Getting Unstuck For a Dynamic 2018

 

Getting unstuck for a dynamic 2018 enables fresh energy and motivation. It clears away subconscious negativity and makes room to live fully in the present. It allows us to have a clear vision for meaningful goals.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. — George Santayana Click To Tweet

Getting Unstuck: Wisdom From Technology

For example, an unfinished past is like issues I had with my iPad. All of a sudden a small white pinwheel in the middle of a blank screen kept going around in a rhythmic fading/returning circle over and over again. I tried clicking a combination of buttons hoping to turn it off and reboot. Nothing worked. It was slowly draining the battery and becoming useless at a time I needed it most.

Since I was traveling, I found the nearest service store. After the technician asked a few questions and clicked the home screen button twice, he showed me the hidden apps running in the background. Many were duplicates several times over.

“Oh, I didn’t know those were there,” I said.

“Yes,” he said. “Every time you open an app on the iPad, you’ll need to swipe it away when you’re finished.”

He showed me how to swipe each of those no-longer-needed apps away. Once I did that, my iPad worked fine.

Getting Unstuck: The Apps of our Lives

Our lack of awareness about the unfinished business of our past is like those apps taking up valuable energy. It’s human nature to move toward pleasure and away from pain. But our pain and pleasure is meant to flow in and out of our lives. Yet our obsession with avoidance keeps us from taking inventory of what’s slowing us down or keeping us stuck.

A daily inventory can be as automatic as brushing our teeth. For example, a practice such as praying The Daily Examine Prayer or writing in a Five Minute Gratitude Journal are great ways to swipe away those apps. Weekly and quarterly inventories may include participating in your place of worship or gathering with an accountability group. I’ve known some happily married couples ask each other things like, “How full is your love tank today?”

In addition to daily and weekly inventories, consider quarterly reflections. I’ve taken spiritual and personal retreats every 90 days for several years. It’s a time to be aware and reflect on the previous 90 days and be intentional for the next 90 days.

When clients go through a series of counseling sessions with me, I encourage them to schedule “booster sessions.” We can maintain our relationship health like we do our dental hygiene as we visit our dentist for six-month cleanings and yearly X-rays.

With a practice of regular inventory, we gain wisdom, awareness, and movement. As a result, we get unstuck.

The lessons of 2017 are catalysts for transformation in 2018. Click To Tweet

The journey through our past wasn’t meant to be forgotten. Our life experiences have meaning and valuable lessons for us.

Getting Unstuck: Deeper and Freer

Getting unstuck means going deeper and becoming freer. Therefore, a small percentage of people actually accomplish their New Year’s goals.

When we don’t take inventory and learn from the past, those who know us best experience us as moody, irritable, and cynical. Consequently, we’re easily triggered. The criticism/defensiveness patterns are like synchronized dance steps in the Tango of our marriages.

It’s the subconscious disappointments, anger, trauma and grief that keep us frozen. In addition, we forget even the highlights of the previous year. We don’t take time to celebrate and we miss valuable lessons.

Is it any wonder why most don’t bother to take inventory of their past year or plan for change in the New Year? The apps running in the background are blinding us from from fresh beginnings. Our unfinished past takes up wasted energy and slows us down. 

Let’s take inventory of the good, bad, and ugly of our lives.

When we share our unfinished past with a professional counselor, compassionate minister, or a wise friend, we begin to notice the lessons. We make room for the present when we swipe away the unnecessary apps of our lives.

Your Next Step to getting unstuck

  1. Consider a daily practice of the The Daily Examine Prayer or a Five Minute Gratitude Journal
  2. Schedule a free 20 minute consultation 
  3. Ask about the Professional Women’s Focus Group

Professional Women’s Focus Group

Join me for a live Q & A webcam call about a 90-day plan for online group accountability, focus and clarity. For other free resources, go to judycounselor.com.

 

Group

3 Empowering Reasons to Be in a Group

I was full of fear and uncertainty leaving the familiarity of the place I worked for ten years. It was time to branch out on my own in private practice as a licensed counselor. Up until that time, I hadn’t concerned myself with marketing or setting up my business. It wasn’t natural for me to think like a business owner. . . or that’s what I thought. That’s when I learned three empowering reasons to be in a group.

While learning to rebrand my practice, I began to hang out with entrepreneurial-minded therapists and like-minded professionals beyond my mental health colleagues. We became mirrors to each other’s blind spots. We experienced light-bulb moments as we grew in trust and relationship with each other.

Three different focus groups have impacted me in the last year. One is the Peer Therapist Group which met face to face in my office on Main Street. The other was a Focus Group of women writers whom I met through Jeff Goin’s Tribe Conference. The third was Andy Traub’s online coaching group. All three groups have given me feedback and confidence to grow beyond my comfort zone. They’ve influenced me to write and make a difference beyond the four walls of my counseling office.

We became mirrors to each other's blind spots. Click To Tweet

Consider three empowering reasons to be in a group.

Group Reason # 1 – Energy

Each group provided different energy for me. Some were directive and while others zoned into certain topics. With each group, I learned more about myself and felt connected with others.

Especially with the Women’s Focus group, we each felt so energized after being together during our monthly meetings. It can be tempting to talk ourselves out of something we previously agreed to. When we made the effort to follow through, we heard comments like:

“I almost didn’t make it, but my heart needed to be with you all. . .” or “I’m so glad I came. I always feel better after our meetings.”

Group Reason # 2 – Creativity

When I realize what I’ve learned through participating in groups, I’m thankful for the ideas I wouldn’t have otherwise. It was Andy Traub’s coaching group who encouraged me to do Live Facebook videos. As you can see on my Facebook page, I have several “Ask a Therapist” Live Facebook Videos.

Group Reason # 3 – Courage

Especially with our Women’s Focus Group, we’ve felt like energetic cheerleaders as we encouraged Caroline Depalatis to write her book Jumping Out Of The Mainstream. Who wouldn’t be excited about Anne Peterson authoring 14 books in three years? And rejoice with Sohma Rae Hathaway as her Memoir, Finding Diamonds in Dungeons is now out in the world.

Being part of these groups have made it possible for me to move from fear and uncertainty into courage and creativity.

I can’t brag enough about the value of being part of a focus group.

Group Energy, Creativity, Courage

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a counselor like me, or a writer, or an entrepreneur, or an employee. You may be a stay-at-home mom or dad. Whatever your background and experiences, consider these three empowering reasons to be in a group.

Energy, Creativity, Courage. Don’t miss out. Find the group that’s right for you.

What to do next:

Share this article.

Check out Professional Women’s Focus Group. If you’re outside the Chattanooga area, ask about online support.

Join me for “Ask a Therapist” Live Facebook Videos every Thursday at 6:30 PM EST

Build Trust

4 Ways to Make the Most Of Conference Relationships

I’ve been to a multitude of conferences throughout my career as a counselor. Yet, I was ready to hang out with writers and influencers beyond the four walls of my private practice. If you’re like me, you’ve attended several conferences. Even though there may be hundreds of people, you feel alone and disconnected. And I’ve learned 4 ways to make the most of conference relationships.

The last few years I attended Jeff Goin’s Tribe Conference for writers and artists. This is a gathering of those who want to expand their influence and hone their craft. I resonate with Jeff because he thrives on relationships. And isn’t afraid to brag about his own therapist. Not only is he young enough to be my son, but he’s one of the wisest 34 year olds I know. And to me, he looks like he’s 14.

You may attend a conference for continuing education in your profession. Or you may plan on participating in an event that compliments your career. And here are four ways to make the most of conference relationships.Conference

1. Social media groups

With my first conference in 2015, I didn’t know a soul, but I intentionally sat at the front table to focus and learn. I’m great at listening and comfortable with face-to-face connections. But, I lagged behind with follow-up.

At that time I was still a novice at social media. Many therapists are. Some don’t have personal Facebook accounts for fear of rejecting a client who asks to be a friend. Growth seems to require an element of risk for all of us.

I learned to connect with conference acquaintances through Linked In and Facebook.

2. Volunteer

Volunteering brings a sense of community. I was proud of the red T-shirt I got in Seattle at the Gottman-Siegel Summit in previous years. Being a volunteer at conferences connects you with people you wouldn’t otherwise know.

By year two of Tribe Conference, I volunteered with intentions to connect. I joined a coaching group and became a Tribe Girlfriend on a closed Facebook group. Our group met regularly all year through webcam calls. We laughed, prayed, encouraged, and shared words of wisdom along with our ideas. On a monthly basis, we challenged each other to write and be clear and focused. It was a challenge to coordinate our time zones from California to Tennessee. But we did it.

Our time together grew our trust as a group. We began to know each other’s strengths, weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and trials. We empathized and asked hard questions. When tragedy struck, we were there for each other. Our friendship deepened as writers.

3. Plan Reconnections

After three years, our meetups grew from a handful of insecure patrons to a confident gathering of trusted and familiar friends. Some of us met for the first time in person comparing the postage stamp facebook profiles with the live person.

“Oh, you look just like your picture.”

Or you’d hear phrases like, “Oh, that’s you? The one who. . .?”

However the greeting began, it would continue as, “I’m so glad to meet you.” We’re hugging, smiling, thanking, and connecting.

Laughter is spontaneous, but relationships require intentional connections. Click To Tweet

4. Practice Conference Wisdom 

Marsha Shandur, was the speaker who normalized our awkwardness as “dork goblins” when we meet new people. It was a brilliant and funny way to present what I do less brilliantly and funny for my clients in counseling sessions. She demonstrated her own quirks and how to respond to the insecure parts of ourselves. Give the insecure part a name. When it shows up, and take deep breaths when our bodies react to anxiety.

There were many highlights: speakers, meet-ups, books, networking, notes, gormet popcorn, chocolate, and conversations at the conference. It’s not just about learning new ways to think, and do, and be. It’s about the Tribe. It’s about ways to grow conference acquaintances into friendships.

Your Next Steps 

  1. If you struggle with identifying your “dork goblin” ask for your free 20 minute consultation.
  2. Connect with me on Linked in or visit my Facebook page.
  3. Join me for the Conference in October, 2018

 

 

Anxiety

Anxiety: How Journal Writing Helps

Anxiety: How Journal Writing Helps.

My first diary may have been pink or blue with flowers or peace signs, I’m not sure. But I know the mounted metal lock and flimsy key made me think it was secure. As a fourth grader who liked a boy in my class, it was a treasure box for my secret desires. It later became a way to process anxiety.

Anxiety Journal

Handwriting in a journal is one of the most intricate and complex things our brains can do. Without an outlet, those neurons can take you on trails of negativity, worry, and harsh self-talk. Even when you write down a list or phrases in a journal, you release those unwanted thoughts and focus on more important things, like the project or task that needs your full attention.

Then you can close the journal and use your mental energy toward living in the moment. The toxic thoughts transfer from your head to the journal.

Learn to live in the moment. Transfer uninvited thoughts from your head to your journal. Click To Tweet

Anxiety Appointment

For those who struggle with anxiety, I encourage them to find a 30 minute time frame at the same time every day to write in a special journal just for those anxious moments. You begin to train your anxious thoughts to associate a physical journal as a place to land.

When anxiety rears it’s ugly head at uninvited times, you can tell it, “I’m busy now. You’ll need to wait for your appointment later today.”

Journal Writing – Growth Beyond Anxiety

When your anxious thoughts are written down and closed up in a physical book, you can put it on the shelf or hide it under the mattress. It’s there when you need it again. Or it’s there when the anxiety is no longer haunting. Or it’s there when you’re far enough removed from it that you can look back and celebrate how far you’ve grown out of them. Like looking at a picture of your immature self that doesn’t even look like you any more.

Handwriting in a journal is one of the most intricate and complex things our brains can do for well-being. Click To Tweet

From Anxiety to Gratitude 

The authors of The Five Minute Journal consider daily journal-writing as good for your mental health as brushing and flossing your teeth is for your dental hygiene. You build up plaque in your brain if you go days without writing what you’re thankful for.

The mind is so intricately complicated and we can’t possibly be aware of every automatic thought that takes us on a trail of negative ruminations. But we can direct our thoughts that serve us well. The habit of writing down what we’re thankful for every morning primes our brains before starting our day. We learn to look for amazing things as we reflect and write them down right before going to sleep at night.

Write for Well-being

Our minds are now more complex and stressed with patterns of thinking than our ten year old selves. We’ve outgrown our fourth grade anxieties and diaries with peace signs and flimsy locks. Let’s continue to outgrow our current worries. Let’s appoint a time to write and give our ourselves the well-being to live fully in the present.

What to do next

  • Share this article with a friend
  • Learn more about group support
  • Ask for a free 20 minute consultation

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Accomplishing Goals

One Shocking Thing About Accomplishing Goals

One shocking thing about accomplishing goals startled me as I sat in a conference room with 400 of my new best friends. It was Michael Hyatt’s LIVE event in Nashville.

In the midst of a packed seminar of learning new content for Five Days To Your Best Year Ever I heard a totally unconventional statement from the man on stage.

He said, “I rarely meet all my goals.”

Wow! Did he really say that? After all, he’s the guru of one of the most powerful goal-setting programs ever! He lives it. Others testify of their remarkable transformations. He influences multitudes world-wide! I couldn’t believe it.

But that’s the point.

We tend to think all or nothing when it comes to setting goals. . . change that first. Click To Tweet

We adopt a cynical attitude that sounds like this:

  • I never finish New Year’s resolutions, so why bother?
  • I don’t want to have hope and then be disappointed when it doesn’t happen.
  • Goal-setting isn’t for me. I’m not that type of person.
  • It wouldn’t work for us.  We’re too old to change.
Cynicism and all or nothing thinking are destructive thoughts that keep us from growing. Click To Tweet

Michael Hyatt encourages us to get rid of cynical thinking, set goals out of your comfort zone, and aim high. Of course we’ll not accomplish all our goals – especially if we have eight to ten goals that are meaningful and relevant.

If two or three (or more) of those meaningful and relevant goals are met, that’s something to celebrate! We grow in our humanity. Allow that to be momentum for the next level of growth.

Questions to Ponder About Accomplishing Goals

If you could accomplish two or three of your goals, what would they be?

How would your life be different than it is now?

Ask about our upcoming Courageous 2017 Groups.