Replacing judgment with curiosity

Sometimes I feel more like a detective than a coach. A master of curiosity. When I partner with a client, we work together looking for clues. Every clue provides us with more information, which then moves us closer to the next clue.

I’m not the expert on their lives. They are. And yet, most of the time they’ve lost trust in their own inner wisdom and don’t know where to look for the answers they’re seeking. My job is to help them find those answers.

picture of gorgeous tropical turquoise water

One of the most effective ways I’ve learned to do that is to help them become curious again. WILDLY curious.

When you’re curious, you forget to be afraid.
When you’re curious, you’re less attached to your ego and getting things right.
When you’re curious, you’re open to new ideas and possibilities.

Are you ready to become the brilliant detective of your own life? Let’s do this. Here are a few tips to get you started down that path:

Replace judgment with curiosity
When you default to judging things, you contract. You shut yourself off to the limitless possibilities all around you. It may feel good temporarily, because it makes you feel superior, which feeds the ego. But, in the long run it just breeds negativity.

Tap into your innate curiosity
Choose to open your heart and your mind and cultivate an insatiable desire to learn more. Access the childlike wonder that is in there somewhere. When you catch yourself coming from a place of cynicism or fear, acknowledge it (without judging yourself!) and gently let those thoughts go. Then search for what it is that you genuinely want to know. Think of the obvious question(s) that your inner child (who isn’t worried about appearances or approval) would ask.

Adjust your language
Language is so powerful. Notice what you say, both out loud and silently to yourself. When you find yourself using judgmental words, pause and try again with more open and curious language. For example, sentences that start with:

“I wonder….”
“What if…”
“I’m curious about…”

Always be looking for clues
When you start shifting away from a mindset based in fear and judgment and toward one based in love and curiosity, the world will start to look very different! Every person, place, and event becomes a fascinating opportunity to learn something new. To discover something within yourself. Keep your eyes and ears open, and be present enough to really see and hear and experience whatever’s in front of you.

Create meaning
Many of the things that we tend to judge as good or bad are not necessarily inherently good or bad. It’s our thoughts about them that ascribe value to them. So, how you experience the world around you is a product of the meanings you are attaching to everything. That means you are creating your own reality at all times! So, as you walk through your life, find symbolism, find signs from the universe, find inspiration wherever you go. Why not?!  It makes the day to day experience way more fun 🙂

Notice what you notice
Be curious about and notice how you respond to things. What kinds of people, places, and things get you excited? What makes you feel good? The more you pay attention, the more patterns will emerge. Every time you observe a preference – whether you like or dislike something – that information can move you closer to having more alignment in your life. To prioritizing what you love and what’s important to you and letting go of the things that don’t serve you and don’t interest you.

Be on the lookout for the things you want
As you become more and more attuned to this shift in perspective – to leading with curiosity – you’ll start to see that not only can you be constantly looking for and finding clues that help you create a life you love, but you’ll also realize that when you’re looking for specific things, you’re more likely to find them. So, keep what you want to find and create at the front of your mind, and then be open and ready to receiving the opportunities that show up.

Because what you focus on expands.

Be the detective. Look for clues. Choose curiosity over judgment, and watch your life transform into a daily adventure full of wonder and delight as you become both the conscious creator or your own reality, as well as the awestruck observer. It’s incredible.

Top 10 Reasons to Become a Lifestyle Entrepreneur

Before I go into the top 10, let me clarify what I mean by lifestyle entrepreneur, for those of you who might not be familiar with the term. As far as labels go, it’s one that I strongly identify with, and as soon as I heard the term, I claimed it. Hell ya, I am a lifestyle entrepreneur, albeit just a freshman compared to the seniors on campus like Tim Ferris and Chris Guillebeau, who blazed the trail for the rest of us years ago.

What is a lifestyle entrepreneur?
Lifestyle entrepreneurs are simply entrepreneurs who prioritize lifestyle before profit. Are we still interested in profit? Absolutely! Most of us are incredibly money motivated. It’s just that we value freedom and independence more than anything else. We’re crystal clear on our desired lifestyle and build our businesses around those ideals, not just to allow for what’s most important to us, but to support it.

It’s about freedom
Some of us are location independent digital nomads, running businesses we can run from anywhere in the world. Many of us are obsessed with travel and strive to create a freedom lifestyle, where we can live, work, and play while globetrotting freely. For others, it’s about something completely different. Ultimately, though, it’s always about freedom – whatever that means to you.

It’s not easy
Of course, being a lifestyle entrepreneur has its challenges, just like being any kind of entrepreneur. It’s a wild ride that’s probably not for everyone. Most of us take huge risks, fail often, and frequently get the crap kicked out of us. Some people give it a great effort, but eventually walk away because it’s hard and uncomfortable. The ones who end up crushing it usually have some serious grit (unless they just got really lucky).

Here are some of my favorite reasons, for those of you flirting with the idea, to become a lifestyle entrepreneur.

1. Vision + Purpose + Passion
As a lifestyle entrepreneur, you lead with vision, purpose and passion. You’re often called “heart centered” and can’t imagine doing work you don’t love. You step out of your comfort zone frequently and do whatever it takes to build a business, because it lights you up and fills your life with meaning. It’s the work you can’t not do.

2. Authenticity
You get to fly your freak flag. In this type of work, the more authentic you are, the more successful you are. You get to create a business that is an expression, or extension, of who you are. There are no masks to put on or facades to uphold. You just get to be you – the quirky, super weird, real YOU.

3. Freedom
Regardless of what your definition of freedom is, being a lifestyle entrepreneur is all about supporting that. Whether it’s being able to spend time outdoors during the day and working at night, having time to care for elderly parents, spending more time with your kids, or traveling 9 months of the year, YOU get to decide. (And only YOU are responsible for creating it.)

4. Flexibility
A big part of the freedom lifestyle is flexibility. Set your own hours, work when and how you want. If sitting at a desk for 8 hours doesn’t work, maybe you work in 20 minute spurts. Or only on weekends. Or when you feel like it. Or when your golf schedule allows for it. Obviously it depends on what your line of work is, when your clients are available etc., but it’s up to you to set it up in a way that works for you.

5. Location independence
Another big part of the freedom lifestyle is being location independent. If you want to stay home, you can work from home. If you want to be social, you can find a co-working space or coffeeshop. As long as you have wifi, you can work with clients 1:1 over the phone or skype, lead group calls or video conferences, host webinars, and so much more with people anywhere in the world, from anywhere in the world. You also start to really appreciate good wifi.

6. Personal growth
Whether your business is actually about personal growth, like mine is, or is focused on something else entirely (SEO, let’s say), because you are not just doing whatever your line of work is but also figuring out all the different parts of starting and growing a business, you will constantly grow and develop as a human. You’ll fail, learn, grow, rinse, and repeat.

7. Financial independence
While it can be crazy stressful, risky, and humbling in the beginning when you’re dealing with aspects of entrepreneurship like paying for your own health insurance or not having a predictable monthly income, the possibilities are limitless. As a lifestyle entrepreneur, maybe you become an expert at leverage, offering not just 1:1 services, but group programs, information products, and more. Maybe you create multiple streams of passive income.

8. Building a team
In the beginning, most likely you start out by doing everything yourself. Maybe you stay a one person shop, which can work beautifully, or maybe you start outsourcing parts of the business to experts who can do a much better job at whatever it is you’re not great at or don’t enjoy doing, which frees up your time to focus on your favorite parts of the work. With an efficient team, you can leverage yourself even more.

9. Creativity
Most lifestyle entrepreneurs lead unconventional lives. If you are a bit of a rebel, rule breaker, or non-conformist, having creative freedom is incredibly important to you. It’s where you come alive and do your best work. Being your own boss, running your own company, and being a creator out in the world gives you the freedom to be in your zone of genius, and tap into your creative in whichever way you’d like.

10. Impact
You want – no need! – to have an impact, leave a mark, and make the world a better place or help the people in it, in your own unique and brilliant way. It doesn’t matter how big or small the impact is, as a lifestyle entrepreneur it’s an important part of what drives you. Doing work that has no impact not only doesn’t appeal to you, it probably repels you.

In short, being a lifestyle entrepreneur is a challenging, emotional rollercoaster of an adventure that is worth every single second. I’ve only been on the path for a few years, and have a long way to go and many more challenges to get through I’m sure, but I can’t imagine doing anything else now.

If this post stirs something in your heart, don’t ignore it! Honor the whisper in your ear, treat it as a clue, get wildly curious, and explore the possibilities. I dare you.

RIP Scott Dinsmore, a True Legend

Over the weekend I got some terrible news. A bright, shining light in my community – one of my favorite colleagues – had passed away. Today is the day of the week when I publish a blog post, and I can’t imagine writing about anything other than him. Here is my story about Scott and the impact he’s had on my life. For those of you who don’t know about him, I am honored to introduce you to an incredibly inspiring human. For those that do, please take this as an urgent reminder to live a life that you life.

Scott originally came onto my radar back in 2011. As a fellow coach in San Francisco, but one who was light years ahead of me professionally, he quickly became a role model and mentor from afar.

scott-dinsmore-im-fine-thanks-interview

While I never actually met him in person, and he probably wouldn’t have recognized me in the street, we exchanged a few emails and facebook messages and had a ton of friends in common. I would see him running around (literally) in San Francisco all the time, usually at the Lyon Street stairs or down at Crissy Field beach. I always figured our paths would cross one day and I had him on my wish list of coaches, speakers, writers, entrepreneurs, and change makers with whom I might one day share a stage or grow a friendship.

This year, Scott and his wife Chelsea embarked on a world tour. Not only were they traveling the world and having a blast, but they were visiting local chapters of a movement he started several years ago along the way. He inspired me not just professionally as a coach and entrepreneur, but his commitment to community and building something bigger than himself that would touch countless lives has been a big part of my growing desire to do the same.

As of right now, my fiancé and I are planning to do our own world tour next year. Scott and Chelsea’s adventure was a huge part of my inspiration for starting to plan this kind of ambitious journey. I was following their tour with great interest on Facebook and Instagram, taking mental notes and growing increasingly committed to forging a similar path. Here’s a little glimpse into the start of their journey. (Keep watching all the way until the end, for the adorable blooper reel.)

Scott’s words, his work, and his life will live on through the countless souls he touched in his far too short time on this earth.

And now, without further ado, let me introduce you to the man, the legend, Scott Dinsmore. Here are a few of his own words and some from his fans, friends, and followers to give you an idea of who he was.

His famous TEDx talk:

His website / community / movement, Live Your Legend, the accompanying LYL Action and Accountability FB group and his creed:

The-Creed-of-Living-Legends

News of his death spread like wildfire on Facebook and the ensuing onslaught of shared memories, moving stories of the countless ways he touched so many peoples lives, has left me mostly speechless. All I’ve been able to do for the past 18 hours is alternately cry and read more of the outpouring of love coming from all corners of the globe. This man truly inspired people on a soul level and changed lives in the most literal sense.

To read more, check out the Tribute to Scott Dinsmore facebook group, or some of the kind words from his friends Jonathan Mead, Leo Babauta, and Corbett Barr.

RIP, Scott. I didn’t even realize how big of an impact you’d had on my life until you were gone. I promise to do my part in helping your life and your mission to live on. I promise to live MY legend as best I can and inspire others to do the same. And I promise to celebrate your life and carry on so that your light lives on.

7 Simple Confidence Hacks

Confidence is one of my favorite topics. It’s a fascinating subject that we could dissect for days, but in this post I just want to give you a few quick tips that I have found to be very effective in my life. My clients have reported similar results.

Let me clarify that by confidence I mean that quiet, humble self-assuredness that you see in someone who knows who they are, what they stand for, and what they want. It’s NOT the same as arrogance, which stems from feelings of superiority over other people. In fact, it has nothing to do with other people, because it’s not about comparing yourself to anyone else. It’s about simple straight forward self-acceptance, self-love, and self-esteem.

Building a deep-rooted sense of confidence takes time. Especially if you’re coming from a place of self-doubt or insecurity to begin with. The good news is that it’s like a muscle and we can train it to be quite strong. I’ll address ways to grow your confidence in a holistic long-term way in many future posts. For now, though, here are some quick hacks to sample increased confidence at least temporarily, which can 1) help you get through a tough situation and 2) give you a taste of that delicious experience of truly, madly, and deeply believing in yourself.

1. Stand tall
Body language is hugely connected to our emotions. Even when you’re not feeling mentally, emotionally, or spiritually strong in any moment, you can choose to give yourself the gift of good posture. Simply stand tall, distribute your weight equally between both feel, relax your shoulders down and back, imagine that you have strings attached to the crown of your head and are being lifted up, and open your chest (this helps you give your lungs more room to take in more oxygen too.)

2. Make eye contact
Whether you’re doing it consciously or not, and whether it’s a reflection of your emotional state or not, as soon as you divert your eyes or avoid making eye contact with whomever you are interacting with, you will appear to be less confident. Train yourself to have the courage to look people in the eyes. Let them truly see you. Not only will you convey confidence, but you’ll also feel more confident, and will connect more easily with the other person. Obviously, there is a point at which prolonged eye contact becomes either aggressive or creepy! Use your judgment and figure out what works for you.

3. Breathe deeply
When you are scared or self-conscious, your body is most likely going into a stress response and you aren’t breathing deeply anymore. Simply pausing and remembering to breathe, and to breathe deeply if possible, will slow the stress response and start to trigger the relaxation response in your brain.

4. Speak up
Literally. Just speak louder. So many of us (women especially) have a tendency to trail off or mumble when we’re feeling insecure or unworthy. Until your inner confidence catches up, practice simply raising the volume of your voice. Again, you will not only appear more confident, but you will actually feel more confident. Plus, when you speak up, people will listen, which will in turn start to support your beliefs that your voice matters. In addition to volume, you can play with other aspects of your voice, like resonance, pitch, intonation, and tonality and notice both how you feel and what the impact is.

5. Slow down
This applies to both your internal and external behaviors. Internally, this means pausing to observe your thoughts, beliefs, intentions… it means practicing self-awareness. With external behaviors, such as your physical movements and how fast you talk, notice how people who talk fast or move quickly often come across as frenetic or flustered. Slowing down gives your brain and your heart a chance to guide your words and actions. What you say and do will be more mindful and aligned with who you are, as opposed to simply default behavior based on years of conditioning and often influenced by limiting beliefs and fear.

6. Smile
It’s so incredibly simple, but it works wonders. Don’t do one of those fake for-the-camera smiles where your mouth is smiling, but your eyes look dead. Smile with your eyes first and your mouth will follow suit. Much like how answering the phone with a huge smile on your face changes the way your voice sounds on the receiving end, smiling is a bit of a trick to short circuit your system. There are so many benefits. Not only will you get a little release of positive chemicals in your brain, but smiling puts other people at ease, which makes them feel more comfortable around you, which will put you at ease and boost your confidence.

7. Get curious
Most often, when you notice that you are lacking in self-confidence, you are focusing on yourself. Turn the focus outward onto someone else and get wildly curious about them. It’s almost impossible to judge anyone (including yourself) when you are being genuinely curious. Ask questions. Be hungry to learn more.

Use these simple tips as needed for a quick confidence boost in the moment or use them often as a way of starting to reprogram your mind with the ultimate intention of growing real authentic confidence and inner power.