How are you doing after the first two weeks of January? This is my first soulful conversation I am writing to you in this new fresh year. The topic I want to talk with you about is: "Where do you say yes to in 2017?", as it is the month of new beginnings, intentions and goal setting.
In 2016, I started with intentions like: "I want to create balance and well being." And "I want to stay fit and healthy to keep myself cancer free".
Thus, I started to train with a specialized cancer physiotherapist and went to see a nutritionist. So far so good. The first 9 months of 2016 these intentions gave me focus and a sense of: I am doing the right things to keep myself fit and healthy.
When I started to get in shape, I joined various sport events where endurance and stamina were challenged. I joined the “Viking Run” in May and the “ Dam by night run” in September“. I even participated doing the 8K distance of the Amsterdam Marathon event in October. It was great to experience these events as it was completely new for me and I got the chance to do these events together with family and friends.
And then demotivation started to hit the fence in autumn. Yes, you are reading it right. I was not motivated anymore. So what happened?
Performance modus versus thriving modus
When I prepared myself for a run in November I set a different intention: I said to myself: “Now that I can run a 10k I want to run it faster” The effect was that I started to push myself. I began to criticize myself by saying: "Pfff… look how slow you go, you are one of the last runners to finish" and other not compassionate self-talk. My experience of fun and ease in running vanished quickly. I started to loose my motivation to run during the week and I made up excuses for myself like: "It is too cold", "too dark" or "I have no energy". And days passed by and I stopped running..... for 4 weeks...
Now that I look back, I see that from the moment I changed the goal of being fit and healthy into: "I want to be faster at running" , I stopped running. I stopped because the intention was not wellbeing and balance anymore. My body and soul felt pressure and pushed to perform. And the foundation of that intention was fear. Fear of being inadequate as I was running slower then the majority of runners.
By now I am aware that my heart and soul have other needs and wishes. They feel nourished in a different way. My body honestly does not care about being slow, my soul does not even think about that. They enjoy running, but they enjoy the energy and feelings that I experience when I run; My body feels grateful that it is still alive and my soul feels connected with the world.
Aligned intentions with body, mind and soul
I realized that when I set intentions or goals, they need to be in tune with my heart and soul too, not just from my head. My head can go into overdrive and performance modus and that performance way of doing things does not work for me anymore as I do not nourish and align my body and soul with the activities I am doing.
From his running experience I have learned that for me the right intentions are the ones that give me a sensation of ease and joy. If I feel pushed or pressure or I start to get overwhelmed, then I have to check the foundation of my intentions. I need to ask myself: "Does it come from a place of fear or trust?"
I believe that we do not need discipline to accomplish what we like more of in our lives. We are not lazy, unhealthy or not good enough when we do not accomplish our intentions. I believe that there are only wrong intentions. The wrong intention is the one that has a foundation of fear. And those not resonate with your body and soul. They only create resistance and you end up sabotaging yourself. So if you have given up on your new year’s resolutions by now. Great, they were the wrong ones for you anyway. They simply did not resonate with you on body and soul level!
How to set up an aligned soulful intention?
- First of all I would organize a quiet moment for yourself. Create a place of comfort where you feel at ease, close your eyes and focus on your breath and invite yourself to sink in your body. See if you feel calm or at ease with yourself as that is the starting place to create aligned intentions to focus on the things you wish more of in your life. When you feel that something is asking your attention in your body like tension or anxiety or discomfort, breath towards it and embrace that experience. With breaths and acceptance of the discomfort, space will be created to feel lighter and more at ease with yourself.
- When nothing is disturbing you, then I ask your body a specific question like for example what I did regarding the running:
Where do I say yes to in running? The answer from my body is: "I like to run because it makes me feel alive and I feel connected with myself and others. I enjoy the physical sensation after running 5km because I feel focused, alive and I have no thoughts anymore. I feel completely present in my body and that gives a sense of aliveness". There you go: That's my why in running. Now, I have a drive that goes beyond performance, it gives a sense of purpose and meaning as it comes from a place of trust and not fear.
- You can write your answer down to embody it and be able to re-read it when you go off track.
Where to say yes to in 2017
During the last two runs I focused on the aligned intention to create the sense of aliveness and inner connection. I was aware of myself when I was going into performance modus, but I focussed on my body and soul.. The effect was that there was no critic voice pushing me to perform.
You can apply this question on everything in your life or work. I asked myself: Where do I want to say yes to in 2017? I have thought about that before christmas and I said in my previous e-mail that ease, growth and innovation where my intentions. Re-aligning them and asking myself them again it is about simplicity, ease, connection and feeling alive.
This feels completely aligned and I feel deeply relaxed and satisfied. The growth and innovation where head intentions and not aligned with my body and soul.
Now I have my focus and I find it easy to say NO to everything that does not nourish these elements in my life. I said no to a retreat that I wanted to organise, I said no to some collaborations, I said no to a workshop so that I can create more ease in my life. We have a limited amount of energy and time. I want to spend it on the things that are important to me. So if we focus on the things we find important then we know where we can say yes and no to.
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Now it is your turn
Where do you say yes to in 2017 with your mind, body and soul? Remember it is not a performance. What does truly nourish you on body, mind and soul level where you want to say yes to this coming year? I would love to hear what your findings are. So hit reply and tell me what your yes is in your life and career in 2017.
When you feel you would like to have guidance on this, we can always work that out together. You can book a soul-centered coaching session where we dive into what you find important to pay attention to.
Focus on your yes this year so that it is easy to say no to the things that are not important for you anymore,
Looking forward connecting with you,
P.S: If you feel that you would like to create a career with ease, purpose and flow, you can sign up for a 1 on 1 soul-centered career coaching program where you learn to take the steps to create that for yourself in 2017. I have 2 spots available to start this month of January to discover together what nourishes you in your work to become a soul-centered leader in your career.