It’s December! As I reflect on this year and contemplate the upcoming year, I’ve decided to do something well outside of my comfort zone. It is with gratitude to my mentor, Joe Stumpf and our inner circle group of remarkable souls that I share my thoughts, lessons and insights. Because by tending and sharing this flame – by passing these gifts of wisdom, growth, and love forward in whatever small manner, I honor the extraordinary givers who make our world better. My way of Sharing it Forward.

I began coaching with Joe originally for business reasons. That was the lens I used to contemplate all the valuable lessons and principles he shared. It didn’t take long for me to realize the universal benefit in all aspects of life. Year after year, as I reflect on many of these insights and principles, they continue to guide and challenge me to grow and evolve.

It time for another challenge and more growth — and so it is, that I step into the unknown with a grateful heart and Share It Forward.

Principle #3: The outer world is a reflection of the inner world.

This principle takes some courage for me to be honest with myself. Part of me wants to refute it…. Because if I accept that everything that happens in my outer world is due to my decisions, my beliefs, my mindset – all the things happening inside me, well that would mean I’m responsible for the bad as well as the good right? That creates discomfort to explore.

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To consider this principle with courage, I decided to explore it as a “possibility” first before I accepted it as a principle I believe in. “What If” it were true that my outer world is a reflection of what’s going on inside me?  The “good” stuff is easier to accept happy clients and successful business – well sure that’s connected to my deep commitment to the thousands of hours of work to become highly skilled, to always thinking doing what is in the best interest of our clients, of investing in what is important to our clients. That makes sense that my inner work is reflected on the outside when viewed that way.

But what about that car accident – yes it was an accident, but if I’m honest, I WAS distracted. That investment that didn’t pan out, I didn’t do full research… and there were some warning signs. How about the extra 20lbs? Yep, my food and exercise choices come from what I’m thinking inside. How about the strained or distant friendship? That uncomfortably feeling in my gut when I ask myself, what have I done to improve, forgive, reach out, connect? What have my thoughts been? – how the other person wronged me, how I’m too busy? With courageous honesty, I can admit that I feel guilt about not being a better friend. Or that I feel like I don’t quite deserve… so I hold back. Or … I don’t reach out to that really interesting person I met. Well, she’s so successful and busy – she won’t have time for a person like me.

One look at my workspace (outer world) will tell a great deal about what’s going on inside me. When I’m feeling overwhelmed, when projects are unfinished, when I’m uncertain or unclear, it shows in my workspace. Piles and stacks of things that need attention or research. I drive my family nuts with the number of open tabs on my computer – all of which represent an unfinished something that I was in the middle of and have yet to complete. And what happens when I have too many files open and programs running? Yep, my computer gets slow, bogs down, is slow to respond. My computer gives warning signs. 

I’ve learned to recognize clues and signals from my outer world, such as my bogged down computer. Or when I’m fatigued and spent – I notice that everyone else gets really stupid. So when I notice that I’m irritated, impatient, and judgmental with others, I know its time to make adjustments within me – like rest, recovery, fun, exercise, laugh! Not a pleasant thing to admit, but making that connection was such a freeing and loving revelation.

The more aware I am the easier it is for me to make good choices sooner (step away, take a break) take accountability (apologize for cranky, snarky behavior) and create from that better part of me. That better part of me that is energized, focused, creative, and loving.

So when I courageously consider “What If” my internal thoughts, shape my perceptions, which shape my beliefs, which determine my decisions, which determine my actions (or lack of) …. the connection between my outer and inner world is revealed – good, bad, ugly, and wonderful. I’m a work in progress especially with this one!