“Don’t Take it Personal” He Said.

Many years ago, I had a boss say to me “it’s business, don’t take it personal.” I still remember feeling completely stymied – his words were like a punch in the gut and I wasn’t supposed to feel this?

As women we are taught to stomp on our emotions, squash them, ignore them and for the love of God, don’t be too emotional or too strong, especially around a man or a woman who is misguided by power. I learned this the hard way. That same boss later fired me, saying I had “usurped” his authority. What the heck?!

I now understand the antiquated phrase, “it’s business, don’t take it personal” means “I’m delivering bad news and I wish to be exonerated.” And I now know, as author Sabaa Tahir, wrote “Your emotions make you human. Even the unpleasant ones have a purpose. Don’t lock them away. If you ignore them, they just get louder and angrier.” 

I grew up in an environment where speaking your truth was not encouraged or supported. I had no idea how to navigate my emotions and my frustration at times would explode out of me physically and verbally. To not be heard, to not be allowed to express yourself and then to embody the message that emotions should be tampered down and withheld, led to a rocky road for many years ahead.

I get it now – emotions are your guiding light. How you feel can illuminate areas of opportunity and help you conjure a future, or circumstance that is in alignment with who you are and what you believe.

Perhaps you manage a business or lead an organization. Your goal may be to increase revenue by x-amount of dollars. You achieve your goal have a short-lived moment of “wow, great job” but you’ve arrived tired, depleted and are now setting the bar higher for the next goal. Exhausting!

What if your primary objective was how you want to feel? My example is; above all else I want to feel fulfilled, inspired, enthused, engaged and calm. I make choices and have conversations based on my emotional desire.  My emotions light the path for what is working, what isn’t working, show me where to adjust and what I need to let go of or embrace even deeper.

Your emotions are your tuning fork to make beautiful music in your life.  

I certainly have goals for my business and life, but how I pursue these goals (I prefer the word desires) isn’t guided by going for that goal; it’s guided first by how I want to feel, which clears the path for setting intention, which allows for presence and clarity and opens my heart to connection and opportunity. 

Your emotions signal when it’s time to pause, reflect and fine tune so you arrive having enjoyed an enlightening, fulfilling trip. 

Will you encounter storms? Probably. But when you fully embrace your emotions, you tap into a system of guidance that shows you how to adjust your sails to support your well-being and traverse life hurdles with confidence and more ease.

What’s Your ‘Different’ for 2019? (consider this…)

December 31st, 2018 marked four years, 48 months, 1,460 days of retreating into myself. It’s been an emotional, revealing, regenerative and shifting ride to say the least, and one that is shifting again to re-engaging and stepping out oh-so-differently.

This past year, in the quiet of my home, in the solitude I created for myself a thought emerged…what comes after overcoming overwhelm? The answer that came to me is ‘leadership done differently’, which led to interviewing women in politics, business owners, organization leaders, coaches and managers.

One woman I interviewed wrapped something I’ve been feeling (and teaching) into one succinct and powerful sentence
“I just want women to release the bullshit messages and legacies we carry forward”.

Whether you have a desire to be a change-maker on a large scale, within your community or in your household – as more women lead themselves from the heart and soul of who they are, collectively we will move mountains. And if being in the public eye or on the front line, isn’t your thing, let me tell you – this doesn’t mean you are not a leader too. Each of us has the opportunity, via healthy choices to be a leader of our own life and pave a new way for the younger generation of women riding the wake we leave behind us.

With this thought in mind, here are two questions to ask:

#1: What gets in your way and what supportive choices can you make? Example: 2018 it became very clear how often my ‘not enough stuff’ stopped me. I made a choice and worked with an EMDR therapist to shift childhood wounds. It took me 55 years; but hey, we do things when we are ready. I was ready.

#2: What is your ‘different’ for 2019?
My different is – ‘Out with Ease’ (also my theme for 2019). After four years, I am finally feeling ready and enthused to be out more in-person, in my community and in the world – always with ample periods of pause, rest and reflection and making my well-being a priority.
 
And…I’m very excited to bring forth a new body of work – ‘The Alchemy of Feminine Leadership’ because effective and impact-full leadership begins with how you lead yourself!

So that’s my different – what’s your ‘different’ in 2019? Write it down, tell a friend, email me – I’d love to hear!

Wishing you the happiest, healthiest, insightful year ahead!

Warmly,
Suzy




123 Questions & Ideas to Inspire You for the Year Ahead!

As 2018 comes to a close and I began thinking about what to write about for my last blog of the year this idea came to me…

I have collected in one place (here) all the questions and ‘thoughts to ponder’ I’ve asked in newsletters the past two years. 
Questions are your window to your soul, they open space for  possibility, curiosity and if you choose, offer an opportunity to shift and change.

Below are 19 topics with 123 questions and ideas for you!
 
My suggestion is to quickly glance at the list of topics below and see what jumps out at you. Chances are, whatever jumps out is the question or idea you are most needing to hear right now. 
Once you’ve chosen your number, scroll down to find yours.


 1. Raising your self-awareness for the year ahead…
2. If you’re feeling fatigued, tired and longing for more energy, try this…
3. This ‘shifting’ of habits, beliefs and behaviors began by asking these questions…
4. Strengthen you “NO” muscles.
5. Are your boundaries healthy or unhealthy? How do you know?
6. Overwhelmed? Seven Truths You Need to Know
7. Self-criticism: emotional and mental clutter worth letting go of 
8. What is your natural energy level (it might not be what you think)
9. Feeling guilty?
10. The Disease to Please and Five Ways to Stop
11. There are two types of mindsets: ‘stuck’ and ‘unstuck’…
12. Seven signs that Quantity has been placed before Quality.
13. Choice is your magic wand.
14. On clearing mental clutter …
15. Not good enough, for what?
16. How to Course Correct in Three Swift Moves:
17. When you are REALLY busy…
18. Boosting your confidence
19. Harness the Power of Intention – Write your Manifesto

Scroll down to find your ideas and questions!

1. Raising your self-awareness for the year ahead
http://suzycarroll.com/2017/12/05/six-questions-to-ask-for-a-magical-new-year/
The questions below provide an opportunity to review and reflect on 2017 2018.
For now, the objective isn’t to solve a problem or overcome a challenge, the objective is simply to raise your awareness.

Who did you, love, inspire, help, nurture, guide this year (yourself included)?
What have you learned this year – what’s worked, what hasn’t?
Where did you go that made your heart happy?
When did you allow yourself to do nothing?
Why did you sweep ‘that’ under the rug?
How do you want to feel?

2. If you are feeling fatigued, tired, depleted and longing for more energy, try this:
http://suzycarroll.com/2016/08/24/want-more-energy-think-about-this/

Take a look at the amount of energy you are expending every day.
Take a look at why you feel you must keep going.
Take a look at how you feel when you stop.
Take a look at how high your plate is piled.
Made adjustments. Say No. Let go. Prune the over-ing.

3. This ‘shifting’ of habits, beliefs and behaviors began by asking these questions:
http://suzycarroll.com/2016/11/19/the-sustain-ability-of-self/

Why are you doing what you are doing?
What need is your ‘doing’ or perhaps your ‘over-doing’ fulfilling?
What are you saying “yes” to and why?
How do you feel when you say “no”? What feelings come up?
How good are your boundaries? Do you know what ‘boundaries’ are?
What depletes you?
What feeds your soul?
What ‘thoughts’ do you have on a loop?
On a daily basis how are you renewing your natural resources?  And…
What can you let go of?

4. So how do you strengthen your “NO” muscles?
http://suzycarroll.com/2017/05/31/just-say-no/

Try this. Next time you are asked to do something, hit your pause button and respond with “thank you so much for asking, but I need to check my schedule and I’ll get back to you tomorrow”.
This opportunity to pause, gives you time check your schedule and ask yourself these questions:

If I say yes, will this feed my soul or zap my energy?
How will this enhance my life?
Is saying yes fulfilling an unmet need?
And most important, if I say yes, will I still have time to make myself a priority?
     If this last question left you feeling puzzled – please say “no”

5. Identify if your boundaries are healthy by being mindful of your energy and frustration levels.
http://suzycarroll.com/2017/06/14/just-say-no-part-3-personal-boundaries/
Check in with yourself and ask…
Do you have enough time for ‘you’?
Do you cringe when certain people call because you know it means ‘work’ for you?
Moms – are you showing up for your kid’s activities with enthusiasm or does it feel like just another thing to do?
Are you putting everyone else’s needs before your own?
Are you expecting someone else to fill your needs automatically?
Do you feel guilty when you say ‘no’?

6. Overwhelmed? Seven Truths You Need to Know:
http://suzycarroll.com/2017/07/26/7-truths-you-need-to-know/

-Being over-busy equals a full life, not a fulfilled life.
-“The more distant we are from the unique spark of life in our soul…” the more overwhelmed, lost and lonely we become.
-Overwhelm is an emotional state developed from beliefs and habits that we unwittingly adopt.
-Every time we say ‘yes’ to something or someone, we are saying ‘no’ to ourselves.
-Balance is a verb – always in action. In fact, when balance occurs, there is no movement. Movement is essential to life.
-Doing less of what does not serve you, and more of what does, increases your personal and professional success 10-fold.
-You can unwind from overwhelm! I had an extreme case of busyness – I did it, you can too.

7. Self-criticism; emotional and mental clutter worth letting go of and an excellent step towards creating more spaciousness (and kindness) in your life.
Think about this; when we are criticizing ourselves we are creating incessant chatter that only accomplishes one thing – a bummer of an experience.
http://suzycarroll.com/2017/09/05/reducing-mental-chatter/

A Daily Practice: For the rest of the week (and then forever) when you begin to criticize yourself do this:
#1: Pause.
#2: Imagine you are using the same words with a friend – how does this feel?
#3: Acknowledge what you are really feeling – disappointment, frustration, fear, insecurity.
#4: Talk to yourself with the same level of kindness you would with a friend.

8. Ten questions to begin your research into discovering your natural energy level:
http://suzycarroll.com/2017/10/04/weve-been-duped-the-truth-about-energy-and-your-optimum-level/

How can I see my desire for more energy differently?
Do I wake up rearing to go (without caffeine that is)?
Am I a morning person, an afternoon person or a night person?
Do I enjoy steady work, or am I at my best when diving in and then taking down-time?
Does time with friends or co-workers after work, help me wind down and re-fuel (without alcohol that is) or do I need time alone?
Do I push through those low energy dips, or take a 5minute breather?
Do I breathe? Seriously…I don’t think I took a deep breath for decades. Over-busy people forget to deep breathe.
What drains me?
When do I feel most energized? What am I doing; who am I with, what time of day is it?
Do I have firm boundaries in place, so I can honor my natural energy levels?

9. ON GUILT…There’s a quote that rings so true for me that I want to share with you, “guilt is an emotion that people experience because they’re convinced, they’ve caused harm”. It is by Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D and she goes on to talk about the five causes of guilt:
http://suzycarroll.com/2017/10/14/do-you-ever-feel-guilty/

Guilt Cause #1: Guilt for something you did.
Guilt Cause #2: Guilt for something you didn’t do but want to.
Guilt Cause #3: Guilt for something you think you did.
Guilt Cause #4: Guilt that you didn’t do enough to help someone.
Guilt Cause #5: Guilt that you’re doing better than someone else.


10. The Disease to Please and Five Ways to Stop
*I only included the headline for the Five Ways. To read the why, what and how, click this link:
http://suzycarroll.com/2017/10/18/the-disease-to-please-five-ways-to-stop/

#1: Awareness of what is not working. 
#2: Be ever-so-mindful of your thoughts.
#3: Know why you are saying ‘yes’.
#4: Be willing to be a bit uncomfortable.
#5: Hit your pause button.


11. There are two types of mindsets: ‘stuck’ and ‘unstuck’ and you get to choose which system you want running your thoughts.
*To read the full copy for each click this link:
http://suzycarroll.com/2017/12/20/stuck-or-unstuck-which-mindset-system-are-you-using/


#1: Identify the thoughts you have on a loop (and ask, what can I learn from this, how can I improve?)
Thoughts on a loop’ often begin with: If only…, I can’t…, I’m too…, I’m not…,I feel…, and end with self-criticism (and not the constructive kind).
#2:  Categorize and strategize. What beliefs and thought patterns most consume my mind?
#3: Write your new & improved ‘thought on a loop’. Once you’ve identified the areas you would like to upgrade, the fun begins.
#4: Dial it in. Nothing will change, unless you change. 

#5: Keep is Stupid Simple.
Last, but not least if shifting your mindset feels overwhelming, start where I did by adopting the language “how can I do this differently?”

12. Seven signs that Quantity has been placed before Quality.
*This might make more sense when reading the full blog. Link here:
http://suzycarroll.com/2018/02/06/quality-verses-quantity/

#1:  No surprise here – you feel overwhelmed.
#2: You feel you’re not enough and that you are not doing enough.
#3: There’s a level of boredom (a side effect of moredom) with what you are doing.
#4: You cruise social media often…or flip through catalogs dreaming of ‘more’.
#5: You want to go shopping…again.
#6: You’re reading copious amounts of personal growth books, watching TedTalks and listening to podcasts, searching for ‘more’.
#7: You work hard, all the time and feel agitated when you are not doing more.

13. In the world of busy, choice is your magic wand.

You can choose to say no.
You can choose to delegate.
You can choose to make yourself a priority.
You can choose to pause and explore why you are feeling the way you are feeling.
You can choose to wake up a bit earlier, so you have time for yourself.
You can choose to practiced gratitude.
You can choose to not let others people’s behavior ruin your day.
You can choose to leave the dishes in the sink and do something that will make you smile.

14. But here’s the thing, just like our clothes closets, we tend to pick up stuff along the way and then we tend to forget to let go of the old stuff that we don’t like, or no longer fits us.
Here are a few of the question I’ve been asking myself – spring cleaning for the year ahead:
http://suzycarroll.com/2018/05/01/what-matters-most/

Am I being true to myself?
Am I treating myself as well as I treat others?
Am I getting out of my own way?
Am I stuck in any old stories?
Am I seeing my ‘stuff’ and learning?
Am I hearing my excuses and stepping forward anyway?

15. Not good enough, for what?
http://suzycarroll.com/2018/05/29/not-good-enough-for-what/
So here are a few questions to ponder:What is true and what is false, about the belief that you are ‘not good enough?’
Not good enough, for what? I love this question!
What has triggered the feeling?
What story have you attached to the belief of ‘not good enough’ (or to any belief for that matter)?


16. How to Course Correct in Three Swift Moves:
http://suzycarroll.com/2018/06/26/course-correcting-in-3-swift-moves/

#1: Take inventory. Every few weeks (mark this on your calendar) take a personal inventory and ask these questions:

Have I let any of my good habits slip? If so, why?
How am I feeling – mind, body and soul?
Am I over-pleasing, over-extending and over-yessing…again?
Am I savoring moments or always focused on what is in front of me?

#2: Ease in.
 When a pilot corrects the course of a plane, she doesn’t suddenly crank the joy stick hard right (thank God). Ask these questions:

What is one thing I can do differently to adjust my course?
On a scale of 1-10, will I actually make this adjustment? Hmm…
If not, make a smaller more achievable adjustment.

#3: Prioritize ‘you’.
 Deadlines, goals, dreams, desires, helping others…nothing is more important than your well-being. Ask these questions:

Am I helping because I want to, or I feel I have to?
Am I putting other peoples needs before my own? If so, why?
Where am I on my to do list? Oh.Oops!


17. When you are REALLY busy (an idea I came up with to make leaving on vacation easier).
http://suzycarroll.com/2018/07/24/calling-in-ease-gloriousness-too/

What do I really need NOT to be doing right now?
What can I let go of?
What can I simplify?


18. Here are few questions to help open the door to embracing your areas of confidence:
My suggestion – give yourself permission to not be good at everything and sing from the mountain tops, what you are good at. 
http://suzycarroll.com/2018/11/20/confidence-re-imagined/

What are you doing when you feel joy?
What conversations light you up?
What do you find challenging?
What do people ask your help with?
What do you receive compliments about?
What do you admire in other people and why? By the way, what you see in others you have in yourself.
What would you like to be more confident in?
What will it take to get from here to there?
What opportunities do you have to light someone else up? Let me explain…

19. Harness the Power of Intention – Write your Manifesto
*This one won’t make any sense without reading the blog:
http://suzycarroll.com/2018/09/25/harness-the-power-of-intention-write-a-manifesto/

#1: Remember the difference between goals and intentions. 
#2: Intention is expansive and allows room for mystery, curiosity and openness.
#3: The manifest part of manifesto, is not be confused with manifesting that snazzy red sports car.
#4: The process I used in 2015 and just a few days ago, goes like this – 
#5: Allow the nuances to emerge over the next few hours or days. 
#6: If nothing comes to you. No worries. 
#7: The most important step of all! 

MORE QUESTIONS and more thoughts to ponder COMING IN 2019!

Thank you for being here!

The ‘One Thing’ – Accomplishment without Overwhelm

I have an idea for you…28 days until the end of 2018 (ya I know, hard to believe)…instead of these 28 days being all about the whirlwind of the holidays, here’s something I did last year, that I’m doing again this year, because I reaped the rewards all year long!

It begins with a question:
What is one thing you can do in the next 28 days, that will make life easier in 2019? So instead of waiting for January 1 as your jump start, to resolving to accomplish something (and we all know how resolutions go), why not use December to ease in?

For example, my ‘one thing’ last December was to clean up my filing system. No small task. My file folders where dog eared, overflowing, labels old and often mislabeled and I cringed every time I needed to file something or find something. What I created has brought a level of ease and simplicity and a smile, every time I open the file cabinet for the past 11 months. Pinterest (almost) quality, color coded, nicely labeled, organized files. Wow!

The challenge with the ‘one thing’ is it (whatever it is) can often feel overwhelming and we don’t want that (no over-ing, right?!) Enter micro goals! Micro goals are a small thing you can accomplish, that brings you closer to accomplishing your one big thing, without feeling overwhelmed.

read more…

Confidence Re-Imagined.

Wouldn’t it be amazing to feel confident about everything? To be so confident that you can quickly make decisions, know what the best route is and the best words to use. You don’t question anything, you’ve got this, you’re on top of this. You know who you are, what you are doing and walk out in the world strutting your stuff with head held high.

This is not me. Is it you?

If only I were more self confident? Have you ever said this to yourself? I have, at least a million times! I’ve felt envious of people who appear to make decisions easily. I’ve felt less-than when standing with someone who is assertive, well spoken and highly knowledgeable. Academic types, those with PhD’s and multiple degrees, used to leave me feeling inferior and my head would spin around anyone who can remember details or has a memory that can knock mine out of the park. I’ve even believed I lacked self confidence when years ago, I was shopping with someone who quickly and confidently decided about a home accessory.

Pish Posh!

read more…