked up beside her during my 2nd lap, we both said hello and she said something like, "Hey, you're Elizabeth, right? I've seen you on Facebook with your book, etc..., etc... Do you think you could help me lose weight?" We both stopped and I learned that she had recently stepped on the scale to find herself at over 300 pounds, at which point she decided to change by walking around the track once daily. She'd been doing this for about 2 weeks and it was actually making her feel even worse in about 100 different ways. She felt like quitting. She felt exhausted. I asked her, "What do you think has brought you to this point?" She fumbled for an answer like it had completely caught her off guard. She said, "I don't know." I asked the question again, a little softer, as something for her to go home and really think about, even journal about, and gave her my email so she could contact me if she wanted to explore the question and answers a bit more. She finished her lap, we parted and I watched her continue to struggle to get to her car. She drove off. When I arrived home from my walk, there was an email in my inbox with the subject, "What has brought me to this point?" It had an answer: "I don't know what you mean by that. Can you help me? It's a really interesting question, but I don't know where to start." There's the start. When you don't know, connect and reconnect with yourself until you do know and you accept responsibility for all aspects of your life. When you lose sight of this practice, you become out of balance and perhaps out of touch. I was proud of her for taking action. It's a huge step that people miss. She stepped on the scale. Action. She decided to walk. More action. She asked for help. Even more action. I believe she will be successful because she takes action and is willing to take direction, which means that when she learns the right actions, she will accomplish her goals. This all begs a few questions:
Are you living your life now with awareness, responsibility, inspired purpose and meaning on a daily basis?
Are you searching for something better, but don't quite know what it is that you are searching for?
When you don’t know, are you still taking some action or are you waiting for things to happen?
Do you know what is happening in your own life as a result of behavior, responsibility, beliefs, values and goals?
Some fill up their days with the motions and emotions of life. Some treat symptoms with a variety of addictive substances. Perhaps a lack of awareness and appreciation for time, energy and the very basics of life are occurring with the daily rush and speed of the day. Self-absorption may even be taking hold. There's good stuff in there too, but for some, it isn't until something negative strikes that even hints of awareness set in for them to get the message or a clue to change, while others move through pain, learning to implement self-care, despite challenging circumstances, to such a degree that it becomes a symbol of inspiration to others. So here are more questions:
Are you living your life now with awareness, inspired purpose and meaning on a daily basis?
Is your life clear or feeling foggy?
Are you taking action?
This purposeful life, rich with inspiration and mindfulness, is something you can have too. This is the life where you wake up each day and go to sleep each night with gratitude. This kind of life is within your reach and you don't have to wait for some obstacle to overcome or for something bad to happen to energize your purpose. You also don't have to be recovering from a grief as the primary catalyst to move toward living an inspired, purposeful life. Yes, we all have lessons to learn and obstacles and life-changing events to overcome or deal with, but wouldn't it be nice if we could learn practices in our journey now, rather than when we are faced with sickness, death or grief, or obstacles and other life-changing events? Learning how to put these practices in motion while alive and well may be just what you need to get through difficult situations and are faced with adversity. Many people don't learn the lesson of connecting with their best self until a negative event occurs or they have let things go to a breaking point or crisis. Yes, pain and obstacles can be a great teachers. However, discovering awareness and purpose, by connecting now, may just be the catalyst needed to give you even better tools to survive and cope with future situations. You can connect and reconnect now and live your life with inspired purpose and meaning daily. This way, when something happens, you are adjusting and shifting, rather than re-creating, overhauling, learning & re-purposing. You move forward complementing your life, even under a new set of circumstances. Through years of creating and developing The Best Ever You Network, these are my favorite ways to help people live their best life and be their Best Ever You and start Percolating Peace. Live Aware and Now with Gratitude Are you authentic, loyal and grateful, and connected to yourself and inner wisdom? Is your life clear or is your life foggy? Are your emotional, with addictive behaviors controlling your life? We bring our best self to the world when we are authentic and allow for all things possible. We bring out our best self and best in others by applying gratitude to the simple and practical things that already exist. Being aware may mean you develop a mindful practice of slowing yourself down often, to listen and implement a practice of really thinking about how you are spending your time, energy and moments. Living aware also means you have taken the care and concern to exercise restraint with your actions, to ensure they are in line with your beliefs, values and goals, and that you are mindful of choosing awesomeness. Gratitude First Yes, I'm mentioning Gratitude again. I put out a daily message "Good Morning from Maine - #Gratitude." I was one of those people who had to nearly die to understand the concept, so I hope you get going with gratitude earlier than I did and without all the suffering I went through. Go to the most simple thing in life you can be grateful for, such as breathing, and adjust your life from there. Many of us go through our day taking things for granted, with a sense of entitlement and without gratitude. Comparison also blocks gratitude. Being -9.50 in each eye, I know I'm grateful for contacts and glasses, something we just have here in the United States. Gratitude - Ground yourself in it. Embrace Your Space When I say "Embrace Your Space", people often ask me what I mean by that. I've been thinking about this a lot lately to develop a better answer. I thought people would just understand what I meant but that doesn't seem to be the case. What I mean is for us all to understand that we belong and that we have value and meaning, and we should embrace ourselves, our value, our gifts and talents, and know that we matter. You aren't just taking up space on the planet. You are here with good reason, so embrace that. I hear from a lot of people who feel like they don't matter. You do. Even a random act of kindness creates waves of peace. Be the CEO of You 1998-2000 were very bumpy, transitional years for me, as you may have read in my book PERCOLATE - Let Your Best Self Filter Through. I went from divorced, to moving, to remarried, to pregnant, to not working full time, and on and on - lots of changes! I remember opening up a magazine at the time and seeing a page that said, "You are the CEO of YOU" and in that moment everything seemed like it was going to be okay. You see, I had made a whole bunch of choices that I knew in my heart were right for me, but I wasn’t sure one single person in my life other than my husband knew it. I was getting crap from everyone and they were vocal. It was like a chorus of people singing, "You suck and you'll pay for all of these stupid choices you have made." A really bad song to listen to. Remember, you get to decide what matters and what doesn't, and these are your choices and decisions to make. It's your life and you really are the CEO of it. #ChooseAwesomeness “I can" and "Should I really?" are defining moments. Choose and decide wisely. Our life can change in an instant from the choices and decisions we make. Choose awesomeness. A series of bad choices and decisions can also have a cumulative effect. Ask Yourself Questions and Do the Work to Seek the Honest, Authentic Answers Throughout my life (and not always in a pleasant tone!) people have always said, "Wow, you ask a lot of questions!" Yes I do. When you ask yourself a question, your heart, mind, body and soul go searching for the answer(s). What people fear is the truth and the real answer. When your heart speaks, listen. Even if what it says scares you. Further, what people fear is the process it takes to get what you want and need when our reality and truth are so far apart. It takes a lot of work! People often don't feel successful because upon examination they know their truth is that they haven't put the work in to become so. It also takes a lot of courage to accept responsibility for ourselves, including our choices and decisions. Frequently ask yourself: Who? What? Why? Where? When? How?
Sometimes it’s the how part that is overwhelming, but with small changes we can put action to the how.
When you soul search do you search with love or search with fear?
Are you in a rush and looking for a quick fix so you can move as fast as you can out of the present moment?
Are you blaming everyone else for your circumstances?
Practice Well-Being Your well-being steps mean making a commitment to yourself to become healthy in all ways - financially, physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. Practice wellness. Here is a blog I wrote with a ton of questions to ask yourself about well-being: http://www.besteveryou.com/blog/2015/04/22/8-weeks-to-your-best-well-being-mindset-ever Get Good and Uncomfortable to Grow We are all learning, revising, unlearning, re-creating and hopefully growing as people no matter how old we are. One of our sons went into applying for his first job just about as shy as a person can get. He's worked there for over a year now and has crushed the shy gene. He was wired shy and he now has tools he can use when faced with feeling that way. It is when we make ourselves good and uncomfortable that we learn how to bring ourselves back to comfort. When we are comfy and cozy, often we are stuck. What's Your Because? Because is a cool word. The answer to the question WHY? is often found in the word because. The word Because is the start of the sentence that explains why. When I was a kid I was taught because is not the best word because (<---hee hee) people use it as an excuse word or because (<--hee hee) someone said "Because I said so." The phrase "because I said so" is a super short way of claiming experience and know-how or it could be complacency, I'm not positive. I’ve even heard people say, don't use the word because - it's a way out and justifies behavior. You are overweight - why? Because you eat too much, because you don't exercise, because, because, because. Think about because and don't excuse your behavior. Change your wording to “Because, I am awesome”. Practice Success You can wish, wish, wish and then go ahead and wish even more, but most often, you must take action and work for it. Success requires proper mindset, consistency, passion, determination, dedication, work, goal-setting and vocalizing/sharing those goals, alignment with like-minded people, focus, intangibles, determination, visualization, self-worth, a secure and projectable sense of self, and other people helping you reach your goals too. Chillax I wrote a bunch of chapters in my book about relaxation, laughter and chillaxing, as I think it is critical to counter the realities of life with these things. So many things are serious. I'm a trained broadcast journalist. I can remember in college seeing those oh-no signs that to me meant that perhaps I'd made a vocation goof. I absolutely loved reading the news. I loved putting together stories of joy or that featured people. But I quickly, and I mean quickly, noticed, that I wasn't the one going out on Sunday morning buying up five different newspapers and spending my entire morning and afternoon reading them cover to cover. I even tried it and feel asleep on the floor in the middle of 10 newspapers. It was an oh-no moment. As an adult, I tried again when we moved to Maine to go be a reporter for a local news station, and the same thing happened. Just wasn't me. It was, in all truth, just way too negative for me and my soul and I was also horrendous at pronouncing names and places. I didn't write this in my book, but some of the funniest times in my life were during this period of me trying to be a serious news broadcaster, mispronouncing names, falling in snow banks, etc. I was a Christmas-reel feature. Laugh. Find the humor. Chillax. Examine Your Behavior and Create a Practice of Behavior and Guidelines Does your behavior match your beliefs, values, goals and actions? Your reputation is based on your integrity and your actions not being open to being misconstrued or misinterpreted. Avoid actual and perceived conflicts of interest, and provide full and fair disclosure. Forgive Read a book that embraces forgiveness. In his book, “Forgive To Win!” my friend Dr. Walter Jacobson recommends we all go on a forgiveness diet. Not only will you lose emotional pounds weighing you down, you will also energize your life in a variety of positive ways. Stop wallowing in anger, resentments, jealousies and grievances. Apply love, acceptance and forgiveness. Engage in estimable acts of kindness towards others. Drive your life forward on wheels of forgiveness so you aren't spinning in mud and yuck..snd watch your life get better! Discover Your Why Your why often goes back to the things you loved to do as a kid and the things you discover you love to do as you age. Never underestimate the power of visualizing your dreams and goals. You have to see yourself doing what you are dreaming of doing or trying to do. Life is not about being perfect. It is about being the best you can be, in spite of what might come your way. Listen to yourself, your heart and your soul. Patience With some mindful practice, patience can be your very best virtue. Learning patience often rests with understanding and being aware of what impatience is and when it is triggered within you. I like Webster's definitions: not willing to wait for something or someone; not patient waiting or eager to do something without waiting; showing that you do not want to wait; showing a lack of patience. I've written a blog and exercises to help you develop patience here:: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140402171401-10480502-8-ways-to-percolate-patience Surround Yourself with Love There’s nothing worse than having a huge goal or dream and being around a naysayer. It could be someone who has failed trying to do what you are trying to achieve or someone feeling like they are trying to protect you from hurt. Surround yourself with love and support always. Relationships become strained or even end when one's ability to confide in the other is lost. Divisive acts strain trust. Consider the bigger picture and impact on others. Pain and Stress Pain sucks. There are also varying degrees of it and varying kinds of it. You may not even realize you are in pain. Are you in pain? What kind of pain? Where? Why? Is it chronic? Pause and reflect on the pain, and think about how you can take steps to bring yourself out of pain and shift yourself into better overall well-being. In my book PERCOLATE, I chat about Mocha Moments. There are times when you are so uncomfortable and so unaware of how uncomfortable you are that you reach for the quickest fix. Pain informs us if you pause and listen. These are pivotal moments where you can find opportunities to place your energy and remake choices of how to live and or how to be happy with your situation. These are times when, despite curveballs, finding the positives in the depths of the most negative circumstances allows you to keep the faith and carry on. Pain has a purpose. One of the biggest is to inform you that there is something that needs attention. Try to treat pain with love. Some things clear your body of physical stress while other coping mechanisms complicate matters. Place Your Energy Your strengths are your roadmap, and a smile on your face is a measure of success. You go where you place your energy. Also, chance and opportunity are two different things. Treat both wisely. Much of success is just showing up when an opportunity comes your way. Another part of success is constant asking. You’ll get a lot of rejection, but when the yes happens, it’s often magical and life-changing. Good energy means you've made a choice to find the nerve to create a life for yourself filled with happiness, self-love, self-worth, joy, compassion, and being your best. You've chosen what has meaning to you and what doesn't. Our moments matter. Each and every moment matters. We constantly #PERCOLATE. How you PERCOLATE is your choice. You make these choices moment to moment, both consciously and subconsciously. What filters through, often, is the result of those choices Be Eternally Cool There’s nothing worse than being around people who don’t like themselves. This holds true for the aging person who fights it with every ounce of energy instead of allowing grace to take over. I know some people who would take a bath in Botox and whatever else to prevent the looks of aging if they could. The beauty of aging is exactly that, you are alive and breathing. Even if your outside looks younger -- news flash -- time is still marching on. Embrace it and share your wisdom instead of your stress. If you are younger, reading this and thinking this doesn’t apply to you, come back and read it years from now. In the meantime, find people a lot older than you and learn from them. Often they can help you achieve your goals and dreams by mentoring you. People are eternally cool. Be Ambitious, Not a Trampler of Other's Ambition. Most of us have goals. Some of us have high stretch goals, which to others, seems like a crazy dreams, wishes or ideas. You feel the ambitious person when you meet them. They usually have a certain something you just can't put your finger on. They might be a person that's got charisma and also talented and even really good or great at something. It could be a student athlete with great grades who is destined for success. It might be a co-worker trying to be a manager or a manager trying to reach executive levels. Awesome. However, you know the feeling too when that someone you have met or are dealing with is really good or great at something and they act like it. Worse, you know the people who tell them they can't achieve it or say things like "That's crazy" or "You can't do that" or "Nobody from our family has done that" or "Nobody from here has every done that". It's awesome to have ambition. It's not awesome to hurt people on your upward climb. It's awesome to see people who have ambition. It's not awesome to derail people on their upward climb. Ambitious people must surround themselves with positive people, energy and love, as there are plenty of naysayers they must sidestep. There are also plenty of people who try to take others down. Dealing with ambitious people can be tricky. They may be a so-so or even awful teammate concerned with their own success, have awful behavior that the public doesn't see that you perhaps have, or just have sour intangibles and yet, they can hurl that football, paint that picture, run those bases faster than anyone, sing like a bird and so forth. Sometimes the person and maybe their family members too is/are so out for themselves they will do whatever it takes in their minds to succeed. Whatever side of ambition you are on, your job is to find what is pleasant about people you encounter and even help others succeed by leading by example and if you can pointing people in new directions inline with their goals. Be a connector of dots and connector of people. Your job is to not just take from others for your benefit, but rather understand the art of collaboration and working together. Ambition is at its best when met with a mentor or team to help the person or team succeed. It ultimately falls on us to believe in ourselves, trust in our own capabilities, and cheer ourselves on. When we have our inner strength and self-esteem we choose to believe in ourselves and don't buy into negativity or limiting beliefs. Push through closed doors, expect rejection and naysayers in quantity and find your yes and dreams. Percolate Peace Are you celebrating others and the world around you? We heal and help others heal by sharing our stories. We also raise awareness levels when we share. We never know just whose life we may touch or save or bring a much-needed smile to. When you encounter someone who you feel always thinks they know it all.... Just smile. They have so much to learn too. We are all learning. In different ways for sure, but we are all learning. Connect the dots. You are where you are today because of where you've been in the past. Each person you've met and every experience you've endured along the way have given you an opportunity to learn, grow and change. It's critical in this process to have faith to move forward even if you don't know exactly where you're going . When we Percolate, we gradually improve ourselves and others as our message we share with the world expands. When we are our best self, we touch the lives and hearts of others in positive, compassionate and often enlightening ways. To begin Percolating and being our best, we must first understand that our life opens up when we shift our energy into our passions and talents that tap into our soul. This, combined with developing and using your own set values, goals and a belief and behavior system, will support the lifestyle changes you wish to make to brew your best life. You go where you place your energy. Never Give Up You might read this and feel like it’s overwhelming. It’s written so that you can focus on just one thing or part of it, and begin to change and grow as a person. It’s important to never give up. Push through closed doors and find open ones. Find what resonates with you and your best self. Start somewhere. When you don't know or feel like giving up, connect and reconnect with yourself until you do know and you accept responsibility for all aspects of your life. When you lose sight of this practice, you become out of balance and perhaps out of touch. Go forth, my friends! Percolate Joy! Be the Best Ever You!
Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino, CPC
Elizabeth Hamilton is a mother of four, bestselling author, speaker, trainer, entrepreneur and a recognized leader in personal development and optimal mindset strategies. For more than 20 years, she’s been teaching entrepreneurs, educators, corporate leaders, and people from all walks of life how to illuminate their light within and help them reach their highest, best potential. As an expert in mentoring people to market their strengths and achieve brand excellence, Fast Company magazine, in 2011, named Elizabeth a "Top influencer," and The Shorty Awards recognized her in 2013 as "Top 3 - Best in Social Media". As the beloved founder of the Best Ever You Network, she created a brand with more than a million followers in social media and is on a mission to inspire you, to raise awareness and to promote greater excellence within each of us and in the world. 2015 will mark the one-year anniversary of her bestselling book, PERCOLATE - Let Your Best Self Filter Through.