Inspiration, Motivation, Discipline, Great Habits – repeat process

InspirationWhen we are motivated, disciplined and develop good habits around an idea that inspired us, we do great things. Why is it that, very often, we get an idea and feel SO inspired, but nothing ever comes of ‘it’? Maybe you’re like me and you manage to make something of it, but after a while you get bored, decide it’s too much work or it just doesn’t bring much satisfaction.

If you look at steps 1-4 as building blocks, where is it that you habitually fall off the wagon?

1. Inspiration gets us thinking.  2. Motivation gets us moving.  3. Discipline keeps us moving. 4. Great habits keep us inspired.

Of course, we do not have the time, resources or manpower to act on every good idea we have, but when we are truly inspired we contemplate and scheme about how to make ‘it’ happen. We think about ‘it’ a lot, and though we are not conscious of this, even as we sleep our brain organizes our thoughts and ideas (according to world renowned brain researcher, Dr. Caroline Leaf). Our brain literally begins acting on our inspiration. It’s only then that we have the motivation to get our ‘it’ off the ground.

I habitually fall off the wagon just after I’ve reached step #3.  I get motivated and get the ball rolling. Sometimes, if I’m enjoying the process, I’ll develop the discipline to keep the ball rolling. As we all well know, there are pieces of everything we do that don’t bring us a ton of joy. We just want the end result!! It’s when I forget about how good the end result be, and allow my focus to get locked in on the duty of discipline, that I lose heart. I begin to feel like the duty IS the result of my inspiration. How silly!!

On the other hand, when I push through the dutiful, sometimes painful part of discipline, I slowly begin to enjoy the new habit because I can see ‘it’ coming to fruition.

Becoming aware of what gets me off track has helped me persevere and enjoy the benefit of inspiration that comes through a good habit. What does that look like?

Fortunately, the painful part of discipline doesn’t normally last forever because when we begin to see ‘it’ materializing we are inspired once again. Whether it’s playing an instrument, creating great relationships, writing a book, or reaching a career, political or humanitarian goal – to stay inspired, we must decide that it’s worth the effort. The skills of a great pianist slip if they do not play the piano regularly, but what once was a dutiful discipline is a creative outlet they now enjoy. Likewise, a relationship loses vitality when effort wanes but because it brings great joy it becomes easy to nurture.

Once we make these “great habits” part of our everyday life, we experience the joy of what they produce and that keeps us inspired!

Lack of Peace?


I once had a client who said she didn’t want peace because it sounded boring. She apparently knew my tagline – pursuing your potential, passion and peace, so she quickly let me know that she only wanted the first two ‘P’s.  She said she came to coaching because some stressful situations were depleting her and causing her life to be less than what she wanted.  The verse “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” came to mind. She said  fully realized that it was her troubled heart that was zapping her passion and keeping her from stepping into her full potential.

I explained that I love that verse because it says “Do not let,” meaning we have the power to not let it happen. We do not have to let ourselves have a troubled and fearful heart. Putting that power into action takes conscious effort for most of us, but is absolutely doable, although it may not be easy because it calls for a shift in our thinking.

When we want to change a mind set it often helps if we combine both physical actions and/or visual reminders with mental determination. I think of it as circular. Our mental state is altered by what we see and do and our ability to act comes from our mindset.  After exploring some ideas of  what might work for her and implementing them she was free to feel passionately again and able to do the work needed to grow in her potential.   

A light bulb came on at some point and she said, “well, if this is what it means to have peace, then ok, I do want it” which was good because she got it! 

Tip For Finding Joy in Life and Relationships

I had so much fun with my cohort Laurie Hardie hanging out, talking and prepping to host ‘Live From Seattle’ that it got me thinking about how much good it does a soul to have fun.  

When I say fun, I just mean doing something enjoyable. Something you look forward to with a smile on your face…. something you want to do and you will be glad you did.

I intended for this post to concentrate on relationships and how fun times together can move us into more rewarding relationships but I have to start with addressing individuals because it takes a healthy person to have a healthy relationship.  That’s not to say Relationship Coaching doesn’t work with unhealthy individuals, it can – it just takes a slightly different approach.  

Depression is very very common. If you struggle with it, here is one simple step that can help. Plan to have fun. I’d suggest planning something little every day, something a little bigger weekly and something really fun at least once a month. If you immediately think ‘I don’t have money so this won’t work for me’, you’re wrong! Learning to enjoy, relish and appreciate the little things helps bring life back to a dark soul. The daily kinds of things might be having a cup of tea with your daughter or taking an indulgently long hot shower after a good workout or dusting off and playing your guitar again. 

Just taking the time to think about and put them on your calendar helps us really be present in the experience and cherish the moments.  Whether or not you have money, if you think you can only have wonderful experiences when your spending money, I want to challenge you to get creative and return to the things that really matter and plan things that take little to no money. Often this very act will help re-frame your thinking and get you back into a place of joy.

Struggling relationships are often revitalized by fun. Playful activities that both parties enjoy can take the edge off  being together. If you are in a really bad place, you might want to be sure that there is not a long car ride involved the first time you try this. The more often you are able to make these enjoyable moments/hours occur the better. Just make sure the activities stay untainted from ugly behavior. What often happens is that the more fun times that are incorporated into the relationship the less tension there is regarding other issues and healthier communication begins to flow. 

Give it a whirl and remember having fun, on a regular basis, does a world of good for a darkened soul!

Joe & Carri #8 – Closer to Home

Joe began the session by announcing that his job transfer request was granted, and his move back to the states was already scheduled. It would be several weeks, but the process was in motion. His move would not take him back to Carri, but it would get him much closer to home – on a temporary assignment.

Carri was nervous. Joe loved being overseas. She didn’t want him to give up his dream on her account. She didn’t want to be blamed if things didn’t work out.  With a little effort, she was able to relax by realizing that Joe was solely responsible for his decision, but with the added pressure of him being state-side, she felt it necessary to make it quite clear that she was not ready to be reunited – at least not permanently. Even so, this turn of events pushed them to deeper levels.

Joe accused Carri of doing very well without him and made sure she knew he was dying inside. She affirmed that she was doing better because she was no longer in the depths of depression, but firmly asserted she was NOT doing well. She missed him and hated having to do everything by herself. She started to say she would give anything to be together again but changed it to – she would (and was doing) anything and everything to make being together again better.

Though they were not ready to determine when or how they could make life together work, they decided they needed to know what non-negotiable the other would demand for it to ever be a possibility. Interestingly, this ended up  mostly being a reiteration of the vision they had already cast.

Once again, they realized their goals largely overlapped. He stressed that he wanted to be in a relationship where both parties put a high value on the relationship and she said she wanted to be in a relationship where both parties fully engaged with each other. Hmmm, sounded to me like their ideas weren’t too far apart. Upon further exploration they agreed!

Suddenly Joe began to rant, We’ve painted ourselves into a corner and  have no place to go. I need assurance that this is temporary. I don’t want this to go on for years.  I want us to be together so we CAN work on things. I need assurance we aren’t going to end up like Mike and Sally – apart for 9 years.

Carri quickly assured him she didn’t want to end up like Mike and Sally either. She wanted healing, restoration and new strength. She wanted to be healthy, happy and loving and she wanted to be married to a happy, healthy loving man so they could have a healthy happy, loving relationship. She said she needed reassurance too. So they decided to, as an Action Step, contact each other daily to specifically assure the other of this desire.

Joe & Carri #7 – Going Deeper

Joe was an adventurer who loved life and enjoyed travelling  the world. He loved freedom, she loved the security of home. Carri had become bitter because she felt as though she always acquiesced to his desires.

By continuing to dream together they cast of vision of what they wanted their future to look like. In the process, Carri realized that she still admired Joe’s adventuresome spirit and would probably enjoy sharing in Joe’s dreams of  “living in a distant land for a greater cause” if they maintained a place they considered “home.”  Finding common ground was very helpful!

After establishing some good will toward one another, Carri took a big leap. She decided to share her journals with both Joe and me. They told the story of her resentment about moving out of the country, the depths of her depression while away, and the beginning of her growth journey -which began after she left Joe. She was very hesitant, but knew that if they were ever going to reconnect there would be risk involved. There were many things Joe could have taken offense at, but he didn’t. He wanted to talk through it and hear her heart. He wanted to get to know the woman he’d been  married to for 28 years, and was willing to listen and try to understand without being defensive.

There were still some huge obstacles. Joe was happy Carri was getting stronger, but didn’t know how to handle the time apart. He was terribly lonely and needed to find a way to cope. He said he was committed to the process but worried that he would fall into old patterns.