When the Glass is Half Empty

Sometimes, it’s human nature to feel down. To feel off. To feel like things just aren’t right. And that’s ok! I actually have this great book I read to my boys called My Many Colored Days and it explains how there are some days you just feel different. And it’s not good or bad, right or wrong; it just happens.

(For the parents out there, I highly recommend this read for your kids. Not only does it help kids understand that it’s ok to feel something other than happy all the time, it also helps to put their mood swings into perspective for you, as well.)

But sometimes, those moods linger and can turn someone into a cynic – a Debbie Downer. It may drive some people away, or it can encourage some of the well-intentioned people in our lives to say things like, “be positive!” or “it’s time to see the glass half full.”

Yet, despite efforts to share positive or inspirational sayings, these Debbie Downers still exist. They always seem to always operate under the assumption that life is, at best, a glass-half-full situation.

It got me thinking recently about the idea of self-fulfilling behaviors, the idea that because you ruminate on a thought or issue, you seemingly will it to be true. I know a few people who are always trying to find the positive in what life presents, eager to push forward. I also know more than a few Debbie Downers who believe that life is never going to be any better than it is right now, that they’ve been dealt a bad hand, that life is out to get them.  

For the former, they tend to find a way to make things work, to make things better, to make life what they want it to be. They don’t let the trials of life get them down. They don’t let themselves needlessly worry about things they can’t control.

For the latter, it becomes a game of “I told you. The bad luck finds me. This is what my life is like.” They are always worried, always critical, always waiting for the other shoe to drop. They feel they regularly earn their martyr status – constantly suffering or feeling that they are at the effect of things in work and life.

Consider this: life just happens – sometimes the events are great and sometimes they aren’t. That is just life doing what life does. Our false belief that life should always be happy comes from us thinking that life should always work out and make us happy.

But here’s the truth: the key to happiness is learning to make great things happen from what you get.

Life is what you make it. So is your glass half full or half empty? It is always your choice.

Take Action
When my Mom was a little girl, my grandfather used to tell her to “put your worries on the nightstand and go to sleep. They’ll be there in the morning; no use losing sleep over them.”

Imagine what life would be like if we put our worries on the nightstand at night, allowed ourselves to get some sleep, and woke up refreshed and renewed in the morning, ready to take on whatever life could bring. Imagine how changed you could be and how your changed behavior and attitude could impact those around you.

What if, just for a moment, you see the glass as half full?

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading To Change a Habit, Try Something Different

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This Can’t Be It, Right?

Not sure about where your life is right now? It’s ok, we’ve all been there. We start to question if we made the right choice in jobs or careers. If we made the right choice in our partner. If we made the right choice to become a parent. To buy a house, get the dog, move to a new place entirely.

Life is full of choices, and sometimes, we can find ourselves getting so caught up in the pace of our everyday life that we forget to check in with ourselves to ask: Is this what I want? Or is this what others are telling me I want?

Sometimes, that check-in happens before making big decisions. Sometimes, it comes after a big decision has been made.

If you find yourself asking, “how did I get here? or “this can’t be it, right?” then this program is for you.

Join us for a 4-week program to learn how to ask yourself the tough questions – and be honest enough to get real answers. Take the time to get to know the real you and how to connect that you to the opportunities in work and life that fit, whomever you may be.

Sign up here.

Disclaimer: This program is designed as a coaching program. Participants will be given access to proprietary tools and a thought process created by The Forte Factor, but these tools do not provide the solution to your question. You are responsible for identifying your goal and working on achieving it. You define success. As a coach, I am here to be your accountability partner. I’ll help you stick to your action plan to work toward your goal, but I will not tell you if your goal is right or wrong, good or bad, productive or unproductive. That is for you to decide.

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Experiencing Emotions

Sometimes, you feel angry and you can’t seem to get out of the downward spiral; everything just makes your mood worse. Sometimes, you just need to cry and can’t stop. Sometimes, you’re so contagiously happy you seem to be operating in your own world.

I can guarantee that as a human, you regularly experience these emotions. We all do.

Experiencing any of those emotions is not good or bad, right or wrong. It’s what you do when you experience them that determines your degree of happiness or suffering as you go through life. Remember, life and its events are neutral. We add the meaning. Each emotion we experience is telling us something about us and our world. Sometimes we like it; sometimes we don’t. But when we really tune in, we get to experience all of life.

Consider how you would fully experience these events.

  • You wake up happy, rested and excited about the day. The sun is out, the sky has no clouds. There is the smell of coffee coming from the kitchen. Spend a moment with this.
  • You wake up upset and tired. You have a headache. You spilled breakfast on your work clothes and need to change, which got you caught up in traffic and made you late for work. Spend a moment with this.
  • You received some tough health news. More tests are needed but your next appointment is not for two weeks. You will have to distract yourself while you wait for the additional tests. Spend a moment with this.

I’m the first to raise my hand to say “been there!” Whether happy, nervous or sad, our emotions help us make sense of our world. So, consider how you can choose to experience and learn from your emotions – to help you either focus on the joy or the lesson in each moment? Feel, then manage your emotions to help you wisely, successfully and productively show up fully present, aware and authentic in life.

Take Action
The next time you find yourself experiencing an excess of a specific emotion, take a deep breath. Allow yourself the time to fully experience it – what it feels like to be happy, relaxed, worried or upset.

Then ask yourself: what emotion(s) do I want to stay in and what do I want to learn from then move away from? Hold on to those that bring you joy, happiness and contentment. Learn from, then let go of, the others.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading Are You Putting Bricks in Your Backpack?

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If You’re A Boomer, What’s Next?

By Jay Forte, Coach, Author, Educator

I just turned 60. I have no intention of retiring anytime soon because, not only do I love what I do, but I can easily fit being a coach into the life that I want.

But we’re here to talk about you. As you start to approach or achieve retirement, how do you want to use your days?

Many people believe retirees spend all their time engaging in leisure activities, moving south to warmer climates and generally just slowing things down. If this makes life great for you, terrific! Go do it.

However, simply ending work isn’t always an easy or satisfactory step into retirement because most Boomers came from a period of great work intensity. Shifting to a new way of thinking about ourselves and our lives requires intentional thought.

I believe a successful starting point is to redefine the word retirement. Instead of thinking of it as “not working,” think of it as “a more intentional and planned use of your time.”

So how do you structure this next phase of life around what matters to you?

To feel healthy and live a life that matters, we all need purpose. Celebrity host Dr. Oz said, “If your heart doesn’t have a reason to beat, it generally won’t.” What matters to you can guide you to what’s next for you. It’s called purposeful living.

Consider these scenarios:

If you need to continue to work. What work will give you the social connection you want and the financial resources and/or medical benefits you need? How will what you do align to what you are good at and interested in doing? What opportunities align to your stamina, health, location and sense of community?

If you don’t need to work, but want to work. What type of work, schedule and environment will activate your sense of purpose and self-value? What contribution do you want to still make? What pressure does this take off you, and how does this allow you to choose the work more intentionally? What impact do you want to have?

If you don’t need to work. What passions can be engaged? What interests will help you feel that each day of life is exciting, meaningful and valuable? What can you share with others that you are interested in or an expert at? Where are the places for you to connect to make an impact and feel part of something valuable?

At any age, life gives you a blank slate each day from which you create what you want. Many people don’t intentionally and purposefully direct their choices, often resulting in their doing things that don’t align to their abilities and interests, or worse, make them feel stuck or afraid of change.

What is required is a thoughtful consideration of who you are – what you are good at, passionate about and what matters to you – and a review of the opportunities that connect to who you are. This is how any of us, at any point in our lives, can start to answer the question, “what’s next?”

This is a particularly critical question for Boomers to ask themselves to continue to direct and own their lives to make wise decisions and live life like it matters.

Consider engaging with me as your Life Coach to talk about what matters to you and what your next chapter can hold for you.

 

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Is Your Life an Adventure?

By Jay Forte, Coach, Author, Educator

I was recently on a flight home from a speaking gig in Memphis, and as the plane took off, there was a deafening bang from the left side of the plane, followed by a terrible smell. All 165 passengers sat there, quietly speculating what could have happened while a wave of panic quickly grew. An announcement from the captain told us we took a bird into the left engine and needed to return to the airport.

I thought of Captain Sully landing his jet on the Hudson River after his infamous bird strike as the plane wobbled over the hills around Memphis, making two larger passes over the area to give emergency vehicles time to assemble and prepare for our landing. We landed safely and, once at full stop, we were surrounded by fire engines, ready to foam us down if leaks or flames were detected.

Thankfully, we were fine and the plane limped its way to the gate.

Sometimes, life presents us with something that shakes us. It could be a scary airport landing, an illness or personal bankruptcy. And sometimes, it is something exceptional, like the connection to a person you know you will go through life with, succeeding in something difficult or closing that all important deal at work.

It’s how we choose to deal with each event – whether or not we decide to see life as an adventure – that affects our energy, outlook and happiness.

Life doesn’t judge you as good or bad. It just delivers the events – some easy, some hard, some exciting, some heartbreaking. Viewing all of them as part of your adventure helps you keep perspective to climb the hills, ford the streams and, when things seem particularly challenging, find the energy to keep going.

When you view life as an adventure, you don’t take it personally. You simply choose to be part of it, celebrating where it takes you and what you learn in the process.

As Helen Keller said, “Life is an adventure or it is nothing.”

I choose adventure.

Important Questions from a Coach:

  1. What do you do to make your life an adventure?
  2. Where in your work/life/relationship(s) are you playing small when playing larger would connect you to a bigger, bolder life?
  3. What is one thing you can do today to live a dream, develop a passion and make your life more of an adventure?

 

Consider reading Learn to See the Good.

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