Personal growth and development is the transition from experiencing life happening to you to experiencing a life created by you.
Living with intention requires the practice of paying attention.
Paying attention means that you are actively living your life on purpose. It means that every thought and every action, no matter how small, is a choice. This means that you can no longer pretend to be asleep, it means that you become conscious. What you eat, what you say, the habits you make - it is all done with awareness of the choice. This level of living requires the knowledge and awareness that you are 'at the helm' of your life, fully responsible for where you are and where you go.
One of the most powerful ways we can do this is by taking control of our time, and continually increasing moments that we are living our life on purpose. In a recent study commissioned by Marks and Spence, a whopping 96% of people surveyed reported that they were living their life on autopilot.
In my life, I use the terms “default self” and “intentional self”. My default self is the person that operates from her base stories, fears, and general unconsciousness. This is my “programmed” self, who lives by the rules and values defined by her family, peers, and culture. In contrast, my intentional self is the person that operates from her chosen stories, courage, and intentional consciousness. My "deliberate" self lives by her own rules, defined by her alone.
As a coach, I’ve worked with thousands of clients. When people begin working with me, I would say about 60 - 70% of them don’t yet know their intentional selves, and they are strictly living life as they have been pre-programmed to do. The other 30-40% know their intentional self, and are in the process of learning how to live a greater percentage of their life, and time, in alignment with that deliberate self. Here are some examples of how these two selves might show up in your life
Below you’ll find a free download that will allow you to do an audit on your time (and life). You can also download this worksheet as a Word Document or Google Doc.
Here is how to use this spreadsheet:
#1 – Fill in how you would LIKE to spend your time. Complete the chart from your intentional self, and design your time in alignment with your values, desires, and joys.
#2 - Track how you spend your time for a week or two. I suggest doing this at lunch, and again at nighttime before you go to bed so that you don’t forget what happened in your day. If you can track your activities in real-time during your day, even better. The more accurate your tracking is the more opportunity for insights and transformation.
#3 – Make necessary adjustments in your life.
I suggest doing this audit at least twice a year. I like to do it quarterly to keep myself on track, and assure that I am living the life that I want to live.
If you're interested in discovering your 'intentional self' and building habits and routines that support that self in being 'at the helm', schedule a free coaching consultation and let's discover if we're a good fit for working together.
6 of the Best Quotes on Love
My work as a Life Coach focuses on How To Be Human, the vital skills that we all need to learn in order to lead authentic, fulfilling lives. Of course, LOVE is one of the core needs and most vibrant experiences of Being Human ... but what is love, exactly? The 5 quotes below from my fellow epiphany hunters shed some light on what love might be, + I've included one of my own quotes on the experience of love.
Victoria Erickson is a poet, author and writing coach. You can learn more about her work on her website, and make sure to follow her on Facebook & Instagram.
Jeff Brown is an author and coach. You can learn more about his work on his website, and make sure to follow up on Facebook and Instagram.
Paulo Coelho is an author and alchemist. You can learn more about his work on his website, and make sure to follow him on Facebook and Instagram.
Glennon Doyle is an author and visionary. You can learn more about her work on her website, and make sure to follow her on Facebook and Instagram, and check out her podcast, We Can Do Hard Things.
Brene Brown is an author and research professor. You can learn more about her work on her website, follow up on Facebook and Instagram, and check out here podcast Unlocking Us.
This week brings February into view on our calendars. Sweet, sweet, February - the month that is known for pink hearts, milk chocolate, and over-priced roses. To tell you the truth, I’ve never been a big fan of the traditional, commercial celebration of Valentine's Day. It always seemed a bit silly to my quirky neurodiverse brain: why would we celebrate love more on one day than any other? Why would we put huge intentions of love on a single day, rather than consistent intentions of love every single day?
For many years now, instead of following the traditions designed by a capitalist society bent on monetizing love, I have made my own rules for February. I’ve seized this month as an annual check-in with myself, with the intent of discovering the areas within myself, and my life, where I can expand my capacity for experiencing love.
I've been engaging in this practice for years, and I can attest to the fact that it has positively improved my life experience. Like all personal growth and development, it is an ongoing pursuit and a never-ending practice. For this, I am grateful. I love the “layers of my onion”, and the self-discovery and personal expansion that I enjoy day after day, month after month, and year after year. It is a becoming. Evermore becoming who I am at my core as I shed the layers (thoughts, habits, belief systems) that prevent my full expression of self.
This year, in service of supporting our collective expansion, I thought I’d share some of the practices that I’ve cultivated to expand my capacity to experience love.
#1 - Update Self -Talk
I have found that the quality of my self-talk has a drastic impact on my life. Therefore, when I look at ways to increase my experience of love in my day-to-day life, updating my self talk is low-hanging fruit. Updating my self-talk helps in two ways - first, it increases my self-love and second, it removes barriers to experiencing love from others. I've created a worksheet that outlines my process, and I hope that you'll also find it useful. You can download it for free here.
#2 - Remove Barriers
The second thing that I do is identify areas for further healing. Rumi said, "Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it." I find this statement to hold great truth, as it aligns with my direct experience. As we go through life, we encounter trauma, betrayal, abandonment & suffering. There is no getting around this, but it is possible to integrate our pain so that it doesn't become a roadblock to what we want in life. Instead of allowing our pain to stagnant and harden us, we can use it to strengthen and expand ourselves. This allows for more love (and joy and wonder) to enter into our beings. To do this, we first have to identify where we have allowed past betrayals to harden within us. Then we must create a safe space for healing, and get the support we need on our healing journey. Finally, we must do the work to heal ourselves, and find the gifts that are in the darkness.
#3 - Define Edges
The third practice that I engage in to expand my capacity for love is defining my edges. When I am unconsciously people-pleasing, accommodating, meek, unobtrusive, or submissive - I merge the boundaries between who I am and who others are. I lose my ability to have clarity around my needs and wants, I mismanage my time, and I limit my experiences of love and joy. To experience more love in my life, I must define my edges, hone my perimeter, and know what is me and what is other. If you're an empath like I am, this can be particularly important and double as challenging. At the start of this exploration, there is defining work for us to discover who we are (sign up for my newsletter to be notified of the next release of my DIY Coaching How To Be Human course which will delve into this topic). After we've done the deep work, it is a matter of reminding ourselves who we are, so that this crazy, busy world doesn't jumble and bewilder us. I do this through meditation. Expanding my capacity to experience love includes dedicating time to daily reestablishing my personal boundaries. In this way, I can see and appreciate others - loving them more, and I can honestly and authentically reveal my full self to others, and allow myself to be fully loved and appreciated.
#4 - Raise the Stakes
The fourth practice that I have cultivated to expand my capacity for love is my favorite - for it is the most juicy and delicious. It also requires the most courage and grit. The choice to intentionally experience more love means that we have to take action in the relationships that matter the most to us. We have to show up. This means first and foremost that we have to slow down and take time for our relationships. The feelings of closeness, acceptance, safety, connection, and love, I would call "emotional intimacy", and these feeling take courage to invite into your relationships. In American culture, the word "intimacy" has been given very narrow connotations. When people hear the word they think that it has something to do with sex, or the marriage/partnership relationship. Nothing could be further than the truth. A healthy life includes emotional intimacy with your friends, your parents, and your children. These emotionally intimate relationships produce feelings of wholeness, safety, and meaning. If you are in a primary sexual relationship, developing emotional intimacy with others deepens the intimacy in your primary relationship. This is important to note, because there is an erroneous belief system that promotes the idea that intimacy is limited and therefore if you give it to one person, there is less for other relationships in your life. The opposite is true. The more you develop emotional intimacy, the more it grows in ALL areas of your life.
For me, my friends, I know beyond a doubt that I want to experience as much love as possible in my human lifetime. Just like every other human on this planet, I struggle to be open to all the areas in my life where love is possible, and I experience fear when deepening love in the relationships that matter most to me. The practice of intentionally cultivating our ability to experience love has many benefits, here are some of the results of this practice that have had the largest positive impact on my life:
I invite you to share with me your unique experiences of expanding your capacity to feel more love by commenting on this blog, or sending me an email. I adore talking about being human, and I’d love to hear from you.
Most of all, I hope that you can confidently say at the end of 2023 that you experienced more love this year than any other previous year of your life. Because, my friends, that would be truly incredible.
Life coaching is all about the questions. Use these questions to unlock the wisdom inside of you!
Mindy Amita Aisling, MCC, is a professionally trained and board-certified life, leadership, and entrepreneur coach. Mindy exceeds all requirements set forth by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) for Master Coach certification. Through her innovative approach, she assists clients in examining their limiting beliefs, questioning their assumptions about how the world works, and releasing the notion that they are anything less than perfect. As a result, individuals who work with Mindy cultivate the ability to stand firm in their beliefs, live authentically and decisively, and discover an experience of life that is easy and graceful.
Mindy Amita Aisling