How to Go on Vacation, and More Importantly, How to Come Back from Vacation

Learn how to take a vacation so that you return completely invigorated.


The word “vacation” comes from the word “vacate”—to be empty, to free.

The ancient Greeks defined the purpose of vacation as one of healing, gaining perspective, and re-focusing our life’s efforts.

Epidaurus was one of the most famous Ancient Greek seaside resorts. Vacationers would ask their gods for healing, life-directing dreams, then sleep in dream auditoriums until they received such a dream to guide them in returning to everyday life.

Um, how many of us take vacations that fit THAT description?

NOTE: I meditate, so I am always seeking mini-vacations during the day to tend to and be with myself. But that is another blog.

Taking a truly successful vacation that leaves you feeling refreshed, renewed, and re-focused (even if you don’t get a life-directing dream!) is a creative activity with three phases: Preparation, Vacation, and Re-Entry.

Prepare, and You Won’t Despair

One of our staff just took a vacation with a triple purpose. He wanted to prepare for his state licensing, personally recharge, and decide on whether to get married. When he returned, he said it was the most restful, rejuvenating vacation he can remember taking.

What did he do? Follow these steps:

  1. Think about the purpose of your vacation well ahead of time. Why are you going where you’re going and doing what you’re going to be doing? “To get away” or “Escape” is not a sufficient reason. Be specific. “To enhance my relationship with my family,” “to get a new perspective on my career” – are sufficient reasons.
  2. Set specific goals to fulfill your purpose. Our staff person had time goals with his girlfriend, his books, and himself. He also set content goals. He identified subjects he wanted to discuss with her, topics to review for his exam, and concerns to consider for himself.
  3. Discuss your schedule and come to alignment with anyone traveling with you. Share your desired outcomes and see how they can fit together.
  4. Anticipate problems and make contingency plans in case things don’t go as planned. This is crucial! It can be the difference between a new adventure and a ruined trip.

Vacation-planning mindfulness is the difference between coming back stressed out and coming back completely invigorated.

While You’re Away….

Smile, relax, and focus on the goals and purpose you already determined. You’ve done the work. Now you can reap the rewards. Remember to review with your travel companions regularly. Does everyone feel satisfied? Do you need to revise anything?

Also, make a point to talk about how you would like things to feel when you get back. What feelings and inspirations do you want to bring back with you?

And don’t over plan! This will NOT be the only vacation you’re ever going to take. Everyone needs some unstructured, dreamy time to rejuvenate (and get that dream from the gods.) Balance activity and rest. Engage in new experiences, unusual sights and sounds, thoughts, foods, etc.

One of the reasons people like to camp, hike, and canoe is because it’s stimulating without evoking a lot of our unfinished business back home. It allows us to approach our world with awe. It lets us escape the person we were in the city and discover the person we could be.

Engage in some activities that will add to your life skills. For example, I used to wonder at Judith’s ability to sunbathe and read for hours on end. Then I dedicated one vacation to learning to relax. That vacation has stayed with me ever since and has served me well.

Anticipate your re-entry with relaxed determination to carry all that felt good from your vacation into your daily routine. Pick easy behavior changes you can make. Let these changes flow from your original vacation purposes and goals. That staff member I mentioned earlier? He returned more rested than ever, asked his girlfriend to marry him, and aced his test.

Re-Energize Your Re-Entry

Let’s say I’m going to go on a two-week canoe trip into the Boundary Waters. For me, the purpose of that trip would be to experience a little bit of fear—the challenge of using a topographical map to portage in and navigate the area, and the excitement of experiencing myself doing exactly that!

How much of that trip can I keep living when I come back so that I’m a little more adventuresome AND a little more mindful?

Do I have a topographical re-entry map to help me recognize the rapids and the places that are dangerous and where I need to pay special attention? What would that look like?

When we pay attention to our re-entry into our day-to-day life, we honor our purpose for going on vacation in the first place. As a result, we re-enter with renewed inspiration, rejuvenation, and an expanded sense of ourselves. And we can bring that to our co-workers, partners, and all our relationships.

No one wants to come back from a vacation filled with resentment for our life, exhaustion from an over-booked trip, or finding ourselves in victim mode for having to go back to work. We all know what that feels like.

Next time you are on your way home from an extended trip, try this instead:

  1. Ease back in. Don’t let fear drive you to try and catch up on a week’s worth of work in your first hour at your desk. You don’t have to “pay the price” for taking a vacation. If you must, take an extra vacation day or come back early to ensure that the first day is not over-scheduled!
  2. Allow yourself to focus on the rest and relaxation you got. Rest is the natural balance to work. Feel your gratitude for it. Share your gratitude.
  3. Spend some time thinking about the successes and failures of this vacation. This way, you can plan an even better vacation next time!

Re-entry is about being able to be present with yourself, reflecting, and celebrating your life as it is, even though vacation is over.

To take an even bigger view, think of vacation as a metaphor for a period of time when you are more consciously and more fully present with yourself. Which is the opposite of how many of us think of it.

Instead of getting away, use your vacation to dive deeper into you.

You may be surprised how refreshing that can be!

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 him on Instagram and LinkedIn.

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome: How to Get Past a Fear of Success

Most of us have experienced imposter syndrome at one point or another. We might have success in our career or receive accolades from our boss, and in creeps the sneaking suspicion that we really don’t “deserve this.”



Overcoming imposter syndrome isn’t easy. It’s based on self-doubt, untruths that we tell ourselves, and feelings of inadequacy that we may have been building for years. So how do we do it? How do we kick imposter syndrome once and for all and accept the kudos and compliments that we’ve earned without feeling like a phony?

What is Imposter Syndrome Anyway?

Many of us get the feeling that we’re about to be “found out.” We might feel like our success is a mistake. When we do something right, we assume we’ve managed to “trick” others into believing that we’re actually good at what we’re doing. We’ve deceived everyone into believing that we’re great salespeople, an incredible CEO, fantastic artists, or talented writers. We think, “if they only knew the truth,” or we dread the day we’re found out.

When we experience these thoughts and self-doubts, they’re symptoms of what’s known as imposter syndrome. What is imposter syndrome, and where does it come from?

The term “imposter phenomenon” was coined by clinical psychologists Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes in 1978. For many, the term resonated with feelings that they’d long held. It was used to describe the feeling that many successful individuals get. Despite plenty of contrary evidence, many successful people feel like “frauds,” or as though they don’t deserve the success they experience in their chosen profession. Even when these individuals were shown proof of their success, they dismissed it as good fortune or suggested they deceived others into believing they were competent. What’s more, they often feared being discovered or found out.

This may sound familiar to many of us. Why do we feel this way? Why do we experience imposter syndrome?


The reality is that many of us have some type of underlying anxiety and fear. We all feel worried from time to time. Sometimes our worries are reasonable given the circumstances. Sometimes they aren’t.


Many of us may experience worries about our health, finances, social lives, loved ones, and more. We may wonder if other people like us; we may feel lonely and disconnected; we may worry about how we can take care of others in our lives.

A little bit of fear, worry, or even anxiety is a natural part of being human. Most successful people are driven in one way or another by their sense of discontent and uneasiness. They’re driven by a need to do well and may have anxiety about success.

However, a healthy amount of worry can spiral out of control when we encounter foundational ideas in our heads known as limiting beliefs. Some of these beliefs are good. They keep us safe. They may keep us from quitting our job and running off to join the circus. They may prevent us from hurting ourselves or from hurting those around us.

But our limiting beliefs can also prevent us from trusting ourselves. Many of these beliefs aren’t accurate. They keep us from reaching our potential and fully developing ourselves. We may find that we’re holding back because we want to stay nice and cozy in our perceived “safe zone,” even if we aren’t reaching our maximum satisfaction. Our limiting beliefs can keep us from fully living our best lives.

Understanding the Origins of Our Limiting Beliefs to Beat Imposter Syndrome

We might not be able to beat our imposter syndrome right away. It’s not something that can be wished or reasoned away with the snap of our fingers. Instead, we have to examine where our limiting beliefs originate. They’re part of our very core, and the first step to overcoming imposter syndrome is to dig down and look at them. These beliefs were typically formed very early in our childhood, and while some of them may have applied to our world at the time, they’re often untrue, especially in adulthood. If we don’t pinpoint them and work through them, they can hold us back from reaching our fullest potential.

We may hear limiting beliefs in our head, and they make us have thoughts like:

  • “I’m not good enough.”
  • “I am too much. I overwhelm people.”
  • “I’m too sensitive. I’m too needy.”
  • “I’m not intellectual.”
  • “I’m a follower, not a leader.”

When we say these beliefs aloud, we may even think they sound a little unreasonable, but they tend to follow us around. These beliefs can haunt us. Sometimes we don’t realize our limiting beliefs because they’ve been buried and intertwined so deeply within our subconscious. We might be blind to them, but they shape many of our choices and our confidence. These limiting beliefs may steer our decisions toward or away from things we may otherwise want.


So how deep are these beliefs? Most of our limiting beliefs were formed before we were even aware of them. They may have originated from our interactions with our parents, siblings, grandparents, teachers, caretakers, or even friends.


Much of our social and emotional makeup is formed by the time we reach age six or seven. We carry that with us for the rest of our lives, using it to form the basis of the way we see ourselves and our world. We tap into it when we make choices.

Why One Person Felt Like an Imposter

I was coaching a very successful young man. He had references and accolades from many respected people within his industry. He had recently received a promotion to a higher position where he earned more money and had a chance to manage a global network of team members. By all accounts, he was doing extremely well.

But despite his evident success, he was still haunted by the fact that he didn’t have a college degree. He flunked out of his program. Not because he couldn’t keep up, but because (at the time) he didn’t care. He was more interested in sports in his younger years. He went out and partied. He’d since turned his life around and found great success, but in the back of his mind, he felt like he was just waiting to be found out.

He believed that he was an imposter. Now, he’d been very upfront with his bosses and let them know that he didn’t hold a degree. Yet, he still was promoted and did very well in his position. He relied on his life experience and personality to drive him to success. He built a strong rapport with his clientele and coworkers. He had innate leadership skills. But the idea that he wasn’t good enough still kept coming up until it was tainting the joy of his success.

As we worked together, we learned that it all went back to his relationship with his parents when he was a child. He was living out a self-fulfilling prophecy that he would never be good enough. His mom was a higher performer, while his dad was less so. This experience led him to believe that as a man, he was inherently lazy. He didn’t even live up to his father’s standard—especially after his grades went downhill in college.

In his head, he was still hearing all these doubts. He had a desire to rebel against others’ performance standards and had a hard time with authority. Despite the money, promotions, and success, he was still holding onto those early childhood limitations.

How to Let Go of those Limiting Beliefs and Ditch Your Inner Imposter

To become really successful and take our lives to the next level, we have to shake up those limiting beliefs. Discovering them is the first step, but we also have to realize that we need to let them go at a certain point, or they will always hold us back.


So how do we let go of imposter syndrome? We have to challenge what we think about ourselves. If we feel like we don’t deserve our success, we can examine why we have that belief. Where does it come from? How can we challenge it? Test the waters to see what happens when we choose not to believe it anymore. Challenge it!


Every step we take away from our limiting beliefs is huge. It builds momentum, and with each new success, we start to rebuild our confidence and acknowledge that these beliefs don’t apply to us anymore. We can tell ourselves that we’re embracing our best lives and deserve what we have. When we are working toward living up to our fullest potential, we can and will make it happen.

Educational Theorist Lev Vygotsky taught Social Development Theory. It is the idea that kids develop by playing and through social interactions. It’s how they learn about the world. Kids first pretend something, and throughout their cognitive development, the play turns into real-life social interactions. Anyone who’s watched kids play house has probably observed some very elaborate social interactions planned and then carried out. Kids imagine different scenarios and then play out their reactions to the scenarios. They become what they first pretend.

Like kids, we can try to “fake it, ‘til we make it.” We can acknowledge that our limiting beliefs are there and hold us back, but we’re going to move forward anyway. We can know that we can achieve whatever we want by working on our skills and continuously challenging ourselves.

If we’re in a constant state of growth, challenging ourselves and being honest, authentic, and intentional, we can become what we want to be. It doesn’t matter our age or our situation. There is very little that is out of our reach. It’s not about deserving success or fitting a certain mold. It’s not even about being lucky. It’s about having integrity, dedication, and intention. If we work to create the best and bring out the best for those around us, they will reciprocate because they will also want the best for us.

So the next time that doubt creeps in, let go of the idea that you don’t really deserve your success. Instead, savor the way it feels good and embrace it!

For more ideas about living your best life, don’t miss the resources we offer at Wright Now. We have many courses and materials available for download. Check it out today so you can start to get the life you want!

 


About the Author

Bob-300x250

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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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.

 

 

5 Inspiring Traits of Successful People

There are a few universal traits of successful people — and you may be surprised to learn they aren’t all that mysterious.


Wondering what makes successful people tick? Don’t miss these 5 inspiring traits of successful people, including tips to emulate these qualities.


What makes a successful person, well, successful? We all know someone magnetic. They’re good at what they do, firing on all cylinders, passionate, and engaged. But what are the traits of successful people (and how can we get some of what they’re having)?

When we meet a successful person, they’ve “got it.” But sometimes, we might also see familiar flickers in these qualities. The truth is, we all have the capacity to become successful and to fully live the life we want to pursue. Yes, there may be logistical hurdles, but everyone has infinite potential.

So, how do we tap into our potential? How do we emulate the traits of successful people so we can enjoy the same high-quality results?

Defining Our Idea of Success

We all know when we meet someone who’s successful. Sometimes it’s hard to put our finger on the quality, but when we connect with inspiring, dynamic, successful people, we’ll likely notice that they all share some commonalities.

  • Successful people are magnanimous.
  • Successful people know how to “work the room.”
  • Successful folks know how to draw people in.
  • Successful people own it.
  • Somehow, the most successful people make every person they meet feel essential and vital to their mission, project, or task.

These universal traits of successful people aren’t all that mysterious. The question is how they acquired these qualities, and is it possible for us to tap into the same dynamic?

Before we examine the traits of successful people, it helps first to define what it means to be successful. Does a successful person make a lot of money? Are they at the pinnacle of their career? Are they attractive? Popular? There are a lot of different definitions of success, and most of us can probably agree that the markers of success may vary.


But in the most significant sense, all successful people are fulfilled. The most successful people are vision-driven. They’re leaders. Successful people have a sense of purpose.


Are these bastions of success happy all the time? Of course not! (Who is?) However, they’re generally positive and enjoying their life. They’re engaged and extracting the most out of every moment. Successful people might feel satisfied and confident in what they have and what they’ve achieved, but they also drive themselves forward to keep reaching the next milestone. Successful people don’t rest on their laurels; they strive for the next peak and the chance to tackle their next goal.

What Makes a Person Successful in Life? 5 Traits of Successful People

1. Successful People Know Their “Why”

Successful people understand their raison d’être: their reason for being. They know why they get up every day and why they want more. Successful people have a larger mission. They have a vision of where they want to end up.

One of the universal traits of successful people is that a higher purpose generally drives them both in their professional life and personal goals. Now, “higher-purpose” doesn’t mean they’re always religious or even spiritual. It means that they understand their true calling and impact on the world. They’re heeding the call, and it propels them forward. They’re not focused on the simple, temporal rewards that will only get them ahead in the here and now.

Successful people are mission-driven with their eyes on the prize. They stay laser-focused on their larger mission, even if it’s broad, lofty, or nearly unattainable.

2. They’re Willing to Fight

When we say that successful people are willing to fight, it might seem to contradict what we mentioned above. After all, didn’t we just say that successful people were magnanimous and driven by a higher purpose? That doesn’t sound like a person who’s argumentative or angry.

But there’s a distinction between being willing to fight FOR someone or something we believe in and being a petty, angry, or argumentative contrarian. Fighting for something means that we aren’t afraid of conflict because we recognize that conflict is sometimes a necessary step toward reaching a larger goal.

For example, it’s healthier for both parties when we fight for the betterment of a relationship (rather than zoning out or resorting to passive-aggressiveness). Similarly, it can be healthy and productive when we’re fighting for a cause or idea that we feel passionate about at work. We might even be the one who saves the company from a disaster rather than silently watching the ship sink.

Successful people aren’t doormats. They don’t ignore problems; they stand up and get their point across. They also handle their frustration responsibly—they don’t demean others or engage in collusion, bullying, or gossip. Instead, they rally and inspire others to their cause. They share the vision and engage in conflict because they believe in their cause and are willing to fight for it.

3. They’re Present in the Moment

Our lives are full of distractions, but successful people don’t let their distractions get in the way of fulfilling their yearnings. Successful people are mindful, present, and work to stay in the moment. Mindfulness roots us in the here and now rather than replaying the past or fearing the future. Mindfulness connects us with what we want—our deeper yearnings.

“If you’re not in touch with your yearnings…you may waste time and energy complaining to friends about how your company is being run by shortsighted leaders. Or you might miss that moment to love and to matter in your child’s life when you’re tucking her into bed, and she wants to talk, but your mind is jumping to all the “to do’s” left at work. Or maybe you dash off a hurried peck on the cheek to your mate on your way out the door and miss the opportunity to really see and appreciate each other for a moment while nourishing your yearning to love and be loved. When you are truly in harmony with what you yearn for, you experience every moment in a deeper and more fulfilling way.”
Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living

Successful people don’t allow themselves to veer off course and waste time. They’re productive and focused. They don’t while away the hours with soft addictions like television, social media, and other methods people use to distract and numb themselves from reality. Instead, successful people stay fully engaged. They go for it! They’re in the moment because they know each moment gives them a chance to grow, explore, and get more out of life.

4. Successful People Practice “Know Thyself”

Now, depending on how we define success, we know that not all “successful people” are self-aware or self-actualized. Take a look at the current political climate or the latest corporate scandal! But people who are the most successful and get the most satisfaction out of their lives practice a growth mindset.


A growth mindset means learning from our mistakes and constantly exploring ways to be better. We’re figuring out our drivers, yearnings, and what our heart truly wants and needs to feel a sense of purpose.


Successful people identify ways to get what they want—what will bring them a sense of satisfaction. They aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeve and do the work to get to where they want to be.

When we learn new things, we form new neuropathways. These new experiences reshape and grow our brains. Without learning and growth, we become dull and stagnant. We may show signs of aging and cognitive decline. We start to disengage and checkout. We find ourselves on autopilot. When we stop growing, we experience the antithesis of success.

On the other hand, successful people explore their inner workings because they want to understand themselves. They aren’t afraid to do personal growth work. They work with coaches, mentors, allies, and peers to understand who they really are. Successful people know that unlocking the secrets of our personality, motivations, and yearnings helps us build up our emotional intelligence—our superpower!

5. They Listen and Lead

When we’re around successful people, we often feel more successful ourselves. It’s almost like osmosis. Transformational leaders become powerful because they share their vision of success with others. They don’t dictate their goals and tasks, but they lead people to realize their own visions. Then, they explore how those visions align and overlap to bring success to the entire team.

Successful leaders don’t bark orders at people. They don’t talk over others or treat them down. They’re assertive to be sure—they say what they want, but they also listen. They work to hear and understand their peers. They want to learn what drives others and what makes them tick. Successful people know that they’re only as good as their team, spouse, and social circle. Their bosses love them because they make their boss look great!

Listening is a powerful tool for success. Often, we want to power through our discussions with others and drag them toward our point. Yet, listening, suggesting, and guiding would get us better results and allow others to share in the success. We can learn to listen by practicing with others—stay in the moment, engage, and really hear what they’re trying to express. We can share our vision and figure out a path together to get what we both want.

Success isn’t a trait we’re born with or inherent talent. To become successful, we have to work and focus. We must be willing to grow, change, listen, and lead. The traits of successful people aren’t mysterious or secretive. The path to success is clear and attainable for anyone willing to do the work.

If you’re ready to find success, don’t miss our resources at Wright Now! We have courses and materials to help you bring out your best in your career, relationship, and personal life. Get more of what you want today!

 


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 Wright and the Wright Graduate University.
Loving the content and want more? Follow Judith on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!


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 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.

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.

 

Discovering Your Purpose: How to Find More Meaning Each Day

We’ve all gone through times when we’ve felt aimless, unfocused, or maybe a little empty. We might wonder what is the meaning of it all? Or feel like is this all there is?


 

Find more meaning in your life every day by discovering your purpose.


When life becomes challenging and sometimes even boring, we can become disheartened and untethered. We might feel empty or wonder if we’ve somehow lost our sense of purpose. When this happens, are we doomed to wander through the days as the years speed up and pass us by? Is there a way we can get back that sense of meaning?

For some of us, these feelings spur us to take drastic measures. We might take them as a sign we need to quit our jobs, end a relationship, or move to a different house. We might believe if only we made some change or had some “thing” new and novel in our lives, we would find fulfillment and happiness. But as most people find out, getting more stuff and even making drastic changes doesn’t result in discovering your purpose.

Discovering Your Purpose By Definition

What is purpose anyway? It’s a big, big question. The simplest answer? Purpose is the wonderful capacity in each of us to joyously take our place in the progress of humanity and do our part to help all of us reach our full potential.

Purpose is the heart of the matter—it’s the “why” behind what we do. Our purpose summarizes our reason for doing what we’re doing with our lives. Purpose is the answer to questions like, “What is this all for?” and “Is this it? Is this all there is?”

When we experience these seemingly hard-to-answer questions, we might find ourselves looking in strange places for the cure. Some folks buy a motorcycle, take a sabbatical, or quit their day job. Other people might simply try to drown out their feelings of dissatisfaction by turning to soft addictions—binging on television, zoning out on social media, overeating, shopping too much, and generally pursuing activities that act more like a salve than a panacea.

Without purpose, we won’t find satisfaction in our activities; no matter how fun, how delicious, or how pleasurable, the moment they are over, we’re returned to the nagging sense of emptiness. It’s like an itch we can’t scratch. We’re longing for more but try as we might quite hit the mark.

Why We Must Have Purpose

To be successful in life, we must find our own purpose. It looks different for everyone, and no two paths are alike.


Without a sense of purpose, we’re just floating around…lost. We’re going through the motions; we’re checked out and zoned out. We’re filling our lives with pacifiers. We’re disengaged and disconnected. Maybe we’re finding little successes and joys along the way, but without a true sense of purpose, we get the sense we aren’t quite there.


When we feel lost or unfocused (or simply “blah”), we should check our sense of purpose. Maybe we’re pretty fulfilled at work and love our job, but our marriage has lost the fire. Perhaps our marriage is okay, but we think our social life is lacking and dread going to work. Maybe all areas of our life could use some work, or perhaps there’s a specific part that doesn’t seem to be hitting the mark.

Purpose is something that’s got to exist in all areas of our life. It’s a 360-degree goal. Purpose transcends our entire being. It’s one of those things: we’ve either got it, and it spills over into all facets of our lives, or we’ve lost it, and it starts to suck the meaning and fulfillment out of all our activities. Yes, it’s true–if we notice a lack of fulfillment in one area, we can be sure that, like dominoes, other areas will soon follow.

Purpose matters.

Discovering Your Life Purpose: The Big Picture

You might be wondering, “what is the purpose of my life, then? How do I discover this great sense of purpose?”

A clear life purpose gives meaning to all activities. When we have purpose, we’re fully engaged and all-in in everything we do. We’re firing on all cylinders. When we find purpose, even mundane activities become opportunities to mindfully learn and explore. Our days become an adventure, and our world becomes anew.


Life purpose is the container into which we fit our goals. It’s our vision—the whole picture. Our purpose is the summation of what we’re working toward.


For some, finding purpose means connecting with God or religion or discovering a higher power. For others, it’s about making a difference, connecting with humanity, and feeling secure that we’re working from a place where we help all those we touch. It can mean engaging in challenging and stimulating relationships, connecting with others, and pushing ourselves in our work and our play. For many of us, it’s all those activities and more. Purpose goes even deeper than just participating in religion or giving to charity; it’s more than just finding success in our work and having all of the checks on our “bucket list” ticked off. It’s MORE.

At first blush, “finding our life purpose” sounds like it’s all about personal satisfaction and how we individually want to be fulfilled. But true purpose is beyond our own ego and super-ego. It seeps into and goes beyond the essence of our actions and personality. Purpose is everywhere.

Our purpose is about the way we’re fulfilled, but it’s through the fulfillment of others’ needs and our role in the lives around us. It’s about elevating those around us and bringing out their best—which in turn, brings out our own best self. Purpose challenges us and leads us to discoveries, insights, and realizations. Purpose connects us and strengthens our relationships.

If we think of a projector shining concentrated light through film onto a screen, life purpose is the lens through which life flows to project our highest vision.

It’s about becoming visionary leaders. It’s about being the light to those around us.

True transformational leaders have vision, but their singular goal isn’t to simply achieve that vision. It’s to embrace and share their vision with those around them. It’s to listen, connect and engage with those they come in contact with to help them realize their vision as well.


Transformers live purposefully and with intent. They don’t meander through their days; they are on purpose—to follow and fulfill their yearning to learn, grow, love, and be loved, to matter, to make a difference. Transformers care so deeply about living with intent and pursuing their purpose that they can preserve through extreme hardship. Their yearning is so powerful that they feel compelled to engage…To develop the sense of mission and purpose, dedicate yourself to follow your deeper yearning—substantial, real, here-and-now yearning—and your purpose will emerge. Purpose is not an escape, and rarely is it a charity or cause alone—it’s a way of living. It is something that is a unique expression of you.

Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living


Getting Fulfillment Now

Most of us wait, not feeling fulfilled until we accomplish certain goals or hit milestones—rather than experiencing fulfillment in every moment and every situation. By orienting to purpose, we see greater possibility in every situation and stop waiting to live and love because we are living and loving our fullest toward our highest, honoring life in all its manifestations.

Purpose provides the focus for the fulfillment of our heart’s desires, which automatically leads us to even more extraordinary accomplishments.

Now you’re probably thinking, “Well, that sounds all well and wonderful, but okay, how do I DO it? How do I unlock MY purpose?”

To find your purpose, you must truly understand yourself. It requires us to explore our yearnings. We must look into the history of where our innermost desires and the longings of our hearts come from and identify them. Do we want to be loved? To be respected? To be heard? What is our truth?

We need to dive in and explore our social and emotional intelligence to identify our yearnings. It takes work. Our selves are sometimes our greatest mystery. We can be so aware of those around us, the world we live in (current events, politics, the financial climate), and the state of our social circle—and yet, we might be blind to what’s genuinely driving us. We might not understand our capacity for emotional intelligence and how to unlock our hidden superpowers of empathy and understanding.

Is it simple to gain a deeper understanding of ourselves? No. It can take years of work and growth. It can mean facing some hard truths and working through the baggage and limiting beliefs we’ve been carrying around and laboring under. It means opening up and starting to change and grow. Finding purpose means pushing ourselves WAY outside our comfort zone and into a whole new world of possibility.

The first step of the journey is to WANT to change—to have a desire for more. By simply wanting to find your purpose, you’re already opening yourself to the possibility that there’s a greater answer and more to unlock than meets the eye.

So start today! Roll up your sleeves. Engage in the world around you! It’s never too late to find your purpose, unlock your hidden yearnings, and lead your best life!

To learn more about finding your sense of purpose, please explore our courses on Wright Now. We offer an array of interactive resources to help you learn more about your relationships, your career, and yourself. If you’re ready to start living a life of MORE, there’s no better time than now!

 


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.

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 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.

 

Understanding Yearning:
The REAL Deep-Down Reasons We’re Always Fighting

How many times have you had a conversation (or all-out fight) with your spouse or partner and been left baffled? You may be wondering where their frustration even came from. (Because it certainly seems like it came out of nowhere!) Or sometimes, it seems like you’re always fighting over the SAME things.


Most of the time, you’d really like to know, “What the heck does he/she want from me?!?”

We’re talking (or yelling), but we’re not communicating. We’re not connecting. Chances are, we’re hearing but we’re not listening.

In your relationship, do you hear (or use) phrases like, “You never help around the house,” or “You’re always nagging me about money.”

Or…

“You’re just like your mother.”

“We never do what I want to do.”

When these phrases come up, there’s a disconnect. Someone’s not making contact, but neither of you know why. You’re fighting, but you’re not even sure what you’re fighting about.

To get to the heart of what you want AND what your significant other really wants, you need to look past the word want…you need to understand the word yearn.

Wanting vs. Yearning

Yearning isn’t a word we use often. In fact, it might seem antiquated or strange. “Yearning.” It sounds like something from a novel or a movie, not something normal, modern people do—right? It paints a picture of a maiden in distress with a handkerchief on a fainting couch…

True yearning is a feeling that comes from deep within. It’s beyond wanting, desiring or longing. It’s our deepest need. This isn’t wanting your husband to wash his dishes or even wanting your friend to return a phone call. Yearning comes from a deeper place.

Everyone in the world yearns for something. We yearn to love and to be loved, to matter, to be significant, to be seen, and to connect with each other and with a higher power. We might yearn to achieve mastery or to belong and to contribute. Our yearnings run deep from within us.

“Unmet yearnings are at the heart of every fight, and when they are met, they become the heart of our intimacy and satisfaction. Learn to unpack your fights to get to the yearning underneath. Actively pursue your yearning moment to moment, and you have set a solid cornerstone for intimacy.


Yearning is no soft, needy, touchy-feely, nice-if-you-like-that sort of thing. Each of us—all seven billion people on the planet—has been hardwired to yearn. Harness the power of yearning or you’ll be negating one of the things that brings you the most satisfaction and the most power to your relationships.”

The Heart of the Fight


The funny thing is, yearning isn’t something we naturally and readily identify. It actually takes practice to discover it first within ourselves, let alone in a partner. Part of the elusiveness of yearning comes from the immediate gratification we get from scratching our “wants” itch.

Think about it: when you want something—a piece of chocolate, a clean house, a new gadget—you might really focus until you get it. You might fixate on it, even. Once you get the thing you desire, you get a little buzz, a little boost. You feel good and you think, “Ooh, I got what I wanted.”

The buzz, however, is fleeting. It doesn’t last, and it’s not fulfilling. It’s great in the moment, but it fades when the next want comes along. We get upset when our wants aren’t met, but we’re not really upset because the house is messy or our partner threw socks on the floor (again).

We’re actually upset because it feels like our partner isn’t acknowledging us. They don’t see us, or we feel unsafe, unloved, or disconnected.

How to Get to the Heart of Your True Yearnings

If you’re having a hard time separating a want from a yearning, try applying the “so that” test.

For example:

“I want a promotion, so that…I can have more money.”

A promotion is a want is a want…is a want. Keep applying the “so that” until you can’t anymore. Like so:

 

“I want a promotion so that I can have more money.”
“I want more money so I can be able to have more fun and skydive more.”
“I want to skydive so that I feel the thrill.”
“I want to feel the thrill of skydiving so that I can feel alive.”

“I want to feel alive … I yearn to feel alive.”

-7 Relationship Myths eBook

 

It takes a good deal of practice and some work, but eventually you’ll start to unlock the true, deep-down yearnings of your heart. Once you know these truths about yourself, you can start to articulate and express them clearly. Yearning is the first step to bliss.

Battling Towards Bliss

When you start to acknowledge the underlying yearnings in your fights and figure out what you’re really looking for, a light goes off and fights suddenly become a lot more productive and a lot less destructive.

Suddenly you’re fighting FOR the relationship, rather than against each other. You’re fighting to meet each other’s yearnings, rather than yelling about unfulfilled wants. You’re not saying, “You never pick up the house.” You’re saying, “I yearn to be acknowledged.”

For couples, fights revolve around unmet yearnings. We either expect our partner to be fulfilling our yearnings for us, or we don’t know how to fill them for ourselves. When we do the work and start to discover who we really are, what drives us and what speaks to our heart, we become better communicators.

We stop expecting our partner to “fix it” or “make us happy” (a big relationship myth) and realize the happiness and the fix comes from within ourselves.

Figuring out your yearnings is the first step to greater understanding and more open communication with your partner. We go into more detail about how to use conflict to strengthen your relationship in our book The Heart of the Fight.

Please join us for an upcoming More Life Training, where you can start to unlock your yearnings and discover what’s really inside your heart. Visit us at www.wrightliving.com for more details.

 


About the Author

Dr. Judith Wright

 

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 Wright 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!

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.

 

 


 

What is the
MORE Life Training
Weekend?

Think about what it might mean to have “limitless potential.” If you could have or be anything you wanted right now, today, what would it be?


Would you want to be the greatest husband or wife? Would you want to be the top salesperson in your department—or better yet, CEO of your own company? Would you want to help the world, heal the world, and/or help others around you find their own potential and path for growth?

No matter what your dreams are, they have one thing in common: YOU. To reach your aspirations, you’ll need a solid foundation built by developing core social intelligence and emotional intelligence skills. This foundation allows you to explore who you can become, unlock and map out your ideal self, and envision the path to get there.

Living Life to the Fullest

We often get asked about our MORE Life Training—what it is, what it means, and what it can do for you. It’s not simply a seminar, professional development, or a “leadership class.” It’s more than that. It’s a unique transformational weekend, where you will learn more about yourself than ever before.

At the Wright Foundation, we’re always offering new ways to help you bring out your best and live life to the fullest—whether it’s through personal and career coaching, seminars, group work, or helping you earn your graduate degree so you can go out into the world and help others.

MORE Life Training is the first step. If you’ve read our website or checked out one of our books or courses, chances are you have some questions about how you can start to apply the principals of transformational leadership and growth to your own life.

During MORE Life Training, you’ll have the opportunity to roll up your sleeves and do some real hands-on work to discover your purpose and bring to light some of the hidden dynamics behind WHY you do what you do…and perhaps why you haven’t yet tapped into who you could become. This is the first step in starting to work on your social and emotional intelligence and growth, and the path to unlocking your full potential. It’s all about discovering the core beliefs underneath who you are so you can envision and move toward who you can become.

“I want MORE out of life!”

Sound familiar? Time and time again, we talk to people who aren’t quite satisfied. Their life is basically good, but they’re feeling less-than-fulfilled. They’re working hard, they’re successful—even to the point of running their own company or organization—and yet, they still have an itch they just can’t scratch. Their relationships are lacking a connection and they feel like they’re “going through the motions” rather than fully engaging in life.

Look at MORE Life Training as a launchpad. You’ll develop the foundation and background you need to start a life of unlimited potential, meaning, and satisfaction. This in-depth weekend experience can help you figure out how to reach further, grow stronger, and stretch yourself as a person.


Want more? If you’re ready to take the steps to get more out of life, to become more fulfilled, to find a greater purpose, then MORE Life Training will help you start that process.


You’ll work with an amazing group of people who all want MORE—just like you. As you work on unlocking your own potential, you’ll meet people who are asking the same questions and working on the same goals. You’ll form friendships and partnerships, but more importantly, you’ll discover how to partner with yourself to push your own boundaries and be your own ally.

Our methodologies are based on the latest neuroscience and leadership theory. We explore the connection of psychology, leadership and entrepreneurship, and the neuroscience of engagement. We use social-emotional growth strategies to help you learn how to stand out from the crowd and lead wherever you are. You’ll learn how to be more dynamic, more engaging, and more transformative with every person you meet.

How Hard is MORE Life Training?

This weekend of training is intensive. It’s not a simple “weekend class on goal setting” that you might take or a
professional development course. This is about changing your life for the better. MORE Life Training will give you the tools to strengthen your relationships, to get more out of your work, and to bring more of yourself to your spouse, your children, and your friends.

You’ll explore your personality, and rather than taking a class to learn a skill, you’ll be working internally to unlock the deeper aspects of who YOU are. You’ll discover your social and emotional core and the things that drive you.

Once you start to reveal these inner workings of your personal psychology, you’ll learn how to understand your yearnings and create your personal vision. You’ll create concrete steps to work toward that vision and explore your own limiting beliefs and the things holding you back from grabbing the life you want to live.

Click to learn more with life training.

Join us for our next MORE Life Weekend to learn how you can apply the principles of transformation to your life. Learn how you can unlock your true potential, live the life you want, and achieve your goals.


About the Author

Barbara Burgess

Barbara Burgess is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Chief Vision Realization Officer (CVRO) at the Wright Foundation. As the CVRO, Barbara is responsible for designing and leading the strategic vision for the Foundation. Barbara is a corporate consultant, coach, trainer, and specialist in the areas of transformational leadership, transformative education, marketing, and employee empowerment. 


Learn more about Wright Living’s Career & Leadership Coaching in Chicago & Career Coaching Courses in Chicago.

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.