Do you need help breaking through blocks such as fear? Do you need help creating and sticking to a success plan? Have you started and stalled several times? Maybe you need a success coach to help you break through these blocks, create a viable plan and to help hold you accountable to this plan so you can achieve ultimate success and joy in your life.
Contact me TODAY to get started! firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.669.5777
A word on overcoming societal challenges…
Contact me TODAY to schedule a FREE 30 min consultation. email@example.com or 202.669.5777
EARLY PRAISE FOR “The Adventures of Isabelle Book I”
“This is a great book! Nicole Cutts has opened a new world for us. We are introduced to Xamayca, an unusual land of mystery and adventure – and apparent magic. You will like and care about Princess Isabelle – and her family. You will want to know more about Isabelle and where her journeys take her. I look forward to the next adventure!” –Flash 78
“While this genre isn’t my usual favorite, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Dr. Cutts is a good writer and the story was well-crafted and compelling. It is especially helpful for young women (and old ones, like me!) to be exposed to strong females who overcome adversity and find their inner strength. Dr. Cutts is a dynamic professional whose life coaching and Vision Quest retreats have helped many people on their own heroic quests. “The Adventures of Isabelle” complement her work and can help all of us find our own callings. I look forward to Books II and III!” –Maria Olsen, Esq. Author
“Tired of the old male dominated fairy tale? Here’s a new tale for the ages. Princess Isabelle sets off on an adventure (my fave word after cake) to see if there is more to life than what’s at the castle.” –An Unconventional Librarian
Book I of the Adventures of Isabelle is here! If you have been following this chronicle you know that I have been working on books I and II for some time now. It’s been an exciting and at times arduous journey but the book is finally here!
Order your copy today and be entered in a drawing for tickets to the VIP Book Launch & Birthday Bash taking place Saturday May 30th in Potomac, MD!
The road to realizing your Vision of Success can be a long and arduous one. It’s not enough to have a vision and goals: you need a clear plan with a timeline. You also need to chart your progress, take breaks, care for your health and reward small successes as well as large. All of the above serves to keep you motivated and staves off burnout. I’ve found #dancebreaks to be both rewarding and fun! They get me up, get my blood flowing and increase my creativity. In the above vid I discuss the importance of breaks, rewards, self care and invite you to dance with me!
You May Want to Try This…
Plan breaks into your schedule. Plan frequent breaks, especially when you’re under a lot of pressure. Your brain needs time to digest and process information; moreover, breaks relieve stress and help sustain motivation. They also provide a transition period when switching tasks. The guideline for breaks is about ten minutes per hour of work. So if you plan to work for two hours you can schedule a 20 minute break after this and before your next task. Consider something that would be fun and could recharge you like a walk, some stretching or my favorite a short #DANCEBREAK!
Wishing you all the best on your heroine’s quest to achieve your Visions of Success!
In Act II: Initiation, of the hero’s journey or heroine’s quest the hero or heroine faces The Road of Trials (Campbell, 1949) and The Ordeal (Vogler, 2007). When you are on the heroine’s quest to living your Vision of Success you too will face many obstacles. Just consider these obstacles, trials and ordeals a.k.a. dragons to slay, a normal part of The Quest. Many of these challenges, like the top three reasons why we fail, are internally generated and controlled. In this post I expand on the top three reasons why we fail discussed in the above video. Also like many of these challenges these reasons are NOT real! They are like boogie men who only exist when we give them power. These dragons or challenges are; 1) lack of belief, 2) lack of conviction and 3) lack of self-discipline. Because you must clearly see and know your nemesis in order to defeat it, I will shine the light on these boogie men and give you some tips on how to defeat them. (You may also want to read “How to Write Your Own Heroine’s Quest“)
I. Lack Belief:
Intelligence and talent are not what separates successful women from unsuccessful ones. The major difference is that successful women believe in themselves! We believe that we can accomplish the goals we set ourselves. Successful women also believe in their ability to overcome the challenges that will most definitely come their way. This strong belief in the capacity to overcome obstacles encourages us to seize opportunities that seem initially too big to tackle. Nothing will work for you if you are not absolutely convinced of it.
How do you overcome lack of belief? It’s like asking how do I develop faith? You just have to do it: believe! Who better to explain this than Master Yoda from Star Wars? Check out these scenes between Yoda and Luke:
“The human brain is a powerful problem-solving and prediction making machine, and it operates via a multitude of feedback loops. What matters most in the feedback loop dynamic is input — what goes into the loop that begins the analysis-evaluation-action process, which ultimately results in an outcome. Here’s the kicker: if your input shuttle for achieving a goal lacks the critical, emotionally relevant component of belief, then the feedback loop is drained of octane from the start. Another way to say that is — why would you expect a convincingly successful outcome when you haven’t convinced yourself that it’s possible?” (DiSalvo, 2012. Forbes Magazine)
II. Lack of Conviction
Your conviction will fuel you to keep searching for a solution to your challenges until you finally achieve your goals.
Women who lack conviction will go along to get along because they lack courage and self-confidence. These women don’t want to disrupt the status quo. This is scary to many, so they often compromise and conform in order to be popular or accepted, even when they know that what they are doing is wrong.
“…the notion of disrupting anything–of being the water that breaks the rock–is scary to most of us. Reason being, disruption is perceived as a threat to our threat-sensitive brains. Disruption means that consistency, stability and certainty might get jettisoned for a time, and that puts our hard-wired internal defense system on high alert. Sometimes, though, you have to override the alarms and move ahead anyway. If you never do, you’ll never know what could happen.” (DiSalvo)
Example of “The Ordeal” THE WIZ LIVE! — Pictured: Mary J Blige as Evillene — (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)
The Ordeal: This notion of conviction being scary tracks closely with the stage of the heroine’s/hero’s journey that Christopher Vogler calls “The Ordeal.” According to Vogler “The hero stands in the deepest chamber of the inmost cave and faces a direct confrontation with [her] greatest fear.”
No matter what the heroine thinks she came for, it’s Death that now stares back at her. She is brought to the brink of death in a battle with dark forces.
“The ordeal in myth signifies the death of the ego. The hero has soared above death and now sees the connectedness of all things.” (Petersen, 2017)
How do you overcome lack of conviction? Decide what is important to you and don’t ever compromise your values. If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well. Try to choose work that you have passion for because this passion will fuel your work when the going gets tough. Even if you have not found your passion or achieved your Vision of Success yet, do your work with love and passion. Let this passion show even when the road gets hard and a task seems mundane. Kahlil Gibran tells us what it is to “work with love” in his poem, “On Work.”
“When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music.
Which of you would be a reed, dumb and silent, when all else sings together in unison?
Always you have been told that work is a curse and labour a misfortune.
But I say to you that when you work you fulfil a part of earth’s furthest dream, assigned to you when that dream was born,
And in keeping yourself with labour you are in truth loving life,
And to love life through labour is to be intimate with life’s inmost secret.”
III. Lack of Self-Discipline:
Any successful woman who has accomplished anything worthwhile has never done it without discipline. Discipline means staying focused and requires sacrifice and self-control to avoid temptations and distractions.
Discipline is not an excuse for perfectionism. It does not mean going beyond your limits. As a matter of fact, it means acknowledging and respecting your limitations. Beware an idealized vision of success. Achieving your Vision of Success or succeeding at one goal won’t eliminate all your problems, and bring complete happiness and fulfillment.
If you lack self-discipline, you are likely to give up too quickly when problems arise. A lack of discipline makes you susceptible to short-term temptations that lead you astray from your mission. Undisciplined women see no reason in making sacrifices today in order to achieve their Vision tomorrow.
When you’re disciplined it is easier to avoid distractions. You can stay focused on your goals, make temporary sacrifices, suffer and abstain from temptations. You will be able to see these temptations and distractions as what they truly are: Obstacles on the journey to living your Vision of Success.
Self-discipline also encompasses your ability to persevere (persist) and to make and carry out plans, which I will discuss further on.
How to overcome lack of self-discipline? The good news is that discipline CAN be developed. Some do not develop self-discipline due to laziness and a lack of inner strength or conviction.
According to Steve Mueller (2016), you can work on developing and increasing your self-discipline gradually. He says, “You can develop more self-discipline for instance by:
Increasing your stress tolerance levels.
Breaking bad habits.
Postponing unbeneficial behaviors.
Making plans and rewarding yourself for accomplishing your goals.
Tolerating a higher level of emotional discomfort.
More women fail, not because they lack intelligence or talent, but because they just quit. Women who succeed do not give up. On the heroine’s quest you will be knocked down many times. You will face failure, rejection and fatigue. You may face illness, haters, broken hearts and losing those that you love. Remember these things represent dark forces tempting you to give up! (See “Letting go of Habits, Haters & Hubris”) It’s important to remember two words: persistence and resistance. Persist in what you must do and resist those things that distract or are bad for you.
Perseverance does not mean beating your head against a brick wall! Persistence is important, but you also have to recognize when you need to course correct and learn from mistakes. No one else can tell you when it is time to give up or change course. You have to be in tune with yourself to know this.
Looking for help more help with perseverance? Learn more about these 7 Tips from Success magazine
Ignore everyone else.
Become your own biggest supporter.
Stop and appreciate the little things.
Focus on the next step.
Throw your watch out the window.
Stop looking for a way out.
Acknowledge your limitations.
III B: Lack of Planning
Napoleon Hill said “A goal is a dream with a deadline.” Having self-discipline means taking the time to make a plan and then persistently sticking to it. You can’t just dream it. Many women and men have failed because of lack of planning. The plan does not need to be perfect but data shows that having a plan increases the likelihood of achieving one’s goals.
Once you have clarified your Vision of Success, written it down and visualized it you must define your goals. Next, outline a concrete plan with steps to achieving your goals and your overall Vision of Success. Consider breaking your plan down into 5-year goals, 1-year goals, 6 months, 3 months and 1- month achievements. After completing this plan, you can do weekly goals that will put you on schedule to complete all of the other milestones. Be realistic here so you don’t get discouraged. If you don’t have a proper plan, you are less likely to succeed in life. Without a clear plan, you’re apt to waste a lot of time and perhaps never achieve your goals.
The Ultimate Boon!
My father often quote, “Heights by great men (and woman) reached and kept were not obtained by sudden flight but, while their companions slept, they were toiling upward in the night.” (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow). That means stick to your plan. Review your progress, make adjustments but keep moving forward. It also speaks to discipline and sacrifice.
All of the above may seem daunting or sound like a lot of hard work. That’s because it is! Embarking on the heroine’s quest to pursue your Vision of Success is NOT for the faint of heart. But, when you are doing work you love, your passion fuels all that you do: making it a bit easier, more fun and turns your live into an exciting adventure!
Wishing you all the best on your heroine’s quest to achieve your Visions of Success!
On the heroine’s quest to living your vision of success you will face many obstacles a.k.a. dragons to slay. In this video I discuss fear of success, fear of failure and procrastination and give you some suggestions on how to deal with them.
On the heroine’s quest to living your vision of success you will face many obstacles a.k.a. dragons to slay. In this video I discuss three categories or species of dragons; Habits, Haters and Hubris, and give you some suggestions on how to deal with them.
I hope you enjoy these images of my solo Winter writing retreat to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. I’m planning an upcoming Vision Quest Retreat here to the Bellmoor Inn & Spa. Be sure to Join my mailing list at Vision Quest Retreats to learn more about this and other fabulous retreats and events for women living their visions of success!
Happy New Year Success Coaching Exercise to try:
1) Take some quiet time to reflect on the past year. Journal about it; make a list of highlights and gains (this can be on any level). Make a list of losses. Take some time to feel the feelings that go with all of the above. Make note of what you learned from these experiences.
2) Look at your goals from last year and assess how you did (remember to be compassionate with yourself) noticing where you might have been unrealistic and where you could have done more.
3) Make a list of what you want to focus on and/or manifest this year. This can include your goals and/or may be the behaviors and thoughts you want to continue from last year.
4) On a separate piece of paper make a list of things you want to or are ready to let go of. Get rid of the paper and the contents. You may want to put it in your G*ddess/God box, burn, bury or flush this list with a prayer to help you to release them (keeping the environment in mind).
5) Create an action plan with a timeline to address what you want to accomplish in the New Year.
If you would like some help taking the action plan further feel free to drop me a line or check out Success Coaching
Happy New Year and Much Continued Success & Well Being,
While the holiday season is supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year” it may not be for many. Below are 5 tips for dealing with difficult family members and 5 tips for beating the holiday/winter blues. I hope you find them helpful.
How to Have Happy Holidays with Difficult Family Members
A part of the stress of the holidays can be brought on with having conflict with difficult family members and interacting in dysfunctional or troubling family dynamics. This is exacerbated by expectations born out of the messages around us; Hallmark Cards, Christmas Specials and TV commercials showing happy families during the holidays all conspire to create holiday propaganda that says we should love and get along with our families.
Well the reality is that for many people this is far from accurate or even realistic. We are bombarded with pictures of holiday family bliss that look like they were painted by Norman Rockwell or Romare Bearden when our holiday family tableau would be more accurately captured by Hieronymus Bosch! If you are dreading the upcoming family get togethers this holiday because of difficult family then this article is for you!
Below are my top 5 tips for handling difficult family gatherings:
#1 Set a Positive Intention
#2 Stay out of the Boxing Ring
#3 Get Busy/Focus on Others
#4 Keep Breathing
#5 Have an Exit Strategy
#1 Set a positive intention: Before you enter the family gathering gather yourself. Pray, meditate, do whatever you have to do to get centered then set an intention for the time that you will be there. This could be to get to know a family member better or be helpful in some way or it just may be to remain peaceful. Whatever you choose it should be positive. If you need a physical reminder of this intention you could carry a special token like a medallion with the serenity prayer engraved on it or even a rock or shell that you keep in your pocket. Some experts suggest wearing your watch on your opposite wrist to help you remember your intention.
#2 Stay out of the boxing ring: Family members are adept at pushing our buttons but you don’t have to let them. You do not have to show up to every fight to which you are invited. Especially stay away from touchy subjects like politics! You will only get riled up and won’t change anyone else’s perspective. If someone expresses a strong opinion with which you disagree you can take a breath and just say nothing but if you must reply have some simple phrases to repeat a few times as you plan a hasty retreat to another part of the house. Phrases like “that’s interesting,” “I see” or “I understand how you feel” are good and if you are really brave try saying “You may be right” before gently gliding away. (Remember everyone has a perfect right to think and behave exactly as they want to.)
#3 Get Busy/Focus on others: Nothing like helping out to give you a positive focus. Be of service, offer to help. Focus on making others enjoy themselves. Maybe you have an older relative (who isn’t the problem family member) that could use some doting on. Maybe there are some kids (also not problem children) who could use your attention and may even be begging for an adult to play with them.
#4 Keep Breathing: Take some nice deep slow breaths when you feel that fight or flight syndrome kicking in. It will help calm and center you. Slow deep breathing will activate your parasympathetic nervous system, the system associated with resting and digesting. This isn’t easy stuff so practice loving compassion for yourself then focus on sending that outward to others. Employ huge doses of empathy forgiveness and compassion for everyone present. (Remember this is only a few hours of your life).
#5 Have an Exit Strategy: You may be able to show up early and leave early. If you expect that a gathering will be really bad let the host/hostess know ahead of time that you have another commitment at a time that’s going to mean you have to skedaddle at a certain hour. Your exit strategy should include transportation. There isn’t a Dysfunctional Family Extraction Team that I know of so you will have to arrange your own transport. Drive separately, have cab fare, be prepared to Uber or Lyft. If you have to walk to metro remember comfortable footwear! (There is nothing worse than staggering away upset on a cold night in heels!) Your family may not like you leaving early but it’s self-care so don’t feel guilty.
Once safely away from a tense situation take some time to rest and recover then pat yourself on the back for doing the best you could in a difficult situation.
Winter months can bring on Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and for some this may be exacerbated by holiday blues. Symptoms of winter SAD usually begin in October or November and subside in March or April. Some folks begin to slump as early as August, while others remain well until January. Depressions are usually mild to moderate, but they can also be severe. Even if you don’t suffer from SAD, gloomy winter months may bring you down and for many people the holiday season can be a tough time. Below are my top 5 tips for beating the holiday blues.
#2: Get Light
#3: Be of Service
#4: Practice Gratitude
#5: Lower Your Expectations
#1: Exercise. Exercise is crucial in combating depression, staving off Alzheimer’s and keeping off unwanted pounds. Do some kind of physical activity you enjoy at least three times a week for 30 mins each time. Exercise can release endorphins and reduce stress. Vary your routine and have fun with it. I keep it simple with walks in the woods and my yoga practice.
#2: Get Light. Get outside when you can in the sunshine even if it’s cold the sun’s rays can lift your mood. Being in nature lifts the spirits of many. I’m lucky enough to get out during the days but some people get relief from phototherapy using light boxes and now they even just have single bulbs ranging from about $4-$10. The light boxes range from about $30-$150. Not all light boxes are effective for treating SAD. Before buying one you may want to read this article from About Health.
#3: Be of Service. Nothing lifts the spirit like getting outside of yourself and doing something for someone else. There are so many ways to bring joy to others. Think of things you can do and do them. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or just do some favors for friends and family. The opportunities are endless. If you can’t come up with anything check out Simple Ways to Give Back…
#4: Practice Gratitude. Holidays are also a great time for people to compare their lives to others and feel lacking. Single people may feel lonely because they don’t have anyone to kiss under the mistletoe. Divorced parents may stress about splitting holidays. Kids with divorced parents may be unsure of who to spend time with. Holiday time may also remind you of loved ones who have passed away. All of these situations can lead us to feel a sense of lack. The antidote for this is GRATITUDE. Focus on what you do have and give thanks for it. Accept and bless YOUR circumstances. When I feel down I write a gratitude list of at least 10 things for which I’m grateful. A roof over your head? A job? Food? Friends? These things are pretty awesome!
#5: Lower Your Expectations. Holidays are often stressful because so many people are striving for a Norman Rockwell type of holiday. Stop it! Don Miguel Ruiz has the right idea with his fourth of his Four Agreements; Always do Your Best. But this isn’t an invitation to perfectionism. It means do your best then leave the rest. Stop trying to control, to be perfect. There is no such thing as the perfect family, party or anything. Don’t compare your experience to anyone else’s. High expectations lead to stress, disappointment, and often resentment. Lower your expectations and watch your serenity and happiness rise.
I hope you found the above helpful. Click here if you are seeking more FREE SUCCESS TOOLS.
Join us at this FB Live event if you have you been promising yourself to break out and really live the life you love for some time now.
Are you succeeding at a job that you don’t even like let alone love? Do you know what you would rather be doing for work but keep procrastinating on getting started? Or, have you gotten started on creating the life you love but are encountering roadblocks?
If any of the above describes you then invest (15 mins) of your life to join this discussion on Vision Quest Retreats with Dr. Nicole Cutts FB page and get expert advice on how to really live your Vision of Success!
I will be on FB Live starting 12/13/17 and running for six weeks to share tips on:
1) Clarifying your Vision of Success
2) Setting goals and achieving them!
3) Removing self limiting thoughts
4) Navigating real life obstacles like paying bills while doing work you love
5) Creating a plan that you can follow to get you out of a job you don’t love and into one you do!
Looking forward to “seeing” you there!
Questions? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Reading “The Cave of the Shadows”-an excerpt from Journey to Orphalese
In The Adventures of Isabelle Book II: Journey to Orphalese our heroine Princess Isabelle of Xamayca has to overcome some pretty scary challenges. As we all know trials and ordeals in the form of dragons and other baddies are pretty common when you are on the heroine’s quest to achieve your Vision of Success. For that matter so are visits to shadowy places like the Underworld. Remember Orpheus and Eurydice and his little trip down there to pick her up? But what of the “dragons” that live in our own minds? On the quest to living her Vision heroines often have to contend with the dragon named Self-Doubt and other limiting beliefs about ones abilities and chances of success.
These self doubts live in The Cave of the Shadows, the dark recesses of our mind and they often appear as whispered or even shouted negative self talk. They say things like “You are too old, not strong enough or smart enough etc.” Here’s a secret, the voices often get really loud the closer you get to your Vision so beware but know this means you are on the right path. Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way calls these little nasty voices “blurts” and even has nifty exercises to help you contend with them.
These inner demons of self doubt revolve around FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real) and in a weird way they are your ego’s way of trying to protect itself. The ego will tell you that it is protecting you, but do not be fooled! You are perfectly safe whether you succeed or “fail.” It is the ego that will be diminished and this is a good thing! Your ego slows you down and blocks your way. If you are afraid to fail you will not take risks and you will not try. If you are afraid to succeed the same things happens. (Check out my post Overcoming the Fear of Success )
Now what the ego and all the other little boogie men in your head (cave of shadows) will never tell you is that achieving your Vision of Success has NOTHING to do with you, nothing to do with how you look or how popular you are or what others think of you. Your Vision of Success is your Mission in life. It’s what you are meant to bring to the world through you forothers.
Trust me. Whenever I am afraid (walking through the cave of shadows) my ego is always involved, but as soon as I remember that I have a mission and that it is to serve others, that fear and anxiety goes right away and I get brave. A prayer or two usually helps me to get back on track.
So the next time you find yourself plagued with self doubt or fear, when you hear those negative voices pop up in your head tell them “thanks for sharing” and live your Vision anyway. Or as our friend Winston Churchill said, “If you are going through hell, keep going.” I personally would have said, “Don’t stop!” but don’t tell him I said that.