Did You Remember To Lock Your Car? What Else Are You Doing Without Thinking?

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What do you do on a daily basis that is repetitive, easy, and almost unconscious?

Oh, boy! A LOT.

Ever walk into your house and get halfway through making dinner and wonder if you locked your car? Me too.

OF COURSE YOU LOCKED YOUR CAR! And you opened your door with a key. And you took all the ingredients for dinner out of the frig.

When you do things over and over, your brain and your body create muscle memories. And then, with less and less brain power and effort, you repeat those patterns for maximum efficiency.

You’re amazing!!!

You wake up. You drink coffee. You check your email. You drive to work. You make small talk. You do a work routine. You eat lunch. You work out. You get ready for bed.

My friend is learning how to play the fiddle now. It’s like TWIN….KLE…..TWIN…..KLE……LIT…..TLE….STAAAAAAAAARR. But next year, she’s going to be faster and will use less and less effort.

How do I know? Because she’s got a daily practice routine. She is forming a new habit. And habits are transformational!!! MUSCLE MEMORY ENGAGED. DOING IT AGAIN. EASIER AND EASIER. THIS IS WHAT WE DO. WE WILL EASILY DO IT AGAIN.

cake-pops-693645_960_720Ah yes, all those habits serve you. They work. Yes. All of them. Even that chocolate habit. On some level, ALL of your habits are serving a purpose.

OOooooh boy. Now for the good stuff…

Want to break a habit??? No problem! Go backwards.

Make your bad habit conscious again: I’m doing that thing again. Oh! Yeah! I see that pattern. It’s all ok (compassion). That pattern is serving a purpose.

What else would serve the same purpose that would feel better?

If you haven’t read Charles Duhigg’s book The Power of Habit, put it on your holiday list. His book is a delight. I devoured it like chocolate because it was so satisfying and interesting. I assign it to my students. It is an awesome subject.

Gorgeous, intelligent, mindful reader: Habits are AMAZING. They take load off our brains so we work faster. They make things easier. They become muscle memories. Your good habits are sustaining you all day long every day.

And… if you ever want to change a habit, get curious and conscious about the one you want to replace. Why are you doing that thing? What is its purpose? Can you do something else that would feel better AND serve the same purpose?

Yeah, you can. And yes, you will. You’ve got this. You just need practice. Rosen up your bow. Twinkle, twinkle, little star. Soon, you’ll be enchanting us all.

Loving you out there. Create some habits you love.

But first… Did you lock your car? OF COURSE YOU DID, YOU HABITUAL LITTLE MINX! NICE JOB. Mmmmwah!

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Leadership Super Skill: Self-Soothing

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Hello out there, you gorgeous leader, you. You love to read about self-improvement. You love that new book about being better. You love a new challenging workout.

I know. You love to dial it up. Me too.

And yet…

Do you ever have that sense that you’re never quite there? An ache of always need to be better? A sad feeling that it’s never going to be enough?

Oh, amazing one. What if there’s another way?

What if the most important work of leadership is the ability to chill out? The ability to focus? The work of getting in the zone? The process of opening yourself to be receptive to the flow of new ideas?

What if you don’t need to be better? What if you just need to calm down?

Try it.

wave-64170__340Soothe yourself to success.

Soothe yourself.

Put down the iPhone.

Tell yourself that everything will be ok. Remind yourself that you will be ok.

Let it all be ok.

Sleep.

Eat nice meals and savor every bite.

Sleep in on the weekend and slowly sip tea.

Allow yourself pleasure.

No matter what is going on, let it be ok.

Be gentle with yourself.

Every day.

Rest.

Nap.

Take a break.

Have dessert.

Sit quietly in meditation for ten minutes.

Ask friends to help you.

Hire people to help you.

Call a hotline or reach out for professional help.

Beautiful, ambitious, gorgeous reader: Soothe yourself to success. Let everything be ok. Chill a little more. Relax a little more. Loosen a little more. Quiet a little more. Easy a little more. Flow a little more. Enjoy a little more. Let the present moment be enough. Come back to now. Breathe deeply.

Self-soothing is the most important work of leadership.

Have you tried it? I bet you’ve tried punishing yourself. Yuck.

Now try this: be good to you. So good.

Yes, boo. Try. Not as a reward. Every day. As a way of life.

Loving you out there. Self-soothe. See what happens. You may be amazed.

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That Marathon Kicked My Butt, So Here’s What I Did

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At mile 25 of my first marathon in September, my friend joined me in running the final mile. With tears and snot running down my face, I ugly cried and begged her to tell me funny, happy stories.

Usually, I’m the one telling stories. Usually, I’m the one cheering people on.

Have you ever been seriously humbled?

Have you ever felt completely weak?

That marathon kicked my butt.

It stabbed my ego.

It was not fun.

I love fun.

There was the good: A gorgeous friend hosted a pasta and grilled chicken and fresh vegetable dinner at his house full of love. There were guitars and people singing and clinking glasses of champagne. Friends made posters Rawr Rawr Georgi Rausch! and screamed and danced.

IMG_6115There was the bad: My headphones didn’t work. I compared myself to ultra-runners who think 26 miles is like sneezing. I beat myself up for not training better. I took off my shoes to find two blackened toenails. I could hardly walk afterwards. And so, so many tears.

Do you know when to take a moment and be proud of yourself?

Do you know when to give it a rest?

Do you know when to stop?

I’m learning.

There was the best: I took a victory month. October was full of dog walking. Hiking slowly and looking at trees and leaves. Dancing with a glass of wine in my kitchen. Traveling to Ireland. Drinking Guinness and riding trains. Eating good food and sipping whiskey. Appreciating the Irish accents. Storytelling. Laughing. Giving myself a giant break.

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Up until the race in September, I ran over 400 training miles. In October, I ran 11.

What now?

Yesterday was November 1st. I got up early, drank coffee, leashed up Blue, and went on a run. My first run of November.

We ran three miles through the last falling leaves.

We laughed.

We stopped at corners and danced to Andy Grammer: I give love to all of my people, all of my people need love, I give some.

What do you do after being humbled? You make a comeback.

IMG_5493Gorgeous, beautiful, humble reader: I ran a marathon. Trained. Tried. Persevered. Finished. I did that. I’m proud of myself. Amazed at myself. Thankful that I kept a promise to myself. Knocked out that I pushed my limits that far. Learned so much about who I am and who I want to be and the people I want to be with.

Have you had your butt kicked lately too? Good. I love you for that. You’re in the arena. You’re out there trying. You’re growing. You’re learning. You’re absolutely freaking beautiful. Nice job.

Do you know when to give it a rest? Try it sometime. Have a laugh. Dance around. Listen to funny people. Give love. Receive love.

Know what to do when you’ve recovered? Come back. Begin again.

Loving you out there. What’s next? XO

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Or… What If That’s Not True?

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Name a book that has changed your life.

My answer is Byron Katie’s book “Loving What Is.” I listened to it on audio with tears streaming down my face.

So many thoughts run through our heads.

So many thoughts run through our heads that aren’t true.

So many lies run through our heads that hurt.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Before I listened to Katie’s book, I rarely questioned what I thought. I rarely questioned my own beliefs except for special times at school when I was supposed to be a “critical thinker.”

Funny, the critical thinking usually going on was me criticizing me. Me frustrated with me. Me judging me. Me thinking all kinds of things that simply were not true.

After I listened to Katie’s book, I started a new practice: questioning my thoughts.

What am I thinking?

Is it true?

Is it really true?

light-2581929_960_720That person doesn’t like me: Is that true?

I need to do a better job: Is that true?

I need to be faster and skinnier and sexier: Is that true?

He would never be attracted to me: Is that true?

My students are on their cellphones because I’m boring: Is that true?

Spending the day resting is lazy: Is that true?

Oh, so many thoughts we have.

Oh, how our brains can worry.

Oh, how we make up all kinds of stories about ourselves and other people.

Oh, ha ha ha ha ha. Ha! HA HA HA!!!

Hey, boo, what are you thinking? Wow! Is it true?

Beautiful, smart, fast-thinking reader: Have you watched your thoughts lately? Have you noticed them churning around? Have you stopped to observe the traffic on your brain’s highway of ideas? Look closely. Listen with curiosity. Be so kind and sweet and gentle to yourself and that monkey mind.

Maybe Katie’s book won’t thrill you. But, I am so glad that she asked me the questions that have changed my life:

What are you thinking? Is it true? Can you be sure it’s true? What if it’s not true???

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It Can Always Be Easier

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Last weekend, I sat and drank beers with two people who were trying to convince me that it was hard to get to know new people. It was hard to start new relationships.

I told them that they were a bummer. They didn’t love that.

And you know what? Who cares what I think? Everyone is entitled to their opinions. It’s just that your opinions are not facts. And, without realizing it, your opinions can cause you a lot of unnecessary suffering. Unnecessary.

You do not have to suffer so much. I don’t want to see anyone I love suffer so much.

Get quiet. Watch your thoughts. Meditate. Notice what is going on in your mind. Gently and compassionately notice the opinions you are holding. Defending. Clinging onto.

Let it all be ok. But start to notice when you suffer. What are you thinking?

cheers-839865_960_720You can choose to believe that something is hard.

Or, you can believe that it’s easy.

If you observe your thoughts, you will start to see the choice.

You can always make things more difficult.

However, on the other hand, you can always make things easier.

Yes. You can.

  • Things can be easier. What can be easier for you?
  • Things can be lighter. What can you lighten up about?
  • Things can be surrendered. What can you give up?
  • Things can be let go. What or who can you set free?

Take a deep breath and consider this: That situation or personality trait or other person you think is “difficult” could be a really, really, really good thing. An incredible learning experience. A strength building challenge. A window to self-knowledge. A bottom you hit in order to bounce sky high.

Beautiful, beautiful, absolutely gorgeous reader: The one who is making things harder is you.

sunset-622966_960_720Look in the mirror. Look deep into the eyes of the person who can make things easier.

Life can always be easier. Life can always be more interesting. Life can always be full of wonder and amazement. Life can be a gift you receive every day.

Don’t make things so hard, boo. Cut that out. Get quiet. Notice.

Loving you out there. Ease up. Aaaahhhh. Ah-ha. There you go. Better, mmm?

XO

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5 Reasons Why You’re Not Doing That Thing You Keep Saying You’re Going to Do

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“The thing is, Georgi, I really try to do things to improve myself, but then, there’s this button missing on my pants…”

“Oh?”

“Yeah, and I keep telling myself I need to sew it back on, but I don’t.”

“Really…”

“Yeah, and now I’m so mad at myself, I keep saying, SEW THE BUTTON! SEW THE BUTTON! WHY DON’T YOU SEW THE BUTTON BACK ONTO YOUR PANTS???”

“I’ll tell you why you haven’t sewn the button on your pants.”

“Why?”

“Because you don’t want to.”

Does this conversation sound familiar? Have you had a similar one with your friend?

Hey, gorgeous reader out there. We know why you’re not doing that thing that you keep saying you want to do. The #1 reason you aren’t doing that thing you keep saying that you want to do is that YOU DON’T WANT TO DO IT. It’s as simple as that.

Snap out of it: Tell the truth. You don’t want to do many of the things you keep talking about. Really. That’s the whole gist of it. But, if you want some more reasons, I have four more.

#2: You don’t know HOW to do it

You want to go back to school. You want to do yoga. You want to run a 5k. But… You don’t know how to do that. So you get scared. And you paralyze yourself in the how.

How do I do that? AAAAAahhhhh!!!! And then you stall out. You freeze.

Snap out of it: Take a step. One step. One bite. One move. One call. One internet search. Take a step. Then another. Someone out there has done what you want to do. Find them. Call them. Ask them. Take a step. Then another. As Anne Lamott suggests, here’s how you write a whole book about birds: bird by bird.

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#3: You don’t know WHY you should do it

You want to write a book. You are scared. People might make fun of it. But WHY ARE YOU WRITING THAT BOOK? What is your purpose? What is your reason?

Snap out of it: You need a reason. You need a why. You need a compelling case beyond your ego to do it. How could you grow? Connect with people? Learn? Inspire? Lead? Why??? Why do you want to do that thing?

#4: You are being extrinsically motivated

In all honesty, is it you who wants to do that thing? Or does your spouse want you to do it? Does your friend want you to do it? Does society think you should do it?

Snap out of it: This is your life. The things you really want to do come from within. From you and your purpose. From you and your desires. From you and your own sources of excitement. You get to choose. You get to live your own life.

Yes. True. Yes. All the time. Yes. It is always your choice.

#5: You have crappy boundaries

Still arguing with me? You still really want to do that thing? Then do it. But, you say, I don’t have time to do it.

Snap out of it: You make your schedule. You make your choices. You decide where your time goes. If you don’t have time for the things you really want to do, then make time. Clean up your schedule. Tighten up your boundaries. Start saying no to the things you don’t want to do. And turn off the TV.

Hey, gorgeous reader: Do the things you want to do. Do them! Have fun with them! Start now.

Snap INTO it: Take a deep breath and do what you want to do. Take a little step forward and figure things out little by little. Tell me why you are doing those things you are doing. Tell me that it’s you who is so freaking excited about them. Tell me that you’ve carved out the time for yourself. Because you’re important. Because you’re sexy. Because you’re smart.

Hey, boo, this is your life. Live it by design. Your design.

Loving you out there. Do that thang.

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You Need to Get More Play

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As I was was walking down the snowy path from Eli’s cabin to the car, Everett snuck up behind me and landed a snowball directly in my back.

The kid had great aim. He also had a great laugh, an awesome smile, and a cute little puffy jacket. He had the gear. He had the drive. He had the joy ready to go.

He was ready to play.

PLAY!!! This is the message I always get from kids.

PLAY. PLAY. PLAY. ARE YOU GOING TO PLAY???

Am I? Are you? Are we going to play?

Last week, I gave a presentation in Phoenix, Arizona. There were several white haired audience members. One older dude named Gary started teasing me.  With a twinkle in his eye, he said he wasn’t so sure how my talk was going to appeal to him.

“Oh, don’t you worry, Gary,” I said, “I’m going to loop you in.”

Let’s play. Game on.

I teased Gary, he teased me, and we played with each other all night. You know, the adult kind of verbal play that is endlessly fun.

But only with people who like to play.

Do you like to play? Have you been playing lately? Are you willing to play a little more?

Could I be more playful about this? That’s my new question.

IMG_5726 2Before the snowball fight, Everett also took me upstairs to show me his awesome room and a giant window framing tall, tall pine trees and snow falling.

He pointed way up to the sky: “Georgi – See? Up there? Where the snow starts coming down? That’s infinity. When it gets lower, it’s hundreds.”

Children are curious. Creative. Playful. They see abundance. Infinity. Hundreds.

Beautiful reader, you who used to be a child, you who used to giggle and scream and joyfully run around: Children want you to play. The universe wants you to play. Everyone wants you to be just a little bit more playful.

“Gary,” I said, “I think I have more fun than you do in retirement.”

“Oh no,” he said, “Not possible. I have the most fun.”

And we laughed together. With twinkles in our eyes. Playing. Enjoying the moment together.

And I stood in front of Eli’s cabin, covered in snow, laughing. Playing. Enjoying the moment with Everett.

Hey gorgeous – there’s a snowball coming at you in your future. How will you react?

Loving you so much.

Isn’t it time to play?

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