Category Archives for "Life"

Change Happens In An Instant, and This is That Instant

It’s almost hard to believe that we’ve been at home for nearly two months.

In that time, I’ve had dozens of conversations with individuals ranging from bartenders to CEOs of companies and individuals directly and indirectly impacted by the pandemic. 

I noticed a theme throughout each of the conversations. 

Each person has been able to start (or stop) doing something in their life that proven to be meaningful. 

I was recently catching up with a dear friend and business owner. They shared the slowdown of the pandemic created a series of opportunities for them to enjoy things like not checking their work email first thing in the morning, yoga, and daily meditation practice. Moments later, they shared how those items might not be sustainable once the stay at home order went away. 

His words resonated deeply with me because while I have been a life-long goal-setter and go-getter, change has always shown up with a lot of resistance – when it’s something I do for myself. 

My rationalization was (and sometimes still is) that maintaining a habit, belief, or behavior takes time and effort and that I don’t always have the luxury of that, especially when there’s a team, department, or company to lead. 

And while that is not untrue, it’s simply not accurate. 

If I shared with you a shortcut that allowed you to get to work in 1/2 the time, how long would you need to take that new route before adopting the new habit? 

Tony Robbins jokes, “how many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb? Only one, but it’s expensive and takes a long time.” He believes our past is inconsequential. So do I. 

I add that in a single moment, we can choose to change the course and meaning of our life entirely as we live in a non-linear and relative world.

That change only takes an instant, and that is instant is now. 

What thoughts/beliefs/behaviors did you pick up that you want to keep or what thoughts/beliefs/behaviors have you put down that you want to leave in the ‘old normal’?

If there is one that jumped out to you, that would mean everything, but you aren’t acting on it – ask yourself whether your motivation is moving you towards a vision of what you want or whether it’s moving you away from something you want to avoid. 

The choice is yours. The time is now. What will you choose?

If this sparks anything for you, I would love to know!

“Sometimes, it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.” ~Keri Russell

Change Isn’t Scary. Our thinking about change is scary.

I worked for a Fortune 200 company from 2009 to 2017 and the running joke was always “the only constant at Arrow is change”. I now understand the only constant in life is change.  

When I say change, I don’t mean shifting and evolving priorities; I mean the variable quality of our thoughts and the fact that we live inside a world of thought. 

We can’t see, hear or feel without thought informing our senses, and we have no way of checking whether or not our thoughts are telling us something that’s really happening or simply projecting false data which we interpret to be true. 

This is why we can be sure that everything is going to be fine one moment and in the next, be equally sure that it isn’t – without anything actually changing around us. 

This understanding serves by allowing us to see and understand that our challenge or issue is simply made of thought rather than made of our circumstances. 

Have you ever thought you royally messed something up, proceeded to feel physically awful only to re-read the email, and realize you read the point incorrectly and then you immediately felt OK again?

That’s the nature of our thoughts in action – nothing changed from one minute to the next aside from our thinking because we’re only ever living in the feeling of our thinking. 

This was real for me in 2017 when it took me roughly six months to take the first step to transition from my corporate role.

There was no doubt I needed to move towards something new yet I stayed because of how scary my thoughts felt about the change.

In a nutshell, I chose my perceived “safety” over my happiness and rationalized my circumstances by telling myself “at least here, you know what you’re dealing with…if you leave, who knows what could happen”. 

I kept thinking stressful thoughts about the future, so of course, I spent months and months feeling stressed. 

Staying where I was felt safer than the unknown of the future, but I now realize it wasn’t safety I craved, it was certainty.

The truth is certainty is a guarantee for no one. Each one of us can only take the next best action and repeat. Click To Tweet

Now I don’t regret a thing because everything happened exactly the way it was supposed to happen however since my mission in life is to help others reimagine what’s possible then I leave you with this question: what if the challenge you are facing had nothing to do with your circumstances and everything to do with your thoughts about the circumstances?

What if you spent this next week thinking about the thing itself and less time thinking about your thinking about the challenge. 

Let me know if this sparks anything for you!

What’s your G.O.O.D. thought?

The news about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) as of late has it so I can’t open up a major website or email without seeing something about the coronavirus. Some folks are preparing big time, others doing basic things like stocking extra water, rice, beans, and hand sanitizer in their home. 

Yesterday I came across an ad for a G.O.O.D. bag, otherwise known as a get-out-of-dodge bag. It’s mostly a portable kit that contains the items one would require to survive for 72-hours when escaping from a disaster. 

It typically comes in a backpack and is made so that you can grab it and run should you need to escape the area. 

I realized we experience something similar thing with our thoughts.

We all have a get-out-of-dodge thought that shows up when things get tough, uncomfortable, or unpleasant and we need to escape. This thought drives action to take us away from our current state. 

My G.O.O.D. thought has always been: “I’m outta here.”  

From leaving my parent’s home at 19 to my divorce at 27, that thought helped me take action in my life at crucial times. 

It was a gift. 

Until it wasn’t. 

Allow me to explain. I have been in the most incredible relationship since 2015. The longer I’m with my husband, the more my gratitude deepens for him and what we’ve worked to create in our relationship. 

But it wasn’t always this way. There was a time when at least twice a week, he’d say or do something that triggered my “I’m outta here” thought. Some days the thinking would snowball; other times, not so much, but each time there was always a lot of thinking. 

I intellectually knew I was with an incredible man; however, I couldn’t reconcile why I reacted this way time after time. Then one day, as I sat there catastrophizing and making meaning out the latest thing he’d said – it hit me. 

What if I sat with my discomfort? What if I chose to feel uncomfortable and not race away from it the way I knew best? After all, I’ve never heard of someone dying from discomfort (unpleasant as it may be). 

I tried it a few times, and my experience shifted. Significantly. 

One day a while later, I had another thought: what if I didn’t think that thought? Could it be that simple? 

At that moment, I was free. 

Freedom from the thought didn’t mean it wouldn’t ever show up again; it meant I was no longer chained to it. 

So when it shows up, I know I can choose to allow the thought to float on by like the feather on Forrest Gump, observing it without engaging with it.

The delta between ‘freedom from’ and ‘freedom to’ can make all the difference in our life.

We are never more than one thought away from a completely different experience of being alive. ~Michael Neill. Click To Tweet

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To plan is smart, to act is divine.

I was recently a guest on my coach Rich Litvin’s podcast. In that episode, I shared for the first time in a public forum about my experience growing up in a very strict and religious household and how I almost entered into an arraigned marriage. 

I was taught from a very young age to respect my elders, do as I was told and not question God. I was also a very strong-willed and opinionated young girl, so not surprisingly, I often challenged rules and norms. 

Spoiler alert: The arranged marriage never happened. 

I couldn’t go through with it. I couldn’t marry someone I didn’t love. 

So one day, two weeks before the wedding, I sat my parents down and told them I couldn’t do it. I remember saying something like this, “I can’t stand before God and the congregation and say I do till death do us part when I don’t.”  

That didn’t go over well with my parents or the church. Things got so bad that I wondered if I could even stay living at home. 

A few days later, it became apparent that I needed to leave home. I believe that when we know, we know – and I knew. 

I found a gal who was renting a room near Cal State Fullerton. I called her, confirmed it was still available, and two days later, I was moving in. 

There was no business plan, no strategy session, merely a series of actions towards my desired future. 

I think back to this story often because, as a business owner, there are a handful of times a day (dozens on some) where my desire to create something new for my business seems thwarted.

It is thwarted by my desire to have certainty around exactly HOW it’s going to work and THAT it’s going to work.

And while there’s nothing wrong with those thoughts, they become problematic when I find myself still thinking about creating that something, weeks later—when I am refining, designing, and planning versions and versions without moving into action of any kind. 

I think back to the young, feisty nineteen-year-old that one day decided to leave the comfort and security of her own home and venture out on her own. 

I didn’t have the first clue how life outside of my parent’s home would be. I had never even spent the night at anyone’s house but a relative. 

Once I left, I knew there was no going back, and I somehow knew that I would and could figure it out. 

That said, it wasn’t easy. There were weeks at a time where I’d have Top Ramen noodles for dinner. However, with each week and month that went by, I got a little smarter at figuring out this whole “adulting” thing. 

The reason is that it is always easier to adjust when you’re in action! 

Has there ever been a time where you leaped without knowing how things would pan out, and they worked out just fine? 

Take Action! Even a small amount of movement will bring you closer to your desired outcome than a mile of thinking. Click To Tweet

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Part 2: The End, or a New Beginning?

This is part two of a two-part article on my six-year journey chasing the concept of modern-day success: wanting more, achieving more, and having more and the price that came with it.

I am again excited to share that Part 2 was also featured on Thrive Global, you can check out that article here.

In part two I share how I was able to reimagine a completely new chapter for my life from a place that most would consider “career-breaking”. 

Here we go:

A few days later, I was sitting on the porch of our home enjoying a latte and the crisp morning air with my husband. We sat silently, enjoying the mixture of birds chirping and cars passing by. For the first time in my career, I had failed, and I didn’t know what to do next. What I did know, though, was that this experience would not define my worth.

Then it hit me; the answer was right in front of me. My PIP (Performance Improvement Plan) contained the clarity and prioritization I’d been wanting since starting this role. Rather than being a list of failures, I realized it was a list of ways I could grow and succeed. By reframing this List of Failures to a List of Opportunities, I got to work, and over the next few months, delivered on each item in that document.

Sixty-two days later, I was taken off the PIP.

In the weeks that followed, I reflected on this experience and realized that I had spent most of my career chasing the concept of modern-day success: wanting more, achieving more, and having more.

I had also paid the price in terms of my health and my quality of life. I realized that I had been focused entirely on my outer world and had never taken the time to explore and define how success felt on the inside. I had convinced myself I’d be happy when I got to a certain level.

The truth is, happiness is always an inside job.

The dictionary defines bankruptcy as “completely lacking in a particular quality or value.” For me, it was time to declare bankruptcy on this external model for success I had followed for so long.

While this did not mean I would no longer pursue the external appearance of success if I chose to, it did mean I would never again allow the look of success to be my only focus or driver.

Two months after being taken off the PIP, I tendered my resignation to pursue the exciting and intimidating world of coaching and consulting where I could help others through the incredible self-discovery I had just navigated.

More than two years later, my coaching & consulting practice thrives and fulfills me daily. I take time to enjoy each moment, celebrate my challenges, and savor the journey. Savoring the journey is not a one-time check the box kind of thing, it’s a moment to moment choice that I make every day.

As Buddha says: Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

It is a priceless feeling to know I am doing what I am meant to do for the rest of my life. I serve as a guide to individuals & companies who believe that talent matters and get that success has not only a look but a feel and want support to explore creating a powerful experience of both for themselves, their teams and their company.

Over time, those I serve are transformed as they see the impact of creating their world from the inside-out. Ultimately, they come to deeply know their worth is a currency defined by themselves alone, and no market or economy can alter this value without permission.

The greatest gift of this experience was seeing my father in a new light. I write this with tears in my eyes because I see my dad had it figured out all along. He never cared about the title, prestige, money, or fancy things. He lived his life for the joy of contributing, serving, and working to support his family. It’s all so crystal clear now.

For him, the feeling of success was all that ever mattered. Thank you, Daddy, for sharing your wisdom six years after we said goodbye.

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Part 1: Chasing the Look of Success

What I will share with you today is part one of a two-part article on my six-year journey chasing the concept of modern-day success: wanting more, achieving more, and having more and the price that came with it.

I recently became a contributor for Thrive Global and my article was shared with their community today, something that I am excited to share!

I hope you enjoy it and I would love to know if any part resonates or impacts you in some way. 
 

It was 4:12 p.m. when I opened the file folder on my desk. Inside were three pages describing in painful detail how I was failing and what I needed to do in the next 90 days if  I wanted to avoid termination. The document in my hand was known as a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP for short), and I was in shock. I’d encountered many PIPs in my career but never imagined I’d be on the receiving end of one. I wanted to cry and scream but composed myself for appearances. Later, as I pulled out of the parking lot, I took a deep breath and burst into tears. 

I am a high-achieving, high-performing female. I built my life around succeeding. How did this happen? 

My dad drove a tractor-trailer for a Central Florida dairy distributor called Velda Farms. Every day, he’d wake up at four in the morning to deliver dairy products to the Orlando International Airport. One morning as my dad poured his coffee, I mustered up the courage to ask him, “Why do you wake up so early?” 

Without turning around, he replied, “Those who wake up early and work hard are the ones who keep food on the table and make a life for themselves.” 

From that moment forward, I equated long hours and determination with success. 

A few years later, we moved to California, where he taught me a different life lesson. Every Sunday, my father left the house two hours before church to pick up other church members without access to transportation. Some of his passengers were older, some had disabilities, and some didn’t own a car. My father wanted to make sure everyone who wanted to come to church could. 

My father was my model for what it meant to work hard, serve others, and contribute to something bigger than ourselves. 

For most of my life, I took pride in working hard, getting things done quickly, and doing it all exceptionally well. At 24, I made the leap from service industry jobs to the corporate world and continued to find a great deal of personal satisfaction from this direct and logical model of success. And my employers and managers seemed to like my work hard, work long, work well mindset, too. 

Just before my 29th birthday, I moved to Colorado and joined a $14B organization with 16,800 employees. With a never-ending supply of mission-critical initiatives and urgent projects, this was the perfect environment to prove just how hard and fast I could work. 

Over the next six years, I was promoted four times before eventually landing a national director-level position – that I was confident at the time was my “dream job.” In this new role, I oversaw more than 2,000 annual hires, was responsible for multi-million dollar projects, and had more than 40 people reporting to me. I was proud of myself, and this considerable level of power and responsibility. But more than anything, I wished I could share this accomplishment with my father, who had passed just three years earlier, and who I knew would be incredibly proud. 

It wasn’t long before I began to suspect the tools and thinking that had served me for so long might not be as effective at this high level. No matter how hard I worked, there was always more work to be done. Small wins were expected and no longer acknowledged. Significant successes were quickly forgotten and replaced with something else more important that needed to be tackled or moved down the field. 

As someone accustomed to thriving on doing more and accumulating accolades, I began to worry. I had the dream job I’d worked so hard for, my team was incredible, and we produced excellent work. On the outside, everything looked good, but it didn’t feel good on the inside. No matter how hard I tried, I was unable to do more and impress everyone – including myself – the way I had for so many years. 

It wasn’t an easy realization, but it was undeniable. I needed a new strategy. I looked for prioritization, started to ask difficult questions, and pushed back on the number of initiatives and projects thrust on our department. I placed boundaries and started letting things slide. 

For the past six years, I had always found a way to do more. Now, I no longer took immediate action on initiatives sent my way. This new behavior was not well received by leadership, unsurprisingly. 

I’d been given this position because I had sold myself as someone who could always do “more,” and now my inability to do so caused friction between myself and leadership, culminating on the day I was presented with my dreaded PIP. 

I realized that up to this point, I had been chasing the concept of modern-day success: wanting more, achieving more, and having more and doing this had come with a price.

Something had to change. 

In my next post, I share how I navigated my PIP and how it was the catalyst for a new chapter of my life.

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Want Less Stress at Work? Try This.

“Don’t take yourself so seriously.”

Those are the words I would tell myself if I could go back and talk to myself when I was running North America Recruiting for Colorado’s largest corporate headquartered employer.

Every decision seemed to matter…so…much.

What I know to be true now is that decisions don’t matter as much as I THINK they do (and admittedly this is a regular practice to this day – progress over perfection!)

In this video, I share the interesting thing that happened in my last four months with Arrow Electronics and how you can easily make it a practice to not take yourself so seriously. Hint: It’s about Rule #6!

What I’ve learned over the years is that while we don’t always take ourselves too seriously, we all sometimes take ourselves too seriously.

While we don't always take ourselves too seriously, we all sometimes take ourselves too seriously. Click To Tweet

And, if after watching this video you want more than anything to create this for yourself in your life but simply don’t see how that’s possible; let me know and we can hop on a 20-minute call to build a plan for you to do so.

A gift from me to you, to kick off your 2020 powerfully.

With Much Love,

Luisa

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It Doesn’t Have To Be This Hard

I continue to love creating video content that’s roughly 5-minutes and have even started a course to take my video skills to the next level (says the over-achiever in me).

Today’s video is about a video I came across earlier today. In it, a handler guides a foal along a path to a horse-training area to meet its mom.

Along the path, the foal is bucking and being quite antsy. At one point, the handler lovingly says to the calf “it’s OK buddy, we’ll get there, it doesn’t have to be this hard”.

I was like “whoa” what a parallel for life!

What if we are all being guided, along the perfect path for our souls and it’s our bucking and kicking against the gentle guidance that creates the perception of life being “hard”?

I explore that insight in this video and I hope that you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it.

And, if you ever want to explore how I help clients connect with this guidance, let me know and we can chat about it! 

Merry Christmas and/or happy holidays to you and yours!

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Thoughts Inspired by My Meditation

Happiness Is An Inside Job

I use the Headspace app for my morning meditations. At the end of each meditation, a thought comes up on the screen once the session is complete.

Last Friday it was:

“It’s ironic that, if we could just stop wanting something to make us happy, we might be happier.” 

Below are the insights I had from reading that. Enjoy. 

Think about the last time you felt happy. I’m not talking excitement, I’m talking that still, centered, feeling that everything is exactly how it’s supposed to be.

Were you DOING anything to MAKE yourself happy, or, did you simply become aware of the happiness inside of you?

Happiness isn’t something we can force or make happen (despite our valiant efforts). It is also always available to us.

Why?

Because happiness only exists inside of us. It is a choice, not the result of anything outside of us.

When you “see” or “do” something that “makes you feel happy”, all that’s happening is you’ve chosen that person or thing as a symbol of “happy”. The choice always starts inside of you.

Happiness only exists inside of us. It is a choice, not the result of anything outside of us. Click To Tweet

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