Life Purpose

Living at 100%

by Sarah Novak on January 27, 2012

Yowzers, what a week!  I just got back from a mind-blowing 6 day Leadership Retreat in beautiful (and rainy!) Sonoma, California.  The course was an advanced Leadership Program put on by my Coaching School, the Coaches Training Institute (CTI).  It was a live-in program that started at 7 in the morning and ended at 9 in the evening (shared accommodations and all).  The retreat was intense as hell but provided a great return on the energetic and monetary investment.  Seriously people, this was massive transformation in a ridiculously short length of time!

Given the magnitude of the experience and the fact that I’m still downloading and processing all that I learned, I thought I’d share my peak experience from the week.  It really captures what the program is about and allows me to share some of my key learnings.  Here goes…

It was the second morning of our retreat and we were debriefing an exercise/game we had done the previous evening.  I was feeling unsettled after the exercise and wanted to verbally process what I was learning about myself.  My realization went something like this: I can show up at 60% and still win the game.  The Problem: I didn’t feel good about my win.  It was unsatisfying to know that there was 40% more that I could have brought but didn’t due to fear, limiting beliefs, etc.  In my mind, I didn’t deserve the win because I knew I had WAY MORE in me.

I realized that this game was representative of my day-to-day life, namely, that  I’ve been lucky enough to achieve many things while only operating at 60% of my capacity.  And while that looks fine and dandy on the outside, it creates massive dissonance inside of me.  When I spoke about my realization in front of the group, I became obvious of the fact that I was quite comfortable at 60% and hadn’t fully bought into the idea of stretching to 100%.  It was abundantly clear to my Leaders as well (the illustrious Karen and Henry Kimsey-House, founders of CTI and early pioneers in the Coaching field).

They prodded and questioned to no avail.  My fear was running the show and nothing they said convinced me that I should abandon my comfortable 60% perch.  At one point they asked me if perhaps I was really scared that I didn’t have an additional 40% in me.  I knew that wasn’t the case though.  I can recall plenty of moments when I have popped into 100%.  It isn’t a question of getting there, it’s a question of STAYING with it for a sustained period of time.  Little did I know that just a few minutes later I’d be getting a full immersion into what it felt like to be at AND stay at 100%….

Here’s what happens next: I was asking Henry HOW I could learn to live and stay at 100%.  Karen then jumped in and said, “I have a way, would you like me to show you?”  I naively said yes and just as I’m trying to figure out what’s going to happen next, Karen runs at me full force and starts shoving me HARD.  At first I thought it was a joke and tried to sidestep her advances.  I mean really, I wasn’t about the full-on fight the CEO of the Coaches Training Institute on the second day of my retreat was I???  Upon further reflection (in the 10 seconds I had to contemplate my options) it became crystal clear to me that I indeed was going to fight or I was going to be laying on the ground with my ass kicked by a 50-something year old woman!

As soon as I made the decision to fight her 100% my adrenaline kicked in.  I ran at her and started shoving back.  Without agreeing to any rules verbally, I somehow knew that we wouldn’t punch each other but that pretty much anything else was on the table (on a side note, the only time I’ve ever fought at 100% before was when I was in a rape aggression defense course in college and we fought off an attack from a padded instructor).  At this point I got out of my head and into my body.  I became insanely strong, recognizing that the only way to get this exercise to end would be to pin her to the ground so she’d stop coming after me.

My recent viewings of wrestling movies with Nick must have come in handy because I somehow knew how to throw her to the ground and get a lock on her head and legs.  She wasn’t going down easy though and she fought and fought.  I vaguely remember kicking her in the back and tightening my grip on her head, willing her to give up.  I was fierce but God was it intense.  The fighting had been going on a good 5 minutes I think before I had her pinned long enough that Henry called time.

We unraveled from each others bodies and turned to face each other, noting for the first time that tears were running down both our cheeks.  I had no idea what would happen next, so I sat there waiting for instructions.  Suddenly Henry said, “Okay, now show me how you stay at 100% without fighting.”  My instincts told me to embrace her from my spot on the floor and suddenly we’re intertwined again, both sobbing as we cling to each other and roll around the floor becoming intermeshed.  It’s hard to explain but the intimacy fell somewhere between sex and a hug with a dear friend.  I was insanely uncomfortable, but I STAYED with it – evacuating my mind and occupying my body fully.  I banished the gremlin thoughts that whispered about my inadequacy and the fool I was making of myself.

It was intense.  And very moving.  Something shifted in me in that moment and I finally GOT what it felt like to stay at 100%.  Before I had only understood that in my head, now every cell of my body shared in the understanding.  I felt powerful beyond belief and incredibly connected to this woman I’d met only one day prior.

When the exercise was called to a close I got up and dusted myself off.  The end was very anti-climactic actually.  The tears stopped rolling and I took my seat, grounded in peace and love.  I managed to take my first glance around the room as was met by expressions of absolute shock and intense emotion.

The thing was, at no point did I feel unsafe.  Yes, it was an unheard of thing for a leader to do but I believe she knew I would let her go there with me, just like I knew what the unspoken rules were.  In fact, as I reflected on it more in the coming days, my overall response to the event was humility – I was sincerely humbled and honored that she’d be willing to risk physical injury in service of my learning.  Talk about walking your talk and modeling true Leadership!

If that story doesn’t convince you to check out this program, I don’t know what will.  Although I’m sure you could have a similarly impactful exercise without wrestling on the ground!  For those of you who were moved by this and are at a place where you want to explore who you are as a leader in this world and the impact you’re supposed to make, do check out this program.  It’s not just for coaches – half my group did other pursuits for their work.  If you’re looking for powerful change in 2012, this would be a great place to start.  Let me know if you have any questions about the program.  I’m only doing the first retreat as a stand-alone right now and will be taking the remaining 3 at a later date.  Words can’t explain how this program has changed my life…

Dear colleagues who were on the retreat with me, I would love to get some comments about what the experience was like for you, since I was so fully immersed in it.  What did you notice/take away from the exercise?  Anything else you’d like to say to those considering doing this Leadership program?

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As we’ve been preparing our household to welcome Baby Nia, I’ve noticed that my old money fears are popping up like mad (as they often do during transition periods).  Thankfully, this article showed up in my inbox today and totally put me at ease.  It comes from one of my mentor coaches, Sonia Miller of Success for the Soul.

Specifically, it reminded me of that which is fundamentally true (and so easy to forget): that money is just a symbol, NOT my true source (God/The Universe is).  In addition, there are many channels we can receive through, but we first must be OPEN to receiving (not viewing the world from a place of lack/scarcity).  That might sound cryptic to you, but just trust me and read the article, as Sonia explains is so much better than I can!  And so without further ado, here it is:

How to NOT Let Money Stop You From Having What You Want

By Sonia Miller

As a life coach, I’m committed to helping seekers move beyond the obstacles that sabotage the fulfillment of their dreams.  Over the years I’ve come to see just how common it is for money issues to stop people BEFORE they even get started.

Money issues sound like:

  • It’s too expensive
  • I don’t have enough
  • I can’t justify spending the money
  • I don’t want to go into more debt
  • I don’t have any money… etc.

Money Issues Are an Illusion

The problem with money issues is that they are LIES.  A HUGE COMMON COLLECTION OF ILLUSIONS that many of us buy into.
Beyond that, we SO believe in money issues, that we often don’t even consider a way around them.  Money issues, as reasons NOT to pursue an aspiration, are almost a cultural matter.  It would be impolite to question or challenge someone who says, “I can’t afford it.”  Not only is it the easiest, most acceptable way to be let off the hook from owning your dream.  It is even considered honorable.

Consequently, what often happens when we have a desire is this:  Our REAL fears and limiting beliefs pop up,the money issue quickly comes to the rescue to camouflage the break-through opportunity, the seeker quits on the dream before it even has a chance to see the light of day, and the hopes, dreams and possibilities go back underground.  Done.   Period.   End of conversation.

Money is Not Your Source

We make money our Source: our source of freedom, power, safety, security, and even self-esteem.  But money is not real.  Money is a symbol, and a powerful one in revealing to us so much of what we need to know, learn and grow through in order to ALLOW ourselves to claim the lives we envision for ourselves.  We blame money for what we do not have in our lives and tell ourselves that more money will solve all of our problems.  But none of this is true.

How do I know?  Because I’ve studied money in depth and continue to do so.  I’ve studied it as an illusion.  And I’ve studied the truth of it – the ENERGY of it.  If we choose to, we have the opportunity to travel a journey of expanding our prosperity consciousness.  At different stages along the way, we will discover truths and myths about money and will have the opportunity to practice principles that will liberate us more and more from the “prison” that money can be… whether you have little of it and seek to have more, or whether you have a lot of it and seek to protect and preserve what you do have.

In light of this, I’d like to offer a way to NOT let money stop you from having what you want.  Not only this, but what I’m about to share will give you a way to open up to and begin receiving more and more of the infinite supply that comes from Source Energy.  When it comes to money, there is only ONE SOURCE and infinite channels.  If one channel dries up, another one is always available, IF you stay open enough and are willing to receive from expected AND unexpected channels.

How to NOT Let Money Stop You From Having What You Want:

  1. First, you must understand that change, transformation and manifestation begin with a DECISION.  Very honestly ask yourself, “What do I want?  What do I REALLY, REALLY want?”  You may be facing a decision, an opportunity, or simply a desire that is welling up within you.  Letting yourself want what you want isn’t about what you “think you can have,” or what you “should want.”  It is about owning your deepest heart’s desire.
  2. Then you must ask yourself, “If there were nothing holding me back (no fear, no perceived limitation) would I ALLOW myself to have it?  Would I claim it as mine?  Would I receive it into my life?”
  3. If the answer is YES, you’re done with half the battle.  The next step is to OWN your truth and turn it over to Source.  This is where you declare: “Okay Source… this is what I want. I’m ready to receive it. Show me the way!”  Then listen and watch for guidance.  You may experience an Aha moment, get a great idea, or suddenly be willing to do something you weren’t willing to do before – now that you know you’re committed.  You may even want to sit quietly and write a massive brainstorm list of possible ‘Hows’ (i.e. resources, methods, ways your dream could manifest).  However, remember, these are only EXPECTED channels and you MUST stay open to UNEXPECTED channels.
  4. Finally, remain open.  Watch for leads from the Universe and act on them with no attachment.

Receiving the Solution

When you are faced with a desire and your response is, “Oh, I want to, but I can’t. I don’t have the money,” you are essentially slamming the door shut in the Universe’s face!  If you say, “No, I can’t,” that’s exactly what you’ll manifest.  You ARE that powerful.

The Universe is already whole, complete and infinite in supply.  There is NOTHING absent or lacking.  This means that for every perceived problem there is simultaneously a solution available.  And for every question there is the highest good answer simultaneously available.  If we stay open and declare acceptance and receptivity for the way to be shown (IF it is in alignment with our soul’s highest Good), then we can RECEIVE the solution.  If, however, we declare, “No,” that becomes the only possibility.

Are you willing to allow MORE and BETTER in to your life?  Are you willing to let go of thinking that YOU (the small Ego-you) must find the solution, and instead open up to the power of the Bigger You (your soul, connected to Source)?

International Life Coach, Sonia M. Miller, is the author of Amazon’s #1 Metaphysical book, “The Attraction Distraction: Why the Law of Attraction Isn’t Working for You and How to Get Results Finally!” For her FREE prosperity audio entitled “Manifesting Prosperity – The 5 Must-Have Mind-Sets” and special report: “How to Unleash the Magic When the Law of Attaction DOESN’T work for You” go to:

PS – I HIGHLY recommend her book, The Attraction Distraction.  One of my absolute faves on manifesting what you want in your life!

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Chooka Parker, 16 Year Old Piano Prodigy

by Sarah Novak on May 5, 2011

Me and heart-touching stories go together like peanut butter and jelly.  Suffice to say, this is one of the most remarkable I’ve come across in some time…

Please allow me to introduce Chooka Parker, a 16 year old Farmhand from rural Australia.  In this clip Chooka is showing up to audition for Australia’s Got Talent.  As the camera pans the audience before he plays, you can tell that they’re expecting a trainwreck based on the things he’s shared in his opening intro, including that fact that:

  1. He’s self-taught
  2. He’s 16
  3. He’s never performed in front of an audience before
  4. He’s decided it would be fun to make the piece up as he goes

Little did they know what’s in store for them…

What struck me most about Chooka was the fact that neither FEAR nor his GREMLIN (ego) had any hold on him.  He was simply there to play, which was what he loved to do more than anything in the world.  And play he did!

I couldn’t help but wonder how he had escaped the vices that so many of us fall victim to.  Was it the lack of TV?  The encouragement from his parents?  The fact that he had no formal training and never learned to compare himself to others?  Why do so many of us bury our talents for fear of having them judged?  We’d rather shelve them completely than have someone rob us of the joy of honing our gift.  In case you didn’t notice, that’s a lose-lose proposition!

I truly believe that we are all prodigies in our own rights.  Sadly, we rarely give ourselves permission to OWN our brilliance.  We all have an inkling of where our brilliance lies, it just scares us so much that we bury it and use all our emotional energy keeping it away from us.  You see, when we’re busy channeling all our energy into fear, there’s no room for it to be invested in developing our gift.  It’s a very convenient gremlin ruse and one that I’ve only recently become aware of in my life.

So my question for you today is, “How would your life be different today if you could wave a magic wand and permanently erase all the negative criticism and limiting thoughts that have stifled your ‘inner prodigy’?”   Let’s hear some inklings of where you think your ‘inner prodigy’ lies…

Since this is vulnerable stuff, I’ll go first with the hope that you’ll be brave enough to follow (don’t leave me hanging here people, okay)?

The easy thing to say here would be that my ‘inner prodigy’ lies in coaching.  And while that would be true, I think it’s even bigger than that.  I’ve never said this before (other than to my own coach), but I sense that my real genius lies as a HEALER.  Just writing that makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit because it feels so grandiose to put out there.  I mean, who besides Jesus and the Prophets claim that they’re a healer (why, hello Ms. Gremlin, nice to see you!)  I digress…

Yes, I sense that I’m meant to heal.  I’m not sure what type of healing it is yet, only that it produces radical transformation for the individual.  I get the feeling that it may be along the emotional/energetic/spiritual plane instead of the physical, but again that remains to be seen.  At times I feel like I’ve been anointed for this work (feels like more than a calling, like it’s not my choice), which scares the bejeezus out of me and makes me want to run as fast as I can in the opposite direction.  I am actively working with my coach to get unstuck though, so I may have the courage to do the work that is being asked of me, even though most days I feel completely inadequate for the task.

So there you have it folks.  What say you on this topic?


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Changing Motivations

by Sarah Novak on July 31, 2010

If you’ll think back to mid-July we talked a bit about Getting Ready to Be Ready.  The act of writing that post was very freeing in and of itself and I noticed an immediate shift in my resistance afterward.  It seemed, in giving myself full permission to not be ready, that I actually altered my readiness to act!  Let’s just say it’s been a very productive few weeks (despite being impacted by a flu bug)…

That shift from paralysis to action got me thinking a lot about motivation.  I realized that with motivation there are really two common forces that compel us into action.  Quite simply, we either seek to AVOID PAIN or GAIN PLEASURE.  While gaining pleasure is more satisfying in the long run, I’ve noticed in my own life experience that avoiding pain seems to provide greater motivation.

I have ample examples in the past of fear-based motivation enabling me to achieve great things in my life.  In fact, I would go to great extremes to prevent myself from failing, disappointing others, causing shame, etc.  If my anxiety decided to get in on the game, then I may go so far as to conclude that I must achieve this certain thing (ex: get a certain job, fix a problem at work, find a new renter) or PERISH.  These nasty thought chains always had me thinking I was just one mis-step from complete destruction (my therapist later helped me see how irrational those lines of thinking were).  Suffice to say, anxiety was a powerful motivator and I achieved some near-miraculous things during those first 25 years because of it!  Too bad it wasn’t a very healthy existence…

Fast forward to the present…. There has been a chain of events over the past 5 years that has essentially eliminated fear-based motivation in my life.  These events include:

  • Pulling myself out of depression and discovering my own resilience (translation: I now know I am never going to perish)
  • Getting married and no longer feeling like I am on my own in the world
  • Joining the Foreign Service and feeling the security of having an invisible safety net (translation: Nick’s job will be guaranteed once he gets tenured in 2 years; our health care, housing and security will always be taken care of)

It’s easy to make the assumption that removing fear-based motivation is a good thing.  However, it really seems to be contributing to my recent paralysis because without those irrational fears to drive me, I’m forced to find a replacement.  And that shift to pleasure-based motivation feels a bit more elusive in nature.

In my opinion, pleasure-based motivation is ultimately rooted in living out one’s life purpose.  Yet despite being immensely satisfying, there is often still an element of pain under the surface.  For example, the Mothers who started MADD found their purpose in educating people about the negative impact of drunk driving.  While their cause may be an extension of their life’s purpose, it was still bourne out of the pain of losing their children to a drunk driving accident.

For me, I sense that the pain under the surface is a fear of “dying a spiritual death” from NOT accepting this calling.  And so the larger question becomes:

Why am I going to be willing to fail?

I don’t have the answers yet on this one, so I’d love to hear what this brought up for you.  In your life, are you more motivated by avoiding pain or gaining pleasure?  Have you ever tried to consciously alter your motivations?

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