New Year Self-Change Leadership

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“There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.”

-Niccolo Machiavelli

The New Year resolutions/goals/intentions/declarations/ideas/musings have now had over a week to transform our lives!

And by now, many have already been dropped.

The grand plans and visions can often be a drug-producing magical high and yet, when the rubber hits the road, many a beautiful intention ends up in the ditch.

For many, it’s easier when some institution or corporate change-management official determines that things will be done differently and we must comply.  We may moan and groan, and yet — with something critical on the line (like our job)– we do or die.

Yet, taking that change-management leadership into our own hands — being both the stalwart of possibility while, at the same time, the comfort-zone addicted rebel — can be a fascinating process to observe.

Here’s a simple 5A Method to help:

Awareness

Simply stay awake to the fact that there’s a new kid in town who said they wanted to play differently!

Because we were the way we were for so long before we chose to make a change, it’s easy to just fall back into the old patterns and routines.

Simple structures like posting your goals and intentions in front of your face, where you practically have to fall over them in order to conduct your day, can serve as a daily “Hello!” to the new kid.

Also, making sure you’ve told plenty of friends, family, associates and co-workers helps ensure that the changes get addressed more often than they will if left in your head.  Your inner voice is out for your comfort.  Others being aware and engaged can get you out of comfort for your change.

Authenticity

Calling a spade a spade.

Did you actually do what you said you’d do? No judgment here, just being an objective and astute observer of your actions and telling it the way it really is.

There WILL be some form of internal resistance to the change.  Otherwise, you’d already be BEing or DOing what it is that you want.

Being honest and dispassionate about what is or isn’t happening and telling it like it is gives you power to implement.

Acceptance

If change were easy, we’d all have exactly the lives we want right now.

If you designed goals and intentions for your new kid in this New Year, you must want something other than what you have.

Accept that change doesn’t happen overnight.  It takes a wide radius to turn a big ship around, and your old ways are a big ship that have been heading a particular direction for a long time.

Forgive your Self, and accept the love of your Self that had you bring this new kid into town in the first place.

Absence Analysis

What’s missing, the presence of which would make a difference?

The old ways of the old you had certain structures and patterns in place, keeping you in the old you.

For this new kid to take residence, there will be new structures to be put in place.

What new ways of operating, new systems, new communications, new mindsets are required?

The new kid will need a new look to this home if he/she is going to hang around.  Bring in the interior (and exterior) decorator to refurbish the look of the place you call “You”.

Activation

Simply put in what’s missing…over and over and over and over again.

We often realize that we need to keep getting up after we fall down…until we just decide to not get up anymore.

“It’s too hard.”  “It’s just not working.”  “I guess this just can’t happen after all.”

Not true!  An ongoing process of Activation of What’s Missing can only get us closer and closer to the change we seek.

As Winston Churchill said, “Never give up.  Never give up.  Never give up.”

Engaging in this 5A process on an earnest and regular basis can provide access to keeping those high-minded intentions on the road to real self change vs. landing in the ditch of defeat.

Got self-change leadership?

“Consider that all accomplishment is constituted by a series of resolved breakdowns.”

-Werner Erhard

Going Gray? Here’s How To Do It With Style!

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“Going Gray” has been associated with getting old for what seems like forever. It’s a part of the aging process that people try to hide from the rest of the world. At first, people pluck those first few gray hairs that dare to arrive and then they start to dye their hair so no one will find out that they are officially old.

Now, if you actually take a moment to think that scenario through, it’s completely ridiculous. There are so many factors that effect when you “go gray”. Some people are completely gray by the age of 30, others don’t get gray hair until their 50s. Does that mean the people who have naturally gray hair at the age of 32 are old? I don’t think so. Honestly, I wouldn’t consider the people going gray at 52 to be “old” either. I would argue that gray hair has nothing to do with being old and, because of this, I want to share with you the top 5 ways to have gorgeous gray hair.

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1. Use the Right Shampoo(s)

Gray hair brings brand new concerns to the forefront when it comes to choosing the right shampoo.  White strands of hair are far more susceptible to the colors of the products you use. Because of this, you should avoid using blue shampoo too regularly. Using blue-hued shampoos regularly can cause your hair to pick up a bluish tint. Why use blue (or violet) shampoo at all? Gray hair can pick up a yellow hue just from exposure to the elements. To counteract this, you can use a shampoo with a blue/violet tone (which counteracts the yellow) a few times a month.

All of this being said, you have to experiment and find the best shampoo for you. Some people just need one shampoo while others need to use two or three different shampoos throughout each month. Don’t worry though, below are a few of the best shampoos for gray hair to get you on the right track!

2. Condition, Condition, Condition!

This is where my above point about gray hair looking dull with exposure to the outside world really comes into play. How do you prevent your hair from looking dull – you get a great conditioner! Look below to see some of my top picks:

3. Pick the Best Cut

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Which haircut would you consider “old”?

Do you have a go-to hair stylist? If not, it’s time to find one. Choosing the right haircut makes all the difference. After all, just look at these two women on the right. There is one who clearly looks older than the other, right? When it comes to picking the right hairstyle, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Consult your stylist to decide which haircut best flatters your face.
  • Pick a modern cut with clean edges.
  • Don’t let your stylist use a razor on the ends because it can cause your ends to fray and look a bit ragged.
  • Schedule a trim every 6 to 8 weeks to keep your hair looking clean and fresh.

4. Protect Your Hair

Like I’ve mentioned before, the biggest threat to your hair is the elements. The simplest option is to try to wear hats when you are out in the sun for a long time. However, there are other options as well. Using platinum or silver color defense shampoo and conditioner with antioxidants can help protect your hair from the elements. There are even sunscreens specially made for your hair! Check out the top hair sunscreen options below:

5. Update Your Wardrobe (& Makeup)

Your entire life you have worn certain “flattering” colors, but now that your hair is a different color, the colors that compliment you best have also changed. Follow these tips for picking the most flattering outfits and makeup:

  • Try wearing more clothes that are gray and blue, they often compliment your hair well and cause a striking beauty effect (although your eye color might cause these colors to be more or less flattering).
  • Take the chance to be bold in your style. High fashion looks wonderful on people with gray hair.
  • Brighten up your wardrobe. Think of your new hair as a blank canvas no more do you have to worry, “will that look good with my hair?”
  • Deep colors often make you look refined and regal. Try deep reds, blues, purples, and grays.
  • On the other hand, earth tones often make you look washed out.
  • With your hair taking on a cooler tone, it is time to warm up your makeup.
  • Try a peach blush to warm up your face in a few seconds.
  • If your eyebrows seem to be disappearing, define your arches with a taupe pencil to make them stand out a bit more.
  • Don’t forget to groom your eyebrows as well, trim hairs that are getting out of hand.

Need some more makeup tips? Check out this video from Sixty and Me:
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Regardless of which of these suggestions you find work best for you, embrace your new look and I promise, you will look phenomenal!

Sources: Prevention.com, VibrantNation.com, TheGuardian.com, LoveTheGray.com, AHairGuide.com, SixtyAndMe.com, StyleCaster.com

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Expert Tip #7: Consider a Presence

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Today I want to talk about presence, and I want to talk about it in two different contexts.

First, there is the presence that is who we are. We each have our own presence that comes from owning our own life and future. It is the part of us that causes others to realize just how empowered we are. It is what makes people look your way when you’re in your element.

Second, there is a Presence that is greater than us. It doesn’t matter how you choose to think about this Presence. Whether you believe in a God/Goddess or gods/goddesses, whether you believe in aliens or spirits or the Universe, or even a giant monkey that can grant wishes. It really doesn’t matter. The important thing is to realize, and to accept, that there is something in this existence that is bigger than you, bigger than anyone.

Why do I spend the time talking about these two types of presences?

I talk about them because both aspects of presence are equally important. By awakening and exploring both aspects of presence we are able to build on our ability to tap into our full potential.

How to you relate to your own presence as well as to a greater Presence? Are you accepting or do you find yourself trying to hide your presence away and ignore it? Try to realize the power of your personal presence and understand that sometimes you have to let a bigger Presence come into play.

Come back next week for Pro Tip #8 and remember that you can win your midlife experience!

See other tips here!

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A BE-Annual New Year Commitment

 

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“You are not limited to the person you wound up being, the person you think you are. You can create a way of being for yourself that currently would be unrecognizeable for you as really being you, and have that way of being be authentically who you are.”

-Werner Erhard

The quote above goes against the grain for many folks in their second half of life.

It implies that the first half didn’t already carve you into the stone YOU that you know yourself to be.

That’s what The Back Forty is all about.  The YOU you know yourself to be is just as create-able, design-able and great-able as it ever was.  No stone.  Only ongoingly invent-able form.

At 40, I was sitting in a meditation chair one morning watching my son sleeping in my bed because my parents were sleeping in his bed.  They had come into town to loan me money in fighting a half-million dollar custody suit.  I was pretty clear that my first half of life had not been worth much: broke, in debt, and possibly about to lose the opportunity to raise my son.

A thought then came to me: What if the first half of life is simply R&D, research and development?  What if what we really came here to do and be came in the second half, after all that research?

That insight, and the possibility of re-BE-ing my SELF, has resulted in a second half which continues to become unrecognizeable to the first.

If we look at life as a growing up and “finding ourselves” process, we lose out on the real opportunity of living.  Finding our greater SELF is a continual process.

The first half of life, if mined for what it has told us about our passions, proclivities, and tendencies, will render us amazing insight and direction as to what we’re here to do and be.  This is the work we do in The Back Forty programs and community.

However, the whole point of that analysis of our past is to show us that we are experimenting in the laboratory of life ALL THE TIME so as to continue to discover who we’re here to be and what we’re here to do.

If we ever get “fixed” on some idea of who we are, then the ever-evolving growth process towards what we’re here to do gets thwarted.

Perhaps you have plans for the results you intend to accomplish in the New Year.  

What if the true source of the results you’ll achieve is not what you’ll do, but who you’ll BE in the fulfillment of them?  Sure, actions must be taken. Yet BEING shapes and colors those actions.

Personally, I’m intending some way-out-in-the-ethers results for 2017, and I’m getting more and more clear that the achievement of such unrecognizeable results must come from an unrecognizeable me.

“Come on! New York Times Bestselling author of ‘The Back Forty’?  Me?  You’ve got to be kidding!”

It’s only a joke if the me I am now continues to be recognizeable to myself.  The aim is for the BE of who I am to be recognizeable to my SELF.  Big difference

Therefore, who I will be BEING in 2017 is where I’m placing my primary focus.  From there, I’ll take action.

If BEING precedes results, then consider putting your annual ritual of creating New Year possibilities focus there.

If you are so far gone into recognizeability that you don’t even have a ritual of creating New Year possibilities…WAKE UP!  Get in the game of the life you came to live!

Who can we BE for the next 12 months that will have our next January SELF be unrecognizeable to who we are now?

It’s a be-annual opportunity.

“For what it’s worth…it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you’ve never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start over again.”

-F. Scott Fitzgerald

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You’ve Always Controlled Your Life – Even if You Failed to be Aware of it!

As we start out this new year, I want to bring you an important message. It’s easy to see things in our past (especially life-changing things) as something that we didn’t really have control over. After all, when something is out of your control it can’t be your fault.

But today I want you to think about your past differently. Take a moment to read the following quote:

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You have always had a say. Even though sometimes it seems that you had no control over a situation. When you think of your past as being created from all of your decisions instead of being created by things out of your control – life suddenly becomes easier to manage.

You had a say over your past. You have a say over your present. And, most importantly, you will have a say over your future!

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Happy New Year from The Back Forty!

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However you are celebrating this night, all of us here at The Back Forty want to wish you a happy new year!

Take a moment to enjoy these inspirational thoughts to start out your new year right:

Expert Tip #6: Consider Your Purpose

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Purpose. It’s a word that seems to carry a lot of weight. When someone says their career gives them purpose or their family gives them purpose, it has a kind of awe-inspiring effect.

People with a purpose to strive towards are naturally propelled forward and makes it easier to see long-term goals.

People without purpose (or people who haven’t thought about their purpose in a while) tend to focus more on the short-term and ultimately have a smaller picture than those who are striving for something.

If you take some time to reflect on your first half of life it may be easier for your purpose in your second half of life to become more defined.

The next step is to accept your purpose, the only thing that can prevent you from living out a purposeful second half of life is letting yourself fear failure. When you are truly striving towards your purpose there is no possibility of failure, only progress and learning.

Come back next week for Pro Tip #7 and remember that purpose is key!

See other tips here!

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Get ready NOW to fulfill on Your New Year Resolutions

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As we finish putting away everything we didn’t know we needed but bought for Christmas or Hanukkah, we realize that – ZOOM – New Year has come up FAST and, with that, our habit of making New Year resolutions.

Lots of people make New Year resolutions.  Many are addicted to making New Year resolutions because they make us feel good…even if only for a few fleeting moments.  Also, we engage in this antiquated practice because we really, really… like REALLY want to have them accomplished.

We get excited, even giddy… and start making plans.  Then, when we outline our perfect goals, objectives and execution plans, we get more excited still.

Finally, eagerly and impatiently, we wait for Jan. 1 to come so we can start to make things happen.  Now THIS will be a really great year!!!

Coming back to Earth from Cloud 9, here are some interesting statistics…new-year-resolution-chart

  • By the third week in January 65% of the people have abandoned their New Year’s resolutions.
  • By February, people will have broken more than 90% of the resolutions they made.
  • Only 20% of people maintain the resolutions past Valentine’s Day.
  • Overall, somewhere in the vicinity of 97% of New Year’s resolutions won’t be kept.
  • Over 70% of people make and break the same resolution year after year.
  • Only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s resolutions.

What is it that makes New Year resolutions fail so massively and miserably (No Go)?

And more importantly – what can YOU do to make sure YOUR resolutions become realities in 2017 (Go)?

Here are 6 choices you can make immediately – NOW Resolutions, “no optimistic waiting” until Jan. 1 – to make 2017 a radical, purposeful, and successful Back Forty year.

  1. No Go: Letting the past bite you in the butt. All of a sudden, the mistakes you’ve made in the past, the disappointments of all the goals you didn’t achieve and the resolutions you didn’t keep descend on you like bees on honey.  The fear of failing – worse yet, failing again – rears its ugly head.

Go:   Get crystal clear on what did and did not work last year, what “mistakes” you made in the past, and glean everything you can from them.  Mistakes = Learning Opportunities…no more, no less.  Do it The Back Forty way – use what you have learned to grow your success.  Then put the past in the past, so that the road to a successful future is wide open and clear.

  1. No Go: Most resolutions are set up as things to do, like a laundry list of action items to be ticked off.  That makes them dry and uninteresting, pretty much guaranteeing you a prime spot in the statistics mentioned above.

Go: Create your future in an empowering context, a future that enlivens, inspires and lights you on fire. Having a strong, fit, and fabulous body for that vacation on St. Thomas is much more inspiring than working out 3 times a week – don’t you think?

  1. No Go: For many, New Year resolutions exist as a mental list or collection of post-it notes and scribbles on scraps of paper.  In best – case scenarios, they are neatly typed with bulleted and numbered items on a page placed prominently to be seen every day.  The bad news is, neither of these work due to either disorganization or disappearance into the woodwork.

Go: What works is having specific structures breaking down your major objectives into goals, plans, and specific measurable results you intend to accomplish, all scheduled in your calendar with specific dates and times.  Also important is taking into account and planning for the resources you’ll need to accomplish your goals. (Want to learn to play the piano? Make sure you plan for getting a teacher, instrument to play, time to take lessons and practice, necessary funds, etc.)

  1. No Go: Most treat their resolutions as wishful thinking or involvement, not as a promise or a commitment.  Their goals are something they want, but not something they are committed to doing what it takes to achieve.  Herein lies the gigantic difference between your resolutions becoming real or one of the sad statistics.

Go: Get FULLY in the game – not 100%, but 200%. Being committed and making promises – and keeping them – work.  Remember Martina Navratilova’s clarity on this: “The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed.”  Commitment is key to having your second half of life being the best half.

  1. No Go: It is very easy to break promises, when you only make them to yourself, in the privacy of your own mind and your own calendar.  Many people fail with resolutions because they don’t have anyone to account for their keeping their promises and sticking to their plan.

Go: Get an accountability buddy! Someone you talk to every week or every day.  Make promises to each other and hold each other accountable for keeping those promises. 

  1. Go: Do all of the above and give it your best shot.  You’ll do better than 90% of the human race.

Or

Go: If you are REALLY committed to fulfilling on your New Year resolutions – get a coach.  Achieving your resolutions will require you to create brand new habits and practices, and to see yourself in a brand new way.  Coaches are experts in supporting you in doing just that, keeping your promises and realizing your goals. In the words of Tom Landry, the legendary Dallas Cowboys football coach, “a coach is someone who makes you do what you don’t want to do so that you can be who you always wanted to be.”

Who do you want to be in your radical, purposeful second half?

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The Simple Reason to STOP Investing in Your Viewpoints

Today I want to share with you a concept that most people don’t take the time to realize, although, when you read it, you will know it is common sense.

Take a moment to read the below quote and I’ll meet you on the other side.

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How many of you have gotten stuck in your viewpoints? I would assume that everyone has, at one point or another. After all, we’re human. It is part of our nature to get caught up in our own lives and assume that our views are the correct ones. But that’s not always the case, is it? For every aspect of our lives, there are different views of that aspect, and we are guaranteed to be wrong at least some of the time.

Which view can you try to see from a different perspective today? After all, like the quote says,  “we may have a lot invested in them”. Investing in a flawed perspective can hurt you in the long run. With that in mind, I challenge you to think about a viewpoint that you hold dear that might not be right. Can you let go your preconceived notions about it? Can you try to see it from a different perspective? I think you can and that you might be shocked at what a simple change in perspective can achieve.

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Invited Obstacles

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“You measure the size of the accomplishment by the obstacles you have to overcome to reach your goals.”
-Booker T. Washington

There are lots of ways to treat and greet an oncoming New Year with possibility.

We can commit to resolutions.

We can assess the stats of our goal attainment for the last year and make new stretch commitments.

We can capture our intentions of who we want to be in the next 12 months in a theme, and make plans to live by that theme…posting reminders everywhere.

Yet, in any and all ways we propose to take our life into new realms of who or where we can be and what we can do or have in the next 365 days or less, know that it will invite obstacles.

We can’t expand until stretched to new proportions, and many a resolution, goal or theme are abandoned when the invited roadblocks naturally come.

When JFK was rousing American sentiment to take on a huge commitment to the space program, he quoted a story told by Irish writer Frank O’Conner. O’Conner and his childhood friends would walk the countryside trying to find the biggest wall, and then throw their hats over it.

In those days, your hat was a prized possession, and your mother would be quite upset were you to show up at the end of the day without it. So, this left the boys with no option but to find some way over that wall to retrieve their hats.

Though one could make an argument – from a Law of Attraction perspective – that inviting struggle is a no no…I believe it’s all in the flavor and intent of the invitation.

Most folks invite struggle all the time, albeit unconsciously, through the obsolete or unexamined attitudes they bring with them as baggage into any new job, business, relationship, hobby, venture, activity, or group. That is what LOA is speaking to.

However, to set one’s sites on some rather extraordinary ways one wants to be, do and have life, to get into the actions, mindset and visioning process of achieving those be/do/haves, and then to invite with willing abandon all that the Universe needs to bring to support you to have it – good, bad and ugly) — that’s another thing entirely.

We might call that an act of realistic and practical intention. A good phrase I once heard, for it is “Throwing yourself on the sword.” Not waiting to be cut open, but offering yourself to such a process for the sake of the greater Self, breaking free within.

This takes Back Forty Boldness, and definitely Back Forty Badassity…and yet, what else do you have to do in the next 40 years anyway?

Though contrary to the giddiness of listing high aims and objectives, perhaps a sober and conscious Open Letter of Invitation to Obstacles over the next few days will serve our 2017 of growth even better.

“You can either allow the obstacles in your life to be the excuse for your failure or make them the reason behind your success. ”
-Unknown

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