In honor of Dr King (click on the image below):
A few years ago, I did some side work as a Virtual Assistant. I had a few clients that I worked with, and while I ultimately decided that this type of work wasn’t for me (actually, the truth was that the type of clients I was working with weren’t for me), I learned SO much – about myself, and what I’m willing to put up with.
One of my clients wanted to pay me for four hours of work per week, yet wanted me to answer phone calls and set up appointments for him 8:00am – 5:00pm, Monday – Friday. That seems slightly more than four hours, don’t you think? I asked if he wanted to increase my hours – no. I asked if there was a way we could work something out so that I would have clients leave quick messages and call them back throughout the time that I was scheduled to work? Nope. As well, that four hours had to include a once a week, mandatory (in his eyes), video call meeting with me, the content of which was usually him berating me because I wasn’t as available as he wanted me to be. At first, I was trying to give his business more than the agreed upon four hours, but…then I realized I was devaluing myself and working for free, so…enough of that. After about four months, we moved on – he contacted the placement company and said that working with me had shown him that he needed full-time, in-office assistance, so…I was out. On to the next client.
I really liked the next client I worked for, and let me tell you, I did WAY more than our agreed upon tasks/hours. WAY more. I really respected the service that she was trying to provide – she was a life coach for women, and her work came from a good place. I found that she was very particular and fussy about things, but her business was about her, so I got it. She was very focused on developing her brand and empowering the women that she worked with – and I could really get on board with that. After a time, however, I found that she was focusing more on promotion of herself instead of actively helping the women she was working with – which I struggled with. However, it wasn’t my place, so I kept quiet, and waded through the reams of hippie/spirit/juju language that came from her (whenever she wrote even the simplest Facebook status update, it would take you 10+ minutes to read as it was SO long, and was all about every emotion she’d ever felt, all of the sacred things that were happening and whether or not they were in alignment, the conscious parenting and intentional grief people felt, holding space for feelings, reflecting on her thoughts and feelings CONSTANTLY – apparently I’m too damn pragmatic to worry about holding in anything apart from farts, and I don’t feel the need to share every thought I’ve ever had with everyone I know on Facebook!). Anyway, things were trucking along until after four months in (I’m seeing a pattern here, are you?), she informed me that due to lack of clients and finance issues, she could no longer afford me. I felt badly about that because I liked helping her clients – so badly, in fact, that I offered to keep working for her for a couple of months FOR FREE to finish the projects I had on the go with a couple of her clients. She said no. So, there’s that. I’m not sure why – perhaps I was getting too good at helping the clients?
The third client worked in real estate, and wanted to develop a lucrative online training business for other people desiring to be real estate agents – she wanted to be Marie Forleo if real estate. For realz, every day, she wanted EVERYTHING to be Marie Forleo – her website had to have a font once used by Marie, it had to feel like Marie’s site…everything. Obsessed with Forleo. The thing was that the content she was peddling in her online class was a whole metric shit ton of words that said very little. It was shocking to me – there was no content there. She made the mistake of asking me for my opinion, which I gave her – I let her know that the content was lacking, and shared with her loads of ideas on how we could beef that up and make the product better….no dice. She decided she didn’t want to work with me after 2 months. Fun fact – I’ve since looked at her online course, and guess what? She’s incorporated 99.9% of the ideas that I sent her way – huh.
My final client worked in the athletics industry, and he needed a lot of assistance. I edited a book for him (which has since been published, no editing credit to me) – actually, I rewrote the book for him as he struggled with literacy A LOT. I rewrote a large number of policy documents for him, and mass-produced contracts for his various speaking engagements. Our problem was that he was terrible (TERRIBLE) at communicating, and expected me to read his wants using my psychic powers. In the end, we decided to part ways as my crystal ball wasn’t working, and that was that.
The Virtual Assistant experience taught me quite a few things – first and foremost, placement agencies will often offer clients a 3 month reduced rate to reel them in, charging them the full amount in the 4th month…which, coincidentally, was when my clients decided they didn’t want to work with me. I didn’t know this at first, so I took the rejection BLOODY hard, but…now that I understand the way it works, I’ve no hard feelings. Business is business.
Second – I love VA work! I would love to do this type of thing all the time! Working from home/remotely is wonderful, and I loved learning new skills (I’m looking at you, InfusionSoft!). My already good multitasking skills have reached Olympic quality, thanks to taking this challenge on – and I made some moolah to supplement my meager Education income. Bonus!
I also learned that there are a lot of snake oil salesmen in this world, and I don’t have it in me to hock (hawk?) products to vulnerable populations and charge them A LOT of money for it. Salesmen blood does NOT run through my veins! Instead, I would like to create some great online products, and sell them at a very reasonable price, making the process affordable – and helpful – to the masses, not the elite few. I also will never use language like making space, and giving myself permission…if I want to do shit, I do it. Perhaps I give myself permission, but it’s internal, and I certainly don’t feel the need to share it. The oversharing and never-ending language drives me nuts. The world does not need to know every single feeling you’ve ever felt since the dawn of time – it’s okay to leave some stuff out. Be mysterious! Live a little!
Prior to working with my hippie client, I was toying with the idea of becoming a certified Life Coach – not because I believe I have life all figured out (hahahahahahahahahaha), but instead because I thought that I could apply the techniques and strategies that I would learn to help me figure it out and improve the quality of my life. I still think this is a great idea, and something I should look in to. The thing is that I don’t want to be her kind of Life Coach – that approach is way too much. I’m not that kind of person. I think I would be a different breed of Life Coach, one that tells it like it is and cuts straight through the bullshit with a very sharp knife – and actually helps people. I haven’t made a decision on this one yet, but I think I should pull a Nike and Just Do It. 😉
The media had a story this week that the peak age for the dreaded midlife crisis is 47.2 years of age. Huh. I’m not THAT far off from that figure, and I’m wondering if so much of what is going on with me these days is part of it? Am I in the early stages of the midlife crisis? Where’s the Harley Davidson? Where’s the sports car?? Why is my midlife crisis manifesting itself in deep self-analysis, career changes, and a sudden interest in being a wellness practitioner (when I’m nowhere near the picture of health??!)???? Argh!!!!
Life has some ‘splaining to do. 😉
I came across this article this morning – the title is “How to be as Likeable as Mister Rogers”, and I kind of love it. Growing up with three TV channels in rural Canada, Mister Rogers was not part of my childhood (we had the Canadian version of him – Mr Dressup – who was just about as fantastic, let me tell you!). Once we got cable, though, I began checking out his show (yes I was 17, so what?) to see what the fuss was all about it…and I LOVED it. I found him to be everything that a person who hosts a show for kids should be – kind, sweet, caring, with such a lovely sense of joy and fun. I appreciated the cadence of his voice, the speech patterns he used were rhythmic and comforting…and don’t get me started on his magnificent puppets. I’m here for puppets anyway (I seriously love them – I don’t know why I don’t work at the Children’s Television Workshop on Sesame Street), but his were extra special. Sigh. I love him. Anyway, back to the list of ways you can be as likeable as Fred Rogers – and I hope you follow it and become as likeable as him. We need more of him in the world. For realz.
How to be as likeable as Mister Rogers
Make light of dark topics
The TV show that made Mister Rogers famous was called “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” It was a kid’s TV show and often contained dark topics which Mister Rogers was able to present in a positive way.
His ideas about death and the inevitable event we will all face were spoken about using puppets, a dead goldfish lying in a tank that was later buried, and through the use of songs and puppets.
He took a dark subject like death and found something positive in it both for children and for the adults that would watch his show with their children. One such example saw Mister Rogers reflecting on what his mother used to say to him about death:
“Always look for the people who are helping.”
“You’ll always find somebody who’s trying to help.”
Even with a dark topic like death, there is a way to find the positive if you take Mister Rogers’ advice that he learned from his mother. It’s easy to find a horrible outlook from a dark topic — but it’s much harder to see the good and that’s one way to become more likable. Because people fall in love with those that can find the good in every situation.
Make everyone feel good
The whole way through watching both films, the viewer is left feeling good. You feel good for many reasons and most of them tie back to one central theme: it’s so easy to be a good person if you try hard enough the way Mister Rogers did.
There is so much to feel bad or guilty about in life and the internet only amplifies this problem. People that make us feel good are uncommon and so when we’re introduced to such an individual, we like them.
By making us feel good about the world, we feel good about ourselves.
And when we feel good about ourselves, we can achieve outcomes that we may otherwise of believed to be impossible. Make people feel good.
Give everybody your full attention
Ever spoken to someone about an important topic and they are looking at their phone or computer and giving you a small amount of their attention? You feel horrible and wish that they would just listen.
Mister Rogers was different — granted, technology was not robbing us of our attention during his era the way it is now. During many scenes reenacted by Tom Hanks in the film about Mister Rogers’ life (and confirmed by the journalist he was talking with, Tom Junod), Rogers takes a deep interest in everybody he talks with. He asked them questions about themselves and leaves them pondering thoughts long after the conversation is done.
He takes pictures with people he meets and calls them friends, making them feel important.
People love it when you pay attention to them and the way you do that is by being genuinely curious and asking questions about them, rather than talking about yourself.
Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less — CS Lewis
Plans don’t always work out
It one scene of the film, Mister Rogers says, “I want kids to know that plans don’t always work out.”
For a typically positive man, this may seem like strange advice. What makes Mister Rogers likable is that he tells the truth and doesn’t sugarcoat brutal life lessons.
By knowing that our plans won’t always work out, we can be prepared for it and not be disappointed or have our thoughts turn to trash when our plans fail. The corporate world has long told me that I must have a business plan (helpful advice), but what is often left out is that even with a plan, things generally don’t go accordingly.
Having a plan is not a way to prevent failure or even prevent it.
Positive ways to deal with feelings
Mister Rogers’ key theme of his TV show that made him likable was to find positive ways to deal with feelings.
We are going to have unhelpful feelings and learning to deal with them is far more useful than trying to suppress them or numb them with alcohol, drugs, binge-watching tv, being unkind on social media or eating junk food.
You deal with feelings by facing them head-on and looking inside yourself at the good and not-so-good parts of who you are.
Get people to tell the truth
Good luck ever trying to lie to Mister Rogers. He was known for getting people on and off camera, to tell the truth. There were the pauses and the stares into their eyes that unconsciously helped them to say what needed to be said.
Talking with Mister Rogers was refreshing because you knew that he wasn’t going to judge you or force you to agree with his view of the world.
Helping people tell the truth is useful and you do that, mostly, from listening to them and letting them know that you’re not going to judge them.
Know everyone’s name
One of the simplest hacks to be likable, that is often overlooked, is to remember people’s names. Cast, crew, journalists and the extras on set were often surprised by Mister Rogers’s uncanny ability to remember their first name and it made them feel valued.
No matter how famous or influential you are, do your best to remember people’s names.
Researching someone before you meet them shows you care and they’ll like you for it. When Esquire journalist Tom Junod met Mister Rogers, he was surprised at how much research he had done on him.
Their conversations were deep and the friendship that developed later on was partly made possible by the research Rogers had done prior to meeting Tom. With social platforms dominating our lives, we can use them to be well-researched and incredibly curious when we meet someone for the first time.
I personally like to read up on the hobbies of business clients before I meet them to understand them from a different angle. You can tell me about your business, but I’ll learn more by hearing about your hobbies and why you chose them. Because hobbies and business are closely linked.
Give people a chance
Tom didn’t exactly have a brilliant reputation as a journalist with the way he wrote and it was risky, in a way, for Rogers to be followed around and written about by Tom.
But Mister Rogers gave people a chance and lets his character do the talking for him. Even with Tom’s controversial style of writing, it was impossible not to be inspired by Mister Rogers and share that truth with the audience.
See who people can be and not who they currently are, and trust your character to do the talking for you.
Show huge amounts of empathy
Another key theme of the TV show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, was the teaching of empathy. It was a key theme throughout many of the 900 episodes and was acted out by Rogers himself and then portrayed through some of the characters featured in the show.
Joanne Rogers, widow of Mister Rogers, mentioned an interesting idea in an interview with NBC:
“Listen, it’s important for you to know that he was not a saint. Because if you think of him as a saint, then his message is unattainable.”
Being a saint makes the idea of empathy and kindness unattainable and the fact that you have made many mistakes and don’t always see the good in people is perfectly fine.
We’re likable because of who we are, not for unattainable perfection.
Work at your way of being
You may think Mister Rogers was never angry, given his outlook on life. In both films it becomes clear that he was, at times, angry. When asked about his children, he would admit that they were not perfect either.
Everything Rogers does is a work in progress. The reason his anger didn’t dominate was because he learned to work at it and deal with it. The same opportunity exists for you. You’re going to get angry, especially when you’re tired, and working with those feelings is useful. How can you channel that anger into something positive?
Rogers teaches us that we can choose how we respond to anger rather than have the default option selected for us and be held back by it. Working on yourself is how you become more likable and minimize anger that turns people against you.
Write back to people that support you
Mister Rogers would write back to his fans and meet them in real-life. He was generous with his time and gave it to people that needed it.
This is a huge learning for me. Lots of people will support you in your life as it progresses and when they reach out, you have the opportunity to connect with them. People find you more likable when you take the time to respond to them, even if it’s a brief response.
It’s one of the key reasons I do my best to respond to any reader that contacts me directly.
Don’t take the people who support you for granted, and you’ll be more likable for it.
Ever met someone with a giant mansion and a Lambo in the driveway? It’s hard to relate to them, isn’t it?
Mister Rogers was known for taking the subway each day to the TV studio even though his fame meant that he didn’t have to. Like the viral footage of Keanu Reeves riding the subway, Mister Rogers did the same because he lived modestly. You could relate to him because he was just like you.
He let his character shine rather than let his ego be polished and put on display with the accumulation of money. Perhaps Keanu learned this life lesson from Mister Rogers.
The world doesn’t need another rich dude flaunting their money and making us feel like a failure.
We need more people riding the subway and using their money to make a real difference.
Live within your means. Avoid the temptation to buy fancy stuff and you’ll be more likable because you’ll be relatable.
Sharing your problems is bravery
Mister Rogers wasn’t afraid to talk about his problems. It was a small act of bravery that helped the audience understand their own problems through his.
Demonstrating you’re imperfect through talking about your problems is useful. This insight was what inspired me to talk more about mental illness and it may have the same effect on you.
It’s okay not to be okay.
No normal life is free from pain
“There is no normal life that is free of pain. It’s the very wrestling with our problems that can be the impetus for our growth” — Mister Rogers
All great advice, eh? I know!!! I love this so much! I’m on my way to start putting this to practice right now. 😊
Yesterday I was talking about flipping the way we plan for the new year – instead of talking about all of the things we will do without, how about we focus on all of the great things we are planning to do? I love it! As promised, here’s the start of my list for the new year:
This list is really specific to me and the things I want to focus on from a personal development perspective – of course I plan to spend more time with the kid and the family, enjoy them more, etc etc etc, all of that good stuff. I’m excited about all of it! Yaa!
What are you most looking forward to in the new year, friends?
For whatever reason (or about 253 reasons), I’ve been super-deep in my feelings this week. I’ve felt overly sensitive and on the verge of tears about a hundred times; I actually turned my phone off on Christmas Day rather than have one more text full of questions from friends that I didn’t want to answer. I don’t know if I’m overly tired, suffering from allergies (that has been a big part of it, I’m sure of it), or what is going on, but…this week has had me riding the emotion train – and I’m not loving it. At all. My arse has fallen into a tremendous funk, and I need to find a way out – but how?
According to this list, getting out of a funk is so easy you can accomplish it in 15 minutes! Crazy, eh???! I know! Here’s the list:
It’s all about mind over matter. Here’s how to take an off-day and turn it into a productive one.
We all have off days from time to time. It’s human nature. But barring the occasional disaster or tragedy, a bad day is really only bad if you decide to stay in that frame of mind. As Martha Washington put it, “The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions and not upon our circumstances.”
In reality, there are some simple actions that can put a positive spin on things and flip your switch from “ugh” to “awesome.” Here are a few things that can help you turn your day around.
1. Create Your Own Talisman
I have an electric guitar in my office. I’ll slap my headphones on and play my guitar to snap out of lethargy or bad moods–or to simply help my brain start solving problems. Find a physical object that you puts you in a happy, energized state. In A Few Good Men, Lt. Daniel Kaffee needed his baseball bat to think best. You likely have something similar, and it’s not only OK but essential to use props like these to get out of a funk. If you’re stumped, consider Play-Doh, a doodling pad, or a toy you loved as a child.
2. Make Connections
Instead of glancing over your News Feed, try making a connection with someone real. Even chatting with the barista at your local coffee shop can help put you in a good mood. (Here are a few conversation starters.) At my company, we make it a habit to touch base with one another before getting down to business. Sharing something that’s inspired us or that we’re grateful for during the day not only helps form human connections and build a positive atmosphere, but also makes our meetings shorter, more productive, and action-oriented.
3. Make Someone Else’s Day
Choose a person–whether you know him or not–and decide to make his day with a random act of kindness. Leave a note to brighten someone’s day, pay for someone’s coffee in line, or buy extra muffins and distribute them to your team members. Ask a co-worker if you can help her with something. Giving to others and appreciating what we’ve been given are two of the shortest paths to shaking yourself out of a bad mood. On that note:
4. Express Gratitude
Whether you do it in person, over the phone, via social media, or just in your own head, taking a moment to express gratitude leads to improved health, happiness, relationships, and income. A popular restaurant in Los Angeles, Café Gratitude, has its staff practice this every day, and it has one of the highest levels of customer and worker satisfaction in the business.
Imagine what you might be doing if you were six, 10, or 15 years old. Draw it or write it down, then take a moment to find a photo online that captures its essence. By accessing part of yourself that’s younger, you tap into a time before your aspirations and dreams were reshaped by society. Better yet, spend time with a child. Just watching and spending time around a child opens you up to the freedom and carefree feeling of being young.
As one of my yoga teachers says, shallow breathing results in shallow experiences. Deep breathing, on the other hand, helps clear your mind, reduce stress, and reset your mood. An easy way to get started is by downloading The Mindfulness App, which Healthline called “straightforward and simple.” The quiet alerts, regular reminders, and customization options can make breathing such a routine part of your day that you may even find yourself needing to take mood-calibrating breaths less often.
7. Avoid the 4 Cs
There are four things you need to avoid to stay out a funk (not to mention office drama) in the first place: comparing, competing, criticizing, and complaining. If you catch yourself engaging in one of these unhealthy behaviors, redirect your attention to something happy, like a funny video, for an instant mood booster. (Just make sure the funny video doesn’t lead you to the latest dark headline or celebrity drama.)
8. Find a Quiet Space
Even if it means taking refuge in a bathroom stall, find a place where you can have a moment of quiet or move around and shake off the negative thoughts and feelings.
9. Listen to Music
Everyone has a few tunes that never fail to lighten their spirits. Put on some headphones, and crank it up. Better yet, play it out loud in your car, and sing along.
10. Take a Walk
Go for a walk, or try having a walking meeting. In addition to the health benefits, walking has shown to have amazing mood-boosting powers. Sometimes you just need a quick change of scenery to improve your state of mind.
There are a variety of other techniques that can help you shift your day from bad to better. Sometimes escaping a bad mood is all about remembering that, as author Regina Brett put it, “No one really has a bad life. Not even a bad day. Just bad moments.”
A bad moment is just a tiny fraction of your entire day, and a bad day is just one out of your entire life. The more good moments you create, the fewer bad days you’ll have, and the less glaring the bad ones will seem.
So the next time you feel like your day is going south, put these tips into practice, and let the good days commence.
There’s a few things here I can work with – taking walks usually helps improve the quality of my day, as does listening to music. I’m ALWAYS seeking quiet spaces to be (another anomaly with me – I find the world entirely too loud these days…I want more peace and quiet), so that one makes sense as well. I keep hearing about the magical restorative powers of deep breathing, but…I struggle to make that one work for me. I find myself getting light-headed sometimes (especially during cedar season, which has hit my part of Texas with a bloody vengeance)…maybe it’s just me. I think the big one for me is the 4 Cs…comparing, competing, criticizing, and complaining. I’ve actively worked on the complaining bit for years – and I’m still trying to cut that shit right out of my life….it’s hard, though. I’m trying. I don’t think I’m much of a criticizer (out loud), so that’s one thing. The big struggle for me is the comparing and competing – I ALWAYS feel like I’m in a competition with other people, and I don’t.know.why. I don’t know why I have to compare myself to others ALL THE DAMN TIME, and why I ALWAYS come up short. It’s frustrating. It’s no joke that comparison is the thief of joy – but how do you overcome that? If you have ideas, please send them my way – I need the help.
I hope that you’re managing your holiday time with as little anxiety and stress as possible. It’s almost time for the new year, and it’s a new decade to boot! Exciting!!! Bring on the ‘20s…time to roar!!! 😊
This post is from January 2017, and it still rings true with me now, nearly three years later. Let’s give it a read:
I saw this article on Lifehack, and thought that I would share it with you:
Removing These 8 Things From Life Can Make You More Successful
By Amy Johnson
Lots of people think that the best way to become successful is to pick up lots of new habits and skills. While this can help, sometimes the best thing you can do is give up the things that distract you from your goals.
Instead of adding more things to your life, try removing some negative things that hold you back from success. Some are very easy to give up, while others require a little more time and effort.
Here are 8 things that you should remove from your life to be more successful:
1. Remove Excuses
Successful people don’t try to blame their family, their friends, their boss or their co-workers for their life. Instead, they understand that they are fully responsible for their own life and situation. They see this as a good thing as it means that they hold the power to significantly improve their life. When you make up excuses you are lying to yourself, which will hold you back from achieving your goals.
2. Remove Perfectionism
Perfection is unattainable, so trying to achieve it is a waste of your time. Instead of worrying about mistakes that you have made or physical flaws that bother you, simply focus on trying to better yourself with small steps. No one is perfect, but anyone can make the decision to be a better person.
3. Remove Fear
Lots of people make themselves smaller without realizing; they keep quiet during discussions when they want to say something; they avoid taking risks; and they always think about the worst-case scenario. This fearful attitude will stop you from achieving your full potential, so remove it from your life and be brave instead; speak up, voice your thoughts and actively chase your dreams and goals.
4. Remove The Need To Control Everything
You can’t control everything, and trying to do so is a futile task. It won’t help you to become more successful, but it will make you feel stressed, upset and frustrated. Instead of trying to control everything around you, make an effort to care less about the things you can’t control and focus on the things that you can.
5. Remove A Fixed Mindset
Lots of people have a fixed mindset and they make no effort to learn more or change their perception. This makes it hard for them to become more successful as their mindset is stuck in the past. Try to embrace knowledge and learning, and remember that you can always become wiser.
6. Remove The Desire For Overnight Success
Some people believe that the majority of successful people became successful overnight, or that they became successful by chance. While luck can certainly play its part, you can’t rely on luck to become successful. In reality success takes time and dedication, so you should plan for the future as well as the day ahead of you.
7. Remove Toxic People
If the people around you are negative and pessimistic, over time you will start to become negative and pessimistic too. Remove the toxic people from your life and replace them with optimistic, supportive people who genuinely care about you and your dreams. You will find that you are more motivated to work on your goals, and you will be happier and less stressed.
8. Remove The Need To Say Yes (When Really You Want To Say No)
Some people struggle to say no to the people around them, even if they want to say no. This normally means that they end up wasting time doing things that they don’t want to do, and other people might start to take advantage of them. Be brave and say no when you want to; only you can make your dreams a priority, and it is difficult to do that if you are too busy helping other people with their dreams.
This list is golden, don’t you think? Instead of telling you all the things that you need to learn to do and add to your already-overflowing life, this one suggests removing the things that don’t feel good. I LOVE this. I am crazy about the idea of not doing the things that don’t make you happy – for example, I don’t hang out with people who make me feel shitty anymore. I’ve known people who used to like spending time with me because they would put me down, and in the process build themselves up – which is no way to treat a friend, if you ask me. I’m done with it. I didn’t have a dramatic scene where I spelled out just how bloody much they sucked – instead, I always found reasons to say no to making plans with them…and eventually they took the hint. Done with that crap.
I’ve written before of my refusal to keep saying ‘yes’ to every single damn thing that comes my way – if I don’t want to do something (and I don’t have to for work/life), I don’t. Again, no big dramatic moments ever go down…I just say no. It’s liberating! I’m master of my own domaine, and I get to decide how I spend my time and how I am going to feel about it. Woohoo!! 🙂 Just say no – you should try it! 🙂
I’ve never had the perfectionist gene, and I’m pretty good at taking responsibility for my shit and not offering up lame excuses. I am addressing the fear issue at the moment, as this is a biggie for me. I avoid doing all sorts of things that would probably revolutionize my life and how I live it – all because I am afraid…which is silly. I have gone back to Gabrielle Bernstein’s book “May Cause Miracles” and I am working my way through it, day by day – I’m even doing the exercises and everything! Yaa me! This week, the focus was on being the witness of my thoughts, actions, and energy – and choosing love over fear. I love that. When things get shady and the fight or flight instinct kicks in – take a step back, and choose love. I will keep you posted on how this works out – I am a girl who could realllllllly use a miracle!
Have a good day, mes amis!!! 🙂
Good morning! Happy Monday! Let’s kick off this week with another repost from January of 2017 – throwback time!!
I just want to share this article with you – please read it, carefully, and let the words soak into your brain. There’s good stuff here:
by Fran Sorin
Something happens to a woman when she turns 50. Call it an awakening of sorts—a tipping point. For me, it was as if a cloud had been lifted and I could finally see what really mattered in life. The realization hit me hard. I’d been on this earth for a half a century and my time was limited. This coming of age, for me, came with a feeling of freedom and urgency.
It’s a time to take stock of your life: where you’ve succeeded and where you’ve failed, opportunities you’ve passed up and those you’ve taken advantage of. Ask yourself what you love and what you want to change. How do you want to journey through this next phase of your life?
Reflecting on my younger years, I wished an older, wiser woman had taken the time to help me create a road map for a life of meaning, creativity, and joy.
It would have saved me a lot of time, confusion, and worry. And it would have given me clarity, a sense of calm, focus, and self-assuredness as I journeyed through this very complex world of ours. With that in mind, here are some of the things I would’ve liked to tell myself a few decades ago:
1. You have to be your own top priority.
If you tend to your own well-being first, you’ll have much more energy to help others. Because women have historically taken on the role of caretakers, it’s something we do reflexively. Remember that practicing self-care is not selfish. It’s a necessity if you want to lead a rich and productive life.
2. Nothing is worth sacrificing your health.
Although our culture talks a lot about de-stressing, the majority of us are still leading stressful lives. When you realize that most diseases are related to lifestyle choices, you might get serious about integrating exercise, nutrition, and relationships into your daily life. You’ll be astounded by how much more productive, positive, and healthy you feel.
3. The people around you should be those who love you and support your growth.
How many times have you spent time with a friend or family member who is negative, judgmental, or an energy vampire? Stop making excuses for the toxic people in your life. Anyone who is consistently negative needs to be kept at a distance. Your five closest friends are a mirror of what you truly think of yourself. Make sure that they embody attributes and values you cherish.
4. To get anywhere, you have to get comfortable with saying no.
It takes practice to catch yourself if you tend to say yes out of habit. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll be delighted to see how much time and energy you have to pursue your passions.
5. Don’t let anyone else’s perception influence your choices.
People who fill their lives up with stuff they think they “should” do rarely feel fulfilled. Replace “I should” with “I choose to” or “I want” and see what you come up with. I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results. Spending time chasing the approval of others will not only drain your energy but will keep you from uncovering the best parts of yourself. When you catch yourself in self-doubt, call on your wise inner self to remind yourself that you only need to please and receive approval from yourself—no one else.
6. Doubts hold you back; affirmations propel you forward.
Women spend so much time questioning whether or not they’re good enough, smart enough, pretty enough. As soon as you hear that inner critic, replace that voice with the phrase, “I am enough” or “I am the artist of my life.” I can’t tell you how many clients have tried this technique with astounding results. They report back to me that they feel like a weight has been lifted off of their shoulders and that their self-perception has been dramatically improved.
7. There’s always time to be still.
Our culture places a high priority on productivity and keeping busy. If you give yourself 15 minutes of quiet time the morning, you’ll start your day from a centered, calm state, so that no matter what happens you’ll be able to respond thoughtfully rather than react instinctively.
8. You need to become a person you can love before you try to love anyone else.
Look at yourself in your bathroom mirror each morning and say “Good morning. I love you.” It may sound hokey, but the more you do it, the more you’ll come to appreciate who you really are. You’ll discover internal beauty and great self-love by making this one small change.
9. Gratitude really does change your life.
Develop a daily gratitude practice. It takes five minutes. I love sitting with a notebook and taking stock of what I’m grateful for each morning. Whatever comes to my mind, I write down in a quick list format. The key is to allow yourself to experience the feeling of gratitude. For example, if you’re truly grateful for the delicious cup of coffee you’re drinking, take a deep breath and sink into the sensation of appreciation you feel for that cup of coffee.
10. It’s cool to be your own best friend.
Becoming familiar with your moods, motivations, and deepest desires is critical if you want to live a meaningful, abundant, and productive life. Rather than walking through your day mindlessly, check in with yourself every few hours. How do you feel? If you have a strong negative reaction to something, take note of it. Figure out why. Notice when you feel pleasure, fun, joy, spirituality, and creativity: Being aware of these positive experiences means you can find ways to incorporate more of them into your life.
11. You are responsible for yourself—and only yourself.
Blaming external circumstances for your unhappiness will only perpetuate it. Instead, when you find yourself bemoaning the state of the world, affirm to yourself, “I am responsible for my own life and I choose to create an extraordinary one.”
12. You need to believe in your own abilities.
Once you own that you have the power and ability to create a life that you deeply desire, you’ll experience—deep in your soul—the power you possess, which, in turn, will inspire you to make changes. You’ll also understand that there is a solution to practically every issue and that you have the ability to figure out what that solution is.
13. You’ll always learn more from listening than you will from talking.
Whether with an old friend, a stranger, a family member, or in business, learn the art of listening. Becoming an excellent listener will enable you to develop more intimate and deeper connections. You’ll also have more interesting conversations and it will keep your mind active and growing.
14. Curiosity is the key to never being bored (or obsolete).
We live in a culture that places a high priority on expertise and productivity. If you want to live a rich, creative life, you need to expose yourself to new concepts and practices. And even in areas you’ve been exploring for years, there’s always more to learn. Let go of perfectionism. Be willing to fail. It will reveal so many possibilities.
15. Hatred costs everything. Forgiveness costs nothing.
So many of us hold deep grudges indefinitely. Often, an inability to forgive others is a sign you struggle to forgive yourself. Catch your inner voice making critical or angry comments about others, and acknowledge that what you’re feeling toward them is actually a reflection of how you feel about yourself. Just by noting these feelings and reminding yourself to let them go, you’ll begin to dissolve these feelings of anger and judgment. You’ll experience a rush of positive energy, relief, openheartedness, and compassion.
16. Spending 20 minutes a day in nature is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
It’s a profound way to de-stress, clear your mind of clutter, jump-start creativity, and experience feelings of well-being, calm, and awe. Take just a few minutes a day to awaken your senses and you’ll reap magical benefits in all areas of your life.
17. You’re much better off doing one thing really well than three things poorly.
We’ve been led to believe that success means multitasking all day long. When you slow down and practice being present and focused each moment, you’ll experience a deeper, richer, and more meaningful life. Try this: Stop whatever you’re doing, sit still, clear your mind, and take three deep breaths. Then start again.
18. “Life is far too important to be taken seriously.”
OK, so I borrowed that one from Oscar Wilde. Life is a paradox. Knowing how to integrate fun, laughter, and playfulness into your pursuit of a meaningful life will jump-start your creativity and enable you to develop deeper connections. Think about it: After you’ve had a good laugh, don’t you feel more light-hearted, happier, and able to continue your day with more ease?
19. Your job here is simple: to create the life of your dreams.
We all have moments of self-doubt. In those moments, let your wiser self remind you that you’re highly intelligent and creative. All it takes to make a difference is the desire and drive to keep making it happen. If you set your mind to it, believe in yourself, and take action, you’ll always find a way to create an extraordinary life. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Great, right? I have come to a lot of these conclusions myself, but it’s only in the past few years that I’ve found my way to this knowledge – imagine how different my story would’ve been had someone told me this when I was younger? Although, I likely wouldn’t have listened, but…still. It might have been nice to have the advice.