Authors Posts by Steffany Hanlen

Steffany Hanlen

Steffany Hanlen
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Steffany Hanlen is a performance coach who trains high-profile professional athletes, including NHL hockey players and Olympians, as well as amateur athletes. Steffany's strategies worked equally well for others looking to achieve success and she also coaches artists, business leaders and many others reach their dream. steffanyhanlen.com

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Shake up your life and reap the rewards.

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Definition of Paradox:

A seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true: in a paradox. he has discovered that stepping back from his job has increased the rewards he gleans from it. 

Getting what you want from letting it all go; it may seem difficult, but there are times in life where that is exactly what you must do to succeed.

In my case, one day while everyone was chasing the dream, I decided just to live mine.

Chasing was too much work. I got tired, depressed, fat and cranky.

It always looked like other people had it all. They had what I was chasing–the nice house, the cool car, the rockin’ outfits on their more rockin’ bodies… and then one day, everything stood still.

The day after my sister-in-law passed away, my husband and I had a breakthrough moment. It came from asking ourselves the question: “Did she live exactly the life she wanted? Where, what, why, and with whom?” I believe she did. Doesn’t everyone? In truth, I never asked her. And, the thought hit me. “What if she didn’t?” Next, the big question arose: “What if I’m not? Maybe everyone…doesn’t? And, who am I to judge other people’s situations when I am not fully living my truth?”

So, I gave up chasing, and today, and every day, I feel blessed to be alive. Thanks to my sister-in-law’s passing, I learned to live and embrace the power of paradox. It may seem like an odd lesson, but wait! I plan to turn this whole goal setting, build life of your dreams nonsense on its ear.

Let’s live like we are dying!

This line shows up in songs and movies, but what does it mean? To me, it means if we are killing ourselves doing things we don’t want to do, to get things we don’t really need, or living in places that don’t nurture us, then what’s it all about? The contradiction here is that if we lived every day like we were dying, which we are, then what might we do differently today? Where would you live; what would you be doing; and with whom would you spend time?

Many of my clients have massive goals and demand measurable results. I discovered they shared a common element–the magic of paradox. Paradox is simply the awareness that two completely opposite realities can exist at the same time.

What I mean is that when things don’t make sense, or are inexplicable, you go for it anyway. The results you get are so outrageous that people think you’re a cheater, or that you must be doing things illegally or immorally. If you want a magical life, you believe in some sort of magic. If you want a normal life, you believe that being comfortable is more important to you than anything else.

“Learn to live.”

I don’t believe in comfort. Human beings tend to seek non-confrontation and the “road to easy.” We actually think we can be in control. Success doesn’t live on Easy Street. Success lives at the bridge of absurd, out of control and crazy. We set everything up to be comfortable, only to realize that “joie de vivre” arrives when we are in creating mode, and feeling out of control.

If your goals are designed for you to end up in comfort, ironically, achieving your goals can begin a downward spiral, leading to anxiety, depression and/or a feeling of un-fulfillment. That is the biggest paradox of all.

To get results, we must tear things down, in order to change and grow–like the contradiction of tearing our muscles during our workouts, in order to build bigger muscles.

My key paradox is to cause great disruption in my life, and the lives of my clients, so that the lives we create are bigger, bolder, and have more abundance than we can imagine. If I can get my clients to the precipice of firing me, I know I have affected change with them.

Stop seeking comfort! It will eventually squish your spirit. Protecting your lifestyle is 100 percent different from creating a life. Love, life, and success of any kind can only be exquisite if you are willing to step away from the safety of what you already know.

“I gave up chasing.”

That is the paradox.

I don’t know about you, but I am done with trying to be happy. My goal now is to tear down the walls of what I spent the last 20 years building, trust that it will support me through the transition, and expand into the person I know I truly am.

Crazy? Yes. Simple? Yes. Easy. No. Then again, if it is easy, it will not be worth it in the end. And, if it’s not the end, it’s not over.

The Paradoxes of Champions:
  1. Only by destroying your comfort zone can you be safe.
  2. Seeking comfort, or the easy way, can be a root cause of anxiety and depression.
  3. There are two ways of being—creating, or consuming.
  4. In order to win (get what you want), you have to lose (let go of what you have).
  5. Do the opposite, not the obvious.
  6. Stand for what you believe in,   not what is right or wrong.
 

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Conquer your fear of change this year

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There is an old Garfield comic that I love. The thought-bubble above his head said, “I went on a diet for two weeks and all I lost… was two weeks!”

How many times have you said you are going to do that one thing or make that one change so you can be, do or have something different than what you have? Many people often set unrealistic goals, like losing 30 pounds, finding true love or earning a million dollars this year!

But I am addicted to change too! I have trained myself to embrace and harness the power of change to catapult the results I get in my life by doing this one simple, innocent thing: I take five! 

Like Garfield, I was a slow starter and preferred inertia and lasagna over moving and eating my greens. I needed a little trick to get me going.

Possibly, like you, each New Years Eve I set myself up with an exciting new thought process about how fabulous I will be when I (fill in your blank) then proceed to incrementally let myself down by not doing anything about it. I had become addicted to the feeling I got. Then I took a small step or made a change to my routine or my habits. I didn’t always like the feeling, but I’ve gotten used to it. Now I seek it out. If something isn’t working I have a point of reference and a simple skill I can act upon. 

“Even if you are at the office and John from the mailroom sees you, who cares?”

HERE’S HOW IT WORKS.

Make five changes that take no more than five minutes each. Do this for five months and then decide if it works, and if it does, then do it for five more months. Not four changes for 10 minutes for six months. Make one change a day, then two changes a day and then if it’s still working, make all five changes, but only for five months! It has to have an ending or it doesn’t work as well.

FIVE FOR FIVE! THAT’S THE KEY.

Here are some ideas that worked great for me and they will work great for you too.

1) Wake up five minutes later than you usually do for five days in a row, once a week for five months. You are either getting up before you want to and being grumpy or hitting your snooze button and rushing around anyway. Give yourself permission to get up at the exact time you say you will get up for five days. See how you feel after the first week. Do it again.

2) Add five percent more to your monthly savings account for five months. If you save $10 a month, change it to $10.50. If you save $100 a month, change it to $105. After five months, increase it again (the whole amount) to another five percent. Repeat this every five months and you will find a noticeable difference in your savings account.

3) Call or email five people (not Facebook friends) you have not spoken to or seen in over five years. You know who they are. You also know why you no longer are in contact. Take five minutes and think about who you would love to reconnect with and why, or if there is something left unsaid. If there is, just say it.

4) Add five minutes to your exercise program. If you do 10 minutes of walking, do 15 instead. If you are doing a 60-minute Zumba class, just add a five-minute stretch. If you don’t have an exercise program, start by doing five minutes of any exercise for five days in a row. Even if you are at your desk, or watching TV, you can do a sit-up anywhere. 

5) Close your eyes and focus on your breathing for five minutes everyday for five days. It doesn’t have to be at the same time of day. Even if you are the office and John from the mailroom sees you, who cares? You may inspire someone else to take five of anything in 2015.

“I have trained myself to embrace and harness the power of change.”

Taking five for 2015 requires no effort to get big results. Even a five-second delay before a habit kicks in or a five degree shift of a thought before doing something normal could be the beginning of something amazing.

Make 2015 your year to become addicted to powerful, positive change in your life five little steps at a time.

 

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Stop setting goals and start making decisions

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Do you find yourself reminiscing about resolutions you set last New Year’s Eve, a goal the night of graduation, the wishes upon a star on the beach that time? The goal you never quite accomplished or the one you did? 

What happened afterward?

Play along. Pick one that sticks in your mind. How far did you get? Did you get halfway, almost there, all the way to the podium, finish the five kilometres, or get distracted by a shiney thing?

If you did achieve it, how has getting that goal changed you? What were the benefits or accolades you got and what have you done with your result since? Are you happier? What inspiring stories do you tell and how have you changed the world around you because of it?

What happened if you didn’t get the result you wanted? When did you stop? Why do you think you did?

Here’s what happens: You set a goal! An outrageous goal of something you’ve wanted forever, such as an achievable sales outcome or goal at home.

“A body at rest remains at rest unless acted on by a full bladder or an empty wine glass.”

You did all the things they tell you to do in the books. Write out your plan, set timelines, outline milestones where you buy yourself something nice when achieved. You set consequences if you don’t hit your target on time. You recalibrate and start again. It’s all very simple and orderly isn’t it? What if you got so into the slight adjustments and changes you had to make to get that goal you didn’t even realize you’d gotten there… congratulations! Goal achieved. Now what?

Wait, did I just say you’d have to… change?

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I may have forgotten to tell you that part. To get a different result, something, or someone has to change and that someone is you. Things don’t change, we do. Not only what you do, how you do it changes, you may even have to change how you think and feel. When you say you want something different you have to change things. It’s non-negotiable, but change is hard.

Human beings love inertia. A body at rest remains at rest unless acted on by a full bladder or an empty wine glass. The number one reason people choose not to get to their finish line is because they feel it’s too hard to change.

How about flipping ‘it’s hard’ on its head. Consider deciding ‘it’s hard’ to battle the gravity of sameness and being comfortable in order to forge into the unknown.

The number two reason goal setting fails is, without a plan for what you will do and who you will be after you achieve the goal, there remains a big black hole called, now what?   

Some archetypes of the 21st century are perpetual student, chronic dieter, lifetime athlete, what about serial entrepreneur going from idea to idea without ever having to… well you get my point.

Last century, archetypes like stay-at-home mom, nurse, fireman, teacher were all end games for many people. People go to school, get a job, do the job, raise a family… or not, pay off their mortgage, get a grandchild or four, dream about retirement, retire… now what? Wait to die?

Make a decision this year, after the holidays of course, to stop setting goals. Start with your now what? Begin to set intentions and fulfill outcomes, then work backward. It’s a shorter distance to the end game.

With a commitment to fulfilling intentions, your vision becomes clear and a plan to achieve the outcome begins to unfold. Have you noticed when you make a decision, take a stand and decide what you must have your life feel and be like, the right people and opportunities begin to show up?

“When you say you want something different you have to change things.”

How do you know goal setting isn’t working? Look around you. Do you have exactly what you want? Have you accomplished the goals you set? If so, great, you have stayed true to a path that was aligned with fulfilling intentions. Well done. If not, then by default, your life becomes the sum result of goals you set or didn’t set in the past. Look at your life, job, friends, level of satisfaction or happiness. This is it. If you’d wanted something different, you’d have something else.

Remember, as George Bernard Shaw famously said: “Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

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