Can You Take a Compliment and Still Try to Improve?

Can You Take a Compliment and Still Try to Improve?

Have you ever been complimented by a teacher, friend or colleague and then thought to yourself that you did not deserve it? On the outside you might (or might not) be forming the words thank you, and on the inside, you are thinking I did not do that well enough or what I did really wasn’t that special? Do you reject their good intentions?

I would like to invite you to imagine that the person giving you the compliment is sincere. In their opinion what you did is special, better than before or improved their life in some way. Your rejection actually makes them feel bad. I know that is not your intention, because the rejection is about yourself, not about them, but this is how it comes across.

I also invite you to imagine that you can accept their compliment, absorb it, enjoy it and believe it. Again, it is from their point of view, they believe what you did is special, you do not need to judge this, just enjoy it. From there you can imagine also doing, even more, being even better, improving. But, the starting place should be from a small celebration!

The act of feeling good about ourselves helps us to be more productive, successful and overall happier. Many people show some kind of mask of happiness on the outside and yet live in an internal world of self-doubt and self-sabotage. We are all too happy to accept any of the bad things people say, or we think they want to say, and yet we cannot even slightly comprehend that one of the nice things could be true.

It is important to make a habit of accepting compliments. In school and in work we are all taught to accept criticism, call it constructive criticism… No! let’s start in the beginning, first learn how to accept compliments. Let’s create a positive self-image. A self-image that starts on the inside. An image that is true to who you are and what you want to show to the world. When people compliment this, let it grow, shine it brighter and broadcast it out to anyone who might need it. From this place of confidence and self-knowledge, we can improve.

We always want to be striving to learn more and be better, but what is better if we don’t have a place to start? You are not accepting your shortcomings as irreversible because you believe a compliment. I know when I say this it sounds ridiculous, but many of us do this. We think we will not push ourselves to improve if we let someone say we are doing well. We can always do better!! And we should strive to be better!! It is what makes life interesting. However, we need a base to jump from, we need a foundation to build on, we need the comfort that today we are good enough. Today we are right where we are supposed to be. If we are always thinking about what we are not doing, what we did not do or what we cannot do that is what we are going to get, a lot of nothing. If we think about who we are, what we are and what we want to do then that is what we will grow.

Sometimes compliments will come from the strangest places, do not dismiss them, revel in them. Your acceptance also helps the person that is giving it to you. This means they see a trait in you that they are trying to grow. Show them your happiness that they recognized it if you cannot do it for yourself (yet) do it for them.

Be youthful in your approach, remember anything is possible, connection is the key


Taking the First Step

Taking the First Step

Recently I did a meditation that asked me to think about something that was causing me some stress. The process was to then ask where that stress was in my body. As I scanned through my body I found it everywhere. Literally, this problem had made it’s home throughout my entire body.

I have to say I was surprised. I know I carry a lot in my shoulders, but to find it in my legs, in my belly and hurting my heart was shocking. Especially since I thought I was dealing with it!

Awareness is a double-edged sword. However, if you don’t start down the path you will find yourself in a place you never planned to be. I am excited to be in a place where I can look at the stress, really look it in the eye, know it is there and then start tackling it. It might be small steps at first, but ignoring it allows it to fester and wreak havoc on the rest of your life.

Today I want to inspire you to look at one area of stress in your life. Pick a small one to start. Write down a goal that includes steps that will help you get rid of this stress. There can be many ways to do this. I recommend that you write on paper, in a journal or a pad, not the computer (it just makes more sense to your brain). Ask yourself what is the long term goal? If the stress is a relationship how do you want that relationship to feel in the future? If the stress is work-related, what would be your perfect day at work? If the stress is financial what would your perfect financial picture look like? Create a big vision for your life without this problem in it. Write it all out, how will you feel when you can speak to your partner about important things? How will it feel when you are eager and excited to get up for work in the morning? What will it be like to know that you are being compensated for your creativity, time and expertise in a way that will provide not only a nice home but also allow you to be generous with your time to those that might be in need? Pick a subject that is true to your life and journal about it.

Next, write down what is necessary to achieve this goal? Do I need more information? Is it something I can handle myself or should I ask for help? What are the action steps for asking for help? Do I take a class? Ask a professional? Hire someone who has expertise in this area so that I can direct my energy in the area I am skilled in? Write down all of your ideas. Don’t judge them just write them down. Don’t even think about how you are going to do them. Just write down what would be some steps that would take you closer to this vision.

Later you can revisit this list and start to prioritize. You can actually create action steps and break them down into smaller steps that are manageable. However, you do not need to do it all at once. Just take the first step. Notice the stress, notice what you want to improve, imagine what life will be like with this improvement.

Then ask  “what kind of a healthy daily ritual can I create to start building momentum toward this goal?” We all get stuck in patterns. These patterns suck our energy. What if you chose to start the day with a short exercise routine. Do you have 5 minutes? Take this 5 minutes and do some stretching, situps or jog in place. Now that you have completed that and you are feeling refreshed think of one small action step you can take toward your goal. Plan to fit that in your busy day. Make it a priority. At the end of the day celebrate your win, no matter how small, congratulate yourself for acknowledging the fact that you want to improve your current situation. Go to sleep feeling excited and eager to face a better tomorrow because of the positive step you made today. Even if it is a small one, you are moving! That is all it takes. One small step at a time and you will be closer to your dreams.

Be Youthful in your Approach, Remember anything is possible, connection is the key

Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow

Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow

Many years ago I heard this phrase, I loved the idea, and I truly hoped it was true. I am not one to make my life about working for money and then retire. However, it is interesting how this phrase, no matter how true, it is also misleading.

I have decided that really what we should be taught is; to share what you love and the money will follow.

It would also be helpful is if we were taught that it is okay to make mistakes, it is ok to have fun even when you are working and everyone has their own path. So, give your gifts to the ones who want them and keep moving when you encounter someone that is on a different path.

And the most important thing that is misunderstood as we are growing up is that taking care of ourselves is selfish. How can we help others if we allow our own health to deteriorate? How can we open ourselves to our talents and let them flow through us if we have not nurtured our confidence and identity? I think that time needs to be spent in our lives honing these skills and then everything else will come with less difficulty. Yes, I believe that confidence is a skill. Yes, I believe knowing who you want to be and making decisions based on that person is a very important skill. When we make decisions based on who we want to be then we will not be buffeted around by the opinions of others. This does not mean that we do not care about other people, it just means that we do not alter our path because someone else thinks we are not good enough, it does not serve them or maybe it even threatens their sense of security. There does not have to be an all or nothing attitude, of course, there are times when we have to pause and help someone in need. It is more that we keep our eye on the ball and do not confuse other people’s goals with our own.

Another interesting fact is that when you find what you love and you are willing to share it with others there will be people that want to help you. So, feel free to ask questions, be the learner as well as the teacher. I grew up with the idea that if you had to ask questions that meant you are not good enough. I was taught a value system that ignorant people make mistakes and you are less of a quality person if you need to ask questions or if you make mistakes. I realize now that this is far from the truth. While I do want to work to gain the right information about each subject and pass along the correct information, it is possible that we might make mistakes and this fact should not shut us down. It is also ok to ask people questions, and this is not a sign of ignorance. Actually, one of the most important traits that high performers attribute their success to is the ability to ask the right questions.

It is true, perspective has a lot to do with it. Sometimes we are not sitting in a place where we can see through the window. But I encourage you to gain the perspective that probably someone has felt like you do right this very minute, there has been someone with that problem or asking that question. Try to have the perspective that there is someone out there that would actually love to help you move through that issue and become more productive, fulfilled and ultimately in a position to enjoy your life more.  I believe if you do what you love, share it with others, be brave and confident that your gifts are worth something then for sure the money will follow.

Be Youthful in your approach, know anything is possible, connection is the key!



Other People’s Opinions

Other People’s Opinions

Following are some fun insights from one of my Youth Webinars in April. The homework had been to create a poster;

A list of the people’s opinions of you and/or your horse that you have heard over the past month, and a creative way to show that you reject or accept those opinions and why. The opinions could be from a parent, instructor, teacher, friend or even an opinion that you might apply to yourself that you see on social media.

Before we reviewed the posters, we spoke again about our values and how important it is to remember the things that are important to us when interpreting people’s opinions. It was fun to review the values that we want to grow: fitting in vs being original, learning vs knowing, exercising, being good, being successful and so on. Also, to notice that the Fear of People’s Opinions could have an effect on what we think we should value.

Everyone was super honest about the things people have said. It was a great share. I was also impressed by how all the girls could instantly recognize why someone might mistake someone for being boring or unfocused and how they helped each other with this. They easily brought up that if someone does not know anything about horses, or whatever your interest is, and that is what you are passionate about, they may not share the same energy toward it. However, in the moment it is sometimes hard to process this, and instead, we may feel hurt about the opinion of us. We also were able to really talk about how the person with the opinion can hold on to their opinion, and we do not need to change it. We can reject their opinion of us, and we do not need them to understand that we do that. We just do it. We can invite them to join us in an activity that they first perceived as boring, so they can actually find out if it is boring or not, but we do not need to convince them in one way or another for it to create the simple fact that we are not boring.

It was also interesting to notice that some of the opinions were, actually, self-talk. This is something that we all need to work on. Having a bad opinion of ourselves is not healthy. So, we discussed creating a ritual of using better words, and explaining to ourselves that we are not anxious, we are mindful and then we can start acting more mindful and less anxious. If we value being mindful then we can grow that, if we do not value being anxious then we must not let our self-talk label us as anxious.

Another great discussion was about understanding that someone might label us or our horses as something, and we do not have to accept it, even though it may occasionally be true. If we have a horse that has a weak link, we can accept the weak link, but we can also work on it and improve it. Just because someone says it is a problem does not mean it cannot be improved. The same with us, just because someone says we have bad time management skills does not mean we have to accept that as part of who we are. If we value time management then we can work on building the skill of time management. If one allows them self to be labeled this way, then it will control them if I say okay, I accept that I have occasionally exhibited bad time management, but that is not who I am, I will be able to improve this.  I challenge you to create your own poster 😊 For me it was a great insight into where I am, where I want to grow and how I am going to create more healthy relationships and thought patterns. I hope you have fun with this! As always, send your questions through the website or to [email protected], I am looking forward to hearing from you.

What’s Your Success?

What’s Your Success?

Does it matter what other people think?

How easy it is to forget what our goals are and let other peoples opinions affect our outcomes. One of the most important questions to ask ourselves is what does success mean to me? It could mean blue ribbons, lots of money and fame. But, often times what looks good from the outside is not as fun on the inside. So what is success really? For each person it is different, and when you find out what it is for you then for sure you will achieve it.

Have you ever won at something but felt empty or hollow after the achievement? There are many times when I have won classes but I did not really like the test or been complimented after a ride when I felt totally disconnected and out of sync with my horse. There have been other times when someone else had better points than I did, but I was completely over the moon because the test had some special quality that I had been working toward. For me, training horses is about connection. When I go to a horse show I want to be able to take a confident horse to the ring that wants to do his job, participates with me and understands what I am asking. If I win the class and I do not have this feeling then, although the success is nice in the public eye, I want to go home and start training again so that the next time I am better able to execute on my goals.

This has taken me a while to figure out, and not only that, but it has taken me this long to figure out that finding my version of success can work for winning too. By finding fulfillment in my daily practices and taking that to the show ring makes me a better competitor. By trying to make the judges or other people happy does not make me good at what I do.

What makes me feel successful may be different then what makes you feel like a winner. But, I challenge you to think about it and then implement this into your daily practices. It is easy to stand up straight in your own shoes when you know what your end goal is. We will all miss the mark sometimes, but it is knowing what the goal is that makes us get up the next day and keep working toward it.

This becomes much harder when you feel the pressure of other people eyes on you, judging you because you do not have the same values and goals they have. Stay true to your goals, what is important to you and reflects who you are. There may be people that do not agree, however, as you go through life you will also come across more and more people who do agree and support you in your success. It is not easy to find these people if you do not know who you are or what you are about.

Carousel Coaching
Clarity ~ Confidence ~ Connection