Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The High Price We Pay For Convenience

                         "People who are in the habit of enjoying the comfort of inaction,
                                                often pay a high price in the end."
                                                           - Dr. T.P. Chia

Last week I was taking the train from where I live to where I had to work that particular day.
Today you can buy a train ticket from a machine at the train station or you can get it online and show it on your cell phone when you get onboard the train.
I decided to get my ticket the old fashioned way. I actually went inside the little convenience store at the train station and bough it from a real person.

Often we want convenience in our lives and we want everything so fast so that we can keep on running to the next thing we must do.
I did what most people don't do.....I took some extra time and went inside the store and talked face to face with a real guy. He was a man with a great attitude and he laughed and actually joked with me. We had the most wonderful conversation for a few minutes and he made me laugh and smile.

Now would I have got this connection with a machine or online? What did it cost me?
Just a few extra minutes of my time and the willingness to be inconvenienced.
What did I gain?
A great conversation with a happy and funny person on the opposite end of the counter. Priceless!

Today we can also bank online. We don't need to talk to an actual person anymore. In the stores we now scan our own things that we are buying. No need to talk to a cashier anymore.
Soon we will walk around like robots constantly staring down at our cellphones.

We are super connected today. All these wonderful electronic devices that will allow us to stay connected 24/7 with practically anyone in the world.
Connected to what?
Our Facebook friends? Do you actually know more than a few of them?
How about the rest of social media.....Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn just to name a few. Do you personally know any of these people? Or do you only know the image that they are presenting to the world?
Yes we might get a shot of dopamine when someone likes the photo we just posted on Instagram.
Or we feel really great when someone lets us know on FB that the dish we just made for dinner and took a photo of.....they would like the recipe.
And when we change our profile picture....people will let us know how pretty we are.
This rush of dopamine makes us feel seen and heard at the moment. It makes us feel validated and that people like us.
But as any addiction the feeling is short lived. And in the future your emptiness inside will crave more and more likes on social media to fill you up on the inside.

Unfortunately a lot of people are not taking the time to create meaningful relationships in real life anymore. It's easier to go online and to have a lot of fake friends on FB. We value ourselves based on how many followers on social media that we have.
People don't know how to have a conversation any longer. They don't know that it will take some time to form fulfilling and lasting relationships.
We are disconnected from others but we are also disconnected from true selves.

If you want something you can just go on Amazon and order it and it will arrive the next day. If you want some friends go on FB. If you want a date, just go to and you will have one the same evening. We want things immediately and without having to do much work to get it. We can almost get anything by just pushing a button..... except one thing......
True honest connection with a live human being.

What will happen when you experience some stress in your life? Will your friends on social media be there for you? I am sure that they are willing to listen to you and help you out. Think again.

Who are you going turn to when life gets challenging and often stressful?
We used to turn to our parents for help or our friends. Maybe a neighbor or an acquaintance.

But nowadays we feel isolated, lonely and disconnected we will often turn to surfing the internet for some validation. Or we numb out and sooth our loneliness with other addictions like food, sugar, online gambling, online sex, online dating, shopping, smoking, drugs or drinking. These things will numb our emptiness for a while but soon we will crave some more and also higher doses of it.

Don't get me wrong I love my computer and my phone. I couldn't run my business without it. Technology is fantastic and it will allow us to do amazing things.
But too much of any good thing can eventually harm us.

Take exercising for example. Running or yoga are both great things. But too much can be harmful. It all comes down to the intention. Why are you doing it?
Are you running to escape yourself or are you running to improve your health?
Why are you working so much? Is it to escape an empty relationship at home and to get validation from your boss?

All I want to say is..... don't underestimate the power of human connection. A baby could not survive without it. Just because we grow up doesn't mean that we don't need to connect face to face and to form lasting relationships.....we do.
Human beings are wired for connection.

So the next time you are tempted to just sent an email or a text to a friend or family member....pick up the phone instead. Or even better decide to meet over a cup of coffee or dinner.....and if you do.....put away the phone and be present with the other person.
The greatest gift you can give to someone is your full attention.

And maybe next time that you need a ticket to ride the it from an actual person.
If you are lucky enough you might get the pleasure of buying the ticket from the same person that I did last week.


Monday, September 25, 2017

Dear Stress, Lets Break Up!

                                          "Saying YES to happiness means learning
                                     to say NO to things and people that stress you out."
                                                           - Thelma Davis

There isn't anything wrong with having some stress in our lives. But if we have too much for a longer period of time, stress can affect us in a negative way. Balance is key.
If you have been dealing with a lot of stress lately and for an extended period of time, it might be a good thing to slow down and take it a little easy for a while.
This way, stress won't overwhelm you and it won't have a negative effect on your health and your wellbeing.

Stress isn't just a negative thing. To have a lot to do isn't always a bad thing. Quite the opposite.
We need a little stress to get us going. It will help us focus and to prioritize and it will a lot of times make us more creative.
We actually need the good stress to get us off the couch and get us going. Without it, we wouldn't dare to take chances, we wouldn't start over again after a setback or crisis and we would constantly procrastinate.
The perfect thing would be to have a little stress on a regular base. It will make us healthier and it will make us feel more alive.

Stress that is negative for our wellbeing is the one that will last for a long time. And if we are bad at handling the stress it can lead to undesirable consequences for our bodies and our wellbeing.
We all need to make sure that we get enough time to relax and enough time to re-charge our batteries. If we don't it will often lead to feeling stressed, overwhelmed and eventually burnout.

To completely avoid stress isn't good either. Our brain needs to stay active and it gets better with learning new things. In other words our brain needs to be stimulated and it needs to practice handling stress. So if your brain never gets to experience stress at all, it will eventually get very bad at handling just a little bit of stress.

The brain is like a muscle. You have to work it on a regular base for it to get better. The key is not to overwork it for a longer period of time without any rest, relaxation and some fun.

A Few Tips How to Handle Stress

Balance is key. Try not to get overstimulated at the same time as you don't want to get understimulated either. Work hard for a few hours and then make sure you take a break. Then you can work hard again and then relax.

If you have worked very hard for a longer period of time then try to take it a little easy for a while.
If you have had a tough time at work or in your private life, learn to take a step back and enjoy some down time. Same thing if you have been doing too little for a while make sure you step up the pace.

Variety is a great. If you have been in meetings all day make sure that you have some alone time at night. Or if you have been alone during the day you might need to get out of the house in the evening and enjoy some kind of activity with family or friends.

Down time doesn't mean that you do absolutely nothing. If you have been using your brain all day you might enjoy a slow walk in the woods with your dog in the evening. Or start a new hobby.

Avoid worrying and overthinking. Easier said than done. I know!!!
Remember that your brain will get better at what it is practicing.
So if you are worrying a lot, guess what??? Your brain will get better at worrying.
Worrying is just a bad habit and you do have control over your own thoughts and what you focus on.

Learn to focus on what you do want, instead of what you don't want.

If you are stressed about not having enough time you might want to take a closer look at where you are spending your time. Write it down for a couple of days and your will quickly see where you are wasting time.
In the end it comes down to learning to prioritize.

Laugh and have some fun. Laughing is a great stress relief. Watching a funny movie on TV or DVD after a tough day at work is a fantastic way to relax and feel good.

Reward yourself often. Create a few small weekly rewards for yourself for being able to relax and taking some steps back. It can be inviting a friend for a cup of coffee. A wonderful bubble-bath or buy yourself a small gift.

Create meaningful and low stress relationships with family and friends.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

How Big is Your Comfort Zone?

                                               "Move out of your comfort zone.
                             You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward
                                  and uncomfortable when you try something NEW."
                                                              - Brian Tracy

About a month ago I had a conversation with a client about her job situation.
She lives in a small town and she has had the same job for over ten years. I could sense during our conversation that she was fed up with her job situation and that she longed for some changes.

I asked her if she had tried to look for another job, and she stated that she hadn't. My next question was..... "How about finding a job and try it out for a while?" and  maybe keeping the old job and try on a new position somewhere..... maybe once a week or a few hours per day?" She sighed and stated that "Well, I know what I got but I don't know what I will get if I try." My next question was....."are you afraid to look for a new job?" and she said "YES."

"How about if you will get something better..... if you start looking?" was my next question. She said that she hadn't thought about it in that way.

People have a tendency to always think that if they have to change something it is going to get worse than what they have.
This is one big reason that we remain where we are. We know what we have and we often don't believe that we will get something better, if we change or try something new.

This is why a lot of people will remain in dysfunctional relationships that they have outgrown years ago. Or they stay at job that bores them to death and won't allow them to grow or learn something new. Also people don't dare to move to another city because they are afraid of leaving the safety of friends and family behind.
Eventually they will get stuck in their comfort zone.

If we continue like this our comfort zone will shrink and shrink until we will feel like we are wearing chains or maybe feeling like a caged bird. I believe that a lot of people actually would like to change and to do something more challenging, if they could see what the future will hold for them. But that is not possible. We have to take a leap of faith and not allow fear of the unknown to stop us.

                            You are only confined by the walls you build yourself

We settle where we are and later in life we will have to deal with regrets for not trying. Often people will become angry and bitter for letting life just slip on by without doing anything about it.

Don't let this be you!!!

Dare to venture out of your comfort zone. Start by doing something that scares you and that you haven't done before.

One small little step today and then the next day and the next day..... will eventually lead to big changes, excitement and wonderful growth.

But you have to start!!!

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Endless Search For Validation

                            "Stop looking outside for scraps of pleasure or fulfillment,
                                                   for validation, security or love -
                              you have a treasure within that is infinitely greater
                                               than anything the world can offer."
                                                            - Eckhart Tolle

Most of us in some way have been wounded from the wrong doing of others.
Many wounds and deep scares came from our childhood but also later in life from the people closest to us.

Many of us have been raised by mothers and fathers that were loving and kind. Parents that guided us and did their best to make sure that we had everything that we needed. But no one is perfect and our parents made mistakes and at times they let us down and they didn't give us what we needed most.

Our parents meant well but maybe they were not affectionate. They didn't tell us that they loved us and that they were proud of us. They made sure that we stayed on the right path and they corrected us but they were never affectionate towards us and they were not attuned to what we needed most.

Most of the time when you run into this..... it is a huge possibility that their parents were not affectionate towards them either. They never heard "I love you" from their parents. Or "I am proud of you". It was never modeled in front of them.
You cannot give away what you don't have. If you were never showed love and affection during your childhood it will sometimes be hard to give love and affection as an adult.

To be seen, heard and validated is a human need. A young child cannot survive and can't develop an identity without it. As and adult we still need to be seen, heard and validated. If we don't .....this will sometimes lead to feelings of worry, anxiety and we might also feel insignificant and useless.

Unfortunately I see a lot of people around me today that were not validated as children trying to get validation through their work. They are constantly seeking validation at work by working all the time. And if they are not receiving the validation they so badly want..... they will drive themselves to accomplish more in the hope of getting the validation they so badly crave for.
Continuing down this path might eventually lead to burnout or depression or both.

John is a good friend of mine that I have known for a long time but John have a problem with never feeling loved. His father abandoned him when he was very young. John got validation and felt seen when he pushed himself beyond his limitations at work. There were never any down time in his schedule and he seldom allowed himself to take any time off from work. His marriage suffered and his relationships with his children is strained.
What kind of message to you think John sent to his children when he chose work before spending time with them?
The same message that his father sent to him. That they were not important and wanted. He wasn't available to his children because he was always at work. He didn't mean to hurt his children he just did what his father had done to him. He was trying to fill his emptiness on this inside by getting validation from work. History repeats itself.

John carried inside of himself as many others also do a strong desire to get validation from the outside world. It was only when he got this validation that he felt good enough and only then could he feel comfortable and happy with himself.
As all children that haven't been seen and heard by their parents, John was carrying and enormous longing to be validated by his own father.

What is beneath all of this?
A feeling of not being wanted. A feeling of not being good enough. If my parents didn't love or want me..... I am going to make sure that I am needed.
So by working all the time and always being available makes a lot of people feel needed and also validated.
But as any addiction..... and yes there are people that are will take more work and then more work and even more work to satisfy the hunger and the emptiness they feel on the inside. Yes....they finally feel wanted by working all the time..... but at what price?
In the battle they are not taking loving care of themselves and they are often sacrificing time with their families and friends.

When we feel a lack of validation from work and from our boss it can bring us back to childhood when we didn't get validated by our parents. It's memories that we haven´t worked through. Memories when our mom or dad didn't make us feel safe and they didn't make us feel loved.
Which can make us have a strong need later in life for validation that we will try to get from our work, our spouse, our children and our friends.
When we don´t get this validation it can bring back those uncomfortable memories from our past that can sometimes control our behavior. Mostly in a bad way.

So What Can We Do?
If we have a better understanding of ourselves and our past, along with self-compassion and self-love we won't have such a need for validation from the outside and from others.
In other words.... We must learn to love and validate ourselves.
If you rely on something or someone for validation.....they also have the power to take it away from you.

If you learn to give love and validation to can never be taken away from you.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Art of Happiness - Great Book

                                          "Happiness is not something ready made.
                                             It comes from your own actions."
                                                           - Dalai Lama

Are you happy?

What does happiness mean to you?

Would you like to be happier?

A couple of weeks ago I finished reading a book that I highly want to recommend.

The name if it is..... The Art of Happiness - A handbook in the art of living.
It's written by Howard C. Cutler together with the Dalai Lama.
( The title of the book in Swedish - Lycka )

In this book the author describes and talks about long conversations that he had with the Dalai Lama. And the topic of the conversations were how we can live a more happy and fulfilled life.

In this book they talk about things like sources of happiness. How to train your mental muscles to increase your happiness. Compassion for ourselves and others. How to confront suffering and how to find meaning in pain and suffering. Suffering that we create ourselves. How to create change. How to handle rage and hate and also how to handle worry and anxiety.

                                               "The purpose of our lives
                                                        is to be happy."
                                                        - Dalai Lama

What is the meaning of life? Is it to strive for more happiness?

It doesn't matter where we live in this world or what our beliefs are....we are automatically striving for something better in our lives.
When you have compassion and understanding for others you will soon see and understand that people like you and me are very much alike.
It doesn't really matter where you live in this world because the bottom line is that most of us want to be seen and heard and to be happy in life.
We want to know and feel that our lives matter.

Be brave and confront your own suffering and you will be better equipped to deal with problems, setbacks and crisis in your own life. Never try to deal with a problem by avoiding it. It won't magically disappear by itself. Instead learn to confront your problems head on.

If you want to live a healthy in life I suggest that you start TODAY by increasing  your own happiness muscle.

Make sure that you check out this fantastic book!


Monday, September 11, 2017

The Best Motivation is Self-Motivation

                                     "The greatest leaders of business, industry and finance,
                      and all the great artists, poets, musicians and writers all became great
                                  because they developed the power of self-motivation."
                                                              - Napoleon Hill

Time again to write yet another blog about motivation.
It seems like too many people have a problem to motivate themselves to do a particular task, and they often leave the responsibility up to someone else to motivate them, to pull them along or to push them forward.

A few months ago Susan came to me for some coaching. Her problem started about ten months earlier when one of her friends moved to another city. The two women had been exercising together almost daily for many years. Taking daily walks together and sometimes even going to the gym.
But ever since her friend moved away Susan had lost all interest in walking and going to the gym. She said to me during one of our conversations that it was almost impossible for her to motivate herself  to go walking on her own, and that now she spends her time at home doing nothing or watching TV instead of going walking.
She also told me that she had gained almost 25 pounds since her friend moved and she was very unhappy about that too.
Susan also told me that she was going to try to get another friend to join the gym so that the friend could get her to go to the gym with her. In other words she was going to use the other person as a way of motivating herself and forcing herself to go to the gym to exercise.

I told her that it is a great idea to have a accountability partner in life, that will make sure that you do what you said that you were going to do. I am all for having someone holding you accountable.
But there is a big problem with it too.
What about if this person doesn't show up or decides not to work out.....are you going to go to the gym by yourself? or are you then going to stay home and not go because your friend couldn't go?
I personally don't think this is a very good plan because you are dependening on someone else going. How about if this person gets sick and can't go for a couple of weeks? Or maybe they have to travel out of time on business? Or they move to another city? Then, what are you going to do?

Actually there is only one type of motivation.....self-motivation.
It's an inside job.

Self-motivation means the ability to make yourself do something at a particular time that it needs to be done, whether you feel like it or not.

In the end you have to motivate yourself and discipline yourself to do the things that you must do. Expecting others to help you, won't work most of the time.
You are responsible for you and turning over the responsibility to others isn't always the smartest thing.

I remember many years ago when I was living outside Austin. I belonged to a gym and I usually went there 5 times per week after work. I had my own clothing store at the time. The store closed at 5 pm and I usually went straight to the gym afterwards. But I had this annoying habit of skipping out on my Friday session at the gym. I felt tired and I didn't have any motivation to go. Finally I told myself that it was ridiculous to skip the last session of the week because I felt tired. The truth was that I simply couldn't motivate myself to do it. It was easier to just go home and take it easy.

So what did I do to fix the problem?
I hired a personal trainer, twice a week and I made sure that I scheduled one of those sessions on a Friday evening. I knew that if I had an appointment I would make it to the gym and I wouldn't cancel the session. After meeting with my trainer for several months on a Friday, it became a habit and eventually I could make myself go on Fridays without having a sessions scheduled with my trainer.

I know that it is hard to motivate yourself. But I also know if you leave it up to someone else to motivate are probably going to fail at whatever you are trying to do.

I do recommend hiring a coach, trainer or mentor. If you pay someone to assist and to guide you.....they will show up for you. They will help you until you have established the habit or the discipline, and can do it on your own.
When you hire someone for a while you must also learn to let them go and learn to do it own your own. Never allow the coach/mentor/trainer to become a crutch for you.
You can do it on your own.

Self-motivation is an inner muscle and power that you have to learn and increase by practice.
Learn to motivate yourself and never depend on others to do it for you.


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Embrace The Struggle

                                    "Embrace the struggle and let it make you stronger.
                                                           It won't last forever."

Do you wish to advance in life?

If the answer to the question is yes.....then you must learn to find joy in the struggle to get there.

Most of us hate the discipline that it takes to reach our goals.
It doesn't matter what your goal is..... but to get there it will take a lot of work and it will take struggle to advance.

Most people complain that the road to success and abundance is too hard. It's too inconvenient and it is way too slow.

Most people want a straight and speedy line to success or they won't even start the journey.

A lot of people won't go back to school because it will take too long.

People don't exercise because they want the see the results next week.

Most people don't want to fight for their dreams.

But the truth is one can do the work for you. And I guarantee you that it will be hard work.

You can talk all you want about your dream..... but your actions will show if you are committed to your dream..... or not.

So get out of bed tomorrow and have a made up mind that you will succeed no matter what and embrace the struggle that it will take you to get to where you want to go.

In the end..... it will be worth it.


Monday, September 4, 2017

Storms Don't Last Forever

                                  Life's roughest storms prove the strength of our anchor

Happy Labor Day to everyone in The US!

A big shout out to all my fellow Texans!!!
As they say in Texas....."Everything is bigger in Texas." Even the storms are bigger in Texas!!!
Harvey was a big one..... that we won't forget for a very long time.
My thoughts and prayers goes out to all my fellow Texans and everyone affected by this devastating storm.

As many of you know I wasn't born in Texas.....but I got there as fast as I could (only people in Texas will get that one). I have lived in Texas for 27 years and 18 of those I have live in the Houston area. For the past 2 years I have been in Sweden so I wasn't personally affected by the storm, but I know so many people and have many close friends in the Houston area that have been affected by Harvey.

I have been watching and following Harvey closely online and also through daily conversations with my closest friends. I am so sadden by all the devastation and loss of lives. Both 2-legged and 4-legged.
I also know that it will take many..... many..... many years to rebuild people's lives, Houston and other areas of Texas.
But what I have learned from living so many years in Texas is that Texans are strong and they will come out of this storm even stronger.

Storms are part of life and living. Storms in life can be a hurricane like Harvey. It can be fire, earthquakes or tornados. Those are storms provided by nature.
But storms in our lives can also be a loss of a loved one, through death or divorce. A business not making it. A loss of a job, financial loss, having to flee a war in a country and move to a new country. So many different losses and storms.

Storms come and they go and we all have to go through them. Some will be more devastation than others. In some of them we will lose loved ones. In others we might lose all our money or belongings.
Life happens to all of us. We all must go through storms, setbacks and loss.

Even though it has been hard to watch all the devastation in Texas..... it has also been wonderful to see how people pulled together and helped each other out. It didn't matter what color, religion or political views people had....they helped each other.
My question is....why does it have to be a storm that will bring people together and help each other out. Why can't we do that during "normal" times?

I try to focus on what is positive and what is working and I have seen so much love, compassion, caring and people helping each other during this past week and it makes me proud to be a Texan. Even though I am not there physically..... I am there spiritually.... and soon I will be back physically too.

Stay Strong Texas!
Karin Glannstam - Personal Success Coach