How to live your most authentic life in 5 simple steps.

How to live your most authentic life in 5 simple steps.

Have you noticed, or is it just me, that people are always saying they are value driven? Family values, American values, the word ‘values’ comes up more and more and yet few know what their true values are let alone what to do once they pinpoint them. What if you could clarify your values? You can. It will simplify all your decision making and release you of inner conflict as you made steps forward.

Many struggle not just with defining their values, but also with having too many different values. Though it’s possible to identify with a variety of values, ultimately our brains can only focus on one thing at a time. One value is the driver and the other values fall behind. In order to give our lives clarity and truly understand who we are, it’s important to know which one or two values trump all. When it comes down to it, is it independance, or loyalty that drives your life, accountability or courage and so on. You have to know what you value to know exactly who you are.

Once you’ve discovered your top values it’s up to you to make sure you are paying more than just lip service to them and that you start to live them. This is the true meaning of authenticity. A choice to live in authenticy is a choice to live by your values and show up by honoring them in every single decision you make.

In fact, this way of living makes otherwise complicated decision making extremely easy. It’s not always easy to make the choice that aligns with our values. fact, it is often the hard choice. It is, however easy to see what the right choice which aligns with your highest values is. Then you face yourself and decide with each decision that passes to be a person who lives their values and practices them in action.

Here’s your assignment guaranteed to help you live in total harmony with who you believe yourself to be

To help you I’ve compiled a list of values below. Circle your top 10 and then narrow down to your top 2. Comment on this blog and let me know what your top TWO values are.

  1. Do a value assessment.
  2. Decide two greatest values.
  3. Weigh EVERY decision you make on these.
  4. Face yourself when you are acting in contradiction with your values.
  5. Pivot when necessary.

Independence
Status
Challenge
Being involved in community
Feeling Competent and Capable
Simplicity
Peace and Tranquility
Busy lifestyle
Creative Expression
Friendships
Physical Activity
Learning new things
Time Freedom
Accomplishment
Recognition
Having a spiritual way of life
Adventure
Balanced lifestyle
Excitement, Stimulation
Rest and relaxation
High Moral Standards

Intimacy & closeness
Social contact
Having fun, leisure activities
Contributing to society
Stability and security
Time with family
Time alone
Pursuit of a hobby
Healthy lifestyle
Mental stimulation
Psychological awareness
Growth as a person
Financial Freedom
Successful management of money
Taking on new projects
Time in nature
Accountability
Adaptability
Faith
Diversity

Creativity
Vulnerability
Courage
Cooperation
Order
Fairness
Authenticity
Security
Being the best
Power
Self-Discipline
Including everyone
Grace
Giving back
Kindness
Uniqueness
Openness
Usefulness
Strong Vision
Efficiency
Perseverance

Or write your own __________________

10 Simple Steps to Becoming More Disciplined Today

10 Simple Steps to Becoming More Disciplined Today

“I wish I had your discipline”

is something I hear so regularly it got me thinking. It’s said as if it is something I inherited from parental dna and not actually what it is, something I learned, nurtured, and refined. I want to answer, “You could” but it’s always clapped back with “I’ve tried” “I just don’t have it”. That defeatist attitude finally drove me to write this blog and lay out once and for all how you too can grow your discipline to equal or even beyond mine.

10 Simple Steps to Becoming More Disciplined Today:

  1. Break down each task/goal. Avoid overwhelmment by making a list of what you want to achieve and breaking down each task/goal into its smallest components. Commit to which tasks you can do in a given time period and put each one in your calendar treating them as any other important appointment. Consider that things will almost always take longer than planned and build in lots of room for set backs so when those obstacles happen they are already accounted for.
  2. Shut down distractions. Multi tasking is so 2010. 2019 is all about putting full focus into one thing at a time and refusing to allow any distractions in. Before you sit down to work on any item on your to do list, make sure you are ready to be fully present. Shut off ringers and close open tabs especially but not only those related to social media. Refuse to be reactionary. You do not have to respond to calls/texts/emails every minute. They will be there when you emerge from your task.
  3. Set a timer. One of the best ways to train discipline is to set a time frame for working on one task or project and commit to staying on task until that time is up. This may feel really uncomfortable and challenging at first but this will pass as you train yourself to stay with tasks through the urges to run. You will build a unique and powerful inner strength and discover how much you can accomplish when you refuse to dilute your focus.
  4. Take the questioning out of it. Decide in advance that once you create your plan of action, it can not be negotiated after. Know that there will be voices in your head suggesting otherwise and be prepared to actively ignore them. This will become easier with time as those voices tend to back down when they are not attended to. When you are very advanced at discipline you may be able to adjust your schedule/make acceptions after creating it, but in the beginning when you are building self discipline you should not allow for any alterations or rationalizations for why something can not be done.
  5. Do not wait for inspiration or to feel like it. It’s a dangerous myth that one has to be inspired or moved to get work done. Have a day you’re not feeling into it? Do the work anyway. That’s the pro level. Everyone thinks inspiration leads to action but few realise the greater truth that action leads to inspiration. That’s your edge.
  6. Re-write your why every day. In the My Bliss Book planner there is a place to do this on every page. Remembering your big picture and why you started and keeping that vision clear and present each day is going to make taking all the actions you need to take to get there so much easier.
  7. Think long term. Train your mind to visualize the long term payoffs of discipline. See clearly where you will be when it all comes together. Draw it. Write about it. Put it up on your wall if that helps. Make a commitment to choose this reward over and over again against immediate pleasures and gratification. Prepare for temptation by practicing seeing yourself resist temptations that have diverted you in the past. Rehearse in your mind exactly how you will respond moving forward.
  8. Remember that you are an adult. The train has left the station and the time to get it right is running out. Take responsibility for your actions, lack of action, mistakes, and setbacks. Refuse to blame others when you fall behind. Grab hold of your life the future you desire.
  9. Award good behavior. Celebrate all successes, even the small ones. Award yourself with anything you want except by giving yourself slack when it comes to discipline or by allowing bad habits. Buy yourself a treat. Congratulate yourself verbally, in a journal, to friends and family. Bask in the richly rewarding feeling of getting things done. You will call upon and remember that feeling in the future when you have doubts and it will fuel your continued growth in self discipline
  10. Get support. Don’t try to do it alone. Find a friend or an accountability buddy that will help you to stay on track by checking in on you each week. Choose that tough love friend who doesn’t let you get away with lying to or shorting yourself. Just telling another person your goals will provide you with that extra pressure to come through.

 

Do you relate to any of these tips? Tell me which ones you’ll be using in the comments below and share you have other self-discipline techniques that have helped you.

Confessions of an Embarrassment Junkie

Confessions of an Embarrassment Junkie

The absolute terror of the first time I walked into an Ashtanga Yoga Mysore class is something I will never forget. The room was silent and steamy and the teacher did little more than grunt and nod to acknowledge my existence. The students looked like professional athletes carrying themselves like some hybrid contortionists-ballerinas through each graceful move. I felt short and stout in comparison and without the right clothes or yoga gear to join this sacred club.

But I was already in the room.

I had two choices and they both seemed equally horrifying. I could turn around and leave which would definitely not go unnoticed, or I could stay and fumble my way through my poses in the room to which I certainly didn’t belong. As I made the decision to stay an incredible courage came over me. I would do this thing, for myself and nobody else, the best I could, despite my inner assurance that the whole room would be laughing at me.

I put down my mat and I took my first Ujjayi breath.

Fifteen years later I am now the proud owner of my own yoga studio, Land Yoga, Executive Director of Three and a Half Acres Yoga nonprofit, co-producer of SOULFest NYC, and author of My Bliss Book as well as several published articles. I speak all over the world about yoga, yoga service, and goal achievement, including presenting for companies such as Halstead, Estée Lauder, the JCC and more.

How did I make the leap from sheer terror and utter embarrassment to becoming a respected leader in my field?

Here are the five simple techniques I used to turn my embarrassment into a success story:

  1. Remember that EVERYONE is in their own heads about how they are being perceived. They are way too involved in sorting out their own insecurities to be judging YOU! We think we are much more important to others than we are and that is because we are each the lead character in our own story. Once you remember that each person is the lead in her own personal story, you will realize how little others are thinking about your performance and how much they are focused on their own.
  2. Focus intensely on your task. When you are truly, 100% focused on what you are doing, you have no time to be worrying about what anyone else is thinking. That is wasted energy that could be channeled into your project. How can you land a handstand, master a closing argument or complete any challenging act if a part of you is thinking of something else? You can’t. Focus on your job and your job only and you won’t only block the others out, you’ll be better at what you do!
  3. Play out the worst case scenario. When all else fails to allow yourself to go there. See yourself making the most embarrassing mistake possible and consider the worst possible outcome. If it’s a yoga class, perhaps your worst fear is you slip on your mat falling over on someone. What would happen then? Do you really think they would kick you out of class? Stop speaking to you? Do you confidently believe that no one has ever made this mistake before? Think it through and ask yourself if it is really worth not taking a shot at something you want to learn if the worst thing happens.
  4. Consider the people whose judgments are holding you in your tracks. Are they really worth going into your shell for? If those around you fault you and treat you harshly when you try something new and make a mistake, are they, in fact, the people whose opinions you really should be trusting?  If those you trust are that harsh with their response to failure, they are not the right people to be looking to. Leaders know that failing is a critical part of discovery and advancement and they encourage calculated risk-taking around them. How do you respond to people around you taking a chance and trying something outside their comfort zone? I hope with encouragement and praise. Surround yourself with people who will do the same for you.
  5. Finally, the best way to get good at risk-taking is to make it a habit. Get in the pattern of taking chances and embarrassing yourself with abandon. Learn to laugh at yourself, dust off the dirt, evaluate and get right back up each time you make a mistake. The more you get used to taking chances, the easier it is to put yourself out there the next time and time after that. One of those times the chance you take is going to pay off into an embarrassingly big WIN.

 

Here’s your BONUS tweetable final motivator inspired by the excellent book Grit:

Success comes from stick-to-itiveness, not from innate talent.

Use that one any time you’re tempted to give up!

So now it’s time for you to comment and commit. Which one of these methods will you be using to get yourself out of holding back? Do you have other tricks? Share with me in the comments and share the blog with someone you know it could help!

 

How to Tell if it’s Time for a Change

How to Tell if it’s Time for a Change

Have you ever thought to yourself that you’ve invested too much to pull out of the life you’ve created, even though something is telling you it’s not your truest calling? Maybe you dare not ask, dare not consider changing direction at this point in the game. Most of us feel this way, especially because so many supporters become invested in our story and have a stake in the life we have lived up until now. I want you to know it is NEVER too late to change direction especially if it means following your highest calling. That is why I decided to share my story with you today.

I went to Boston University for acting. My parents struggled to pay costly tuition and grudgingly supported my college years getting a major in a subject they did not think worthy of such time, fees, and support. Everyone knew me as the actress since I was six years old. I went to a weekend theater school and did all the school plays straight through high school. I enjoyed being on stage but I had secret reservations I was somehow a sham. At 17 I had too much ego to look into those reservations. My focus was much more on proving naysayers wrong. So I went to University and pursued acting.

Two things happened along the way that would change my course forever. One was my deepening discovery of yoga and encounter with Ashtanga Yoga. The other was the asking of one of my teachers this simple question: Do you believe you can change the world through theater? To be clear, I do think the impact of performing arts is world-changing, but as I sat with that question, I couldn’t say that I thought I could change the world through acting. I did want to change the world for the better and I had found a practice that I had faith I could do it through. That practice was and remains yoga.

I didn’t just drop acting in one day. It took me a while to investigate the yoga thing and prepare myself to make the transition to yet another unconventional life path. I knew I’d be disappointing a lot of people, both by destroying their image of what they thought was me and by asking them to get behind another atypical career choice. I had to be certain before I could share and change the way others skepticism might rock me.

When I found I was certain and I started letting them know. In the transition time, I spoke less about acting, slipped in some doubts and shared bits about my new found love of yoga, preparing the way for both myself and my community for my eventual coming out as a full-time yoga teacher. I started changing my story.

I was in my late 20’s when this all went down, which some will say is plenty early in life to make a change, but I will argue ANY age is early enough to throw it all away: 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and beyond, if the all is not your true calling. I was as known and wrapped up in the identity of “actress” as anyone in any long-time career and made the same steps anyone will have to, to remove myself from the web of that identity. And it could happen again.

Even now, my role as yoga teacher though still very much present is being tested by my work as a coach, writer, and company director. Which identity will win out is yet to be seen. Maybe I’ll be able to thrive with some blend of them all. Maybe not. What I do know for sure is that I won’t be afraid to walk away from a role which isn’t mine to fill anymore. I have the memory of my first experience leaving acting as a guide and I hope my sharing that memory helps you to identify when it’s time for you to change and gives you the courage to go for it.

Not sure if it’s time to throw it all away to step into the next and better? Below are some questions to ask yourself which will help you find your clarity.

  • Are you in a field you’ve outgrown or never truly fit?
  • Are you fulfilling someone else’s dream?
  • Is there another path calling?
  • Has there always been a whisper you’ve been too scared to follow?
  • What you would do if you could do the thing which is truly you?

It is never too late to reinvent yourself and do so successfully. Do take the time to ask yourself this self-probing follow up questions as well.

  • Am I thinking of throwing my current life away because of fear I can’t succeed?
  • Do I often quit when things are tough and jump around from identity to identity?
  • Is my reinvention something I’ve wanted consistently for a long time?
  • What would success look like and what are the resources I have to get there?

Comment below if you’ve been through or are thinking of going through a major transformation and you use your story to help others. Then take a look at my recent Train Your Brain for Success talk at Women Who Wow where I share my story and offer some other tricks for stepping into a new and better you.

How to get everything you want

How to get everything you want

I have been accused of being stubborn and unmoving on one practice and I certainly am. It’s the single habit that when fully incorporated into one’s life results in the attainment of everything the practitioner desires. It may just be the hardest action to be absolutely consistent with, but the payoff for being so is undeniably unbeatable. The action is truthfulness.

Made famous by Don Miguel Ruiz in his book, The Four Agreements, the concept of truthfulness, or impeccability of word, is an ancient one. In Sanskrit it is called Satya, and in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali he lays out the special results one is embedded with when she achieves absolute truthfulness.

Patanjali Yoga Sutras 2.36 “Satya pratiṣṭhāyāṁ kriyā phalā ‘śrayatvaṁ”

As truthfulness (satya) is achieved, the fruits of actions naturally result according to the will of the yogi.

Plainly put, when one maintains absolute truthfulness, what one speaks comes absolutely true.

What this means and the part of the concept I know so many of you struggle with is in order to have everything you desire you must consistently do what you say you are going to do, fully and completely and in the time you say you will do it.

I know this is no easy task and that is why I created the concept Leveling Up. It is a simple method for helping you maintain truthfulness and it works like this: Begin by committing only to tasks so small you can not possibly miss the mark. If there is even a chance you may not be able to achieve something asked of you, do not agree to it. This in itself may take some practice if you are an over-promiser afraid of letting people down.

The next step is to praise yourself generously for even the smallest act achieved. Just note how good it feels to do what you say and give yourself all the love. Let the feeling truly touch you.
Once you’ve been practicing this awhile, your confidence will naturally build. You will realize you can commit to a bigger ask. Don’t over challenge yourself at this point. Go for something just a touch bigger and feel the great pride in that next accomplishment. The goal is to go slowly and naturally and stay consistent in your commitment to doing what you say you will do.

As you continue to do so you will be able to achieve more and more based solely on your word and the believability you have built in yourself. You will even surprise yourself with what you can accomplish by the mere fact that you have stated you will do so. This is a practice I used to transition to a full-time yoga teacher, to getting clients in the most prestigious sports clubs in New York City, to opening my own studio, traveling the world, starting a non-profit, and publishing My Bliss Book. I also used Leveling Up for getting an apartment on my own with no roommate, to upgrading to a one bedroom and then for making my first and second home purchases. Not to mention finding my life-partner! It’s a tested practice and it works.

The key is to be absolutely flawless with your word. That includes what you say to yourself and to others. If you promise to show up, you must. No plan breaking, no calling in “sick”. Only honesty. If you can master this… you can get everything you want.

Accessible Yoga Conference Europe

Accessible Yoga Conference Europe

For the first time ever, the Accessible Yoga Conference is coming to Germany. This three-day conference is designed to support yoga teachers that want to expand access to Yoga teachings for people with disabilities, chronic illness, seniors or others who may not feel comfortable in a regular yoga class. The conference takes place at the The Seehotel in Rheinsberg, a “barrier free hotel” on a lake Friday, October 19, 2018 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm, Saturday, October 20, 2018 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Sunday, October 21, 2018 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Details and registration can be found here.

Yoga teacher, and studio owner Lara Land is presenting at the conference and is here to share more about why this is such an important event.

Lara, what made you get involved in the Accessible Yoga Conference?

There are so many reasons I wanted to be involved. I’ve been on a personal mission to destroy exclusivity and elitism in yoga for over a decade, so when I discovered there was a whole organization dedicated to openness and inclusivity in yoga, I was immediately interested. I attended the Accessible Yoga Conference in 2017 New York City and was highly impressed. There were so many courses rich with information from those who have had lengthy experiences making yoga accessible to different marginalized groups. I wished I could attend each and every talk twice just to soak it all in. I later met founder Jivana when he gave a one day Accessible Yoga intensive at Omega Institute and felt even more drawn to his mission.

What will you be presenting at the Conference?

My workshop, Yoga Service; Creating Conscious Community, teaches how we as yoga teachers can open up the practice to go beyond the yoga studio and use it to form lasting bonds between humans. In the class we will discuss what it means to be in yoga service, uncover the hidden tendencies which make yoga feel unavailable to some, identify methods for shifting the dialogue and practices of yoga to include everyone, and establish a road map for creating conscious community through yoga, meditation & mindfulness. As teachers, it is necessary that we understand the objections some feel toward starting a yoga practice, and create a safe space for exploring them as we work together to create an alternative view.

Is this work you have done in your community?

Yes. In 2011, I founded Three and a Half Acres Yoga, a non-profit designed to bring yoga to marginalized populations as a tool for healing and empowerment. We partner with community organizations to add yoga to the services they provide. This means teaching in unconventional yoga spaces and using what we have, often just ourselves and some chairs, to share the benefits of yoga. Our classes are for everyone, no matter age, gender, ability, sexuality, sobriety, professional status, or living situation. We are a judgement free organization determined to share yoga with those who are open to receiving its benefits.

Sounds like a wonderful organization. Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself or the conference?

I just want to say how excited I am to be presenting just outside Berlin, one of my favorite cities in the world. I hope to be teaching more and more in Germany in the coming years and I am so looking forward to meeting new friends there. I’ll be bringing some copies of my new book, My Bliss Book, a daily planner that teaches how to envision and create a life of service to self and others. I can’t wait to share this with the European community.

Crushing goals is better together. Invite a friend to join in this journey with you.

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