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Treat Yourself to More Time and Happiness

 

If you’re thinking about improvements you want to make in your life, there is never a bad time to put those goals into motion. Think about the changes you want to make and put together a to-do list that includes activities and products that help you move in that direction.

Ideas for Mindfulness and Relaxation

 

  • Adult coloring books. Adult coloring books are a great way to set your mind free. The stress of everyday life tends to pile up and it can be hard to tune that out when we want to relax. Coloring is an easy and effective way to channel your energy into what’s on the page while enabling your mind to let go of nagging thoughts. The simple act of coloring actually helps you practice mindfulness – the process of focusing on the present moment without judging your thoughts or feelings. On top of the relaxation you get from the process of coloring, the end result of creating something gives you a sense of accomplishment.
  • Happiness planner. It may sound funny to plan happiness, but it can take making happiness a goal, writing it down, and actively working towards it to avoid letting it slip by the wayside. A happiness planner reminds you of this goal every day and gives you prompts to focus on achieving it.
  • Music. Huffington Post lists music as one of the top scientifically proven ways of reducing stress. If your goal is relaxation or finding more joy in life, explore music that is upbeat and makes you feel good. Consider investing in a nice set of headphones to add more music to your life wherever you go.

Ideas for Living Life to the Fullest

  • Simple pleasures – One of the simple joys in life is looking at pictures of our favorite people and memories. Look for creative ways to get your pictures off the iPhone so you can enjoy them all the time. This gallery wall idea created with photo decals is a unique and customizable way to do just that.
  • Reclaim your time – No matter how much stuff you have, few things can add joy to life better than having more time to do the things you love. Cut down on the time you spend planning and preparing meals by buying into a meal delivery service. This type of service gives you back valuable hours otherwise spent cooking (and shopping) so you can focus on activities that make you smile.
  • Get healthy – Even if getting fit isn’t on your must-do list of life goals, physical health boosts your happiness and relieves stress tremendously. Fitness gear can be pretty high tech these days, which actually makes it easier to find an activity you truly enjoy and stick with it. Along with buying the right gear, you can join an exercise or dance class you’ve always wanted to try. You may find a completely new passion!

  • Travel – Whether you seek adventure or tranquility, traveling is one of the best ways to make memories that last a lifetime. Give yourself the gift of travel any time of year by planning ahead and saving a small amount each paycheck. You can also invest in travel accessories for trips you already have planned.

Living life more fully is the best way to ensure success, no matter your definition of the word. Start with these ideas to give yourself something that truly adds value to life and helps you reclaim the time and happiness you deserve.

 

Julie Morris is a life and career coach who strives to help others live the best lives that they can. She believes she can relate to clients who feel run over by life because of her own experiences. She spent years in an unfulfilling career in finance before deciding to help people in other ways. You can reach her at juliemorris.org


Want to Live Your Dream? 5 Keys to Changing Course


Over my 23 years here at Changing Course, I’ve heard from a lot of people at various junctures along the road to right livelihood.

Some are at the very beginning… still trying to figure out which path is right for them.

Others have happily reached their destination.

Others are midway on their journey.

Regardless of where you are in the process, there are still some very specific steps you need to take to change course.

Here are five keys to get you started:

1. Set Big… and Small Goals

I know it sounds cliché, but if you’re really serious about taking control of your life, you need to set some goals.

Knowing that you want to change your life or work for yourself is a great start.

But expressing a desire is different from stating a goal.

In her Broadway show Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, Lily Tomlin’s bag lady character remarks, “I always wanted to be somebody. I realize now I should have been more specific.”

Deciding you want to earn money by making and selling gift baskets is much more specific than saying you want to make money doing something creative. But even here you need to get more precise.

One of the best ways to move a goal along is to quantify it. Using our gift basket example, the key questions are:

  1. how much money do you want to make?
  2. by when?

You can always shoot higher, but for now let’s think in terms of generating $10,000 in gift basket sales.

From here you’d want to make your goal both real and reachable by breaking it down into smaller more manageable goals, like, for example, making and selling six gift baskets in 60 days.

Actually writing the date on your calendar will make it even more real.

2. Figure Out What It Will Take to Reach Your Goal – Then Start Doing It

Some years back I heard from a long-time subscriber named Joe.

Joe understood the importance of looking to others for inspiration.

But he also understood the value of not only hearing about people that have followed their dream and made it happen, but those whose dreams are in process.

The people, Joe described as, “currently traveling the pathway to a new career, setting goals for themselves, managing to keep their dream alive and staying focused on the goal of a new career.”

All the things this then 33-year-old software engineer from Maryland was doing.

But I’ll let Joe tell you about his plans – and progress – in his own words:

“A year and a half ago I started reading a lot of real estate investing books. I wanted to get into the medical field as a Physical Therapist and needed a way to supplement my income. I took classes and soaked up all of the real estate knowledge I could get.”

“I worked with advisors until I landed my first deal. It was a rehab house, and after I repaired it I made $28,000 profit for an endeavor I spent five months on part-time. I was thrilled. I took this money and used it to help purchase a rental property and another rehab which I am now selling.

I set goals for myself. My big goal is a career change at five years. Presently I have four years left. I plan on generating enough income to cover all of my expenses. I also have smaller goals.

At the two-year mark I plan to make $1,000 net cash flow per month. At three years I plan to make $2,000 net cash flow per month. This will allow me to pursue Physical Therapy without worrying about money! I have volunteered in two hospitals and determined that this is where I belong.”

“This is my journey. It’s hard to wake up every morning and go to my current job. However, I now see an end in sight. I know that in a few years I will be enjoying helping people every day. And when that day comes, it will be a dream come true.”

Some of you are probably saying, “Five years! I can’t wait that long.”

You don’t have to.

Joe’s goal is very specific – to generate enough money from real estate to be able to fully support him during his schooling.

Depending on your goals, your financial situation, your level of commitment, and the amount of time you’re willing to invest, you can certainly change course in far less time.

Whether you want to be living your new life in five years or in five months, the point is to set a goal, quantify it, and then, one day at a time.

Then take the small action steps required to make your goal happen.

3. Live Life Now

 

Shooting for a future goal is great.

But I also received a deeply moving email that reminded me of the importance of also remembering to live life fully in the moment.

Pam wrote to thank me for inspiring her partner Bruce, a man I never met but who I apparently encouraged to live his dream.

Pam has generously allowed me to share her and Bruce’s story with you.

She told me that before he was killed instantly in a traffic accident, Bruce was living his dream.

He’d been a computer consultant who, explained Pam, was tired of the cubicle life.

“Although he made a boatload of money doing it, he realized that there was more out there to do. He always wanted to do something purposeful with his life, and didn’t see that the programs he wrote made much of an impact.”

Pam went on to say that she and Bruce lived together for two very wonderful years…

“…living our dream. We both left the corporate grind, had opened our own business as massage therapists. Bruce was a wonderful man. He had healed so much in his life and many times said, ‘If I’m to be the kind of spiritual man I wish to be, then I need to work on this.’ He was making a difference in people’s lives on a daily basis. I’m so very grateful for every moment that we shared. We were blessed to have many friends. And I plan to continue our dream.”

Although I never had the privilege of meeting Bruce, he sounds like a truly remarkable human being and one who will be missed by many.

And how wonderful that while Bruce was among us, he was living his dream.

Pam’s strength, her gratitude in the face of unspeakable grief and her resolve to continue to live their dream is inspiring indeed.

When we think about goals, we tend to think about achieving some future result.

And yet as John Lennon once observed, “Life is what’s happening when you’re making other plans.”

Bruce’s story serves as an important reminder that even while you strive to reach your future goals, you must live life now and with as few regrets as possible.

4. Break a Rule

Sometimes changing course can begin with the simple act of shaking up your normal routine.

Take Barbara, a former coworker of mine from my corporate days.

Most people spend their Saturday mornings in a frenzy of house cleaning and errands.

Barbara does this stuff too but not until after she’s indulged herself by crawling back into bed with a cup of coffee and watching a suspense movie.

Spending your Saturday morning watching a movie may not be your cup of tea, but surely there is some small fun thing you can do to shake things up.

  • If you tend to read self-help books, try a romance or a suspense novel
  • Walk your dog in a totally new place or drive a different way to work
  • Visit your local historic society or museum
  • On the first day of each month have ice cream for breakfast
  • Go to the movies on a weeknight

Experiencing small changes can make the bigger ones seem more doable.

5. Use the One Step a Day Approach

When I was desperately trying to get myself out of corporate America, I promised myself that I would not go to bed at night until I had taken at least one small step toward my goal. It doesn’t have to be a big step.

For example, I knew that at least in the short term, leaving my job-job would mean I’d be earning less money.

So one day I brainstormed a list of ways to supplement my income.

At the time I had a finished basement with a bath.

Mind you this was decades before Airbnb or VRBO or other short-term stay options were even a thing.

My idea was to rent out the space to a commuting grad student who needed a place to stay during the week.

Ideas only work with action.

So, the next day I stopped by the hardware store to see what I could find out about sound proof ceiling tiles.

The following day I looked up the Web site for the housing office at the local college, and so on.

Not only do small steps add up, but just as important is the sense of momentum you’ll gain. And once you get started on a dream, it’s hard to stop!

“The big break for me,” said Jon Stewart of the Daily Show, “was deciding that this is my life.”

Since this is indeed YOUR life, let this be the year you start making your dreams happen.

Speaking of making dreams happen…

That’s also the name of an amazing workshop I did with career and self-employment guru’s Barbara Sher and Barbara Winter.

Never before, or since, have the three of us been in one place offering our very best strategies to help you discover and then create the life you really want.

For a limited time, you can get a recording of the entire 4-day Making Dreams Happen workshop for $25 off the regular price.

Click here and then enter code MDHyes at check out to receive your discount.


Valerie is the founder and Dreamer in Residence at ChangingCourse.com where she’s been showing people how to make a living without a job since 1995. The Changing Course newsletter is read by over 20,000 change seekers around the world. She has trained and licensed over 350 people from 19 countries to show aspiring self-bossers how to turn their interests into income.

Her career-related advice has been cited around the world including BBC radio, Yahoo Financial News, CNN Money, Wall Street Journal, USA Weekend, Inc., Kiplinger’s, O magazine, Entrepreneur, Science, Elle, Redbook, Woman’s Day, The Chicago Tribune, and The Sydney Morning Herald.

Valerie is also an internationally recognized expert on impostor syndrome. She’s spoken to such diverse organizations as Boeing, Facebook, BP, Intel, Chrysler, Apple, IBM, Merck, Ernst & Young, Procter & Gamble, the Space Telescope Science Institute, American Women in Radio and Television, Society of Women Engineers, Harvard, MIT, Stanford, and many others.

Valerie’s books include It’s Never Too Late to Find Your Calling and Being Realistic is Killing Your Dream (Changing Course Publications) and her award-winning book The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer From Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive In Spite of It (Crown/Random House) is now available in five languages.


Can You Have Too Many Passions?

I’m passionate about helping people think outside the job box.

One of the many great things about being your own boss is getting to pick your own title. Which of course is why I’ve been the Dreamer in Residence at Changing Course since 1995.

Another great thing about self-bossing is you can have as many titles as you want!

Guest contributor Kate Navarro Fessler has three

Transformation Catalyst, First Class Life Mentor, and Licensed Profit from Your Passions® Coach!

If you have “too many” passions, Kate’s here today with some helpful advice for so-called “scanners” everywhere.

Whether you have multiple gifts and interest or you’re still trying to find your calling, click here now to learn about a new group Kate’s running just for you.

Already know what you love to do, but need help turning it into a real business?

Then another recent guest contributor and Chief Inspirational Officer at Different Drummer Coaching, Linda Tomsho (Making Money From Your Art: Are You a “HO” or a “BO”?) has the perfect business building group for you!

The thing is there are only two spots left in Kate and Linda’s “dream teams.”

So if really want to work at what you love… then do yourself a huge favor and take a moment now to see if being a part of either the Idea Seekers or the Business Builder Dream Team is right for you.

Either way I know you’re going to love Kate’s article…

Jack or Jill of All Trades – Master of ??
More Advice for “Scanners” Everywhere

Kate Navarro Fessler

In my family, we jokingly call it “useless knowledge.”

Avoiding distractions and clear strategy for solutions in business leadership with a straight path to success choosing the right strategic plan with yellow green black and red traffic signs through a maze of highways.

You know, the kind where you can name every song and artist on the radio, or you have an encyclopedic recall of historic events. Random information that you read somewhere or something you’ve explored that most people don’t know or have deemed uninteresting.

It serves you well in Trivial Pursuit, but could you make a living from it?

I’ve always been interested in learning new things.

For example, when I discovered that I like wine, I took a sommelier class to learn about it in-depth. I didn’t want to be a sommelier – but if I wanted to get a deep understanding of wine, hanging out with professionals and learning the way they do seemed like the logical way to go!

But of course nobody really understood why I would go to all that trouble if I didn’t want to get a job doing it.

I used to think my thirst for knowledge meant there was something wrong with me.

I had a day job that a lot of people would be thrilled to have, but I was always piling on more learning and still, at my age, looking for my “true calling.”

On that journey, I discovered that I was a “Scanner” – a term first coined by Barbara Sher and which later became the focus of her groundbreaking book, Refuse to Choose: Use All of Your Interests, Passions, and Hobbies to Create the Life and Career of Your Dreams.

A Scanner is someone who loves to learn, to explore, to try new things.

They’re easily bored, and sometimes don’t finish what they start.

Scanners find it hard to choose one direction, fearing they’ll be bogged down in the sameness of it.

They’re curious, interested in practically everything, fascinated by life, and fascinating because of their wide range of knowledge and abilities.

Scanners thrive on change.

No wonder I couldn’t settle down into one thing!

While others might define this as a mild form of ADD, or commitment-phobia, the fact is that my brain is wired to always be seeking knowledge, new ideas, and new experiences.

If this sounds like you, take heart!

There’s nothing wrong with you either. In fact, you have a somewhat rare “disorder” of a renaissance mind.

In today’s culture of short attention spans and ever-changing fads and trends, it’s actually a big asset!

There are lots of ways to make a living if you’re a Scanner.

Instead of the “one big idea,” you’ll probably be happier with “multiple streams of income.” All that learning you’ve done, all those areas of mastery that you think are “useless knowledge” – those could be your ticket to living your ideal life.

Not sure how to do it?

  • First and foremost, give yourself permission to pursue your dreams! Next, take the advice of Barbara Winter, author of Making a Living Without a Job and look for ways you can “get in the conversation.” In this case that could be as simple as finding other entrepreneurially-minded Scanners for mutual support and idea generation.
  • Think about teaching others – if you find something intriguing, chances are others will too. Of course, not everyone will want to “deep dive” like I did with a sommelier class. But most people will enjoy learning the highlights. More importantly, you’ll have a ball sharing what you know with others – and getting paid to do it!
  • Consider how your interests might play well together. Could you combine your love of baking with your passion for healthful ingredients and come up with a great new product trend (remember Mrs. Fields?). Or if you love to drive and meet new people, you could become an Uber driver.
  • Allow one path to lead to the next. For instance, while chatting with your Uber clients, you may discover trends in the kinds of questions asked or common gripes or challenges. After all, the first rule of business is, find a need and fill it!
  • Accept that there may not be one “grand passion” for you. There’s nothing wrong with a “temporary permanent commitment.” As Barbara Sher says, “If Scanners didn’t think they should limit themselves to one field, 90 percent of their problems would cease to exist.”

Most of the people I coach are Scanners, but they don’t always know it. They have a lot of ideas, but don’t believe any of them are worth much.

One of my clients had three ideas he was considering. We evaluated each one and focused on one to develop first.

Today he is well on his way to developing what I believe is actually a huge idea.

An idea that also gives him the freedom within the framework of the larger business to create different lines of products – which in turn feeds his “Scanner” personality.

If you recognize yourself as a Scanner, take the next step and get in the conversation!

What ideas do you have? Evaluate them one by one and see which feels like the right place to start.

As Barbara Sher wisely points out, “Once you know you’re a Scanner, you’re free to take your first step toward the life you’ve been longing for.”

So, what are you waiting for!

www.DaniMcDonoughPhotography.comKate Navarro Fessler is a Transformation Catalyst, First Class Life Mentor, and Licensed Profit from Your Passions® Coach.  Kate believes that everyone has a unique calling and purpose, and far more potential than they realize.  She has helped numerous individuals tap into that potential, define their own success, and create the life of their dreams.

As a former corporate wage slave, Kate understands how difficult it can be to shift from employee to entrepreneur, and works with her clients not only on the practical aspects of creating income streams “outside the job box,” but also on the mindset that accompanies successfully making that transition. 

Kate lives in Kirkland, Washington, with her husband, James, and chocolate lab, Freyja.  Discover more at her website, www.yourliferealized.com.

There are only 2 openings left in Kate’s Idea Seekers Dream Team and 2 in Linda’s Business Building Dream Team.

Claim your seat here now.


Got Courage?

Excerpt from the forthcoming book Redesigning Your Life.

pf_1“What would life be if we did not have the courage to attempt anything?” ~Vincent van Gogh

Picture this: You’re sitting on your couch, gazing out at the night sky, enjoying a nice cup of chamomile tea.  Your mind is wandering, you are daydreaming. (Yes, at night!)

Your thoughts turn to something you’ve always wanted to do.

Skydiving, perhaps? Moving to Bali? Becoming a freelancer or starting your own business?  Writing a blog about the meaning of life or your political views or about your adventures with cooking traditional Chinese dishes? You think: “It’s time to do something about this.  What am I waiting for?  I’m going to put together a plan right now and start letting people know that I’m finally doing it!” You feel excitement.  Super-strong motivation.  This is fun!

Then suddenly it strikes!

And you know it has, because your stomach feels twisty, your chest is tight, your palms are sweating.  Your motivation level drops to an all-time low! You are suddenly overcome by…

Fear!

Fear of the unknown, fear of being hurt, fear of being criticized, fear of exposing yourself. Fear of being vulnerable.  I looked up the definition of fear this morning, and this is what I found:

  1. noun: an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.
  2. verb: to be uneasy or apprehensive about.
  3. reality: something that holds us back from doing the things we really want to do; often unhealthy and stressful; a great big annoyance.

(Okay, I made up definition #3! But it’s true, isn’t it?) Fear is an insidious thing.  It comes in all shapes and sizes, and often disguises itself as logic or high standards.  We think: “Oh, it doesn’t make sense to leave a job with benefits behind. That would be foolish.” Or: “I just wouldn’t be able to do it justice. I would need a lot more practice first, and where would I find the time?” Or, we feel it wouldn’t be fair to “others.”  It would be inconvenient for them.  So we shelve our plans till the time is right.

We all feel the fear at times. 

It’s a more or less natural part of being human; the survival instinct is a strong one.  If we feel in danger, our natural inclination is to back away slowly and then run to safety as fast as we can!

But what’s the real danger here?

Who is most likely to be hurt if we do not pursue our dreams?  The first and most obvious answer is: we are.  Be it a dull ache or a sharp pain, conscious or not, we will carry it with us throughout our lifetime.  That’s how unrealized potential feels.

Yuck!

Beyond ourselves though, there’s a cast of thousands who will also feel the hurt.  Aware of it or not, they’re waiting for us to share our gifts with them. Whether our gift is teaching or healing or crafting or building or inventing or guiding or inspiring.  Or dancing or playing baseball, building a new social media platform, or horse breeding. Whatever your gifts, there is someone out there who needs them. Just as we need the gifts of others.

Consider the curious case of Vincent van Gogh.

vangoghAlthough he struggled personally and financially in his lifetime, his collective works changed the world forever.  His legacy of beauty and inspiration is incalculable.

But he didn’t go instantly from thoughts of becoming a painter to being a one-of-a-kind artistic genius.  Vincent had fears and obstacles, the disapproval of his father, and trouble putting enough money together for his paints.

He was not the most socially adept person on the planet, and this led him to painful relationship issues.

So, how did he capture the world and reflect it back so uniquely?

He practiced.

He experimented.

He failed.

He learned from his failures.

He questioned his abilities. He feared he would never achieve what he had set out to do.

Yet, he kept trying.

He found a support partner and sponsor in his brother Theo.

He actively studied the masters, including his contemporaries.

He followed his passion.

He moved to Paris, the hub of his artistic universe, then followed the light to Provence.

He spent a great deal of time in nature.

Most importantly?

He didn’t wait!

Vincent van Gogh died at the age of 37.

It’s hard to imagine a world without his Starry Night or Sunflowers.

What if he had waited?

You may be thinking: “Hey, he was a genius, he was born that way.  Not everyone can do something like that.”  But you know what?  You have your own unique genius. You have something in you that no one else has or will ever have.

So when you feel drawn to pursue a passion, go for it!

It may be scary, you may stumble and fall. (We all do!)

But if you strive to follow the “Vincent Path” — moving through the fear, practicing, experimenting, failing, trying again; and most importantly, starting now — your gifts will unfold and develop in the most delightful ways.

And then…the excitement and motivation will return.

This is fun!

Enjoy!


Praise

A New Direction

I decided to take the Work @ What You Love Workshop and also work one-on-one with Valerie. The workshop explored so many unusual and unexpected solutions to my specific questions. I made so many new connections to what clearly works for me in crea...

Julia Raymond
Curvology Studio

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