Refers to your gut or your ki or chi — the place where your soul resides just below your solar plexus. The place where you “know” things and hold the entirety of life’s experiences.
There’s a feeling in my stomach I cannot ignore. No, it’s not gas or a bowel movement, it’s something deeper. It is my core sending me a very important message. It’s my gut letting me know something is brewing, something is stirring, and it’s something that is somewhat out of my control. It is my path getting paved. It’s my glow igniting. It's my na`au.
Momentum has begun and I have total butterflies. I’ve said it before, and it will probably be etched on my gravestone, “My accident gave me everything I ever wanted”. I have a purpose, a reason to be on a stage spreading an important message, I have a son who knows compassion and awareness on a whole other level, and my relationships have enriched beyond what I could have ever imagined - most importantly the relationship with myself. I was never meant for the stay at home mom life, or the office life, or the corporate life. I was destined to have an audience. Problem was, until 6 years ago I had nothing worth talking about on that stage.
Now my message is very clear - use your circumstances to elevate your life. Live Vertically. Increase your health in the three areas of Self - mind, body, soul. Ignite your glow. Now that I figured out what my message is, it’s time for the action. Today I listened to a great video from Mel Robbins, who is quickly becoming my new guru. She’s a tell-it-like-it-is girl with a whole lot of credibility by turning nothing into something great; all while being a wife and mother. She’s proof you can do it all, but not without a lot of hard work. Today I heard her speak about taking your life to the next level and the habits you have to adjust, or flat out change, to get there.
It got me thinking about habits and how they are formed. I can see how a lot of my habits have been with me since grade school, and if they are anything like breakups, they could take at least half as long to get over. Yes, I’ve heard a new habit can be created in 3 weeks, but what about breaking an old, tightly engrained habit, belief or way of life? I think it begins backwards.
When I worked as a Spa Director, I had to perform seasonal and annual reviews on my employees. I did this along side the spa manager and department lead as to not have any biased answers. When we sat down to grade our employees, we had to have measurable ways to grade them, meaning we couldn’t just say they were a good or bad employee without concrete ways to prove so. It was more than just saying someone was a hard worker, we had to be able to prove how they measured up. Did their guest reviews add up? Did their sales add up? Did their attendance add up? All of these were measurable ways to distinguish their performance.
In life, our actions are our measurable ways to see our performance. Through the analytics of our life, we can see what we are most committed to. We can see where we will succeed - even if that means we will succeed at failing.
I believe Commitment + Action = Habit. So here’s a little algebra to demonstrate. If you work backwards, take a look at your habits first, then take away the actions; what you are left with are your commitments, AKA, your thoughts and beliefs. Habit - Action = Commitment. And sometimes our thoughts and commitments are the most difficult thing to become aware of. But I warn you, you have to be prepared to face the brutal truth when you start doing the math.
I know that was, and is, the case for me. I have a horrible habit of grabbing my phone first thing and cruising social media while I hit snooze for an hour. Then I can go through my entire day being jealous or bugged by something I saw. Don’t lie, you know this has happened to you too. My actions through the day are a tight neck, clenched jaw, impatient with Charlie, criticizing myself for not being better, wasting time throughout the day as I check my feed rather than be productive, etc. If I work backwards and look at my habits of how I’m spending my time, my body language and attitude, I can begin to see where the problems lie. I can become aware of what is taking over my thoughts and shift my actions and attention away from what is causing my grief.
Then, here is the kicker, I have to follow up by a distinct, measurable way to change which I can use to hold myself accountable. It’s useless to just tell myself to not be affected by what I see on social media. Instead, I can give myself a rule of no social media first thing in the morning as to give more space for meditation and daily planning, as well as allow myself to check comments and messages only during certain hours in the middle of the day. This sets me up to not begin or end my day with something potentially depressing. I could even go as far as choosing to only follow people who I am genuinely happy to see their success. After all, the fastest way to depression is to start comparing yourself to anyone else. The best decision I have made recently was turning off all my social media notifications. This way it does not distract me randomly throughout the day with every like or comment, and I am accountable for when I choose to log on and for how long. The next step of getting up the first time my alarm goes off, rather than hitting snooze, will get me productive right away and not allow the time to get consumed with other people’s lives. I’m on day one, but so far, so good!
Perform a review on yourself. Take the measurable data. Take a look at the analytics of your life. Take a look at your habits. They have been formed by some kind of deep rooted thought and commitment, plus an action. Now, break it up. Do the two match up with where you want to go? For my spa employees, they were rewarded by seniority ranking and raises if they were “good” employees based on their measurable data. For your life, your dreams will become possible rewards when your habits match where you want to go.
Do you want to write a book? Well, do your habits match? Do you want to start a business? Well, do your habits match? Do you want to have a great relationship with your kids or spouse? Do your habits match? Do you want to have a more fulfilled life? Do your habits match? Do you want to lose weight? Do your habits match? After taking an honest look at myself, and considering what is brewing inside of me, I committed to adjusting my habits in order to take me to the next level with my business, as well as be mindful of switching gears to intentional parenting when I am with Charlie. It will be conscious effort in order to make these new habits stick. The best part is that I feel proud of my ability to clarify where I want my commitment to be.
Unfortunately life is full of things we don’t want to do. Actually most of life is set up that way. That is why it is so crucial that we take full ownership over what we would like our lives to feel and look like. Getting to do the things we WANT to do, requires we create habits based on where we want to go, not what we feel like doing in any given moment. It was such an ah-ha moment for me when I heard Mel Robbins say, "actions are typically based on what we FEEL like doing". It's all about how we feel in the moment so we really have to stay focused on the bigger goals, or as I like to call them, vertical goals. Getting the two to match up means creating new habits so we can get over the hump of “I don’t feel like it” and onto “I’m going to do this because of how I WANT TO FEEL”.
About three years ago, I was sitting in the audience at an ISPA convention. I was listening to the speakers, but focused more on the yearning I had to be up on the stage speaking. I remember that same feeling in my gut. My glow was trying so hard to ignite, but I kept smothering it with my doubt, self criticism and fear. I still had no idea what my message would be and I was too busy trying to get people to look past my wheelchair that I couldn't figure out where to begin. One of the speakers, Leigh Weinraub, was a coach for top athletes and she designed clothing with words upside down so you could read them as you wore them. Her brand, Mind In Motion, prints words such as "Move", "Breathe", "Dream" and "Evolve" to get you out of your head and focus on that one word. I was so moved by her message and loved the simplicity with big impact. Afterwards I was lucky enough to meet her, and I told her my desire to be a speaker as well as my fear of not knowing which direction to go. She bent down to my level and simply said, "Just f*cking start”.
I look back on what I did next, and I can see how things were put in motion. I just started talking about it. I told people I wanted to be a speaker. I told people I wanted to help women feel beautiful. I told people I wanted to heal. It wasn't a quick fix, but it was a series of simple shifts leading to a big impact. So I'd like to follow up Leigh's great advice with some advice of my own: Once you start, just keep going because something is brewing!