How to Start 2019 with a Clean Slate, a Purpose, and a Plan

Maria Ji - planning for 2019
According to the dictionary, clean slate means to wipe out the past and begin fresh.

However, many people do not pay attention to this critical step before taking on new goals. To give the idea some context, here are some hypothetic examples:

Case 1. Mary set a goal to lose 20 lbs in ten months and she did not reach that goal. She started again by setting a new goal: to lose 10 lbs by next November. She noticed that she often forget about the goal in her daily life.

Case 2. Two years after divorce, Julie moved in with her boyfriend. She noticed that every time he came home late she wondered if he was cheating on her, like her ex did. Julie’s reaction to that thought was to become distant from her boyfriend to avoid been hurt again.

Case 3. Tom was laid off 6 months ago and has been at a new job for few weeks. He often worried whether his manager was satisfied with his performance. This worrying often led to debating if this was the right job for him and sometimes he thought of look for another job.

These are just a few examples that show that by default, we carry the past’s burdensome energy to the present moment we are living in.

To acknowledge and take responsibility of the past allows us to be free of the past.

With renewed energy and clear mental space, it makes creating the desired future possible. Without acknowledging this important process, we often create a future that is the extension of the past – as in the above examples.

As we are completing 2018, it is a great time to reflect on how it went, and to redirect our energy and focus, so we can create the outcome we truly want to experience in life.

Writing Exercise

Invest at least an hour in yourself to start a new year with a big bang!

Step 1. Reflect:

Look back this year and think about 3 areas that worked, and 3 areas that did not.

Under each area, answer the following 4 questions:

  1. What have I accomplished in this area?
  2. What are the roadblocks that stopped me while working on it?
  3. What did I say and/or do to have it turn out this way?
  4.  What gifts does this experience give me?

Step 2. Redirect:

Now that you have reflected on how the past year went, look  only what you want to focus on next year. What comes to you?

To give you some ideas where to look, answer the following 2 questions:

  1. What gives me the most satisfaction and joy?
  2. What are 3 areas that if I create a shift, would bring my overall life to the next level?

Some examples of common areas to look at are:

  • relationships: family, spouse, friends, colleague, etc
  • changes: career, moving, death, injury or illness, business reinvention, etc
  • personal: spiritual goal, fitness, finance, school, etc

Step 3. Recreate:

After identifying where you should focus to bring your life to the next level, attach 5 actions to each area that will make it happen. Be specific when creating actions: what I will do and by when.

Step 4. Share:

Share your new goals and actions with someone you trust. Ask them to mark it down in the calendar and check in with you regularly.

To start a new goal with a clean slate, just like many things in life, takes practice.
Practice on small and somewhat achievable areas to build your skills before taking on a high gradient area.

Clear the Path to Creation

Path to Creation - Mari Ji Coaching
Last month I wrote about the 3 levels of creation and the feedback was overwhelming. I noticed that in the process of practising the path to creation, people often get stopped by roadblocks.

Before getting into to how to clear some of the common roadblocks, let’s review the 3 levels of creation: thoughts, words, and actions.

3 Levels of Creation

Level 1. Our thoughts are reflections of our inner world and how we view the world.
Level 2. Our words describe our thoughts, and through describing, we activate our feelings, which makes the world we describe more real.
Level 3. Our actions will then be aligned by the feelings, which in turn create the world we thought into physical form.

Our nature is to create that which leads to a more fulfilling life experience. It’s all connected. By working on one level of creation, you will also work on the other two.

Roadblock #1 – The Past Dictates the Present Moment

Holding onto the past consumes our thought energy, which is the first level of creation. It separates us from the new possibilities that are available now. Healing is not possible without the willingness to let go of the past.

The holistic healer Louise Hay, who transformed numerous lives, healed her cervical cancer by choosing to let go of resentment for her childhood rapist and abusers.

Forgiveness brings darkness to the light and it sets our creative energy free, and that is why all forgiveness is a gift to oneself.

Practice this:

– Write 3 letters to speed up the process of forgiving:
Letter 1: In this letter, write out everything you are angry/sad/resentful about. Give it all! Honour your feelings.
Letter 2: In this letter, write out everything you could be responsible for, to have arrived at your current position. Remember: it would be difficult to write this letter if you haven’t said EVERYTHING there is to say in the first letter.
Letter 3: Acknowledge and thank the person whom you wrote letters to. If you have little to say, go back to the second letter.

– To reset your thoughts by using the power of words (level 2 creation):
Recite this affirmation when you notice your thoughts go back to the past.
“I recognize that I chose the past thoughts. I choose again. I choose forgiveness and it sets me free.”

Roadblock #2 – The Monkey Mind

Clients often ask me: “How do I get to my goals fast?”
My answer is always the same: “Slow down.”

Our mind often lives in regret for the past or anxiety for the future. Our speech and actions then focused on either trying to fix the past or strategizing and controlling the future. It keeps us busy from being present.

The path to presence is to become aware, not to fight the thoughts.

Practice this:

– Notice when you are not present, and take 3 deep breathes. Pay close attention to how your body expands and contracts with the breathing. Do this at least 3 times throughout the day and you will notice your level of stress reduces and your creativity increases. Set alarms to remind yourself.

– Follow guided meditations to help to train the ‘monkey mind’. My all-time favourite is Insight Timer App, which can be downloaded for free.

Be patient and consistent.

As with learning any new skill, increasing your level of creativity which leads to a fulfilling and satisfying life, takes practice.

See You at the Top – Thru the Path of Commitment

What is commitment?

I was listening to the motivational speaker Zig Ziglar’s audio program the other day, and he was talking about one time, right after he had finished a speech when a lady approached him and asked a question: “You must make some good money by giving those speeches.” Zig Ziglar smiled and said: No no no! I’m gonna put rumours to an end, Let me tell you the truth: I get paid a LOT of money to give those speeches.”

What Zig Ziglar didn’t tell her was that there were many mornings when he would get up very early and talk to the truck drivers, so they could give him a lift to somewhere he would give a speech; what he didn’t tell her was that he spoke in churches, prisons, community halls and many other places for free; what he didn’t tell her was that there were many times he had to drive a couple hundred miles just to speak to a dozen people, then drive back the same night because he simply couldn’t afford to stay at a motel. He did this because he believed that he had something to say, and he practiced and learned to say it in a way that people would hear him.

That is commitment.

I once met this amazing person who was very inspiring. I partnered with her and we drew her vision together, and she got present in the future she wanted to create. There were sparkles in her eyes, and she was lit up. It was magical. She was excited, and I was excited. We decided to work together to get her there.

The next day, I got an email with a list of the many reasons why she couldn’t work with me. She backed out. It was painful to see her throw away the dream she had had for many years. Her light dimmed away. Sadly, she has not been the only one who has backed out in my coaching experience.

Just the other day, I got two separate text messages. One was from a client who said “Thanks for another great session. Seriously, working with you is the best gift I’ve ever given myself”, and another client’s message was telling me that he completed his master’s degree 6 months ahead of time, which saved him over $7000, and he’s going on vacation to celebrate.

Everyone has a dream, a vision, a life purpose. So why do some get to live their dreams, and some don’t?

It’s about commitment. No matter how hard, scary, or how impossible it seems, they JUST keep going. When they get stopped by fear or hear the voice of “IT’S IMPOSSIBLE” in their minds, they ask for help, get support, take on a partner, cry, scream… they do whatever they need to do, and keep going.

They recognize that we all have fears and doubts, but that’s not who we are. We are our dreams, our visions and our life purpose.

Commitment is based on possibility. It can be filled with love and joy. With commitment, there is nothing wrong and there is nothing to prove or fix. When we are committed, we create life experiences and see results because they are an expression of who we are and what we are called to be and do, beyond the limits of our fears.

Don’t stop. Keep going, because the view at the top is breathtaking.

Power of Practice – How to Strengthen Your Action Muscle Effectively

The Power of Practice
Have you heard someone complain or saw them in pain, and because you care about them, you offered ideas that might help, but they replied, “oh, I tried that and it didn’t work”?

People believe that they will have what they want if they find a better way, a better solution or strategy. They take on little actions BEFORE finding that better way.

In my coaching work, I find people often expect results, skills, action, and abilities without taking on practices or they stop after only a few tries. Feeling disempowered, they go into resignation: this is NOT working. Or despair and frustration: I can’t believe I’m here again! I can’t do it. I’m not worthy…

I have also witnessed many clients create successes in all aspects of their life by embracing the power of consistent practice.

Levels of Practice

There are three levels to practice in the process of creation: thoughts, words, and actions.

Level 1. Our thoughts are a reflection of our inner world and how we view the world.
Level 2. Our words describe our thoughts, and by describing them, we activate our feelings, which makes the world we describe more real.
Level 3. Our actions will then be aligned with our feelings, which in turn create the world we thought into physical form.

It’s all connected. By working on one level you will also work on the other two.

Example Time

Here is an example of how my client, let’s call him Joe, did it:

Joe is a massage therapist who’s been in business for over 10 years. He came for coaching burnt out and frustrated with where the business was at and hoping to improve his work and life balance. In short, to work less and make more money.

Shortly after we started coaching, I noticed limitations in his speaking: I can’t have that, it’s too hard, I have no time, I don’t know what I want…

I invited him to become aware of the impact of the wording he was using and to start focusing on giving up the ‘old language’ and use a new one.

Some of the practices we designed for him were:

  • Visualize what he wanted to create every morning before getting out of the bed, to practice picking the thoughts that serve him.
  • To become aware when he was using limited language in speaking, and replace it with words that made him feel open and curious.
  • To take on actions: call clients to fill the appointments 3 weeks ahead, change his business hours, and because of his lack mentality around money, to shift his view of the world we also created a practice for him to give out money for 40 days: give extra tips, make donations, etc.

Joe was a perfect coaching client. He followed each step, took on each practice, and he showed up each session with questions and requests. He restarted when stopped. He was consistent.

Three months into our coaching program, during one coaching session, he showed me an envelope full of cash and said: Maria, all bills are paid and I still have all this money, this has never happened before!

By then he also took 2 days off every week and his massage practice was full.

Just not too long ago he reported that he bought a lawn tractor for his mother, who owns an acreage property.

The Full Circle

Our thoughts create our language, our language paints a picture of our world, it then informs our behaviour which creates our life experience, which becomes our real world.

If you create actions from all three levels and you are taking the actions consistently, you will move mountains. You will create more prosperity and joy than you can imagine because you are that powerful.

Leadership – Where Possibility, Productivity, and Creativity Start

Teamwork climbing

A few weeks ago, my sister and I had a long conversation. She owns a business in China with a few hundred people on her team. She was rewarded greatly when her business took off last year, but she shared that her team is now experiencing difficulties in growing their business. My sister is smart, hardworking, and inspiring. She has tried new sales strategies, trained her team with more information, and encouraged them to provide even better customer service, however, her team still complains about how hard it is to make sales grow. Together, we identified ways for her to lead her team more effectively.

Prepare and prime your team to win.

It is essential to set your team up to succeed, not only through skills training, but also through preparation for change.

What does this mean? When a new coaching client starts working with me, I give them an assignment to share with their family and friends that he or she will likely be changing in many ways. Our family and friends want us to be successful, but most people don’t handle change well. By helping my clients prepare their support network, they are more accepted and supported during the process.

In my sister’s case, most team members are young moms who want to start their own business. They start by spending more time on training, bringing products home to try, and they don’t necessarily make money right away. Often their family becomes concerned quickly. If they are not primed to give their family notice that changes are expected, the new members end up quitting before they can succeed.

Never assume people know what you know.

Provide guidance for self-regulation.

An effective leader guides their team to become more self-aware, thereby becoming more responsible of who they are while creating results. When my sister’s team leaders complain they’ve hit a bottleneck, what they are really saying is: I don’t have control. If my team members could just change, it would be better.

I suggested that she ask simple discovery questions. For example, tell me more about a difficult conversation you had with a team member; how did that feel? Or, tell me about a great conversation you had with a team member; why did it feel good? What worked?

To really listen, don’t try to fix their perspective. Rather, ask what they need. What do you want to see, hear and feel to move forward? Self-regulation is empowering.

Trust is a gift.

My sister told me that the main roadblock her team runs into is that people don’t trust easily. She said, “I understand, because why would they? I don’t trust people that I don’t know.”

I reflected: how do you see your relationship to trust getting in the way of your team creating trust out there? She paused, then said, “Wow, I’m enabling that culture in my team!”

Trust is a gift, and we have unlimited trust to give. It does not mean that she will just trust blindly. It simply means that she will try to trust a few times every day, and be aware of what shifts each time. She took it on and invited her whole team to play as well.

Who the leader is creates who the team will be.

An effective leader leads a winning team by helping others shift from resistance to relationship; blame to responsibility; doubt to trust. It’s a skill that can be learned and polished through relentless practice.

Boss vs Leader

Mastering Your Mindset – A Must Have Skill To Master Your Business and Your Life

“What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.” – Buddha

Our mindset is the source of the reality we live in.

Mindset is the foundation for what we think and feel, which informs the behaviour that shapes our life. By bringing consciousness to our thought patterns and mastering our mindset, we are able to make choices aligned with our vision and aspiration.

Our thoughts shape our actions.

One of my dear friends is a successful business trainer; she set a goal to contact ten businesses to set up meetings. When we spoke, she said: “I’ve made five calls and it’s not fun! I’m going to stop now. I need to find a different way to do it. What do you think?” I reflected that her thought that ‘it’s not fun’ gave her permission to stop. I asked, “What if you keep going regardless if it’s fun or not? What if you know for certain that one of these ten businesses will hire you in the end?” She laughed, and finished contacting the rest of the businesses. Catch when your mind is telling you stories.

What you think, you become. What you focus on, you create more of.

A client of mine owns a large fitness business. When we started coaching, one of his goals was to work less so he could spend more time with his family. His business grows when he’s there and suffers when he’s not. He was frustrated with his employees and he did not feel he could trust them to do the right thing when he was not present. After a few months of coaching, we discovered that he spent a significant portion of his time finding problems and fixing them as quickly as possible. I asked him to be curious about what his staff might think, so the next time he found a problem, he should ask them questions where he doesn’t already know the answer.

A few days later he reported that his team was excited to be implementing new strategies, which gave him the freedom to be with his family and go on speaking and workshop tours. By shifting his focus from doing it the right way (his way) to empowering his team to contribute their way, they were able to co-create new possibilities to expand the business and to support his dreams of helping others in a more expanded way.

Albert Einstein once said: The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking. It’s easy said than done, however, with continued practice, we can all master our mindset by learning to change our thinking—which changes our reality.

Be a mindful listener of your language.

What story is your mind telling you? If you want to change careers and the story is, “Well, I can’t possibly find a job that I love and still make the money I make right now,” ask yourself: really? Is there nobody in the world doing what they love and making the money they want? Is that true? If you say one thing and your subconscious mind is telling you another, your actions will reflect the confusion and frustration of not having what you want.

Our energy flows to where our attention goes.

Whether your true desire is a perfect partner, your dream house, a baby, a new job or to travel around the world, do whatever you can to be present to that goal. Write out the details of the house you want to live in, picture yourself hopping on the plane to your next adventure, see yourself in your dream job, sitting in the office you want. Do this activity at least three times a day. What you focus on, you create more of. With consistent practice, everyone can be the master of their mind.