Posts

Dance Naked

 

by MelAnn Morales

MelAnnJanI had a friend give me a heads up to an article from October over at Yellow Hammer. She knew I admire Mike Rowe and wanted to know my thoughts about his views on passion. I will admit, when I first scanned the article, I was “uncomfortable.” I am all about passion!  So, this one stepped all over my soul, and it was not fun to be stepped on by someone I admire.

So, before I jumped to conclusions, I carefully read the article and his response again. The very end of his response was pure genius:

“Passion is too important to be without, but too fickle to be guided by. Which is why I’m more inclined to say, “Don’t Follow Your Passion. But Always Bring It With You.”

For life coaches, there is a huge culture about passion that fuels your why. We must follow our passion in order to be truly happy. Passion seems to be the magic bean we plant to change lives!

Passion is dangerous! Look at the story of David! True, God called him "a man after God’s own heart." So, I pay close attention to the story of David. Where did passion lead David? He coveted and had another man’s wife and then set him up to be killed on the front lines of war to cover up the fact Bathsheba was pregnant and not with her husband’s child. He danced naked in the streets to celebrate victory. Must I go on? A king dancing naked is passion without a plan.

The Passion is about the Christ’s last days on earth! What a horrible way to die! That is passion. But it was also the plan! It was the design. It was the timeline of specific events that had to unfold and play out in order to reach the objective of that beautiful plan of grace! It was His work he had to do while He was here.

So, next time you are all ready to jump on that passion wagon, just keep a healthy perspective on it. Don’t forget the passion. Passion makes for some great poetry and love stories. The world needs more of that! But don’t forget the clothes: Purpose, Plan, and Hard Freakin’ Work!

Or, you can dance naked. Your choice.

 

IMG_3655MelAnn Morales is a L.I.F.E.Strategist & Empowerment Coach. She is passionate about recreating that space between a rock and a hard place to win at the unfair game of life. She can find powerful life lessons in what she sees or experiences in every day life and excels at creating powerful habits and strategies that keep life moving forward when it encounters crisis or the unexpected. She hijacks the status quo. She “unschools” her two children. She enjoys photography, cooking, movies, reading, music, the outdoors, and the adventure of travel and new experiences. You can find her at melannmorales.com.

Who’s in Charge Here?

 

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Joshua 24:15 tells us to “choose today whom we will serve.” I choose to also adopt that as “choose today whom I will love.” I use them interchangeably. I watched my dad do it daily in his marriage, in his work, in his relationship with me and my brother, with his friends, and with the strangers he loved.

When we are in charge of our choices, we are in charge. I got chastised recently by several for stating I was in charge in my Facebook status. There’s always the inevitable answer to “Who’s in charge of your day?” “God is!” I have an ongoing joke with someone dear to me about who’s in charge of our mutual interests, projects, etc. I may be in a subordinate role, but I still say when and often where… and then put him in charge. So, who’s really in charge? My joke to him is I am perfectly willing to allow him to think he is in charge.

If I choose to put someone else in charge of my day, who is in charge… ultimately? The design of the Christian faith is that it is by choice. God is not lord and dominion over us just because of our zip code. He is a choice. Our faith is our choice. We are in charge of our choices. Every day.

I choose today to seek to love the people I serve... and to serve the people I love. I choose to reach out to a hurting friend. I choose to have that difficult conversation. I choose to find peace in the midst of chaos. I choose to act. I choose to get up and move and take a walk, even though it is raining. I choose to go to the store, even though I have zero energy to do so. I choose to write in spite of worries in the back of my mind about a yet-to-be-determined health issue.

I choose to move forward, press on, and make my family, my business, my friends, and myself priorities. I’ve spent too many days choosing another way—by not choosing, by letting life just happen and reacting and making bad choices. Or the days I did absolutely nothing when I allowed emotion or health be in charge.

Today, my health is in question. My technology is uncooperative and in crisis. Fear, worry, panic, and grief are all familiar issues that try to distract me right now. But today, I am in charge. My health and energy levels may try and dictate my activity level, but I am still in charge. I am up. I am breathing. I am moving. I go for a walk in the rain. So, not even the weather is in charge today.

I have a plan for my technology crisis—to end it, that is. Meanwhile, I have something that works, which is more than I had last week, because today I am in charge. It may be messy. It may not be pretty at all. I will make mistakes. But my mistake will not be doing nothing. I make the choices. I make the phone calls for more appointments with medical professionals for tests and assessments when I know the results scare me. But I do it anyway. I don’t surrender to fear. Not today.

I take charge of my sacred spaces. I choose to be still. I choose meditation and prayer. I choose gratitude. I choose to take the next steps. I choose not to make the same bad choices I used to make. I choose not to return to the path that will lead me back to my rock bottom. I choose that it’s okay not to be okay, but to keep moving forward anyway. I choose that today is enough. I choose to modify and allow myself to sleep late this week. I choose to back off of high pace and give myself permission to relax and be calm and combat the stress in my life right now.

It is not okay to stop. It is, however, okay to slow down because right now, I just need to slow down. I choose to act on something I learned while reading that book today. I will choose tonight to offer my “report” of my day. I was in charge. These are the choices I made. These are consequences I faced today. These are victories today. These are where I came up short.

I am at peace with all of it and optimistic about what I will do with tomorrow. I was given this gift of today. This is what I did with it. It is my gift back at the end of the day. I own it. I take responsibility. I can’t blame others. I can’t say, “I just didn’t feel like doing anything today.” My gift cannot be an empty box. That would just be… silly and quite embarrassing. Because quite frankly, that could very well be every day. I choose to fill my box. That only gets done when I’m in charge. I own my life and I make the necessary choices.

I can’t die today. That would look very bad on my report. I’m not finished yet because I spent too many days NOT being in charge.

You are in charge today. So, take charge! Make your knowledge work for you. Use your skills, gifts, and victories to love the people in your life you serve and to serve the people in your life who you love. Let God be in charge of God stuff. You are in charge of the rest of it… and the choices you make as to what to do with it.

Start with taking charge with your first waking breath of the day and don’t stop until you surrender your report at the end of the day. Try not to do anything in between that would look bad on your report. You can surrender your day to God, but you are still in charge of the choices that get you from breath to next breath. In the morning, you can say, “I surrender this day to God.” At the end of the day, you can report the results of that surrender to be sure it truly was in alignment in total surrender to God.

What’s going on your report tonight?

 

IMG_3655MelAnn Morales is a L.I.F.E.Strategist & Empowerment Coach. She is passionate about recreating that space between a rock and a hard place to win at the unfair game of life. She can find powerful life lessons in what she sees or experiences in every day life and excels at creating powerful habits and strategies that keep life moving forward when it encounters crisis or the unexpected. She hijacks the status quo. She “unschools” her two children. She enjoys photography, cooking, movies, reading, music, the outdoors, and the adventure of travel and new experiences. You can find her at melannmorales.com.

Brain Power: Three Steps to Control Your Brain and Envision Success

MelAnn_SeptemberDid you know that you have two brains? No, not your right and your left. Nice try, though. When you have information come into your brain, it is channeled to one of two areas: the Thinking Brain or the Reactive Brain, which I refer to as “Autopilot.” Here is the disappointing part: the thinking brain—the part that makes conscious, deliberate decisions that are well thought out and planned—only makes up about 17% of the brain’s processes. The Reactive Brain does all of the rest. The Thinking Brain consumes a majority of your oxygen and energy resources.

When you are under stress or ill, guess what happens? The part of your filtering system to your brain shuts down all pathways to your Thinking Brain. Why is that? Because it has to conserve the energy and oxygen resources to help your body combat the effects of stress. So, everything gets channeled to your Reactive Brain. At this point, you may be thinking you are making your decisions when, in fact, you really have little control. Your brain is finding the quickest fix and the shortest path to deal with the information, so it can move on to the next thing. That’s it.

Ever look back on something and wonder, “What was I thinking?” The fact is, you probably weren’t! You were reacting. More than likely, if you look at the context of what was going on in your life at the time, you were under some sort of stress which rendered you completely ineffective in making deliberate, conscious choices for your life. The same thing is going on when you feel like you are spiraling out of control.

Here is the good news: you can control it! Whew! Did I have you worried there for a minute? Yes, you can control it in three steps.

Step One: Program your brain for success. Affirmations, visualizations, setting intentions, mindset—they are not just some new age, feel-good philosophy. They work. There is a science behind them! I talk to clients who are caught up in some big, overwhelming problem they just can’t see past. Their Reactive Brain is taking over, and what they are thinking makes sense. In the long term, though, it’s just a Band-Aid to a bigger problem. So, I drill down. Normally, there is a huge burden causing stress. When we identify that stress, I have clients sit for a minute or two with their eyes closed imagining what it would be like and feel like for that burden to be gone. Just tell the brain, “This is gone. Now tell me what it feels like.” The results are so encouraging!

I had someone recently do this who is under a lot of stress, and it has been adding up to the point of becoming a health threat. She experiences several challenges, including some very specific pain that just a few months ago was non-existent. When she sat for just a minute with this visualization process, she had something happen to her that surprised even me. I’ve never had a client communicate with me about something so specific. I gave her zero expectation about what was supposed to happen with this exercise. I just wanted her to experience a moment of zero stress and see how it feels. She reported that this very specific pain she had been dealing with disappeared during that exercise. She hadn’t even noticed it until I asked her to do a quick body scan from head to toe to note anything specific.

I am going to prove it to you. Get a sticky noteor something you can write on that you see every day, preferably first thing in the morning. You can set a reminder on your phone if you wish. Write this down: “Today, I am going to see orange. It is going to catch my attention and wave hello!” Now, every morning for the next 3 to 5 days, read that. Let it soak in. Then, see if you can write down how many times during the day you see orange. Take a picture of it and post it on Facebook or Tweet it. Use the hashtag #iseeorangetoday. I want to see your orange!

Successful people will tell you that they were envisioning success in their days long before they really ever achieved any level of success. They credit that visualization process as a key factor in their success, and it continues to be a part of a successful lifestyle. Why does this work? There’s a big secret I’m about to reveal to you. Are you paying attention? The brain does not tie itself to reality. When my client imagined her burden was gone, her brain responded accordingly as if that were reality. When we envision our perfect day unfolding before us, our brain assumes that to be the reality, and guess what? Our days just seem to go better when we do that! This is why affirmations work! This is why intentions work. This is also why you will be seeing orange for the rest of the week!

Step Two: Manage your stress. Do what has to be done to manage your stress. Make this a priority. Stress is your enemy. It is impossible to completely eliminate it, because life happens. Become an effective manager of stress. Meditate. Keep a gratitude journal. Relax. Go for a walk. Breathe! Whatever you can do to release stress and keep optimum oxygen resource levels, do it. This includes staying hydrated!

Step Three: Manage your energy. You want to be sure you have enough energy reserves so that your body will not shut down your Thinking Brain. If you need to nap, take a nap. Some days, you won’t need one. Some days, you might need three! You only need 20 minutes to recharge and get the boost you need. So, take it! Your brain will thank you for it. You will be more productive. Food can be a fuel source. One of the best foods you can eat for energy is protein. Stay away from carbs and processed sugars. Those are temporary and are often followed by a crash, leaving you ready for another nap. Protein is really important. If you will eat a high protein breakfast within the first 15 minutes of waking up in the morning, it will help curb your sugar and carb cravings for the rest of the day. Another trick is to take 2 teaspoons of coconut oil after lunch.

I also recommend a book called The Charge by Brendon Burchard. This book has by far helped me maximize my energy for my days. I teach a lot of his methods from this book to my clients.

Your brain is an incredible tool at your disposal. You can program your day and your life by learning to program your brain for success and managing your supporting environments effectively so your brain can work at its optimum capacity.* Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” Consistently envision success for your life. Visualize it. Commit to it by writing it down. Then, be amazed at what your brain will help you accomplish! #iseeorangetoday

Let’s practice. Comment below. Visualize a dream for your life coming true. Sit with it for one minute. Eyes closed. Share in the comments what you visualized and what it feels like.

* I am doing a free webinar this week on how to do Energy Blocking for your day. Instead of doing Time Blocking to schedule your day, this process teaches you how to manage your energy by maximizing optimum energy patterns in your day. It’s too detailed to go into here, but the webinar will teach you how to do that. I don’t have the webinar link set up yet, but once I get it set up, I will leave it in the comments below.

IMG_3655MelAnn Morales is a L.I.F.E.Strategist & Empowerment Coach. She is passionate about recreating that space between a rock and a hard place to win at the unfair game of life. She can find powerful life lessons in what she sees or experiences in every day life and excels at creating powerful habits and strategies that keep life moving forward when it encounters crisis or the unexpected. She hijacks the status quo. She “unschools” her two children. She enjoys photography, cooking, movies, reading, music, the outdoors, and the adventure of travel and new experiences. You can find her at melannmorales.com.

Extreme Clarity

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I’ve been on this entrepreneurial journey for three years. I don’t have much to show for it except an external hard drive (actually three, and I need a fourth one!) full of all kinds of awesome course material and free information. My Kindle is overflowing with business books. I entered a time of information overload that nearly completely shut me down. I was working through everything, and nothing gave me the results that were promised. I did the work, the steps, and the systems; I read all the books, blueprints, and rehearsed scripts. Still, nothing.

This past year, I told myself if I didn’t make something happen by May, I was going to quit. May came and went. I was completely at a loss. I had so much going my way—momentum from the outstanding NACWE conference in February and new connections. So, in June, I cried when I got out my résumé and tried to do something with it. I had to figure out how I was going homeschool and work around that. A strategy session with a trusted mentor and friend quickly pointed to my biggest problem: clarity—I didn’t have it!

I thought I had clarity. How many times have I answered the basic questions about my “who?” Age, gender, general status, what keeps me up at night—I knew that. . .or so I thought.

But that is not enough. That is not clarity! That is one step in the beginning of a narrowing-down process. I was still too broad, and “broad is broke!” Since finding clarity, my focus has become extremely pin-pointed. I have been able to create a business system and focus that is reproducible, repeatable, and predictable (not to mention simple). It’s not anything that I didn’t know before. It was just the simple fact that I was not nearly as clear as I thought I was.

Three Steps in an Entrepreneur’s Journey to Clarity

  1. Look into your own journey for clues.
  2. Know, and I mean really know your avatar/ideal client.
  3. Be very clear in your business plan, your schedule, your process, your offer, and your conversations.

You cannot skip any of these—they are all necessary to gain the kind of clarity you need to carry you forward.

Your Journey Exercise 

You will need either index cards or a pad of sticky notes and a writing instrument of your choosing. Even if you think you are clear, go ahead and do this exercise anyway. It will be good for you!

Think back on your journey: what challenges and obstacles you have faced? List each one at the top of the card/note (use a separate card/note for each obstacle or challenge).

For each challenge or obstacle, answer the following questions:

  1. What was your life like in the midst of it?
  2. How did you manage it or create a solution out of it?
  3. How was your life as a result of your solution?
  4. Is there something from that experience that you can teach others?

After you have worked through this exercise, are there any obstacles or challenges that were easiest for you to work through that process? Any that you felt spark that passion inside of you? What are you most proud of?

These are the clues that will point you to areas that you might need to focus on if you are having a hard time nailing down your niche! This is also where your KLT/Elevator Pitch comes from. It’s also great for your About Me pages on your website! You should be able to clearly state who you are, what you do, what you’ve been through, and what solutions you offer in under 90 seconds.

Thomas Sankara said, “It took the madmen of yesterday for us to be able to act with extreme clarity today. I want to be one of those madmen. We must dare to invent the future.”

Sometimes, we are the “madmen” in our own history! It’s that mad history that becomes clarity in our future.

Avatar/Ideal Client

Write this down. A piece of paper will work fine for this exercise. Actually, if you really do this right, you might need two sheets of paper.

Who is your ideal client/avatar? Get past the usual stuff (gender, age, status, etc.). Where do they shop? What are their top five favorite books? Where do they like to play? What organizations are they involved in? What are their top five favorite movies? What are their musical tastes? What does their ideal day look like? What does their typical day look like? What do they do for self-care? How do they learn? How do they perceive life and learn? What are they afraid of? How do they deal with fear? What are they committed to? What are their core beliefs? What are their personality types? How do they interact with others?

This is all very important. This also helps later with marketing purposes—but that is for another post entirely!

You should have a picture of your ideal client. Maybe you know an actual person who would be your ideal client. Get their pic and keep it up in front of you any time you are working on something for your business. I actually know someone who meets the criteria of my ideal client. I spend a lot of time getting to know her! Or, if you don’t know someone specifically, find an avatar or image of someone that looks like they would fit your ideal client image in your mind. Use sites like Google images or istockphoto.

Know where your ideal clients are—not only where to find them, but also how to get their attention! You have to know them well enough that you can resonate with them in ways that attract them to you. As Max Simon in a training last week reminded me, chances are, they are going to be a lot like you. You just happen to be a few steps ahead of them.

Clarity in Business Strategy

Be clear on your business plan, schedule, process and systems, your offer, and most importantly, your conversations. Your sales will come in your conversations. Whether that conversation is passive through copy or personally connecting with someone in person, on the phone, or on Skype, use whatever means necessary to connect with your prospects. Your business plan and systems needs to be executable, actionable, and consistent.

For me, it also had to be simple! The most important thing is that it has to be reproducible, repeatable, and predictable. I now tell people I work twelve weeks a year. I work the same twelve weeks for four quarters! With consistency, that will propel me onward, bring income, and get me where I want to go. It will be so automated, I won’t have to worry about the details. I just have to deliver the content, which I am passionate about and have been doing for a long time (just not in this way). For me, that is the fun and easy part.

Just know this: you cannot be clear on your business strategy until you are clear on who you were born to serve and why.

IMG_3655MelAnn Morales is a L.I.F.E.Strategist & Empowerment Coach. She is passionate about recreating that space between a rock and a hard place to win at the unfair game of life. She can find powerful life lessons in what she sees or experiences in every day life and excels at creating powerful habits and strategies that keep life moving forward when it encounters crisis or the unexpected. She hijacks the status quo. She “unschools” her two children. She enjoys photography, cooking, movies, reading, music, the outdoors, and the adventure of travel and new experiences. You can find her at melannmorales.com.

The Missing “A”

 

scratchheadI had a conversation recently with a friend of mine about WordPress themes, and I told him that I am using Mestro from Themeforest. Only, autocorrect changed the name to Maestro. So, he went to Themeforest to pick up the “Maestro” theme (turns out there is one of those, too!) He kept talking to me about an e-commerce feature it had (that I didn’t have) and was trying to figure out how to set up his blog post page like mine but nothing was jiving. He told me it was under the handprint listed in the features and I was responding, “What handprint?!”

I went to Mestro page and looked at the preview, and he was telling me what he was looking at. It just was not matching up. So, on a hunch I did a theme search for “Maestro”—sure enough, there it was complete with the “handprint” he kept talking about.

There is a huge difference between Mestro and Maestro, aside from autocorrect’s need to correct the spelling on the former. The ironic thing, though, is that the Maestro theme for my client is actually a better fit for what he needs!

So, it got me to thinking. Isn’t life like this? You keep looking at the same problem. Others are telling you how to get the solution, and you are looking and their “solution” is just not even in the list of options for you?

There may be a reason. An “A” may be missing (or added). Or, the solution may just not be the right fit for you. By adding in the “A,” my friend actually got into something that was a much better fit for him. However, when he was communicating with me about the features, there was extreme disconnect going on and I was beginning to question my sanity!

This theme seems to be recurring in my life lately. I have been in numerous trainings on a particular solution for entrepreneurs trying to decide if it’s something I want to pursue for my own business or not. Training after training, the “expert” admits that there are things that he/she is not showing me. So, it doesn’t exactly inspire me to use their techniques and expect results if I’m not being shown everything. It’s actually pretty annoying when they do that!

This week, I finally sat down and watched a purchased course on that same solution. She demonstrated several missing keys to success using that solution, so it’s actually a real, viable option. It’s that missing “A”—had I tried to use the solution as many people do without that additional info, I would believe that the solution was a scam and I had been duped. However, because she was open and honest with everything she does to run a successful campaign, I am now equipped with what I need to truly run a successful campaign with this solution. I’m actually pretty excited about it now!

So, what are you missing? What is your “A”? If you don’t have a coach, that might be a good start. What else? Maybe it’s not a service or a product. Maybe it’s a mindset or belief or attitude or time or discipline or consistency? What are you trying to add to your toolbox that works for others but leaves you scratching your head? Maybe you need to dig more to learn more about it. Or, just maybe, it’s just not the best solution for you! What is missing (or added) that is holding you back?

One missing or added “A” to your solution toolbox can make all the difference.

 

IMG_3655MelAnn Morales is a L.I.F.E.Strategist & Empowerment Coach. She is passionate about recreating that space between a rock and a hard place to win at the unfair game of life. She can find powerful life lessons in what she sees or experiences in every day life and excels at creating powerful habits and strategies that keep life moving forward when it encounters crisis or the unexpected. She hijacks the status quo. She “unschools” her two children. She enjoys photography, cooking, movies, reading, music, the outdoors, and the adventure of travel and new experiences. You can find her at melannmorales.com.