be your best

What does being your best have to do with compassion?

What does being your best have to do with compassion?

Before I knew how to love myself, treat my body well, and meet my emotional and friendship needs, I was a much more critical and judgemental person.  I often felt bad for people (sympathy) and wanted to do good in the world (desire) but the action was not there. My heart was not in a place to give back.

What changed?

What started as a journey through reading self-help books, going to counseling, and getting healthy, turned into a lifelong journey of wanting others to experience life as their fullest: which means not only mental health, but giving people access to the opportunity to grow, and all the needs that must be met before personal development can truly happen.

Being your best never ends with you, it affects your whole world. 

Self-love and self-compassion

That's right, as the typical life coach of the group, I'm going to start with you. It is really hard to genuinely love others when you don't love yourself. It is hard to give freely when you're lacking. I used to be worried that if I focused so much on myself, I would become a self-absorbed person, but oddly enough, the more I know myself, love myself, and treat myself with kindness, my heart for others has changed as well. It has everything to do with understanding the needs of the human heart. When you begin to understand how important it is for your needs to be met, your eyes open to the needs of others.

My eyes were opened to the needs of humanity

As I mentioned, the more I saw myself as a human with needs, emotions, dreams, and wounds needing healing, the more I saw others in the same light. Things that once annoyed me about others became signs of their needs and pain. My privilege was revealed to me. The basic needs of others became more noticeable. To put it plainly, I became aware of the needs of others, because my focus wasn't on how my needs weren't met. 

Education and an understanding heart

Putting myself in the way of new ideas, different opinions, and trying to understand people who were different than me was huge in my growth toward compassion. It has always been easy for me to have compassion for people just like me. But sitting and listening to people directly affected by the #blacklivesmatter movement, to people directly affected by government policy changes, even to friends who I don't share a similar past... once I opened myself up to understanding others who were not like me, my heart tore open like never before.

Live in Action

I try to live by the mantra, "love is an action," and to me, compassion is a position of the heart to genuine love for humanity. Opening your heart to others who are different than you, then choosing to live in a way which feels most authentic to you is a must. For me this has meant staying curious and open to learning, shopping ethically when I have the option, giving back to causes with my time and money, and choosing to engage with my everyday life more mindfully.

Starting with you never ends with you. Your life is a ripple effect. Your self-love will flow into others, and if channeled with love, will give you a life of compassion, not only towards yourself, but to humanity as a whole.

If love is an action, what are you moving towards?


Compassion Gathering This Saturday

You'll hear from motivational speaker & actress Collen Kirk plus our own Kate Alsup

Grab your tickets here!


Podcast

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See you Saturday!

-Madison


Goal-Setting Gathering + Madison's Break From Setting Goals

Can you make a goal to become someone else? 

I've used goal setting as a way to take charge of my life so I could become better... better like the others. (You know, all the people killing it at life.) Have you been there? Setting a goal out of fear that your life will never unfold quite right if you don't "take charge" of it?

I have.

The biggest frustration with it all was that no matter how many self help books I read on achievement, no matter how organized I was, how minimal I lived, how much I wrote down my goals, prayed, journaled, and pushed to achieve then, it never felt good; and often I'd forget about the goal altogether.  Only to find the goal written on a notecard inside a book I never finished reading... oops. 

So what changed? 

How did I go from frantic goal-setting mode into a healthy, balanced relationship with setting goals?

I got help.

No, no, not help achieving the goals.

I mean real help. (from a professional.)

Turns out, wanting to achieve goals in order to become like someone else isn't the healthiest state of mind to live in. My comparison, shame, guilt for who I was, dissatisfaction with my own life, and jealousy over the successes of others were not issues that could be cured by setting goals OR achieving them.

I spent 6 months without setting goals. I saw a counselor and a life coach and decided to become the best version of myself I could be, which meant healing from the past, accepting who I am, developing healthy friendships, and learning to use my strengths. I'm still on the beautiful journey, only now I'm more me than I've ever been, and it feels great. 

I'm back to setting goals too! Only this time they are heart-aligned. 

Now, each new goal I create ads to my life and comes from a place of abundance, not fear of what will happen if I don't achieve them. 

My current goals finally feel good because I am living with intention. 

At our last gathering, Kate and Emma both touched on intentional living and becoming the person of your dreams while going after your goals.  Every step in the journey is a part of the process. Every day of shooting your arrow at your target, even if you miss, is a step in the right direction. 

No matter that looks like for you right now, you are in a perfect position to take the next step, to aim at your target and shoot.

Being intentional isn't just about achieving the big things, it's about taking steps in the right direction. Your first step to intentional living may be healing, like me. And that's okay, in fact, it may be the most important step of all.

What I’ve learned so far: what they don’t tell you about following your passion.

Image taken by Kinsey Mhire

Image taken by Kinsey Mhire

What I’ve learned so far: what they don’t tell you about following your passion.

I am a life coach, I own my own business, I am paving the way to my dreams every day through blogging, using social media, and taking new clients. It’s growing steadily and I am SO happy about it.

But there is a side I also want to address. In reality, businesses like coaching take time. Building a brand and becoming known for what you do is a slow and steady building of momentum. If you are not careful when launching a passion project, you can get burnt out before you even truly begin.  Building a reputation, being consistent, and becoming amazing at your trade--these things take serious hustle. But that’s not what I’m going to post about today.

Here are three areas people rarely talk about when they discuss their passions:

Know your bigger life theme.

I know my passion. And it isn’t coaching. My passion is a deeper life theme, it is the thing I want my life to be about. Some business people call it your “why” or even your “vision.” I like calling it a life theme because no matter what I do, I want the same theme to be the thread that weaves through each season, each career, and each relationship.

I wrote out my own personal life theme recently and this is what it sounds like, “to live my life in vibrancy, truth, and authenticity, and help others come alive.”

I can and will do that in many ways throughout my life. In this season, I do it through coaching and blogging. But I also do it as a wife, as a waitress, and as a friend.

My life theme helps me show up in all areas as my best.  I know what I want my life to reflect, so I am able to show up at my serving job AND as a coach and be my best. I can help people come alive no matter where I am. I can live in vibrancy, truth, and authenticity no matter where I am, and that gives me credibility.

Be your best.

Being your best is tricky and relative. Our best changes from season to season, and we are able to give different amounts at different times. That is normal, human, and expected. The key is not to be perfect, but to strive for excellence; for your best in the moment you are in. I am always attempting to act as my best self, to filter my response through the lens of my life theme.

Being your best self on purpose is actually a skill. It takes the ability to self reflect without judgement, be thoughtful and assume the best, and it takes self control. It is choosing to respond in the most loving, mature way you can.  It is aligning your life with your values and your life theme. It is honoring your yes and your no. It is you becoming better with small choices every day, choosing healthy thoughts, and mature actions which align with your life theme.

Become a Servant.

Sounds fun, doesn’t it!? Be a person who offers an insane amount of value.  You can start doing this in areas like at home, at the office, or in your passion project.  Something I am committed to in my business is offering educational, inspiring and relevant content for free to the people who read my blog and are on my email list. This does sometimes come at a sacrifice. It takes time, it takes consistent growth on my part, and integrity of living what I put out into the world.

What does this look like in your life? How can you be a person who offers value?

What ways can you bring value to your daily life, in and outside work?

Here are a few simple ideas anyone can implement today to be successful at following your passions

1. Be interested in people.

This means asking questions, listening well, commenting back on social media platforms, and thanking people for the good you see them doing. Pay attention, people are always communicating ways they need you.

2. Give more than is asked of you, or do what you do with excellence.

Consider how you can go above and beyond a person's expectations. One way I do this is by remembering birthdays or other important dates and sending cards, flowers, or texts. Be creative with what you do, and who you do it for. A short list would be friends, clients, and supporters, but you could even extend this to service personnel, your neighbors, your co-workers, and even former teachers and employers.

3. Know your deeper reason.

The hustle of following a passion is real, but the reality of knowing the deeper reason behind your life, the growth that comes from being your best, and the magnetic pull people feel toward people who offer value, that is the good stuff.

Try it out, your hustle may become much more enjoyable, and much more passionate.

Read more from Madison at her blog.