Inner Renovations, Positive Mindset for Life

Reclaiming Your Proverbial Sunshine

troubled-waters

Storms happen.  One moment you’re sailing on peaceful waters, then all of a sudden the sky turns gray and it seems like you’re being swallowed whole by crashing waves, with nary a life raft.  And yet, you’re expected to keep smiling, keep the faith, and know that the sun will shine tomorrow.  That’s all nice and dandy, and sure looks good in encouraging “thinking of you” cards, but in real life it is the most difficult thing to keep a smile on your face when your main goal is to simply keep your head above water.  But somehow, you must.

If you ever have the same contemplation as the sage Grandmaster Flash, and find yourself wondering how you keep from going under, it is helpful to identify the specific things in your life that keep you afloat.  We can restore hope within ourselves by reconnecting with people, values, memories, and goals that propel us to keep going.  To beat being pulled under, and find your way back to the surface of safe waters, try these hope-restoring methods.

  • THINK OF THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE THE MOST AND HOW IMPORTANT IT IS FOR YOU TO REMAIN A PART OF THEIR LIVES. This is an instant answer to that devious voice in our head that asks, “why bother?”  Practicing this method arms you with clear answers for why you should bother – because your children need you, because your mother would be lost without you, because your friends depend on you, because there are people who you love and want to protect.
  • REMEMBER WHAT YOU ARE MADE OF. You’ve made it this far, and I’m sure you’ve done more than just cry your way through life.  There have been challenges that you’ve overcome that are far tougher than what you’re facing now.  And when you thought you couldn’t take anymore challenges in the past, you did it – you survived.  You’re made of good stuff. Remind yourself of that.
  • CONJURE UP POSITIVE MEMORIES. Some things just made us really happy.  There are memories stored in our minds that pop up every once in a while and bring a smile to our faces.  Did you know that you can intentionally recall those same memories to shift your current mood?  If you feel like you’re being overtaken by the waves of life, at any moment you can intentionally connect with a positive memory and immerse yourself in the scene with all of your senses and your mind will actually believe it is there. Every once in a while, it’s okay to transport yourself to a better place until you actually feel better.
  • DREAM UP LOFTY GOALS. Do you know what you want in life?  Can you experience passion for what you want to do?  When you feel like you’re drowning in the deep blue, it can help to think on what you personally want to accomplish, giving yourself no limits, and not worrying about whether or not they’re realistic dreams at the moment. Just ‘go there,’ allowing yourself to have the wildest, most imaginative goals to let your brain get busy exercising some creative thought.

It may rain, but your life doesn’t have to be flooded with unwanted emotions.  By remembering that major storms only last a season, you will be able to keep yourself afloat through self-encouragement, connecting with the power that lives in you, and practicing methods that allow you to kick your way back to the top of the waters to again witness that proverbial sunshine.

~ CCB

Inner Renovations, Positive Mindset for Life

Tough Times Make Us Tougher

tougher

The toughest days are the most meaningful.  They are tests of our strength.  On these days we get a front row seat to what we’re really made of.  Until we face trials, our ability is in theory, because no one really knows what they would do in a situation until they are in it.  So be thankful for the days that you get to really live, instead of just conceptually live.

Some of us run towards challenges.  Some run away from them.  The common denominator is that challenges always come.  It is best to face them, and consider the curve balls coming at you as an obstacle course – there to help you get more efficient at maneuvering difficult situations as you become more adept at rolling with the punches.  This shift in perspective of challenges helps you move from thinking the world is against you when things go wrong, to realizing that even what is seemingly negative can work in your favor.  Understanding this is understanding how “all things work together for good,” for those who know Love.  This perspective helps you to love your life in the good times and the not-so-good times, and to remain in a place of appreciation and gratitude for what is offered to you.

If you wonder how some people seem to withstand storms with smiles on their faces and hope in their heart, the mystery is here solved.  They live from a framework of “this too shall pass,” and “what doesn’t kill me only makes me stronger.”  The fact is, it’s safe to say that all of the adversity that you’ve experienced in your life hasn’t killed you – and I bet you’re stronger for it, wiser because of it, and have experience that you can share with others because you’ve survived and grown from it.

So, welcome your obstacles.  See them as a gift.  Thank the difficult people in your life for being your greatest teachers.  Wink at your bad days as you tell yourself that what goes up must come down, so after being down you must be on your way back up.  Embrace the flow of life.  Tie up your shoes to give your ankles adequate support for those tough times that are handcrafted to make you tougher.

Inner Renovations, Positive Mindset for Life

When We Were Super Heroes

InnerRenovations.com

We’ve traveled through various stages of life and have somehow managed to successfully reach adulthood. But many are experiencing some sort of stagnation, a stalemate as if life is no longer full of excitement and the outlook has become all but dismal. If you’ve noticed that you’ve lost momentum, are becoming unsatisfied with your existence or find yourself looking up at the sky and asking, “now what?”… IT’S TIME TO SET NEW GOALS

Somewhere in our adult lives we find that we do not have that same fresh outlook that we did when we were younger. You remember the time when you believed you could do almost anything. From flying, to creating magic – there were no limits to what you thought you had the ability to accomplish. Of course this was pre-disappointment… pre-heartbreak… pre-failure… pre-setback. It’s a little more difficult these days to have the same hopes and dreams when you feel that you may possibly be let down. The fact is, you are impacted by what you have experienced. Welcome to the post-disappointment stage in life, which brings us to our first new goal.


GOAL #1 – REMEMBER YOURSELF BEFORE THE DISAPPOINTMENT

You must find the ability to reconnect with a part of your life where you did not mind giving it all you had; because it was prior to the time that you started believing you could fail. This is the state of mind from which you will accomplish your greatest goals. You may notice that there are several things you think about doing, but you stop yourself. Why? Because it may not work, you say. What is the use in putting forth the time, energy and effort in something that may not even give you the results you want? Valid question. But what is even more valid is that no one has ever accomplished anything without first recognizing the possibility of failure. They work hard to overcome those odds in order to attain what they desire. As an adult, its okay to acknowledge the possibilities but in order to overcome any paralyzing fear that keeps you from stepping outside of your comfort zone; you will find it helpful to embrace that youthful part of yourself and your mind that imagines you still have the power to accomplish what your heart desires.

GOAL #2 – STOP MAKING EXCUSES & RE-DECLARE YOUR PURPOSE

I’m too old. I’m too fat. I can’t, the kids need me too much. I don’t have enough money. I work long hours. I don’t know anyone that can help me. I didn’t get a degree in that. Pick your favorite. Then throw it out the window because the excuses as to why you’ve not continued to make your life a better place to be, are of no use to you. You are more than likely an individual who has accomplished quite a bit in your life. And now you are ready to move on to experiencing something that will bring a gust of fresh air into your existence. Its time to re-declare what you feel you are here to do and what you want. Its time to re-discover and re-declare what gifts you have to share with others. Its time to do your research to find new and innovative ways that you are able to utilize your natural talents and abilities.

GOAL #3 – FREE YOURSELF FROM THE SUBCONSCIOUS STOPWATCH

Do you feel like there is a little man chasing you with a stopwatch, constantly reminding you that you are running out of time? In the early part of lives, it seemed like we had forever to do what we needed to do. Now there is a different sense that many experience, of not being able to accomplish what is needed before they reach a certain age. What is interesting is that the fixation on time and the idea of running out of it, actually works against us and we end up doing significantly less. Try to remember a point in your life when you were not so restricted by timelines. You went to elementary school everyday – not so much doing the work because you were worried about graduating – but because you knew it was something you needed to do. And besides, there were many great experiences to be had and people you liked were there. Its important to take the same approach as you move through the various projects, professional obligations and personal goals at this point in life too.

GOAL #4 – GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK, ALREADY

Stop being so hard on yourself. The people will already be critical enough of you, they don’t need your help. Somebody has to be in your corner, believing in you, cheering you on… it may as well be YOU! We spend so much time thinking about the should have, could have, would have that we often forget that we still should, can and probably will – just as soon as we uninvite ourselves from our personal pity party. It takes just as much energy to tell yourself that you need to lose weight as it does to tell yourself that you are looking and feeling good at this age. Choose the latter, you’ll love yourself for it more… literally.

GOAL #5 – AFFIRM THAT YOU ARE A ROCK STAR

Even if you really don’t want to put in the work to become a bonafide rock star, simply affirm to yourself that you ARE one anyway. Think about when you were a child. Do you remember what it used to feel like when you imagined that you had manifested all of your glory? Do you remember what you always thought you would grow up to be? Someone wonderful, loved and powerful. It’s not too late, but first you will have to change your perception of who you are now.

There is nothing wrong with adopting the mentality that you are great. There is nothing wrong with feeling good about yourself and having a self-assured disposition. When you stand in front of a group of people and have to give presentations or even in general conversations where all eyes are on you… don’t shrink and become insecure. On the contrary, make it your show! Love yourself and project that love and others will love you too. Exuding confidence is contagious and those you interact with will believe in your words and vision the same way you do.


Dig deep and find that “S” emblem that you used to wear on your chest. Supermen and Superwomen must rediscover themselves through the eyes of their childhood. Only from this place will there be a rejuvenation of the pure hope and uncut faith that is needed to reach the new goals that you will begin setting for yourself. Move forward with the idea that what you want is already a part of your destiny; and all you must do is travel the path to reach your already blessed future.

~ CCB

Inner Renovations, Positive Mindset for Life

Speaking With a Spoon Full of Sugar

spoonful-of-sugar

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.  We’ve heard this all our lives, yet we still attempt to get what we want by making demands, using guilt trips, and expressing ourselves in a manipulative manner as if that is going to consistently get us what we want in life.  Maybe it works sometimes – those times when people would rather give you what you want in order to shut you up.  But it’s not an effective means of communicating or getting your needs met.

Being able to communicate our needs clearly and concisely is a skill.  Doing it in a way that inspires others to actually feel good about fulfilling those needs is an advanced skill indeed.  But it is based on a very simple premise of “you catch more bees with honey.”  You shouldn’t be afraid to sweeten it up a little bit if you expect people to want to join with you to help you reach your goals.  Not in a conniving way, but in a way that your genuineness in your appeal for their help shines through.

A wise woman named Mary Poppins once said, “just a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down.”  This is relevant when trying to get others to help or understand you, but also when it comes to delivering the truth.  Even when needing to deliver hard-to-swallow truth to someone, it can be done from a place of love.  Some people are brash and tell others about themselves in insensitive ways, finishing with statements like “well I was just telling the truth!”  Most of the time the problem isn’t what they said, but the way it was said.

Life is full of moments when we will either have to administer or swallow some tough medicine ourselves.  We have more of a choice in how we experience this than we may know.  When dishing out the truth, we can do it with love which is a natural sweetener.  And when having to swallow the truth, we can focus on how that information helps us to improve ourselves, which makes things sweeter for us and those we care about in the end.

Interpersonal effectiveness is something that can be developed and improved over time, and there’s plenty of literature aimed at helping you accomplish it.  But after you sift through all the material, you’ll realize that it pretty much boils down to a fundamental principle that we learned early in life – it’s not about the WHAT, it’s about the WAY.

~ CCB

Inner Renovations, Positive Mindset for Life

Do Yourself a Favor. Worry Less.

 

Full Serenity Prayer


We tend to think about the things we want to do. This makes sense, especially when you’re a goal-oriented visualization enthusiast who understands the importance of seeing it before you get there. However, we also have to consider the things we need to do less of. What is it for you?

  • Eat less?
  • Sleep less?
  • Argue less?
  • Work less?
  • Worry less!

We’d all be better off if we worried less. As a counselor working with many people struggling with addictions, the Serenity Prayer is weaved into the fabric of my daily life. And because every person has their own vice (some are just more intense than others), the prayer in its entirety is applicable to us all.

Many are familiar with the foundation of the prayer:

God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change;

Courage to change the things I can;

And wisdom to know the difference.

In our quest to worry less, there is much that can be learned from these simple yet meaningful lines. Look at the situations in your life now. How many of them are beyond your control to change? If you could accept those things as areas that are outside of your jurisdiction to resolve, and surrender it to that which is greater than you, there would be a lot less to worry about. This assumes that you are connected to your spirit in a way that you at least acknowledge that you were created by something/Someone that loves and wants the best for you.

On the flipside of accepting the things we can’t change is finding the courage to change the things we can. Sometimes we don’t even notice when we are carrying stress from the things we feel we are leaving undone. We may have noticed area of ourselves and our lives that deserve more attention, situations that need to be made right, causes that deserve our energy – yet we are taking little to no actions in these areas. It doesn’t sit with us well. We allow our anxieties and insecurities keep us from taking actions that could change our own and others’ lives for the better. If we were able to find the courage to finally change those things that are within our power to do, there would be a lot less to worry about. We would feel like we are being true to ourselves, being useful, and making a difference in the world. This is fulfilling and brings us to a place of satisfaction and self-love, ultimately decreasing the time that we spend in stress and worry.

Finally, there may be confusion about the difference between those circumstances that we need to accept and the ones we need to be working on. This is no easy feat. When something has become more challenging than we feel we’re capable of handling, do we let it go or give it our all? Do we let nature take its course or do we acknowledge ourselves as a force of nature and continue to give our best efforts? The only way to solve such mystery is through discernment and wisdom. From where does this wisdom come? God. Once again we come to the importance of having a connection with something greater than ourselves so that we can afford ourselves the opportunity to lay down some of the stress that we’ve been carrying on our shoulders and our backs, causing us to feel worn, exhausted, and aged. We have options. It is not necessary for us to continue traveling through life carrying the burden of our own and others’ worlds, when we can worry less by practicing acceptance, discernment, and staying connected to our source to grow in wisdom.

~ CCB

Inner Renovations, Positive Mindset for Life

Heart, Mind, Life… change!

Metanoia

There are some days that you know that everything has changed. It may not be because of anything drastic, but maybe a slight shift in perspective that allows you to move, and engage, and be in life in a completely different way. An openness to new things, and a willingness to step outside of your comfort zone may overtake you – and for a moment, you are unafraid.

When these days come, allow yourself to move and flow through it without interrupting the process and without letting anyone else interrupt the process. Negativity can wait and doubts can be reserved for a later time – if you decide to ever pick them up again. Or maybe you decide that you don’t need the negativity or doubt at all, and that you are better off staying in this space of freedom, hope, willingness, and belief. If this is the case, then today will be the first day of a brand new life for you.

There may be no parade, but there is certainly something to celebrate. And maybe no one else is in attendance, but there is certainly a party – a praise party, with the honored guests being you and the One that made it happen for you: your Creator. Today, you celebrate an awakening to your true love with a fresh perspective. And show gratitude for these moments of breakthrough and change that continue to happen in your life.

~ CCB

Inner Renovations, Positive Mindset for Life

A Good Time for New Perspective of You

Gain New Perspective

I wonder if someday I will find out that everything I think I am, the truth is, I am just the opposite.  It is interesting to consider the physiology of the body  where the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and vice versa; and how everything that we see with our two retina is upside down but when our brain processes it they are combined into one image flipped right side up.  We normally have general concepts of who we are, but if we get to know ourselves scientifically, we realize that everything we think we see and know and believe in this physical realm is literally upside, backwards, and/or an illusion.

Even that which we like to believe is supported by our science, such as our concepts of what is solid and still, we know is still illusion in some way since what we perceive as “solid” is composed of atoms, mostly empty space and constantly in motion.

So, how are we to think of ourselves and our world?  Who do we think we are anyway?  A better question is What do we think we are, and shouldn’t we make it a priority to find out?

I don’t have any specific answers as to how to kick start that sort of journey, because I realize how different things are for each individual.  Self-exploration is personal by nature, so we could not all possibly agree on what we are.  We can agree, however, that it’s a good time to stop seeing ourselves and the world in such surface level ways.  And to stop simply believing everything we’ve been told is our reality.  See for yourself.  Look for yourself.  Live for yourself.  Learn for yourself.

In a reality where left is right, up is down, and outside-in is really inside-out – it’s probably a good time to gain new perspective.

~ CCB

Inner Renovations, Positive Mindset for Life

Sometimes You Have to Start Over to Win

One of the most difficult things to do is Start Over. After years of pouring our heart, love, time, energy and resources into a project, goal or relationship – it seems so defeating to just halt mission and abandon ship. But sometimes, it is necessary to do.

Rather than continue to go down a path that is not giving the results that we want, it may be better to take a moment to think about alternative routes. We know that there are many ways to reach a destination, so we need not be so stubborn to continue with a way that is clearly not working for us.

Sometimes the ego becomes the ruler, and we do not want others to think that we have failed. But changing directions does not indicate failure. It means that you have checked inventory, completed an evaluation, and concluded that there is a better way. Do not be afraid to take the better way once you identify it.

Sure, the changes may require you to utilize your public relations skills when people inevitably ask you, “What happened?” But like any good P.R. representative, you will already have your response prepared based on the information that you choose to release to the public. They do not have to know everything about why you decided to make changes in your plan; but what they should know is that you have taken the steps in order to put yourself in an even better position to achieve your goal.

Time and time again it has been proven that being successful is a state of mind; which is why you can give a mentally poor person a million dollars and they will soon be poor again. But if you take a million dollars away from a mentally rich person, they will find a way to make it back.

It is a powerful thing to have enough confidence in yourself to choose a different path that you know will still lead you to greater things. Regardless of what others think about your decision, you are able to move forward with the indispensable knowledge you gained from experience – Sometimes you have to start over, to win.

~ CCB

Inner Renovations, Positive Mindset for Life

Preparing For Game Day

Preparing for Game Day

You stare at yourself in the mirror intensely as you lean over the sink in the bathroom at your office. Is that sweat on your forehead? Yes it is. Your heart is beating faster and you realize this is a slight anxiety attack just before you have to give a presentation to your administrators. Although you have spent plenty of time researching statistics and collecting data in preparation of selling your idea to this group of stern decision-makers; you now realize that you did not take the time to focus on the way you would present yourself.

The above is a common scenario where one realizes that intelligence alone is not enough when it comes to connecting with people in professional situations. When its time to close deals, attain new clients or get approvals to implement new ideas; much more is being looked at than how much knowledge you have. It is imperative the individual is sending a message to their audience that conveys they are competent and able to lead any team to accomplish the proposed vision. No one will be convinced by a sweating, bumbling, shaking presenter behind the podium who cannot seem to pull it together.

The key thing to remember is that every person may experience a bit of nervousness anytime they are being put in a position where they may be subjected to the judgment and critique of others. It is a natural reaction but the difference between those who are successful in these situations and those who are not is that one group finds their center and pushes through the tension; and the other does not. Here are a few ways to make sure that you are not in the latter:

Affirm to yourself that you are already familiar with the material.

Repeating this in your mind and in the mirror will allow the idea to sink in on a subconscious level so that you do not experience extra tension from fear of not remembering what you need to present. Just make sure that you have actually familiarized yourself with the material! That’s the easy part. The more challenging part is fully processing the fact that you are knowledgeable on the subject so that you don’t have to concentrate on it so hard. Then you can focus on more important things such as keeping your breath steady. This takes us to the next suggestion…

Do breathing exercises to relax yourself and set a comfortable breathing pattern.

We always hear about the importance of being able to control our breath because it helps us control our minds. You want to give the mind something to focus on, so by directing it to the way you are breathing, you are killing a few birds with one stone. The physical benefits of the deep inhale and exhale are that it will slow the heart rate and allow more oxygen to the brain which will naturally put you more at ease. As the mind is focused on the breathing pattern, it does not have as much time to wander on to self-defeating thoughts or ideas that would create more anxiety. In addition to the internal effects, externally you will be projecting a warm, calm and balanced disposition.

See yourself there before you get there.

Mostly everyone is familiar with the technique of visualization. Athletes, public speakers, political figures, performers and many others understand the value of envisioning the entire scenario in the exact way they want to experience it. Doing this gives us a sense of familiarity. When we engage in the actual activity, our mind will go back to what was visualized previously. We feel more confident since we’ve already had the experience in some way; it helps us feel that we are prepared with what to say and what to do. Be very detailed and thorough in your vision. You will want to see yourself moving through the entire situation, from the time you walk into the room and greet the audience to when you are answering questions after opening the floor for feedback.

Clear your heart and mind through meditation.

Know the difference between visualization and meditation. Find somewhere quiet, turn off all distractions, sit down in a comfortable position and be silent; that includes silencing your mind. Instead of doing your visualizations in this moment, you want to dedicate some time to clearing your mind. The thoughts may be swimming around your head but you are not focusing on them. You are looking past them and searching your heart. Determine what you feel there. Fear? Courage? Love? If you sense fear in your heart, try to let go of any of the ideas in your mind that are causing this feeling. Feel free to ask your Higher Power to help you release any negative emotions and to fill you with confidence while you’re in this space.

As you inhale and exhale deeply, focus the mind on your breath and notice how you begin to experience something too deep inside of you to be explained here. Find that place of peace. If you don’t find it the first few times, continue over time until you do. It exists in everyone. It is from that place within you that you connect with how powerful you really are. As you realize this, the self-doubt and self-consciousness will dissipate. The more you are able to connect with yourself in that way, the more trust and appreciation you gain for yourself. When the day comes for you to speak with eloquence, confidence and to be self-assured; your mind will reflect back on the state of realization and peace that you attained for those moments and you will be empowered as you stand before any group of people.

We have all met book-smart individuals who seem to have everything going for them intellectually, but don’t reach their fullest potential. When you look a bit closer, you notice that they would prefer not to speak up when they have good ideas. They would rather not be in front of large groups of people. They seem to shrink when face to face with intimidating characters. You realize that they lack the inner-strength and confidence needed to excel socially-demanding environments. It is about being able to connect with others. It is about knowing who you are and feeling comfortable enough with yourself to let others know too. It is about breaking through all psychological barriers so that you can effectively express yourself in a way that others will believe in your competence and will be willing to work alongside you to help accomplish your vision.

Whether in professional or personal settings, these suggestions can be practiced by making them a part of your daily routine. This way you will always be prepared to rise to any challenge, even the unexpected ones. You will want to spend more time on your visualizations when you are specifically aware of upcoming events. The more we practice, the better prepared we are on GAME DAY.

~ CCB