Saturday, January 12, 2013


Let’s face it, inspiration is something we all need. Some people might need daily doses, while others might need a little inspiration every once in a while.  This is quite evident in the growing movement of inspirational and personal development quotes via social media outlets. I have also seen quite a few in people’s homes, cars and on their phones.  A few of my clients have also shared that they go online to research inspirational quotes and have shown me some of their favorite ones in sessions. My favorites are the ones embedded with images (as you will see throughout this blog) because I find them to be fun and engaging. 

However, as I think more about the inspirational quotes movement, I realize I have one major concern. Although inspirational quotes can provide an uplifting boost to our day, I am wondering how much do they really help us change our behaviors and work on our goals.  I have posed this question to a few of my clients and they have shared that these quotes have had little to no effect in helping them address some of their problem behaviors and how they approach their goals. Personally, I have found the “experience” to be short- lived.  If I see an inspirational quote I like, I might post it to my private practice’s Facebook page, forward it to a friend, and/or maybe think about it that day and I tend to move on. 

I will not pretend to have all the answers, neither do I have any empirical data to back this, but I believe this is the case for myself and others because it can be very difficult to internalize the inspirational quotes found online. We can relate, yes, but because we are not involved in the molding of the words or phrase nor do we have any personal experience tied to these quotes, very little positive information is getting into our subconscious mind. Therefore, the information, though positive, is not being sufficiently internalized to make much of a difference. 

While I understand that inspiration can come from all around, I think it is best to come from within, especially when we are working towards our goals. When we are connected and attuned to our goals, we are naturally drawn to do whatever it takes to accomplish them.  When we are inspired, we know! We know because:

  •   Our mindset and actions are different; nothing holds us back from working on our goals actively.
  • We will exude passion, something that will help us see our goals to completion
  • We will constantly be realigning ourselves, being flexible with our approach to address our goals.  

Finally, inspiration comes to us slowly and quietly some of the time.  Probing the web for inspirational quote is a great place to start. However, in order to ignite and cultivate lasting inspiration, we need to create the conditions for this process to happen within ourselves. 

Are you interested in cultivating inspiration in your life for longer lasting impact? Below are 5 important steps I have found helpful

Seek out solitude:

It’s important to note that seeking solitude does not mean isolating yourself, especially if you struggle with depression. Solitude, are “moments alone” where you are freeing yourself from life’s demands.  This can be very difficult for a lot of people.  The trick is to try to not look for anything when you are spending time in solitude, but rather take a few moments to just enjoy life. Without the distractions of the outside world and your obligations, your thoughts will shift on to your true passions and your goals. Nature can be a great place to create this type of experience as well as listening to music, practicing deep breathing and/or reading.  Spending time in solitude allows you to slow down to the speed of life, which allows you to have a clear mind and sharpen your senses which make the impact of inspiration often more intense and lasting.  

Write or Draw or do both:

Disconnect for a while and write/draw in a journal. It really does not matter what you write about. One of the major benefits of keeping an inspiration journal is that you can use it in whatever way suits you best.  Let the words and/or drawings flow!

I would also encourage you to write your own inspirational quotes. For example:  I have found that if you ____________________ or Life is like _______________. You can also take this information and create a vision board with pictures of all of those things and declare what you want to accomplish.

Reward yourself
It is very important to reflect on everything you have learned and accomplished thus far. Taking time to celebrate the little things is a great way to cultivate inspiration because you are reminding yourself constantly of your small successes which will in turn help in motivating you to accomplish those large-scale future goals.

Pay attention to your emotions

Your emotions are probably the best indicators of your passion. This is so because you will feel a strong level of connection to the thing(s) you are interested in. If whatever activity you chose to do evoke positive emotions, then you have probably discovered good source of inspiration.  

Follow Your Faith:

Once you have discovered what is inspirational to you, you have to trust it! If you develop your faith and self belief to achieve your goals, then you are more likely to do so.

Be Inspired! 

Monday, November 26, 2012

A New Beginning

I have been thinking a lot lately about factors that get in the way of people creating their new beginnings. I have come to realized that most people know exactly what they need to do to get to their new beginning. You know the pros and cons, how long it will take you to get to where you need to be in life and you might even have a lot of insight into what is hindering you from achieving your new beginning. I can also guess that you have spent a lot of time thinking about your new beginning. However, although you hold the above mentioned information, your life situation does not seem to change for the better. You might be asking yourself and others “why I can’t just change” or “why it is so hard to follow through with what I know is right.” You are constantly experiencing “stuckness” and you might be perplexed by this phenomenon. Below are tools to help you move from you sense of “stuckness” to experience the new beginning you desire and deserve:

“Why” versus “What” questions

In order for any change to occur, you need to develop insight into yourself. Being able to identify patterns and flawed thinking early on in your journey to create your new beginning is crucial. To start, you will have to avoid “why” questions at all cost! It’s so easy to get stuck when you ask yourself over and over, “why am I stuck” or “why can’t I just do what I need to do” etc. What you will probably get is a list of obstacles and  more “evidence” that you are stuck. So one might ask, if the “why” questions are to be avoided, how do you get information regarding what you need to do to move forward?  As indicated above, “why” questions give you supporting evidence for your “stuckness,” they do not lead you to identify the issue at hand or help you do anything differently.   However, when you substitute the word “why” to “what” when you are trying to get insight, you get a lot more useful information. Asking questions, like “What is getting in the way of me working on my personal and professional goals?” “What do I need to do now?,” and “What do I need to do next?” allow you to brainstorm next steps around what you need to do to carry out your goals.

A major obstacle people face in creating their new beginning is fear.  I am not trying to minimize this natural reaction to change.  I understand that in order to create your new beginning; you might have to change a lot of things in your life. This can be very difficult and a scary thing for you…..for most of us.  In addition, your past experience with change might negatively influence your ability to strategize effectively about your next step to achieve your new beginning. The good news is that there are more adaptive ways for you to deal with the feeling of fear when it arises.   Oprah Winfrey once stated “the thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing the truth really will set you free.”   I would also add that facing fears can give you new information, dispel misconceptions and help you identify your strength and most importantly, help you develop resilience.  With that being said, fear is something you should want to explore more frequently, the worst that could happen is that you discover that what you had in mind was not meant for you.  It is this type of flexibility in your thinking that will allow you to identify other achievable goals and/ or options….that’s right options!

In order to achieve any new beginning, you have to have faith. The Merriam- Webster Dictionary defines faith as “a complete trust in someone or something.”  I am not alluding to or suggesting magical thinking here. I am suggesting that you have to be completely enthralled with the new beginning you are trying to create for yourself. Faith has many components. First, faith is living your life with a purpose. You have to be intentional about everything you do when you are working towards your goals. You also need to believe that you will achieve them.  Secondly, faith will allow you to “live as if” your new beginning has already happened. One of the best things you can do for yourself as you embark on creating your new beginning is to get into the feelings of love, great health, peace and success. Go about your day visualizing that what you desire already exists. Positive affirmations (such as “I am doing the best I can,” “I may not be getting the end result I want at the moment, but I am learning the process,” “I deserve to be happy” etc) are tools that can be used to help you focus and keep on track.  Thirdly, faith will allow you to have some flexibility in your thinking even if you have to deal with some initial challenges. Flexibility allows you to accept your mistake or miscalculation as such and to see these as lessons learned on your quest to achieve your goals. Fourthly, faith calls you to let get go of your baggage, freeing yourself of past failures and hurt that often weighs down on you. You do not want this weight when you are moving onward and upward! In fact, faith will allow you to adopt an attitude of gratitude. Being thankful for what you have and the good to come.

Support System

It is a given that although you might be doing the best you can to create your new beginning, life happens. There will be a lot of things that will come your way that you will not foresee. Some will have damaging effects on you as you go about creating your new beginning. For this reason, it is absolutely necessary for you to have a support system in place. Enrolling someone who truly wants you to be successful and who will not let you give up on your dream when you want to is very important. I know it is not always easy to put yourself out there but as discussed above, you learn a lot more when you face your fears than when you avoid them. Reach out to someone who has experienced what you are going through or who knows a lot about your particular situation. Request their help in getting you through your tough time. The response you might get just by putting yourself out there may surprise you, but sometimes a certain opportunity will present itself and you wouldn't even know until you ask.  A good thing to remember is if you are continuously employing the above mentioned points, you will be back on your feet again in no time and you may not necessarily need a lot of support once you are back on track. 

In closing, “stuckness” is something everyone deals with at some point in life. However, in order to change your situation, create your new beginning, you have to do something different.  This might mean changing your perspective, having more faith in yourself and/or being open to supports. With these tools in place, you will feel more empowered to own your new beginning and start living your best life yet.