Life’s Too Good to Be Bored: How to Cure Boredom for Good

Do you ever feel bored with life? Boredom and work or home isn’t uncommon. But when you forget how truly good life can be, it’s time to learn how to cure boredom for good.


Yes, I know. How can life be good if we’re still wearing masks? When there’s still great racial inequality and discrimination? When we have a climate crisis and a political divide so wide, we can’t even see the other side let alone hear it?

The challenges in the world right now might dissuade you from saying “life is good.”

But I want you to know this: life is good because YOU’RE IN IT, living it, right now. And, it’s impossible to feel your aliveness and be bored at the same time.

BORED, BORED, BORED

No, this is NOT all there is. Were you wondering?

But you’re bored. Bored, bored, bored. Bored at work. Bored at home. Bored in your relationship. Bored with YOU.

Is there a cure for boredom?

As a human being, you’re hardwired toward growth and adaptation. You WANT to learn, explore, and expand. Like your ancestors who forged new frontiers, you want to move forward, achieve, and discover. You’re constantly driven to interact, engage, explore, and transform.


Sometimes this desire for change might be loud and obvious. But sometimes, it manifests itself as a vague sense of dissatisfaction. A subtle nagging that your life as it is not “enough.”


As Psychology Today tells us, this condition is related to the “French ennui, an existential perception of life’s futility—a consequence of unfulfilled aspirations.”*

So perhaps you can thank boredom! You have unfulfilled aspirations that you might not have become aware of otherwise.

Welcome boredom as a warning signal. Recognize it as your mind’s alert system telling you that you’re not finding purpose in what you’re currently doing, so you’d better switch things up. The sooner, the better.

Boredom is like fear: No one likes feeling fear, just as no one likes feeling bored. But both give you crucial information. Fear pushes you away from harm. Boredom pushes you toward meaning.

Maybe it’s time to stop, listen, and learn how to cure boredom for good.

What’s the Point? Purpose

Purpose is the heart of the matter. It’s the “why” behind everything you do, whether you’re conscious of it or not.

Without it, you’ll never find satisfaction, no matter how fun, delicious, or pleasurable what you’re doing is. The moment it’s experienced, watched, ordered, or consumed, you return to the nagging sense of emptiness. Without purpose, you’re stuck in infinite “ennui.”

So then, how do you find it?


“Boredom is the root of all evil – the despairing refusal to be oneself.”
– Soren Kierkegaard


To find your purpose, you must understand yourself. And to do that, you must learn and explore your yearnings—your innermost desires and deep emotional longings of your heart. Perhaps you yearn to love and be loved or to touch and be touched. Perhaps you yearn to matter, to make a difference, to fulfill your purpose on this planet. Perhaps you long to create, connect, or serve.

Yearnings are universal, and they are the key to unlocking the mystery of the uniquely amazing being that is YOU. No one like you has ever existed before now, and no one like you will ever exist after.

Once you begin to believe that and act accordingly, you’ll see boredom backing off as aliveness starts filling up your days.

Is this easy? NO. And learning your longings isn’t a quick fix to boredom. But it’s a sustaining one. A transformative one. And the only one that ultimately matters.

Besides, you’re already familiar with the quick fix—soft addictions. Those seemingly harmless habits that distract you from your boredom long enough to make you think your life is thriving.

Twenty-five more episodes to watch? What a full evening of entertainment! Three new outfits on the way? How fun it will be to wake up and wear each of them! A new full bag of cookies? You deserve it after my long week of work. Zoning out on social media? What a great way to keep “in touch” with all your friends.

Maybe yes, maybe no.

But what’s more likely is what all of these have might have in common: pseudo satisfaction. A temporary high/buzz/thrill that comes and then goes, and before you know it, you’re left once again asking yourself, “Is this all there is?”

What’s a completely-bored-of-boredom human like you to do?

Forget Pseudo. Go for Authentic

The dictionary definition of authenticity is “genuineness; undisputed credibility; one who is worthy of belief.”

The existential philosophers defined authenticity as being true to who you could become, instead of being true to who you are—a view that suggests authenticity is being faithful to yourself internally as opposed to conforming to external ideas or norms.


Here’s MY definition of authenticity: forget what everyone else says and wears, reads, eats, and watches (take THAT social media) and find out what makes YOU tick.


How do you find that kind of sense of authenticity? Like Dorothy in Oz, you need to discover the answer has been inside of you all along. As you explore yourself and get to know yourself better, you’ll start to see glimpses and signs of who you really are. You begin “engaging.”

“It is the moment-by-moment practice of engaging that helps you become more spontaneous and more present in each moment. You step outside your comfort zone, try new things, take risks, and turn your life from a routine into an adventure…

…Just as emotions help us sense what we yearn for, they are the litmus test for full engagement. We feel an experience deeply when we’re fully engaged in it. So, when we ask if you’re engaged, we’re asking if you’re involved in a given activity with your heart, mind and soul. We’re asking if you are so intimately connected to a given task that you are willing to step out of your comfort zone and push yourself to get it done right. We’re asking if you’re taking risks and stretching yourself in ways that might feel uncomfortable but also provide you with such a spark that you feel as if you could set the world on fire with a touch of your hand.

Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living

Enter whatever you’re doing, intending to be involved heart, mind, and soul. Then you can connect with truly being alive. Once you do that, you may never be bored again.


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University. Follow Dr. Bob Wright on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for more updates.


The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

How to Start the New Year Off Right

January is a natural time for new beginnings are fresh starts. Although we can make changes any time of year, we may feel more compelled and motivated in January.

Wondering how to start the new year off right? January is a great time to take the necessary steps to get the life you want. Let’s make this new year great!

 


 

When January begins, many of us start thinking of ways we want to improve, things we want to change, and resolutions we want to explore. If you want to start the new year off right, there are three ways to help you create the year (and the life you want).

Let’s explore how to make this our best year ever! And how will we do that? We can all take three steps to move toward what we want.

1. Let Your Yearnings Guide You Forward

Several years ago, I had a rough January 1st. I struggled with how to start the new year off right with a positive, can-do attitude. Frankly, I was burnt out. The previous year had been financially challenging, and the setback was hanging over me like a dark cloud.

At the same time, I sat looking at a list of ambitious initiatives, goals, and opportunities that I wanted to tackle in the upcoming year ahead. As I started to prioritize my steps, I felt overwhelmed. Each task seemed like the most important, and I was definitely trying to eat an elephant. We’ve all heard that “it’s easy if you take one bite at a time,” but it’s quite daunting when that immense carcass is looming. I kept telling myself to focus on each bite, taking responsibility to preserve the rest so it would still be fresh for later, but in my mind, I kept wondering how to avoid missing opportunities.

It was this mindset that began my first day of the year. I was challenged, overwhelmed, even despairing. I was haunted by my thoughts and lingering disturbing dreams from the night before. But I got up, ate breakfast, read the paper, and decided to start reviewing our latest book at the time, Transformed! I was preparing for media appearances and a book launch. I was set to go on the nationally syndicated late-night radio show Coast to Coast for three hours on January 10 and 11, so I wanted to be ready.

As I cracked the book and started to review, I hit the section about recognizing deeper yearnings—talk about being bowled over! Right there in front of me, written in black and white, was the answer to my current struggle. I realized that I forgot to walk the walk and follow my own advice.


In the book, we had said that the key to setting ourselves up for change was first to list our goals. Then we should examine each goal and ask ourselves why we want it and what we hope it will do for us. To figure this out, we use the “so that” approach. We say to ourselves, “I want this goal SO THAT____.” Then, we keep digging in until we discover the deeper yearning underneath our goal.


This was the exact answer I was looking for! I quickly called out to Judith and told her the irony of how much I needed those words right then in my life. We talked about how I needed to practice what we preach by focusing on my immediate yearnings as I went into the new year.

As Judith often wisely does, she asked me a few revealing questions. I discovered that I clearly feared pain and problems in the future rather than choosing to be fully alive in the moment. With Judith’s guidance, I also cleared up some stinking thinking that was knocking around in my head. I realized that my desire for greater financial stability and student flow stemmed from my yearning for fulfilling contact and joy.


In the moment of my despair, I was missing out on the contact and joy that I longed for. But once I recognized the yearnings under my wants, I became unstuck and could start to move forward.


The takeaway lesson in this point is that if you want to make the new year great, remember that under every surface want lies a deeper yearning. When we explore our wants and apply the “so that” exercise, we can discover that essential underlying yearning, and our path becomes clearer and focused. We can then re-orient ourselves to move toward what we are really yearning for.

2. Embrace Aliveness to Have a Great New Year

Embracing aliveness always sounds a bit strange at first. After all, we’re all alive, aren’t we? But in this context, aliveness refers to our essence—the foundational principle of play, truth, joy, love, and life. When we hold back and repress ourselves, we’re stifling our sense of aliveness. We’re missing that bubbly force that we exude when we laugh, giggle, cry, or yell. Our expressiveness is linked to our aliveness.

There’s also aliveness when our senses are heightened and our vision is clear and focused. We fix our attention, and the bubbling builds anticipation and excitement into a fountain of possibility and potential. We may discover a sense of aliveness in anticipation of a lover, as a child awaiting the return of a parent, a student eagerly expecting the results of a test. Each moment of our lives is pregnant with possibilities. We often find feelings of loss aversion in these moments—an immobilizing fear of failure or loss that shifts us into autopilot. Our fear may be almost undetectable, but it can hold us back from fulfilling our yearnings.


Aliveness is the opposite of fear. It’s the principle that unleashes those deeper yearnings and puts us in touch with our emotions in the here and now.


Our sense of aliveness brings our hunger to the surface. We may feel a hunger for experience, for contact, to see and be seen, to make a difference, or to discover something new. Aliveness brings out our longing for adventure, meaning, fulfillment, and satisfaction.

Now, engaging and moving toward our yearnings can come at a cost. We will inevitably feel hurt when we open ourselves to new possibilities and uncertainties. But in this hurt, we have a greater opportunity to learn and grow. Our awareness of our feelings expands, but so does our capacity for joy.

As you look back at the last twelve months and forward to the future, you may realize there were times you were going through the motions or weren’t really living life as fully as possible. So make the new year great by committing to seek out new experiences, adventures, and opportunities. Push through the fear and approach the world like a child—with curiosity and wonder!

3. Make this Your Year to Grow and Evolve

If you want to have the greatest year ever, make this your year of growth! Many of us have been disappointed in the past with seminars, courses, books, lectures, and events that promise us a fresh start. Then, after a month or two, we look back and think, “Well, that was an interesting experience,” and go back to our comfortable habits and patterns.

The thing about growth is that it isn’t a one-time goal. We don’t check it off the list and stop growing. We have to embrace it as a lifelong endeavor. To transform ourselves into who we want to be, we need to awaken to an assignment or task each day. We have to stretch and push ourselves toward continued growth and more mindfulness.


Each day and in each new situation we face, we can extract a lesson and discover a learning opportunity—even in our mistakes. Sometimes the most powerful lessons come from our missteps, setbacks, and challenges. We call this approach the “assignment way of living.”


Now imagine if we could go on this journey together, working with a community of like-minded individuals across the country. Imagine everyone supporting each other, connecting, and sharing their experiences as they work on assignments that help them bring out the best in themselves and in all those they meet.

At the Wright Foundation, this is exactly what we offer in our courses. We bring people together, help them connect, and empower them to discover ways to live their best life. Those who participate in our programs push themselves through new challenges based on a principle, concept, or lesson to help them focus their personal development in concert with others in the community.

We’ve built a community of students that encourage each other, inspire each other to have more effective relationships, bring more satisfaction and meaning to each moment, and offer more service to the world. In this community, we’ve maximized the potential for love, enjoyment, satisfaction, and leadership!

If you’re seeking an accessible way to challenge yourself this year and stay connected with others doing the same, take time to explore our courses and community. Follow our blog posts, read our books, or investigate our courses through Wright Now. Make this year the year you begin your journey of self-discovery and start to live your best life!

 


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

 

 

How To Find and Be Your Authentic Self

Wondering how to discover and be your authentic self? What does it mean to be authentic and true to yourself?


Be Your Authentic Self


Wondering how to be your authentic self? For most of us, it seems like either a tall order or a confusing question. Aren’t we already who we are? Are there certain situations where you shouldn’t be your authentic self? And what does it really mean? How can we truly BE our real, genuine, authentic selves each and every day?

Let’s start with a straightforward question: What is authenticity? How can you be your authentic self?

How to Be Authentic

So how do we define authenticity? Is it the dictionary definition of genuineness; undisputed credibility; one who is worthy of belief; real, honest, sincere?

Or do we define authenticity as existential philosophers did? Is authenticity when we develop a true sense of self rather than conforming to social norms and accepted practices? Does it mean being true to our values, spirit, personality, and character even in the face of external pressures? This existential view suggests that authenticity is something we should seek inwardly. It’s more important to be faithful to ourselves internally than confirming to external ideas or norms.


Being authentic doesn’t mean being a unique individual for the sake of being unique. Instead, true authenticity involves rising above societal norms, trends, and pressures.


Authenticity isn’t taking the easy route or going with the flow—it’s holding fast to our true selves. True authenticity requires us to be honest and forthright about who we really are, both to ourselves and others.

As we journey through the process of self-exploration, growth, and discovery, we can often discover that it’s hard to define our authentic selves. Finding our authentic self is an evolutionary process; it’s not static. It’s not something we do once and move on. We aren’t static beings! We can’t pin down authenticity or put it in a box.


To really explore our authenticity and find our authentic selves, we must address the question, “Am I true to who I am every single day?”


If we aren’t sure about the answer, it’s time to explore the heart of what drives us. What motivates us and spurs us to action? What do we yearn for? It’s important to understand that yearning goes deeper than simply desiring or wanting something. Yearning for something is a longing of the heart—something we need to feel whole. For example, we might yearn for respect or love. We may yearn to be seen for who we really are, to be understood, to be secure. These yearnings drive us forward and move us toward almost everything we do.

We must also define our values and the essence of what’s truly important to us. We may identify one specific value or several things that we hold dear. These may change and shift over time as our relationships, careers, circumstances, and focus change.

Through all of our different experiences, authenticity is our personal truth.

Discovering the Power of Authenticity

So why do we care about authenticity? Why is it important? In short, because authenticity gives us power and guidance. When we’re true to ourselves, we have a guiding star that helps us through all experiences.

Finding our authentic self may mean different things to different people. We’re all unique, with different influences, experiences, and needs. Authenticity may mean something different to each of us based on endless aspects of our lives—whether we’re married or single, young or old, Muslim or Atheist, American or Jamaican, and the list goes on. Our environment, influences, and social structures are part of us and shape us.

Our upbringing and the way we were raised also play a significant role in our values, traditions, and beliefs about ourselves and the world around us. We can’t examine and interpret our authentic selves without examining our inner makeup and experiences that have shaped us.

The beauty of authenticity is that by its very definition, it allows us to interpret and become our own authentic selves. We define who we are, and we have the control and ability to harness, define, and structure precisely who we want to be. As author and behavioral scientist Steve Maraboli says, “There is nothing more beautiful than seeing a person being themselves. Imagine going through your day being unapologetically you.”

Finding the Authenticity Within

So how do we find that sense of authenticity that’s within us?

The answer is right inside of us, and there’s nothing more exciting than making this discovery! But that’s not to say that it’s a challenge. Finding fulfillment and satisfaction—a sense of purpose—is a lifelong undertaking that requires work. It can be uncomfortable at times and even difficult, but the payoff and reward are worth the effort.

Why is it so hard to find our authentic selves? Because our societal structures don’t support and encourage us to make these discoveries. Most approaches to personal growth and fulfillment focus on the intellectual and educational aspects of “discovery.” These structures are based on the assumption that self-discovery and authenticity are a one-time, lofty goal and something that we have to find. This misconception holds us back because we’re daunted by the journey, level of education, and work. But fulfillment and satisfaction come along with us on the journey—the discovery is along the way. It’s not a matter of acquiring remote skills or hitting an achievement. These discoveries come as a function of developing our natural capacities.


The answers to how to be authentic are right inside each of us. As we explore ourselves and get to know ourselves better, we’ll start to see glimpses and signs of who we really are. We’ll make discoveries that ring true to us and help us gain that sense of personal connection, insight, and satisfaction.


The idea that self-discovery is a journey is part of our core approach at the Wright Foundation. The theme of authenticity permeates our coaching and classes. We offer empowering, challenging, and uplifting educational environments that encourage engagement and growth. We know that there’s nothing more empowering and exciting than discovering who we truly are, defining our personal authenticity, and learning how to embrace it, apply it, and LIVE it.

Our curriculum helps people from all backgrounds and experiences live a life story that’s worth sharing. We want to help everyone live a life that’s true to their selves—a life of authenticity.

People often become burned out and discouraged in education, professional development, and similar intellectual pursuits. Most educational systems operate on the assumption that we should acquire and master external skills. So we check them off the list and move on.

True education is the opposite of that. True education is holistic. It takes in the entire mind, body, and spirit. It’s also differentiated—taking into account the different ways people learn and the differences in approaches to new experiences a discovery. Standard education models are about training, memorization, getting good grades, and working toward external markers of success. But this kind of learning doesn’t really ensure that people “get it.” So how do we know we’re really learning anything, especially profound inner discoveries about our true selves?

Authenticity in education and growth looks at the question of, “How will this benefit us?” Authentic learning looks at the individual and their entire journey. Growing, learning, and living in accordance with one’s authentic self, bring feelings of enjoyment, intense meaning, and a strong sense of direction in life. An authentic person is constantly evolving and moving forward. They are working with their environment’s changing nature and impermanence, social circumstances, intellect, and more. Rather than operating under the idea that we’re static beings that are defined and put away, authentic education helps us become.


Becoming is the healthy psychological growth of human existence. When we’re becoming, we’re striving, reaching, and learning.


In life, we each have a choice. We can decide we want to discover and move toward our authentic, best lives and that we’re willing to evolve and grow. Or we can become victims of our own circumstances. We can give up control to our environment, allowing things to happen to us, or we can take action and make things happen for us. We can choose and define our values and our authentic selves, living in accordance with who we want to be, or we can follow values that others choose for us.

So which one do you choose? Do you choose to be your authentic self? To live an authentic life?

For more on discovering your true self, explore our courses at Wright Now. We have many different resources to help you learn more about yourself, your career, and your relationships. If you want to live a life of MORE, make a choice to start today!

 


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Understanding Mistaken Beliefs (And Letting Them Go)

We all want to live a great life, but we need to do some self-exploration to get there.

Are you ready to live the life you always wanted? One of the first steps is understanding mistaken beliefs and learning to let them go.


 

Discovering the type of life we want to live requires us to examine our innermost thoughts and desires.

What do we want from the world? What do we believe the world can give us? What do we think about the world around us? What do we feel about ourselves? If we want to live a satisfying life, it means we need to start understanding mistaken beliefs—the lies and misbeliefs we adopt throughout our lives that lead us to certain ideas about the world (that may hold us back).

How do we start identifying and understanding mistaken beliefs? Do we all have them? (We do!) Are they always “mistaken”? Most importantly, how do we let go of these thoughts that hold us back?

Choosing to BELIEVE We Can Live a Life of More

Living the life we want is really a decision that each of us can make. We all have the ability to set our intention about our life, to move toward things that bring us happiness and satisfaction, and to move away from the things that may bring us harm.


When we decide that we’re ready to really go for the life we want, we may think, “great! Now what?” How do we get there, and how do we make this somewhat nebulous idea of “a life of MORE” happen?


Of course, we all want MORE happiness in our lives. We all want more fulfilling connections, better relationships, better careers. We all want to wake up excited to face a new adventure each day. We want to feel confident and in control of our path.

But within each of us is a set of beliefs—something we refer to as our “matrix.” This network of ideas, experiences, and beliefs shape how we see the world around us. It shapes how we see ourselves and what we believe our role in the world is today.

Our matrix was formed when we were very young (much of it before we could even talk). We were small; the world was big. We were dependent on parents and caretakers. We may have seen the world as unsafe. We may have started to believe certain things about our ability and role. Maybe we learned that we were not enough or that we were too much. Perhaps we saw affection as something we needed to “earn.” Maybe we believed that it wasn’t okay to share or express our emotions—that we had to be happy all the time.

It’s not that all of these beliefs are bad, but some of the ideas about ourselves were mistaken. They may have been true and even helpful at the time (like believing that we needed to follow what our parents told us). Now, however, some of these beliefs might be holding us back from living the life we want.

What Does it Mean to Live Our Best Life?

When we talk about what it means to live our best life, I like to recognize that living a full and satisfying life is a decision—one that we can each make. As outlined in my book, The One Decision, living the life we want to live is a choice.

The One Decision was powerfully stated by Shakespeare, who may have said it best: “To be or not to be. That is the question.” To be—to be alive, aware, and to be yourself; or not to be—to be dimmed down, numbed out, unaware. To be conscious or to be unconscious.

Your One Decision can be worded in any way that seems right to you, but it is actually a binary choice, an on/off switch between two opposites:

To be or not to be

A life of MORE or a life of less

Awake or asleep

Deep or superficial

Substantive or vacuous

Real or fake

Light or dark

Spiritual or temporal

Fulfilling deep desires or surface wants

Truth or illusion

Adventure or suffering

Whether we want to admit it or not, there is only one choice. It is either one thing or the other. It is the only choice we have. To pretend that there is any other choice is absurd and completely false.

The One Decision

Of course, we all want to live a life of fulfillment. We may get bogged down with the nuances of the decision: “Am I choosing the right life? What is it that I really want?”

But when we hem and haw over the choice, we’re simply procrastinating our progression. It’s a universal human desire to grow, evolve, and achieve. If we look at human achievements throughout history, we can see that it’s natural human instinct and drive to discover and invent continuously. This applies to industry, art, and science, but it also applies to our inner lives. Within each of us is the desire to become the best person we can be. We’re driven toward making the One Decision: to live the life we want, find greater fulfillment, deeper connections, and experience richer adventures.

Simply by getting up each day, going to work, and interacting with people, we’re choosing a small scale to live our life.


The fact that we don’t lie in bed, get up, get dressed, and leave our house each morning indicates that within us is a desire for more. We want to achieve, grow, and become better at whatever it is we’re doing.


Yet, for many of us, some thoughts creep into our minds—doubts and fears that take over—and tell us that the things we want are unreasonable, unobtainable, or that we are undeserving. We may fear failure, mistakes, embarrassment, rejection, or worse. We may feel uncertain about our place in the world or our best path forward.

Understanding mistaken beliefs is the first step in learning to let them go. These mistaken beliefs keep us from moving forward. They prevent us from choosing to move our life in the direction towards abundance and achievement.

Understanding Mistaken Beliefs and How They Originate

Every person has uncertainties. These doubts and self-limiting beliefs often sound reasonable. In our minds, they’re presented as “facts” or truths. Yet, these thoughts are really a distorted version of reality.

Sometimes these thoughts might be negative. We might take the view that things are against us, that the world is unfair, or that we will never get what we want. We might have self-defeating thoughts or believe that the cards are stacked against us. When we have these negative thoughts, we refer to them as “stinking thinking”—thoughts that stink!

Many of our stinking thoughts are ingrained in our minds. These thoughts block us from seeing our actual value. They tell us to settle for temporary fixes. They push us to zone out with soft addictions and time wasters. This is the voice that says, “It’s too hard. You’ll never do it. Chill out on the couch with a pizza and Netflix instead.”

We may fall into this illusion of “more” by even believing that it’s “self-care” and that we deserve this break. In reality, these actions aren’t nourishing. They do the opposite—they hold us back and prevent us from really going for what we want. We see the path of least resistance as the easiest answer, but it’s also the one that leaves us unfulfilled.

Mistaken beliefs and assumptions spawn stinking thinking. It takes many forms: rationalizing, making excuses, being defensive, overgeneralizing, thinking you are unloved or unworthy, labeling, blaming, minimizing, projecting, being prejudiced, mind-reading, being superstitious, obfuscating, all-or-nothing thinking—all ways of fudging or denying the truth, escaping from the deeper reality underneath.

Stinking thinking robs you of MORE. This false thinking keeps you from achieving what you could and discourages you from trying new things, taking risks, and creating MORE. You may use these thoughts to talk yourself out of pursuing MORE before you even get a fighting chance. Stinking thinking lowers motivation and kills hope. And it’s how most of us think and talk most of the time.

Falling into the loop of stinking thinking, you embrace what is a false reality. You continually revisit your stinking thinking litany: I can’t. I’m too old, young, poor, fat… to do that. If only I were thinner, richer, or more attractive, everything would work out. It’s his fault. It’s her fault. I’ll never be able to have MORE in my life. I already tried that, and I failed, so it’s no use trying again. I’m not smart enough. It’ll never happen. This always happens. It will never get any better. I’m not okay. No one will ever love me. All the good men are taken or gay. Women only want men who are rich and successful. This is hopeless. I’ll start my diet tomorrow I’ll never learn. When I win the lottery, I’ll make my One Decision…

-The One Decision

Now, as we look at that litany of stinking thinking, at least one or two of those lies probably look familiar. These are common thought patterns. They are also invalid.


Understanding mistaken beliefs means acknowledging the reality of stinking thinking: we all experience it, and it holds us back.


When stinking thinking patterns sneak upon us, we have a choice. We can either observe it, acknowledge it for what it is, and move forward, or we can invest in them. What we shouldn’t do is beat ourselves up about them. This humorous approach is part of why we use the silly term “stinking thinking.”

Our students and those who attend our networking events receive Stinking Thinking tokens (they even have a skunk on them). It’s a little funny, but it also helps with understanding mistaken beliefs. When we approach it with humor and compassion, we realize that we don’t need to accept these serious thoughts as reality. We can acknowledge them for what they are and let them go.

Decide to Believe in Yourself

Each of us is a magnificent being, worthy of all the joy and rich experience that life brings. When we start to experience stinking thinking, it’s important to remind ourselves of the important truth instead. You are worthy. You are a gift.

It can be tough to shift our thinking from self-doubt to self-belief. It doesn’t mean we’ll have instant confidence. This acceptance is a slow process that begins when we start to really invest in ourselves and our personal growth.

To love yourself, you must know yourself and align to your truths. This means understanding where your mistaken beliefs originated, acknowledging your emotions and thought patterns, and treating yourself with compassion and kindness.

When we make our One Decision to live a life of more, it’s a leap of faith. We must believe that we are worthy of a life of fulfillment and goodness (we are!). Each person is imbued with great potential for happiness, goodness, and a life of MORE. Understanding mistaken beliefs and learning to let them go will help you move forward on your journey toward living the life of your dreams.

If you’re looking for more ways to live the life of your dreams, please visit Wright Now. We offer an array of courses to help you with relationships, career, and personal growth. If you’re ready to live a life of MORE, start today!


The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Foundation performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Break Your Negative Thinking Patterns

Maybe you’re sick or feeling achy. Perhaps the day hasn’t gone your way, or you’re frustrated with a situation involving a friend, coworker, or even your spouse. Perhaps your plans were canceled, or someone backed out on you.

A black and white picture of a woman with her head down. Ever get stuck in negative thinking patterns? It’s tough to break our patterns and stop “stinking thinking” but by adjusting your perspective you can make a positive shift.


 

What do we do when faced with frustrating situations? We start a reel of tape looping in our heads, a voice saying, “You’re a loser,” or “you’re lazy,” or “no one really likes you.” Call it depression and anxiety, stress, or negative thinking, it’s no fun, and it can become quite damaging to our mood, mental health, and outlook.

No matter how old we get or how much we attempt to stay upbeat, it’s hard to get our little voice to shut up sometimes—especially when we’re feeling down in the dumps. We’ve all had those moments when we feel down and crummy. We get stuck in negative thinking patterns, and it’s hard to break out.

Stop Your Negative Thinking Patterns—They Stink!

When we get stuck in this negative self-talk and spiral of negative thinking patterns, we refer to it as “stinking thinking.” Why? Well, because these thoughts really stink!


Not only do these negative thinking patterns make us feel bad about ourselves, erode our confidence, and destroy our mood, but they’re hard to turn off. In fact, many of us have been programming our brains for years—our whole lives—to play this negative tape.


This tape of beliefs is part of our makeup, or what we call our matrix. As I work with people on their personal growth, exploring their matrix is a crucial step. When we’re in the process of growing and learning more about ourselves, we often see and start to explore the side of our matrix that’s not-so-positive.

In fact, the more we examine our thinking, try to stop negative thought patterns, and work on shifting our mindset, the harder these negative thoughts seem to fight their way up to the surface. These misbeliefs and negative thinking patterns especially come up when we experience setbacks, frustrations, and mistakes that make us want to throw in the towel (or at least start listing off excuses).

These mental roadblocks are perfectly normal and part of the process. Change is difficult and often a little scary. However, the more we lean into making personal changes and focusing on our growth, the more our minds will throw up resistance. After all, it’s easier to go back to the status quo—it’s more comfortable for our brains (but in the long run, we’re not doing our mental health any favors).

Is Our Changing Negative Thinking Patterns Worth the Effort?

It’s simple to write off our potential future as requiring too much work or being too painful to achieve. It may feel safer to keep on going about our business as usual.

But the reality is that change is constant, and it’s part of life. Whether we’re evolving into our next best self or becoming more rigid and set in our ways, we’re still constantly changing and growing. We have a choice to embrace this shift as an opportunity to learn and to become even better, more engaged, and more confident, or we can choose to resist the change, rely on our old thinking patterns, and zone out with soft addictions and time wasters. It may easier to sit back and take whatever comes our way, or we can open ourselves to the possibilities and gratitude from making the most of our lives.


When we choose to live a life of MORE, then it’s time to roll up our sleeves and do the internal work. Part of the work is exploring our values and our beliefs. To start discovering more about ourselves, we need to peel back the layers of our matrix and expose these underlying misbeliefs.


Your matrix isn’t going to like it when you start exposing it. It’s going to assert itself when you think, I have unique gifts; I can go further than I ever thought; I’m not inherently unlovable; I’m desirable, and there’s someone out there for me, or maybe I’m a lot more spiritual than I think; I can try to find a connection with a higher power. This is why stating positive affirmations alone doesn’t work—in your conscious mind, you say to yourself, I am loveable, and your matrix reacts and fights it with an unconscious response of disbelief that, if translated, might sound something like, Yeah, right. That’s why you’re sitting home watching reruns on a Saturday night instead of being out on a date.

Your matrix will reflexively attempt to restore its version of reality when it hears these positive thoughts. It will be especially assertive when you try to do something that breaks from your programming, and it doesn’t work out. It may even resort to trickery, lying low until it can subtly reassert itself. For instance, you’ve been programmed to believe your limitations, such as you’re unlovable, but…you start a relationship you think might turn into a long-term one. Then the other person breaks up with you, and your matrix says, See, you are unlovable.

Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living

It’s common to fall back into these negative thinking patterns about ourselves, especially when doing the work. When we start to feel hopeful about the future, we set up expectations. Once these expectations go awry, it confirms our fears. We become discouraged.

The truth is, these negative thinking patterns hold us back. They don’t move us forward in a positive direction. They don’t bring us happiness, fulfillment, or satisfaction. They stink. If we want to stop o negative thinking patterns, we must rally ourselves to keep pushing through. We can focus on the deepest desires of our hearts—our yearnings. It also helps to remind ourselves that we’re working toward getting those deep needs met. In other words, we should keep our eyes on the prize (our yearnings!).

How Do You Stop Negative Thinking When You’re Sick?

A while back, I came down with the flu. It was miserable. I was congested, tired, achy, and I felt awful. I came home, and there I was, all alone. I was left with me. In bed. Sick. Feverish. Tired. Listless…but my mind was still active, thinking…

What value do I have if I am just in bed? I’m worthless unless I’m doing something. I’ve got to go to work…

As the thoughts were swirling in my mind, my husband, Bob, called out from the kitchen that he loved me. I heard myself thinking: How can you love me if I’m not doing anything?

So, I asked him exactly that question, and he responded with a smile, “I love you just for being here. You are the sweetest little being I know, even when you piss me off. Right now, you don’t piss me off; I just want to hug you.”

Bob often helps me re-program my mistaken beliefs about myself and my value, which is a process we call rematrixing. All the stinking thinking I have, such as I’m not valuable if I’m not doing something, comes from my mistaken beliefs about myself.

One of the categories of stinking thinking I am most prone to is called emotional reasoning: I feel bad, so I think I am bad. When I am sick and feel bad, I’m especially susceptible to this form of stinking thinking. I realize I need to take this message in: I am valuable and lovable. I matter. I don’t have to earn love. These are the thoughts I need to let in. I repeat them to myself like a mantra, imagining Bob’s loving expression as I say them, soaking it in.


The more I can feel the positive thoughts, the more I can rematrix these positive beliefs to let them settle deeply within myself. The more conscious I am as I do this, the more these thoughts will become my beliefs.


And what happens when I do this? Well, suddenly, I’m relaxing and actually thankful I’m sick. Being sick is a good reminder that I am valuable, I am lovable, that my being is as valuable as my doing.

It happens. We get sick, and we have bad days. Getting through it means reminding ourselves (and listening when others remind us) of our worth.

When Bad Moods Happen to Good People

We all experience a range of emotions on a daily, even hourly basis. No emotion’s “bad” or “wrong.” If we’re feeling fear, sadness, anger, or hurt, it’s an important message our brain is sending us. Our emotions are a gift, a piece of the fabric of our human existence.

So when we feel stinking thinking, or negative thought patterns coming on, we shouldn’t beat ourselves up (falling back into our old line of thinking). Instead, we can think, “I feel this way. Why?” Acknowledge it and explore it.

Now, it’s hard to stop negative thinking patterns when we’re feeling down. When something goes wrong, we’re unhappy, annoyed, or irritated, and we start to fixate (or ruminate) on these thought patterns.

When you feel defeated or unhappy, you find that all sorts of distorted imaginings—what we call stinking thinking—get in the way of your insights. You’ll tell yourself you’re being naïve or that you’re just wasting your time. Being down is your matrix’s way of reasserting itself.

Therefore, reveal to others that you are stuck and ask them to help you create a more objective, more positive sense of yourself. If you are optimistic about yourself and your future, you’ll keep these distracting thoughts at bay and actually be rematrixing. We all need support to be emotionally focused and hopeful as we gain insights into our matrix. We’re not talking about mindless Suzie Sunshine ways of being, but instead genuinely engaged ways of living life.

Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living

When I’m struggling, like when I feel sick, I’ll often ask Bob or even my close friends for affirmation. Sometimes it’s as simple as hearing I’m loved. Other times I’ll ask for a deeper, “Why?”

This affirmation helps me reset my negative thought patterns and reminds me of my value. It reiterates that I don’t need to earn love—I’m a person worthy of love just as I am.

When this is affirmed for me, I often really take time to soak the message in. I may repeat it to myself, envisioning my loving ally in my mind as I repeat the thoughts that I’m valuable. I’m loved, just as I am. My yearnings are being met.

So, when we’re feeling down, negative, and frustrated, we can lean on an ally to help confirm and remind us of our importance. We ARE important. Each person is a valuable gift with endless potential. Rather than focusing on our mistakes and shortfalls, which we all have, remember within each of us lies a unique, special person. What we bring to the world is only ours; our personal potential.

Turn down the volume on your stinking thinking and stop the loop of tape. Instead, acknowledge the ways you are growing and evolving into your next best self.

For more ways on how you can break your negative thinking patterns, please explore our courses available at Wright Now. We have courses to help you explore your potential, boost your relationships, move forward in your career, and live the life of your dreams.

 


 

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Foundation performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

 

We Are All Connected: Engaging with Others

Engaging with others is part of living a truly great life. After all, surrounding ourselves with others and building our connections is one of the ways we learn and grow.

Would you like to get better at engaging with others? We all share a human connection, here’s how to tap into our common bond for more meaningful interactions.


Our connections to one another are ingrained in our very humanity.

As the saying goes, no man is an island. If we want to tap into our personal power and reach our highest potential, we need support from others. We need to become more engaged with our friends, allies, and the people we encounter.

But what does engaging with others really mean? We hear advice about becoming more engaged at work, more engaged socially, more engaged with our communities…but many people aren’t sure where to start. What does it really mean to engage?

What It Means to Really Engage

To reach our fullest potential, we need to understand ourselves, our environment, our career, and our lives. To gain a deeper, fuller understanding, we must dive in and engage.

When we’re engaged, we’re more present, more aware, more mindful, and conscious of what’s going on around us. Engaged people are in touch with what drives them and propels them forward. They’ve identified their yearnings and are working to fulfill them.

No matter what we’re doing in life, we can explore the deeper yearning driving us. For example, I speak up because I yearn to matter. I go to school because I yearn for accomplishments. I’m expressing myself because I yearn to create.

There is a deeper why—a longing of the heart—propelling us toward most of our activities. As we explore those yearnings and deep drivers, we gain an understanding of ourselves. We also gain a deeper understanding of other people and their yearnings.


It is the moment-by-moment practice of engaging that helps you become more spontaneous and more present in each moment. You step outside your comfort zone, try new things, take risks, and turn your life from a routine into an adventure…
…If you’re like most people, you’re scratching your head and wondering what it really means to engage. Some of you may believe that engaging means paying attention. You listen to every word your husband says (and could even repeat it back). Some of you may think it means focusing on the task at hand. You concentrate on your work assignments and don’t allow your attention to wander.
These are all forms of engaging, but they are probably not full engagement because you have feelings, urges, and yearnings that you aren’t bringing to bear. Engaging is a deeper and wider concept than just listening or concentrating, though these are important elements of engaging.
To be truly engaged, your yearning and your emotions must be involved. You may be completely focused on your new boss at work, a new date, or shopping at an exclusive new store, but even if you are totally turned on by your favorite designer’s hot new collection, these activities don’t satisfy a deeper yearning, and therefore your engagement takes place only on a superficial level. Worrying about the new boss, being curious about the new date or, sorry to say, even finding the hottest new designer shoes doesn’t qualify as fulfilling a yearning, nor does being kind of high and buzzed constitute real emotion.
Similarly, if your mind is into something but your heart is not, you’re lacking the emotional involvement that distinguishes true engagement. Just as emotions help us sense what we yearn for, they are the litmus test for full engagement. We feel an experience deeply when we’re fully engaged in it. So when we ask if you’re engaged, we’re asking if you’re involved in a given activity with your heart, mind, and soul. We’re asking if you are so intimately connected to a given task that you are willing to step out of your comfort zone and push yourself to get it done right. We’re asking if you’re taking risks and stretching yourself in ways that might feel uncomfortable but also provide you with such a spark that you feel as if you could set the world on fire with a touch of your hand.
 Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living

Engaging is exciting! In fact, engaging has a ripple effect throughout our lives—every area becomes more enriching and juicier as you become more engaged. You’ll face greater challenges, you’ll tackle new endeavors, you’ll reach for new heights. As you engage, you’ll discover new aspects of yourself you didn’t realize existed and you’ll find more joy and satisfaction in your activities.

This sounds pretty great, right? You’re probably thinking, “I want more of that!” So why do we get so much out of engaging with others and following our urges? How do we become better engagers?

Understanding the Engagement Continuum

To understand why engaging with others is so powerful, we should understand engagement exists on a continuum.

Wright's Model of the Engagement Continuum

On one side of the engagement continuum, there’s the person who’s not listening at all. Imagine grunts, uh-huh, yup, nope, and yeah: the most minimal answers possible and extremely low to no engagement.

Then as you move across the continuum, you get the typical “small talk”:

What about all this rain?

Cute shirt.

Thank goodness it’s Friday, right?

Did you see the game this weekend?

Not exactly groundbreaking conversation, right? Small talk is simply words to fill up the silence. It is used when someone wants deeper engagement but isn’t sure of the approach. It may simply be used when someone isn’t comfortable with the situation, like in an elevator, on the train, at the grocery store…

As we get further across the engagement continuum we start to see where true engagement happens. These are the moments when we’re truly engaging with others. We’re in touch with them. We’re connected. We’re fully present and conscious.


This deeper engagement requires you to understand your own feelings and yearnings. It also requires awareness of what other people are yearning for as well. This is where engagement becomes more profound and meaningful.


On farthest end of the continuum is transformative engagement. This is when a person says, “I’m in touch with myself. I’m in touch with you. I’m in touch with the yearnings of the world around us.” You discover yourself in the engagement and recognize those around you. This true state of intimacy happens when you challenge yourself to know every single part of who you are.

Engagement and intimacy are intertwined. The more engaged we are, the more intimate and close our connection. Engagement gives us greater personal power and influence. When we interact with others, they feel seen, heard, and cared about.

The Secrets of Excellent Engagers

If you want to get more out of your communication, start engaging on the deeper side of the continuum. Become emotionally and cognitively present. Tap into your yearnings and the yearnings of those around you.

Remember, activity and attention aren’t the same as engagement. You may feel very focused and engrossed in the latest Netflix series or as you spend hours on Pinterest. You may be busy in the kitchen, at the gym, even at the office. But these aren’t examples of truly engaging.


True engagement works toward satisfying a yearning—not a simple want, but a deep longing. Busyness and even fun will pass the time, but they don’t usually satisfy our underlying yearnings.


Similarly, engagement doesn’t mean making sweeping changes (like quitting your job or moving to a new town). Even though these changes may seem like a magical solution to your problems or a way to meet your yearnings, we often end up emotionally in the same unsatisfied place.

Engaging isn’t a single-minded focus or an obsession, either. Imagine training for a marathon or a bike race. You may be highly driven and focused on your goal, but how are the other areas of your life fairing in the meantime? Often, we become deeply engaged in one area of our life, like work or a hobby, but we’re completely disengaged in other areas like family, spirituality, or friendships. This kind of obsessive engagement masks as achievement, but often leaves us empty. We still climb the same hill (or train for the next race) wondering why we never feel truly fulfilled.

When we’re only engaged in one area of our lives, like work, the area itself may even suffer. We may find we’re putting in long hours at the office, but our career is stalled. This is because we need 360 degree engagement, following our yearnings in all areas of our life to continue taking appropriate risks, learning and growing.

Truly great engagers have developed their grit. They keep going and aren’t afraid to make mistakes. They are willing to accept that growth is painful and hurts at times, and they still forge ahead. They seek novelty and new experiences. They explore their yearnings and the yearnings of others. They’re constantly learning and growing.

And what does all this engagement do for us?


Perhaps best of all, engaging gets you juiced. To transform, you need energy, and engaging is like plugging into your own personal power socket. It creates the momentum necessary to keep you moving through the steps of the process. It serves as a catalyst for the journey that Transformers take, providing the impetus to get you moving in a new direction.
Research from the relatively new field of positive psychology—created in order to study and apply scientific methods to aspects of living fulfilling lives—provides compelling evidence for why engaging is key to our happiness and well-being. Sometimes described as leading “an engaged life” or being “in the flow,” engaging is one of the key elements of authentic happiness.
The key to being happy at work can be seen as intentional engaging—being curious, taking initiative, suggesting improvements, asking for additional work, helping others, and being creative. It seems we are designed to derive pleasure from engaging. Neuroscientists have discovered that our brains light up in ways that result in positive experiences when we are engaging in new things. The novelty of engaging helps facilitate our brain plasticity and, ultimately, our transformation by activating the property of the brain that allows us to learn, grow, change, and fulfill our potential. Neuroscience shows that it is only by engaging—being aware, paying attention, and intentionally doing new things—that we learn, grow, and ultimately transform into someone doing something that would have been unimaginable without full engagement.
Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living

So, if you’re ready to truly discover your connections with others and tap into your fullest potential, engage! Test it out—take a day where you focus on being more mindful, more deeply engaged in each interaction and conversation. See how often you can operate on the right side of the engagement continuum and watch what happens.

Engagement is a lifelong process, a key to our growth and transformation. If you’re ready to start living your best life, become more engaged.

For more on tapping into your fullest potential and personal power, please visit us at the Wright Foundation. Explore the courses and great resources we offer on our site, to help you stretch your skills and connect with others. Join us for an upcoming networking event where you’ll meet and connect with others on their journey.


About the Author

Judith Wright receives the Visionary Leader Award from Chicago NAWBO.

Dr. Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach.
She is a co-founder of The Wright Foundation and the Wright Graduate University.


Loving the content and want more? Follow Judith on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Foundation performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

How to Be a Better Ally

At one time or another, most of us have asked ourselves how to be a better friend.

Wondering how you can be a better ally? Being an ally is more than just being a good friend. It’s being honest, supportive and purpose-driven.


Perhaps we’ve noticed a friend who’s struggling, feeling down, or having a tough time achieving their goals. We may wonder how to help them and show them how much we care. While friendship is important, the real question is how to be a better ally.

What does it mean to be a better ally, exactly? Is it the same as being a friend? Well, look at your own circle. Chances are you have many coworkers, buddies, and social connections. You may have a collection of hundreds of “friends” on Facebook and social media…but how many of those people truly have your back? How many of them are allies for helping you become your best?

What it Means to Be a Better Ally

Allies are different than friends. Friends are often tossed together by circumstance or similar interests. Think of your friends from growing up. Chances are most of your pals lived in your neighborhood, attended your school, and enjoyed the same activities.

As we grow up, our connections branch out further. We may have friends and acquaintances all around the world. We may have coworkers we consider friends, former roommates from college, and our buddies from the golf club or tennis court.


But how many of these people are truly our allies? What does it even mean to be an ally, and what can we do to be a better ally to those around us?


Well, first of all, allies often share deeper qualities. While they may share a common interest or share a common demographic, they don’t necessarily always fit the mold. Where allies are truly connected to us is the way we share similar values and a common purpose. Our allies want the same things in life that we want: fulfillment of our greatest potential.

Ideally all our friends would be allies, but of course, it’s not always the case. It’s important that we recognize the allies in our lives and hold them dear.

Here’s the deal: allies aren’t the ones who tell you what you want to hear all the time. In fact, a true ally will encourage you to grow as a person by kicking you in the butt when you need it! They’re honest with you and you trust them to tell you the truth. They don’t sugar coat (but of course, they aren’t mean about it either). Allies may give you tough love but it’s still coming from the heart. A true ally wants what’s best for you. They hold a vision for you. They see your potential and push you to become the hero they know you are.


Think about the allies in the historic and contemporary myths— Odysseus had Athena, and Luke Skywalker had Obi- Wan (Ben) Kenobi. They didn’t go on their quests alone. Engage and find allies. At the same time, recognize and reject those people who disempower you or join you in blame and self- pity. True allies not only support you when things are tough, but they also inspire and challenge you when all is going well.
Your partner can be your strongest ally. Whether you are fighting, playing, doing chores, or making love, every interaction can be an opportunity to grow and transform. Your relationship can provide the support for you to achieve your dreams. Allies bring out the best in each other. Support your partner in the pursuit of her vision, not your vision of her but her vision of her best self.
Called the Michelangelo phenomenon (Rusbult, Finkel, and Kumashiro 2009), you help sculpt your partner’s ideal self. Couples who affirm each other’s ideal selves not only bring out the best in their own lives, but have much more satisfying relationships as they grow toward their ideal. Every time you interact, you can be “sculpting” one another. Allies hold a vision for one another— you appreciate your partner for who she is, but also for who she can become. You mirror the vision your partner inspires in you that is consistent with your own goals for yourself. That doesn’t mean that you don’t contribute to your partner’s vision— you may see aspects of your partner’s gifts and potential that she doesn’t.
It’s not about changing your partner to your standards, but believing in her potential and supporting her as she moves in the direction of big dreams. We often need our loved ones and others to activate our yearning— it’s hard to yearn for something if you don’t even know it exists or if you have already ruled it out for yourself because of your limiting beliefs!
The Heart of the Fight

Your partner isn’t your only ally either, so there’s no reason to feel ally-less if you’re not in a relationship. In fact, many of our most powerful allies are those friends we truly trust and align with.

A key difference between a regular “friend” and an ally is that friends often observe us and think, “Oh, I don’t want to tell her that. She’ll feel upset (or hurt or angry…).” But an ally understands by holding back honest feedback and truth, you’re also holding back the other person. You’re not being genuine, honest, or engaging. You’re not moving the person toward the direction of their dreams.

To be an ally for another person, you must really align yourself with what matters to him or her. What are their ideals? Do you understand who they really want to become? Not who you’d like them to become for you, but who you hope they become for themselves.

Allies are compassionate, empathetic, and understanding. It’s about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.

What to Do When a Friend is Struggling

We’ve all had a friend who has been struggling or going through a tough time. When this happens, it’s tempting to swoop in and rescue them or to further enable them to keep them on their path. We may even fear if we don’t rescue or enable them, they won’t like us as much or they won’t be our friends.

Allies know enabling and rescuing isn’t the behavior of a true friend. Allies support and empower the other person to get themselves out of the mess.


It’s not that allies see themselves as superior, know-it-all types or revered advisors. An allied relationship is simply a healthy, engaging connection filled with understanding and give-and-take.


To be an ally for someone who’s struggling, we should look at what they really care about. What’s important to them? What is their ideal for themselves and who do they want to become? Aligning with that concept and supporting them to move toward their ideal is so much more powerful than simply commiserating with someone.

The trouble with commiserating is it leaves the other person stuck in the same negative place. It doesn’t help them move out of the current phase. It doesn’t mean, of course, that we shouldn’t act with compassion and caring. We should have empathy and support. We should put ourselves in the other person’s shoes and have understanding; at the same time, avoid enabling them. Help them tend to whatever it is in their life they need to attend to.

The Power of Seeing Others for Who They Truly Are

In relationship research, we learn many lessons, not only for couples but for friends as well. There’s a concept called the “Michelangelo effect” where you craft someone through your interactions with him or her. Now, this doesn’t mean controlling them or bossing them around. It actually goes back to the way Michelangelo saw the statue within the block of marble. He would carefully craft around the statue to help it emerge from the block.

When we hold our relationships in such a way that it allows them to bring out their very best, we’re both strengthened. It’s not about sculpting them or forcing them into the shape we imagine they should be in, but simply holding space for them to evolve and grow into the shape they can become.

Self-Expansion Theory tells us the more you can help someone else by sharing your own perspective, introducing new possibilities and activities, the more you’re adding to their lives. Their lives are better as they discover new ways of being and new ideas. This is the same reason new relationships feel so fun and exciting—because we see the other person as new and different. The studies show the more you help another person expand and grow, the happier you both are within the relationship; this concept goes for friendships and relationships with allies as well. This gives us both a sense of purpose.


You can’t dedicate in a vacuum. Transformers immerse themselves in cultures of allies, whether fellow Transformers, talented coaches, teachers, inspiring role models, truth-sharing friends, or high-performing teammates. They hang out with people who share their values, who speak truth, who are living large in their own lives.
Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living

If we’re committed to the idea that we want to live our best lives and bring out the best in those around us, we should both be a better ally and seek allies in our relationships. It doesn’t mean we need to push aside relationships we view as less fulfilling. We can commit to operating with honesty to strengthen and grow those relationships as well.

For more on transforming your life and growing your circle of influence, please visit us at the Wright Foundation. Join us for an upcoming networking event where you’ll experience opportunities to empower and work with others along their journey.


About the Author

Judith Wright receives the Visionary Leader Award from Chicago NAWBO.

Dr. Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach.
She is a co-founder of The Wright Foundation and the Wright Graduate University.


Loving the content and want more? Follow Judith on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Foundation performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

The Secret to Setting Successful Resolutions This Year

This year most people will try setting successful resolutions as they go into the new year. Nine out of ten people will fail.

It's New Year's Eve, a time for celebrations and resolutions. If you have trouble keeping those promises you make to yourself, learn the secret to setting successful resolutions.


Now, this isn’t to make you feel discouraged. It’s very common to set up resolutions and it’s a positive exercise to help us achieve goals. January 1st is a natural time to begin. As the new year approaches, we start to think of ways we can make a fresh start. We examine aspects of our lives and ourselves we’d like to change.

It’s not that new year’s resolutions aren’t full of good intentions. A desire to grow and move toward the life you want is powerful and positive. Most resolutions don’t fail because they weren’t “good” or they weren’t the “right” resolution.

No, there’s one major reason why most new years resolutions fail and understanding this reason will help you set successful resolutions instead.

Why It’s So Hard to Set Successful Resolutions

If resolutions are so difficult and failure-prone, why do we bother? Why do we have powerful motivation each December to start thinking about our goals for the upcoming year?

At the end of each year, we often feel kind of sick of things. The days are grey, we’re in the throes of the holiday hustle and bustle. We see January coming up and we’re ready to turn the calendar page. It gives us an opportunity for a fresh start. We see that marker on the horizon and we tell ourselves, “That’s it! I just need to make it to that mark and I’ll change!”

Now, there are a variety of possible changes we may choose to make, and which resolution we choose says something about us. Oftentimes, the resolution we choose isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s not the best fit for our lives. We don’t choose all that well. That’s why 9/10 resolutions fail. Only about 8% of resolution-makers will actually set successful resolutions that will stick for the year. In fact, a third of the resolution-setters won’t even make it through the first week and another third will fail by the end of the month (and it goes on from there).


Part of the reason we fail to set successful resolutions is that we’re not setting resolutions made for us. We’re looking for great new year’s resolution ideas or we’re trying to come up with what we believe a resolution or goal is supposed to be.


Some people set goals that are way too big. We may set a goal to change something overnight—you want to lose 50 lbs. You want to run a marathon. You want to make partner at your firm. You want to find the “one.”

While there’s nothing wrong with any of these goals—and many of them certainly can happen over the course of a year—simply setting a big goal is too vague. There’s no clear path to achievement or plan to forge ahead. Instead of working in increments, we’re simply throwing a big goal out there and hoping to wake up January 1st a whole new person.

On the flipside, many resolutions also fail because they’re too small. They aren’t based on a deeper reason. We may set a somewhat reasonable goal, “cut out caffeine” for example, but without exploring the reasons behind the goal, it falls flat.

If we want to set successful resolutions, the secret is to explore the bigger reason behind our goals: what does this mean to you? Why do you want this? Why does it matter to you and your life? What do you hope that goal will do for you?

In fact, exploring the deeper rationale behind the goal is even more important than the goal itself. The deeper meaning has more value than the resolution. It’s based on far more than the arbitrary marker of a change in the calendar.

Yearning for Successful Resolutions

We all want to be happier—to live lives of more joy, greater fulfillment, and deeper happiness. That desire for happiness is the impetus for each resolution we set. The problem comes from not exploring what will actually bring us that happiness we desire.

Many people experience what positive psychologists refer to as “miswanting.” We want something, mistakenly believing that it will bring us happiness. These items might be under your Christmas tree, in fact. We may believe we want an engagement ring; we want a nicer car; we want a bigger house; we want the corner office; we want to fit into our skinny jeans.

But underneath each one of these wants, we won’t discover fulfillment. Underneath these wants are simply more wants. We get a new laptop or a fancy watch, and we’re happy for a moment, but it passes. We eat celery for weeks and go to the gym every day in January but fitting in our skinny jeans doesn’t make us feel complete.


Underneath each successful resolution is a yearning. That yearning drives us toward our goal. Yearnings are powerful. They’re deeper than simple wants or desires.


How do you discover the yearning behind your resolution? Apply what we call the “so that” test. For example:

I want to fit in my skinny jeans so that I can be attractive.

I want to be attractive so that I can find a partner.

I want to find a partner so that I can love and be loved.

My yearning is to love and be loved. The underlying desire isn’t simply to “look hot,” but to find the fulfillment and joy that being loved brings.

This same test can be applied to any resolution. If you want a promotion at work, it may be so that you can gain the respect of your colleagues. Your yearning is to be respected. If you want to manage your calendar better, it may be so that you can find time to engage in volunteer activities. You may want to volunteer so that you’re contributing to the world around you. Your yearning is to contribute.

Yearnings are universal—we all have them. They often drive us toward or away from different decisions as we go throughout our lives. These yearnings are deeper than just wants. They are the fuel that moves us toward personal change and growth–the personal change we’re hoping will come through successful resolutions.

Get Your Resolutions to Stick This Year

It’s not achieving a goal or getting something we want that brings us long-lasting fulfillment. When we get something, we feel temporary happiness, but it’s fleeting. True, long-lasting fulfillment and satisfaction comes from engaging in your life fully. It’s about discovering that sense of meaning.

If your goals or resolutions have a deeper meaning, achieving them has an intrinsic value. The things that truly make people happy are personal growth, deepening their relationships, contributing to society—not just losing 10 pounds.

Now, maybe you yearn to contribute to society or spend more time with your family. You may realize, if you were healthier, lost some weight, or quit smoking, you would have more energy to do the activities you want to do. Suddenly, the “why” behind the resolution becomes more compelling. We’re not just giving up something to torture ourselves. We’re setting a goal with a deeper reason behind it.


Before writing down your resolutions, take some time for introspection. We often make resolutions rashly. We want to solve a problem immediately. We don’t look at why it’s bothering us, what we actually want and how it fits into our vision for our life in the upcoming year.


Working on the deeper vision and exploration is an important step toward setting successful resolutions. Once you’ve determined what you yearn for, creating your vision will come easily. What does your yearning look like in your life? What would bring this into your life now?

Your vision shouldn’t be a fantasy (your brain sees your fantasy as already achieved—it doesn’t process it as a planning tool). How will you change your life to bring in more fulfillment? Outline the steps and consider anticipated setbacks. What roadblocks will come up and how will you deal with them?

Explore your underlying yearnings and use them to create your vision. This will help you become motivated to take the steps you need to take. With a clear plan, you’re ready to forge ahead into a life of more fulfillment and joy in the new year.

Successful resolutions don’t need to wait for midnight on January 1st. You can start your resolution now, today. Identify your yearnings and move toward the life you want to achieve.

For more on living your best life in the new year, please visit us the Wright Foundation. Join us for an upcoming networking event to help you make this your best year yet!


About the Author

Judith Wright receives the Visionary Leader Award from Chicago NAWBO.

Dr. Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach.
She is a co-founder of The Wright Foundation and the Wright Graduate University.


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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Foundation performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

 

How to Have Happier Holidays with Your Family

Awake or asleep? How do you want to navigate the holidays?

Wondering how to have happier holidays with your extended family? The holidays are a challenge, but here’s how to survive (and actually enjoy your holiday season).


Whether you’re going to a family gathering, work get-together, or social function, the holidays are a busy time…and sometimes the busyness translates into stress. The stress is compounded by unfinished business lurking in the dynamics of our family circles. This constant hustle and bustle zaps our energy and leaves us feeling less-than-joyful. We forget what the holidays are all about. In fact, many of us may wish for them to just be over with.

But the holidays are a wonderful time to catch up with friends and family. It’s an opportunity to fill our lives with joyful experiences and stronger connections; all we need is a shift in our approach. So, this year, rather than reaching for the eggnog to zone out, here’s how to engage with others, zone in, and bring more meaning into your holiday season.

If you want to have happier holidays this year, the choice is up to you.

Navigating Through Sticky Holiday Situations with Family

When I was very young, my sister and I were sitting at the kids’ table one Christmas. I believe my sister was about five-years-old at the time. Like many children, she didn’t operate with a filter yet. Typically, she said whatever was on her mind.

A family friend brought their much-doted on, fluffy little terrier to dinner and put his dish right next to my sister, thinking Fido was joining us at the table. My sister piped up and said, “I like dogs, but not THAT much!”

Now, what happened? All the adults erupted in a nervous, uncomfortable laughter. Someone shushed my sister. But the truth was, while her comment was probably a little insulting to the dog’s owners (who were lovely family friends), it was coming from a place of pure honesty. She simply articulated what the rest of us were thinking. The adults might have had sympathy on the surface, but they still gossiped and rolled their eyes about a dog at the dinner table. So which reaction was really any better?


How many of us go into social situations, afraid to pipe up when there’s a dog at the table? We hold back, afraid to say what we’re really thinking. We don’t express what we want and we shy away from conflict.


This means we end up making excuses for avoiding the in-laws. When we do end up at a party, we might feel stressed, annoyed, angry, and resentful. We may feel upset with our spouse for dragging us to a function we didn’t want to attend.

When we experience these resentments and frustrations, it leaves us feeling drained, tired, and less-than alive. We drink another glass of champagne. We watch TV. We wait for it to be over. And these feelings aren’t limited to holiday functions.

As NY Times columnist, Sean D. Kelly wrote, “Think of the way that life really can become lifeless. You know what it’s like: rise, commute, work, lunch, work some more, maybe have a beer or go to the gym, watch TV. For a while, the routine is nurturing and stabilizing; it is comfortable in its predictability. But soon the days seem to stretch out in an infinite line behind and before you. And eventually, you are withered away inside them. They are not just devoid of meaning but ruthless in their insistence that they are that way. The life you are living announces it is no longer alive.”

This holiday season, choose aliveness.

Getting Past What We’re Avoiding

A lot of people are going to drink their way through the holidays. It’s not because they’re happy. It’s because they don’t know how to deal with it. Even those who don’t imbibe still turn to screen time and other soft addictions to help them cope. We turn on the football game, we blast the parades, we pack in distractions because we simply don’t know how to be fully alive and present with others—particularly our families.

If we’re alive and present, we’re going to follow our yearnings. If we follow our yearnings, we’re going to speak up like my sister did to our dog-owning friends. We assume it’s better instead to “keep the peace” but it doesn’t truly bring us peace internally.

We all have family members who button-hole people at the holiday dinners. The uncle who drones on and monopolizes the conversation to all who will listen. Aunt Suzi prattles on and on. She catches peoples’ ear and talks endlessly about topics no one else cares about, while the audience member scans for an exit. We know a simple question leads to tragic entrapment. So instead we avoid.

If we end up in the next room, we find Mom and Aunt Ann gossiping and complaining about the men. Then we run to the next room with the kids who are whining about the adults. We’re simply wandering through, looking for a way out. As the game matures, everyone learns to put on a stiff upper lip, a social look, and save their judgements for the car.

Once they get into the car they unload. What happens? A fight erupts.

This was always the case with my family. A two-hour odyssey “over the river and through the woods” (or in this case through Chicago and past O’Hare) to get to the family was filled with tense anticipation. My father wasn’t looking forward to seeing my grandmother, who had a high-pitched voice like nails on a chalkboard.

The whole way to visit family for the holidays the fight would get going. Not because my mother didn’t agree, but because she was very enmeshed with my grandmother. They spoke so often, in fact, my father bought my mother a shoulder cradle for the phone (back in the days of “landlines”) so she could do dishes and housework while my grandmother prattled on and on—otherwise, she may not have ever gotten anything done.

Meanwhile, my grandfather didn’t like my father because he’d “stolen” his baby girl and was less affluent than they felt she deserved. It took years for my grandmother to realize my mother had actually made a wise move to marry for love.

So, there we were with all this unfinished business driving on the highway; my father upset and irritable; my mother downplaying her own irritation with my grandparents, even though she knew as well as we all did, it wasn’t a pleasant situation.

But on we went, and it was miserable every year.

Now, were we all wiser back then, we would have realized the unspoken feelings and resentments that were building up weren’t letting us feel the joy of Christmas. We weren’t engaging. We weren’t connecting. In fact, there was nothing about the spirit of the season to be found.

Honesty Brings Happier Holidays

The truth is, being honest is the key to bringing about happier holidays. Now, this doesn’t always mean a brutally honest verbal knockdown and drag out around the yule log. When we go into a situation with our emotional guns ablaze, we rarely resolve anything.

But embracing honesty throughout the year will help you have happier holidays. Even if it seems too late to start this year, it’s not. Express your feelings to your spouse about the situation BEFORE you get in the car and head to the events. Agree to a time limit or come up with a codeword when Aunt Suzi corners one of you and starts chatting. Use the time to connect more deeply with your partner and have a little fun with the situation. See yourselves as allies, who are in the situation together.


Beyond the holidays, commit to more honesty and greater aliveness in the new year. This means honestly acknowledging and appreciating the positive aspects of your life, your family, and your relationships.


It also means honestly expressing your feelings and engaging in productive conflict as you work FOR the better of the relationship. It may help to remember, one of the Rules of Engagement from our book, The Heart of the Fight is to fight FOR rather than against. Another key rule is to assume good intentions on the part of the other party.

When your father-in-law starts proselytizing about politics or your sister offers up thinly-veiled critiques of your job, operate with honesty but engage with them as a chance to learn. Can you empathize with their point? Can you ask them to help you understand where they’re coming from? How can you learn more about who they are? View it as a chance to learn something new about yourself.

When the dust settles, another key to happier holidays is to really use them as an opportunity to reflect on and appreciate what was good over the past 12 months. Create a ritual where you reflect on the transformative experiences you had this year, including holiday time with family. What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about your loved ones?

Use these insights from your reflection to plan with more intention in the next year. How will you bring more aliveness to your life? What will you carry with you into the future? What will you leave behind as you let go of the past year to help you move forward?


This time of year is a powerful opportunity for visioning and setting your intention and dreams for the year ahead.  The same is true for all of us (including your family).


If you’re looking for an opportunity to experience happier holidays and engage with your family during events, use these dreams as a platform for conversation. It’s extremely interesting to discuss with family members their dreams for the next year. Find people in your family who are doing something and talk to them about their dreams and goals. Support them in following their dreams. Support them in stepping out on their own. You may not have the nerve to step out on your own in the past, but you may encourage a younger family member to have the courage to live their dreams.

You can be fully alive and in the spirit of gratitude for the holidays without being “polite” or lying to those around you. In fact, embracing honesty is key to having happier holidays. Use the challenging situations to discover and learn more about your relationships, your family and yourself.

Give purpose and meaning to the holidays and give purpose and meaning to how you want to develop yourself. You might not dive into all of the chaos of the family dynamic or resolve all your issues in one visit but operate with honest and openness as you mix and mingle this holiday.

For more on how to live with more honesty and intention, visit the Wright Foundation website. Join us for an upcoming networking event where you will connect with others and learn more about yourself. We also want to announce the availability of many of our courses for download. Don’t miss out on the special introductory price for many of our courses and lectures.


 About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

 

 

How to Reduce Holiday Stress and Have a Happier Season

Recently I was talking to a friend who said, “Winter is tough for me. How do I keep down all these negative feelings?”

Wondering how to reduce holiday stress? ‘Tis the season for loneliness, hustle, bustle and stress. Here’s how to take a step back and bring the joy back into the season.


She had recently lost her mom. They were very close and with the holiday season at hand, she was struggling to find her footing. Every box she opened and ornament she put out seemed to contribute to her sense of loss and sadness.

The holidays are a wonderful time of year…yet, many people also report an increased amount of stress and sadness. For some, it’s the pressure of the season to purchase gifts, fit in activities, and keep up with the hustle and bustle. For others, it may be their first year following a divorce, a breakup, or in my friend’s case, the loss of a loved one. These experiences contribute to wintertime struggles.

So, how can we reduce holiday stress and have a happier season this year?

Combating the Winter Blues

When I’m asked how to stave off negative feelings, I always encourage the person to take a step back and reassess. When we feel something not-so-great, whether it’s fear, anger, sadness or hurt, there’s often a tendency to want to squelch those feelings down and turn them off.

But it’s important we remember our feelings are there to protect us. It’s not that we need to stave off our feelings. Maybe we simply let our feelings be there. We can sit with our feelings and hold them for a bit. We can be mindful and aware of how we’re feeling, without fighting it.

Today is a grey day outside. We recently had snow, but it’s overcast and dark. It’s cold. When I woke up this morning, like many people, I noticed I wasn’t feeling the same energy I’d feel on a bright sunny spring day. So, when these grey moods happen, we can simply notice them. Don’t try to turn the feelings off. Let them be there, but also, don’t get lost in the mood.

Take a cue from the way children handle emotions. When they experience sadness, what do they do? They cry, they yell, they really feel sadness. And then when they’re done, they move forward. When those emotions are allowed to come to the surface, we can feel them, acknowledge them and then release them.


It’s not about avoiding the feelings as though they were bad, or wrong to feel—let ourselves really experience the emotion.


Often when we fully feel our feelings, they become less stressful. We’re no longer fighting them or trying to turn them off.

The other key is to build up a reservoir of the goodness we experience, even in the dark days. We can even think of it like a game as we go out in the world and “find” positive experiences to add to our collection—it may be a smile in the elevator, a funny conversation with a coworker, the taste of your favorite peppermint candy. These little, positive moments reassure us there is beauty and goodness in the world. They help us build our sense of wellbeing.

Our goal shouldn’t be to talk ourselves out of our feelings, but to balance them out.

The Importance of Giving Thanks

There’s lots of research on the importance of really giving thanks. The benefits of gratitude are now scientifically proven to boost our mood and help us increase our sense of joy and well-being.

As humans, we have a negativity bias. Consider the last time someone gave you feedback on a project. Chances are, they could have said 10 positive points about your work and one or two areas to work on. When you walk away, what do you recall and focus on? The criticism.

This is a natural occurrence that was linked to our very survival years ago. We needed to be aware of what was bad, problematic, and dangerous, simply to stay alive. Footprints from a predator, rustling leaves, a sign of disturbance—these could all indicate we were in danger.

These protective mechanisms are still there in our wiring. We naturally look for what is wrong. As we do it over and over it becomes habitual. We barely remember the positives or notice them, we simply focus on the negative. We become Teflon for the positive, where nothing sticks, and Velcro for the negative, where we cling to everything.


We can recalibrate ourselves to start to find light in the darkness. We don’t need to look for big momentous things, either. We can find the moments of goodness everywhere.


The wonderful aspect of the winter season is with the impending holidays, there are plenty of opportunities to notice goodness and joyful moments.

Savor your senses—a warm cup of tea, for example, can add to your positive sensory experience. You need to hold those sensory moments for 10-20 seconds to really let them be with you. Breathe in the positive moments. Acknowledge the good and send a little prayer or word of gratitude to the universe for the beautiful moment.

Building a Holiday Season that Brings Us Joy

Whether we’re experiencing grief over the loss of a loved one, the pain of a break up, or other difficulties during this time of year, we don’t need to shy away from it. In fact, part of the beauty of loving someone is that when we lose them, it hurts. That sadness and upset is part of the experience. We can accept and acknowledge it, rather than trying to turn it off.

If our memories are especially raw, it’s important we anticipate how tender we may feel. There will be waves of sadness or hurt. There may even be feelings of anger. It’s natural, and it will happen. When we experience them, it’s okay to really feel them to the fullest.

But we don’t need to dwell in our sadness. We can take the responsibility to create a season for ourselves. What is it that you truly love? What gives you a sense of joy and warmth over the season? Add more of those activities to your day. Give yourself more of those moments that bring you joy rather than dwelling on what’s not there or what cannot be.

Similarly, take the pressure off yourself to create the “perfect holiday.” We focus so much on the pressure, we forget the pleasure. This is especially true for busy parents of young children who may feel there’s barely a moment to think, let alone feel the holiday spirit.


Rather than focusing on presents and obligations, consider the question, “What would make me happy this holiday season? What would I like to give myself?”


If you’re feeling the pressure, forgo some of the extras, whether it means drawing names in your family instead of giving everyone a gift, or paring down your social calendar. Take the burdens off.

You may realize that, for you, it’s about cultivating a stronger connection with your loved ones or enjoying the beauty of the season. Perhaps for you, the spirit of the holiday comes when you’re enjoying a frosty ride on a sled, admiring holiday windows, or hearing music swell through a beautifully lit cathedral. Focus on the activities and moments that really fulfill you and bring more of it into your life this holiday season.

If the stress comes from spending time with family members or the in-laws, have the conversation well before the event. You may need to discuss your feelings with your partner openly and honestly, even if it’s difficult. Aim to resolve the situation to meet your wants and needs rather than going to an event feeling cranky and upset, which won’t be enjoyable for anyone. Perhaps you need to split your time with families or limit the amount you spend. Get it out in the open so you can reduce holiday stress and have a jolly season as well.

If you’ve had a strained relationship with family or tension that didn’t get addressed before, chances are it will come back up. If you plan to spend time with your family, allay some of the worries by having those challenging conversations and clearing the air.


Embrace honesty this holiday season. Get your feelings out in the open. Add moments to reduce holiday stress throughout the whole season.


Pick up a Christmas story to read through on the train as you journey to work. Enjoy a holiday hot chocolate. Call a friend. Listen to beautiful music, admire the lights and smell all the delicious scents of the season These little meaningful moments are powerful ways to ground ourselves and reconnect.

Whether you’re struggling to make the holiday season a little brighter for yourself after a difficult year, or you’re simply wanting to better cope with the stress of the season, take the time to nourish yourself. Don’t beat yourself up over stress—remember stress is there because you care about others and want to have positive experiences. Reframe the stress to focus on building connections, enjoying moments and surrounding yourself with the beauty and love of the holiday season.

For more ways to add light to your life, please visit us at the Wright Foundation. Join us for an upcoming networking event to help you make this your best year yet!


 About the Author

Judith Wright receives the Visionary Leader Award from Chicago NAWBO.

Dr. Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach.
She is a co-founder of The Wright Foundation and the Wright Graduate University.


Loving the content and want more? Follow Judith on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Foundation performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.