5 tools for life change. (And…we’re back!)

25 05 2011

by Maya Mathias

I stopped updating this blog 16 months ago to make HUGE changes in my own life. And I’m now ready to re-launch this ChangePals blog, plus the accompanying it’s-so-freakin’-cool-I-wish-it-were-live-already website (coming this fall) with wiser eyes and a deeper heart.

Since my last post, I’ve learned even more enriching lessons, many of which I’ll share here in the coming weeks and months.

In a nutshell…I’ve moved halfway across the world, made new friends, started a business, secured 6 paying clients in 8 months, hired & trained a couple of interns AND healed a strained relationship with a close relative. Not bad for 16 months’ work.

But it wasn’t easy. No real and long-lasting life change ever is. That’s why the idea behind ChangePals is so powerful. It’s a place where change is your friend, where change is something to be cherished for the growth it brings us instead of the pain it can often cause us along the way.

How can change be your friend?

Think back to anything you accomplished that you’re still immensely proud of. I bet it didn’t come without a fight, hard work or taking a honest look at yourself more than once and saying you could do it. And I bet it involved at least one mentor or good friend who convinced you that it was an accomplishment worth striving for.  A caring someone who supported you when the going got rough and, more importantly, who gave you a kick in the rear when you got lazy and wanted to give up. And ultimately, someone who showered you with kind words and bear hugs when you met your goal.

So….here’s what you can expect from ChangePals:

  1. Inspiration.  We’ll have lots, and lots, and lots (did I forget to say it was lots?) of stories from people who have successfully changed their lives, or have at least learned something about the process of change.  There’s a bunch of science and theory around the idea of change, and we’ll blog about those too, but we also want to focus on the emotional & creative side of change.  You know, those unexpected messages that come to you when you hear someone else’s story and get a little ‘lightbulb’ moment of your own.
  2. Support.  We want ChangePals to be a SAFE and EFFECTIVE place to find the best mentors and friends for your life change.  ChangePals is not a therapy group or a collection of addiction-anonymous associations.  It’s a destination for high-functioning people (like you and me) who just happen to feel stuck in some way.  Between the ideas here and on our new website (launching this fall), we’ll help you ignore the naysayers in your life and find people who can and will cheer you through your change goals.
  3. Resources.  There are a ton of tools and ideas out there about how to make successful personal change.  We aim to blog about the ones that have worked best for us, our friends and our coaching clients.  The tools could be from a best-selling author or our Aunt Susie.  We really don’t care.  All we care about is that people have used it, and that it WORKS.
  4. Motivation.  Yeah, this one’s a tough nut to crack sometimes ain’t it?  The secret is….there is no secret.  ALL of us struggle with a lack of motivation at times.  We just need to keep reminding ourselves of our goal, and to keep our cheerleaders/mentors in the loop so they can help us stay on track.  Most of all, we need to remember not to beat ourselves up when we slip.  We’ll address the art and science of motivation as often as possible in this blog.
  5. Creativity.  In our rush to make it through each day on this earth, we often forget that we are an infinitely creative species.  It’s exciting to be living in a time where all forms of creativity are being celebrated (e.g. storytelling, problem-solving, art, technology etc).  And it’s equally exciting that adults are rediscovering the benefits of play and exploration, especially at work.  Here at ChangePals, we’ll show you how to tap into your creative toolbox to uncover your deepest passions and make the life changes that mean the most to you.
So there you have it.
5 ways that ChangePals hopes to serve you.
5 areas that can guide you through the most sacred and courageous of life choices.
5 beacons to help you design the life you know you’ve always hoped to live.
Tell us…what else would you seek from a friend in change?  Please comment below.

What are your Christmas gifts?

27 12 2009

A good friend asked me this week if I celebrate Christmas.  My knee-jerk response was ‘I don’t know.’  As a non-Christian, I enjoy the festive season as much as the next person.  Carolling, feasting, attending Christmas mass (I attended Catholic school and learned many hymns!), exchanging presents…been there, still doing that.  I mean, what’s not to like about yummy food, receiving gifts and admiring twinkling lights?

Upon reflection, though, I DO celebrate Christmas.  Every day of the year.

Not the eggnog, yuletide carols or snowball fights.  Not watching Christmas specials or ripping open yet another present from a Secret Santa colleague at the annual office party.

What I strive to celebrate is the gift of extending good cheer to a fellow human being.  What I love, more than anything about Christmas, is how people remember to care for the less able and fortunate in our midst.

The Salvation Army donation pails.  The massively overflowing bins of presents for needy children.  The sudden surge of volunteers at soup kitchens.  These efforts are noble, touching and richly rewarding.

So, as we march through the remaining days of Christmas, what gifts will you share with friends and strangers in the coming year?  How might you change the way you give of yourself in 2010?  And in what intangible, ongoing ways will you make a difference to a fellow human being?

Have a merry, joy-filled Christmas season.

To help or not to help?

1 12 2009

As I flesh out my ChangePals vision, I was struck by this article  that claims we’re born with a shared intentionality.  Science is beginning to prove that we all have an innate notion of what others expect to happen, beyond our conflicting sense of selfishness.  This sense of a group ‘we’ separates us from the other great apes and grounds our sociality.

Which gives me great hope for this journey I’m about to embark on with ChangePals.  It can’t be denied that we’re all selfish by nature and, indeed, I want ChangePals to appeal to your inner self(ishness).  For how can we truly change if we don’t, at some level, put ourselves and desires first?  We need to silence the inner and outter chatter of well-intentioned friends and family.  Of cultural dictates and conventional constructs.  Change begins with a strong sense of self and knowing what part you should or want to play in this giant jigsaw puzzle of a world.

But there is another side to the equation.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone cheer you on as you make positive change?  People who know exactly what you’re going through because they’ve been there before?  Many celebrities, for example, start foundations for leukemia, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, cancer, autism etc after losing a loved one to that affliction.  They speak from a deeper place of knowing, an inner core that resonates with yours.  And they persist and succeed in their cause because of it.  Their exchange is both selfish and altruistic: by helping others battle the disease, they continue to assuage the pain of their past loss.

And so I want ChangePals to be that platform.  A community that eventually helps itself by making its individuals more open to, accepting of and successful with change.

Life is filled with seeming contradictions, after all.  Business swings between competition and collaboration.  Relationships lurch between love and hate.  Team members bicker and support.

Yin and yang.  Selfishness and altruism.

Help and be helped.

Be a ChangePal.

NaNoWriMo – get writing!

28 10 2009

Aspiring novelists need a deadline.  If you want to change your notions about finally writing that Great (insert country here) Novel, read on.

Chris Baty started the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) movement in 1999, with the belief that a seemingly insurmountable task of 50,000 words in 30 days is not only possible, but will release budding writers from their dastardly inner critic.

The emphasis is on quantity, not quality.  Whatever the outcome, no matter how ridiculous the eventual plot twists and character development , you’ll have a draft by month’s end.  And you’ll be better off, and more experienced, than when you started.

Hello World!

21 10 2009

Change takes time.  On this site, you can discover your attitudes to change, find out how you want to transform, connect with like-minded people across the globe and join ongoing discussions about YOUR change priorities. 

Welcome to ChangePals.  Make change real in your life today!