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Create Your Own Happiness by Intentionally Refreshing Your Joy

“There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Have recent upheavals changed the way you live? As you reflect on what’s most meaningful for you, have you created new personal or family traditions and rituals that bring you peace and joy? Or do you find yourself longing for what’s missing in your life? It’s not surprising if you feel disconnected and disoriented when you consider the year we’ve just experienced. When you tack on the darker winter days, many are struggling to find happiness.

To be honest, we have to stop asking how to find happiness, because happiness is not something we “find”. You experience happiness when YOU give life to it and nurture it from within. It’s a spark within you (no matter how faint, it is there) that you must fan until it becomes a flame. You create your own happiness, but it hasn’t always been that way, and that may be the source of the problem.

When we’re young, our parents, teachers and others keep us entertained, engaged, motivated and validated. As we grow, their control should lessen, until we stand on our own two feet as self-sufficient individuals. Yet this natural process can be hampered because those in control don’t relinquish power properly, or we develop an unhealthy dependency on it. As a result, you unknowingly continue in the pattern of relying on others (your spouse, your business partner, your client, your child) to provide you with a good day.  

To reclaim your power, get back on track, combat the winter blues and the holiday letdown, we’d like to invite you to dedicate January to REFRESHING YOUR JOY intentionally, each day.

Why is it important to intentionally create your own happiness?

Without developing mindfulness and choosing to live intentionally, you will stay stuck in the routine that has created discontent and unhappiness within you. If you’re not clearly seeing your way ahead yet, there’s something still to be discovered and dealt with within your thoughts, beliefs, motivations, mindset and actions.

Please use the following questions to diagnose where you are right now in the Create Your Own Happiness process. Look for what’s blocking you and, more importantly, what energizes you, so you can do more of that!

What is a source of joy for you?

Most people will say family, good health and energy, time to pursue things they love, feeling secure. Yet if those things are so important, why are you chasing money or every bright shy object that’s taking you away from your source of joy? When you heal the disconnect between what you’re doing presently and what you’re meant to be doing, you’ll experience peace and joy.

What gets in the way of feeling joyful?

Some things may be glaringly obvious; other things not so much. This self-assessment requires that you create a quiet space and adequate time for honest introspection. We suggest this be an ongoing process, because, in our experience, it’s like peeling back the layers of an onion. You have to get past the outer layers to find out what’s at the core.

Can you recall a truly joyful moment in your life? 

Memory is a powerful tool, if you make the effort to engage it. This is where a practice of gratitude is essential. It slows you down, heightens your powers of observation and deepens your appreciation for the little things in life that we take for granted.

For EACH happy thing that happens (what others do for you or what you accomplish yourself) follow this formula:

  • Notice — keenly observe.
  • Feel the feeling deeply.
  • Hold onto the experience.
  • Talk about it (say thank you or praise that individual to others).
  • Record in your journal and view at the end of the month, so it’s embedded in your memory.

To be joyful, we can’t live on the surface and quickly move onto the next thing. We must deepen each experience, be in the moment, and make it part of us.

How do you know you’re feeling joy?

Become attuned to your body sensations. When you’re stressed, don’t you feel tight, bowed down, pulled in, and heavy? How do you feel when you experience happiness and joy? You feel lighter, expansive, open, upward looking. Learn to listen to your body.

You can create your own happiness by tapping into positive emotions on purpose, no matter where you are or what is happening around you. If you’re a professional woman who has a big idea, passion, something to say or share with the world, but so far you haven’t found a way to express it, please join Great Circle Community! We’re here to help you take the next purpose-filled step.

Newave Leaders Make a Difference — Are You Ready to Make Your Mark on the World?

“The individual woman is required…a thousand times a day to choose either to accept her appointed role and thereby rescue her good disposition out of the wreckage of her self-respect, or else follow an independent line of behavior and rescue her self-respect out of the wreckage of her good disposition.” ~ Jeannette Rankin, first female in the House of Representatives, appointed in 1917.

Aren’t you glad we no longer live in a world such as Jeannette Rankin did, where a woman’s self-respect is sacrificed in order to keep her “place”? We’re reaping the benefits of the hard work of women who blazed new trails in leadership. The new wave of female leaders is bringing their life-changing brand of power to all areas of government and the business arena.

In our lifetime, we’ve seen milestones for women in leadership roles. 1981 brought us the first Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Currently there are three women Justices – Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and newly appointed Amy Coney Barrett.

2020 closes out with 26 women serving in the U.S. Senate and 101 women in the House of Representatives. The first female Senator, Rebecca Felton was appointed in 1922. During her short term she said, “When the women of the country come in and sit with you,…you will get ability, you will get integrity of purpose, you will get exalted patriotism, and you will get unstinted usefulness.” We wholeheartedly agree with this!

We could go on talking about our new woman Vice President-elect here in the US and all the women leading countries and major industries today. This brief glimpse into the history of women in leadership roles inspires us to play our part in leading you to claim your place in the world today. 

No, we don’t expect all Newave Leaders to make their mark in politics. If that’s your passion, we support you! We believe in women finding their unique place in the world — running your own business, writing a book, coaching your community — and doing it with style, grace and ease. Perhaps future generations will be reading about you and the contribution you’ve made!

What does it mean for our world that so many women are attaining leadership roles?

We believe it means something better. Women don’t tend to take their leadership positions, or the people they lead, for granted because their leadership is their passion and they’ve worked hard to prove themselves worthy. They use their unique perspective and capacity for compassion and empathy as they strive for community advancement. They work out compromises and stand up for what they believe in. They serve as excellent role models in civil and respectful interaction.

Do you want to do power different? Are you ready to break out and do something more meaningful with your life? Newave Leaders make a difference when they…

Focus on solutions, not on differences.  It’s not so important who gets the credit as is it that the problem is solved. Without the masculine ego, women more easily cross party lines or social/economic divides to find common ground.

See the person behind the problem. Compassion for the person prompts female lawmakers to advocate for policies that support the well-being of individuals, whether it’s education, health, or domestic abuse of either men or women.

Promote reconciliation, but not at the cost of stability. Women who are Newave Leaders are tough enough to make the hard decisions to preserve human rights, while anticipating the long-term consequences of such actions.

How is your life impacted, as more women claim leadership roles?  What does it mean for you in terms of what you want to do in this world — does it give you more hope, skepticism, excitement, fear?

There are still many challenges for women leaders to overcome. What’s your current challenge? Please share it with us. We’d also love to hear how women leaders of today inspire you. Please join our private Great Circle Community on Facebook to continue this discussion. If you’re a woman who wants to be one of the leaders who make a difference, we’re here to support you all the way.

The Best Year Yet – Routines and Rituals Make Goals Work

“I wish…” We do it all the time, don’t we? We learned about how to make wishes from fairy tales. Magically, what you desire appears, without any effort. That’s not how real life happens. Yet so many New Year’s Resolutions or goals are wishes. “I want to lose weight.” “I want to write a book.” “I want to start a new career.” These are only wants or wishes. And that’s why so many resolutions go unfulfilled.

Wishing, wanting and dreaming are actually quite important to our human experience. They are the genesis from which we create a desire to do something different, to be more.

We urge you to be a Dreamer and dream big. But don’t stop there. Being a Dreamer won’t make your dreams come true. They’ll eventually languish in a drawer and will never see the light of day. So what’s next?

After dreaming, people usually become Goal Setters. We’ve been taught to write out the specifics of our dream — lose 2 pounds every week so I can look good at my school reunion; write 1,000 words every morning so I’ll have a book ready for publishing by the end of the year. While that’s a good start, it’s also where many goals die within a week or two.

So people next become SMART Goal Setters. They break goals into baby steps, so they can be measured, analyzed, and tracked. We do believe goals have their place, if they’re Quick, Easy, and Enjoyable. However, the trouble with only using goals is that when you fail, you always feel like you’re starting over. That’s a motivation drain.

Something is still missing…especially since our lives have been so radically changed by 2020.

To achieve your Big Dream requires you to have a planned strategy that keeps you accountable, plus an environment that reduces distractions, plus a support system that keeps you motivated. Yet it actually goes deeper than that. It takes Routines and Rituals. These are the things that change who you are at your core, so you become your Big Dream!

Goals seldom work unless you have healthy, sustainable routines that make that goal the easiest, most logical thing to do. Routines create automaticity so that goals become effortless.

Let’s run through how this works…

Wish: I wish I had a practice of meditation.

Big Dream: If I had a daily practice of meditation, I could start each day calmly, with clarity and focus. I would get more done. I’d be kinder to my family. I’d handle stress better.

Goal: Meditate every day.

SMART Goal: Get up 15 minutes earlier than normal, before anyone else gets up, so I have quiet to meditate every morning for 10 minutes.

System & Strategy: I tell my family that I’m going to be getting up at 6 A.M. to practice meditation because I’m feeling stressed and I’d appreciate no one interrupting me. I will be available to them after 6:30. To get up earlier, I need to wind down and be ready for sleep by 9:30 P.M each night. At the end of the day, I review my day, especially reflecting on how a meditation practice would make the rough spots better. I set out my comfy meditation outfit and set my alarm. I go to sleep easily, because I’ve processed the day’s stressors and I’m free to relax.

Routine & Ritual: I slip out of bed well before my alarm goes off because I’m looking forward to my special me time. I put on my meditation outfit, visit the bathroom, drink some water and then go to my quiet place. I spread my mat. I spritz the air with my favorite essential oil. If the sun is rising, I watch it as I do my yoga stretches and breathing exercises. I’m careful to be mindful of and savor how my body responds to each move. I count to my special number. (If the sun isn’t up, I imagine it rising.) As I complete my meditation routine, I set my intention for the day by speaking it out loud and recording it in my journal. I put my mat away and get ready for the day. I do this again and again until it becomes part of my routine for personal wellness.

Do you think this process will work for you? If you’d like some help establishing a new routine and ritual for your morning, make sure to download our free Daily Start to Gratitude & Empowerment.

Even with the challenges we face, we believe you can make 2021 Your Best Yet. We invite you to join our Great Circle Conversation tomorrow, Thursday, December 3rd at 8 am PST/11 am EST. We’re going to be discussing what our 2021 focus will be. We’ll design our “Best Year Yet”. If you haven’t signed up to be a part of our Great Circle Community yet, simply click here to join us and we’ll send you the link

Women, Supercharge Your Power! Plan Now to Make 2021 Your Best Year Yet!

It’s hard to believe 2020 is drawing to a close. As we approach 2021, it might feel doubtful that it could be your Best Year Yet. Better than 2020? Definitely! The best ever…could it be, with so much uncertainty and loss? It’s because of this uncertainty that it’s so important to pause, assess and make adjustments. Otherwise, it’s unlikely that 2021 will not be your best year yet personally and professionally. Your future is built upon the choices you make today.

As women of power, we sometimes forget that ‘where we are right now’ can be one of our strongest stability points. Remembering to stop, breathe, and regroup or simply slowing down and acknowledging that we’re okay can be so helpful. 

Part of our personal POWER routine is to use our Best Year Yet tool — we find a quiet space and ask ourselves a series of searching questions to observe and celebrate everything we’ve accomplished during the present year and from this we create a plan and momentum for the upcoming year. Here’s a sample of the Best Year Yet questions we consider:

  1. What did I want this year?
  2. What actually happened?
  3. How do I want to design next year?
  4. What do I want?
  5. How do I want to end this year?
  6. What did I accomplish?
  7. What did I learn?
  8. How did I limit myself?
  9. What are my personal values?
  10. What roles do I play in life?
  11. Which role is my major focus for next year?

 If you’d like to copy these questions into a document and spend some time answering them, we’d be honored and thrilled. No matter how you approach 2021, keep these three priorities in mind…

 Priority #1 Fuel your body, mind and spirit. Every day you expend energy and it’s important to constantly replenish it.

Priority #2 Make restorative sleep, good nutrition and exercise a priority. Your health, mental clarity and ability to be productive depend on it.

Priority #3 Develop systems. Goals are fine, but if you want to create real change, it helps to have supportive systems in your life so that you perform important tasks automatically rather than relying on willpower.

Giving attention to these priorities and implementing the following nine suggestions will give your POWER a boost, as you focus on making 2021 your Best Year Yet.

1. Deal first with “what is”. As women, we tend to get caught up in worrying about “what ifs”. They’re not real until they happen. And most likely they won’t happen, if you deal successfully with what’s in front of you.

2. Remove distractions. Use the rest of this year to get rid of the clutter in your house, mind, desk, email inbox or schedule. This will help make room for any opportunity that arises.

3. Revisit your original goal. After 2020, your goals or the way you envision your Big Dream unfolding might not be relevant anymore. You might need to refine these to make them fit present circumstances.

4. Clearly outline your metrics of success. Progress is measurable, even if it’s just one step forward. When you define your goals and break them down into consistent, small changes, according to a yearly, quarterly, monthly, and daily schedule, you’ll maintain your focus and motivation. This connects each day’s activities to your significant life goals.

5. Celebrate every win, small or big. Get up and dance, grab a latte, call a friend, share it on our Circle Facebook group. Make each win memorable, because that’s how you’re going to know at the end of the year that you really did make 2021 your best year yet!  

6. Assess your skills and close the gaps. When you focus on nurturing a growth mindset, not on making resolutions, you engage your innate capability to change and develop whatever skills are needed, making you flexible and resilient enough to try Plans A to Z, until you succeed.

7. Hold rest and reflection breaks as sacred. Meditatively and mindfully “hear” what your body is telling you about the choices you’re making right now.

8. Connect with accountability partners, coaches, mentors, and supporters. The Hawthorne Effect shows that our productivity usually increases when we know someone is watching. When someone holds us accountable, we build more structure into our days, which is so important during these times of physical distancing.

9. Plan for “bad” days. Feeling down, making mistakes, having setbacks are part of life, so embrace them as your body and mind telling you it’s time to regroup. Rest, learn a lesson from the experience and re-center yourself. (Our Daily Start to Gratitude & Empowerment guided visualization practice is a great way to do this.)

Reviewing and planning are indispensable tools for creating the “Best Year Yet” personally and professionally. Our December Great Circle Call will focus on this topic in more detail. You’ll discover an action-filled activity that will guide and anchor you in finding our way forward. Plus a fully engaged group of women who want to fuel and use their POWER to achieve something great. Please join us! There’s no cost or obligation, except to come with an open mind and heart ready to empower yourself to fulfill your biggest dreams. Sign-up now, so we can send you the link.

Feeling Disoriented? 7 Ways to Find Your Way through Turbulent Times

Feeling lost? Adrift? Isolated? Disoriented? Can’t see your next step? Going in a direction you never expected? If you relate to any of these feelings, you’re not alone.

Just as ancient mariners oriented their location on the high seas according to fixed points in the night sky, so we rely on fixed relationships and structures to orient ourselves in the world. Think about the things that give you stability. Perhaps it’s a beloved parent or mentor. Perhaps it’s a romantic partner. Perhaps it’s a religious, business, financial or political institution you’ve trusted for years.

Over time, we surround ourselves with elements that provide security and direction to our lives that keep us oriented. But what happens when these “fixed” elements are no longer stable or they even disappear?

We can lose our way when a beloved person dies or when a relationship ends. We can also lose our way, especially now, as the world has been turned upside down with the pandemic, political upheaval, natural disasters, economic crises, lost opportunities and so many other disorienting things.

Then there’s the internal mismatch between what’s going on within you versus what’s happening on the outside. As you grow and change, it’s normal and natural to experience periods of disorientation. What once worked for you, may no longer do so. This is a collective experience.

In all of these circumstances, how can you use where you are today to get you to where you want to be? Here are a few suggestions that work for us…

1. Develop a positive mental attitude that this experience is a springboard (not a roadblock) that you can connect with your own goals, in some manner.

2. Normalize where you are. Be compassionate with yourself through soothing practices such as deep breathing, mindfulness and meditation. Then acknowledge and accept how you’re feeling. Remember that your body sensations can give you powerful clues to your deepest feelings.

3. Relax into it. Sit quietly with each feeling. Pay attention, without judging, and put a name to each sensation and emotion as they appear. Notice; breathe; then thank it for it’s powerful message; and reassure yourself that it’s safe to let it go.

4. Readjust your goal. Never give up your Big Dream. A new path can be frightening. However, when you greet it with curiosity and anticipation, you’ll broaden and deepen your experience, so you see all the possibilities available to you.

5. Reassess your desired outcome. What’s important to you at age 20 will not be so important at age 50. But your values — kindness, justice, honesty, integrity — won’t change. Now’s the time to reaffirm the values that resonate with you and make choices aligned with them.

6. Refocus your energy. If you’re like many people, you have an ocean full of ideas that keep you running around in circles chasing this, then, that. Get ultra focused on The One Thing that means the most to you and do what supports that One Thing.

7. Identify ONE small step to take today. Any movement you make, when you feel lost, IS progress. No doubt there will be many moving parts to your One Thing, so now it’s important to break it down into manageable bite-sized pieces.

Might we suggest that your ONE small step is joining our Great Circle Community on Thursday, November 5th at 8:00 am PT; 11:00 am ET? The topic for discussion: Dissonance vs Resonance — How to Ensure Our Words Align with Our Values, will reveal, among other things, how the words you speak and think are keeping you in a disoriented state.

And here’s some BIG news! If you can’t join us but still want to benefit from the interaction, we’re also now connecting and conversing via our private Facebook Group. We’d love for you to join us! Click the Join button to request access.

(Thank you for the use of your photo Lacie Slezak on Unsplash)

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