Are you being called?

Every quest begins with a question. We wonder what we’re in this world for. We wonder what our purpose is.

And most of us never get past the questioning phase. We get stuck. We get overwhelmed. And we’re so in our heads that getting beyond that question becomes nearly impossible.

But if I’ve learned anything from looking into the Hero’s Journey a bit more thanks to the ever amazing Elizabeth Gilbert, it’s that this is the beginning of any great adventure.

I remember being young and always wondering why the priests and nuns were doing what they were doing. My mother’s response of “they heard their calling” never actually made sense to me. How in god’s name (literally) would you be willing to make those kinds of sacrifices based on a calling. And who was calling? What were they saying? Did they hear a voice in the sky, like literally hear it?

What I’ve realized by dialing into my purpose more than ever, despite fear, despite worry, and despite doubt…it’s that that call is so real. And will be so clear when you’re ready. It’s like trying to hear someone when they’re talking to you, but you’ve got about a million layers on because it’s cold: you need to strip the hat, take off your ear muffs, pull out the music on your earbuds….and only then will you be able to hear.

Here’s the thing: you are being called in life.Tweet: You are being called in life. - @maxiemccoy  http://ctt.ec/be8dN+

And that call will vary depending on how used to following it you are and how willing you are to set aside self preservation in order to answer it.

Pay attention to the next time you get a feeling to do something and immediately say HELL NO. And then come up with 5 reasons why that would be hard, even impossible, or totally illogical. Pay attention to what the question was under neath all of that, because your rejection is the next step in the Hero’s journey: to totally reject the call. To resist it on every level. To initially say no all together.

What have you been rejecting? And has it been your calling? If so, and if you’re ready to go for it, you’ll see a life more clear and more purposeful than you ever imagined. Now, it will have struggles and tribulations, but on the other side of the journey should be total freedom.

I’m following that call as much as you are. One day and one adventure at a time. Join me, won’t ya? This is about to get fun.

 

This will help you SHINE

This will help you SHINE

I had one of those mornings where my heart felt like it was bursting with gratitude for amazing women in my life. For being given the gift of girlfriends who push me, who make me better, who challenge me, who literally make me 20 levels cooler, smarter, funnier and more fabulous simply because I’m associated with them.

The abundance of absolutely gorgeous souls in my life makes me more grateful than I could ever put into words. I wouldn’t be where I am without this treasure chest of women in my orbit. I am merely a sum of their ideas, thoughts, advice, coaching and pushing.

And on this same morning of reflecting on a skype date that gave me such life encouragement, seeing a friend and colleague featured being a boss in the NYT, getting a note of appreciation that set of a lightbulb and brought me to tears, I received this article on the shine theory from a friend about how having these people in our life actually elevates our entire being.

You have these people, too… Your “people” Or your tribe. In some way or fashion, there is someone in your life who is just complete dynamo. Whether they’re that perfect combination of beautiful and funny, or smart and emotionally intelligent, or always doing big things and always facing fear in the face – you have them

And with these people, it can be tough sometimes not to compare yourself. Even to your best friends. You wish you had a sense of humor like her. A job. A man. Hair. Career. Opportunity. Beauty. Abs. Laugh. Heart. Writing. Talents. Height. The list goes on.

When the close people in your life see incredible success, that’s when our psyche wants to jump to a negative, comparing place. But don’t. Get a hold of your thoughts and just stop.

What you must remember is that we all see our own perfect success at different times. And it will always looks completely different. More than anything, we must keep in mind that these power houses in our life actually make us shine brighter. Tweet: We must keep in mind that these power houses in our life actually make us shine brighter. @maxiemccoy http://ctt.ec/G4fHn+

Do everything you can to push and support the people in your life towards their best selves and their most successful lives…by association, that will make you better.

For more lovin’ on why you need a tribe, read my post in The College Prepster.

Why you need a tribe

How to make the most of 2014

Yes, yes you read that right. There are only 75 days left of this year.

And next year is only 75 days away. Insane isn’t it? When I realized this I launched into thoughts of how much has happened and how it feels like time simply zooms by. It happens for all of us. And it’s such a reminder that anything we want to do in life must be started right now. It’s not about making massive quantum leaps each day, it’s about making small steps that eventually equate to miles, to progress, to categroical shifts in the trajectory of our life.

Because, any day we’re not going towards who we are meant to be, we’re going away from it.

What was it that you wanted to do this year? Was it a trip? Was it the beginnings of a business? Was it a workout routine? How much did you accomplish with those goals?

Did you procrastinate? Probably. But procrastination isn’t always what we think it is. It’s not laziness. It’s deeper than that. And sometimes it can be a great thing. And it can be a mirror for why exactly we’re putting things off to begin with.

I had an amazing conversation with a firecracker of a friend Sammy for an episode of SammyDTV. You’ll want to watch this one!

Ever feel boring?

Have you ever met someone and had literally nothing to say. It’s not because they sucked, or that you didn’t have a single thing in common, but you just simply could not muster up a damn thing to talk to them about.

As you’re staring at them trying to make some semblance of english and chatter, all you can think about is how much of a total dud you’re being. How you have literally nothing to bring to the table during this conversation. How they must think how terribly boring and lame you are.

You’re not being witty. Or interesting. Or fun. You’re being boring. Totally boring. And you don’t know why.

Even those of us with big, outgoing personalities go through this. Trust me. I’ve been right there with you. And it’s super weird when it happens because it’s like a) what happened to my personality? and b) this shouldn’t be this difficult.

Normally I could talk to a brick wall and make them feel welcomed and comfortable, but I’ve had these moments. I’ve had moments where I’m grabbing a drink with two people who are interesting, entertaining, funny and full of life, and I sit there and think to myself “I have NOTHING to bring to this right now. They must think I’m so insanely lame.”

So how do we minimize the frequency of these total dud moments?

First, quit worrying what you have to bring to the table. When we become completely boring in a conversation or among a group it’s normally because we are so deep in our heads. We’re worried about what they’re thinking. We’re analyzing ourself. We’re berating ourself up, almost like we’re watching us from the outside and yelling down saying YOU SUCK. How could anyone be awesome when your inner voice is doing that?

The best way to turn down that voice is by turning up the one of whomever you’re talking to. Actually listen to them. Fully, beautifully engage with them. People don’t care about what it is you say, they care about how you make them feel. And the best way to not only make them feel amazing but also to come up with really juicy interesting things to talk about is to seriously listen to what they’re saying. And by doing that, you’ll hear what they’re not saying. That’s where the magic of understanding happens. That’s where you engage in really meaningful, interesting conversation.

Stop thinking and start engaging. And you’ll never have to worry about being boring again. Tweet: Stop thinking and start engaging. You’ll never have to worry about being boring again. @maxiemccoy http://ctt.ec/eyBS8+

Do you have something to prove?

There are a million reasons why we do things in life. Because we’re called to. Because they’re the right thing to do. Because we’re going after our goals. Because we’re preserving our identity. Because we’re scared of failing. Because we have something to prove.

Imagine you met someone who really needed a dollar but they only had two quarters. You offered them the three dimes and four nickels in your clutch but they refused to believe that equaled a dollar. What!? WHAT!? How could they not see what you absolutely know to be true???

What would you do? I’ll tell you what I would do. I’d go into an elaborately creative circus of displaying how these seven coins are the other half he or she so badly needed. I might put on a blinking pink tutu so they pay attention to me as I explain. And I would not stop my efforts until they could see how their two quarters plus my three dimes and four nickels equaled a dollar. I would. Not. Stop.

The always frustrating and always beautiful thing about life is that there will be individuals who will just never be able to see you as as the missing coins to their unfulfilled dollar. For whatever reason, they just won’t get it. But that doesn’t mean that your coins are any less valuable. You know what they equate to. And that’s simply all that matters.

Or it should be all that matters. But that can be a terribly difficult pill for us to swallow. So we throw on our pink tutus, a blinking crown, we go get the pony, and we parade around in our absolute best efforts to show how desirable, smart, perfect, funny and positive we are. And in that obsession with proving something, we forget how perfectly abundant and enough we are. We do silly and crazy and sometimes destructive things in order to show someone how much they missed out by ‘having us’.

It becomes an utter and complete distraction– taking our attention off of our soul, off of the sweet love that’s already in our life, off of the opportunities that are present for us right in this moment.

We’ve all had moments where we “have something to prove” whether or not we realize it during those moments of the pony parade or not.

Live and act from a place of purpose, instead of a place of proving it. When you take that opportunity, post that facebook photo, date that person, go on that diet, start that company: are you doing it to prove your value? or are you acting from a place of value?

Flip that switch and you’ll be overjoyed when they can’t recognize your seven coins for what they are. Fifty cents will never have gotten you so far.

A life-changing habit you need

A life-changing habit you need

I have tried and failed many things. Many.

And when I can’t get something to stick, there’s always a reason. Either I don’t care enough or I’m doing it for the wrong reasons or I’m being too extreme and biting off more than I can actually chew. Sound familiar? Duh. Because we all do this.

One of my favorite life fails is the time I tried a 30-day meditation challenge. It still makes me laugh to think about to this day because I really really wanted to master the art of meditation. Everyone was talking about the benefits of meditation. I knew the way it made me feel when I actually sat down to do it, but that was few and far between.

I think I made it a couple days of meditation before calling it quits. I still remember the last time I meditated during that challenge: I had my favorite bombolino donut waiting for me and as I was attempting to meditate all I could think about was that sugary little treat. And don’t you know the damn donut won.

So I became a meditation-less meditator. I evangelized the benefits without ever actually committing to it. And finally my executive coach called me out on it. She was talking me through some big plans and saying blankly: to keep yourself grounded during this your homework is to meditate. And to do it in a way that works for you. Even if it’s just 5 minutes.

So first I tried meditating in the mornings. Didn’t work.

Then I tried meditating only 5 minutes when I first woke up. Didn’t work.

But then I began guided meditations (with Oprah and Deepak #dontjudge) at night before falling asleep. WINNERRRRR. I’m addicted. Committed. And it’s working.

I’m grounded. My anxiety is less frequent than it could be. I’m deep sleeping like a boss. I feel so full of ideas and information. I feel comfortable with change. And above all, I feel connected to myself and a ceiling-less source of love.

Try it. In a way the works for you. It’ll seriously seriously elevate your world and bring some major inspiration into your life. For more ways to find an aha moment, other than meditating, check out my post on The College Prepster.

What to do when things aren’t logical

We all live in a society that values logic. We have solutions to problems. We want to be “street smart”. We rely heavily on data and analytics in order to inform our decisions. We require validity in order to act. We associate logic with reason, with things making sense, with fact.

And we feel compelled to always back up our actions and decisions this way, because it make us seem valid – as if people will believe us more.

Lately, I’ve been taking action in my life that has been guided heavily by my gut and intuition. We’re talking the kind of “universe speaking to me” that comes in the form of non-coincidence coincidence and waking up at 3AM with “the answer”. It’s so not reasonable I don’t even know where to start. And rather than ignoring all of it because it’s not factual, or logical, or normal…instead I’ve been following after it. Because it feels right. I can’t totally tell you why it does, but it just does. No matter how uncomfortable and scared I’ve been.

Following my gut in the past has required some tough conversations, among them are questions like “Why?” or “What prompted this?”  And I was completely feeling the pressure to come up with rational explanations of my completely instinctive reasons. It was frustrating me because I just felt like I sounded stupid trying to justify my gut with logic and reason…when we all know there’s sometimes nothing logical about intuition. We just know, feel and believe the “why”. But wouldn’t saying that just make me sound silly? I needed to give these inquiring people facts they could understand! Or did I?

In the midst of this conflict, I read a gorgeous post by Danielle Laporte where she basically told me to stop doing what I was doing- trying to make sense of my intuition for others. Instead, to just own it.

And damn if it was not the most freeing thing to instead tell someone, “look…this may not make any sense to you and likely doesn’t answer your question…but there’s really no logical reason other than my intuition is screaming at me. And I’m following my gut on this one.”

They get it. They don’t press. They just say, “well then…ok I guess.” But more than that it allows you to be totally rooted in your answer instead of feeling like a sell out giving conjured up logic for something that was completely based in gut.

Run with it: your gut. your belief. your intuition. your connection to the universe’s signs. All of that. And allow that to just be enough. For yourself and for others. Even if you don’t know why, trust you’ll understand later. The “why” in life will always reveals itself in the end.

The one thing you need to succeed

I love when things just “happen” to go my way. When the stars align. When things are easy. When everything seems to just be happening in my favor.

I don’t love feeling like crap. Nope, sure don’t. And I’m sure neither do you. Whether it’s anxiety, or being bummed, or being heartbroken, or feeling lost… that yukky stuff comes up here and there…and it’s no freaking fun.

Yes you can repeat to yourself “this too shall pass” (which it will). And you can tell yourself that there are much worse things that could be happening (because there are). But in the moment it doesn’t actually make you feel any better. Your pain is your pain and you’re the only one feeling it.

From one highly futuristic person to another, I’ll tell you that your discomfort is so unbelievably necessary for your growth. Think about hiking to the top of a mountain…up there is a view like you’ve absolutely never seen. But in order to see it, you must put your muscles through hell getting up the incline. You actively put one foot in front of the other, despite the fatigue, because you know where it’s getting you even if you’ve never seen it. You have faith that the view will be entirely worth it.

Your life is no different. There will be so many times where you’re sitting in some shit. And sometimes it won’t be because “it’s happening to you” it’ll actually be because you’re choosing it. You’re choosing it because in order to get to where you’re going you know that some major discomfort must be gone through first in order to get there.

That’s where I’ve been the past few weeks. Let’s just say that I’ve majorly met my quota for tough conversations, all ones that I initiated. I’ve some some how managed to fill two weeks with more uncomfortable discussions than I did the entire 8 months prior. And I didn’t like it one bit…while I was in it.

Now that I’m on the other side of them all, I realize how much our dreams and our joy depend on our tolerance for discomfort. We’re only going to make as much progress as we are OK with not feeling well – with feeling (and even initiating) a bit of pain.

Taking a risk requires discomfort. Following your heart requires discomfort. So too do speaking your truth, being vulnerable, breaking up, standing on your own, and taking a chance.

Without the discomfort you have no appreciation for when it’s absent. Discomfort means you’re growing, evolving, and learning. All things that your dreams depend on to become reality.

Are you forgetting something?

Can you imagine a beautiful starry night’s sky? And not one that is seen from the streets of New York City or under the fluorescent street lights of suburbia. I want you to imagine that you’re miles away from civilization and looking up at nature’s finest twinkles.

The vast night sky lit up from millions and millions of stars wouldn’t be remotely as beautiful if it was just one or two giant white lights. If it was just the moon. Or if it was just the north star. What makes the night sky so immensely stunning is the amount of small flickers happening lightyears away.

Your life is the same way. Your life is made up in millions of tiny moments.

It’s in those moments we love hard. We win big. We laugh. We cry. We wish and pray. We wonder. Enjoy. Question. Giggle.

And it’s hard because all of that is fleeting. We are only right now, one moment at a time, which is why it’s is so unbelievably important to be there with them, no matter how small, instead of wishing for the big moments of the future. Big moments are only big when they’re in the future or when they’re in the past. Because in reality they are just a constellation of tiny moments that your mind regroups.

I’m futuristic. It’s a beautiful strength because I can normally see my path pretty clearly. But it makes enjoying this very moment of sitting with my computer on lap, listening to “Ugly Heart” on repeat with my farmer’s market bag half unpacked, my bed completely not made, and my bottle of sparkling water getting condensation on the couch. But this is the moment. My morning of coffee and laughing with a couple girlfriends at the Ferry Building was another moment. My friday night spent on Google Hangout and group texting my besties abroad about how “he’s the worst” was another. These are the tiny joys, the sparkling twinkles that make up the beautiful night sky that is my life.

They key is to appreciate them. To know they’re fleeting. And to not wish we were anywhere else but right here, in this itty bitty moment in time.

You must know this about time

Have you ever noticed a common thread happening in your life? Maybe it’s a topic that has come up in a bunch of different conversations with your galpals. Or maybe it’s just a mantra that ends up applying itself to a bunch of different situations happening to you lately.

A thread really pounding itself into my consciousness is that time, while always ongoing and moving forward, does not always equate to progress.

Think about it, we’re told that “time heals” and “everything gets better with time” …. but really it’s time + action that leads to progress. Time is not progress for progress’s sake.

Imagine you want learn how to play an instrument. Or perhaps you want to get over heartbreak. Both our emotional and our physical progress requires action. And even more than action, it requires sacrifice. We must give up our time and we must push through barriers in order to see growth.

I’ve been surveying my life lately, on many levels. And while I completely honor some of the things I’ve done in the past few years and how much I’ve developed both as a human and someone trying to put my talents out into the world for others….I’ve also seen plenty of situations where I’m waiting for time to pass because it’ll “get better”. I’ll stop drinking as much wine. Or I’ll see more success in a particular area of my life. Or eventually I start my video blogs. Or I’ll get better at my violin. Or I’ll have more money seeded to work on future projects.

But, just because time passes doesn’t mean those things will just magically happen. Time is not a magic answer for progress in any of our lives. I was reminded of this when I read the most poignant line in my galpal’s blog, “Progress does not happen to you.” Amen.

So if it’s not just going to happen, then we need to get out there and fight for whatever it is that’s most important. Can we get it all done at once? No, but small plans and continuous steps, even if they’re small, will lead us there over time.