Finding, and staying in, heart-centered action (yes, it’s possible)

My good friend Erin and I were sitting and chatting about our respective business passions a few months ago – for her, it’s yoga and for me, it’s coaching. At one point, she turned to me and said, “think about how pure and strong your mind feels when you leave a yoga class – but how quickly you can get into a case of road rage as you drive home.”

Yeah that. Those glimpses we have of feeling pure, strong, centered, joyful and totally connected to what matters to us. I have those moments on my morning walks; when jumping around with my nephew; and after a coaching-intensive weekend. My heart actually feels full, time moves more slowly and gracefully, and for those moments (sometimes only minutes), I experience pure joy. Can you relate?

And then, just like that – boom – life happens and you are swept away in the drama, the emergency, the frustration, the overwhelm – your own, or other people’s.

As we chatted, Erin and I started brainstorming, how can you deliberately find, and hold on to, that feeling?

I spoke about how much more powerful the coaching process is when clients and I can channel that heart-centered, joyful place, and approach their decisions, plans, accountability and action from that place. Erin spoke about Sankalpa, which is the Sanskrit word for a vow or commitment we make to support our highest truth – our purpose for being on this planet at this time. A Sankalpa helps us ground ourselves to our journey and true purpose. Erin explained to me that Sankalpa doesn’t evolve from the intellectual mind, but instead from deep inside of us – our deepest truth, our authentic self. When we live in alignment with our authentic self, our Sankalpa unfolds naturally.

From here, our workshop, Unlock Your Most Beautiful Life: Sankalpa in Action was born. Erin and I are bringing the movement of yoga together with the powerful action and accountability framework of the coaching process to bring you to a place of magic: where you can access this heart-centered place, and create a plan to keep your Sankalpa closer to the forefront of your awareness as you move back out into the world. This will ground and support you in taking heart-centered action long after the workshop ends.

Whether you are new to coaching or to yoga, or well versed in both, we’ve structured the workshop for all experience levels. Interested in joining us on October 25th? Please note that workshops are not available for drop-in, so you need to sign up ahead of time to attend – to register, click here: http://www.unionyogastudio.ca/events/?mobile=false&options%5Bids%5D=240&options%5Bsite_id%5D=175285

Unable to attend? Stay tuned. In my next post, I’ll share some tips on how to access some of this Sankalpa magic on your own. I’d love to hear from you – are there any questions I can answer about the workshop? And as of now, start paying attention to those moments you experience of joy, connection, and clarity. When do you feel it? Snap a pic and share your experience in the Navigate with Intention Facebook community, or on Instagram, #mysankalpa @navigatewithintention

Personal iteration: a 4-step process to living on purpose

If we chat in person, you’ll hear me use the word “iterate” (or a variation of it) often. Are you in the midst of emotional muck, working your way through a low point? Or have you landed the new job of your dreams? Or maybe you have a feeling that a big change is needed in your life and you’re afraid to think or talk about it, let alone actually make it?

If you were sitting across from me at the café right now, or on the other end of a pair of earbuds, I’d smile and say: “Yay – you’re iterating.”

If you look up “iterate” in the dictionary, you’ll find a definition that reads something like this: to repeat a process. I know, it doesn’t sound particularly inspiring. It’s the “process” part that never ceases to fascinate me, though. To ask ourselves: what processes am I repeating every day? Or, put another way, how am I iterating?

The way we personally iterate (the processes we repeat every day) directly impact how we navigate life. How you choose to iterate can help you determine what matters most, and continually nudge you towards personal fulfillment and purpose. I believe whole-heartedly that committing to a personal iterative process that follows a path of learning, choice, action, and growth can transform the way you approach and perceive your journey in life.

For example, let’s look at the emotional muck. You know, when you’ve hit a low point and are feeling pretty lousy about things. We can hang out in that place for a while. Sometimes, a very long while.

Learning

What if at these times of emotional upheaval, you shifted your perspective, sat back and got curious. What if you chose to “learn” as part of your iteration and genuinely asked yourself: what is the muck telling me? What have I learned about myself? What feels really important to me right now? What do I know now that I didn’t know before?

From this place, truth emerges and options suddenly become clearer; choices present themselves. Granted, the options and choices may scare you, have your knees wobbling, and the butterflies moving from a flutter to a nose dive in your stomach. From here, though, you can continue the learning: What’s scaring me about the choices I’m facing? What’s exciting me? What does my gut have to say about this?

The learning here is about ourselves, to uncover what we really stand for, who we really are, and what we really want. When you get curious about yourself, what do you notice?

Choices

Let’s say the emotional muck is due to challenges you are facing at work. Your learning has helped you notice that you are feeling out of alignment with your organization. There are many choices before you: you could stay and work to change the corporate culture; you could explore other career opportunities; you could accept the status quo for now. It can be so tempting to write off choices immediately – labeling them unrealistic or impossible. In the “choosing” part of the iterative process, playing around with the choices is part of the fun. Let the options swim around in your mind; keep asking yourself: what other options are available to me here? Let the list of options and choices grow, and allow yourself the fun of imagining each scenario. What does it feel like to sit in each of the choices?

Action

With a list of choices and options before you, and having let yourself explore and sit with these options, which ones feel best to you? When you check in with your heart, your gut, what direction is it pointing you in? What feels right to you today, in this moment, in your particular circumstance? It may be a leap, it may be a baby step. The beauty of iterating is that you only need to answer these questions as they relate to you today. Let your answers nudge you in the direction that feels right and take action. In the example here, let’s say that exploring other opportunities and leaving the organization feels uncomfortable and too big of a leap; the action may be to commit to being a catalyst for change at your organization. Get specific with your action: what, exactly, will you do? And when will you do it?

Growing

You did it! You took action! Just simply by taking an action, you will have grown. You have iterated. You are a different version of yourself than you were when you started the process. Sometimes the action will be just right; other times it may feel like a giant mistake; or it may turn out better than you could have ever imagined. The key here is that you have nudged yourself forward, and tested out a choice that was calling to you. You didn’t wait to have it all figured out. Too many times, we remain stagnant because we don’t have a clear picture of what the end game looks like. When, maybe, simply nudging ourselves in a general direction prepares us for what comes next. And gently, over time, we move in the direction of what fulfills us.

And…repeat. Now that you’ve taken action, what have you learned about yourself? What’s clear now? What choices are you now facing? What action will you take?

Yay, you’re iterating. Let me know in the comments or through email how your iteration is going. Know somebody who may be in the midst of an iteration and could benefit from these words? Forward this over! And if you’d like to dig a little deeper, sign up for the Catalyst (top right corner), my monthly coaching newsletter designed to support you in living deliberately and on purpose.

In a funk? How to get un-stuck

It’s the same routine every day. The same issues at work. Or the same issues at home. Or both. You’re wanting, craving a change – but too busy putting out fires to actually concentrate on what that next change will be. Or, you may know what that next change is, but are too exhausted to take any meaningful action towards it. Right now, the last thing you feel like doing is scanning job ads, or writing a cover letter, or sitting at the computer and writing, or heading to the gym, or preparing that healthy meal you clipped from a magazine last month….or any of those things you think you should be doing, or that you told yourself you would do.

Enter the guilt, the unhappiness, the overwhelm, the funk. You feel stuck.

So now what? First, consider the big picture change you are craving: a new job? A promotion? Your own business? More balance? Getting in shape? Eating healthier? Jot down that big picture goal (you probably have a pretty good idea of the big picture change you want to make).

Now for the action. I’d like you to start taking a tiny little action in that direction…5 minutes, every day, for the next 2 weeks. Here are some examples:

Wanting to bring more creativity back into your life? Take one picture on your phone every day of something that inspires you. Share it with friends and family.

Looking to make a job change? Find 5 minutes every day to jot down a skill you really hope to develop in your next position, the type of people you’d like to work with, responsibilities you never want to take on again.

Looking to get in shape? Commit to 5 minutes of jumping jacks/sit ups/action on commercial breaks.

Stack of books piling up that you’ve been meaning to read? Read 3 pages in the 5 minutes before bed every night.

You get the idea! The key here is 5 minutes, every day, for two weeks. Something small, do-able, that is nudging you in the direction of that bigger change. In the next blog post, we’ll build on this.

I’d love you to share in the comments below, or on the Navigate with Intention Facebook page, what it is you are going to commit to…a public declaration can work wonders! And if you know someone who is in a funk, forward this post along, and chat with them about what 5-minute action they want to take on.

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