Next issue May 23, 2009

Issue 5,  May 15, 2009     —      Page 6

Time for Change?
International author/speaker shares tips on transforming your life.

by Nancy R. Daly, MBA

It was ten years ago that I first suspected something significant was amiss in my life.

Nothing “appeared” wrong. My strategic planning consulting practice was booked solid with stimulating and challenging engagements, clients were flying me to world-class resorts to work with their staff and board of directors, my marriage was good, so were finances and health.

Curious as to what might be amiss, I began to explore and question elements of my life the best way I knew how: by applying the very techniques that I used to help businesses uncover their own critical issues, mission and values, through strategic thinking processes. I started, simply enough, with the question: What feels wrong with my life right now?

As my thoughts poured out in written words, I was stunned to see that most of my dissatisfactions were actually symptoms produced by the same root cause: my choices as to how I spent my time. It seems like such a simple thing, but it proved to be transformational. I wanted to do things that I had a passion for, other than work, such as being more involved in my young son’s life, doing community work, dabbling in art, and nurturing friendships. With a one-dimensional focus on work, I had created this problem. That meant I could possibly fix it. But this would require a major change in how I perceived priorities and how I lived my life. That was a scary thought. I was about to turn my entire perspective upside down.

Let me pause here to define how I use the term “transformation”. I mean radical change in one’s perspective of self, the world, and how one interacts with life. Transformation is usually enabled by a dramatic increase in inner-awareness through study, revelation or trauma. In today’s terms, transformation is an awakening.

Once you are aware of the radical change desired and needed, you can’t go back to being unaware. The knowledge is irrevocable. The critical factor is whether you choose to cross the threshold and embrace, enact and live your passion and authentic self, or, you choose to stay paralyzed “in limbo” without action. That choice is the difference between living authentically and joyfully in everyday life, verses feeling that you are missing something, and always seeking more (whether it is food, clothes, relationships, money, or staying numb in order to avoid facing it). Unfortunately, too many people settle for the safe, easy route of status quo, just staying where they are and never stepping out to truly change. The joyful and energetic people who have courageously crossed that threshold and transformed their perspective of self, the world, relationships and how they make a difference, are living to their full potential and satisfaction.

How can you get started on that latter path? Part of my own transformation urged me to share the tools I had created to help sort through the possibilities of what crossing the threshold of change would bring. Through speaking, workshops, and my book, A Left-Brain Thinker On a Right-Brain Journey, I am happy to share with others to help them get “unstuck” using an analytical plan, combined with a final dose of “feeling” how a choice would fit within your life. Here is a 10 step summary to help you consider the scope of your transformational journey:

*    Awareness: defining the root cause that drives your desire for transformation. Ask: What is less than ideal in my life right now? Next, review your response and identify patterns to illuminate what is honestly causing all or most of your dissatisfaction symptoms. This underlying force is your root cause.
*    Commitment: truly wanting and welcoming change to occur.
*    Preparation: giving yourself time and space to think and feel about change.
*    Action: implementing part of the change you want; try it out.
*    Listening to your intuition: discerning cues and messages from your inner truth.
*    Identifying elements in your life that don’t add value, and are negotiable for change.
*    Financial implications of your transformation.
*    Time allocation: developing the framework for how to use your time.
*    Relationships: surrounding yourself with positive rather than negative people.
*    Tangible goals: breaking your plan into manageable parts to enable action to occur.

While all the steps are important, the first two are critical. In fact, they can be “deal breakers.” If you don’t identify the root cause for change and make a commitment, you will never follow through, and your life will pretty much remain the same. Unsatisfactory. But now you have awareness that something needs to change, and that awareness won’t go away. It will either bother you or motivate you.

In my situation, it wasn’t enough for me to realize I was working too much. I then had to accept it had been my choice, and I wanted to learn to make more fulfilling choices for how I spent my time, and then make the commitment to change. It’s not easy, even when you know what needs to be done.

I can now say that I have truly transformed how I view my life, the importance of relationships, the use of money as a minimal tool to have what I need, and the expansive nature of the Universe for learning my role, gifts and purpose. This was accomplished by implementing changes over the past eight years, mostly through trial and error.

Some of the early changes included downsizing to a smaller easy-to-care-for house and taking on fewer clients, which allowed me to be more selective with who and what I worked on. From there, I was able to serve on organizational and city Boards, be active with my son’s school and athletics, and express my repressed creativity through art and crafts.

My work focus also changed. I am writing my next book, and sharing with people, such as yourself, the concepts and practice of transformational change, through retreats and speaking. But it does not feel like work, which is a sign of true passion, when the action feels effortless because you WANT to do it.

Interestingly, through my experiences leading self-discovery retreats, I’ve noticed three main groups who hit a point where change is more urgent to address. The first, career-focused 35 year-olds, sometimes peak in their first career choice and are looking for new, more stimulating challenges. The second group, the more firmly established 45 year-olds, are asking what else is there for me in life? The third, approaching–retirement 55 year olds, often ask themselves if it is too late to start something new and completely different.

Regardless of your age, any person can and should take time to give serious thought as to where they experience passion and energy. That self-discovery process can be the critical first step in transformation. Once you are clear on what gives you joy and meaning, then you want to find ways to incorporate that more into your life, possibly working through all 10 steps of transformation for true fulfillment.

After all, if we are going to spend a large number of hours in our lives in a career or relationship or location, we might as well be excited and happy about our choices. I know I am!

About the author: Nancy R. Daly is an internationally published author, speaker and facilitator. She is based in Florida, USA.
To order
A Left-Brain Thinker On a Right-Brain Journey

By following our passions we can find balance between intuition and organized design with a deeper meaning in our lives.

Nancy Daly, an award-winning executive business strategist combines analytical intelligence with creative intuition to originate new formulas for personal life transformations and perceptive planning. Daly's candid case study is skillful and humorous, and offers unique expertise for breakthrough change and passion-filled results.

Nancy Daly’s book offers unique formulas for attaining transformational, life-changing goals. This MBA and former CFO applied business-planning tools to herself as an experiment to explore her inner purpose and passions. The result was much bigger than she ever bargained for. Not only does Daly share her candid case study with humor and skill; she offers unique perspectives, questions, tools and examples of breakthrough change and passion-filled results.

Daly’s unusual journey will take you through initial preparations and reactions to major change, with processes for identifying deep motivators and desires. She will capture your attention with metaphors and teachings from Indian culture, and honest and revealing personal thoughts and fears. Nancy redefines analytical tools as personal decision support systems, and discovers the hidden power of intuition and inner guidance. At every step in this intriguing story, she pauses for you to apply her steps to your own personal situation and journey. What do others say about such an unusual synthesis of skill and honesty?

“Nancy Daly’s journey of personal transformation should resonate with anyone who has ever wondered what it takes to seek out and manifest their higher purpose in life. Thank you, Nancy, for sharing with us your analytical tools, valuable insights, and profound passion to make a difference!”
—Burt Woolf, President, Center for Quality of Life.

"As all of us reach inevitable thresholds, Nancy Daly, through her story, takes us by the hand to recognize them. With that awareness, she demonstrates that by following our passions we can find a comfortable balance between intuition and organized design to a deeper meaning in our lives."
—Robert W. Elliott, Executive Director of the New York Planning Federation and Past President of the New York Conference of Mayors.

“Nancy’s sharing of her transformative journey gives us the courage and skills to persevere with our own path toward greater fulfillment and purpose.”
—Dr. Marilyn Balcombe, Ph.D., Organizational Psychology.

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ISSN 1835-7164