This week, I wanted to share with you my “go to” words: choice, perception, attitude. These words and how I relate to them have gotten me through some of the toughest times in my life and have also helped me find meaning and joy in the day to day grind of NYC. If you’ve been to a class of mine recently, you’ve heard me talk about perception. I often say to clients, instead of thinking, “Oh my god it’s burning!” (insert negative, death voice here), think “Oh my god it’s burning!” (insert happy, positive, excited voice here). I tell my clients to get excited about the burn because the more something challenges you, the more it changes you. Now, trust me, I know this is easier said than done, especially when it comes to life outside DMF.
Life gets bumpy from time to time and many things happen that are out of our control. BUT, what we CAN control is how we CHOOSE to react and PERCEIVE these events and our ATTITUDE going forward. By adopting an attitude of life is happening for us, rather than to us, we can make sense out of many tough situations. This idea has literally SAVED me the last few years. Any situation, relationship, event, or moment that is challenging me or causing me pain, I look at as a teacher. I ask myself, “What am I supposed to gain and learn from this?” This doesn’t always come naturally and I often have to force myself to do this, but I promise you it is worth a try. It’s so much easier to fall into the “blame game” route as I call it. This blame and victimization route is SO prevalent in our society. We are constantly putting our problems on someone else: If only my boss wasn’t so controlling…If only my partner cared more…If only there wasn’t so much competition in by business…f only my co-worker wasn’t such an idiot…If only I had more money… If only I lived in a better neighborhood… If only I didn’t inherit my dad’s sweet tooth…If only I got to vacation more. This becomes a habit–I have to force myself out of it too–and only creates temporary relief from a challenge.
The harder route, but SO much more powerful in the end, is to have the courage to CHOOSE to take responsibility for your circumstances and then creativity work through then. For me, it again goes back to perception, attitude, and choice: What is this doing for me? What is this trying to teach me? How is this giving value to my life? I’ll give you two examples in my own life, one professional and one personal.
Starting a business while working full time is a tricky task and I’ve had many days, where I just felt I couldn’t do it—I was extremely overwhelmed and exhausted, wasn’t getting half the things done I needed to get done, and I felt like a failure. The only thing that pulled me through was asking myself what feeling like this was supposed to teach me. When I really thought about it, it taught me to ask for more help from the amazing people in my life and to get creative in how I got things done. It taught me I needed INTERNS—whom I’m SO thankful for! I have setbacks ALL the time, but CHOOSE to PERCEIVE them as lessons and these lessons make me work harder to find creative solutions and keep my ATTITUDE positive going forward.
As for the personal… Last year I started dating again…ugh! After my divorce, I took a lot of time off to figure out, well, life! I finally felt ready to date. Honestly, it was a bit overwhelming at first with lots of highs and lows, but I kept a positive attitude. However, after months of first and sometimes second dates, I was starting to doubt that a quality guy with my same values, zest for life, desire to change the world for the better (I know it’s cheesy but it’s a must for me:) and passions existed. And then I met someone special. We connected quickly on many levels—intellectual, physical, spiritual— which I always find difficult. We could talk for hours and I felt supported and happy with another person for the first time in years. I finally had someone to motivate ME and be MY cheerleader and I felt I did the same for him. I wanted to be a better human being because of this person. But unfortunately, the timing and the circumstances were not ideal for him and it ended as fast as it started. I’m not gonna lie…I was a bit heartbroken. BUT, what that person and our time together taught me was that there ARE good guys out there. It was almost like the universe/GOD was giving me a little taste of the amazing so I wouldn’t get discouraged by all the mediocre! Here is where choice, perception and attitude come back into play. I CHOSE to PERCEIVE the heartbreak as a lesson, a reminder of all the good things that one day I will find in a partner. I chose a positive ATTITUDE going forward, rather than be jaded by yet another one that didn’t work out.
So, as difficult as it is, get honest about the things that happen to you. What are they there to teach you? Don’t blame others for the circumstances of your life–that’s the easy route. Don’t blame your significant other, parents, the government, or boss for your problems. Be bold, be courageous, and try to perceive the situation in a new light. Remember, life is happening for you, not to you.
I’ll leave you with two of my favorite perception and action quotes:
“One new perception, one fresh thought, one act of surrender, one change of heart, one leap of faith, can change your life forever.”– Robert Holden
“How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.” –Wayne Dyer
Lots of Love,