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Lara’s Links: Monday

Last week I felt very accomplished and attribute the weeks success to a few productivity skills I have learned over the years. I am always looking for more ways to be productive, and during my reading last week I learned quite a few new ideas (which especially help when feeling challenged).

Here is a round up of information I found useful:

Heading Out On Your Own-Day 5: Create A Weekly Attack Plan (The Art of Manliness)

5 Ways Weekends Can Boost Your Productivity Monday-Friday (Entrepreneur)

Mid-Year Review: Making the Most of This Year (life optimizer)

How To Wake Up On Fire (Paid To Exist)

Thinking About Giving Up? Read This First (Inc.)

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Friday Reads: expect less, appreciate more.

Recently someone told me I “set the bar high”, it was not the first time I have had those words directed towards me. I had taken that statement as a compliment, assuming others look at me as someone with prestige. Now, I am starting to hear these words a bit differently. Reason being, I am tired of being let down. It is not others, or my own experiences letting me down, it is the habit of letting my expectations get out of control.

At the new year, I chose a mantra for 2015. This mantra is “Expect Less, Appreciate More”. (In fact, these words are the wallpaper on my iPhone as a daily reminder). It has been really hard to keep myself in check. As far back as early childhood, I can remember having ideas in my head of what experiences would or should be like. From there I developed a lot of expectations of myself, and as I got older I (unfairly) developed expectations of others. I believe some expectations have benefitted me, however overall and on a daily basis my expectations have hurt me more than helped me. I continue to find myself disappointed in reality versus my expectations. Especially when it comes to my expectations of experiences and of others.

I’ve found myself having high expectations of things such as a perfect vacation, or the perfect date night, only to be let down. (Even writing those words makes me feel selfish, for the fact I can afford to travel and I have someone that likes to take me on dates). My expectations of others have gotten me into even more turmoil. I have gone out of my way to do things for others, expecting something back, only to be baffled when nothing was received. I have had countless fights with, and let downs by my husband because he did not read my mind meet my expectations. Expecting specific behaviors of him, and even worse, gifts from him, have created unfortunate memories in what should be fond.

Appreciation is helping me turn my expectations around. Having expectations has not gone away, but are looked upon in another way. If I find myself having expectations of an experience, I choose to see them as dreams. Dreams where I can appreciate the opportunity and remind myself to truly savor the moments ahead. When it comes to expecting things from others, I have learned if I choose to do something for another it should be because it makes me feel good and I want to do it, not because I expect something in return (even if it is just a sign of gratitude). Not having expectations of what my husband should do for me, makes a thing like an occasional bouquet brought home much more special and romantic. I am more appreciative of our time together and more aware of the ways he shows love. Finally, when it comes to myself, having fewer expectations of where I should be or how I should be doing things has allowed me to slow down, gain patience and see the big picture.

This is a BIG work in progress. I guarantee my husband will read this and think I have a lot of work to do (which is true!). Things rarely ever turn out the way you expect them, so try to limit expectations (or, at least, look at them differently), and appreciate as much as you can. It takes time, be easy on yourself.

In the meantime here are a few articles related to managing expectations that helped me put things in perspective:

Managing Your Expectations Is The Key To Happiness (Elite Daily)

What You Appreciate, Appreciates (Deepak Chopra)

What To Do When You Are Feeling Disappointed In Your Relationship (The Change Blog)

Give More, Expect Less (Kingpin Lifestyle)

How To Manage Your Expectations (Oprah)

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Favorite Podcast: The School of Greatness

Sometimes I find myself stuck in a rut, and even though I always find a way to get unstuck, it is a frustrating time. A few weeks ago when I found myself struggling I reflected on previous times I have felt that way. I wanted to recall how I came out of the feeling in order to move through the process more quickly. I have realized the number one reason I usually fall into this place is because I am not engaging in something interesting to me. When I stop engaging it is usually due to time constraints or burn out on a particular subject. Podcasts have been a tool I find helpful to re-engage. There are endless amounts of podcasts on all types of subjects, and what is great about them they are so convenient to listen to! Instead of listening to the radio in the car, checking Instagram while I am walking the dog, or having the television on in the background while I cook, I’ll simply tune into an episode from a favorite series.

A podcast I have found myself dedicated to is Lewis Howes’ “The School of Greatness”. Lewis has over 200 episodes of  interviews with entrepreneurs and experts on their experiences or knowledge and is always interesting and inspiring. Often times I hear others stories and I think “I can do that!”. I love that feeling, it truly invigorates me and helps pull me out of a funky place when I am in need.

Below are some of my favorite episodes from “The School of Greatness”. Check them out and check out others, to find what interests and inspires you!

Episode: How To Build a Business and Life You Love with Marie Forleo 

Why I loved it: This was the first episode I ever listened to. My husband heard it first and recommended I listen, as he thought I would relate to Marie. He was right, I listened twice in a row and go back to it every now and then. I was really stuck when I heard this episode and it changed my life. There are so many meaningful messages here, and for me the most powerful lesson I learned was engagement.  It made me realize I had to stop sitting around waiting for something to happen and needed to engage in things I enjoyed to get things moving. Once I did this, things started flowing and I gained clarity. So far, what I have learned has worked and kept me pretty happy!

Episode: How to Influence and Inspire People By Mastering The Personality Matrix with Chris Lee

Why I loved it: I am a sucker for a good personality test. I love to find out more about my personality and others personalities in order to better communicate and work with people. I took this test with some colleagues at a past job and in this episode, Chris is great at explaining the different personality styles in more detail. P.S. I am an “Analyzer”.

Episode: Leverage Your Strengths to Fascinate Your Audience with Sally Hogshead

Why I loved it: I am a big fan of Sally Hogshead. She developed another personality test I 100% believe in. This episode is all about finding out the advantages of your personality and how best to display them to others. The test helps you recognize your weaknesses too. My Primary Advantage: Prestige + My Secondary Advantage: Passion = “The Connoisseur”.

Episode: Create Powerful Habits That Make You Happy with Gretchen Rubin

Why I loved it: Gretchen talks about expectations and how specific personalities respond to expectations. (I believe I am an “Upholder” when it comes to expectations). She discusses how we can develop habits based on our personalities and life circumstances.

Episode: The Power of Clarity – 5 Steps to Achieving Any Goal

Why I loved it: Every once in a while Lewis Howes will do a solo podcast where he discusses topics specific to his experiences. I have found these episodes valuable as Lewis comes off as the type of guy I could be friends with, and has made it is easy for me to relate to him. In this episode, he teaches an exercise called, “The Perfect Day”. This exercise was difficult for me at first (mostly because I felt cheesy detailing every moment of my perfect day). However as I get the hang of it and went through it with a professional, I realize I am not far away from achieving my “perfect day” and uncovered little ways I can set goals to achieve my perfect day every day.

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Lara’s Links: Wednesday

A few inspiring reads, quotes & ideas to enlighten your hump day. (Inc. and their contributors really spoke to me today).

12 Things People Regret The Most Before They Die (Inc.)

Give and You Will Receive (James Altucher)

Why You Still Haven’t Taken The Plunge and Followed Your Dreams (Inc.)

Blame Is What Is Tearing You Down (Lolly Daskal)

10 Hopeful Quotes That Will Help You Through Challenging Situations (Time & Entrepreneur)

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7 Things About Fear I Learned From Jim Carrey.

Jim Carrey’s commencement speech given at Maharishi University has found popularity through the web over the past year. With nearly one billion YouTube views, Carrey’s message about overcoming fear, and finding your path reached more than just Maharishi University’s 2014 graduating class.

Here are 7 quotes in Carrey’s speech that inspired me:

1. “So many choose a path out of fear disguised as practicality. What we really want seems impossibly out of reach and ridiculous to expect so we don’t ask the universe for it.”

2. “You can fail at what you don’t want so you might as well take a chance to fail on what you love.”

3. “The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is, because everything you gain in life will rot and fall apart and all that will be left of you is what is left in your heart.”

4. “Your need for acceptance can make you invisible in this world. Don’t let anything get in the way of the light that shines through this form. Risk being seen in all of your glory.”

5. “My soul is not contained in the limitedness of my body. My body is contained in the limitedness of my soul.”

6. “Let the universe know what you want, working toward it while letting go of how it comes to pass.”

7. “Take a chance on faith. Not religion, but faith. Not hope, but faith. I don’t believe in hope, hope is a beggar. Hope walks through the fire and faith leaps over it.”

You can see the entire speech here.

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Friday Reads: dealing with anxiety.

I am a naturally anxious person. It is hard for me to relax, I tend to worry about or over think almost everything. I accept it is a part of who I am and have found ways to help me cope in times when anxiety gets the best of me. Understanding ways to deal with anxiety (outside of medication), has been difficult and takes a lot of practice and acknowledgement of how I am feeling and why I am feeling that way.

Recently someone wise told me to focus on facts, instead of beliefs or feelings. For example, I have been feeling anxious about an upcoming social engagement. Worried about how I should behave to appease others and what people will think of me, has made me anxious for days, even having nightmares about what terrible things could happen. I really wanted to let go of negative feelings around an evening that should be fun and enjoyable. Looking at the facts of the event rather than my or others beliefs/feelings of how things will be, has helped separate my worry from what is reality. Fact: I will show up at 6 p.m. Fact: I will enjoy an evening outside. Fact: I will be spending time with family. Fact: I will be eating dinner. These are all things that are true. The beliefs and feelings I am putting in my head of what others may think are just thoughts (not reality) giving me anxiety. It is totally unnecessary and I have to let my ideas go in order to enjoy my time. It is that simple.

I could go on and on about my struggle with anxiety and coping mechanisms and promise to do so eventually. For now, I will end with a few articles about dealing with anxiety. Let’s try not to be anxious this weekend and enjoy the two days ahead. Happy Friday!

5 Steps for Tackling Anxiety (cupcakes & cashmere)

How To Deal With Anxiety Step One (HEADSPACE DAILY)

Do You Worry Too Much? (A Cup of Jo)

5 Tips for Dealing With Anxiety (Inc.)

James Altucher: Four simple steps to stop worrying today (THE CRUX)

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