How I Became the Queen of Narnia (And You Can Too)

How I Became the Queen of Narnia (And You Can Too)

Sitting across from my coach, he asked me a very simple question.

“What would make this an extraordinary year for you, Jen?”

I rattled off the kinds of things that first come to mind. I’d like to make even more money in my business. I’d like to make even better memories with my family. I’d like to make a bigger impact in my coaching. Maybe this year I will (finally, for the love of all that is good in the world) write a book.

Every answer I gave, my coach countered with “What else?”

Eventually I got a little exasperated.

“Look,” I told him, “2016 was pretty much the best, most magical year of my life. I felt like I’d stumbled through the door to Narnia. If you really want to help me do something extraordinary, show me how to find the door to Narnia more regularly.”

And then, without realizing why, I added, “And become queen.”

He looked at me for a long moment, then informed me, “Jen, I’m sorry, but I can’t do that for you. You see, you’re already the Queen of Narnia. My job is to help you see that.”

I know it sounds stupid, but I started to cry.

The magic and splendor I had been searching for all my life was right in front of me all along.

And for years I’d missed it.

Do You Need Better Goals or Better Vision?

 

For most people, the start of the year is all about wiping the slate clean and setting new intentions. Good stuff.

But how are you going to turn those intentions into reality? What, exactly, has been holding you back up until now?

I’m not talking about creating a plan, although that’s not a bad idea. I’m talking about finding the right opportunities, the open doors to where you want to go. Because if you can do that, transformation becomes easy.

You see, once I acknowledged that I was already the queen of my own Narnia, I started to see the world very differently. Everywhere I went, every interaction I had, had an element of magic to it. And never was that more obvious than the bitterly cold day I trudged a little over a mile to the gym.

We’ve had an especially cold winter here in Seattle, and yet I noticed at least a dozen different kinds of flowers blooming. In the middle of winter. What the heck?

But this was only surprising because I’d never noticed them before. I had to wonder: what else had I been missing?

It turns out quite a lot.

When I toyed with the idea of starting a novel coaching program for CEOs and executive directors … I happened to find myself at Thanksgiving dinner seated across the table from a former CEO interested in the same thing. We’re now talking about partnering on the venture.

When I wanted to become more intentional in my charitable endeavors … a book on the topic showed up in my mailbox, apparently from a publicist hoping I would review it.

When I wanted to create a special holiday for my family … my neighbor happened to mention that the local gingerbread house exhibit had a Harry Potter theme (my Hogwarts-obsessed daughter was thrilled).

 

Yes, this is made out of gingerbread and candy…

 

Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t believe I manifested these opportunities any more than I manifested flowers in winter.

In science, this is what’s known as selective attention, illustrated by the famous Invisible Gorilla experiment. Essentially, we all have a kind of filter that predisposes us to see some things while ignoring others. We evolved that way so our brains wouldn’t get overloaded with inputs.

What does this all mean?

Most of the time, you don’t have to massively remake your life to get what you want. You just need a new way of looking at the world.

What I’m suggesting here is chewing gum simple:

You Find What You Look For

 

You want to find the perfect job, where you have the autonomy to create brilliant, world-changing products?

Start looking for it.

You want to start a side business that allows you pay off your credit card debt?

Start looking for problems you can solve for people.

You want to go on a safari in South Africa?

Start looking for a way to get there.

I’m not suggesting that anything you want will magically turn up the moment you look for it (although sometimes it nicely works out that way). More often what you find is a trail of breadcrumbs, each taking you one step closer.

At times, the pace will be frustratingly slow.

But finding something has to be an active process.

Too many people are waiting for their dreams to happen rather than taking responsibility for creating them. I love it when opportunities drop in my lap, too. But if that’s your only source of magic in life, the haphazardness can make you feel a little helpless.

In the end, what makes you a king or queen is not castles or the crown on your head.

It’s being willing to own the power you already have—and not be afraid to use it.

The Best Way to Get Perspective on Your Problems

The Best Way to Get Perspective on Your Problems

I thought I would break.

I felt overwhelmed. Over my head. I thought the pressure to deliver on my own promises would engulf me.

I don’t even remember what I was working on at the time. All I wanted to do was curl up in bed until everyone forgot about me and what I said I’d do. Which would never work, because the only person who was actually tapping her foot and demanding more results was me.

That night, I attended a party where we were all instructed to write notes of encouragement to our future selves. The party organizer would return our letters in six months time.

Frankly, it all felt a little hokey to me, but I played along.

Here’s what I wrote: (more…)

10 Nifty Ways to Beat Procrastination

10 Nifty Ways to Beat Procrastination

You’re stuck. Again.

You’ve been trying to make yourself work on that book/your fitness/decluttering the house for what seems like ever, but the harder you try the harder it is to resist the siren call of Facebook or Twitter. Before you know it, you’ve run out of time — and steam.

Funny, isn’t it, how much work it is NOT to do the work we’re resisting? It’s exhausting. If you had just put all that time and energy into your goals, imagine where you would be by now.

But you know that. It’s not as though you don’t beat yourself up about your procrastinating ways every day. How’s that working for you?

Don’t feel bad. We all do it.

Why do we resist? Because there is something we fear about the task at hand.

It could be as simple as a fear of the aches and pains of starting to exercise or the discomfort of doing a chore we dislike. It could be as obvious as a fear of failure. Or it could go deeper than that, like a fear of success.

Well, good news: I have battled procrastination all my life and in the process, I picked up a few tricks. (more…)

Are You Really Going to Wait Until It Hurts?

Are You Really Going to Wait Until It Hurts?

What I was trying to do should have been simple.

I was attempting to hold a small stack of books with my left arm, where my hand cupped one edge and my elbow cradled the other. But I couldn’t do it.

I had noticed my wrist getting weaker for a couple of years. And thanks to some back pain issues, it had become clear my office set-up was probably the source of my problem.

But I didn’t do anything about it. I didn’t see a doctor. I didn’t look for a new desk. I didn’t even take the simple step of ordering a wrist brace online.

The questions is: why did I wait until I had nearly debilitating pain before I decided to act?

The answer might surprise you.

In a couple of weeks, I’ll share with you the solution I found that almost instantly allowed my wrist to start healing. I can now hold that stack of books with my left arm and write for hours on end without issue. It’s not rocket science, but I’m rather proud of what I came up with (better late than never).

But today, I want to explore this idea of waiting until it hurts. Because it’s not just me that does this. I see how this strange decision-making process trips up my clients and my friends too.

As I recently told people on Facebook, if you want to make a profound change in your life, the fastest way to do it is to become dissatisfied with the way you’re currently thinking. But first, you have to understand your thinking. (more…)

I Spent 3 Weeks Business Planning and Ended Up with a Strategy For A Better Life

I Spent 3 Weeks Business Planning and Ended Up with a Strategy For A Better Life

If I knew of a way to stop telling myself lies, I would.

A couple of CIA agents wrote a book called Spy the Lie, where they reveal the “tells” people give when lying. For example, if someone pauses to answer a question they should easily and immediately know the answer to, they’re probably lying.

As a mother, I already knew this.

If I ask my daughter if she ate five servings of fruits and vegetables last Thursday, she’ll understandably pause before answering. That’s a hard thing to remember. But if I ask if she brushed her teeth this morning and she pauses, she’s probably lying. (She’ll usually do a hard swallow too, another big tell. Poor kid.)

But those kinds of “tells” are useless when evaluating your own internal voices.

For example, sometimes I get caught up thinking about how to create a six-figure business. I spent a week strategizing what products I could offer and dreaming up creative marketing ideas. I got really specific, running numbers for different scenarios, re-evaluating based on my known optimistic tendencies, etc.

It was a lot of work, but it was fun work. Until I realized what having a six-figure business would really mean. (more…)

What’s the Source of Your Sunday Night Blues?

What’s the Source of Your Sunday Night Blues?

A friend, let’s call him Carl, told me he’d seen my videos on career change and resonated with the concept of the Sunday Night Blues.

“Everyone thinks I have the best job,” he confided. “People ask for advice, wanting to know how they can eventually have a position like mine. I want to tell them the truth, but I can’t. I don’t think they’d believe me anyway.”

The truth was that every Sunday night, a feeling of dread descended. He wanted to stop time, to delay perhaps indefinitely, the work week ahead. Not only did he feel anxious and irritable that his free time was coming to a close, but he was confused.

Why couldn’t he enjoy his job like everyone expected him to?

In fact, he felt particularly ungrateful because there was a lot he liked about his job. But none of those positives were apparently strong enough to prevent the Sunday night blues.

And so he came to me for advice on how to change careers, even though the thought of leaving his “dream job” pained him. (more…)