Archive for May, 2008

The WisdomCoach says: A Love/Hate Relationship

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

A Love Hate Relationship
By Carole L. Billingham, MCC

 

Have you ever fallen in love and realized years later that you are no longer an ideal fit for one another? What was once an ideal relationship has now shifted to a dysfunctional, almost addictive connection that clearly no longer serves you.  I am talking about my love/hate affair with e-mail.

 

I remember back to 1993 when we first met. At the time, I was excited to find someone who had an e-mail address–usually a techie or amateur techie, who I had very little in common with. 

 

In 1995, it came in handy when slowly breaking up with my long-distance boyfriend, one of five people in my e-mail address book.  It gave us a means of staying in touch while breaking up yet not breaking the piggy bank in the days of 20 cent per minute long distance.

 

In 1996 when I published my first e-zine, Dancing Wisdom, I trusted, that although many people were not yet using e-mail, that my ideal clients would be and would be excited to receive an informative and interesting publication via their e-mail inbox.

 

In 1997 my love affair with e-mail grew as my auto accident necessitated better boundaries between me and my work. I needed more space and the freedom to connect with clients and friends on my own schedule allowed me, with the help of e-mail, to stay in touch, but on my own terms rather than within the constraints of a 9-5 schedule.

 

Now deeply and utterly in love, the birth of my daughter solidified my oath to my electronic amore. Being able to communicate at all hours of the evening made my infatuation even stronger.  It was then that I discovered having an “open relationship” with not only e-mail, but with the World Wide Web.  I discovered a plethora of loves waiting for me with just the click of a button.

 

Having moved from a thriving metropolis to a small mountain village and having an entire universe at my finger tips was seductive. I no longer felt the need to leave my home or my little community to get my needs met. I had found paradise. My love was complete.

 

Having experienced dysfunctional love in my youth, I thought that I was immune to its manipulative ways. Being older (and years of therapy later), I thought myself wise enough not to ever be caught in the clutches of fear-based love. I was wrong.

 

After 14 years (where did the time go?), I am ready for a change as I can clearly see that I have allowed myself to get caught in a web (no pun intended) of deceit and collusion. I have lost myself and a good chunk of my life to a lover that wanted to own me. Instead of being a partnership, I have given myself and my power to a lover who was never satisfied. Always wanting more from me, I gave and gave until I had nothing left.

 

Don’t get me wrong, part of our relationship was healthy.  Like being able to transfer documents back and forth with ease, or being able to share data or answer a quick question in a two sentence response.  But when you realize that you no longer chat over the phone with your girlfriends, and you can’t remember the last time you enjoyed having a leisurely cup of coffee with a buddy, you must admit you have a problem.

 

When you wake up to realize that before you are even awake, your fingers are busy typing at your keyboard–you have a problem.  When you ignore time with your family to go check your e-mail–you have a problem.  When you just check for “one quick sec” before you go to bed, swearing that you’ll never do it again–you have a problem.  When you find yourself making excuses like, “I just need to make sure that . . .”–you have a problem.  When you don’t bother answering your e-mail right way, but “just want to make sure there’s nothing important”–you have a problem. When you realize that your main life line to the outside world is your e-mail–you have a problem.

 

It is time for me to take back my power and to decide whether this relationship is working for me or not. As I said, I do realize that with the proper boundaries in place that perhaps we don’t need to make an entire split from one another. I just need to get clear about where our relationship is working and where it is not.

 

What I want is freedom to feel like I have a choice rather than unconsciously behaving in ways that from the outside, would look like I don’t. I want to pick and choose how we interact rather than blindly being sucked in and losing my ??? (and my sanity) . . .

 2006 Carole L. Billingham, MCC 

The WisdomCoach says: How I built my business taking cat naps

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

 

How I Built My Business Taking Cat Naps:
How napping can lead to business success
By Carole L. Billingham, MCC

If someone had told me years ago that one of the smartest things that I could do for my business was to take cat naps, I would have thought that they were out of their mind!  Well, I have news for you. Sometimes being out of your mind is not a bad thing, especially in business.

Let me tell you what I mean.

I have noticed that the harder we try to make things work, the more that thing that we want most, elude us. I have seen this in myself, and have seen it over and over again with my clients.  That’s the bad news. The good news is that by letting go of things a bit, has a way of making what we want fall perfectly into place. (Remember that saying, what you resist, persists?)

In order to truly let things go you must get “out of your mind” and into your heart. Not an easy thing for most of us super achievers to do.  Most of us have spent a lifetime in our heads and the idea of tapping into another place terrifies us. After all, our heads have done us just fine so far!

But if I were to ask you to quiet yourself a bit, turn off some of that mind chatter, would you not say that there is another place from which you often find your brilliant ideas and insights? Yes, your head may be the place that sorts through those ideas and implements them, but it is your heart, that gives them to your head in the first place?

When is the last time that you’ve made time or space for your heart to communicate with you?  Even more important, do you create time on a regular basis to do so?

Logically, in order to hear the whisper of the heart, we must find a way to quiet the endless (and often loud) chatter of our minds. This takes conscious effort, especially at the beginning.  But like most things, practice does help.

Obviously, meditation is a good way to go about “getting out of our minds,” but there are many other ways to do this as well.  Like napping for instance. I have found that a simple 20 minute nap (often during my lunch hour) is the perfect solution for a mind that is working overtime. 

Not only does napping allow my mind to rest, but it also allows me to clear my thoughts and digest what I am learning along the way. As a business owner, this is invaluable.

Even more important, I am able to go into my afternoon activities with a clear head and a relaxed body. 

Now I realize that depending on one’s circumstances, it is not always easy or appropriate to take a nap in the middle of one’s day, but the power is in the intention. With an intention of creating some “down” time you can find there are many options available to you. For example: taking a walk outside, getting to the gym for a workout, finding a quiet place to do some reading or journaling, or turning your chair away from your door and simply closing your eyes for a few moments. (This is what I used to do when I was a stockbroker with a glass office. I would put on my headset, turn my chair around and close my eyes. From the outside looking in, it looked like I was on the telephone with a client. If only they knew what I was really doing!)

I challenge you to get creative (use your head if you have to) and find a way to “get out of your mind.”  Whether it’s stealing a cat nap or finally making a commitment to meditate, there are amazing things waiting to happen for you. 

The WisdomCoach says: Enough Already!

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

 

Enough Already
By Carole L. Billingham, MCC
 

I need not

prove anything

for my presence

is enough

I need not

do anything

for what

I’ve done is

enough

I need not

say anything

for what

I’ve said is

enough

I need not

learn anything

for what

I already know

is enough

Enough already

 

It is time

for me

to embrace

that I am

enough
just as I am

 

And that’s

enough

for me

The WisdomCoach says: Honor Your Limitations

Sunday, May 4th, 2008

 

Honoring Your Limitations
By Carole L. Billingham, MCC 

Do you know, and honor, your personal limitations? Or do you wait until you’ve smacked head first into them before you slow down and back off? 

I’ve been pushing myself a lot lately. A few months ago I decided to work on launching a new business that I already knew would demand a great deal of time and energy from me. I knew that it would take extra effort on my part to prioritize, organize and keep my focus as I learned new skills while honoring my commitment to living a balanced and fulfilling life. 

From the inside looking out, it’s been a bumpy ride. Every time I get one task accomplished, five more items instantly appear on my to-do list. Instead of focusing on what is getting done, I’m busy stressing about what isn’t. I find myself up against the relentless and cruel taskmaster within who is never satisfied with my progress or accomplishments. Even my dreams, lately, are filled with chaos and confusion making it clear that it’s time for something to change. 

Before my head injury, my solution to challenges was to simply try harder. Amazingly, that usually seemed to do the trick, until I exhausted all my reserves of energy and ended up with a sinus infection, bronchitis or some other ailment. I guess, in truth, trying harder was a short term fix to a deeper problem that was rooted in being an unrealistic perfectionist. 

Fast forward many years and a head injury later, whether I like it or not, my inner perfectionist is still alive and pushing. To make matters worse, if I haven’t taken the time to pay attention to my inner guidance and slow down, she takes over and runs my life in ways that clearly don’t serve me. It’s not until I wake up with a nasty headache or sore throat, that I realize that I missed the signs. 

Did I mention that my inner perfectionist has unobtainable standards and lacks a sense of humor?  She rationalizes that having high standards is a good thing and conveniently forgets to mention that unobtainable standards are really more about her insecurities than they are about the standards themselves. 

And, her sense of humor? Forget about it. When there’s so much work to be done there’s no time to waste by laughing or being light. That’s simply a waste of one’s resources. 

As I visualize my inner perfectionist, I see her with a whip in her hands yelling wildly, “Keep going!”  As I stop to look into her eyes, I see that she’s afraid. Afraid of life. Afraid of people. Afraid to stop. 

As I continue to make eye contact, I open my heart and send her love. I allow her to recognize that I truly see her and that I love her. A tear wells up in her eyes. I reach for her and see that she’s frightened and unsure of whether to let me in. I let her know that I can be trusted and that I do not judge her. Quite the contrary, I love and acknowledge her for letting me in and having the courage to allow me to connect with her. I reach out and hold her in my arms. I feel the stiffness in her body soften as we connect. I feel her fears and her fierceness melt away as she relinquishes her resistance and lets in my love. 

As I continue to hold her, I realize that she is simply a lost part of me that longs for connection. That like all of us, what she wants most is to be loved and to feel a sense of belonging. By having the courage to be truly seen, she allows herself to be gifted with the understanding that she is worthy. I love her just as she is. She doesn’t need to accomplish anything in order to be loved and valued. Her worth doesn’t need to be earned; it is her birth right. 

She is perfect just as she is. She smiles with understanding as she remembers the truth. As we walk together hand in hand we are grateful. Grateful for our connection, grateful for our friendship, and grateful for the good things to come. 

She whispers into my ear, “Remind others.” And so with a sense of reverence and peace I ask you: is there an inner perfectionist or inner taskmaster crying out for your love and attention? If so, what can you do to make a connection with her/him?  What gifts might await you if you did? 

©2007 Carole L. Billingham, MCC