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Friday, May 31, 2013

Viceless Day 22-28: Time Flies While Dreams Are Coming True

I've been sober, sugar free and without TV for 28 days now. I've gone through my own self imposed rehab. This is only the beginning of the process since I've committed to three months, but I understand why rehab facilities use 28 days. The past four weeks have been a struggle. I've gazed longingly at food, the blank TV screen and countless glasses of wine. So much time has been spent quietly yearning for what I've given up that I started to wonder if I shouldn't just partake in my damn vices. My time was being eaten by my desire for them anyway. I didn't feel great, glowy, pure and light. I just felt like I missed eating candy while watching TV.

My online mentor and inspiration
Gabrielle Bernstein.
Somewhere in the past week though, that all changed. Today, I feel better than I've felt in years. Recently, I've connected with three power player in the world of coaching and inspirational speaking. I've conducted my first Becoming a Badass Workshop to great success and I've taken on new coaching clients. My schedule is starting to  overflow with soul inspiring, cash producing work. People are telling me that I've inspired them to improve their lives and happiness! By getting out of my own way, I'm getting everything I ever wanted. My vices have been replaced with fulfilled dreams.

Last night, after finishing my Becoming a Badass Workshop I was giddy with excitement. I've been planning this workshop for months. Before that, before even starting this blog four-years-ago I had been following my intuition hesitantly toward this career.  I didn't know what a life coach was four years ago. I just knew that I loved inspiring, motivating, writing, performing, working with people, improving the world, and how-to's in women's magazines. How that was going to make a career, I had no idea. 

Three important actions have gotten me to this amazing point in my life where I have specific dreams, goals and a plan for accomplishing.

1) I've consistently listened to my intuition and feelings. Often there is a dichotomy between what makes sense and what you know you want. When I was deciding between colleges I was choosing between Boston University where I thought I should major in business and going to California Institute of the Arts to major in acting. I really should have gone to Boston University. I was a great student and could have probably amassed a lot of monetary wealth by now. When I thought about that future though, my throat tightened up and I got a small inkling that I should go ahead and kill myself now. I'm actually down playing that feeling. At the time, my mind said, "this is what you really need to do for your future." My heart always answered, "no, it's not. That will kill me." 

Listening to my heart, I went to California Institute of the Arts even though I knew I probably wasn't going to end up with the typical actress career. I was acutely aware that I didn't know why I was going to school for acting. I was conscious of my own inadequacies and lack of direction. I knew I was making a crazy choice. Still, it was undeniable that I would regret not following my heart. 

Ten years later, I'm not an actress. I'm a life coach and workshop leader. I use the skills I learned as an actress in my present career. At school I learned to be fully present, listen, trust my instincts, be bold, stand in front of people and effectively communicate. I even learned how to put together the workshops I now conduct. A workshop is a show. It must have a beginning, middle and end. It must be engaging. It must emotionally effect the participants. I chose the most amazing, practical undergraduate training I could have for my chosen career. Well, actually, my heart chose my training. My heart picked the training before I even knew of the career of life coach. That is the brilliance that comes from listening to your intuition. 

2) I embraced embarrassment and started before I was ready. I've taken this practice to the next level by following the advice of two of my favorite online mentors.  My spiritual coach Gabrielle Bernstein says you must embrace an attitude of "F-it. Let's go!" Marie Forleo, my business guru, is the queen of the empowering phrase, "start before you are ready." Both of these women are successful powerhouses. They encourage me to be more aggressive with an attitude that I've always relied on. You will never be ready, you just need to get into action. I wasn't ready to go to an acting program that's ranked 15th in the world. I had only done a few plays at my high school. I showed up and found myself surrounded by children of celebrities and people who had been child actors. I was in way over my head and thank God. I was pushed to my absolute limit to keep up with the brilliance around me. I wasn't the best, but I was playing with the big dogs. Think of the opportunity I would have wasted if I had said, "I'll go to acting school when I'm ready." I could have done more plays around Atlanta. I could have taken smaller steps but would I have? Big actions and big decisions give you big momentum. If I had stalled on acting school, I doubt I would have even graduated from any college. I would have stayed paralyzed by fear and my own depression. It's through action, risk and starting before you are ready that you will find your passion and momentum. 

3) I set measurable, timed goals with accountability. Unfortunately, with college my only real measurable goal was to graduate. I accomplished that goal but found myself lost after graduation. Moving to Jackson, I started to set measurable, timed goals. The most obvious is when I decided to ski 100 days in one season. Before setting this goal, I had probably skied a total of 80 days in the three years since I had learned to ski. Kinda crazy to jump into 100 days, right? Well, I wanted to be a badass and I wanted to learn what it was to truly be a skier. The 100 days kicked my ass and challenged me more than I could have imagined. I didn't know how to deal with different weather conditions. My ski boots weren't perfect and I'll always have what I must lovingly call my sixth toe (calcium deposite on the side of my foot). I frequently cried into my goggles and a struggled through exhaustion. Yet, I had told people I was going to ski 100 days. People rallied to support me because I had told people my goal, therefor setting up accountability. I learned more about skiing in that one season that I had in the past 3 seasons combined. I became a skier and have a life accomplishment that I can always think of when facing a new challenge. Hell, I skied a 100 days. I can do this. 
Notice, I didn't say to myself, I'm going to become a better skier and ski more. I announced to my nearest and dearest that I was going to ski 100 days that season. Measurable, timed goals with accountability are key for accomplishments. How will you know when you've accomplished something if it isn't measured, with a time limit and with others knowing your goal? Set yourself up to succeed. I ended up skiing 109 days that season. 

Once again, my challenges are pulling me toward my success. I haven't eaten crap, consumed alcohol or watched TV while alone. After 28 days, I've talked to some of my biggest mentors, held a workshop, grown my coaching business, inspired people to improve their lives and gotten written up in my local paper. Yeah, Viceless is working.

What are you ready to succeed at? Tell me in the comments below. Let's shape some ass-kicking goals for you!

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