RESTORE YOURSELF WITH RETREAT: Yes, I’m looking at you!

Making conscious space for retreat is essential to rejuvenate. Call it energy, mojo, juice, passion or productivity: We aren’t bottomless wells, we need to replenish our energy to survive.

A Small Retreat Has a Big Impact

When we hear “retreat,” we often respond “not me–I don’t have the time” (or the money, or the freedom).

I challenge you to re-think what a retreat can be. Maybe you’re thinking of a cabin in the woods for a few days–what a wonderful option! However, you can savor the benefits of retreat on a much smaller scale: Even a minute or two devoted to breathing deeply and clearing your mind can be a nourishing, potent retreat.

Every effective, successful leader I know has learned to dedicate time for renewal and restoration. I encourage my clients to cultivate a regular practice of retreat. These are some of the ways they rejuvenate themselves:

  • A daily walk in nature, a run, a bike ride
  • Turning off all technology at 8 PM
  • Visiting a retreat center for several days or a week
  • Turning off radio and technology for the commute to or from work
  • Daily quiet time: Meditation or faith practice

Retreat as a Means of Focus

You can even cultivate the practice of retreat to support your work life: Perhaps set aside a power hour (or even a half day) of uninterrupted work time each week, with closed door, phone and internet off, no meetings, no calls. You could schedule a quarterly check-in with yourself or a trusted accountability partner, to eclipse the day-to-day to-do list and evaluate the bigger picture.

Engaging in Retreat Will Make More of the Time You Have

It’s easy to resist the idea when your schedule is already complicated and demanding. However, that’s precisely why it’s essential to claim time for peace, quiet and solitude: in order to refuel and find balance in the face of urgency.

Retreats are essential to living a full life. We need to rest and revitalize ourselves physically and mentally: like sleep, it’s a physical necessity. Experiment with the different scales of retreat: I know you can commit to a ten-minute retreat daily, or even consider a whole day of personal retreat time each year. One way or another, you’ve got to refill your tank to keep the fires burning.

How will you claim time for restoration, refueling and rejuvenating this week?

Mary

Play to Your Strengths

You can be anything you want, if you just work hard enough.

Hmmm, really? Ballet dancer, opera singer, nuclear physicist–are those pursuits really available to anyone and everyone?

Not many people buy that cultural myth anymore BUT underdog stories of triumph over adversity are still captivating. The research in the field of Strengths Psychology suggests that the real triumph comes to those who capitalize on their strengths. Instead of employing superhuman effort to correct deficiencies and overcome shortcomings, how about putting attention and energy towards making the very most of your strengths?

Why labor upstream when you can glide downstream?

Correcting weaknesses is like trying to swim upstream: The fight against the current will wear you out, and you simply can’t make good progress. Try playing to your strengths, and you’ll know you’re swimming downstream, your efforts boosted with ease by your natural gifts. There’s no stopping you!

When you play to your strengths, it’s naturally easier to accomplish more

In the workplace, statistics indicate that only 20% of folks use their strengths daily. That lucky 20% are more efficient, effective and productive. Most importantly, they’re happy. When you know and play to your strengths, life bursts with ease and satisfaction!

Cultivating strengths takes less effort and brings far greater results

We’re bombarded with a societal message to be balanced; to be well-rounded; to labor at transcending our shortcomings. Let go of that mandate and cultivate your strengths:

  • Stop agonizing over what you don’t have: Celebrate what you DO have.
  • Discover the role you were born to play and realize the ease and zest fulfilling it.
  • Don’t strive for balance–it’s an illusion anyway. Strive for fullness. Intentionally imbalance your life towards what makes you feel strong.
  • Always sweat the small stuff: Know and act on the specific details of what invigorates you.

How will you play to your strengths today?

Mary

Change is in the Air

Cold fall or winter evening. People resting by the fire with blaTransitions are tough and exhilarating at the same time.

Just take a look at our Midwestern weather this time of year: you can leave the house in the morning shivering in your sweater and by lunch time, you are sweltering, ready to shed those socks and shoes for sandals! You just never know what the day will offer.

That particular lesson from Mother Nature — helps me become aware of how my mindset creates struggle or ease in the midst of transition. When I hold tightly to my expectations and things don’t turn out the way I planned, I get pretty cantankerous. It is really hard to delight in a surprise October snow shower when I had my heart set on shorts, sandals, and a t-shirt.

So when I start to feel that cranky, agitated feeling, I can step back and notice how I am contributing to the stress of this moment. I can choose to ruminate on my disappointment (I really wanted it to still be summer!) OR acknowledge my disappointment and focus my attention on something within my power (oh goody, I get to wear my cozy fleece jacket and wool socks!)

What is your attitude when change is in the air? Try this if you are feeling cranky:

  1. Stop whatever you are doing
  2. Soften or even close your eyes
  3. Take 3 nice, easy breaths — giving your breath your full attention
  4. Open your eyes and go back to whatever you were doing
  5. REPEAT AS NEEDED until crankiness subsides

Ready with socks and sandals!
Mary

International Coaching Week 2016: SPECIAL DEAL!

ExperienceCoachingWebBannerThe International Coach Federation (ICF) has designated May 16-22 as International Coaching Week. Professional coaching is a powerful experience that is shifting corporate culture from command and control to collaboration and creativity. Coaching is developing stronger leaders, better communicators, more productive employees and increasingly positive people.

Want to give coaching a try? During International Coaching Week, I am offering a 30-minute one-on-one coaching session for just $50. Regular price is $400! At such a reduced rate, spots will fill up fast. Starting May 16th, contact me to reserve your spot. Only a limited number are available. Prices go back up to regular rate on May 23rd.

What do you Cherish?

Remember this golden oldie?

That’s my theme for this February: CHERISH. I love the tender, sweet feeling that this word (and that melody) inspires. I am excited to notice what I lovingly adore, what I treasure, what is close to my heart.

How about you? What is it that you hold dear?

Cherishing my connection to you,
Mary

Cultivate a Practice of Gratitude

WomanGirlHandsHeartSunshineVintage600x400What a Fall it has been! Just when I thought my schedule was settling into a routine, something surprising would get added. Sometimes it was a happy event like a new, exciting work opportunity. Other times it was an unexpected tragedy such as the death of a dear family member. I am so grateful for all the reminders I have plugged in to my day-to-day life to remind me to BE HERE NOW. That focus keeps me in the vibrant reality of the moment — whether the moment is delightful or heart breaking. When I practice — BE HERE NOW — it gets easier and easier to relinquish my age-old habits of worrying, ruminating, or blaming when life doesn’t unfold as expected.

During the month of November, GRATITUDE is the experience I plan to cultivate. How about you? What are you focusing on this month?

Warmly,

Mary

Turn the page

It is October 1st and we turned the page of our old fashioned wall calendar this morning.

October 2015

October 2015

It was exciting to take a peek at all the adventures this month has to offer. To top it off, we even have real Fall weather today – a cool morning and a bright, sunny blue sky day! Just a few minutes outside reinvigorates and grounds you. Boy, do I love those basics.

Today is even more exciting because it is DAY 1 of my 30 day commitment to clearing out the clutter in my life. Every day for the next 30 days I will GIVE AWAY or THROW AWAY something. At the end of each week, I will donate the items to our local thrift store. Here is what went into the GIVE AWAY pile today…

Going to Goodwill!

Going to Goodwill!

Would you like to join me? I know I do better with an accountability partner! That reminds me, I will be talking about all kinds of tips for making accountability more engaging in my FREE TELECLASS this month. Check it out!

HAPPY AUTUMN!

Transition Time

Picturesque Autumn landscape of sunset colored trees and warm colored leaves that covers the ground  ** Note: soft focus, best at smaller sizes

After a glorious summer filled with plenty of adventures (planned and unplanned), it is time for me to transition into the routines of fall. Sometimes the return to routine is refreshing; the predictability and regularity keeps me grounded and moving in the right direction. Other times it’s disorienting and overwhelming because it adds another layer of deadlines and time pressure.

In this month’s Your Growing Edge teleclass, I will share what I have learned about effectively navigating this transition.

I am looking forward to fall. How about you?

Warmly,
Mary

Savoring Summer Sunshine

Mary Enjoying Summer GrassGLORIOUS!

That is the best way to describe the most recent phenomenal streak of weather in my neck of the woods. The days are sunny and warm with bright blue skies and no humidity. There is just enough breeze to be comfortable in the shade. Every time you step outside, you can’t help but feel good. That summer sun just lifts my spirit.

Instead of coffee breaks, I sneak out for a nature break every chance I get. I am savoring these last days of summer and storing up plenty of summer sunshine memories for those cold, dark January nights!

How is summer nourishing your spirit?
Mary

Take a Break

Relaxing on hammock in garden in summer

How’s your summer unfolding? My family embarked on an exciting adventure to Costa Rica this month. I hope that you are taking time off and enjoying a break from your regular routine. If you don’t have a summer break scheduled, then set aside some time for you and take a mini-vacation!

Pura vida,
Mary