The history of energy healing is a fascinating exploration from ancient times to modern practice. Energy healing as a practice has been around for thousands of years. It has been recorded in ancient civilizations such as Egypt, China, and India, with evidence suggesting that it was also practiced in other parts of the world during ancient times.
Over time, this healing practice has evolved and taken on new forms, adapting to the needs and beliefs of different cultures. Keep reading to explore the history of energy healing from its earliest origins to modern-day practices.
Ancient Energy Healing Practices
Early energy healing practices were often closely tied to religious or spiritual beliefs and were used to promote healing on all levels: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. Here are some examples of ancient energy healing practices that have been used for thousands of years.
The earliest recorded energy healing practices can be traced back to ancient civilizations such as Egypt, China and India. In Egypt, energy healing was practiced through the use of sacred symbols and amulets, which were believed to have healing powers.
Energy healing in China, referred to as Qi Gong, focused on the flow of energy through the body to promote healing. Also, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a holistic healing system that has been in use for over 2,500 years. It is based on the concept of Qi (pronounced “chee”), which is the vital life force energy that flows through the body. TCM uses various techniques such as acupuncture, acupressure, and herbal medicine to balance the flow of Qi and promote health and well-being.
In India, the practice of Ayurveda incorporated energy healing through the use of prana, or life force energy, to balance the body’s energy centers or chakras.
Lastly, Shamanism is an ancient healing practice that has been used by indigenous cultures around the world for thousands of years. Shamanism involves connecting with the spirit world and working with spirits and other energies for healing and well-being. Shamanic practices include journeying, drumming, chanting, and other rituals.
In many cases, the healers themselves were seen as spiritual leaders in the community with the ability to connect with a higher power or divine source to channel healing energy. As such, they were an important and integral part of the culture.
Energy Healing in the Middle Ages
During the Middle Ages, energy healing practices continued to evolve and adapt to the prevailing cultural and religious beliefs of the time. Here are some examples of energy healing practices from this time:
In Europe, the practice of laying on hands was used to promote healing, with religious figures such as priests and nuns serving as healers. This practice was based on the belief that the energy of the divine could be channeled through the hands to promote healing.
In other parts of the world like Africa and South America, traditional healers used a variety of energy healing techniques to promote healing and well-being in the community. These techniques often incorporated ritual, prayer, and the use of natural remedies such as herbs and plants.
Alchemy was a practice that originated in ancient Egypt and was later developed in the Middle Ages. It involved the use of various substances and techniques to transform base metals into gold, but it was also believed to have spiritual and healing properties. Alchemists believed that all matter was composed of four elements – earth, air, fire, and water – and that by understanding and manipulating these elements, they could promote healing and balance in the body.
Herbal medicine was another popular form of energy healing during the Middle Ages. It involved the use of various plants and herbs for their beneficial properties. Herbalists believed that different plants and herbs had specific properties and energies, and that by using these plants in specific ways, healing and balance in the body would result.
Mystical Christianity was a spiritual movement that emerged during the Middle Ages too. It involved the use of prayer, meditation, and other spiritual practices to connect with God for healing, wellness and well-being. Mystical Christians believed that the body was a temple of the Holy Spirit and that by connecting with God through prayer and meditation, they could promote balance and healing in the body.
Kabbalah is a Jewish mystical tradition that originated in the Middle Ages. It involves the study of the Jewish scriptures and the use of various techniques, such as meditation and visualization, to connect with God. Kabbalists believed that the body was a vessel for the divine energy of God and that by working with this energy, they could promote healing, well-being and balance.
Energy Healing in the Modern Era
In the early 1900s, Austrian-American chiropractor, osteopath and naturopath Dr. Randolph Stone developed a system of energy healing known as polarity therapy. This practice focused on balancing the body’s energy centers, or chakras, through a combination of bodywork, diet, and exercise.
In the early 20th century, the Japanese physician Dr. Mikao Usui developed a system of energy healing known as Reiki. It’s based on the belief that there’s a universal life force energy that flows through all living things, and that by channeling this energy, a practitioner can promote balance and the body’s natural healing abilities. Reiki involves the use of hands-on or hands-off techniques to balance the flow of energy in the body. Reiki has since become a popular form of energy healing around the world.
Here are some more examples of the many forms of energy healing that have emerged and gained popularity in the modern era.
Quantum Healing: Quantum healing is a modern approach to energy healing that incorporates principles from quantum physics. It is based on the idea that everything in the universe is made up of energy and that by working with the energy fields of the body, a practitioner can promote healing and balance. Quantum healing may involve techniques such as visualization, intention setting, and energy work.
Crystal Healing: Crystal healing is a modern form of energy healing that uses crystals and gemstones to promote healing and balance. It is based on the belief that different crystals and stones have specific vibrational energies and properties that can influence, or entrain, the body’s vibrational energy. By working with these energies, a practitioner can promote a better flow of energy, healing and well-being. Crystal healing may involve placing crystals on the body, using crystals in meditation, or wearing crystals as jewelry.
Sound Healing: Sound healing, a type of vibrational medicine, is a modern form of energy healing that uses sound waves to promote healing and balance. It is based on the idea that sound has a powerful effect on the body’s energy fields and can be used to shift and balance these energies. Sound healing may involve techniques such as using singing bowls, tuning forks, or chanting to create a healing vibration.
Energetic Emotional Release™: EER is a modern form of energy healing based on the belief that unhelpful negative emotions and beliefs can become stuck and create blocks in the body’s energy fields. These blocks cause imbalances and a host of other problematic issues if left unresolved. The practitioner can locate and remove these blocks to promote deep healing and restore balance.
These are some of the techniques I use with clients with successful results, and just a few examples of modern energy healing practices that have emerged in recent years. As energy healing’s popularity grows, it continues to evolve and adapt to new beliefs and practices.
Although each of these methodologies has its own unique approach, they all share the common belief that we as humans have the innate ability to heal ourselves and that energy is a key component of health, wellness and well-being.
The Benefits of Energy Healing
Energy healing promotes healing and well-being on all levels: mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. In other words, it impacts the mind, body, and spirit for complete relief and healing. Here are just a few of the potential benefits of energy healing:
Reduced Stress and Anxiety: energy healing helps reduce stress and anxiety by triggering the relaxation response in the body and calming the mind.
Improved Immune Function: energy healing has been shown to boost immune function, which can help the body fight off illness and disease.
Enhanced Physical Healing: energy healing enhances physical healing by improving circulation, reducing inflammation, and promoting tissue regeneration.
Increased Energy and Vitality: By balancing the body’s energy centers, energy healing increases vibrational energy levels and vitality, helping you feel more vibrant and alive.
Emotional Healing: Energy healing is a powerful tool for emotional healing, helping you release negative emotions and promoting feelings of peace and well-being.
Spiritual Growth: energy healing is beneficial on a spiritual level too. It can help you connect with a higher power, divine source or inspirational creativity, and provides a deeper sense of purpose and fulfillment in life.
It’s important to note that while energy healing is beneficial for people, it’s not a substitute for qualified medical care. Energy healing practices have continued to evolve and adapt to new cultural, scientific, and spiritual beliefs, and have become a popular form of complementary medicine in modern times.
The practice of energy healing has a long and rich history. Over time, this healing practice has evolved and taken on new forms, adapting to the needs and beliefs of different cultures.
Today, energy healing continues to be a popular form of complementary medicine and tool for personal and spiritual development, with many practitioners combining traditional techniques with modern scientific understanding of the body’s energy fields. Whether used for physical healing, emotional healing, mental healing or spiritual growth, energy healing can be a powerful tool for promoting health, wellness and well-being.
Personally, I find energy healing the perfect complement to the life coaching, personal growth and spiritual development work I do with clients. We all have an inherent ability to heal ourselves on all levels – mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually – with the help of using energy healing techniques. Energy healing provides a more thorough and direct approach to transformational change, typically with faster results.
I’d like to explain how I came up with the name of my company and my signature system, Energy Rapport™ Coaching – and what better way than in a short video (5 minutes).
You see, for a good portion of my life I either ignored or resisted my connection, or relationship, to energy. And by energy I mean the energy levels that we recognize in ourselves. Low energy when tired or scared, high energy when excited or creative or happy.
But it goes deeper than that, it’s the subtle energy that influences us as energetic beings. And this higher, lighter energy we can tap into to support us when we need it.
It could be from mother Earth or the Heavens above – think about how good you feel hiking in nature or after getting some sun and sea air. Or how you feel when witnessing an absolutely gorgeous sunset or sunrise where the whole sky looks like it’s on fire!
There are so many tools, techniques and resources to connect to energy, to build a rapport with it. And it begins with awareness and ease….and going with the flow. Life doesn’t have to feel like a struggle all the time.
As an example, in my late teens and college years, I remember napping when my body needed it. But in my corporate years, I just pushed through the exhaustion which only made things worse.
What does everyone need to know about Energy Healing? Well, it’s effective and works. The end.
It really is that simple. But sometimes people want to know more about energy healing, and why I combine it with my coaching services for long-lasting results.
What is Energy Healing?
Energy healing can be described as relaxation technique that helps release stress & promote your body’s natural healing abilities. Yet it is so much more.
As kids, we learned Albert Einstein’s famous equation, E = mc2, which proved to scientists that energy and matter are expressions of the same universal thing. In other words, energy is everything. And energy healing is directing higher vibrational energy that is all around us to bring about the body’s natural healing abilities on all levels: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual.
There are various methods or types of energy, or vibrational, healing: Reiki, theta, sound, music, crystal, Healing Touch, acupuncture, homeopathy, flower essences, Chakra healing, and numerous other ancient methods. I use a combination of methods that I’ve been trained in to provide the best results based on each individual client’s needs.
Getting to the Root Cause
Energy healing is an ancient healing practice that’s been in existence for thousands of years. Unfortunately modern medicine, pill popping and other “quick fixes” that have been in existence for relatively short periods of time, are prevalent nowadays. And most times they don’t address the root cause, the energetic underlying, of what is causing a person’s mental or physical ailments. It will continue to show up, or worsen, until the root cause is healed.
I tend to work with people that have energetic distress, as I like to call it. In the fast-changing, uncertain and often turbulent times we live in, most people are experiencing distress. It’s energetic distress because it’s affecting one or more levels of the body in a subtle yet powerful way. It causes imbalances within us and challenges in our lives.
The levels of the body I’m referring to are:
the mental body or mind (those thoughts that seem never ending at times),
the emotional body (think of emotions as energy in motion),
the physical body (where the slowing and blocking of energy flow creates denseness, discomfort and disease, or dis-ease…when the body is no longer ‘at ease’), and
the spiritual body (your connection to something larger than yourself which varies by individual; it could be God, Spirit, the Universe, Nature, Higher Power, Intuition, Life Purpose, Passion, Love, etc.)
Energy Healing effectively works on all of these levels. It is a holistic approach to complete wellbeing and wellness, and can complement any current treatment plans you are following.
The Benefits of Energy Healing
Since Energy Healing works on the whole body, we see benefits in all areas. Commonly reported benefits of energy healing include decreased pain, ease of muscle tension, improved sleep & improved mental clarity. Additional benefits include:
It’s safe and non-invasive.
Promotes natural self-healing processes.
Clears toxins from the body.
Relaxes the body and mind.
Soothes anxiety and distress.
Promotes feelings of calmness and wellbeing.
Promotes a focused, peaceful and positive outlook.
Releases worry and replaces it with a sense of safety and comfort.
As you can see, Energy Healing promotes your overall health, is an excellent form of preventative care, and can help support your journey to wellness if you experience stress, anxiety, headaches, muscle or joint pain, chronic illness, poor sleep, tension or other challenges.
Life Changing Results
I’ve found Energy Healing is beneficial for anyone who’s looking for relaxation and natural relief of emotional, mental and physical ailments. It’s especially useful for people who have a large amount of stress, and can’t seem to turn off their mind from work or worry. Once you being to feel better, the possibilities for life changing results come next.
You experience relief in one area, and then notice other issues have resolved as well, without much focus or effort on your part. I’ve helped many clients whose initial complaint was a physical issue, like chronic headaches or migraines.
After the physical pain lessened or completely resolved, usually very quickly, they reflected back on other areas of their lives had improved as we continued to work together. Things like performance at work, self-confidence, emotional wellbeing and feeling more empowered.
Personally in my previous Corporate HR career, I experienced a large amount workplace stress that led to a physical illness. I credit Energy Healing as the catalyst for my disease going into a remission. And for experiencing stress reduction and hope again. It created the space where I could breathe easy again, start taking my power back and plan for a pivot in my career.
Going from HR to being a Life Coach, I now help hard-working professionals suffering physical and other ailments, mostly due to work stress and misaligned purpose (root cause). I use a powerful combination of Life Coaching plus Energy Healing techniques for life changing results. I find this combination to be more efficient, effective and meaningful than either practice on its own.
How to Get Started with Energy Healing
If Energy Healing is new concept for you and you’d like to learn more, click here to watch my video “An Intro to Energy: What is Reiki and How Does It Work.”
Have you heard the term, seen the sign in your Yoga class, or heard your friend raving about Reiki? While some may call it too Woo, I will let you know right out the gate this practice has transformed my life. But before I get too excited, let’s start from the beginning.
Reiki is a unique form of energy healing that uses Universal life force energy to positively impact the body’s energy. In fact, the term comes from the Japanese words “rei” (universal) and “ki” (life energy). It allows your body a break from the stress of life and helps find a natural state of relaxation to heal.
My journey with Reiki began during my corporate career and I was burnt out and overwhelmed with life. Fast forward 10 years, I’m now a Certified Usui Holy Fire® III & Karuna Reiki® Master Teacher and practice with my clients weekly. And thanks to the wonders of technology we can work together from the comfort of their home – energy has no boundaries and it can be practiced virtually.
What can Reiki do for you?
Reduce stress and promote relaxation
improve mood and sleep
ease physical pain
enhance the quality of your life
Curious about what to expect with a Reiki session? Check out this video for a nice overview of how it works and what you can expect.
Want to learn more about Reiki? I’m excited about my first Reiki training of the year! Come join me in Huntersville, NC on April 2nd and 3rd to learn more about this healing practice, receive healing yourself, and learn how you can practice this at home, work, and even with your clients.
Holy Fire® and Karuna Reiki® are registered service marks of William Lee Rand.
Almost everything you do is driven by habits. We all have good, helpful habits and bad, or unhelpful, habits. You can think of your habits as the drivers getting you closer or further away from achieving what’s important to you. Habits are the foundation for major change in your life. That’s why it’s so important to understand if you’re cultivating helpful or unhelpful habits. To achieve your goals, you want to provide the best support and conditions that set you up to be successful. This happens by cultivating helpful habits that are directly aligned to those goals. And by eliminating any unhelpful habits that are slowing or blocking your progress.
How to Cultivate Helpful Habits
Bad habits are the saboteurs that make it harder to achieve what we desire. As mentioned earlier, helpful habits move you toward achieving your goals and desires, whereas unhelpful habits slow or block your progress. To increase your success when changing an unhelpful habit, it’s best to replace it with a new helpful habit. It may be as simple as making a small pivot. Like when you quit drinking soda you replace it with Zevia instead for a week or two, and gradually pivot again to water or herbal tea. Decide what you want to achieve and move toward that goal. It’s more effective than focusing on what you need to stop or get rid of which often creates more pressure and feelings of being deprived. Also, start small with new habits. If it feels too big you’ll either get stuck and never stop or quit after a few days. For example, if you want to begin a daily morning routine that includes journaling and prayer or meditation, start with 5 minutes per day, and gradually increase it by 1 minute each week. To increase your chances of success, create a process and track your results. Something as simple as placing a check mark on a calendar for every day you complete your morning meditation is helpful. Track your results for at least 8 – 12 weeks to evaluate your progress, make any adjustments and to ensure long-lasting results. Get leverage and support when working on your habits. Ask a friend or colleague to point out if you’re demonstrating a habit you’re trying to change, or to complement you when they see you sticking to your new habit. For instance, they can point out when you’re late to a meeting or if you’re on your phone and not listening when others are talking. Cultivating your habits using the above strategies will support positive results. More tips on cultivating habits for success can be found here.
Two Words that Help Change Your Mindset
Here’s a suggestion from one of my own coaches. Change the phrase “I can’t” to “I don’t” when in a situation where you have a hard time sticking to your helpful habit or goal. For instance, let’s say you have a healthy eating goal of limiting high carb processed foods like flour and sugar. You’re out to dinner and the bread basket arrives. Instead of saying or thinking, “I can’t have any bread”, say or think “I don’t eat bread, that’s not for me”. This subtle shift helps change your mindset. “I can’t” is very limiting, and puts you into a victim or less-than mindset which may blow up on you in the long-term. “I don’t” is empowering, you’re in charge, you’re taking responsibility and it’s your decision. You should be able to feel the difference in energy in these two statements. Where can you make this shift? Think of a few examples and commit to making this shift at the next opportunity.
Act with Intention: Cultivate Helpful Habits
This method of cultivating helpful habits works for creating helpful habits and for changing unhelpful habits. The key is to put intention into the helpful habits you want to create, and be as specific as possible by adding in a situation, time, and location. For instance, you’ll meditate each morning for 5 minutes in your bed immediately after waking up, at 6 a.m. Include how long, where, when and how frequently. Or another example is you’ll take a fun 20 minute walk around the block with your dogs after dinner on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. For unhelpful habits, you make the trigger of that habit your situation, and then change how you respond. It’s a simple pivot toward what you want to achieve, like in the quitting soda example earlier. That response (having Zevia, water or tea when habitually reaching for a soda) becomes your new habit. Two more tips for cultivating helpful habits are: Make it fun. You’re more likely to stick with something you enjoy doing. For example, add your favorite music to your exercise routine or listen to your favorite books or podcast during your new walking routine. Be compassionate, kind and easy on yourself. You may slip up and that’s ok. Pay attention and stop any negative self-talk or harsh judgments, like “I knew you’d fail” or “you never stick with anything”. Instead, just refocus on the results your striving for, get excited about achieving them, and kindly say or think to yourself, “this slip is ok, you’re making great progress”. In the comments, please share one helpful habit you’ve successfully created this year and what goal it has helped you achieve. Photo by Rawpixel on Unsplash
The definition of integrate is to form, coordinate, or blend into a functioning or unified whole.
Taking the time to integrate is to intentionally stop taking in more and to combine what you’ve already have for deeper growth and development. Once you integrate, you get to deeper levels of knowledge and fulfillment in your life.
For instance, if you love to learn new things, you may have a tendency to read more and more books, take more workshops and listen to more podcasts. It almost feels like an addiction at times. A friend or colleague recommends a new course or workshop and you sign up, take it, and quickly move on to the next one.
Many times you don’t gain much, in fact, you just consume and never implement what you’ve learned.
You never integrated it; you never took the material to a deeper level where it could make a significant impact in your career or in your life.
The Myth of More is Better
More is better is a myth. The constant strive for more in our culture prevents us from seeing and experiencing the true value of what we already have.
It supports the idea and feeling that wherever you are is not good enough, because more is always better.
It’s hard to be grateful and appreciate all that you have now when your focus is on getting more.
I’ve worked with people who were always focused on the next project or the next job, and never appreciated all they were experiencing in their current role. They missed the fulfilling things like the relationships they were building, the people they were helping and the new things they were learning.
The energy around more is better feels like a chase – a futile one. You’re chasing after things just to accumulate more. And once you have it, you’re dissatisfied and off to the next thing, and the next and the next.
And it’s not just physical things. We’re constantly absorbing more and more experiences, information and energy but without the time or opportunity to sort through it all.
Take the time to sort through it and you’ll begin to feel some significant improvements.
Why It’s Important to Integrate
The chase for more erodes your energy and your sense of fulfillment. Taking the time to integrate gives you your energy back. You begin to feel more in control and organized.
Taking the time to integrate helps to reduce the overwhelm, stress, and exhaustion you experience in your day to day life. If you’re feeling uncentered, off-balance or even fractured, it may be the signal that it’s time to integrate.
Act with Intention: Take Time to Integrate
Here are some suggestions to start taking intentional action around taking the time to integrate.
First off, slow down and realize if you’re in a “more is better” mindset and exhibiting behaviors like described above. When you notice this behavior or thought, change it to a more helpful behavior or thought. Simply saying “slow down” or “stop” can be enough to bring about some awareness.
It took some time to get here, but now I quickly recognize if I’m going down a ‘learning” rabbit hole. Any emails or suggestions for a new book, course, training program or free live event I either delete immediately or I scan it to see if it’ll be useful and put it on my “maybe later” list.
Taking time to integrate is more than just not taking more in. You want to intentionally integrate experiences and information as they occur or directly afterwards.
One good practice is to spend 5-10 minutes after a meeting or workshop to integrate your key takeaways. Things like what you learned, what you’d like to implement from the training, if anything. Better yet, take notes during it to include which things you’d like to test out and apply to your own life.
Additionally, take a break and stop taking more in – for days, weeks or months if needed. That means no new podcasts, books, workshops or courses during this time period.
During this break from consuming more info, data and things, sort through what you already have. This can be done by simply taking the time to think about things. Embrace daydreaming. Let you mind wander. Meditate. This is how your brain sorts and categorizes information.
A good question to ask is: Is this information useful for you and can you apply it to your life? If not, let it go.
If it’s useful, your next step is to take action and test it out. Apply it and experience this information.
Lastly, after testing it out review what you’ve learned through the application and experience of integrating it into your life. Are there any additional lessons or knowledge? Have your beliefs changed as a result?
Taking the time to integrate is the best way to become a more unified whole. You’ll find it brings new levels of understanding and wisdom, and you’ll feel more fulfilled in your life.
Do you ever feel pressure building up at work or at home? Pressure is great for growth; you need it to keep moving in the right direction toward your goals.
It helps you to expand and create in the way that only you can. You want to use pressure to benefit you, and don’t let pressure become stress.
The Pressure Cooker at Work
The thing about pressure, if it goes unchecked and just keeps building and building without any release (think of a pressure cooker), that’s when it can turn into the unhealthiest kind of stress called chronic stress. The stress that causes health and other issues.
You don’t want to let pressure become this type of stress. Learn about the 3 types of stress and what to do to if you’ve got chronic stress here.
As I look back at my previous career and work habits, I could sense the pressure building, feel it, and yet felt powerless against it. Over time without actively addressing it, the stress became chronic, taking its toll on my mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.
It’s common to feel this type of pressure regularly when in a high demand job or fast-paced work environment. The important part is to address the pressure before it turns to stress.
Pressure is a Sign of Growth and Change
Lately that familiar feeling of pressure has returned in my work life. I’ve begun some new coaching work. I typically work one on one with coaching clients, however, I started some coaching work for an external company where I must learn their systems and processes.
It’ll take some time to acclimate to all this newness, and I continue to remind myself that it’s part of the growth process and only temporary. This reminder helps in times when the pressure rises.
When you take on new assignments or when you’ve switched jobs to a new company, how was it for you? Those first 30-60-90 days can be rough.
You’re attempting to do the work you were hired to do, but getting up to speed with who’s who, how things are done, new systems and processes – it all takes extra time and extra effort.
When Pressure Becomes Stress
You may experience increased pressure due to other external forces too. Maybe someone was laid-off and now you have to take on the work they performed. Or maybe you’re experiencing more pressure from leadership, or a higher than normal work demand, or a lack of job security.
Even a lack of flexibility and autonomy in your work and your work schedule can leave you feeling stressed and as if you have no control. Over time or with too much pressure all at once, it can become overwhelming and stressful.
The effects of work-related pressure turning into stress is evident in your physical, mental and emotional health. Common ailments can include musculoskeletal problems like chronic back pain, joint pain and carpel tunnel syndrome. Gastrointestinal disorders, like acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome and ulcers typically have a stress component.
Mentally and emotionally, issues like anxiety, burnout and inability to get good quality sleep (sleep disorders) are a result.
Business leaders and owners should have an interest in managing the pressure and stress in their environments. But many times they get caught up in it as well.
Act with Intention: Don’t Let Pressure Become Stress
Here are some strategies to implement so you don’t let pressure become stress.
First off, stay present and conscious in the moment. In other words, realize that something is causing pressure. Pay attention to situations that you know will likely impact you.
Also, be realistic about what you can and can’t control. If the pressure is getting to you, take a few minutes to list out what the causes might be and circle the ones you can control.
Next, take action. For those items you can control, try a new strategy or approach to change the outcome. For instance, if you feel stuck in an unproductive weekly meeting and can feel the pressure beginning to rise as you think about the other work you need to be doing, have a direct conversation with the meeting leader. Give some suggestions for improvement like having a clear agenda with time allotments for each item. Or maybe suggest less frequent meetings with email updates weekly.
And for the things you can’t control, let them go. If you have a tendency to take on things that aren’t yours or that you have no way of influencing, it’s best to recognize that early on and let it go.
For instance, being late to a meeting due to a traffic accident causing traffic backup on the road, or technical problems on a webmeeting due to bandwidth overuse – let it go. Getting frustrated or upset doesn’t help. These things are beyond your control, and you when you recognize that and let it go, it takes the pressure off and allows you to move forward in a calm healthy way.
A helpful strategy for uncertain and uncomfortable times is to focus on growth. Just like how it’s best to focus on the solution to a problem rather than the problem itself, I’m suggesting you focus on how you’re growing and developing instead of how uncertain things are. Growth brings a sense of confidence, stability and security.
The next time you’re beginning to stress over a particular situation or challenge, ask yourself these questions, “How is this challenging time or situation causing me to grow?” and “What am I learning from this?”
Uncertainty is all around us
It’s a fact of life. Uncertainty always exists. We’re always dealing with the unknown, in positive or negative ways.
For instance, you’re about to start a new assignment at work. You have certain expectations but it’s with colleagues you’ve never worked directly with before. It could be the best work experience ever, or the most challenging that tests your ability and forces you to learn and grow.
Or even something as simple as a trip to the grocery store could be full of uncertainty. There could be traffic, road closures, or a traffic accident that prolongs the whole trip, or the store could be out of stock of the staples you need.
Finding and losing balance is necessary for growth
When we’re in the middle of uncertainty, we feel out of balance. Something feels off.
Some people feel excited, like the uncertainty of a vacation to a place you’ve never been. Other people may feel anxious or stressed in that same scenario.
Our journey here in life is about finding and losing balance, and that is necessary for you to grow and develop. This fact alone helps put things into perspective and provides a more productive way of dealing with life’s challenges.
Think about when you were a child unable to walk yet. You had no balance or coordination.
One day, you gained enough balance to stand. Next, you threw yourself off balance to take that first step. You got balance again, then with your next step, threw yourself off balance again. Eventually you mastered walking and moved on to the next thing you could learn.
Growth nurtures confidence, and propels us toward the next opportunity for continued development.
How the Covid-19 pandemic is causing growth
I tend to look for the positivity in things. I’m not making light of the illness, deaths, physical and financial loss, and breakdown of systems (healthcare, political, social, financial) that we’ve been experiencing for most of 2020. I acknowledge this Covid-19 global pandemic has been one of the most trying times in recent history.
In a recent conversation I could hear my friend’s jaw drop when I stated how this Covid-19 pandemic has brought about a lot of positive things.
In disbelief, she said, “Oh really? Like what?”
I see families spending more time together going on hikes and bike rides; non tech-savvy people “going” to church or other meetings via webmeeting and some even holding their own Zoom meetings who never even heard of Zoom 6 months earlier; people are reevaluating their careers and current roles and organizations given the response to this pandemic and what their own core values are.
I see a slower pace that allows for more reflection and meditation/prayer; more enjoyment of reflective hobbies like gardening, reading, walks, music, dance, yoga; less traffic and stress over hectic schedules and routines (like commuting business professionals who now have 1 to 3 extra hours in their day as they work from home). There’s also less pollution, less driving, less air traffic, less noise and less unnecessary shopping.
There’s an intentional slowing down to enjoy sunsets, full moons, comets, beautiful clouds, beautiful trees and gardens.
Most importantly is this sense of global community – we’re all in this together no matter where on this earth you reside.
This pandemic is certainly allowing us all to expand and grow. And an intentional focus on growth is helpful during this time.
The loss, death, illness, and breakdown of systems is putting you off balance. And the focus on growth can be that step toward creating balance again.
Act with Intention: focus on growth
If you struggle in tough times, when things seem to not go your way, here are some things to do.
1. Determine what you’re focused on. Take a few deep breaths and ask yourself “what has my attention right now?” This helps you become more present with what it is so you can begin to address it.
2. Pay attention to your thoughts and language. I’ve heard people say things like “Things never work out for me” or “Why do I have so many problems”. These are limiting and unhelpful thoughts and language that once you’re aware of, you can change them in the moment. Read more about harnessing the power of your thoughts here.
3. Change limiting and unhelpful thoughts and language to statements of intention. Some people call them affirmations or incantations, but they are basically statements of intention to get your egoic and monkey mind to focus and learn a new way. It’s a way to set a new intention of how you want things to be.
You can state them aloud when one of your limiting unhelpful thoughts or statements come up. And you can build them into a daily practice where you review them each morning or 3 times a day. Keep a list in your phone for easy reference.
Some examples are: “I release everything that’s not serving my highest good”, “I know that this struggle is a normal part of life’s ups and downs, and it’s only temporary” and “This challenge is allowing me to grow and expand.” One of my favorites is “All I need is within me now.”
4. Lastly, ask helpful questions to focus on growth. The next time you’re beginning to stress over a particular situation or challenge, ask yourself these questions, “How is this challenging time or situation causing me to grow?” or “What am I learning from this?”
Responsibility is part of your personal power and that’s why taking responsibility feels so good. When you’re feeling powerless, stress and anxiety increase, and it’s a small step to blaming and complaining about others or the situation. Responsibility is about responding to your circumstances from a higher place, a place aligned with your goals, your dreams, your values, and your contribution to others and society. The empowering nature of responsibility amplifies feelings of satisfaction and fulfillment.
Response – ability. What responsibility really means
The word responsibility broken down is response – ability. It’s simply the ability to respond. It’s when you intentionally and consciously make choices and take actions for the benefit of others or for yourself. You choose behaviors and make decisions to bring about change, change for the better. For instance, say you’re leading a team at work and one of the team members seems disengaged in meetings and is missing deadlines and deliverables. Do you immediately blame the individual or ignore the situation, hoping it’ll improve on its own? Or, as a responsible team lead, do you have a private conversation with him to share your observations and find out if there are legitimate reasons for the lack of engagement and poor follow-through?
Most importantly, when you’re taking responsibility you take action and you own the outcome of that action (your choice or decision). Refusing to take responsibility by blaming others or the circumstances for your situation gives away your power. You ultimately are denying your ability to respond – to take action to change the circumstance for the better. It’s the law of cause and effect. You take action, create the cause, watch the effect and take responsibility for the outcome – good or not so good. In the earlier example, the responsible team lead took the action to have a private conversation to find out if there are legitimate reasons for the lack of engagement and poor follow-through. The outcome could be a turnaround in behavior and results just from that simple conversation. Or it could be continued problems with this person. Either way, a leader takes responsibility for both actions and outcomes, owns that outcome and may have to take additional actions if the situation does not improve.
Leadership, not victim-hood
Imagine if this leader never addressed the issue, and this situation jeopardized the entire project getting done on time and on budget, not to mention the poor morale from the other team members. These types of choices happen in our personal lives too. The choice to be proactive and empowered and take responsibility or do the opposite: be the recipient of things “happening to you”. Victims avoid taking responsibility; they feel powerless to effect change and so they don’t take any action. They may complain about the pain and suffering it’s causing them, and you might hear them say “why is this happening to me?” or “it’s just not fair”. Ultimately, they wait for someone else to fix the problem. This victim-hood has some benefits, like getting sympathy or attention from others, but long-term it can have a negative impact on your physical and mental wellbeing, your peace of mind, and your overall fulfillment in your career and life.
Why you feel good when you take responsibility
The empowering nature of responsibility amplifies feelings of satisfaction and fulfillment. The feel-good chemicals and reactions in our body go off when we stand in our power, for our own benefit and especially for the benefit of others. By taking responsibility, we build trust and confidence in what we can do. And helping others just feels good, plus it strengthens the trust and relationships we have with them. Even if you don’t get the result you wanted, you still feel good knowing you tried your best in the action you took. As the saying goes, “it’s better to try and fail than to never try at all”.
Act with intention: Take responsibility
Here’s a great exercise to help you nurture more responsibility in your career and in your life. Step 1: Pay specific attention to your language and behavior during challenging situations. Become aware of any blaming or complaining language or behaviors you exhibit throughout the day. Do you say things like “someone should fix this”, or “why is this happening to me?” Are you reactive or defensive a lot? Do you find fault in others or whenever something goes wrong do you immediately shout “it’s not my fault” or ask “whose fault is this”? Jot it down when you hear it or make a mental note. Step 2: Next, begin to change the language or behavior as it’s happening or immediately afterwards. When you hear yourself saying “why is this happening to me?”, change it to “What can I learn from this?” or “How is this challenge causing me to grow and expand?”. Come from a place and attitude of growth, learning, expansion and responsiveness. Other healthy responses are “what do I want as on outcome out of this?” or “what can I do to positively change this?” These statements and new behaviors will build your personal empowerment and responsibility. It’s best to use your energy productively and responsibly. Remember the law of cause and effect and take action, observe the effect, take responsibility (own the outcome) and adjust your actions going forward to bring about your desired results in your career and in your life. Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash
Readiness is key in making a change. Are you ready?
Change can be a small step toward achieving a goal, a big change like starting a new job, or a giant leap like deciding to turn your world upside down in pursuit of a lifelong dream.
No matter the size and impact of the change, they all have one thing in common. You have to ready to make that change. If you’re not ready it’s not going to happen.
Are You Ready or Not?
No progress or inconsistent results may be a sign you’re not ready to change.
How is your progress toward achieving your goals this year? Do you have any goals with little to no progress toward achieving them?
For instance, maybe you do really well meditating for a month. But slowly the habit unravels to where you can’t seem to find the time to do it anymore.
Getting regular exercise is another goal people find challenging with limited results.Another goal people find challenging with limited results is getting regular exercise.
Another goal I see people struggle with is finishing work at a reasonable time, so you can intentionally spend some down time with family, friends or doing something fun that lights you up.
The Change Process
There is usually a progression we all go through when making changes.
First, you have to realize the need to make a change. If you don’t see something as a problem, there is no need to make a change. Let’s presume we’re past this step.
Next, you may recognize you have a problem but you’re in denial about the seriousness of not changing. It’s like the man who has a heart attack yet continues to prioritize his work above his health, taking work calls from the hospital bed. And later making no significant long-term lifestyle changes that would support his health.
Or you recognize the need to change, but you may get stuck in analysis paralysis. You’re weighing pros and cons, creating lists of things that may help, or changing your mind about whether it’s worth it to make a change. Maybe you’re just not sure how to proceed so you keep researching potential solutions and never settle on one to pursue. This can go on for weeks without taking any action.
It’s good to do research and find helpful options, just don’t get stuck spinning here.
Motivation is Key
Denial or analysis paralysis is where the readiness factor comes in. If you’re stuck, you may want to explore your motivation to change versus staying status quo.
What will it cost you if you don’t change? For example, if you continue to work long hours and on weekends and holidays, what is it costing you in your relationships, or in your health?
If you’re already working with a life coach, this could be a great exercise to do together. Once you get clear on your motivation, and are ready to take action toward making that change, having an alliance with your coach increases your likelihood of success.
If you stumble along the way or slip into old habits, your coach is there to offer support. She can help you adjust your goals and action steps to so you remain aligned with and on track to reach your goals.
Act with Intention: Take these steps now.
Here are some action steps to take if you’re not getting the results you want in your life.
1. Determine where things aren’t working. What goals do you have for yourself where you’re getting limited to no results? What’s it for you? Cleaning out your garage, getting regular exercise in, getting back to meditating every day, or intentionally working smarter so you can have more balance in your life?
2. Check your readiness. Are you in denial or still analyzing options to try? Are you ready to make that change?
3. Explore your motivation to change versus staying status quo. What will cost you if you don’t change? Write it down.
4. Take an intentional action step, try an option out – get some momentum going and stay consistent.
You know what you want in your career and in each of the important areas of your life (finances, health, relationship, spirituality, etc.), yet you’re not seeing the desired results. Are you getting in your own way? If so, get out of your own way and get things done.
Does this sound familiar: “I set a goal on January 1, here we are halfway through the year and I’m no closer to achieving it.”
How do you get in your own way? This could be an extensive list, but to keep it short I’ll focus on two areas: 1. Energy drains and 2. Unmet or unacknowledged needs
One way you get in your own way of getting things done is by not managing your energy drains. Energy drains are the little or big things that tax your attention and energy.
They slow down your progress and prevent you from achieving your goals. Read more about what could be draining your energy and what to do about it here.
Unmet or Unacknowledged Needs
We all have needs and its okay to have them. Needs are a normal part of being human. It’s important to recognize if you’re not meeting those needs in a healthy or satisfying way, or you’re not even acknowledging them. You’re slowing down or stopping important things from getting done.
You’ve most likely learned about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in psychology class. It’s a five tiered hierarchy that’s typically shown as a pyramid. that suggests people are motivated to fulfill basic needs before moving on to more advanced psychological and self-fulfillment needs.
It’s helpful because it illustrates the various types of needs and reminds us that all humans have needs. It also stresses the importance of self-actualization needs at the top of the pyramid.
It includes physiological needs like food, water and sleep followed by safety and security needs like health and wellness, or a safe place to live. Social needs like family, romantic partner, and community come next, followed by esteem needs like appreciation and respect from others. Last are the self-actualization needs which are growing and developing to achieve your highest potential.
What are your needs?
Use these categories in the Maslow’s Hierarchy to think about and identify your needs. How are you meeting these needs? Can you find healthier ways to satisfy them? Are there any needs that you’re not fulfilling? Do you think it’s not okay to have these needs?
An example that comes to mind is the typical caretaker who puts everyone’s needs ahead of their own. My mother would work all day, and then go visit each of her parents (one lived at home, one was in a nursing home in another town) every evening after work and on the weekends.
On her way home she would do grocery shopping or pick up dinner for her husband and kids. She pushed her needs aside while everyone else’s needs were the priority.
Like my mother, many of us learn to pretend like we have it all together and can handle it all without help from anyone. Unfortunately, that’s how we get in our own way and prevent or delay the achievement of our biggest dreams and goals.
Another example is the person who hears they shouldn’t be boastful or act too proud as a child. Her needs for recognition and being valued are not satisfied. goes unmet as her achievements are not acknowledged.
Now as an adult, she’s often frustrated and feels disappointed when her efforts are not recognized at work. She feels incomplete and sometimes communicates all that she has done to anyone that will listen.
Oftentimes, this comes across as attention seeking or boasting by her colleagues and supervisor. She really wanted acknowledgement, but this isn’t the healthiest way to satisfy that need. She could find a healthier way.
Act with Intention: Take these steps now
First off, acknowledge that all humans have needs and its okay for you to have needs.
Then think about your needs and write down your top 3 needs right now. To help you create your list, review these categories of needs: security and certainty (safety and stability), significance (power, achievement and influence), love and connection (relationships, being listened to and connected to something greater than yourself/spiritual), and growth (learning, development and creativity).
Ask yourself for each of these 3 top needs, how are you meeting them?
Is it in a healthy or unhealthy way? What unhealthy ways are you going to let go of right now? What healthy ways of meeting those same needs are you going to create instead, not only in your career but in your life?
For example, let’s say one of your top needs is to feel safe and secure. Last year you earned a promotion at work and have an exciting and fulfilling new organization to lead. You felt secure in your role.
This year, because of outside circumstances everything is uncertain, especially your role. You put in even more hours and you’re working holidays and most weekends to feel secure in your position, putting your health and relationships at risk.
Perhaps a healthier way to fulfill your need for safety and security is to fulfill it outside of work since you don’t have direct control over the current work environment.
You can satisfy that need in your home environment or with your relationships. You can spend more quality time and get a sense of security and safety from those close beneficial connections you have with your family and friends. Experiencing their unconditional support for you and knowing they are there for you when you need them helps you feel safe and secure.
Remember, we all have needs and it’s critical for you to meet these needs in order to have a fulfilling career and life. So get out of your own way and get things done in healthier and more satisfying ways.