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Posts Tagged ‘keep it simple’

When I reference Groundhog Day, I can’t help but think of that hysterical 1993 movie starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. If you have never seen it (although I would question where you’ve been!), Bill Murray’s character experiences the same Groundhog Day over and over again. Each time the day starts again, he adjusts based on what he knows will happen so he can get it “just right”.

This movie has me reflecting on two lessons I have learned over the years that look a lot like this Bill Murray’s character’s experience:

  • My days of living the Groundhog Day life in my career and business are over. I learned early on in corporate to save everything- every file, every document and every email trail- because invariably the senior leadership team would reposition an old project or initiative as a brand new, enterprise-wide opportunity in which I could be put in charge. Common practice was to pull out those saved files, relabel them and start over again. It got so bad in 2002 that I bought my entire team a copy of the movie! (VHS of course) Today as an entrepreneur everything is new -every day. No reusing ideas for me. It is all fresh and exciting. No more slapping another name or spin on an initiative and calling it new! Phew– However, I am free to reuse those fabulous corporate ideas at my corporate clients all day long!
  • The Universe will continue to put similar people, situations and opportunities in my path until I learn the lesson I am here to learn. And it is often equal parts frustrating and hysterical.  Like the movie Groundhog Day, I just keep coming back to the scenario over and over again, adjusted a bit each time, until I make the major shift. The most recent lessons have been painful and tear-filled but the “other side” is looks like days of endless rainbows compared to the ways I was living tied to those toxic people, places and things.

Where is that happening in your life?

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Screen shot 2012-12-06 at · Dec 6 @ 6.28.22 AM

In my quest to enjoy the holiday season one day at a time from December 1 through December 25 (and who knows- maybe this will continue straight through New Years Day), day 5 and 6 were all about planning. Planning forward.

  • The holiday cards came out and now scream at me from across the room
  • The decorations were found (they were secretly tucked away in this one-bedroom Manhattan apartment and required a “if you were a Christmas decoration where would you be hiding?” moment)
  • Since I have not joined a church since moving to Washington Heights, I needed to scope out options for Christmas Eve
  • RSVPed to several holiday get-togethers
  • Changed my Facebook cover photo to include the Rockefeller Plaza Tree and the gorgeous angels (my favorite)

So while I would have liked it better if I was VISITING the Rockefeller tree as my holiday activity to blog about, I will say that there are some wonderful plans in motion for the remainder of the month thanks to my planning.

What have you got planned?

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starbucks

 

This was a short, but super fun holiday moment for the blog.

Day 4 in my quest to find something celebratory about the holiday season brought the fun to me…

As I waited at the Starbucks bar for my Grande Americano (one of many for the day!), the holiday music was playing overhead. So I…. yup… started humming and then singing softly and then realized that I was not alone. The barista making my drink was singing. So we smiled and got a little louder at which point other customers and other baristas joined in and soon we were all singing “Winter Wonderland” together.

When it was over, we all cheered, giggled, hi-fived and went on drinking our coffee!

Love my neighborhood.

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This morning in my journal writing I got this clear “hit”. Time to celebrate the holidays in a new way. You see I love the holiday time- especially December and the lead into Christmas. So much sparkle and song! But during many holiday seasons past the days fly by and before I know it, it is New Years Day. Very disappointing. It is just not the same finally being in the mood to celebrate in January.

Therefore, I decided to do one “holiday activity” each day for the first 25 days of December and blog about it. Share about it. Celebrate it!

Today’s kick-off was the tree lighting in my neighborhood. Courtesy of the Washington Heights Business Development Council, Fort Washington Collegiate Church and many local businesses.

In August, I moved to Washington Heights and immediately fell in love with the diversity and energy of this magical part of NYC. My best friend calls it “secret NY”.  Today marks the beginning of the holiday season for me in this new neighborhood.  New traditions. New experiences.

The tree lighting ceremony was simple. Children running everywhere- meeting Santa, decorating cookies, singing songs- and then we all gathered around a crooked tree in the front of the churchyard and counted down to the lighting. I stood with some new friends and felt a part of everything. Cheers from the hundreds of neighbors as the tree glowed in colored lights and then we all sang carols.

My idea of a holiday kick-off.

2012-12-01 12.56.20Washington Heights tree lighting

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Full disclosure. I sleep with my iPhone.

Yes, it’s true.

I stopped this behavior over a year ago when my nutritionist, JJ Virgin suggested that I adopt a behavior called “power down hour”. Simple. One hour before bed, turn off electronics. .

And for a year I really embraced this ritual. I started listening to my body and my brain. The result was needing to go to bed so much earlier if I was sitting quietly reading, thinking, petting the cats or listening to music. The result was waking up well-rested.

But is getting quiet simple for me? Not even the least bit simple.

What “power down hour” really is for me is an opportunity to look at my fears. To look at what I am avoiding. To look at the thoughts from which I want to distract myself. And without the television or the computer- without my Olympic-level texting to friends and family, I am left with just me, my thoughts, my fears, and my concerns. So I chose to replace them with a ritual that focused on my gratitude and my joy. Before bed, I began writing a list of gratitude moments from the day. I also noted moments of joy- sometimes big but usually tiny and very personal like seeing that little girl grab here Daddy’s hand crossing the street. Plus I would include a few readings and prayers representative of my spiritual practice. This ritual helped to get me into a restful and serene place in my head.

So it makes perfect sense that I abandon this practice entirely when I moved to a new apartment in August-ha. Honestly, I am my own worst enemy.

Little by little the behaviors crept back in. Playing on the computer or watching a video until it is time to crawl into bed exhausted. Still talking on the phone or texting until I turn out the light (or AFTER I turn out the light). Not pulling out the pen and jotting down that gratitude and joy.

I see what is happening.

The awareness is that there are a lot of big changes happening in my life. Big decisions that have been made and continue to be made around relationships, business, home and finances. Each and every one of them brings with it a level of anxiety that is challenging on the best of days. But being in the perpetual circle of not “powering down” and then being overtired and then getting more anxious is not me and my best self shining through.

Sooooo the progression….

Last night, I fell asleep with my iPhone in hand after watching a DVD and texting until seconds before bed. When I woke up I thanked God that I do not drink and had not drunk texted anyone –ha- and then I said aloud (since I talk to myself also): “Bryn, what was so important that you needed to grip your iPhone all evening?”  Every answer I came up with felt both true and silly. So tonight, tonight I go cold turkey again. And replace it with uninterrupted “power down hour” and eight hours of sleep.

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Coffee Location:  My Livingroom

Today’s Beverage of Choice: Iced Venti Quad Espresso

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I cancelled my cable.

Yes you heard me. This television enthusiast (kind way of saying -addict) has cancelled her cable.

Okay, let me take a few steps back.

When the Lenten season came around this year, I decided to participate in a way I had not for many years- by following the tradition of sacrificing something – in my case something very decadent and superfluous in my life-Unnecessary television.

Now of course, I had a whole formula for what “unnecessary television” looked like. It was so complicated that a friend of mine who was also trying to follow my prescribed plan would call me to ask if he was still on track because it was so complicated. But for me, the main goal was to NOT turn the television on for background noise or company. You know, another mindless Law & Order episode that I already knew the ending to upon watching the first 10 minutes.

I was successful for the 40 days of Lent. And then I found myself going right back to watching reruns of Friends.

Until last weekend when I was hit by a brick. Or it certainly felt like a brick reeling right at my head. In a weekend retreat, a trusted colleague called me on my “busy-ness” – my constant multi-tasking—my spinning like a tennis shoe in a dryer.  Behaviors I have been fighting with for many years and have found remarkable success at times. But I also know it is my “go to” avoidance behavior when I am in a HUGE UPLEVEL as I am right now in my life and business.

So the question asked (which came as an enormous brick at my head) was “Bryn, what are you avoiding that you would begin to feel if you just got quiet?”

TERROR hit me.

My stomach flipped.

My eyes filled with tears.

And I realized that in all this visceral reaction to the question, I did not know the answer. Hmmmm…. What am I avoiding?

Only one way to find out.

So in a bold move, I canceled my cable service (temporarily?)

I have met so many people recently who have no cable and only watch television on the Internet. Honestly, I was a Nielsen household for 2 straight years recently so I felt it was my obligation as a citizen to watch tv! (ha) And, I secretly judged those people without a television as either crazy or just not interested in pop culture. But that was never going to me.  Guess what- for the last couple of days, that has been me.

Television is not the only thing I do to stay “busy” but it is definitely something that keeps me conveniently distracted from knitting, reading one of my many books with an espresso, sitting quietly, listening to music I love, taking a walk, working in my business, connecting with others and maybe most importantly, connecting with my Higher Power.

I will keep you posted on what I find as I adjust to my quiet time. Would love thoughts from anyone who has tried this experiment in their life in some way- just to get quiet.

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Are you reading this blog post because you are procrastinating?

Oh procrastinating business owner, does your “to-do” list include things such as:

  • Sign more clients (umm… yeah!)
  • Identify places to speak (if they could just hear my message…)
  • Find prospects (where are they hiding?)

Do you look at your calendar and realize that you have no meetings with key influencers or collaborators or … yikes… potential clients/customers? Is that why you are procrastinating today?

There is simple connection tip that works to solve this dilemma every time.

Get out from behind your computer and go meet someone face to face.

I’m not kidding.

Not a phone call. Go outside and meet them.

Don’t get me wrong, there are so many amazing connections made every day via telephone but there is something extra special about sitting across from another person. Challenge yourself to put one- just one- face to face meeting on your calendar for this week. Show up engaged and asking for referrals, collaborators and ideas.

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