Your imagination can be used for WORRY or CREATION—which will you use it for?

As a human and as a coach, I stand for using the imagination as a tool for creation, not for worry.

My coaching role model, Steve Chandler, taught me this distinction, and now I see it everywhere.

You can use your imagination to envision the future YOU FEAR—one that’s ripe with worst case scenarios and disappointments, unrecoverable failures and powerlessness—and then live timidly so as to avoid all that could go wrong (because you’ve given that possible bad fate so much of your energy, it’s become all the more frightening; a boogeyman of epic (though entirely self-created!) proportion).

Or, you can use your imagination to envision the future YOU WANT—the joy, the success, the connection, the health, the you-name-it—and then live fully, robustly, and confidently (because you’ve decided that's the future you’ll engender for yourself).

One is PASSIVE (“What’s going to happen to me?!”), while the other is ACTIVE (“What will I make happen for myself?”).

One is a VICTIM mentality, while the other is an OWNER mentality.

If we all truly have the power to create our reality through the thoughts we think and the beliefs we believe (and we do!), then why not use our imaginations to think up some really awesome, really desirable states of affairs for ourselves...instead of using them to fear the worst, as though we’re living life on some kind of dread spectrum, hopeful that things will be slightly less bad than we fear they’ll be.

Where do you need to shift out of a worry mindset and into a creation mindset? Want some help? (It’s easier to do with a buddy.) Comment below or email me, and we can hop on the phone to get you owning the future you want.

Small Steps, Tip #3

What about when everything seems to be going against you?

You lose your job, the weather doesn't cooperate, your buyer backs out at the last minute, the baby wakes up every hour on the hour so you're a zombie come sunrise.

What do you do when you feel as though you’re once again back to square one? How do you figure out your first, smallest possible step? I encourage my clients to ask themselves one simple question: "Given my current situation, what can I reasonably accomplish right now?"

The first key here is the word 'REASONABLY'—and it's often the place where folks require some help (because the kind of person I work with often overloads 'reasonably' until it isn't actually reasonable at all—sound familiar?).

The second key is the time component: RIGHT NOW. It's crucial to take action immediately, when the disappointment or stressor or misfortune is relatively fresh, because that small initiative reinforces the fact that all is not lost, that our agency hasn't gone anywhere, and that forward movement (even itty-bitty micro-movement) is possible even when we’re really tempted to burn it all down and sit in a steaming pile of wallow.

What are some examples of reasonable and immediate small steps you could take when the going gets tough?

Well, it all depends on your situation, of course—but one might be as simple and seemingly innocuous as writing a single email.

Another might be employing the Phone-A-Friend option, to welcome a new perspective.

What about taking ninety seconds to pen a madcap list of all that could possibly come next?

Sometimes a hot shower is the only thing that’ll do.

These options are small. They’re not world-rocking. Probably they won’t even appear to change anything at all.

But each offers you an opportunity for a mindset shift.

And once your mind is right, once you’ve shifted it from “WHY ME?” to “WHO CARES?” you’re back on track to create the outcome you’re after.

Certainly feel your feelings, but don’t let them stop you from going after and getting whatever you want.

Your fourth and final distinction for making the most of September

To jog your memory: We're using the month of September to bust our mental blocks—you know, those thoughts, belief systems, and inactions that stand between us and our creating the thing we want to create before the end of 2017. If you missed it, here's where I give the full scoop on what we're doing, here's the first distinction, here's the second distinction, and here's the third distinction.

Well, this brings us to the last week of September and our fourth and final distinction of the month:

The Overwhelmed/Strategic Distinction

When you've got a pile of things to do and not much time in which to do them, you have two choices: You can be overwhelmed, or you can be strategic.

If you choose overwhelm (yes, it really is a choice, and you'll see how in just a moment), you're deciding to be defeated completely before you've even begun. You're allowing the list of tasks, projects, and commitments to be larger than life—hell, to take on a life of their own and to overcome your emotional and psychological state.

You're saying, I'm a victim to this list! These to-dos are bigger than me! I'm weak and powerless—so much so that I'm going to surrender right now, before I've even attempted to make sense of this situation I've created for myself!

If this is what you mean to say, then by all means, go lie down and see if the doctor makes house calls. Perhaps you're coming down with something, because the average person isn't usually quite so feeble when it comes to a list of lifeless tasks.

If, on the other hand, you choose strategy, you're deciding to stay in control of the inanimate pile of to-dos by applying a particular plan to them, a thoughtful course of action. You're remaining solution-focused—hell-bent on completing the tasks before you instead of indulging in your emotions about the tasks before you.

You're saying, I brought this list into the world and I can take it out! I'm an owner, not a victim! I have agency here! And a brain in my head! I'm capable of creating effective strategies to deal with any mess, my own included!

To choose strategy over overwhelm is to choose yourself over your fear.

To choose strategy over overwhelm is to bet on your own capability instead of betting against it.

It means using your imagination to conjure a plan for doing what needs to be done, not using it to worry over worst-case scenarios and possible future misery.

It means relying on a plan that keeps your eyes trained on the very next challenge before you...completing it...and only then advancing to the next challenge. It doesn't mean scrambling around, attempting to multi-task as though it's actually possible to give your attention to more than one thing at a time (it isn't).

While overwhelm turns everything into life or death, strategy transforms the situation into a game.

Now, for your challenge:

Where are you choosing overwhelm in your life? (Still don't think you're choosing it? That's probably a good indication you could use a perspective-shifting conversation.) Where are you choosing strategy? This week, your mission is to use what you know about strategy to tackle the mess of things that feel overwhelming to you.

Not sure you know much about strategy? Think again. Ever come up with a travel plan, like a flight or long car ride, that takes advantage of your children's usual nap time? What about that shortcut you use in order to make it to both the bank on one side of town and the dry cleaner on the other, all during your lunch hour? Boom. That's strategy.