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Category: Thoughts

Tuesday Thoughts: breakdowns & breakthroughs.

A few nights ago, I had a breakdown. Many things contributed to my moment of panic, but mostly one huge decision I needed to make. I have been working an entire year towards taking a big step in my life and after this time of contemplation, its time I say yes or no.  Many obstacles could get in the way of me moving forward, or create more waiting time. There are many logical reasons why now is the worst time to take this leap. However, I feel ready to execute and am scared if I do not move now, I may never. Still, I could not shake the guilt of reasons why not to move forward, and this is what suddenly brought me down.

The next morning on my way to the gym, I listened to this podcast episode about breakdowns and instantly broke down in tears. It reminded me of a quote a friend shared with me when I planned to quit my highly structured corporate job. Spoken by Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo! in regards to pushing through uncertainty; “I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough. Sometimes that’s a sign that something really good is about to happen. You’re about to grow and learn a lot about yourself”.

I had experienced a breakthrough when I quit my last job. Recognizing the amazing things that came from pushing through my insecurities made me aware this can and will happen again. Listening to that podcast and remembering those words instantly calmed my nerves. It gave me the confirmation I needed to move on, take risks, and breakthrough.

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Tuesday Thoughts: answering difficult questions.

I like to think of myself as a goal setter. If I set myself out to accomplish something I do so, generally well and quickly. However, goal setters do things like plan out and write down goals and this is where I struggle. I have spent years trying to figure out why I have a hard time articulating specifics of what I would like to achieve. I believe the main reason for this is, I have a tough time giving answers to very important questions. I am a dreamer and it is easy for me to visualize what I would like to achieve, but I have a hard time putting those aspirations into words. I realize the importance of this, so I have made a habit of asking myself and journaling each day what I am grateful for, what I could do today to make it a great day, and at the end of the day, what I could have done to have made it a better day. This practice has slowly helped me articulate what I feel and see inside, into words and gets me a step closer to doing the same with my goals. Of course, this blog helps too!

Earlier this week I found inspiration from a post written by Susie Moore. In her blog post, “5 Killer Life Coaching Questions You Can Ask Yourself” she says, “most people do not pause to ask themselves the big questions. The real questions. The questions that will change our lives for the better. Often we do not take a moment and think about what really matters to us and what our contribution to the world is.”  Given I have been taking baby steps in answering small and simple questions, today I am taking the plunge to answer the questions Susie says are most important.

So without further ado, here are my answers… (This does make me feel very vulnerable, but that is a good thing!)

How happy am I overall, today, out of 10?

Today specifically I am having a hard day. I am on day two of a massive headache. I literally feel like I am balancing a ton of bricks on the top of my head and the pressure is bad! I will admit I have been in a funk, feeling uncertain and definitely backtracking. However, I remind myself that today is today, there is always tomorrow. Embrace the funk today and move on tomorrow. So today I give myself a 5.

In general during this period of time, I would give myself a 8. I feel happy in my life right now, much happier than a year  ago, but I know there is a lot more happiness to come, so I refuse to rate things higher. I am exceptionally happy in my marriage. I am happy in my relationships with my friends. I am mostly happy with my health and physical stature. I am mostly happy with family relationships, and the efforts I have put in. I am mostly happy with where we live. I am okay with my job (the one that pays me). I am not happy with difficulties we are having with our home or our financial situation (which both stem from the same problem). I am the happiest with myself and the work I have done to improve than I ever have been before. So in totality, I am pretty happy.

Answering this question helps me understand areas I need to work on and those I can make sure continue to thrive. If I do this, I know I will be happier. I am making simple steps every day to improve my happiness with my career, and that makes me see my overall number rise.

What type of life do I want to lead?

I have talked about wanting to lead an authentic life. Gosh, is that something to strive for! I want to be transparent, as I feel we all would be a little less intimidating, and the world would be a little softer if we were not afraid of showing who we really are. I want to keep and continue to make my marriage my number one priority. I want to be a mother and love those kiddos with my whole heart. I want to be supportive of my husband and children. I want to build a village (friends and family), who will help influence my children and support my family.  I want to lead by example with forgiveness, patience, and kindness. I want to inspire others to work on themselves and not allow outside influences to bring them down. I want to create a career I am passionate about and work for myself. I want to stay physically fit, healthy and beautiful. I want a home where when people visit they are comfortable and feel welcome. When I talk with someone I want them to feel I am giving them my undivided attention and understanding. I want to master the skill of listening. I want to make others feel included. I want to travel the world with my husband, family, and friends. I want to be 100% financially independent from all debt. Have enough money to live very nicely, but not too extravagant, and enough to leave my children to benefit from.

What does success look like to me?

Success looks a lot like what I stated in the previous question. Overall success would be finding a balance between work, play and family time. Each piece lived with passion and purpose and surrounded with love.

What brings me joy?

A schedule. Staying busy and having something to look forward to, but having time to relax. My husband, family, friends and dog. Exercise. Working towards my future career. Helping others achieve success or achieve their goals. Holding hands with my husband, and cuddling in front of the T.V. at night. Long talks about the future or the meaning of life. Traveling anywhere at any time, with nice accommodations. Wine and a fancy cocktail. Talking to my Mom on my morning walks. The movie theater, popcorn and diet coke. A good book. Interior design. Trying new restaurants and repeated visits to my old favorites. When a baby or a child smiles back at me in the grocery line. Cooking. Writing. Handwritten notes and mail. Lip synching and dancing. Date night. Purchasing something pretty or of quality. Facials. Expressing gratitude. Forgiveness. Learning new skills to help elevate my life.

What can I do in the next two weeks to bring more joy, passion, and purpose to my life?

A lot of what I am already doing. Keeping up with this blog. Finishing my current book. Spending quality time with girlfriends. Plan a party. Write a handwritten note and mail it to someone I am thinking of. Enroll in and begin a coaching program. Hire someone to help me further develop this blog. Kiss and love my husband each morning and each night. Text my parents while they are on vacation. Call my sisters and my brother and check in with my in-laws. Get spirited about the holidays and cooler weather. Take Paisley for more walks. Ride my bike. Review our financial situations and follow our plan.

At the end of this exercise not only do I find myself more fulfilled and clear on my goals, but I feel happier. I would say my day instantly went from a 5 to a 7. Go ahead try it yourself. Enjoy!

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Thursday Thoughts: love oneself.

Earlier this week, I had a conversation with someone about why they are single and not interested in dating. She told me she wanted to focus on finding happiness and success within herself and believed her soul mate would be doing the same. When both are ready and whole they will find one another. She was very adamant the reason her previous relationships had not worked out was because she or her partner were not fulfilled with themselves and looking for someone to fill a void. Then she shared with this short film,  “The Missing Piece Meets The Big O”, with me.

The film was adapted from a popular children’s poem by, Shell Silverstein (a favorite author of mine as a child, and still remains). It tells a story of a shape, that is looking for its piece to fit into. The shape searches far and wide for its match, and does find a match that fits, but they do not work out, as the shape starts to grow and no longer fits. It is not until the shape has formed into itself in its entirety, it finds another shape to belong to, and live side by side.

Although I met my husband long ago and when we were very young, I relate my experience in finding him to this story. I struggled as a teenager to find a boy that I liked enough, or that I liked and liked me back. I never had a serious boyfriend, but kissed a lot of frogs. During my first semester of college, I dated a couple of different guys that I really, really liked, more than I had liked anyone in high school. Neither relationship worked out. I remember at the end of that semester, I told myself I was not going to pursue another relationship until I spent a little time learning to love myself. In fact, I vividly remember telling my girlfriends New Years Eve, my resolution was to learn to love myself. What do you know… just a month after making this resolution, I started talking to and spending time with a boy I had casually known for a few months. It started off as a friendship, and within a couple of weeks, we were in a full-fledged relationship. Seven years later, that relationship turned to marriage, and three years into our marriage I am so grateful for making my first decision to learn to love myself first.

In fact, as each of us continue to work on and love ourselves, and follow what makes us happy, the more our relationship grows together. It is easy to lose track of yourself in any relationship and think of yourselves as a unit, but its never failed us to focus on oneself, making us better individually and together.

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Tuesday Thoughts: improving relationships.

Each week I look forward to reading Eric Barkers latest blog post on Barking Up The Wrong Tree. Eric’s writings cover all types of personal development subjects, and he always highlights expert advice and research.

This week’s post, “5 Easy Ways To Improve Difficult Relationships, Backed By Research”, reminded me, in relationships I need to focus on my actions rather than those I am relating. In challenging relationships (we’ve all got them), it is especially easy to forget to take responsibility for your actions, and instead, focus on others and how they are making your relationship challenging. Eric says there are 5 steps you can take to help improve relationships, which include; screw up, ask questions that show you care, imitate the one you love, ask for advice and apologize the right way. In order to remind myself of the importance of this type of behavior, I want to share a few instances in which I have followed these steps and the outcome.

  1. Make Sure to Screw Up: This one is hard for me because I tend to be a perfectionist. People relate better to people who have flaws, rather than those who intimidate because they appear to have it all together. One time, upon giving a presentation to a group of colleagues, I became nervous as I felt they were not properly engaged. Those nerves lead me to jumble up a bunch of words and nonsense came out of my mouth instead of a proper sentence! This immediately got a few giggles, I made a joke of it and went on to have a great presentation and interaction with my peers. They saw me as less threatening and I was able to be myself, leading to success.
  2. Ask Questions That Show You Care: My relationship with my husband is not difficult, but marriage is work, and we are constantly discussing ways we can improve our relationship by improving ourselves. I first learned this technique from my husband. I have a tendency to yell for his help from one side of the house to the other. It makes him crazy and he feels I do not care what he may be doing and instead expect him to drop everything to find me and answer my calling. It probably took me upwards of 100 times to realize how I was making him feel in asking for his attention in this matter. I realize when I simply ask him, “Is this a good time to talk?”, I  get his attention more quickly and he is willing to assist with whatever I need. This simple question made him feel I find his time valuable (which I do).
  3. Imitate The One You Love: I learned this in sales training years ago. I can not say I loved all my clients, but one way I got them to love me or, at least, buy my product was by mirroring their behavior. On occasion, I would run into clients who would cross their arms and try to shut me out. I did not mirror them by crossing my arms (that is too obvious, let alone rude), but instead in moments of engagement (nodding, leaning in or smiling), I would do the same. I believe this made clients more comfortable with me as they saw and felt similarities between the two of us.
  4. Ask For Advice: Ever heard of the tactic “Make them think it was their idea”?  I am pretty sure I have been doing this since childhood. Instead of laying out my perspective on an issue, I’ll ask for advice. Usually, the advice is similar to what I had wanted or close enough that I can push it in my direction. I commonly used this tactic with a manager at an old job. I knew as a team we needed a better system in organizing leads. I asked my manager for advice on how I could be better at this for my own business. Once talking this over, he realized it was such a good idea he should implement it team wide. I got what I wanted, he felt as though he solved my problem and made things better for himself and the team. Easy!
  5. Apologize The Right Way: For me, this is the most powerful tool. At times, I can be an over-apologizer (something I try to be aware of), but I am almost always the first to apologize when its time to move on from something. Just the other night my husband and I got in a brief and unimportant tiff (so much so that at this moment I can not remember what it was about). Noticing he still seemed annoyed by the time we went to bed, I apologized for my part. This opened up for conversation where I learned it was not the actual disagreement we had that bothered him, it was something I said, and have said before that hurt his feelings. Because I apologized not only did we get to move past things quickly, but I learned something about myself and our relationship, which I was able to promise to work on and change for the future. Creating an opportunity for our relationship to grow and be stronger than it was before the entire debacle.
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Thursday Thoughts: establishing independence.

I was eighteen when I met my husband. We were in college, living in the same dorm, on the same floor. I am thirty now, and we have had twelve amazing years together. Before I continue with this post, I must say, I feel very fortunate to have met him at such a young age. We are blessed with extra years with one another and have grown together in ways I never expected.  I thank god and am grateful for him every single day.

When I went to college and moved from my parents home, I was expected to gain a lot of independence, which in many ways, I did. However, since I quickly became involved with someone living so close in proximity to me, it was easy for me to rely on my boyfriend (now husband), to help me with things like cooking dinner, driving me to run errands, and extra security. If something was broken I could easily ask him to fix it rather than figure it out myself. Fast forward over a decade later and this still happens day to day.

I pride myself in being a very capable and resourceful person, therefore, I consider myself to be pretty independent. However, recently it came to my attention I rely on my husband for things I should be taking care of myself.  I do so quite often, concluding I may not be as independent as I thought. I am not surprised, after all, I have always had someone very close to me to lean on and take care of me.

In recognizing my dependence, I found a couple of truths. One being, it is especially easy to expect him to do things that for me seem either boring or overwhelming. Not tackling these matters myself only hurts me, as I am either not facing my fears or not dealing with the monotonous parts of life, we all have to accept. The other is, I count on him to do things as a form of togetherness. My subconscious perceives if I rely on him to take care of things for me, it will bond us. When in reality pushing for any form of togetherness causes more distance, as it is forced and not natural.

Keeping these things in mind, this past weekend I accomplished a few things on my own I normally would have wanted my husband to handle.  Not only did I feel confident and happy with myself, but received extra support and excitement from my husband. It’s not always easy to differentiate self in any relationship, but it sure is a crucial part of maintaining a healthy and happy marriage.

Below are a few articles related to establishing independence to help, when you find yourself a little too codependent.

How To End Your Dependence On Other People (Think Simple Now)*

Ending Co-Dependency In Relationships: Find & Live Who You Really Are (Tinny Buddha)

How to Stop Depending on Others and Take Control of Your Lifestyle (Lifestyle Updated)

Is Independence The Key To Happiness? (Oprah)

6 Ways to Become More Independent, Less Codependent (Psych Central)

*originally posted on 9.16.2015
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Tuesday Thoughts: books that form you.

Clearly I enjoy reading. If I did not, I would not be capable of writing this blog! I always have a book on hand, going back and forth between fiction and self-development books, and sometimes read both simultaneously. Some self development books over the years that helped form my thinking include, Choose Yourself“, “The Five Love Languages“, “Growing Yourself Up“, “How To Win Friends & Influence People“, “The Secret“, The Four Agreements“, “Strengths Finder 2.0 and How The World Sees You (I did not read the last one in its entirety, only what pertained to me).

One of my favorite experiences is being on vacation and finishing multiple books in a week or two. I will be on vacation in a few days, and plan to finish The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin which I have loved so far. In deciding what to read next, I came across a few lists of other recommended self-development books and wanted to share.

13 Books That Changed My Life (Susie Moore)

The Ten Most Important Books To Expand Your Brain (James Altucher)

Top Experts Always Recommend These Four Books (Barking Up The Wrong Tree)

20 Self Development Books That Can Change Your Life (A Daring Adventure)

Six Books To Read This Year (Proctor Gallagher Institute)

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Thursday Thoughts: stop with the what ifs.

For nearly a year my husband and I have been faced with a huge challenge. Our friends tell us they can not understand how we have not given up or broken down, it has been that difficult. There have been sleepless nights, tears of frustration and complaints joining us on this journey, but most commonly a lot of “what ifs?”.

A few days ago, over a few beers we starting talking about our situation. We were playing the “what if” game, looking at every way our situation may pan out. I reacted immediately with worry and stress. I started “what if-ing” all of the possible scenario’s we had previously discussed and was coming up with new ones on the spot. This game mixed with my structured and planned out nature left me spiraling downward by the second. Fortunately (or unfortunately) my husband is familiar with my behavior and got me to get a grip pretty quickly. He shared with me what works for him in times of challenge. He said he considers the worst case scenario, and usually, that scenario is not really that bad. In our case, the worst case scenario is not life-shattering and recoverable, equaling to be dealt with.

As I said before, he was able to get me to calm down, but that night in the midst of sleep I woke up frantic.  Thinking of the worst case scenario was not working for me, the “what ifs” were on repeat. Eventually, I worried myself back into a deep sleep and woke up the next morning with a new state of mind. Within minutes of rising, I had a “lightbulb” moment. I recognized there is no reason to worry about what may happen. There are far too many options of the table and some may not have appeared yet, all or none of which could be the outcome. If I am going to worry (I am a natural worrier, so it is a hard thing to change), worry about it when it becomes reality. Why spend seconds, minutes, days, months, years worrying about the unknown? 99% of what I waste my energy worrying about will not even come true. Patience, hard work, time and a little faith will always tell, and eventually, this will be a case closed. For now, its time to let go of the “what ifs”.

Here are a few encouraging articles pertaining to worry and times faced with challenge:

How To Beat The Fear Of The Unknown (Pick The Brain)

Dealing With The Unknowns In Life (The Simply Luxurious Life)

How To Stop Worrying (Barking Up The Wrong Tree)

5 Dos and Don’ts for Surviving a Hard Time (Tiny Buddha)

How To Stop Worrying Now (The Change Blog)

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thoughts on success.

Over the past couple of days, I have been drawn to articles related to success. I find myself spending hours getting lost in reading or hearing about others success stories and how they achieved greatness in their careers and lives. I am fascinated by the similarities in characteristics most successful people have in common, and sometimes am surprised by what I hear. A few qualities that stand out to me include:

Successful People Get Creative. They are resourceful and find ways to make the impossible possible.

Successful People Are Well Networked. They treat everyone they encounter as someone they should have a relationship with. They believe you never know who you may be talking to, and that person may be able to contribute to your life in a big way. They are willing to and can easily connect people together.

Successful People Are Well Balanced. They draw boundaries between their professional life and personal life. They find a balance between their relationships, work, spirituality, etc… They strive for a life of moderation.

Successful People Contribute. They realize success is not going to come from what they get, but what they give.

Successful People Have a Strong Sense of Reality. They know things are not always going to go according to plan, or that eventually there will be valleys amongst peaks. They prepare for this so they can react appropriately.

Successful People Have Successful Friends. They understand “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”. They learn and benefit from those they surround themselves with.

Successful People Are Physically Healthy. They know their physical body is a shell to every other part of them that will bring success. They exercise, feed themselves proper nourishments, and get enough sleep.

Below are a few recent articles where I found these virtues come up time and time again, in successful people:

3 Traits of Great Entrepreneurs (Human Elevation)

Secrets To Success: 6 Tips From The Most Successful People (Barking Up The Wrong Tree)

The True Elements of True Success (Life Optimizer)

9 Counterintuitive Lessons About Success You Can Learn From Tony Robbins (Inc.)

The Unfair Truth About How Creative People Really Succeed (Medium)

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Thursday Thoughts: attitude.

I was desperate to play volleyball in high school. Growing up, I idealized my cousins who played on their high school teams and I wanted to be just like them. Lucky for me I was tall and immediately attracted the attention of the girls volleyball coach. I did not even have to try out, I was just placed on the team!

To my coaches disappointment, my height did not equal good athletic ability, and instead he had a very lanky, uncoordinated, scared of the ball, middle blocker. Somehow I was able to stay on the team throughout high school. Each year I was astonished I kept making the team because athletically I was not improving. What did improve over the years was my attitude. I knew I was not the best player, but I tried my best. I never missed practice and was happy to sit on the bench and just root my team on. All I cared about was being involved with a group of girls and representing my school. (I also loved the ribbons we got to wear in our hair and the pretty posters on the wall, so that was a plus). I did not care if kids or parents felt bad for me or wondered why I was wasting my time, I was a part of something that made me happy.

At the end of my last season, the coach was handing out awards and made an announcement that he was giving an award he had never given to anyone before. I was called to the front of the room and presented the “Best Attitude Award“. My teammates and coach believed my attitude brought higher moral to our team and wanted to recognize my behavior. My family and I laugh about this award all the time, realizing athletically I am not the most gifted, but as far as good sportsmanship I thrive, and it is all about the attitude.

Having a good attitude does not always come easy, but it is much easier to live life with a good one rather than a bad one. Marc & Angel wrote, “4 Questions that Will Change Your Attitude (When You Can’t Change Anything Else)” earlier this week, and it reminded me of the questions I used to ask myself back in my volleyball days. Those years on the volleyball team helped form my behaviors today, and I still ask myself the same questions in order to find my good attitude.

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Thursday Thoughts: quotes that get me thinking.

There are endless amounts of timeless inspirational quotes used every day. I hear them quoted by my parents, bosses, friends & yoga teachers. I have seen them on television commercials or plastered to the side of a bus or billboard. Heard them on the radio, in speeches or sung in song lyrics. There are pieces of inspiration everywhere, I just have to pay attention to find them.

A few that have resonated with me over the years include:

Gratitude is a vaccine, an antitoxin and an antiseptic.”- John Henry Jowett (seen here)

I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.” – Louisa May Alcott

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” – Charles R. Swindoll
Below find links to some popular and classic quotes, and a few others that are new to me:

9 Jim Rohn Quotes That Will Inspire You To Work Harder On Yourself (Pick The Brain)

25 Great Motivational Quotes You’ve Never Heard Of (A Daring Adventure)

Top 100 Inspirational Quotes (Forbes)

50 Motivational Quotes That Will Put Your Motivation On Overdrive (Life Hack)

The Quotes That Motivate The Most Successful People (Fast Company)

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