“Life comes at us in waves.
We can’t predict or control those waves,
but we can learn to surf.”

— Dan Millman

Dear Kathleen

I’m old enough to remember people on TV who entertained us by trying to keep a lot of spinning plates from falling and breaking. Sounds crazy, but it was Pre-Netflix so I guess the saying ‘simpler times’ comes to mind!!! They worked hard for their money for sure 🤣.


I have no doubt that many - or all -  of you can relate to what’s happening in this image. What a crazy notion it is to think we can actually control events in our life. Yet we use so much energy each and every day trying to do just that. We run from one task to the next and - at times - barely keep the whole thing from crashing down (or at least it feels that way).

In the past four newsletters I have taken you through the 4 Pillars of my Time to Believe™ program and here’s a reminder of what they are:

Today, I want to talk about giving up ’control’ and learning to surf! As Dan Millman said in the above quote: “Life comes at us in waves. We can’t predict or control those waves, but we can learn to surf.”

All the best! 

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“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don't.” -Steve Maraboli

You’ve heard me speak about Shirzad Chamine and my Building Positive Practices: Positive Intelligence® program.

Shirzad has developed a framework called Positive Intelligence®, which emphasizes the importance of strengthening our "Sage" mind to overcome our "Saboteur" voices and achieve greater success and happiness in life.

It’s an amazing program which really works! For the next few newsletters I’ll be focusing on aspects of Positive Intelligence® - and look forward to sharing what I’ve learned!

As in the quote above, Shirzad uses the metaphors of control versus surfing to illustrate two different approaches to dealing with life's challenges and circumstances.


By "Control" he means our tendency to want to control or manipulate external factors in order to achieve desired outcomes. When we operate from a mindset of control, we believe that by exerting enough effort, planning, and strategy, we can shape the world according to our desires. This mindset can be driven by fear, perfectionism, or the need for certainty.

Shirzad suggests that excessive control can lead to stress, anxiety, and a constant need to micromanage every aspect of our lives. It can also make us resistant to change and less adaptable when unexpected events occur. I know this firsthand and I have to remind myself of the wasted energy I can be expending trying to control aspects of my life that just can’t be controlled!


On the other hand, the concept of surfing represents a more flexible and adaptive approach to life. When we surf, we learn to ride the waves of life, accepting that we cannot control everything. We focus on developing our resilience, emotional intelligence, and ability to navigate uncertainty. I love the concept of surfing - it feels so light and fluid. Wish I could do it for real!!

Surfing involves being present in the moment, observing and responding to life's ever-changing circumstances, and finding ways to flow with the challenges rather than resisting them. It requires cultivating a mindset of curiosity, openness, and a willingness to learn from both successes and failures.

Shirzad's perspective is that while control has its place in certain situations, such as planning and preparation, adopting a surfing mindset allows us to let go of excessive control, reduce stress, and find greater joy and fulfillment in life.

By practicing positive intelligence (mental fitness) techniques and strengthening our Sage mind, we can become more aware of our sabotaging thoughts, choose empowering perspectives, and approach life with a surfing mindset that enables us to adapt, learn, and grow through whatever circumstances we encounter. It sounds good to me and my clients and I find the continual practice life changing!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic and/or have a chat to talk about changes you may want to make.

Feel free to say YES to booking a time for a 30-minute complimentary call. It’s amazing what clarity can emerge in just 30 minutes! 


How Well Do You Maintain Balance?

If trying to maintain balance in your life makes you feel like a tightrope walker, you're not alone. Most of us have so many demands on our time and energy, life can feel like we are Spinning Plates! Take this quiz to see how well you are meeting responsibilities, while also recognizing and fulfilling personal needs and wants.

True or False?

1. The only way I can successfully manage my life is to take care of myself physically and emotionally.

2. Nurturing myself enlarges my capacity to help others.

3. I eat healthfully and exercise regularly.

4. I get check-ups, go to the dentist, and take preventative precautions.

5. I set aside personal, quiet time for myself, whether I'm meditating or simply letting my thoughts drift.

6. I experience the gifts of each season: ice skating, sledding, bundled-up beach walks; gardening, hiking, more time outside; camping, swimming, barbecues; harvesting the bounty, gathering wood, spending more time inside.

7. Creativity nurtures me, too. I do what I love, whether that’s cooking, drawing, painting, writing, dancing, singing or another creative pursuit.

8. Reaching out to others enriches my life. I spend quality time with family and friends.

9. Contributing to the world provides connection and purpose, so I give my time, energy and experience where it is most useful.

10. I notice and heed the emotional signals that tell me I'm out of balance: irritability, overwhelm, resentment.

11. If I feel that I’m catching a cold, I realize I may have stressed my immune system with over-activity, so I stop and take care of myself.

12. When I need or want to, I say no to requests for my time.

13. I listen to and honor the requests my body makes for such things as a nap, a walk, green vegetables, hot soup.

14. If I have something planned for myself, I don't just toss that aside when someone makes a request of me.

15. I'm busy, but I find time to do the things I want to do.

16. I'm happy. I regularly experience well-being, contentment, even joy.

If you answered false more often than true, you may want to take a look at the questions to which you answered false and see if you can incorporate something of its message into your life. Please don’t hesitate to call if you’d like to explore this issue further.

I hope you find this helpful and I would love to get your feedback. You can send me an email or schedule a 30-minute complimentary call.

 © 2011 Claire Communications

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Kathleen Fanning
Kathleen Fanning Coaching