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Are You Interested or Committed? 2

Think about a goal you’ve set for yourself: are you interested or committed to this goal? When it comes to goals, how you handle obstacles and how you make progress on your goals will shed light on whether or not you are interested or committed. 1
When you are INTERESTED in a goal: When you are COMMITTED to a goal:
Obstacle You tend to make excuses when faced with obstacles. This can result in procrastination. Perhaps you feel paralyzed by fear, you don’t know what to do or you don’t feel confident to figure it out. You are RESILIENT. You tend to plan for obstacles because you know they are a part of your journey. You have the FLEXIBILITY to change your course of action so you can continue to make progress. You have a high ‘bounce back’ ability and you learn from the experience.
Action You take action when it’s convenient or when you ‘feel like it.’ You may have a plan, but you aren’t consistent with taking action. You may also find that you confuse ‘planning to prepare to take action’ with actually taking action. For example, you read about being a coach or versus coaching clients. You have SELF-DISCIPLINE. You tend to do what needs to get done when it needs to get done. In other words, you have a high degree of INTEGRITY around taking action on your plan. You choose to be productive instead of choosing to procrastinate.
Based on the above, would you say you are interested or committed? If you are committed, congratulations! Take a moment and identify what makes you committed. If you lean more towards the interested side, here are 3 questions you can ask yourself in order to boost your level of commitment:
  1. What do you really want? Answer this question honestly so you can truly discern what you want. Also, make sure you look beneath the surface of your answer by asking yourself ‘why’ after you write down what you want. Think of it like peeling the layers of an onion - you want to get to the center because that’s where the truth lives.
  2. What will you say ‘yes’ to and what will you say ‘no’ to? Achieving any goal requires that you make tough choices about how you spend your resources (ex. time, money and energy). Make a list of what you will say ‘yes’ to and what you will say ‘no’ to. You will also be challenged to go outside of your comfort zone - this requires that you call upon courage and confidence. Are you up for the challenge?
  3. What will you do? It’s time to take a stand for what you want. This is your opportunity to make a firm decision to either stay interested or to step up and make a commitment. What is your decision?
Reflect on your goal. Are you interested or committed? Share your comments below. 130504_Shannon_33   Shannon D. Silva, MBA is the Founder and CEO of Unstoppable Women of Silicon Valley. Her specialty is helping women achieve their work and wellness goals by transforming self-doubt into COURAGE and procrastination into DETERMINATION. She also facilitates a coaching group called Unstoppable Women in ACTION. Shannon shares her message through workshops, inner circles and retreats. She is a Facilitator of The Virtues Project and Appreciative Living Learning Circles. She is professionally trained as a Certified Self-Discovery Coach and a Dale Carnegie trained speaker. With a reputation for captivating audiences with her enthusiasm, authenticity and passion, Shannon is known throughout the community as a catalyst for joy, transformation and creative self-expression. She is the proud author of the book, “52 Ways to Practice Self-Care and Create More Joy in Your Life.”    

Plan Your Day with Meaning & Purpose by Using the Virtues!

My favorite way to plan the day is to use the virtues to guide me. Dictionary.com defines Virtues as conformity of one's life and conduct to moral and ethical principles. The Virtues Project defines virtues as the very meaning and purpose of our lives, the content of our character and the truest expression of our souls. Virtues are the content of our character, the elements of the human spirit. They grow stronger whenever we use them.

By planning your day with the virtues in mind, not only will you make progress on your goals, you will develop your personal character and cultivate more meaning and purpose into your day. I call this Virtues-Centered Planning, because it is planning centered around the virtues. 

In Order to do Virtues-Centered Planning, You’ll Need to Use One of the Following:

  DayPlanning    

How Virtues-Centered Planning Works:

STEP 1: Contemplate your day and make a list of your activities (tasks, to-dos) and appointments (events, meetings). You can also identify  experiences you plan to encounter during the day.

Here's a personal example: I'm walking in the morning (ACTIVITY), attending a debrief with my boss (APPOINTMENT) and I think I'll get stuck in rush hour traffic on my way home (EXPERIENCE). 

STEP 2: For each activity, appointment or experience, identify the virtue(s) that will support you in showing up as your best self. 

Here are the virtues I selected for the above activity, appointment and experience. 

ACTIVITY: Morning walk - As I put on my walking shoes, I contemplate the virtue I want to cultivate on my walk. If I need to brainstorm ideas, I’ll contemplate Creativity during my walk. If I need to just be in the moment and give my brain a rest, I contemplate Mindfulness or Peacefulness during my walk. Perhaps I want to count my blessing, then I’ll contemplate the virtue of Gratitude or Appreciation during my walk.

Let’s say you have a goal of starting a routine of walking, but need some encouragement to get started or to keep motivated. In this case, you would select a virtue to help you change your mindset so walking becomes a part of your routine. You might put on your walking shoes and call on the virtue of self-discipline or determination. Perhaps you’d contemplate the virtue of Accountability or Integrity if you were sharing your progress with with your coach or accountability group. 

APPOINTMENT: Debrief with my boss - Every Monday at 9am I have a debrief meeting with my boss. As I gather the resources I need to discuss with my boss, I contemplate the virtue I want to cultivate during  our meeting. If I'm presenting a new idea, I could call on the virtue of initiative. If I'm reviewing the details of a proposal, I could call on the virtue of orderliness so I present my ideas in a clear and organized manner. 

EXPERIENCE: Stuck in traffic - getting stuck is traffic is never a highlight of my day, but sometimes it's something I have to deal with. Sometimes it drives me crazy and other times I crank the music up and sing along to songs on the radio. I can also call on the virtue of Patience or Optimism anytime I'm stuck in traffic. 

Oftentimes, things come up that we haven't planned for. This is still a good opportunity to think about what virtue you want to cultivate in the moment. For example, if you had a change in your schedule you can cultivate the virtue of flexibility. You can also identify a virtue you want to experience during the day. For example, you may decide that you want to embrace the virtue of Thoughtfulness or you can pick a virtue card randomly to use as your theme for the day. 

STEP 3: To deepen the experience, read the corresponding Virtues Reflection Cards, you selected in Step 2. If you're up for a challenge, write your thoughts in your journal. 

The Best Time to do Your Virtues-Centered Planning

The best time to do your Virtues-Centered Planning is the time you are most likely to do it on a consistent basis. 

My preference is to do my Virtues-Centered Planning at night. I've created a ritual before going to bed: I grab my journal and identify the activities, appointments and/or experiences I have for the upcoming day. Sometimes I have lots of activities and some days it's a combination of all three. If I don't have anything that jumps out at me, I'll still pick a virtue I want to cultivate for the day; such as kindness or enthusiasm - it just depends how I'm feeling. I also like picking a random virtue to serve as the theme for my day.

Strategies to Help You Remember to Focus on the Virtues

To help you remember to focus on the virtue when you need it, you can set an alarm on your phone, write the virtue on a post-it note and place it where you'll see, place the Virtues Reflection Card somewhen you’ll see it throughout the day (ex. in your workspace) or put it as a screen saver* on your smart phone or desktop. In order to use a Virtues Reflection Card as a screen saver, you'll need to purchase the Virtues Reflection eCards (http://virtuesshop.com?wiz_id=48) - these are JPEGs of all 100 Virtues Reflection Cards. Select the one you want to create as a screen saver (either on your phone or your computer) and save the image to your photos. Then follow the directions of your specific device to select it as your screen saver. 

As I mentioned, Virtues-Centered Planning will empower you to make progress on your goals as well as develop your personal character and cultivate more meaning and purpose into your day. Happy planning!

For more info about The Virtues Project, go to http://shannondsilva.com.

About Shannon

Founder and CEO, Shannon D. Silva

Shannon D. Silva is the Founder and CEO of a personal empowerment group called, Unstoppable Women of Silicon Valley and Unstoppable Women in Action. Her specialty is helping women break free from procrastination so they achieve their career goals.

Shannon shares her message through workshops, learning circles  and retreats. She is a Facilitator of The Virtues Project and Appreciative Living Learning Circles. She is professionally trained as a Certified Self-Discovery Coach and a Dale Carnegie speaker. With a reputation for captivating audiences with her enthusiasm, authenticity and passion, Shannon is known throughout the community as a catalyst for joy, transformation and creative self-expression. She is the proud author of the book, “52 Way to Practice Self-Care and Create More Joy in Your Life and a series of Virtues-Centered Living eBooks.


5 Steps to Sharing the Virtues Project

How can I deepen my spiritual practice? That was the question I asked right before I stumbled across a YouTube video that featured the Virtues Reflection Cards. I was intrigued and immediately went to The Virtues Project website to learn more. From the website, I learned that “The Virtues Project™ empowers individuals to live more authentic meaningful lives, families to raise children of compassion and integrity, educators to create safe, caring, and high performing learning communities, and leaders to encourage excellence and ethics in the work place.
I ordered the Virtues Reflection Cards in Oct. 2013 and downloaded the app because they were “written for adults to use in daily reflection.” These are the perfect cards to deepen my spiritual practice! I started by picking a card each morning and writing my thoughts in my journal. I soon realized that the virtues were the perfect tool to use as a strategy to maintain my 35 lb weight loss. Self-discipline, moderation, integrity and perseverance became foundational virtues for weight maintenance. Then, I noticed that the virtues laid the foundation for Being Unstoppable, so this became the theme for Unstoppable Women of Silicon Valley in 2014.
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During this time, my enthusiasm for The Virtues Project grew exponentially and I felt compelled to share this with family and friends. I asked myself, “How can I share The Virtues Project in an authentic way?” This inspired me to identify 5 virtues that serve as a frame of reference for sharing the Virtues Project:
  1. Purity - Have purity of intent. This means that it is important to be clear on WHY you are sharing The Virtues Project. Are you sharing because you genuinely want to share your insights or are you secretly hoping that by sharing this work you can change someone? For example, I shared The Virtues Project with my hubby and I told him how the virtue of integrity helped me track my food intake everyday. On the other hand, if I shared The Virtues Project with him because I secretly thought it would inspire him to wash his dishes instead of leaving them on the counter or soaking them, that wouldn’t jive with purity of intent.
  2. Respect - Ask for permission before you share. Ask the person if now is a good time for you to share. You want the person to be open and ready to listen, so have respect for the person by making sure that now is a good time. If not, ask to share with them later. Bottom line, it’s about timing. I have a lot of enthusiasm about The Virtues Project, but I knew better than to talk to my hubby as soon as he got home from work. I waited until we were enjoying dinner together and said, “Honey, I’m so excited, can I share something with you?” The key here is to use your own language when sharing this work. You want to be authentic; otherwise, you may get the response, “Why are you acting funny?” or “What’s going on?”
  3. Sincerity - Share from your heart. This means to share about The Virtues Project in your own words. In my own words, The Virtues Project is a program to help me show up as my best self. If you don’t share from your heart and with sincerity, it may come across that you’re selling something or reciting a book report. Also, share how this work is impacting your life. Consider sharing a specific example. Tell me, what is more compelling, “The Virtues Project makes a difference in my life” or “The Virtues Project helps me experience more joy in my job because I’ve learned to appreciate what’s good about my job instead of complaining about it all the time. As a result, I feel better about going to work every day.”
  4. Assertiveness - Make your request, if you have one. Oftentimes, when we share something, we want to open the door to continue the conversation. For example, I shared The Virtues Project with my mom and my request was to be able to share my daily virtues pick with her. She was intrigued and decided to get the Virtues Reflection Cards app so she could do a virtues pick too. It became a great conversation starter, “What virtue did you pick today?” Keep in mind, there’s always the chance that the person may say no to your request - that’s okay. It’s not for everyone. Also, some people may be interested in what you’re doing but they may not want to participate at the level in which you choose to participate. My hubby is open to The Virtues Project, but he doesn't do a daily virtues pick like I do.
  5. Gratitude - Express thanks to the person you shared with. It’s always a blessing when you can have a heartwarming conversation with someone about something you care about.
I’ve shared The Virtues Project with lots of people since I was introduced to it back in 2013. Even though I use the 5 virtues I’ve discussed above, I’ve noticed that what I share and how I share it changes as I deepen my own study of the virtues. Have fun as you deepen you own study of the virtues and use the 5 steps to help you share The Virtues Project with others. Let me know how this works for you!
- Shannon D. Silva
Virtues Project Facilitator
CEO Unstoppable Women of Silicon Valley

Just Show Up! 2

It’s easier to show up when you’re feeling unstoppable than it is when you’re feeling defeated.  Wouldn’t you agree? On Wednesday, Oct. 8th, I had a terribly upsetting day at work. I cried on my way to the meetup and thought, “I can’t let the group see me like this, I need to pull myself together. What will the group think of me?”
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Shannon talking to UWSV

    For those of you who attended the meetup, you might remember that I started crying as soon as I started talking to the group. “It’s been a really hard day,” I said, then I burst into tears. In that moment, I remembered what Jenny (Program Director for UWSV) says, “Just show up!” She was right. Just show up as I am, this is a safe space for women. I realized that the best way for me to model showing up was to show up with my tears. Putting on a fake smile and pretending to like everything was great would have been out of integrity for me. I chose to show up with my tears. Here are some benefits I discovered by showing up that night:
  • you connect with others on a deeper level
  • by being vulnerable, you allow others to be vulnerable too
  • you open yourself to an emotional breakthrough
  • you feel better
Have you experienced this to be the case? What else have you discovered by just showing up? I want to stress that you need to practice discernment in how and where you show up. For example, if I was feeling emotionally vulnerable on my way to a job interview or a networking event, I’d have to ‘put my big girl panties on’, put my feelings on pause and take care of business. Afterwards, I would take the time to process my feelings. Brene Brown summaries this concept beautifully, “Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen. It's tough to do that when we're terrified about what people might see or think.” Now I ask you, are you willing to just show up?   - Shannon D. Silva