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Esprit Concepts by Dena Alleman - comments and musings to enrich your life, make you think, or at least have a good laugh!

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Moth vs. Cockroach - which one are you?

Posted on September 28, 2014 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (0)

I was listening to a NPR story about stage directions and the terms they use. My ears perked up about one set of instructions when they're trying to get people to step into the light on stage. People fall into two categories - Moths or Cockroaches. The Moths seek the light and the Cockroaches tend to scamper away.

 

It surprised me as I would think anyone wanting to be on the stage would be a Moth or light seeker because they wanted to "shine". It never occurred to me that any actor would be a Cockroach, running from the light or being seen.

 

This really resonated with me as I think many of us want to be "seen" yet tend to run away from the light or the ways we'll REALLY be seen when the chance comes. Why is that? Probably the classic vulnerability fight we all have within ourselves - we have to risk being "out there" to succeed - and most of us have many failures on the way to success - and WHO wants anyone to see those?!

 

As a coach and business builder, I strive to be transparent and authentic, yet getting myself out there to meet people, launch programs that I know can really help people - I turn into a Cockroach.

 

In the interview, he said just telling the actor the Moth or Cockroach label seemed to immediately turn the Cockroaches into Moths! Nice immediate shift, but I'd rather be a Butterfly because I need the times in both the light and the shade, times to shine and times to rest and renew. I don't want to be mindlessly running to the light or away from it. I want to make mindful choices about when to be seen and when not to.

Even after Divorce, I'm Tied to My Ex...How Do I Handle That! 5 Keys to Getting Along with Your Ex

Posted on September 27, 2014 at 2:50 PM Comments comments (0)

One of the toughest things when you get divorce and have kids is the realization that you'll be connected to the Ex in some way for friggin' EVER! The key becomes how to have that relationship without driving yourself and your kids crazy.

 

It can be done! I've seen a new trend of Ex's getting along. Fortunately, my ex and I decided early on in our separation stage that we weren't going to get nasty like we saw many around us doing. We realized that we were going to be connected for a loooonnnngggg time, and we didn't want our kids to suffer for it.

 

5 Keys to Getting Along with Your Ex

 

* Identify what's really important to you in maintaining this link between you and your kids and your Ex - For example, I had to give up on making what they were eating such a big deal. When they were with him, they were with him. However - we both agreed on things like bedtime during school versus the summer or breaks. Identify your top items and let the rest go. They're not going to die from having soda...or not having soda!

 

* Figure out how to communicate - It's not always what you say but how you say it, right?! Sometimes, email or texts work best for us. I'm very detail oriented and need to download a lot of info sometimes. Sometimes I need to get his support on a kid issue, so we talk. Maybe you need an intermediary. My ex's new wife is now cc'd on all emails because she is good with memory and calendar stuff for the girls - she's awesome!

 

* Stop the Story Fondling - Have you ever had a friend or relative that tells the same story over, and over, and over again? Do you tell yourself the same story over, and over, and over again? For some - it's about the "remember when times were good"...and for others - "that no-good so-and-so...do you remember when xxxx happened?!". Whatever your story is, write it down, put it away or burn it. Reliving and retelling - even if only in your head - isn't doing anybody any favors.

 

* Find the Common Ground - Make a list of agree on standards or rules. It could be something around the shared custody date changes - some set it and do NOT ever change it - and others agree to be flexible around family events or special needs. Other standards might be discipline. For a while - we agreed that my discipline actions didn't carry over to his time with the kids and vice versa. In other words, we didn't want to have to enforce discipline that we didn't have any part in determining. As our kids have entered teenage years, we altered that a bit for things that might be more significant - like major technology infractions. The key is to know that you're both parents and can find some common agreement on key issues. If not, return to items 1 and 2!

 

* R-E-S-P-E-C-T - Don't confuse this with "like" or "accept". Some Ex's might be really despicable and deserve a lack of respect for what may have happened in the marriage, but that's not fun for you or the kids to carry around as part of the "new normal" of the family relationship. First, respect yourself! That includes not stooping to down and dirty tactics. There's always a way to handle disagreements tactfully - even if it has to go to the courtroom. Second, respect your kids. No matter what your Ex is/isn't to you anymore, they're still the other parent - no matter how good or bad you would grade them on that - and you'll only be doing right by your kids to act with the most level-headed & respectful way possible. It's not always easy!

 

If you or someone you know could use more support around having a good relationship with their Ex, feel free to refer them to my upcoming 6-week Series "EX-traordinary: How to have the Best Relationship Possible with Your Ex" - click HERE to see the details and register. Webinar starts October 6th - Register by October 1 for significant savings!

The Enemy Within - Victim or Bully

Posted on September 14, 2014 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)

The victim mindset is something I DETEST! Your issues and shortcomings are not a conspiracy caused by "the world" or "them". However, I've found myself falling prey to being a victim of myself - bullying myself! Who knew!

 

Haven't we all heard of someone being their own worst enemy, doing things that certainly don't help themselves and wondering why they didn't see it? Have you heard of an athlete or team really "beating themselves" by their own errors or poor play? Well, I've been doing this to myself. I can't say I didn't realize it, but I didn't really know why. I'm still working on the "whys" a little, but I'm more interested in changing the behavior.

 

Changing behavior isn't simply muscling through doing things differently. Obviously, DOING things differently certainly is part of it. For lasting change, it's about changing your mind and then the behavior follows.

 

I've been bullying myself in a couple of areas in ways that I would NEVER allow someone else to treat me, and I'd go BANANAS if my kids were being treated this way.

 

First - building my business. I've had a certain inertia around this. Yes - it's WAAAAYYYY much more work than I anticipated, so putting more time and emphasis on the contract work from my old j-o-b is a simple and justifiable distraction. Gotta keep the lights on, right? However, the Bully in me is beating myself up for procrastinating, not having enough clients, not doing the work, being faithless about my abilities, which does nothing but feed the fear of failure and creates even MORE inertia and self-defeating tendencies like not replying to emails in a timely manner.

 

I realized recently that if I return to what I know - doing what I enjoy and lights me up - I'm truly motivated and take action. Isn't that true for all of us?

 

The second place I've seen this, which I think is true for soooooooooooo many women, is my weight. It's easy to be a victim of age and a completely dead thyroid, but inhaling chips and cocktails while watching the Biggest Loser doesn't help. Self-sabotage...such an easy think to do to ourselves. But why? While I can recognize that I'm trying to fill an empty place with food and that it's a stress response after the kids go to bed, it's also a torture device. I'm beating myself up and literally weighing myself down for my perceived faults & failures - divorce, debt, fear of the effort a new relationship would bring, fear of exposing myself...warts and all...to someone else, and the fear that I just won't be able to lose the weight and do what it takes. It's so much harder now...and that part sucks!

 

So - I'm returning to the basics that I've learned...Better It, Barter It, or Bag It...and do what feels good...have some fun...play! So the cocktails & chips still feel good, but they're not a compulsion anymore and working out feels sooooo good...even if I have to push myself to actually do it sometimes...there's still a victory there. With my businesses - when I put out something that I'm really excited about, I've had encouraging responses and asked to participate in some other professional groups. Shocking? No! Instead of playing the role of Victim or Bully, I'm taking on the role of Friend and Supporter...to myself.

Hey - There's a Film Crew Following Me Around!

Posted on August 28, 2014 at 1:10 PM Comments comments (0)

OK - so not really, but what if I did?! What if YOU did? I recently read something by Susan Hyatt, one of my mentors, that asked if I had a film crew following me around and filming my life, what would they see. The point is not about catching you doing "bad" but more of a challenge of are you living your life as you intended. That thought scared the crap out of me! I am NOT living my life the way I want to...and I didn't even realize it.

 

It's so easy to tell yourself "someday" or that you're working on "getting there". While that might be true, life is short and why am I waiting for someday? Isn't today some-day??? Am I enjoying TODAY and doing things TODAY that I want in my life?

 

Who cares what other people see, what would I see if I watched a taping of my life? What are my kids seeing? THAT is super-convicting. I don't want them to remember me as stressed out, overweight, lonely, unfulfilled, always working toward tomorrow...and I'm the only one that can change that.

 

So - what does it take to make this change? It might sound trite, but I do believe it starts simply with this awareness. Second, a decision. Yep - I said it might sound trite. The third "leg" that makes the table stable (practicing my poetry!) - action. It doesn't even have to be a big huge tsunami of action, but simple small course corrections like drinking 1 more glass of water a day, turning the TV off, getting out of the house and out of my head, and using EFT to manage my stress! Huge ships change course 1-degree at a time.

 

While 3-legs can make a table stable, the 4th leg can make it stronger. My 4th leg is to seek advice/accountability. I have the benefit of having a TON of support from my coaching tribe, my family, and my God.

 

What course correction will you make today?

 

***If you want help navigating a new path or finding your way back to your original path, contact [email protected] ***

What if Perception is NOT Reality?

Posted on August 4, 2014 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

You've probably heard the phrase "perception is reality"...but is it? If two people can witness the same event but walk away with two different stories, is one more "right" than the other? With my parents and siblings, we often talk about how interesting it is that we had so many shared experiences, but the parts of them that each of us remembers is so different as well as WHAT we remember! So - is this just a difference in memories?

 

When I was in my early teens (probably closer to 16!), I can recall distinctly realizing that other people didn't think about me as much as I thought they were. As teens, we worry so much about what others will think and/or say about what we have on, what we say, how we act, who our friends are, our families embarrassing us (or that one just might be for my kids!). This worry drives much of the decisions we make, and some people never quite outgrow this worry or patterning their lives based on what others think...or more accurately what they THINK others are thinking about them.

 

My ex-husband and I were discussing friends who are having marriage problems. He said something to the effect that he's heard both of their sides, and 50% of it is the same. I think that's a pretty good percentage! However, the other 50% is based on their own views and perceptions. Is one right and the other wrong?

 

Byron Katie has developed something called "The Work" which is based on the theory (in my words) that most of what gives us distress and discomfort in our lives are our thoughts. Furthermore, these thoughts are just that...thoughts! It's a powerful concept to realize that these "what if..." scenarios that we worry about and base our decisions on are just STORIES! Teens seem to understand this a little more quickly and clearly as they're not yet so entrenched in believing their own stories.

 

Two simple and powerful techniques I learned from "The Work" are (1) asking "is that true...do I have 5 facts (not feelings or beliefs) to confirm my story" (2) "Who would I be without that thought?". As adults, we've learned to rationalize our worries and stories - such as "I HAVE to worry about money or my kids might struggle paying for college...don't you watch the news?!", but if I don't have 5 facts to confirm that my story about the future is true...because who can predict the future accurately...than it's just a story. If I think about who I'd be without that thought, I'd be a more easy-going parent...not so stressed about their food choices at McDonald's or pressuring them to start researching scholarships in the 6th grade! Don't get it twisted, I do believe my kids should learn about financial responsibility and help in making decisions about their future, but what good does the stress and anxiety bring? Don't we make our worst decisions when stressed and our best decisions when we're clear-headed? Or is that a story I made up? I'm pretty sure there's research to back that one up!

 

So I challenge you...the next time you have a worry or a thought about the ever nebulous "them" and what they'll say about you and your choices, try using the two techniques above. I'm betting you'll be more relaxed and freeing yourself up for a little more fun!

 

***check out www.anymeeting.com/denaalleman for FREE webinars on such topics as these....or www.EspritConcepts.com for more FREE resources***

 

Don't Bow Down to the False Gods of Fear

Posted on June 23, 2014 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (0)

I worry and am afraid of things. How about you? I worry about failure, betrayal, financial loss and not having "enough", abandonment, and snakes! For most of us, these fears are just thoughts or stories in our head that we tell ourselves...the great "what-ifs" and "if that happens, that means..." and "people will think...". These are the FALSE GODS of fear.

 

The sad truth is these fears can determine the choices we make. We either badger ourselves to achieve or avoid taking action so that we can avoid "the pain" if at all possible. Negative acts and thoughts originate in fear, which makes us abdicate our control and make choices to be "safe" or "right".

 

The happy truth is that I don't need to be afraid of these things coming true as I've already survived them in some shape or form! I've failed, been betrayed, had financial downturns and loss, been abandoned, and yes...scared by a snake in my path more than once...and yet, I live on. I bet the same is true for you.

 

How would my life be different if I told myself a "survivor" or "overcomer" or "abundance" story every time one of these fears came into my head? Instead of abdicating my control to my fears, I could make freer, easier, more courageous choices, unencumbered by nagging doubts or concerns, living a full life, not running from decisions...or snakes!

 

So, to you False Gods of Fear....thanks but no thanks. I don't have to wonder "what if..." but just be and do. I don't have to worry about "if that happens, that means..." but just do my best and expect the best. Oh, and "people will think..." that I'm a hard-worker, a love of life, and someone who keeps going no matter what. So, False Gods of Fear... I don't think you have anything I need!

What Do Relationships Teach Us About Ourselves?

Posted on June 1, 2014 at 5:20 PM Comments comments (0)

When I was having trouble with my spouse who eventually became my ex, all I thought I was learning was how I had picked the "wrong" person and all the things I didn't want in my next relationship! Never did I think of that relationship as a messenger to me...about me.

 

When reading "Anatomy of the Spirit" by Carolyn Myss, she lays out how relationships are spiritual messengers, providing revelations about our own strengths and weaknesses. It's a good thing I read this 5-years post-divorce as I'm not sure I would have been able to really absorb and consider this.

 

From our earliest relationships, we learn to interact consciously with others not realizing that all relationships are devised to teach us. We tend toward psychologically divisive and conflict-inducing opposites...mine/yours, good/bad, win/lose, right/wrong, rich/poor...Yet when we consider relationships as intended to teach us about ourselves, we can begin to see what we need to improve in ourselves and not just focus on the shortcomings of the other. Even when we are dealing with a jerk, it's an opportunity to learn patience and mercy, and how to exit a negative relationship as well as to see the value in the other person and what they bring to the relationship.

 

If I can recognize the symbolic union in every relationship, that it's here to teach me something about myself, I can break free of the divisions that I see and start to accommodate differences. I can start to acknowledge the equal importance of the other person in a relationship and not just my view, perspective, value, and wants.

 

This perspective is crucial for my ability to maintain a good ongoing relationship with my ex as well as my kids and anyone else I want to have a long-term relationship with! Don't confuse accepting and seeing worth in others as code for "being a doormat" but quite the opposite. When I can allow the other person to be of equal importance, I'm not only giving power to them but also gaining the power of perspective.

 

If you need help improving your relationships - with others or yourself - I can help! Check out my website www.EspritConcepts.com and calendar for offerings such as other blog posts, one-on-one coaching, workshops, and webinars...some are free!

EX-traordinary

Posted on April 2, 2014 at 8:50 AM Comments comments (0)

"To dream the impossible dream..." I know that's what some of you are thinking, but it IS possible! You can have a good relationship with your ex. Most specifically, I think those with kids care the most about even trying to have a reasonably respectful relationship with their ex, so that's my viewpoint.

 

When we were separating, my husband and I weren't sure where our relationship was headed, but we knew we wanted to minimize any anxiety the kids would have about this. We'd seen enough truly ugly breakups to know we were NOT going there. We planned ahead of time how and when to tell them we were going to be living apart, and made sure they knew that we loved them and there was nothing they could do to change it. We said that to a kindergartner and 2nd-grader as it's a common theme among that age group to think they either did something to split up their parents or that they can do something to make them stay together. We also emphasized that we loved them and that while we still loved each other, we just didn't want to still live together. For us, this was true.

 

Now...for you, you might be seething and ranting to your friends and wanting to call them every heinous word in the book! I get it. However...those words and scars they create live on. If you can remember even a shred of what you fell in love with the other person for, you've got a chance of pulling this out of the fire.

 

Also, we are big on respect, so we talked through plans with the girls and made some rules between ourselves about how to conduct our business. Very early on in our separation, we worked with a mediator to get the $ and child issues handled. The great thing about mediation is that even if you don't stay married, the $ and kid agreements hold! It's a contractual issue that doesn't go "back" to what it was before you were separated. I LOVE this and think this process alone would save a MILLION marriages!!!

 

So - having said that, I think identifying what your deal breakers are...and think long term...and negotiating for them is key. Again, if we could do this within our marriages, we'd probably have less divorce!

 

For more info on how to actually try for this kind of a relationship with your ex, come to my FREE webinar on Monday 4/7/14 at 12noon ET. Space is limited, so register now via this link at Anymeeting.com.

4 Stages of Personal Power

Posted on April 1, 2014 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (0)

I've learned that going through separation and divorce causes a lot of introspection. Duh, right? What I didn't understand is that a lot of this is about "power" and that there are different levels of personal power and a growth cycle. We tend to focus more on the "power struggle" in a relationship, but the power within ourselves is even more important because it's always with us!

 

There are 4 distinct stages of Personal Power:

 

Revolution - breaking out / breaking away!

Involution - growing and learning about yourself

Narcissism - it's all about me, me, me!

Evolution - evolving through all you've learned at a higher level

The great thing is that all of these are cyclical and not one time only experiences. Growing in your power is not always linear, as life is not, but it's more of a spiraling loop that starts small and circles bigger and bigger as we learn more, experience more in life, and grow. Our perspectives get broader and we can cycle through the power levels a little quicker.

 

I've found these cycles to match up well with the experience many of us have during separation and divorce. We have a personal revolution by breaking out of negative patterns - sometimes ones that we didn't even know existed. This can be painful at times, but it always starts the growth of your personal power.

 

Involution comes next as we start to remember or find what WE really like and what is really important to us. Sometimes, these are the things that we've started learning and experiencing that caused distance between us and our significant other. This doesn't mean these are "bad" things, but ones we must recognize as important to us.

 

Narcissism gets a bad rap. We often lose ourselves in relationships and the day-to-day that life brings. If you're a parent, losing yourself in your kids is easily and unwittingly done! Sometimes, we need to really nurture ourselves. So - once we've broken out of the old patterns (revolution) and recognized internally what's important to us (involution), we can start to take care of ourselves and focus on what we really want.

 

Evolution seems obvious by now where you incorporate all of the growth you've experienced in the first 3 levels of personal power and take it higher. This often includes spiritual awareness and a much broader perspective on things that you may have had a real black & white perspective on in the past.

 

BEWARE! Every time we take a step forward in our growth & in self-esteem, even in a small way, some things about our external dynamics usually change as well. Sometimes, you'll see friends not be quite so friendly anymore! Over the last 5-years, I've gone through a major friend shift, grown a lot spiritually, and been focusing a lot on my environment to Feng Shui the power around me - and to just finish up some dang projects! Sometimes, the physicality of working on house projects and working out (my own personal "house") helps you focus on moving forward and can also be great metaphor tools for your relationship with your ex and with yourself!

 

So - here's to embracing your personal power! For more info on workshops, community groups, one-on-one coaching and seminars on "mental self defense" and other ways to have a good relationship with your ex, check out EspritConcepts.com.

4 Stages of Personal Power

Posted on April 1, 2014 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (0)

I've learned that going through separation and divorce causes a lot of introspection. Duh, right? What I didn't understand is that a lot of this is about "power" and that there are different levels of personal power and a growth cycle. We tend to focus more on the "power struggle" in a relationship, but the power within ourselves is even more important because it's always with us!

 

There are 4 distinct stages of Personal Power:

 

Revolution - breaking out / breaking away!

Involution - growing and learning about yourself

Narcissism - it's all about me, me, me!

Evolution - evolving through all you've learned at a higher level

The great thing is that all of these are cyclical and not one time only experiences. Growing in your power is not always linear, as life is not, but it's more of a spiraling loop that starts small and circles bigger and bigger as we learn more, experience more in life, and grow. Our perspectives get broader and we can cycle through the power levels a little quicker.

 

I've found these cycles to match up well with the experience many of us have during separation and divorce. We have a personal revolution by breaking out of negative patterns - sometimes ones that we didn't even know existed. This can be painful at times, but it always starts the growth of your personal power.

 

Involution comes next as we start to remember or find what WE really like and what is really important to us. Sometimes, these are the things that we've started learning and experiencing that caused distance between us and our significant other. This doesn't mean these are "bad" things, but ones we must recognize as important to us.

 

Narcissism gets a bad rap. We often lose ourselves in relationships and the day-to-day that life brings. If you're a parent, losing yourself in your kids is easily and unwittingly done! Sometimes, we need to really nurture ourselves. So - once we've broken out of the old patterns (revolution) and recognized internally what's important to us (involution), we can start to take care of ourselves and focus on what we really want.

 

Evolution seems obvious by now where you incorporate all of the growth you've experienced in the first 3 levels of personal power and take it higher. This often includes spiritual awareness and a much broader perspective on things that you may have had a real black & white perspective on in the past.

 

BEWARE! Every time we take a step forward in our growth & in self-esteem, even in a small way, some things about our external dynamics usually change as well. Sometimes, you'll see friends not be quite so friendly anymore! Over the last 5-years, I've gone through a major friend shift, grown a lot spiritually, and been focusing a lot on my environment to Feng Shui the power around me - and to just finish up some dang projects! Sometimes, the physicality of working on house projects and working out (my own personal "house") helps you focus on moving forward and can also be great metaphor tools for your relationship with your ex and with yourself!

 

So - here's to embracing your personal power! For more info on workshops, community groups, one-on-one coaching and seminars on "mental self defense" and other ways to have a good relationship with your ex, check out EspritConcepts.com.


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