Enjoying the hum …

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I’m flawed. I make mistakes. Like, all the time. All. The. Time.

For a while there, I couldn’t see past them which prevented me from doing the things I love — like writing. I would pour my heart into a piece I wrote only to later (at times much-much later) find a typo or a poorly phrased sentence, and it would discourage me, so I would stop writing. I took it too seriously and wouldn’t dare publish or share anything until I believed it to be perfect, and you know what happened? Nothing. Nothing happened for ten years. TEN YEARS! All in fear of being judged or talked about or having the topic of my discourse weighed in the court of public opinion. The sad realization is that I cannot recoup the time I lost in not doing the thing I love. The good news is there’s no time like the present to pick up where I left off and just push forward. I use to be in love with the final product, and it got me nowhere; now I’m in love with the process. Hitting the backspace, trying to find a better word, re-reading what I wrote to see if it conveys my thoughts. I changed my thinking, and now I freely write from the perspective of a person who is flawed. 

It’s the same rhythm that you find in baking bread and feeling the silkiness of the flour in your hands or painting and relishing the sound of the brush strokes against the canvas, or crunching numbers, surveying the whole spreadsheet and working through the details to reach an end. It can be found in gardening, reading elementary age children essays, making widgets at a factory, and even driving a city bus. The joy is not necessarily in the end rather it’s in the hum of it all. Do you enjoy the hum? Do you enjoy the hum enough to be imperfect at it?

Consider this: making mistakes is better than faking perfection any day of the week. The adage is true; perfection is the enemy of good, and I’ve learned that done is better than perfect. Are you waiting on perfect to make something happen in your life? The conditions will never be better than right here …right now. Do the thing. Make mistakes but above all else, enjoy the hum.

Giving Yourself Permission To Dream . . .

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I’m still on my resilience trek, and it’s pretty amazing. I’ve fallen down all over the place, tripped on my shoelaces, and even locked myself out once or twice.

See? Amazing. It’s okay; you can laugh.

That’s not the interesting part, what has turned out to be quite serendipitous are the women that I’m meeting along the way. Moms who are professionals and entrepreneurs or working from inside the home, they have all been my “sisters in arms.”

Looking around, I’ve seen women in different phases of life. Some are ahead of me, having raised their children or finished their careers and are trying to create their second life. Some are in the thick of it – like me – with multiple kids and a profession or business, and are realizing that work-life balance is a crock. Truth is for some of us, our work is our life, and integration is the key. For others, they’re just getting started and have erroneously pick up what so many of us believed when we began our mommy trek – that we were no longer a priority in our lives. Everyone else comes first; mom’s needs come last.

Again a crock.

I was recently in a precarious situation where I stood back-to-back with a mom. Failure was imminent, it surrounded us, or so it seemed. When we took a minute to assess what was going on we determined that the situation was really our own doing. I’m speaking metaphorically, of course.

We created the obstacles. We created the enemy.

We weren’t fighting anyone – we were fighting ourselves.

We thought we had evolved beyond the mommy guilt but realized that we still held on to the baggage we picked up at the beginning of our respective treks. There was an unspoken lie that attached itself to the foundation of the life we were creating; hindering us from becoming the women we’re trying to be. We bought into the notion that sacrifice means pursuing our dreams and ambitions stopped as soon as our children entered the world. Or if we fought to keep the embers of the dream alive, it was no longer something aspirational rather a burden that reminded us of what we couldn’t do.

Would it be selfish to take a few hours each morning to write or exercise or make homemade lavender soap? Would it be okay to take my career in a completely different direction and run the risk – not knowing how it’ll end? Would it be okay to start dancing again, go back to school, take art lessons or even move across the country to an unfamiliar place?

Only you can decide that. I just know that you do yourself a grave disservice if you don’t give yourself permission to savor the possibilities and all the wonderfulness that dreaming brings. And worse still – if you don’t act upon it in some regard. If you do nothing, it creates resentment and regret and the “what ifs” start playing target practice with our self-confidence.

When we dream, we honor our souls. When we dream, we evolve ourselves beyond the present moment. When we dream, we move closer to what could quite possibly be our life’s purpose. When we dream, we inspire our families to dream. The thing to remember is to bring them along for the journey.

What about you? Now that you can make your dreams come true, what are you going to do?

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Repositioning Yourself For Success Requires…

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It’s ‘Why Not’ Wednesday and today’s no fail message is about the comfort zone.

Take a look around you…did you know that the people and environments you’re most commonly associated with influence the decisions you make in your life?

It’s true.

Look left: Do you value the relationships you have with family and friends? Is it reciprocated? Do they honor you? Do they contribute joy and peace to your life? You should be able to be your whole self around them without pretense or facades.

Look right: Are you aspiring to a fleeting ideal of success based upon materialism and sensationalized versions of reality? From what or whom do you model your life? The unreality of the televised world is not meant to be the standard by which you live your life.

Look behind you: Everyone has a past, everyone has a story a defining moment in your life that has either propelled you forward and made you who you are or has continued to captivate you and keep you from your destiny. Remember the past but don’t live there.

Finally, look in front of you:  What will you do with today?

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7 Ways To Get Off Track And Miss Your Mark

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It’s so easy to get off track.

Our mind wanders about and before you know it time has passed, and the task at hand is no closer to getting done.

My Journal

Photo credit: Cece Harbor

I’m guilty of this — believe me. I can be easily distracted and at times it takes sheer willpower for me to clear my mind of clutter and just stay focused.

Am I the only one?

We’ve been introduced to the Law of Attraction, which says that we attract positive or negative events in our lives based on our thoughts, but what if there were habits – observations — that when done was a sure fire way to veer –off− course.

Here’s a look at 7 things we tend to do when getting off track and how to effectively counter them.

  1. Focus solely on the outcome. While the big picture is important, it’s not the only aspect of our journeys. There’s a lot to be said about enjoying the here and now; take a chance to relish the process.
  2. Compare yourself to others. While it may appear that you and the other person are on the same path, you’re not – similar but not the same. Each of your life experiences and personal desires shapes your intended and respective paths. Your beginning may be her middle and visa versa, compare yourself to no one.
  3. Not paying attention to details. It’s always convenient to consider the small things later. If not checked early and quickly little things could turn into big disasters. It’s great to think big, but details really do matter, whether you take care of them yourself or get someone else to do it.
  4. Multi-tasking when you shouldn’t. When you juggle all the balls are in the air but you’re not touching them all at the same time; each receives very little attention. When we do this in our lives, our hope is that we incrementally get to done. If something is truly important, it’s vital that it gets your undivided attention. Leave the juggling to clowns.
  5. Using technology as a solution and not a tool. Social media sites, websites, emails and others are supposed to enhance our communications not be the sole method by which we communicate. There will never be a substitute for genuine human connection.
  6. Deliberately engage in time robbers. – I see you nodding your head. We’re all guilty of this, we’ve become pinning, texting, surfing fools (or is it just me?). There’s a difference between intentionally taking a break versus allowing something to unintentionally grab and retain your attention when you should be focused on something else.

Wait I need to pin something…

What was I saying? ….Right. Stay focused.

  1. Not giving yourself time to think. This one is most significant of all. I realize I’m at my best after a long walk or a few moments of silence. The solitude does wonders for me. I can sort out problems, come up with creative solutions…solve world hunger (well not solve world hunger but you get the picture). Give yourself breathing space and time to think.

If you see yourself in one or more of these habits, it’s never too late for course correction. Just recognize it, recalibrate and move on. It may take some time but you can. What say ye?  Which ones are you most guilty of?

Back In The Saddle

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“Courage is being scared to death — and saddling up anyway.” — John Wayne

Walking into a gym full of incredibly fit people is probably one the biggest vulnerabilities of my life.

Image used with permission iStockPhotos.

Image used with permission iStockPhotos.

I feel exposed. I’m wearing my issues for everyone to see.

I recently paid a visit to a large fitness chain, and before I could inhale to say three words, three people approached me.

Yikes!

I had the script laid out in my mind: I’m looking for a personal trainer.

One of the associates asked me to follow her to her desk. As we sat, I took in my environment; the music blared with an intense repetitive rhythm, people were standing around talking casually, and one lone soul was giving it her all on a treadmill.

The associate’s desk was in complete disarray, papers were scattered everywhere, and there were a series of crumbs that led to a half eaten muffin.

Wow.

At my protest, she took my personal information. “It’s just to get you in our system so we can start your tour,” she assured me between bites of her muffin.

Sure… and Candy Land is an actual place, lady.

I decided to be a good sport and go along for the ride. You never know, I thought, maybe I could learn something new.

I did. I learned what I didn’t want.

I realized that she wasn’t hearing me. She too had her own agenda and was looking for a sale. I, however, was looking for accountability. I knew it wasn’t going to work.

So I left.

It wasn’t the muffin’s fault.

Surprisingly a day later, I found a fitness boot camp with personal trainers in proximity to my home.

Sweet joy.

While it’s hard enough to look at something that you really want to do and muster up the courage to get started; it’s another thing to have done something, lose your way and then find the courage to start again.

And so I’m back.

Back to working out.

Back to actively writing again (I had a terrible bout of writer’s block).

Back on track.

Giddy up.

The Losers

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“We must all suffer from one or two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces and regret weighs tons.” – Jim Rohn

“Things aren’t falling into place as quickly as I’d like,” she said shifting in her chair.  “You understand don’t you?”predict

“Of course,” I responded dryly.

“You sound like you don’t believe me.”

I didn’t believe her.  

Truth?

We’ve been having the same conversation repeatedly for the past 3 years, and it always ended the same way:

“I’m not ready.”

 “I need this before I could do that.

 “They’re making it hard for me.”

“I can’t do it right now.”

It’s so easy to blame outside stuff for inside turmoil.  (Tweet that!)

Doing nothing and then talking about why you aren’t doing it may feel productive, but it’s the equivalent of running in place and expecting to cross the finish line in a marathon.  

It’s not going to happen.

More truth?

I empathize with my friend because I’m guilty too.

I’ve got lots projects and ideas incubating but I know until I muster the courage to give birth to them, they’ll go nowhere.

…and we will have the same conversation for the NEXT 3 years.

This day, however, we decided to have an honest talk and call each other out on our respective pregnancies   ideas. 

The lesson?

To move forward in life, you can sit and talk about your dreams and goals with the illusion that you have all the time in the world or you’re going to have to lose something to get to the next level.

Losing is a powerful teacher.

To get what want, you need to lose few things: fear, guilt, shame, and doubt.  

And in doing so, you’ll make room for all the wonderfulness that is waiting to be part of your life.

Start right now.

What do you need to lose in order to gain?

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Jagged Little Pill

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“I protect myself by refusing to know myself.” – Floriano Martins

Purpose finding is hard work.

Not like rolling-up-your-sleeves-and-digging-a-ditch hard work (I’ve never actually done that before) it’s more like mental-anguish-which-hopefully-leads-to-awareness-of-what-I-really-want hard work.truthordenial

Over the past week, I’ve read so many resolutions that I’ve concluded they are primarily about the ability to initiate and sustain the mental effort required to meet our personal goals.

But when does a well-intentioned resolution (or goal or change) appear to span the scale of coping mechanisms? I’ve heard countless resolutions from family, friends and associates — some have decided not to make resolutions, but the others were well-meaning in their decisions and I fully believe that they will be met . . . but some (a few), spanned from delusional to denial to downright blatant lies.

Don’t worry I won’t throw stones; I live in a glass house too. And I’m pretty sure that I have quite a few things sitting on both ends of the spectrum.

But I’m fascinated.

And frustrated.

In my professional life, to help clients get to the root of why something has to be created we often ask one question repeatedly: why.

And more times than none, they realize one or two things: either it’s something that they unquestionably should pursue because of the apparent business value or it was being done in response to a perceived threat to their market share and/or bottom-line.

I think the same principle can be applied here.

If there is a goal, ask yourself why that goal is so crucial.

And then ask yourself again.

And again.

And more times than none you’ll realize one or two things: either it’s something that you genuinely want to do (and if this is the case, then figure out a way to sustain the interest to get it done) or it’s something that sounds like the right thing to say.

And that’s okay too.

Purpose finding is hard work.

Not impossible work.

Informed empowerment and fulfillment come with practice. Resolutions are synonymous with hope.

If your intensions are good, and you seek something with your whole heart focusing on the feeling and not the destination, the rest will follow.

Did the resolutions or goals you made for yourself this year come from a place of truth or denial?