What are your words?

A couple of my Twitter pals (my handle: @bridgetteb) just showed me this fab website wordle.net where you can copy in any kind of text or a link from your blog and makes a tagcloud of your words. Aside from being fun, this is an interesting way to learn more about what you’re drawn to. Here’s how:

Take your resume, journal, blog or various cocktail napkins you’re always scribbling on, write it up, and dump the text here. Then, see what words pop out in your tag cloud. Some words may reveal less-than-stellar writing habits (in my case), others may be more profound. I also found that hitting the “randomize” button made different words pop, creating other insights. It’s an intruiging and cool way to see how what you write says about you.

wordle-cloud

November 6, 2008 at 2:54 pm 1 comment

Beating the Holiday Food Gauntlet

I know! It’s too early to start talking about the holidays. But many of you are probably already finding yourself knee-deep in Halloween candy so like it or not, the Holiday Food Gauntlet has begun. Here are some tips for keeping your waistline in check through the holidays.

Tip 1: Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full
Seems like a grand statement of the obvious but many times we wait until we’re WAY too hungry to start eating. Think about Thanksgiving Day, perhaps you skip lunch and even breakfast in anticipation of the big meal. Big mistake. By the time dinner rolls around, you’re three helpings in by the time you realized you were full a long time ago.

When you allow yourself to get too hungry, it’s very difficult to stop eating at the first sign of fullness. Rather than “saving room” for the big meal, keep yourself fueled throughout the day, and at the big meal put only exactly what you want on your plate and thoroughly enjoy each bite. Dee-lish.

Tip 2: Don’t check out
Do you find yourself grabbing a little bit of Halloween candy here and there and then suddenly realizing that you’ve eaten a bag’s worth of mini-Snickers over the past week?

Resolve not to check out while eating. Each time you reach for a piece of Halloween candy, make it a conscious choice. Are you bored? Is it just there? Or would Milk Duds really be the most awesome food you could eat in this moment? If it really is exactly what you want, choose it. If not, pass. Whatever your decision, it’s much easier to manage your food intake when you’re consciously aware of what you’re eating.

Tip 3: Find and unwind your “food rules” that don’t work for you
Do you need to clean your plate to please the host?
Should you always eat your vegetables?
Is it wrong to have pumpkin pie for breakfast?

These are “rules” we’ve bought into that were created by societal conventions. Make your own rules that work for you and promote your ultimate goal of truly enjoying the holidays without gaining weight.

Learn more about beating the holiday food gauntlet—sign up for the free teleclass October 29 here.

October 24, 2008 at 4:11 pm Leave a comment

Tuning In

[Ed note: This blog post reminds me of a time when I hauled two disagreeing coworkers into my office and made them talk about how they felt about the crappy way they were treating each other. Never had to do that again—the idea of discussing their feelings with their boss and rival was so distasteful they managed to work things out. So, yes people, today we are going to talk about feelings. Feelings are good. ;-)]

Listening to music is a great way to tune into your feelings. The next time you’re commuting/working out/going for a walk, crank on your music, really tune in and notice the emotions the music evokes. I don’t know about you, but I spent a good portion of my life pretty checked out from my feelings. Listening to music is a great way to “practice” feeling and noticing the different types of feelings you have.

Notice how some songs amplify your current feelings and how other songs can even shift your feeling state.

Hearing the over-the-top lyrics of heartbreak or “ain’t it awful” shakes me out of my own similar story. I’m better able to reflect on my own feelings and even laugh at them. It takes me out of buying into them. There’s also something about cheesy 70’s rock anthems that can always shake me out of a bummed-out state. I don’t know why, I just go with it.

So tune in and notice the following:

What emotions do various melodies evoke?

What lyrics evoke strong feelings for you?

What songs can actually alter your feeling state and in what way?

Make a playlist (or if you’re old, school a mix CD) of music that evokes awesome feelings in you and jam on it regularly. Why? Because it’s fun.

October 23, 2008 at 1:21 pm Leave a comment

The Happiness Equation

I’ll be happy when:
   I’m at my ideal weight.
   The economy turns around.
   My candidate gets elected.
   I get an awesome new job/car/relationship.

It’s easy to buy into the “I’ll be happy when” formula. The problem is if you wait for everything (or even one thing) to align perfectly to be happy, you’re in for a very long and painful wait.

We think the Happiness Equation works like this:
   Thin = Happy
   Money = Happy
   Get what I want = Happy

This equation states that when the condition has been met, happiness will follow. That sucks. Here’s why:

If the condition is something you can’t affect, say the economy or the election, you are automatically giving up your own power to determine your own happiness to something that’s completely beyond your control. Your happiness is now conditional on the Nasdaq or how people in Florida count ballots. No offense to the fine people of Florida, but I don’t really want them in charge of my happiness.

If the condition is something you can affect, for example money or your weight, then you’ve set yourself up for an arduous schlep to your goal. It’s a heck of a lot harder—if not impossible—to reach your goals when you withhold happiness until the goal is met. I call this the Infinite Loop of Unhappiness and it looks like this:

If: Money = Happy

Then: Don’t have money = unhappy

Then: Demoralized that I don’t have money, not creative about making money = unhappy

Repeat.

Here’s the winning formula:

   Happy = Money
   Happy = Thin
   Happy = Have all I need (easy to get what I want)

The secret is to be happy first. Here’s some tips to help you get your happy on.

Find the Feeling: When we want something, we’re really looking for the feeling that thing will give us. Find the feeling now. How will you feel when you have money, a new job, a tight bod, George Clooney or Angie? Once you know the feeling you’re looking for, you can start to create that feeling in your life today.

Accept where you are right now: We think if we change something about our current reality, we’ll feel better. But with that thinking, there is always some mystical “there” that is not here. It’s like chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Accepting your imperfect life as it is right now allows you to see what’s good around you right now.

Bring the focus back to you: Trying to change others to make us happy is a losing formula. That’s like leaving your happiness to chance: If someone “behaves” then we can be happy, if they don’t then we can’t. The only person you absolutely can affect is you—focus on “behaving” in a way that makes you happy regardless of what others are doing.

Staying happy and resilient even during the toughest times just requires doing the math. How does your happiness add up?

October 8, 2008 at 5:06 pm 1 comment

Nice.

I delivered a sassy zinger to my mom the other day—so sassy that she had no snappy comeback for it. She thought it was hilarious. She also seemed to be strangely delighted a couple of weeks ago when I called her all wrapped around the axle about something. A couple of days later my mom confessed that she was a little worried I was becoming “nice.” Nice was not meant as a compliment in this context. I think what she meant was that she was worried that by doing my own work and not letting stuff bug me so much that I might lose my edge—my sass. That I might become this super mellow and really boring “nice” person.

Not a f*#&ing chance.

Doing my own work allows me to unapologetically be who I am. And because I am being authentically me and not pleasing others, sometimes that means not being “nice.” It might mean telling someone no when they really would like to hear yes, backing out of a commitment because it’s not right for me, or gasp! not buying someone’s “poor me” story. It also means laughing a ton, respecting myself and taking my sass to a whole new level.

So don’t worry mom—all is well.

September 26, 2008 at 9:44 am Leave a comment

What it’s all about

Photo courtesy of Joya Iverson

Photo courtesy of Joya Iverson

Some little moments inspired me to write this post.

The moment this weekend when I looked at my partner as we were bumping along in the golf cart during our second 18 holes of the day. Just her and me, sun, green, trees, grass… and realized in that moment how much I adore her.

The moment this morning when a warm and wiggly little dog kissed my face and snuggled her way into bed to snooze with me.

The moment today reading a blog post from my friend Joya who just fled her toxic cube job and gave me chills writing about her arrival into her new world—literally and figuratively.

The moment when I realized that when I love myself uncondionally, my body will reflect that love.

This moment when I remember what it’s all about—this collection of moments.

Are you noticing your moments? They’re happening all around you.

September 15, 2008 at 11:32 am Leave a comment

Information Diet

I have decided to go on an information diet, perhaps “cleanse” is a better word. I don’t believe in diets for weight loss, but this slightly modified definition fits in this case: “Such a selection or a limitation on the amount of information consumed for reducing distraction.”

I don’t plan to give up social networking, but I’ve been overly indulgent lately so I’m taking a weeklong break. I found myself surfing the networks as a way to distract myself both from work and my own personal Work. It was the equivalent of mindlessly watching TV, only I told myself I was still “working.” Why am I putting in face time at my computer? Old bad habits—this was exactly what I used to do in my corporate jobs when I felt stressed, overwhelmed or just bored (sorry former bosses!). If I were my boss, I would’ve called me into my office to talk about my lack of focus—oh yeah, I am and I did.

Day 1 (yesterday) went well. I was clear, focused and got a ton done. Everything from remembering to take the garbage out, to writing class outlines, prepping for a radio show this weekend (for more on that, see the end of this post), coaching clients, sending clients notes and playing a little golf in the evening.

Are you overindulging in information? Too much blackberrying, emailing, web surfing, tv-ing, newspapering, cnn-ing? If so, I invite you to join me in your own weeklong Information Diet. Comment and share your experience, I’ll keep you updated on mine.

9/18 UPDATE: My Info Diet is over, I made it a whole week without being on Twitter, Facebook, Netvibes (my blog reader) or other forums I belong to. I found myself wanting to pop over to these sites many times during the week, whenever there was a little lull in activity. I think I was marginally more productive, but what mainly happened is that I (cue the cop voice) stepped a-way from the computer when I needed a break or was done working. What fell away during the diet was the feeling that I needed to spend “face time” at my computer. I think I’ll hang onto that feeling. Oh, I also realized I didn’t miss much. 😉

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Speaking of the Internet, I’ll be appearing on Annette Pederson’s radio show, “Your Intentional Life,” this Saturday, September 13 at 2 Pacific. I’ll be talking all about MONEY–how to improve your relationship and attract more of it. I’d love it if you called in with your questions.
More info and tune in here.

September 12, 2008 at 10:02 am Leave a comment

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