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Tonight I’m attending the San Francisco launch mixer for the Harvard Asian American Alumni Summit this October 2010. Maybe it’s not brand new to have a separate Harvard Alumni Association just for Asian Americans. Somehow I’ve just heard of it now.

The truth is I’ve never felt like I’ve belonged to any organization calling themselves “Asian American”. At this point in my life, I recognize that I rarely feel a sense of belonging in any group that has a name or label. I’ve always felt most at home as a totally free, totally expressive unique concoction of my own, belonging partially to many groups but fully to none. I envy you if you’ve found a full sense of belonging somewhere in this world. Cherish it. Bask in that feeling. Be grateful for it every day that you have it. For those of you who, like me, have not yet found it, maybe it’s time to sit back and enjoy your lack of belonging!

Here’s a short video with some of my thoughts going into the event. I’ll be back here to tell you how it went!

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I’ve written here before about “The Empty Elevator“. It’s what Martha Beck calls that period of time during your change cycle when you know you’ve really started to change. All of a sudden, the people who used to surround you and support your in your old ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to life begin to disappear. Some of them decide they don’t approve of you anymore (which really means they’re not ready to look at the part of themselves you’ve left behind in your decision to change). Some of them you find you just don’t want to interact with anymore. They no longer bring you the energy you desire to live from.

It’s a tough place to be in. You need real strength and courage to feel totally OK with yourself as you make changes from within, and then, almost like an observer, you watch the external elements of your life begin to dissolve and change as well. Starting in January, I’ve watched almost every existing relationship in my life begin to transform. Some of these people went away without any comment. Others fought kicking and screaming. Still others – the ones who truly love me – have been alternately approaching and avoiding me in an attempt to understand me. It’s been interesting to watch how the people who are closest to me have tended to want to rescue me from myself. I’ve interpreted this to mean that they don’t believe in my own ability to form desires and go after them. In reality I have no idea what their intention is, other than to make things OK in their definition of the word “OK”.

I bought two Jennifer Dahl charms this weekend. Read the rest of this entry »

I’m sitting here in a moment of deep acknowledgment. I just listened to the recording of my interview with Susanna Liller, creator of The Heroine’s Journey. It’s been such a hectic week of travel, ceremonies, meeting new people, taking some risks, and steeping myself in creative inspiration, that I haven’t had sufficient space and time to acknowledge myself along the way.

I finally opened the email and listened to the file containing the 50 minutes of conversation with Susanna and her community of heroines. I was both surprised and filled with pride to hear the clarity and power in my own voice.

Sometimes we forget to step back and listen to ourselves. We forget to enjoy who we are.

Listen to the interview here.

I got to hang out at a fabulous house party including many musicians – both “professional” and “amateur” – having a great time playing together. I loved getting exposed to the new sound of “Creole fiddle” and the genre of Western Swing, playing with the front man of the Bay Area based band The Saddle Cats.

There is a phenomenon in the change process that is a sure indicator that you’re making progress. You’ve gotten in the elevator to go up to the next level in your life, except none of the people from your previous life are getting out with you.

Since I’ve been living what’s amounted to a dual life over the past year or so, keeping a shiny happy face and presence (I’m good at “doing my job”) while feeling completely sapped of my life force and pursuing change actively at the same time, I’ve had the luck to have a new group join me in my elevator. Most of the business contacts I made as Lisa Chu The Adult – my commercial real estate leasing agent, my accountant, my recording engineer, and my film producer, just as examples – are thrilled beyond belief and not at all shocked at my transition. They’ve actually silently been waiting for me to discover my true path, knowing from the moment they met me that I wasn’t going to be happy for long just working with kids and their over-anxious parents.

I have gotten so many sincerely supportive notes from friends locally and around the world (three dear friends of mine recently moved abroad and now live in Asia temporarily). Not just the fake, “That sounds so exciting!” email, but the real “getting it” of knowing how much I had to let go of in order to take one step into the unknown.

This week I have been emptying my elevator of previous clients. I am observing myself again, realizing that I have been offering a very old part of myself – the trained part – to these people. That’s all they know of me, and even that they barely understand. It’s fine. I met all of these people when I had less of an understanding – or rather a different understanding – of myself. I honestly thought that I would become a version of my teacher, and live happily ever after for the next who knows how many decades building a replica of her program. Ha. When did I ever allow my vision to narrow that much? Never mind why. Now I’m in that delicious void from which all things blossom.

Some of the magical things that have happened in the days since I let go of my old elevator full of people: Read the rest of this entry »

“Our integrity is the basis of our confidence in ourselves and the confidence we inspire in others.”
-Stephen R. Covey

Grief can make a liar out of you because there is a disconnect between how you feel, and how you think you’re supposed to behave.” – Maria Shriver

This was the opening line of a piece that hit me to the core this morning, written by Danielle LaPorte and sent to me via email by Gail Larsen of Real Speaking. It’s all about grief.

Number three on Danielle’s list hit me the hardest:

“Denying grief her power squelches your vitality. You can dream and laugh and march on, but until you swallow the bitter tea that Grief has brewed, things won’t be as vibrant or grounded as they could be. And that’s half dead.”

And then number six:

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” (Maya Angelou). Grief needs to hear your story told. Speak it out to a sacred listener. Be witnessed.

And finally, number seven:

“Tell a new story, one that includes the description of how you healed.”

Danielle captured the essence of what seems to have been appearing over and over again in my life this past year. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Be an Extreme Encourager

by Christine Kane

Many years ago, when I first shared my dream of being a songwriter with one of my best friends, she knitted her brows and said, “Huh?”

I can’t say I was deflated by all of the warnings that followed. After all, I had always been surrounded by this kind of “practical thinking.” In fact, I probably shared my dream with her just so she’d talk me out of it.

During this fumbling stumbling time in my life, I met a man who became an unlikely best friend and mentor. He was a brilliant jazz musician, and he could do pretty much anything on the computer.

One night, after he performed at a local jazz club, we were walking towards my car. I told him my dream of being a songwriter. Without even blinking, he said, “Honey (he always called me Honey), you’d be a fabulous songwriter. That’s perfect!” And he meant it.

At that moment, I felt like I was falling into a soft clean bed. I had never experienced such direct and truthful encouragement without a single “practical” warning attached to it. This friend set me free by offering one simple thing:

Encouragement.

Fast forward many years and successes and failures later. I’m surrounded by encouragers. I’m sure there are doubters around. But they don’t register anymore.

Also, I have become an extreme encourager myself.

I’ve observed extreme encouragers. I’ve also recognized some traits that they all have in common. Here they are: Read the rest of this entry »

The universe smiled at me today. It started with sleeping to my heart’s content last night (very important for my happiness!), then my yoga class with Birgit, who used me to demonstrate Halasana and Shoulder Stand with a chair. I’d never been put on display like that in such a large yoga class, but I love Shoulder Stand. Today I felt particularly aware of my trunk muscles and was very stable during the opening seated meditation. I went up slowly, calmly, fluidly, effortlessly, in front of twenty pairs of eyes watching me. I heard a few sounds of appreciation from the onlookers, but mostly I was feeling it without thinking. No worries. The reality of the moment was blissfully obvious to me.

Then I came home and took in my emails – mainly one from Gail Larsen of Real Speaking finalizing some details for our certification training in January. I remarked that last night I had started to write an email to her, but then decided to save the draft and reread it this morning before sending it. Again, the universe smiled, as she ended up writing to me today! I was riding the wave of excitement from reading what she has added to the program. During our certification week, we will get to practice facilitating to a group of important strangers that Gail will bring in as “guinea pigs” for us. It lit me up from inside to hear of this addition. I guess there is a part of me that values practice and feedback before launching out on my own to do something “for real”. I was having trouble visualizing how I would transition from a week-long training into marketing and delivering my own workshop immediately upon returning home. But this piece was the missing link. I was also excited to hear that we will be training at a new location, this time in downtown Santa Fe, just blocks away from the Plaza. I can’t wait to return to this blessed place. I also can’t help but envision that someday I will end up living there. I scribbled down four new potential workshop titles plus a list of To Do’s before Feburary 2010. It was the first real moment of clarity this week.

The final smile from the universe came from my deciding to take the Kolbe conative style assessment. I don’t even remember the chain of events that led up to this, but suddenly I found myself on the Martha Beck site clicking on the link to the assessment. Martha is a big fan of the system, and all her certified coaches refer to it in their everyday language. So I thought I’d give it a try. I’m a big skeptic of any self-reporting assessments related to working styles, mainly because I’ve found that the surveys are very dependent on interpretation of language -the meanings you attach to certain words and how they attract or repel you. Maybe that’s the exact power of the tools! But in the past I’ve found them to be unreliable because I never knew if I was accurately describing myself.

Well, I clicked through the 20-some questions in the test and paid for the assessment. Imagine my surprise when the first words came up as follows:

Your Kolbe A Index result shows you’ve been working very hard.
You’re probably tired of making such great efforts and not getting the results you desire. Kolbe explains why and how that is happening.
Most importantly, you’re about to discover how to increase your mental energy – and get vastly improved results.
If you completed the Kolbe Index according to what you would do if you were free to be yourself, the results show that you don’t have that freedom right now.
At this time, you’re in a period of Transition which is causing an internal tug of war over the way you try to get things done. You may be trying to do whatever you believe you have to do to satisfy your present situation or requirements of others.
This result provides valuable tips for removing the obstacles that are interfering with the use of your innate abilities.
About 10% of the population is going through a period of Transition at any given time.

Read the rest of this entry »

Great quote on passion from Oprah:

“My passion was talking when I was little. I talked all the time. Lots of people tried to shut me up. And now they’re so glad they didn’t!”

Interesting! Who is trying to shut down your passion by asking you to be someone you aren’t? Whom are you waiting to please? Whose approval are you willing to get small for? Who will be proved right by your playing small? Who will be proved wrong by your living up to your greatness? And whose life are you going to live?

6 Irresistible Reasons to Stop Explaining Yourself

by Christine Kane

Rita’s parents didn’t approve of her choice to get a new kitten. Rita was expecting a long letter from them filled with judgments about her irresponsibility. As she waited for that letter, she was figuring out what she would write back.

———–

Sylvia, one of my Platinum-level coaching clients, just bought her dream house. She avoided telling her father about it for fear that he would judge her, call her irresponsible and proceed to describe her imminent demise. She finally did tell her father. On our call, she told me that she was waiting for his reaction gearing up to explain her choice to him.

———–

Now, there are some people who might read these stories and think, “Are you kiddin’ me? Who cares what anyone thinks about your houses or cats or anything??!”

If this is you, then read no further. This article is not for you.

I’m writing this for the “explainers” out there. And it doesn’t matter if you explain to parents, partners, or priests. You know who you are!

You’ve heard me talk about the benefits of going “Complaint-Free,” right? Well, today, we’re going to talk about going “Explaint-Free!”

And here are 6 irresistible reasons to do just that:

1 – Waiting Drains Your Energy.

When I’m coaching an explainer, I can see that much of her energy goes to the act of waiting.

She waits for judgment.

She waits for people to “get” her before she’ll take action.

She waits for people to approve of her choice.

She waits for criticism.

This literally drains her creative life force. Both women in the examples above were losing energy waiting for criticism.

Here’s your first big challenge: Give up the non-activity of waiting.

2 – We All Need to Learn to Trust Our Choices. Read the rest of this entry »

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