Thursday, September 29, 2011

Zen Habits: 5 Ways To Turn Fear Into Fuel

Hello Ladies....

I was SO impressed with this article, that I just had to share it with you....

Zen Habits:  5 Ways To Turn Fear Into Fuel

Editor's note: This is a guest post from Jonathan Fields, author ofUncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt Into Fuel for Brilliance.
Uncertainty. It's a terrifying word.
Living with it, dangling over your head like the sword of Damacles, day in day out, is enough to send anyone spiraling into a state of anxiety, fear and paralysis.
Like it or not, though, uncertainty is the new normal. We live in a time where the world is in a state of constant, long-term flux. And, that's not all. If you want to spend your time on the planet not just getting-by, but consistently creating art, experiences, businesses and lives that truly matter, you'll need to proactively seek out, invite and even deliberately amplify uncertainty. Because the other side of uncertainty is opportunity.
Nothing great was ever created by waiting around for someone to tell you it's all going to be okay or for perfect information to drop from the sky. Doesn't happen that way. Great work requires you to act in the face of uncertainty, to live in the question long enough for your true potential to emerge. There is no alternative.

When you find the strength to act in the face of uncertainty, you till the soil of genius.
Problem is, that kills most people. It leads to unease, anxiety, fear and doubt on a level that snuffs out most genuinely meaningful and potentially revolutionary endeavors before they even see the light of day. Not because they wouldn't have succeeded, but because you never equipped yourself to handle and even harness the emotional energy of the journey.
But, what if it didn't have to be that way?
What if there was a way to turn the fear, anxiety and self-doubt that rides along with acting in the face of uncertainty-the head-to-toe butterflies-into fuel for brilliance?
Turns out, there is. Your ability to lean into the unknown isn't so much about luck or genetics, rather it's something entirely trainable. I've spent the past few years interviewing world-class creators across a wide range of fields and pouring over research that spans neuroscience, decision-theory, psychology, creativity and business.
Through this work, a collection of patterns, practices and strategies have emerged that not only turbocharge insight, creativity, innovation and problem-solving, but also help ameliorate so much of the suffering so often associated with the pursuit of any creative quest.
Here are 5 starter-strategies to help get you going:
1. Reframe.
We tell ourselves stories all day long. I'm skinny. I'm fat. I'm talented. I'm stupid. This is genius. This is awful. I will succeed. I will fail. I'm terrified and anxious. I'm confident and proactive. It turns out, the storylines we create around a particular circumstance are far more determinative of success than the circumstance itself. They affect not only our willingness to act, but the quality of our ideas and solutions.
If you create a story that empowers action and innovation, that's great news. Unfortunately, our brains have a strong bias toward negativity, leading most of us to create stories around circumstances that require action in the face of uncertainty that are more likely to paralyze and stunt creativity than fuel action.
Reframing is a process that asks you to suspend negative storylines, explore if the story you're telling is the only one and, if not (which is inevitably the case), construct or frame a new storyline that empowers you to experience an uncertain circumstance not as a prime for failure and inaction, but as a signpost for meaning and opportunity.
For example, if you're disabling storyline is around the risk of failure, instead of just asking "what if I fail?" and creating a doomsday scenario, you also ask "how will I recover, what if I do nothing and what if I succeed?" Then build new stories around those questions.
2. Practice Mindfulness.
Reframing is an immensely powerful tool in the quest to lean into the unknown. But it also requires a certain equanimity; the ability to pull back and see what's really going on, re-center, then breath into that uncomfortable place long enough for amazing things to bubble up. Over time, a daily mindfulness practice goes a long way toward equipping you to do just that.
Plus, it cultivates the sense of persistent grounding that makes living and acting in a world where there is no new normal far more enjoyable. And it trains you in the practice of dropping thoughts, among those, destructive, limiting-beliefs.
3. Exercise Your Brain.
We've all seen the research on exercise and health, weight loss and disease prevention. But, did you know that certain approaches to exercise also have a profound effect on your brain?
Daily cardiovascular exercise, for example, especially with high-intensity bursts mixed in can improve mood, executive function, decision-making and creativity and decrease anxiety and fear. The latest research even reveals the possibility that exercise can grow new brains cells, something that until only a few years ago, was thought to be impossible. It's also strongly correlated with decreases in anxiety and increases in mood, which are directly connected to improved creativity and problem-solving.
4. Singletask.
Multitasking is out. Turns out this badge of honor from the '90s is more fiction than fact. Our brains don't multitask, they just rapidly switch between tasks, sometimes fast enough for us to believe we're doing many things at once. Problem is, every time we switch, there is a "ramping cost" in your brain, it takes anywhere from a few second to 15 minutes for your brain to fully re-engage. This makes you feel insanely busy, but simultaneously craters productivity, creativity and increases feelings of anxiety and stress.
Multitasking also requires you to hold a lot of information in your working memory, which is controlled by a part of the brain known as the prefrontal cortex (PFC). But the PFC is also responsible for will-power, and for keeping fear and anxiety in check. Multitasking increases the "cognitive load" on the PFC, overwhelming it and effectively killing it's ability to keep fear, anxiety and the taunt of distraction at bay.
Simple solution-just say no. Do one thing at a time in intense, short bursts.
5. Get Lean.
Instead of creating in a vacuum, explore the possibility of bringing a "lean" or "agile" approach to your creative process. Focus on maximum learning, create the simplest version of your idea possible, then bring a select group of those who'd potentially enjoy it into the process earlier in name of soliciting and integrating input into the next iteration. This not only minimizes waste, it changes the psychology of creation by adding more certainty earlier in the game and encouraging consistent, incremental action.
These five strategies and practices can change the way you experience the creative process in a profound way. They'll not only allow you to tap a reservoir of previously hidden creativity, they'll also allow you to experience any creative endeavor with a far deeper sense of equanimity and joy.
Pick up a copy of Jonathan's new book - Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt Into Fuel for Brilliance today, or check out his book trailer.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Fearless Journey Tampa and Beyond...

It has been a very amazing fearless journey creating my new book, Fearless Women, Visions of a New World. We have some incredible visionary women that are being featured in the book. We are still accepting applications from a few more fearless visionary women. You can read the information and apply,
Out of this book project, inspired by Betty Liedtke and her friend Tabitha Kyambadde, we want to have our grand finale of the Vision Tour in Uganda, gathering with inspiring women there in a Fearless Women Global Summit. Betty and Tabitha are leaving for Uganda soon and will pave the trail for all of us to go. I spoke to Tabitha today who said that the women of Uganda are so excited that we are coming next year! I will keep you posted on how you can join us.
The Fearless Women Vision Tour will start in Los Angeles, March 2012 kicking off a 15 city tour gathering women together to connect, be inspired, and share our visions to make a better world. We need sponsors to come on board to help make this Vision Tour happen. If you have some brilliant connections to companies that you feel may want to be part of this fearless journey, we welcome your help.
Please view the video here to see more of what we are doing and meet some women featured in the book.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Introducing....Fearless..... Tabitha Kyambadde

While in Minneapolis, Mary Ann Halpin and Betty Liedtke got to talking. No light chit chat here....this conversation was Fearless, Fabulous, and Full of Visionary Plans for the Future!

Betty, herself a Fearless Woman, shared a moving story with Mary Ann, that introduced yet another astounding woman of strength, and fearless valor~ Tabitha Kyambadde.

Betty shared:  
“As soon as the Fearless Women, Fearless Wisdom book was launched in July, 2010, I gave a speech about it at my Toastmasters Club. Tabitha Kyambadde, who is from Uganda, was a guest at our club that day. She told me afterwards how inspired she was by my speech and the story of my “fearless journey.”

Tabitha bought several copies of the book, and shared them with her daughter in Uganda, who shared the book with many of her friends. They all were inspired by the women in the book, and a fearless bond began to form. Many of the women in Uganda thought that women in America had wonderful lives, and were surprised to read about some of the challenges, troubles, and tragedies they had endured and overcome.

“They’re just like us,” the women in Uganda realized. “They have problems, too.” At the same time, they realized that they – the women in Uganda – could be fearless women, too.

Tabitha has become fearless and unstoppable in all that she has been doing to introduce women in Uganda – and here in the United States, too – to the Fearless Women in the book, and to everything that women everywhere are capable of if we are fearless in our resolve and determination.

Tabitha is a woman of grace, elegance, eloquence, and of quiet but enormous power and wisdom. I am honored and humbled when people express their awe and admiration of Tabitha and she tells them that it all started with her friend, Betty, and the Fearless Women book.

Tabitha and I started talking and dreaming months ago about someday introducing women in Uganda to Fearless Women in person. That will be a dream come true for me this October as I travel to Uganda to take part in the conference Tabitha has organized in order to help women there to dream of all that they are capable of doing and becoming, and to help them pursue and achieve their dreams.

Both Tabitha and I are ecstatic over Mary Ann’s plans to take the Fearless Women book tour to Uganda in 2012, where Fearless Women from North America to Africa will have the opportunity to meet, celebrate, and support each other, as well as to honor and promote Mary Ann’s Visions of a New World.”

Tabitha shared her Fearless vision for the women of Uganda: “As you have stated, the conditions under which these women thrive are very depressing and therefore I feel desperate on their behalf. For that reason, I feel something has to be done along the following lines:
Through the NGO which I registered  both here in Minnesota and Uganda , I would like to raise funds to secure land whereby we can create or establish a Village  for them and their children. The village will have a Treatment Center which will commit to a holistic healing and embrace a wide variety of treatment modalities. As you read in the article, these women have already allowed social stigma, labeling and guilt to prevent them from seeking help and those who have tried to shake it off cannot go forward because help is hard to come by, therefore, we would like the Rehabilitation Center to be a mulch-faceted institution whereby the mothers and their kids can be equipped and empowered with skills and knowledge that will enable them to thrive in the midst of disease, poverty and the prevailing HIV/AIDS epidemic. The Center shall not be just an information dispensing organ, but an organization that is dedicated to rescuing, protecting, guiding, and nurturing hope, whose graduates should become productive and contribute to society.”

Stay tuned for more exciting news about the Fearless Women Visions of a New World Tour 2012 which will indeed, encompass Uganda as well!