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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. This is the conversation we’re having within the Great Circle Community on Thursday, January 7th at 8am PT or 11 am ET. The topic is Refresh Your Joy! 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 us! We’re here to help you take the next purpose-filled step. 

Why Resourceful Routines and Systems Are Better Than Resolutions

“By being systems oriented, I felt myself growing more capable every day, no matter the fate of the project I happened to be working on.” ~ Scott Adams

Have you noticed how many goals and resolutions are based on not liking yourself? Most New Year’s Resolutions are approached from a scarcity mentality based upon negative thinking…”I’m not skinny enough; I’m not smart enough; I don’t have enough money; I don’t have the life I want to live”? This can be so discouraging! The thing you dislike about yourself can easily overshadow all of the wonderful things you are.

After all, a resolution or goal is a closed-end objective that may occur sometime in the future. It works outside of the reality of who you are today because if you were that person, you wouldn’t be making that goal.

And with a goal or resolution, you either make it or you don’t. If you don’t make it, your brain may register it as a “failure.” If you do make it, you can celebrate the victory, and you have to make a new goal to keep moving forward.

We have discovered that our yummiest transitions occur when we create and live with resourceful systems and routines. This is so powerful! It allows you to be happy with yourself today, because you accomplish what you intend to do — you followed your system! When you adopt this different perspective, you’ll see a substantial shift in your ability to maintain your personal energy and power.

Systems work because you do them consistently. They embody your values, beliefs, and vision. For example, Maria has a system for exercising at the gym with her CrossFit group. Did she start out with the goal of attending an international competition like the Cross Fit Open? Far from it! Her system is to get up early, make her bed (yes, this ‘little thing’ is important, because it creates structure in her life), show up at the gym, and push herself to the next level when she was ready. She chooses to only consume things (physically and mentally) that make her feel good. And guess what? She competed on an international level at the 2019 CrossFit Open! (Read more about this on her website.) Her system for healthy living got her to where she never dreamed it was possible to go.

Life is a journey that’s supported by individual habits, which form routines, that either support you or they don’t.

A woman has to be fierce to live fully in today’s world. She has to make smart choices and have grit!  She routinely does things that nourish, support, and empower her. She has a good health regime — eating what makes her feel energized, strengthening herself through exercise and restorative sleep. She’s mindfully aware of her accomplishments and is proud of what she’s achieved. She feeds her mind and spirit on things that keep her up-to-date in her chosen profession, as well as, inspired and motivated.

Are you that woman deep inside, but external forces have sidetracked you from bringing forth that powerful person from within? Has life brought you down, and you need to be lifted up again? Then we urge you to mindfully and intentionally start today! Make resourceful routines and systems your go-to way of being. Here are some things to remember as you do this:

  1. Do small things well, instead of one thing not so well.
  2. Learn from past resolutions and see what’s working and what’s not working.  
  3. Review your mission and stay true to it.
  4. Mindfully look over the past and acknowledge each small win and CELEBRATE!
  5. Intentionally build toward a big goal over time.

Resourceful routines and systems are based on who you are, not on who you think you’re supposed to be. You can use intentions to tweak who you are and get yourself back into balance. For example, if you intend to be happier, you’ll feel and express gratitude. If you intend to be healthier, you’ll choose to do things that give you energy. Intentions are grounded in the present and they honor your effort and the process, not just results.

A number of years ago, we set the intention to empower women via an annual retreat. From that day forward, we established systems for getting all the pieces pulled together. There were times we didn’t think it would happen. But by taking one step at a time, we’ve now conducted a number of annual retreats. If we can achieve our dreams, so can you! We invite you to join us for our upcoming Bring Forth the Leader Within retreat. You’ll be able to tap into your wisdom and experience and we’ll help you hear your own inner wisdom more clearly so you can design the life you’ve always dreamed of.

5 Self-Leadership Skills to Help You Have a Happier Holiday Season

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

The year-end months are hectic, yet we’re so grateful for the holiday season! It lets us reconnect with family and friends. It’s a time for relaxing, reflecting and assessing how we’ve done over the past year. Then we can do course corrections as needed. 

While there’s much joy this time of year, don’t you find that there are also added pressures from crowded stores, roads and airports? Plus there are many more internal pressures, too. Sometimes we get caught up in trying to meet expectations of providing the perfect holiday experience, or being the perfect daughter, sister, wife, and mother. The house has to be just so. The meals must be absolutely delicious. We may find ourselves pushing to perform on a lot less sleep and a lot more stress.

It doesn’t have to be like that! Start planning a strategy now that will make you proud of the way you handle yourself at all times. We’d like to share a few self-leadership suggestions that can help.

 What self-leadership skills will help you have a very happy holiday season?

1. Learn from past years. You know yourself and your emotional buttons. And you know your family dynamics and how they push your buttons. You know it’s coming, so how do you want to respond?

We read a great suggestion on Brenda Bence’s website — if you were to have people describe you at the end of the holiday season, what five, positive, descriptive words would you want them to use? This is a time to be very intentional. For example, if you intend to be calm, peaceful, fun, pleasant and loving, then those are the qualities to daily remember, recite, and practice now and on through the season.

2. Predict difficulties. During the holidays, you’re more likely to let your guard down. You might let someone pressure you to do something you really don’t want to do. It may be that extra glass of wine or a second helping, or getting drawn into an old family squabble. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

Bump up your practice of mindfulness so you’re highly aware of the messages your body is sending you. Are you feeling pressure in your shoulders and neck or churning in your stomach? Do some deep breathing and stretching, as you consciously release the emotions causing the tension. If that doesn’t do it, go for a walk or just step out of the room for a moment to collect yourself. As Jane Austen so wisely said,

“We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.”

3. Have more than one plan. Disappointment can cause you to spiral into negative thoughts and feelings. Resilience will help you absorb any disappointments and help you to calmly choose the next best thing to do, without internalizing the change as a slight to you as a person.

4. Schedule time away to rest. It’s not selfish to practice self-care. In fact, it’s the only way to build your resilience so you can bring out your best self under even the most trying times.

5. Avoid the holiday blues. There is a let down at the end of the season. A great way to counteract this is to plan a really empowering activity in the upcoming year. And we have the perfect suggestion. Why not attend our Bring Forth the Leader Within 3rd Annual Retreat? It’s going to be held in beautiful Costa Rica in a setting that will relax and stimulate you to dig deeply and find the way to live differently, love fully, and profoundly impact your community and the world.

5 Ways to Build Your Own Community of Empowering Women

As women, we have an advantage over most men. Do you know what it is? Are you taking full advantage of it?

A woman’s advantage

Many women grow up with a built-in community. Ages of wisdom have been shared from grandmother to mother to daughter, from aunt to niece, from sister to sister. We know that this community of sisters and elders anchors us to truths that others don’t yet know. We can turn to one another, wherever we find our sister or soul sister, mother or elder.

This message of community is powerfully expressed in Margaret Wheatley’s poem, “Turning to One Another*.” She tells us “There is no power greater than a community discovering what it cares about.” She reminds us that we MUST turn to one another. That is where we find the strength to discover “what’s possible” and know that others “share our dreams”.

How can you help build community and connection to empower women? Even if you haven’t grown up with an empowering support system, you can build your own, by being open to making new connections, reaching out, conversing, and sharing your hopes, dreams, and ambitions. For example, we, Maria Connolly and Louise Santiago, met and connected at a coach development program. The more we talked the more we discovered our values and vision were aligned. Since then we have been working to build this business to empower women to be fierce leaders.

No one should have to go it alone. Here are five ways to help create more community and connection in your world. Notice that within each area, you give to yourself before you can give to others. 

Shine a spotlight on other women. Don’t be afraid to verbalize or write your gratitude for the things the women in your life do and the way they are in the world. Think about how positive acknowledgment has impacted you. Make time every day for this and never be “too busy”.

Recapture your essential nature. Generations of people have learned to suppress and disown their true selves. They give away their power by hiding behind a persona and showing the world a censored version of self. It’s time to bring back your authentic self! When you reconnect with your purpose and values, you’ll embrace what and who you are now AND actively unlocking the full potential of what and who you can dynamically become through mindful, personal growth. 

Model healthful living. A healthy body is the powerhouse from which we attain meaningful aspirations and dreams. Without clean water, nutritious food, and energizing exercise, the human body can’t function properly. When you practice and model wellness, you empower women to be the best version of themselves. Also, it’s essential to nurture a powerful spirit that lets dreams soar and won’t give up. A practice of mindfulness and self-awareness is the basis for creating harmony in this mind/body/spirit connection. 

Promote lifelong learning. It gives you a competitive edge in today’s job market. Women who know they can learn new skills when needed won’t feel stuck in a profession. It makes you a highly sought after as an expert in any field.  It slows cognitive decline and makes you a happier and more interesting person. You’ll always have something to talk about, so conversations can be more deeply meaningful.

Invest in yourself. Before you can give to others, it’s vital to have a continual commitment to developing oneself in order to be a stronger part of the community. This can be challenging because as women, we’re often juggling multiple responsibilities and end up lacking the time, energy, or focus to do deep personal work. Make a commitment to yourself to get away and seriously explore and clarify what you want. Visit lovely surroundings where you can de-stress and think deeply without distraction.

We, as women, have the privilege, and responsibility, to use our community to empower each new generation to come. At Newave Leaders, we offer an Annual Retreat where you have the opportunity for turning to one another. We’ve developed a community of empowering women who share a passion for developing their internal leader, incubating their dreams, and turning their vision into a new reality. 

We’re getting ready to announce our 2020 retreat in Costa Rica. We invite you to sign-up at the bottom of the Bring Forth the Leader Within page to stay up-to-date on the details.

 *For your convenience, here’s a link to Margaret J. Wheatley’s “Turning to One Another.”

Be Intentional – The Key to Extraordinary Leadership in Business & Life

Visionary leaders know how to be intentional. That’s really their secret for success! The good news is that everyone, especially those interested in a new wave of leadership, can learn how to be intentional. When you master this skill, you’ll gain unflappable self-confidence and a tremendous sense of freedom, because you’ll be more likely to make choices and act in harmony with your dreamspurpose, and primal core — the things that make you unique.

At Newave Leaders, our mission is to develop intentional leaders. It takes time and focused effort to learn how to be intentional in the big areas of life. Too often, we’re shaped by others in ways that don’t serve our higher purpose, so it’s beneficial to learn how to reset who you’re being, to bring forth the leader within.

What does it mean to be intentional? We’d like you to consider how you respond to the following questions to identify where you’d like to be more intentional and deliberate in your daily actions and choices. Notice which ones you’ve taken constructive ownership of and which ones you allow to just happen…

Be intentional about your self-care. 

  • Do you have basic routines around well-being?
  • Have you set boundaries that honor your strengths and your limits?
  • What activities, situations, and people  fuel your energy?  
  • What takes your energy away?
  • Are you making time for rest, relaxation, and fun? 
  • Are you mindful about who and what you say “yes” to? 
  • What is your criteria for saying “yes”? 
  • How do you hold yourself accountable to that criteria? 
  • How often do you revisit your purpose and bring it to the front of your thoughts? 

Be intentional about your associations.

  • What do you participate in?
  • Who do you  associate yourself with?
  • Do your associates build your name and reputation?
  • Is the amount of time you spend with your associates productive? 
  • Do your associates promote what you stand for, respecting your values?

Be intentional consistently.

  • Do you set an intention and then expect it to continue on its own?
  • How do you handle distractions?
  • What keeps you from saying “No”? 
  • What less important pieces of work or life are you allowing to take up more time and energy than necessary?
  • Are you fully self-aware of how your actions, speech, and appearance signal your  message?
  • Do you track your progress, so you don’t ever lose sight of how far you’ve come?

By being intentional in all aspects of life, we give focused energy to our purpose. For example,  we at Newave Leaders (Maria Connolly and Louise Santiago) check in regularly about how we feel about our work together, our thoughts about our collaboration, and our individual and shared energy. We love it when we can say “YES!”  We intentionally choose to put our energies into these moments, as they feed us, which in turn, gives us energy to share with others.

We invite you to take advantage of our 30-minute consultation to see if partnering with us is a good fit that enables you to fully be intentional in your life and in your leadership. 

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The Great Circle Community — A safe space where your inner voice is welcomed and heard. Tired of all the rhetoric and noise? Become part of the solution and join Louise and Maria for meaningful conversations. Membership is free. Learn more today

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