What to Ask Yourself to Have a Meaningful Life

Ten years ago, loss of loved ones, health challenges, motherhood, financial concerns, isolation, humiliating mistakes, and impending move across the country to a harsh climate left me feeling drained and lacking clarity for my life. Glimpses of what I wanted for myself and my family disappeared. I felt angry, lost, blessed, confused, excited, afraid and eerily untethered.

How I Created a Meaningful Life (The MESSY Version!)

We settled in an unfamiliar land. I unpacked. I journaled. I cleaned my house. I washed laundry. I cried. I unpacked more boxes. I drank hot tea. I fed the dogs. I paid bills. I took deep breaths as I stared at bare refrigerator shelves. I created art. I got quiet. I got frustrated. I went back to school. I studied. I cared for my family. I worked at a low paying job. I took one step at a time. I had faith that a staircase to my life existed. I stopped taking steps. I doubted myself. I reconsidered. I took more steps. I learned from mistakes. I got inspired. I connected with others. I listened to Spirit. I ignored Spirit. I made more mistakes. I listened again. I took action. I realigned with my values. I rinsed and repeated over and over again.

The Daily Question

When I asked myself open-ended questions, I noticed deeper clarity and focus, tapping into solutions and ideas. My daily question became:

What is the next right step for me DESPITE my obstacles?

Despite lack of clarity or certainty.

Despite my plus-sized jeans missing a button.

Despite people who didn’t believe in me.

Despite my lack of knowledge.

Despite my fear.

Despite where I lived.

Despite my exhaustion and crappy thoughts.

Despite the amount of money in my bank account.

Despite my emotions.

Despite my imperfections.

Despite the distance from my loved ones.

Despite my messy house.

Despite the weather.

Despite busyness of having young children.

Despite my self-doubt.

I get teary-eyed thinking of all the times/places I asked myself that question. Now, fast-forward ten years, I get to do what I love, enjoy a loving marriage, be with my children, have wonderful friends/colleagues who support me, create art in my studio, and experience life in Big Sky country, while enjoying healthy habits.

Is life perfect? No way! Do I still have moments of frustration or self-doubt? Yes! However, I hit the reset button and consider the question that invites fulfillment and meaning to my daily life.

Your Turn

So, how would YOU answer this question, even if life is raining problems and a lack of clarity for you?

What is the next right step for me DESPITE my obstacles?

Dr. Brene Brown talks about how to have courage despite imperfections in her book, Daring Greatly. She also challenges the reader to consider what would be worth doing even if you DID fail! Shauna Niequist writes about creating a more soulful way of living in her book, Present Over Perfect. Now it is your turn.

Get quiet. Momentarily suspend distractions. Determine the next right step for you DESPITE obstacles. Listen to Spirit. You won’t regret it!

 

A Thought for Today

Thankful for TodayA dear person dies suddenly of unknown causes. A request is rejected. The scale lies about self-worth. Test results seem to take forever. The daily calendar shows more of a need for approval and flurry than living authentically.

At some point, after many days of such happenings, I begin to believe the lies I tell myself.

  •  “I am not doing enough.”
  • “I do not have enough…time, money, energy.”
  • “I am not taking care of enough.”
  • “I have not connected enough.”

Then, as I drop a bowl of eggs all over myself, I am forced to stop and the floodgates open. My very happy Brittany spaniels come to my rescue, licking at the eggs, my tears, and anything else they can find.

 I stop…..breathe……and take notice.

My sons are laughing happily at a funny song. The crock pot is bubbling with a delicious soup my husband made this morning. My paintbrushes sit on the counter, waiting for the next inspired moment. The sun is shining…..AND, my doggies are now sitting calmly at my feet, looking up at me with their cute little eyes.

I become overwhelmed with the most incredible sense of gratitude.

I am so thankful for this moment.

 

“Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons.”

 -Ruth Ann Schabacker

 

What gifts do you notice in this moment today?

 

 

The Mistaken Thought That May Be Keeping You Stressed

Imperfection Bedhead

In working with lots of successful but stressed out individuals and couples, one thought pattern that seems to prevail is the pursuit of perfection….whether it is perfection or “shoulds” in themselves, their spouse, co-workers, children, personal belongings, body image, an event or a task.

So does this mean that you should never try to succeed? No!

You can choose to strive toward EXCELLENCE vs. perfection.

 The need to be perfect comes from a place of low self-worth and “I am not enough” while striving for excellence comes from a place of integrity, wanting to give 100% yet having compassion for yourself and others (with maybe a bit of humor) when you don’t hit the mark.

How you can tell if you are mistakenly choosing perfection:

  • You may not try something at all because you are afraid to fail.
  • You avoid doing tasks outside of your comfort zone.
  • You tell yourself you need more of something.
  • You say YES to more than is helpful and become overwhelmed.
  • You procrastinate.
  • Your need to accomplish something at all cost compromises your other values.
  • You allow other people to disappoint you.
  • You get very stressed and anxious.
  • You blame others or something else for not accomplishing your goal.
  • You use the word “should” a lot.
  • You give up.

The benefits of choosing excellence:

  • You are less stressed.
  • You are choosing authenticity and integrity.
  • You are resourceful without compromising your values.
  • You appreciate others’ differences.
  • You can more fully enjoy and engage in the present moment.
  • You have better relationships with others.
  • You are more open to possibility and opportunities otherwise not seen if more stressed.
  • You experience more gratitude and need less.
  • You exercise more courage, thus are more likely to create a more meaningful life.
  • You utilize your sense of humor and laughter more, which can help create a longer life.

So, the next time you want to do something, whether it is take up an art class, improve a relationship, throw a party, take on a project with a team at work, get healthier, or deal with a bad hair day, choose to take a deep breath and work toward excellence while seeing the beauty in the challenge….the obstacles…and the imperfect.

Motivation for Today

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The following is a compilation of wisdom I have gathered from colleagues, mentors and other successful people I admire. Feel free to plaster these words somewhere in your surroundings to stay motivated toward success. Here is to….TODAY!

Get out of your own way! YOU are your only obstacle…no one or nothing else. 

Choose courage.

SMALL consistent daily actions are what REALLY lead to success.

Imperfect action is better than no action.

Reboot your fuel by taking a break to play when stressed.

Transform your “gremlin thoughts” into more empowering self talk.

Focus on creating your life with YOUR values and dreams vs. someone else’s.

Do the simplest “next step” when feeling overwhelmed.

Patiently understand success is a process not an event.

Start early with the most challenging task then the rest of the day is BONUS!

Be thankful for the life you are currently living.

Laugh, breathe deeply, wander a bit and be fully present.

Visualize your success every day. Be that person until you become that person.

Allow music to immediately shift your waning energy and negativity.

Choose compassion when you have a setback….then move on.

Reach out to others to help with energy drainers.

Gather a successful person’s wisdom. Watch a TED talk, read a book, or take a class.

 

Focus just on today……. How will you spend it???

 

 

The BIGGEST Mistake You Can Make

Sad And Worried

We ALL make mistakes.

We ALL will continue to make mistakes.

We need mistakes for growth and development. They can be more instructive than our successes, if we let them.

We have a choice to see mistakes as failures or lessons.

The biggest mistake we can make is to not see the mistake for the learning opportunity it is!

When we see mistakes as failures, we cannot move forward to success.

How to know if you are missing the “lesson”:

1. You blame/criticize someone else for your pain.

2. You feel like a loser or failure, so you give up.

3. You beat up yourself.

4. You complain all the time about something negative in your life.

5. You avoid making a mistake by never starting something or failing to complete a task…and ultimately avoiding life!

6. Your “solutions” to the problem have negatively affected other areas of your life, such as some of your closest relationships.

7. You find yourself dealing with the same problem over and over.

When you are not learning the lesson life has for you, it’s a lot like sitting in the middle of a highway, beating up yourself or someone else. Sooner or later, you are going to get run over!

Tips for learning “lessons”  the first time around:

1. Find the “light.” Mistakes often light a path for you to put crucial problems in the forefront that could have positive impact. Similar to the 80/20 principle, what small effort could lead you to 80% of the outcome you want?

2. See the gift. Your mistakes contain a positive lesson. (Be careful the message you are choosing from the lesson is really helpful….not just exacerbating the pain.) You don’t have to be thankful FOR the painful situation, however, being thankful for the lesson IN the situation can move you forward out of pain.

3. Tell the truth. Own your mistakes. Own how YOU have played a part in what has happened. You only have control over what YOU have done or not done. Sharing honestly with yourself and others defuses your shame so you can move on.

4. Keep your promise. Mistakes are sometimes promises you have not kept with yourself or others. Recommit a sense of integrity with yourself. Realign with your core values and readjust your actions.

Get comfortable with your mistakes. Allow them to be “teachers” and learn from them. Then, move on!

 

Personal Discovery:

Think about a big mistake you have made…what YOU did and the consequences of that mistake in all areas of your life/relationships.

Consider several possible interpretations/messages of this event then choose the most helpful one.

From that interpretation, decide what YOU can do differently to avoid making the same mistake again.

 

“A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.”  -Albert Einstein

“A smart man makes a mistake, learns from it, and never makes that mistake again. But a wise man finds a smart man and learns from him how to avoid the mistake all together.” -Roy H. Williams

Email Kim at kim@kimkompel.com if you would like to schedule a 30 minute inquiry session today!

Much joy and peace,

Kim

 

 

How to Transform Your “Vicious Cycle” into RESULTS!

Behavior cycleWhen you feel “stuck,” does it feel like you are spinning your wheels?

We create a “vicious cycle” of repeated behavior we DO NOT want. However, WE CAN CHANGE OUR BEHAVIOR by changing one part of the cycle.

Which part of the cycle do we need to strategically change?

Our THOUGHTS that we choose!

The cycle begins with an EVENT (someone cuts you off on the highway).

The THOUGHTS you can choose from could include (“There goes a real jerk.”) OR (“Wow, they are needing to get somewhere fast.”) Our brains can find evidence to support the bits of truth for all of our thoughts, so why not choose the one that could produce a more empowering cycle?

Each thought produces a FEELING. Which thought could produce a less intensely negative feeling? (The second one)

Then the feeling you have produces ENERGY. Is this energy related to feelings of anger and frustration or calm and focus? (The second thought is more likely to produce the calm and focus.)

And, then, that energy will determine your BEHAVIOR (Anger could create a road rage situation and result in an accident or speeding ticket or added stress to your day.) OR (Peace and calm could help create less stressed behaviors and your ability to focus on more fun or productive activities.)

Finally, the behavior you indulge will most likely influence further EVENTS in your life.

When we choose the more empowering thought, then we are able to transform the “vicious” cycle into an “empowering” cycle that results in the outcomes we want.

What lies or partial truths have you been buying into?

          How could you apply this cycle concept
to your life?

How to Make Better Choices

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When life’s circumstances have you feeling frustrated, worried, defeated, ashamed, and doubtful, you are out of integrity, or alignment, with who you really are. When out of that alignment, you will begin to make decisions and choices that are less likely to get you the outcomes you want in life.

 

SO…..to make better choices, shift into a greater sense of integrity, and create alignment with your truest self (which impacts the world around you), do the following exercise and practice it over the next week to see how it changes those negative moments.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR CREATING A POWERFUL IDENTITY STATEMENT:

Think about who you are at your core level….your strengths, values, and how you WANT to “show up” in your world. Then complete the following statement:

     “I am _______________________.”

Make sure you choose words and metaphors that are empowering and positive.

For example:

“I am a woman of courage, integrity, intelligence and resourcefulness.”

“I am a powerhouse of light, beauty and strength.”

“I am like a tree with deep roots of strength and courage and tall, outwardly reaching branches of shade, comfort and nurturing care.”

Now, begin to say that to yourself and let it resonate over the next week. Stand tall with your shoulders back and say it. Notice the shift of how you feel when you say it.

So, you don’t believe it quite yet? The cells in our bodies have an amazing memory. When you are upset, yet smile, research has discovered that the muscles going into smile formation signal your brain to go to “happy.” (All the more reason to pay attention to our body language!) The same with our words we use.

We tend to believe and live out the words we say to ourselves. Would you rather believe and live out those negative words and phrases in your thoughts or positive ones you create from your values and truest self?

Consider the next time you feel anxious or fearful or doubtful. If your “I AM” statement is “I am a woman of courage, integrity, intelligence, and resourcefulness, “ then ask yourself,

“What would a woman of courage, integrity, intelligence and resourcefulness do in this situation?

When you ask yourself better questions related to your “I AM” statement, you are making choices and decisions from a more empowered place of integrity and aligning with your truest self.

The smallest actions we take on a consistent daily basis can completely change the trajectory of our lives.

Much joy and peace,

Kim

 

 

 

 

What is REALLY Keeping You Stuck?

woman thinking by waterYour THOUGHTS! What keeps you stuck in any area of your life is what you think about yourself, money, relationships, kids, spouse, work, time, family, your world. We call these thoughts limiting mindsets or beliefs. Sometimes we don’t even know that we are functioning from such a negative place until we begin to pay attention.

The good news is that those thoughts CAN BE CHANGED in order to move forward! For example, believing that “all men are pigs” quite possibly will keep you from enjoying a wonderful relationship with a loving, caring man.

You say you have evidence that your thought is the TRUTH? Our brains will help us find evidence that ANY thought has some truth that speaks from our past experience……but it does not have to be the truth for our lives going forward. We have a choice.

 According to Glenn R. Schiraldi in The Self Esteem Workbook, he suggests there are several types of limiting thoughts and beliefs (that some people call “gremlin” thoughts): Which do YOU make a habit of using the most?

1. Assuming – We assume the worst without testing the evidence. Ex. Assuming someone is criticizing you vs. asking them to clarify. OR “I know I am going to screw this up.” vs. “I may or may not do a good job but I am willing to experiment.”

2. Shoulds (Musts/Oughts) – Shoulds are demands we make of ourselves or others. “I should be skinnier.”  “I should not make mistakes.” “I should be happy and never anxious or tired.” These types of statements usually just make us feel worse. Replace “shoulds” with “would” or “could” or “want to’s.” Ex. ”I would like to do that.” Or “How could I do that more/less?”

3. The Fairy-Tale Fantasy – The fairy tale fantasy means demanding the ideal from life. This is a special type of “should.” “That’s not fair.” or “Why did that have to happen?” often is a person’s way of saying that is not how life should go. REALLY? In reality, bad and unfair things happen to good people….sometimes randomly, sometimes because of the unreasonableness of others, and sometimes because of our own imperfections. This particular type of “should” only invites disappointment. Again, using “would” or “could” vs. “should” can be more effective to finding real solutions.  “It would be nice for this to happen.” or “How could I improve this situation.”

4. All or Nothing Thinking – This type of thinking holds a person to the impossible standard of perfectionism which invites feelings of low self-worth when perfection is not met. “If I do not perform the best, I am a loser.” However, performing at 80% or 57% is NOT 0 percent.  Poor performance never makes a person worthless, just fallible. Ask yourself, “Why must I score 100%?” You may then hear replies of low self-worth in your mind.

5. Overgeneralizing – Overgeneralizing is deciding that negative experiences describe your life completely. For example, “I always ruin everything.” or “They never do this.” Such global statements are unkind, depressing, and usually inaccurate to some degree. Use more precise language like “Some of my skills are not yet developed.” or “Sometimes they don’t do this.” You can then find small ways to improve the situation and simultaneously notice what IS going well. 

6. Labeling – Using a term as though it describes a person completely such as, “I’m such a loser.” Humans are more complex than one simple term can describe. Instead, confine labels to behaviors. “That was a silly thing to do.”

7. Dwelling in the negative – When a negative situation occurs within the context of something pleasant or okay, however, we focus on the one negative aspect. For example, one pleasant evening, your spouse does something annoying, and you focus on that particular behavior, and allow it to ruin the entire evening and possibly negatively impact your marriage. Or, your teenager comes home with good grades except for one F. Focusing on the F vs. seeing the hard work they have done can leave them with feelings of low self-esteem and a more challenging parent-child relationship. A solution to this habit includes re-examining your options. “What pleasing things can I still find to enjoy?” “What went right?” “How would someone with sound self-esteem view this situation?”

8. Rejecting the positive – Dwelling on the negative overlooks the positive aspects and keeps our self-esteem low. For example, someone compliments you on a job well done and you reply, “That was really nothing. Anyone could do that.” If you can give someone else the credit for doing well, why not do the same for yourself?

9. Unfavorable comparisons – This is poison to your self-worth! When comparing yourself to others, you minimize your strengths and maximize others’ strengths, focusing on being inadequate or inferior to others. For example, “I am just a mom. She is the owner of a successful company.” Challenge this distortion by asking yourself, “Why must I compare?” “What keeps me from appreciating each person’s strengths and weaknesses?” Another’s contributions are not necessarily better, just different.”

10. Catastrophizing – When you believe that something is a catastrophe, you magnify how horrible the situation is and convince ourselves that we are not capable of coping with it. The reality is that we CAN handle most situations even though they are unpleasant, inconvenient or challenging. To challenge this belief, we can ask ourselves, “What are the odds of this happening?” or “What is the worst thing that can happen?”

11. Personalizing – Seeing yourself more a part of a situation than you really are. For example, when a child misbehaves and the mom thinks she is a bad mom because he misbehaved. To combat this distortion, distinguish between what influences another situation vs. causes the situation. Also, instead of thinking, “What is wrong with me?” one might say “This is a difficult task.”

12. Blaming – (This is a nasty relationship habit!!!) This is the opposite of personalizing…not taking any responsibility for what happens to you. Placing all the blame on someone or something outside of yourself. This is putting you in victim mode, too powerless to cope. A more empowered way to deal with a situation is to recognize the influences of the situation but also see what part you have control over. “Yes, she reacted very unfairly, but I choose not to be bitter and cynical.” Or “I did not complete the project in a timely manner. I will plan better next time.” The focus is not on judgment of the core self, but behaviors.

13. Making Feelings Fact – Making feelings facts is taking one’s feelings as proof of the way things really are. “I feel inadequate, so I must be inadequate.”

What is a thought you COULD have about your life that could take you from the outcomes you have been getting in “stuck” mode to the outcome you want?

Good behavior habits begin with good thought habits!