Friday, August 14, 2015

Change: Scary or Exciting?


Have you ever felt scared and excited at the same time? Feeling two such strong emotions at the same time can be confusing. But let’s look a little more closely at what these emotions mean.

First Day of School

Remember when you were a little kid and it was the first day of school? Perhaps you walked to school, or got a ride, took the bus or rode your bicycle. How did you feel on this important day? You may have been scared and not at all excited. (Think: When do I eat my lunch? Where is the bathroom? What if my teacher is mean?) Or, you might have been excited and not scared at all. (Think: I can wear my new school clothes. I’ll see my friends from the neighborhood. I am really grown up now!) 

Moving to a New Home

Do you remember a time when you moved, leaving behind your home or apartment? Scary feelings and thoughts might have been: Will I like the new neighborhood? Will I still see my old friends? What will happen to my cat? On the other hand, you might have been very excited, feeling and thinking: I’m moving to a wonderful new home. This is my dream house. I’m really looking forward to my new neighborhood. 

Starting a Creative Project

Do you remember the last time you started a big project? Perhaps you were writing an article, a book, or starting a new painting. You may have experienced scary feelings like: I have no idea what I’m doing! What was I thinking? What if I really can’t do this? You might have experienced excitement: I am so jazzed about finishing my book and getting it out in the world! I love the new direction of my work. This is going to be so great!

Embracing Both

In each of these examples and many more you can probably think of, it’s more than likely you experienced both scary and excited thoughts and feelings. When you become aware of this conflict, instead of shying away from it, consider embracing it. Congratulate yourself on your ability to hold two different emotions at the same time. Enjoy the roller coaster ride of mixed emotions. Inevitably, like the weather, feelings seldom stay exactly the same for long.

If you are going through transition or change, and need some help, let's set up a time to chat.

You can reach me at susan@susanborkin.com or by phone at (408) 973-7877.




Susan Borkin


P.S. Remember, if you haven’t done so before, take advantage of our Complimentary Coaching Consultation to increase your creativity and productivity. 

Image Copyright: nisha patel / SloDive

Copyright © 2015 Susan Borkin

Friday, July 10, 2015

When the Going Gets Tough

You’ve undoubtedly heard the adage, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” That may be true, but frankly, my first impulse when things get tough is to hide under a blanket. Actually, I do find that a nap can be extremely helpful, but only as a short-term solution. Here are some other ideas to consider.

GET ENOUGH QUALITY SLEEP 

Make sure you are getting a good night’s sleep. Have you ever noticed how much better everything seems when you wake up in the morning after sleeping well? Scientists confirm that sleep is a critical component to a healthy and balanced life. Do consider a short nap during the day. When timed correctly, napping can be remarkably restorative. 

EAT RIGHT

When in a stressful situation, my impulse is to eat exactly the wrong food. That little energy burst may work for a while, but soon wears off. Eating balanced meals and snacks throughout the day pays off in terms of on-going energy and the ability to think through solutions clearly.

GET HELP IF YOU NEED IT

Talk to someone you trust. Ask a friend if they would be willing to listen to you. Talk it through. If necessary, seek professional help. Most of the time we really don’t need advice, but rather the opportunity to tell our own story in the presence of a good listener. 

WORK IT OUT

You don’t necessarily need to go to a gym or your local Zumba class, unless this is something you find helpful. Get outside. Move your body. Walk in nature and be among trees and flowers. Walk near water if you can. 

WRITE IT OUT 

To be perfectly honest, writing is not always the first thing that comes to mind when I’m feeling stressed, worried, overwhelmed or depressed. But eventually, I find that not writing will actually make me feel much worse. Why is this so? Writing helps me to make sense of things, to sort out the loose ends, to find clarity and direction. A traumatic experience like death, serious illness or a major accident can leave us feeling unbalanced, confused, or like everything is falling apart. Writing helps put the pieces back together, perhaps in a new way, but nevertheless, moving us back to wholeness.

If you need some help during a difficult time, let’s set up a time to chat.

You can reach me at susan@susanborkin.com or by phone at (408) 973-7877.




Susan Borkin


P.S. Remember, if you haven’t done so before, take advantage of our Complimentary Coaching Consultation to increase your creativity and productivity. 


Copyright © 2015 Susan Borkin

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Just a Traveling Fool

In the last few weeks I have been doing a lot of traveling. Some travel was business-related, and some was to visit family. But no matter what the reason is for travel, I think there is both bad news and good news about travel when it comes to daily routines.

First, there is the bad news. For me, travel can certainly upset my schedule, disrupt work deadlines, interrupt my sleep pattern, cause me to eat in less than healthy ways, not exercise, and skip writing. On the other hand, traveling can provide a number of possibilities for keeping up with my creative life.

HURRY UP AND WAIT

Have you ever noticed how traveling can be a process of hurry up and wait? Rush to the airport, then sit and wait for your flight to be called. Or, get to your seat quickly and sit down and then wait (and wait, and wait) for the plane to actually leave. Or get in your car and begin your journey and get caught in a massive traffic jam. These scenarios can be less than fun experiences. On the other hand, if you have a book with you and you’re not driving, you can get a fair amount of reading done. Or you can catch up on your daily journaling, brainstorm ideas, or update your contact list. Bottom-line: use your waiting time to be productive.

PLEASANT SURPRISES

If you travel, you will notice occasional unpleasant surprises. For example, the hottest day of the year in London in your non air-conditioned hotel room or your flight change that the airline failed to properly record, considerably delaying your arrival. On the other hand, have you ever arrived at a hotel or car rental desk and been upgraded at no extra charge? Or have you ever gone for a walk in a new town and stopped in your tracks and stared at a stunning profusion of azaleas in full-bloom? Bottom-line: be alert for wonderful surprises to inspire you.

NEW PERSPECTIVE

Have you ever gotten on a train that was crowded and stuffy or sat in front of a little kid kicking the back of your chair on a cross-country flight? On the other hand, has the greenery, a stream, lake, river, or ocean in a new location ever taken your breath away? After returning home from a trip, have you ever allowed a new perspective from your travels to change your point of view or give you new ideas? Has returning from travel ever provided you with greater resolve and focus? Bottom-line: use returning home from travel to provide you with a new perspective.

While traveling can be challenging, wonderful, difficult, and fun (sometimes all at the same time!), don’t be a traveling fool. Use your travel time and experiences to stimulate your creativity and your writing.

Happy traveling!



Susan Borkin


P.S. Remember, if you haven’t done so before, take advantage of our Complimentary Coaching Consultation to increase your creativity and productivity. 

Copyright © 2015 Susan Borkin

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Writing in Cruise Control

While driving on the freeway the other day, I decided to turn on the cruise control in my car. There are lots of good reasons to use cruise control---you’re likely to drive closer to the speed limit, you can relax a little bit at the wheel and give yourself a break from steady pressure on the accelerator.  

But what are the disadvantages to driving in cruise control? Possibly letting your attention stray for a moment? Becoming too relaxed, or maybe even becoming a little lazy? 

Now consider your writing and creative life lately. Has it gone into cruise control? Are you not feeling as excited as you used to about your projects and creative work? Have you lost focus, vision or purpose?

If your writing has gone into cruise control mode, there are several things you can do. Check out the ideas below:

TALK WITH YOUR WRITING
Set up a dialogue on paper with your writing or a creative project and ask it about what it needs and where it wants to go. To do this, write down your name (or a nickname or whatever you want to call yourself). Then begin to “speak” on paper. Be honest. Be sincere. Speak from your heart. Ask your writing or your project what it wants and what it needs from you. Next, let your writing or creative project speak back. On paper, this will look like the script for a play. One person speaks, then the other. It’s a conversation. Feel free to interrupt, get angry, and be silly, just as you would with a conversation with a person. 

CHANGE THE SCENERY
Mix things up a bit.  Take a new route home or try driving or walking down a different street just for fun.  Shop at a new grocery store.  When you change your environment you are likely to pay more attention to what is new around you.  Change your writing environment, too.  Try writing in a different place, at a different time or with a different kind of paper or pen.  Try changing your computer font to give the words you write a new perspective.

TAKE SOME RISKS WITH YOUR WRITING
You can always edit it out or delete it later. Stuck on the plot of your novel? Has it been awhile since you’ve written a poem? Try a whole new genre for a few days (It was a dark and stormy night). Write a story from a different voice.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO DIG DEEPER 
In addition to trying new approaches to your writing, try taking your current writing deeper. Ask yourself what you might be avoiding in your current writing. Or, be willing to experiment with new ideas you’ve been setting aside.  

Sometimes it’s just fine to drive in cruise control for a little while.  But if you find yourself stuck in a rut or just skimming the surface, take your writing out of cruise control!
 



P.S. Remember, if you haven’t done so before, take advantage of our Complimentary Coaching Consultation and we'll talk about what you need to stay out of 'cruise control' with your writing. Phone (800) 552-WRITE, that's (800) 552-9748 or write to me at susan@susanborkin.com to find out more.

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Copyright © 2015 Susan Borkin

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Finding Your Inner Leprechaun

This month, with spring just around the corner and St. Patrick’s Day coming up in a few days, I thought it would be fun to connect with our inner leprechauns and play with a metaphorical pot o’ gold. 

There is an old film I have always loved called Finian’s Rainbow (circa 1968). The plot of the film weaves together a charming tale that is comedic, romantic and magical. The story revolves around a loveable schemer and a leprechaun fighting over a pot of gold. My favorite song from the film is called “Look to the Rainbow.” Here are the lyrics of the song: 

…I’ve got an elegant legacy
 Waitin’ for ye,
‘Tis a rhyme for your lips
And a song for your heart,
To sing it whenever the world falls apart.
Look, look
Look to the rainbow.
Follow it over the hill
And the stream.
Look, look
Look to the rainbow.
Follow the fellow
Who follows a dream.

It reminded me that whatever is happening in your life, especially on those days when it feels as if your world is falling apart, keep following the rainbow and searching for that pot of gold at rainbow’s end. 

Here are some practical tips to keep you inspired on your journey:

KNOW THAT EVERYONE HAS DAYS WHEN IT FEELS LIKE THE WORLD IS FALLING APART.

No matter how successful someone looks to you on the outside, you don’t necessarily have access to how they feel on the inside.  As a friend of mine says, “Don’t compare your insides to someone else’s outsides.”

SHARE YOUR DREAMS WITH OTHERS WHO WILL SUPPORT YOU.

You’ve undoubtedly had the experience of being very excited about something and sharing it with someone who didn’t return your enthusiasm.  Try to weed out those people in your life and be around positive folks who will cheer you on.

LEARN TO LAUGH AT YOURSELF MORE.

Laughter not only raises your beta endorphin level and simply makes you feel better, but being able to step back and laugh at yourself in a loving and gentle way will automatically change your perspective and get you thinking more positively.  Challenge yourself to find something amusing about even the most challenging of situations.  

KEEP YOUR DREAM ALIVE.

Let your environment support you. Have pictures, a vision board, a collage or small objects around your workspace, representing where you want to be or what you want to do. Dream big. Play the “what if” game. “What if I could have whatever I wanted?”

USE PENVISIONING.

I once invented for myself a method I now call “Penvisioning.” It means visualizing exactly what you want, jotting it down quickly, and then dropping back into the visualization and again jotting down your vision. 

Keep dreaming. Keep visualizing what it is you want to have. Consider having your inner leprechaun help you grant your very own wishes! 

Take good care,

 



P.S. Remember, if you haven’t done so before, take advantage of our Complimentary Coaching Consultation and we'll talk about what you need to get more deeply connected to your writing. Phone (800) 552-WRITE, that's (800) 552-9748 or write to me at susan@susanborkin.com to find out more.

Please jump in and respond on this blog, by clicking the green 'Comments' link just below.


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Copyright © 2015 Susan Borkin

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Stormy Weather & Winter Writing

If you have picked up a newspaper or listened to a newscast within the last month, you have certainly heard enough about winter storms!  Why not take advantage of the cold, snow or rain outside and curl up with your journal inside? 

Here is a great technique for doing some in-depth winter writing. 

DIG DEEPLY

Winter can make you feel like hibernating.  Take advantage of the season and go deeply into an area you have been ignoring or avoiding.  Perhaps it is a relationship you have been struggling with, a decision you are having trouble with or a project you have been procrastinating.  Whatever the issue, commit to writing about it for seven days in a row.  That’s right.  Take a week and in as little as ten minutes a day (of course you can write more if you want to!), write about this subject.  

Go ahead and complain, whine and dump.  Get it out of your system.  Continue writing for seven days, even if it feels like you aren’t going anyway.  Continue to get it all out.

INTERVIEW YOURSELF

Now pretend you are an interviewer and set up a dialogue with yourself.  Ask yourself questions like:
  • What is this all about?
  • What is really going on here?
  • Why have I been avoiding this issue?
During your “interview,” answer the questions honestly.  Write quickly without editing.  Allow feelings to come up.  Don’t think about it.  Just write.

LET IT REST

After you are done with the dialogue between you and your “interviewer,” let the writing sit for a day or two.  When you go back to it, you may have a new perspective, insight or direction.

In the next few days, find another topic and start the process again.  Pick something that’s bothering you, feels unfinished or needs to be taken care of.  

It may be cold, rainy or snowy outside, but your winter writing can generate plenty of heat!

Take good care,

 



P.S. Remember, if you haven’t done so before, take advantage of our Complimentary Coaching Consultation and we'll talk about what you need to get more deeply connected to your writing. Phone (800) 552-WRITE, that's (800) 552-9748 or write to me at susan@susanborkin.com to find out more.

Please jump in and respond on this blog, by clicking the green 'Comments' link just below.


If you are new to blogging, here are some instructions. If you are the first leave a comment, it will say '0 Comments' - just click that link. If you do not have one of the listed accounts, please choose either Name/URL or Anonymous from the profile list before you click 'Post Comment'

Copyright © 2015 Susan Borkin

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Looking Backward, Aiming Forward

Happy New Year!  This month rather than resolutions, I want to discuss setting goals. What’s the difference? Generally, when we make New Year’s resolutions, it’s more of a wish list. I am resolving to do something, but I have no specific plan to do so. To give your goals more “oomph” here are some ideas.

LOOKING BACKWARD

It’s easy to be hard on yourself when you look back at last year and think about what you didn’t accomplish.  Try this instead.  On a piece of paper write down everything you did accomplish, no matter how small you judge the accomplishment to be. Did you clean out a closet or get caught up on your filing?  Did you try any new recipes or finally start writing in your new journal? Was this the year you actually used your gym membership? Try this method of giving yourself credit for what you have done before you start with new goals. 

THE WHEEL OF LIFE

Here’s a way to organize your list of goals. Start by drawing a circle in the middle of a piece of paper.  Now, divide the circle into eight different sections, just like you would if you were cutting up a pie.  Label the sections with titles such as friends & family, finances, work and career, health, personal and spiritual growth, partner or romance, and physical environment. These are only suggestions; create section titles that work best for you. 
Taking one area at a time, write down what you really want to accomplish in this area of your life.  What is it that you really want to happen?  Be as specific as possible.

THE GOOD…

With each goal you have written, write down how you will feel when you accomplish it.  Take your time, close your eyes and really see what your life will be like when you accomplish this goal. If you would like, create a collage or symbol to represent this goal.

THE BAD…

This part isn’t as much fun, but it is equally as important to do.  Again, taking your time and closing your eyes, imagine how you will feel if you don’t accomplish these goals.  Take them one at a time, and without dwelling on it for too long, get a sense of what it will be like if you don’t accomplish these goals.  Write down what you see.  

THE CHALLENGE

Based on what you’ve written, select one or two goals to begin. Don’t worry about the goals that you haven’t selected at this time. Everything you really want to get done will get done; but you can’t do everything at once. The challenge here is prioritize what is most important to start. Perhaps you have had this experience in the past---doing too many things at once only results in getting nothing done. 

STEP-BY-STEP

Finally, for the one or two goals you will be working with, make a list of action steps you will need to complete to accomplish this goal. One way of doing this is to begin with the end result you are trying to accomplish. Work backwards, and then reverse your list of steps. Pick up your paper or electronic planner and note deadlines for these steps. Remember that breaking each step down into tiny action steps will move the process along. 

OBSTACLES AND SUPPORT 

You may also choose to write down any obstacles you can anticipate or might run into along the way. Anticipating obstacles will help keep you focused and on top of your action steps. Don’t forget to also note what you will be doing to make sure you have accountability and support.

Good luck and let me know if I can help!

Happy New Year,


 



P.S. Remember, if you haven’t done so before, take advantage of our Complimentary Coaching Consultation and we'll talk about what you need to get those goals accomplished. Phone (800) 552-WRITE, that's (800) 552-9748 or write to me at susan@susanborkin.com to find out more.

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Copyright © 2015 Susan Borkin

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