Friday, April 29, 2011 you may end up failing

I know it’s a hard pill to swallow, but a truth that you may need to hear. I mean even as I write this I’m scared. I’m petrified of how you will read this. I’m worried about making you angry. Will I say the wrong thing? Will I sound like a fraud? Will there be a nasty string of comments to follow? This is what happens when you put yourself out there. Some people like you; some people won’t. Sometimes you’ll fail; sometimes you’ll succeed. But each effort is a major step forward.

There’s this old military expression: "No battle plan ever survives first contact with the enemy”. The first step is getting down in the trenches – maybe you’re facing an enemy – maybe you’re facing your fear of yourself. It’s hard to know what to expect. But you have to take a leap and get in there. Only then can you plot your next move – only then can you sift through the needles – only then can you slowly make progress. No matter what point you’re at - no matter how scared you are, you have to get out there and do it. You have gifts that only you have been given. You have talent that can shine a new light. There’s a chance you may fall on your face, but next time you’ll have more ammunition!

Exploring the handbag mentality

So the other day my husband leaves for work. Phone – check. Wallet – check. Keys – check. He’s ready to head out the door. The whole thing's amazing to me. You can’t even tell that he's leaving. Me, on the other hand: keys, phone, jacket, sweater in purse, makeup bag, book for the train, letter I’ve been meaning to mail, a pair of shoes just in case, lotion for if my hands get dry, an extra purse just in case. You would think I was leaving forever. But it made me think. I mean to me I’m just being efficient but to my shoulder it’s a weight on my side. How does this translate to life? Think about the baggage you carry. What if this happens? What if that something goes wrong? What if I don’t have enough? What if I’m just not prepared? Think about it. Think about the weight that it puts on your shoulders. Of course anything and everything is possible but how often do you weigh yourself down? What's the cost of the burdens you carry? It’s true that we’re natural caregivers but how heavy are we making our load? No our lives are not easy. No the answers aren’t always apparent, but what things do you choose to throw in? And what things can you leave at the door?

Spring is in the air - clothes are on the ground

So it’s springtime again. The birds are chirping. The sun is shining. The air settles soft on your skin … But somehow your life’s out of order: paper all over the place, a million and one things to do. You want to find ways to replenish. But the question is where do you start?

Just thought I'd share a few thoughts:

1. Get up and go find your purse. More than likely it’s filled with old “stuff”. Old lipsticks, old letters, old post-its of things left “to do”. Dump it all out. Yes even the crumbs from last Wednesday. Figure out what you really need in there and put the rest where you think it belongs.

2. Make up your bed in the morning. I know it sounds crazy, but this can make a whole world of difference. Consider it your self-declaration. No matter what kind of drama goes down, you started your day with some order and no one can take that from you (unless you have a dog that likes pillows ;)

3. Take a weekend to clean up your house. If you have children then put them to work. Give everyone their own special project. Put on some ‘ooh-work-is-fun’ music – trick yourself into enjoying it. One small caveat: if the thought of this seems overwhelming, take it one step at a time. Start with a room…a closet…a drawer. Create rewards as you start to make progress.

4. Call up a friend to come help you. You probably have resources out there; it’s just that your vision is blurred. Instead of thinking of holes in the fabric, think about ways you can mend and repair.

5. Stop. Not forever, just for right now. Go make yourself a cup of tea, a drink of wine, a scoop of ice cream. Give yourself time to refresh. If you’re running a marathon, you’re going to get tired. But that’s what rest stations are for.

6. Allow yourself to move on. Winter is about to be over. How will you start off your spring? Will you hold on to toxic relationships or find new ones to feed and uplift you? Will you beat yourself over the head or give yourself credit for trying? Will you continue to embrace your old baggage or find new ways to lighten your load? If you know what you need, then go get it. Stop convincing yourself it’s impossible! That’s one thing about being a woman: you were born to make miracles happen.

7. Clean out your emotional closet. Go outside and yell your head off. Come back in and laugh ‘til you cry. If you’re feeling unbalanced, address it. Consider what’s really important. Maybe you’re doing something you love, but why and how much are you doing it? Take a good look at yourself and your family. What energy are you putting out there? Are you angry? Are you filled with resentment or guilt? Is there something that you feel may be missing? If you are – if it is – then be honest about it. Tell the people you love how you’re feeling but ask them how they’re feeling too. They may be willing to help you. But they may be frustrated too. The only way to start shedding clutter is to get to the root of what’s wrong… what’s right…and what can be done to make progress.

8. Take it slow and easy. Get up. Put one foot in front of the other. Notice the footprints you’re leaving but focus more on the journey ahead.

9. Flip your complaints into actions. Instead of just sitting down and complaining, explore possibilities of what you could do. Instead of saying that you need help, ask yourself how you can get some. Instead of saying how tired you are, explore new ways to get re-inspired. Set a plan of action. Tell people what you want to accomplish. Convince yourself that there is an answer.

10. Stop thinking so hard and have fun. Get out there. Let all of the extra weight go. In the end chaos reflects how we feel. If you want to get things back in order get out there and be what you say you've been wanting!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Finding peace in letting go

There are times when you really want something. You reach for it – pray for it – you imagine it etched in your mind. You did everything you possibly could. But now it is time to stand still. As you listen to your heart you feel frozen. Your mind starts to shutter and shake. It’s almost an impossible feeling – the moment where you wish you’d done more. Only now it is out of your hands. You held it. You nurtured it. You handed it over. And now it is time to let go.

Have you ever had this feeling? You gave something everything you had and now you just need to sit back. You start hoping for the best thing to happen. It’s one of the most challenging feelings we face, but something that we have to go through. We feel it as our children get older, when we pour our heart into work or our hobbies - when we invest in the people we love.

At times it feels quite overwhelming, but here are some things that I’ve realized:

1. Letting go doesn’t mean giving up. It means finding strength in the effort you’ve given. You’ve invested in something – in someone – but it has to come alive on its own. It must be received and encountered. If you keep adding to the weight on your shoulders, it’ll only keep dragging you down. In the end, it’s not about you giving up – but making room to become more enlightened.

2. Letting go is what gives us our balance. You are not meant to make everything happen. Sometimes it’s better to pass the baton. Your leg of the race was run admirably, now it’s time for someone else to take over.

3. Letting go is a test of your patience. Some things take a little more sunshine. What you want may be wonderfully special, but maybe it’s not the right time. Maybe there are other things that you (or they) have to go through. Life has a funny way of getting us ready, but often the agenda’s unclear.

4. Letting go lends a brand new perspective. Sometimes the best way to learn is to listen. Letting go allows us to do this. It’s hard to notice when we hold things too close. Sometimes it can only be clear from a distance.

5. Letting go is about making progress. It’s about stepping out there to explore. It might not be the place that you pictured but the place that allows you to grow.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

You have to do more than just want it

You wanted it. You hoped for it. You crossed all our fingers sideways. So why is it that it didn’t happen? How is it that you did it wrong? These questions seem terribly reasonable, but still the true factor remains: what did you do besides want it? Maybe you stepped out there. Maybe you expressed your desire. But how much did you actually do? Did you have a plan? Did you come up with brand new approaches? Did you try and then fail – then get up? Did you practice, then get tired – then heal? Think about your favorite athlete – someone at the top of their game. Of course they want to win. Of course they expect to get better. But what do they do in the meantime? How early do they wake up? How often do they practice? How fast do they get up right after they lose? Every day they do more than just want it. They build a team around themselves. They find new ways when old ways subside. They get rest when their bodies are weary. They celebrate when they have a new victory. They refocus whenever they fail. How is this different from you? How do you work to condition yourself? You say you want it. You say you need it. But what are you doing to get it? How are you building, yet pacing yourself?

Creating your “village”

Raising children = needing a village. The question is: what does it take to raise us? What about when your world’s caving in – when the answers seem totally hidden? Who are the people you call on? Who is it that helps keep you moving? This can be a difficult question. If you’re lucky you may have your family – your small but tight circle of friends. But think about the people outside that. What about work? What about times you need special advice? Who do you reach out to then? Just think about it for a second. Look at the different areas of your life. Who are the people who bring it full circle: when you need to laugh, when you just need a moment to cry, when you need to go out and have fun, when your life is thrown all out of whack … Who is it that lives in your village? Take a look at yourself for a moment. Do you live in a world that uplifts you?

Who are you right now, in this very moment? What network do you have to support that? If you can’t think of one, what can you do to go build one? How can you add on to what you have now? If you’re starting a business, who are you talking to who’s starting one too or who’s had one for awhile? If you just became a parent, where can you find fellow parents? If you’re a caregiver, have you reached out to find some support – even if it’s outlets for laughter? Your old network is probably great, but maybe it’s time for expansion. If you’re trying to eat healthy, hook up with some healthy eaters – maybe you could swap a few recipes. If you just retired (or find yourself thinking about it), reach out and find others who’ve done it. Take some new steps to build your own village. These are the people who you will come home to - the people who will help raise you up!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Moving from change to transition

At some point we’re all going to change. We learn how to crawl and then walk. We speak our first words. We have our first love and our very first goodbye. No matter what, life just keeps moving. But what does it all mean…to change? What about when we didn’t ask for it? What about when it makes us feel pain and regret. What about when it’s not our own choice?

I guess the thing is that no matter what we do, change is going to happen. But there’s a difference between change and transition. Change doesn’t need our permission. It happens whether we like it or not. But transition is something quite different. Transition is when we take back our power. It’s when we decide to move forward with purpose. Whether physically or emotionally driven, it’s when we decide to reclaim and reshape our lives. Maybe you want a new job. Maybe you just got fired. Maybe you’re starting a business. Maybe you just got divorced or recently retired…or you're recovering from a serious illness. Maybe you’re trying to live a healthier lifestyle. These are all changes – some you decided on; some were decided for you. But transition takes it to the next level. It’s when you decide that from this day on I’m going to set my life back in motion. I’m going to get up, get out, and do something about it.

But here’s the challenge: it’s hard to go through it alone. Transition doesn’t happen overnight. You’ll go through a hundred and ten deep emotions. You’ll feel elated, then sad, then depressed, then happy again. At times you will want to give up. This is something that I see every day. This is something that I go through myself. It’s a difficult, life changing process – it’s also what I support as a coach. Every step, every doubt, every victory, I help you put your life back in motion so that you can see the beauty of YOU! Call today for a free consultation: 347-687-8784 or visit

Thursday, April 21, 2011

So when does it start being easy?

As women we are full of ambition. We always want the best for our families. We try to do the best for ourselves. At times, it isn’t easy. But still we continue to strive. We often make difficult choices, but we do it with our head to the sky. So when does it stop being hard? When do things start to shift and slow down? I think about this a lot. In fact, I just had a conversation about it: all the bills that keep coming – all the emergencies that keep popping up. You start to ask yourself, "What’s going on?" But today, my sister shared something with me – something that her husband asked her, when she questioned why things are so hard: “When's the last time you took the easy road?” Think about it. Think about what you choose in life. Think about the things that you choose to take on – taking care of your kids, caring for your parents as they get older, climbing the ranks in your job – maybe even starting a company. How often do you choose the easy road? How often do you say “I can’t do this” (and actually stop and not do it ;). Yes sometimes we question ourselves. Of course we have moments of doubt, but for the most part we make some tough choices, but we make them because they’re important. We want our kids to have opportunities - we want to be happy at work (and make money). We want to have brand new experiences. Even if it means sacrificing, we want the best for ourselves and our family.

This is all a part of our makeup. We are strong and resourceful. We are caring and creative, and compassionate. And no, none of that makes anything easy. In fact it makes it quite hard. But in the end it’s a choice that we’ve made. It’s the choice of being an ambitious and talented woman. And that's something that we can be proud of!

Monday, April 18, 2011

So what is this "me time" they speak of?

Is “me time” - at all - even possible or is it part of how we wish things could be?

Here are a few possibilities:

1. “Me time” is totally possible; it’s just to what degree, when, and how often. I mean, even if it’s 4 in the morning, you can probably sneak off to the shower. You can stand there without interruptions and release all of the stress from your mind. (Now, if you have 5 kids who are very light sleepers, maybe it’s on to plan B.) Maybe it happens at the end of the day. You're on your way to pick up the kids. You park your car 10 blocks away. Throw on some headphones. Turn up the music full blast. Walk slow for the last 15 minutes. Have a moment before the chaos begins. When you do pick them up, spend some time. Share some stories as you walk to the car. Use it as a chance to connect.

2. Maybe “me time” is more like small moments. You’re running your kids to soccer. Your work is piling up on your desk. You're a caregiver between doctor's visits. At this point it’s more about crunch time. But here’s the thing: Maybe you can’t make that run to the spa. Maybe you just don't have time for vacation. But there is time for small possibilities. Step outside for a second. You may literally have just a second. Take a deep breath in and then out. Then quickly throw a smile on your face. Instant revival for the journey ahead.

3. You don’t have to do “me time” alone. Even if you’re with other people, you can still bring yourself to the table. Jump in the conversation. Tell a funny story you forgot to tell earlier. For dinner make your favorite dessert. There are ways to reflect who you are, while sharing your experiences with others. You can make “me time” a family affair. Make a great big family collage – where each person wants to go, what they want to do, the expression they would have on their face.

4. “Me time” doesn’t have to be “real”. Find a postcard of your dream destination. Hang it right up on your wall. Download the sound of steel drums on your phone. When you get home, make yourself a coconut smoothie. Create a week filled with mini staycations.

5. In the end “me time” is about making choices. It’s about being fun and creative. Don’t focus so much on ideal, but on the moments that allow you to flow.

Insights on making hard choices

You thought about it - stressed about it – prayed about it. You called up for your friends for advice. Then finally you made a decision. You made a choice that would work best for you. Or so you thought. Suddenly, you’re convinced that you made a mistake. You ask those same friends. You torture yourself. You start worrying and expecting the worst.

Why do we do this to ourselves? If we were unsure then why did we do it? The answer is simple: you did it thinking it was the right thing to do. Even if the choice was unsavory, you saw it as the ideal solution. You did it to help someone – maybe even to hurt someone – maybe because you were scared. But in the end, regardless of your intentions, you did it and now it is done.

So now what? What if you regret it? What if you want to go back? Is that even possible? Should you even be worried about it?

Here's a few things that I’ve realized:

1. All decisions are difficult. We hope for the best thing to happen. But then we worry and we try to rewind. But here’s the thing: going back isn’t really an option. But you can approach it with a new sense of clarity. You can’t disown what you did; you can only learn from it and move forward.

2. It may feel strange because it is different. You’ve never done anything like this before. This was a big step. You’re worried that you're really not ready. You’re worried that maybe you’ll fail. It's not that you did the "wrong" thing, but that what you decided to do was brand new. Take a deep breath. It’s probably just going to take time.

3. You’re letting people get in your head. You did what you did for a reason. Remind yourself of that. Remind yourself what you knew then. Think about your state of mind - why you thought it was what you should do. Then stick by it. If more information comes or things change, you can cross that bridge when you come to it. In the meantime, you can choose to stay open and listen but to do what you believe you should do.

4. You’re wondering if you thought of your values. Maybe your decision was logical. You did it because it was “right”. Not necessarily right for you, but right according to everyone else. Even if this is the case, it’s not something you realized before. You still did it because it FELT right. Now that it doesn’t, ask yourself 4 questions: Do I still stand by my decision? Is this decision in line with my values? Can I live with the choice that I’ve made? Am I willing to accept the consequences (including the possible impact on others)? If you answer no to any of these questions, take a moment to yourself. Think about what you want to do. Every day presents a new opportunity. Is there a new choice that you’d like to make? If you answered yes to each question, keep plugging away. Pray about it again. Meditate on it. Figure out how to strengthen your peace. Again, making a choice isn’t easy. But eventually the drama will pass.

5. Some decisions hurt. They can make you feel twisted inside. You wish you didn’t feel how you feel. You wish you didn’t do what you did, but you stand by your reason for doing it. Even if it takes time, you know that you did it with honor. When this happens, give yourself a pat on the back. You took a risk. You reached forward knowing how hard it would be. You knew people would come down on you. You knew you would have moments of doubt. But still you keep going, knowing it will all turn out best in the end.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Getting you out of your funk

Feeling a bit down in the dumps? Ever stopped to ask yourself why? I mean I’m sure you know how you’re feeling, but why are you feeling that way? Where did it come from? How can you turn things around?

Here are some things to consider:

1. What are you listening to? Music on your iPod? Comments from people around you? What about when you talk to yourself? Is it positive or negative? Is it happy or sad? What kind of mood is created? Really think about it. What’s the playlist you hear every day? How would things change if you had a new filter?

2. What is your environment like? Is there stuff all over the place? Is everything disorganized and scattered? What about light? Are you always hiding out in the dark or do you take time to step into the light?

3. Do you believe you deserve to be happy? Not that it’s owed to you but that you have the ability to change your direction.

4. Are you using both sides of your brain? You keep stressing about what should happen, but ignoring who you choose to be. Is your approach coming from a place of anger? Have you decided that it's best to do nothing? How accountable are you for your actions? How much are you using your strength?

5. When is the last time you switched some things up? Sometimes we get caught in a pattern. We get used to the way it was done. But maybe that time has passed. Maybe it’s time to start spicing things up. If you’re not sure how, reach out to people. Make some calls. Jump on some forums. Find out what kind of options are out there. Pay attention to things that you’re drawn to. Don’t be afraid to step out on a limb.

6. How are you moving your body? Are you stretching in the morning? Are you getting out in the afternoon? Maybe there’s a class in your area? Maybe you can walk instead of driving your car? Don’t think of it as exercise, but as a way to connect with your body.

7. Are you watching what you eat? I don’t mean starving yourself, but eating food that will help you stay balanced. Sometimes when we're down, we don’t eat at all or we find ourselves eating too much. Where are you falling right now? Maybe it's not food that's the problem, but the fact that there's so much to do. Try preparing your meals for the week. Sign up for a cooking class. I've found a few great ones for free as well as some great blogs with healthy new recipes. For added fun, try throwing a cooking party. Invite over a few of your friends. They may even have some ideas.

8. If you are hearing negative comments, consider how you feel about them. Is there any part of it that is valid (any part that you may agree with)? If so, how can you make it constructive? How can you make self improvements? How can you get a little extra support? There are a lot of great options out there – from hiring a coach, to online support groups, to classes that teach a new skill. Maybe it’s time to think out of the box. If, on the other hand, none of it's valid, try not to step away from yourself. Be authentic. Find ways to inject a little humor. Keep reflecting the greatness of you ;)

9. Is there something that you’re holding on to? Maybe you’re afraid of moving forward. Maybe you’re afraid of confronting your past. Even when it was something you hated; it’ll always be something you know. Moving forward is a whole new uncertainty. Try talking it out. Be honest about what you'll miss. Be remember: You don't have to let everything go.

10. Have you ever tried watching your language? Instead of: I know I can, but… I want to, but… I think I’ll be good at it, but… Try leaving the buts at the door. As Stevie (Wonder) once said, "When you're moving into positive, your destination is the brightest star".

11. Are you being too hard on yourself? What else is going on in your life? Maybe it's time to rework your agenda. If you're sick and supposed to be healing, you just may be a bit less productive. Take your time. Ease on down the road. Give yourself a chance to bounce back.

12. Consider if it's time to get help. Sometimes it's hard to get out of our funk. But sometimes it's more than just that. At times we need extra support. If it's hard to pinpoint what's happening, don't be afraid to reach out. Find a friend who you trust. Consider working with a coach. However, if you're really feeling broken inside, maybe it's time for a therapist. No matter what, you don't have to do it alone. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Surviving the change roller coaster

So your life as you've known it has changed. No matter how much you wish you could hide it, you're pretty much losing your mind. What you're doing, how you're feeling, what you're used to - your emotions seem to shift day to day.

No matter how prepared or how focused you are, change can be a difficult thing. It can wrestle you out of our body make you feel broken and bruised. So what can you do to address it? What can you do to find peace?

1. Take a deep breath and relax. Take a moment to revive and reflect. Go for a walk. Give yourself time to acknowledge. One phase in your life has now ended; a new one is about to begin.

2. Set a new goal every day. It doesn't have to be big, but make it something that's of meaning to you - something that you can be proud of. Maybe it's reaching out to a friend. Maybe it's trying to get out of the house. Maybe it's making a brand new connection. Whatever it is, do your best to follow through with it. Then celebrate at the end of the day.

3. Stay connected. Spend time with your family and friends. Reach out for support and encouragement. Register at Find an online or in-person support group. There's a ton of them out there: recent divorce, career transition, retirement, the transition from illness to health, etc. This is a great way to keep yourself positive.

4. Choose a "weapon"/personal outlet. If you haven't read it already, I highly recommend the book, "A Choice of Weapons", by Gordon Parks. Coming from a life of poverty, drugs and corruption, he was up against just about everything. His father had died. His vision was clouded. But he was able to find his own outlet. Through photography he found a new clarity. His camera had become like a weapon. It not only reshaped the course of his life but inspired generations to come. Think about what your weapon could be. Maybe it's drawing, or writing, or singing. Maybe it's yoga, or boxing, or karate. Maybe it's lunch every Thursday with friends. Whatever gives you your own special outlet - whatever soothes you when the going gets tough.

5. Get rid of the clutter around you. Whether the change is good or bad, it can still throw quite a few things out of whack. Try to keep your surrounding in order. Clear out things you don't need any more. With simplicity comes a new sense of clarity.

6. Find someone that can help you make progress. Maybe you're starting a business. Maybe for the first time you're out on your own. No matter what it is, it helps to have someone to talk to. As a coach, this is something I face every day. People need to feel heard without judgment. They need to feel empowered and safe. They need encouragement and support moving forward. This is the environment I strive to create.

7. Smile until you feel it inside. Try it. Just take a moment - even a second - to smile. Smile until your face hurts. Make a crazy silly face in the mirror. Let out a laugh now and then. You'd be surprised about how suddenly your perspective can change.

8. Create some new habits and rituals. Change will often throw things out of order, but that isn't always bad. You now have a chance to create a new balance. You can choose what to add and remove from your life.

9. Focus on the positive. Think of your life as a coin. They'll be good and bad. Happy and sad. Flip your challenges into solutions. Try building it into your language. Instead of saying 'I have to' recognize that it is a choice. Some of our choices aren't easy, but we do what we've decided to do. If a choice is particularly difficult, find a way that you can release - a hobby, a walk, close connections - whatever you need to put life in perspective.

10. Learn how to toot your own horn. Congratulate yourself every day. Post the progress you're making on Facebook. Buy some flowers to put by your bedside. Create new ways to bring light to your day! It may feel silly at first, but if you can manage to be your worst critic, you can learn how to be your own fan.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Networking for introverts: The transition from shy to connected

So you've heard it before: The best way to get a job is to network. Get out there. Meet people. Chat it up. Show them how amazing you are. Simple enough, right? Well, for many of us it's not quite that easy. For allot of us networking is a four letter word. There's no denying how effective it is. If you could only get your foot out the door. So what can you do to get past this?

Here's a few creative options to try:

1. Hire a coach :). Seriously, this is why I do what I do. It's more than just tasks on a list. It's more than just you getting out there. It's all about finding what suits you. It's about having a partner in crime. It's about knowing what's unique about you. Before I work on any goals with my clients, I help them to explore who they are. I help them to face inner obstacles. We're only motivated when it's something we want - something that we've placed value on. People may say you need to get out there, but you have to see it and feel it firsthand. You have to make it work for you. You have to find ways to enjoy it. This is what I help people do: :)

2. Hook up with your old college network. Find people in your current field or in the field you've been thinking about changing to. Reach out to them. Tell them what you're up to. Find out what's up with them. If they're nearby, invite them to lunch or some tea (for those of us on a budget :). Ask them for some insights. Also, they most likely have some connections. With one call you can triple your network.

3. Share information with others - articles, blog posts, contacts. Networking is a two way street. Scratch their back and they will likely scratch yours. It's also just the right thing to do. After all, we're in this together.

4. Set up a LinkedIn account (if you haven't already). Reach out to groups in your field. Search the job postings. Create a brief summary of what you're looking for. Include what kind of value you add. Again, it's a two way street. It has to be a fit on both sides.

5. Request Informational Interviews. You've decided to change your career. You have no idea what to expect. Informational Interviews are perfect for this. They're also a great way to build your new network.

6. Reach out to family and friends. Tell them that you're looking for work. Be sure to remind them what you do :) If you're looking to do something different, tell them what it is. Include an updated resume as well as a brief cover letter.

7. Attend conferences or events in your area. It doesn't have to be in your field - just something that's of interest to you. When everyone breaks into groups, try raising your hand to ask questions. Interact with the person beside you. You can pretty much talk about anything. The trick is to draw people in. It's all about building relationships.

8. Create an online resume. This is a really great tool. You can even include your own summary, infused with your unique personality. This is a chance for people to see YOU - to figure out if you fit in their environment. Splash a little color in there. Maybe a picture. Set yourself apart from the crowd.

9. Post an ad in the classifieds (Ex. Talented writer seeking new opportunities). Think of yourself as a business. Think of your skills as a brand. How would you draw in your customers? What is the value you add? Give yourself your own title. Create your own mantra (Creativity, Ingenuity, Results). There's no one like you out there. They'd be lucky to have you on board.

10. Create a vision board. Maybe you're not even shy. The problem is you're all out of sorts. You're not quite sure what you're looking for. You're not sure who you are anymore. You're quiet cause there's nothing to say. This exercise is great for clarity and creative expression. It helps you visualize what you want to do next or at least the person that you see yourself being.

11. Find fun ways to draw people in. Throw on a few statement pieces: a colorful scarf, a unique piece of jewelry, a crazy or creative handbag. Walk around with it. Wear it out for lunch. Most likely people will ask about it. Tell them the story behind it. Inspire some new conversations. If you're nervous about going to them; get them to come to you.

12. Make a video. If you have a skill, create a tutorial. Talk about something you've learned. Position yourself as an expert. If you want to can post it on You Tube or just keep it in your personal archive. The point is getting used to presenting yourself.

13. Write an article for your community paper. It can be about anything, but preferably the work that you do. Again, this is a chance to be creative. Be aware of your environment. Tie it in to what you see going on. Overall, it's all about making connections and showing them what makes you unique!

PJs to yoga pants: Creative tips for working at home

At some point we've all thought about it - how free and amazing we'd feel. No more traffic. No more getting tossed side to side on the train. Ah, the comforts of working from home. You've been secretly dreaming about it. You've imagined it was you in their slippers... Then one day it happens. You've started your own business. Your position allows you to telecommute. You're a writer and you need your own space. However it happened, here you are, in the place that you've wanted to be. Day 1 is magical. Day 2 is relaxing and calm. But by the third day the spark starts to fizzle. You miss the bustle of coworkers. You're hardly making it out of the bed. Somehow you're either doing too much or you're next to doing nothing at all. So what now?

Here's some tips to get you back in your saddle.

1. Remember to pull back the covers. As tempting as it may be, do not try to work from your bed. The birds will start chirping. A breeze will blow in. Before you know it there's your head on the pillow. Does this mean you need a fancy office? I mean, if you can make that happen, awesome; if you can't, just make sure you have your own space. Depending on your work, it might be a desk and a chair. Maybe it's a big lazy boy with a laptop and a tray by your side. Whatever it is, make sure that it's set up for work.

2. Come up with a new morning ritual. No matter how many commercials you've seen, don't stay in your PJs all day. Get up and take a shower. Let the water run over your face. Eat some breakfast and get dressed. No need to get all spiffied up, but dress knowing that someone could knock on your door. Stay comfortable but bump it up from when you're home sick.

3. Establish a solid routine. Your schedule may change everyday, but make sure to lay a solid foundation. Dedicate time to each task in the day.

4. Make sure that you can't see the laundry. This tip is very important. If you see it, then it's hard to ignore. You'll be tempted to get it out of the way. If this is a bug that can bite you, set aside time at the end of your day. That's your new cleanup and cooking time. That is when the housework begins. Unless you're getting paid to fold sweaters, steps away from the basket of clothes.

5. Let your friends know you mean business. Personal calls are important, but be careful when you're working from home. Let your friends know the best time to reach you and give yourself a reasonable limit.

6. Do something a tad unconventional. Take advantage of your new situation. Throw on a little music. Take a few breaks and blow bubbles. Do something you couldn't do in your office or cubicle. You get the chance to create your own culture - your own unique and productive environment. You get to decide what that is.

7. Take a little walk after lunch. It's important to keep yourself moving. Get out there and smell a few roses. It'll help put it all in perspective. It'll also save your legs from falling asleep.

8. Create your own office community. When you're out for your walk, poke your head in the local coffee shop. Have breakfast there from time to time. Make sure you have some interraction.

9. When you can, take a few field trips. Hit up a few networking events. Set up a few regular lunch dates. Again it's important to stay alert and connected. If you have days when you just get can't get out, sign up for a online webinar. You'll not only connect, but learn something new in the process.

10. Be careful with Twitter and Facebook (unless it's for your business). While it's great for small chats through the day, make sure you're still getting work done.

11. Remember that it's all about balance. In the end, it IS fun and exciting. It's a whole world that you get to create. Just make sure to stay productive and focused. And while you're at it make some time to let loose!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ready, AIM, Fire: The key to achieving your goals

You've heard the quote - we're so busy preparing, that our lives are just passing us by. I love this quote. I believe in living in the moment (don't do it all the time; but try my best and believe in it strongly). But here's what I've resolved. Even if we go where life takes us, it's also good to have some direction. It's good to be aware of who we are and what we value. It's also good to have areas of focus. Otherwise we're just floating along.

So here's something I like to do not only myself, but also with my clients. It's called the AIM SMART process. The process itself builds on the SMART goals technique and was developed by the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (IPEC) - where, I incidentally was trained(shout outs NY20 :).

This idea is this. Life can be quite overwhelming. It's hard to figure out our next steps. This method addresses this reality. It gives you a tool that will help you move forward, without causing you to pull out your hair.

OK, so here it goes.

The first part is setting your target, also known as AIM. Here's where you get very specific. For example, let's say that you have a new business and you naturally want it to grow. Instead of saying, "My goal is to grow my business" you might say, "My goal is to get 4 new clients by June 17th of this year". This gives you a more tangible target to shoot for. So now let's AIM.

A = Acceptable. This is definitely a big step for you, but it's not the ideal in terms of your goal. It does, however, mean progress. Maybe instead of 4 clients you get 2 instead. That's definitely more than 0, but not quite as much as 4. But either way you've made progress.

I = Ideal. This is you really flexing your muscles. You've set a goal you know is going to stretch you. It will definitely be a challenge, but it's definitely one that you're up for. 4 new clients it is.

M = Medium. This is the target between your acceptable and your ideal. It's still a stretch, but maybe it feels more realistic. Maybe you have a lot going on. Starting a new business is tricky. This target considers 'what if's', but again it's still a major accomplishment. 3 clients by June 17th.

While it's all up to you,(M)edium is what we usually strive for.

Once you've decided on a target, the next step is taking some action. This is the SMART part, which breaks down as follows:

S = Specific. This is the goal you decided on in the AIM process. It's very specific and it allows you to track your success. So 3 clients by June 17th.

M = Measurable. This is how you know you've made progress. I've met my goal if by June 17th all 3 clients are secured.

A = Achievable. Think about it for a moment. What's going on in your life? Are you working on your website? Do you have a ton of paperwork left to do? Can you achieve this goal at this point or stage in your business? If not, maybe you need to save it for later or maybe it requires readjusting. Maybe the acceptable goal makes more sense.

R = Reasonable. Again, given everything going on, is this going to be doable? It's fine to stretch yourself, but you don't want to be torn limb from limb.

T = Time Oriented. Make sure you set a deadline. Right now you've said June 17th. Make sure this works for you and that you're committed to making that happen.

So what have you just done? How is this different than what's happened before? If you're like me (before I used this process), what's different here is that you have a clear and measurable target. Beyond that, you've given yourself something to celebrate. But even from there, you can take a step further: Find someone to hold you accountable. This is the most valuable thing that I do for my clients. I help them to not only stay on task but to examine their bumps in the road. It's not enough to say what you'll do, you have to truly embrace why you're doing it!

It's all about presentation!

Remember Dabnis from "The Cosby Show"? Season 8, Episode 177: Vanessa's embarrassed to bring home her boyfriend/soon to be husband. Clair and Bill will never approve. Does he abuse her? No. Is he ignorant? No. Is he off key when he sings in the shower? Who knows. So what was the problem? Well, it turns out that he works as a maintenance worker. He's also older and has some less than perfect past relationships. So Vanessa decides to hide him. By the time she does bring him home, she suddenly announces she's getting married (and you know the Cosby's - they usually have family meetings about this stuff). Of course Clair and Bill are less than thrilled. But things play out in true Cosby fashion. Bill and his wife are not snobs. Their worry wasn't about Dabnis' profession or the fact that he was less than perfect. It was more about Vanessa's presentation. She had hidden him from them. Then she had presented him as if he were trash. She had managed to diminish his worth. She makes it seem like he is less than a man...Of course this isn't the case. The truth is he's very responsible. He has his own home. He's truly is an upstanding guy.

The lesson here...It's all about presentation. Think about it. You've made a decision, but you're a little unsure of yourself. So then when you share what you're doing you present it as if it were garbage. Your worry shows. Your doubt shows. You unknowingly discredit yourself. Then because you sound so negative the people you tell hate the idea. They start telling you why you shouldn't do it. They start mirroring your negative tone. Then you start becoming Vanessa. 'They're pulling me down'. 'They're being so negative'. 'Why wont they leave me alone'? But wasn't it you that wanted their approval? Wasn't it you that sounded stressed out and worried? Wasn't it you who downplayed your dream?

Don't get me wrong, there are friends that you can be totally real with. You can tell them exactly what you're feeling. The challenge comes when you're seeking approval. The challenge comes when not even you believe in what you're doing.

Before you do anything, you have to deal with how you feel -what you really want to do; who you really want to be with - how much you really believe in what you're doing. That has to come from you first. If it doesn't, it's going to show, and people will respond accordingly.

This is something I consider now whenever something really matters to me. In the end, you have to apply your own value. It has to be something or someone you're willing to go to bat for. Then, when you're ready for your public announcement it's treated with the dignity and respect it deserves. And if it isn't, well that's just their opinion.

A few insights for self-reinvention

So a couple of years ago, I quit my job - well, more accurately, my career of 13 years. My husband was still in business school. We have a very active, then 7 year old son. In essence, I'd truly gone out on a limb. But here's the thing. Every night I'd been losing my mind. Every morning I was dragging my feet. To the world I was calm and collected, but to my family I was Oscar the Grouch. That had to stop. Now before I go on, I want to be clear, my husband and I are not rich. There's no trust fund hidden away. So it all was a big giant risk. But let me digress. The point is that I (well my husband and I) made a decision. We decided it was time for a change. Was I scared? Yes. Did I doubt myself? Yes. Did I cry when I saw my bank statements? You get the idea. The point I'm making is I decided to change, but I accepted that it wouldn't be easy.

So here's what I thought I would share.

1. You're not reinventing yourself. You're just ready to add some more flavor. You're ready to put it all in perspective. You don't have to strip yourself bare. There are some great things to pull from your past. You don't throw it all in the dumpster. It's just time for a little refining. Whether you're starting a new career, retiring after years on a job, moving forward after a divorce, getting back to life after an illness, this is a chance to pull the pieces together. But only those that you're deciding to keep.

2. Consider it a work in progress. When I first left my job, I went into full hibernation. I stayed inside. I rejected invitations. I convinced myself I wasn't ready. I dreaded not knowing what to say. "I'm finding myself" didn't feel comfortable. Once I figured it out, I'd go out again. You know, once I got a new shiny label. "I do this"..."I work for them"... Those were my badges of honor. Until then laptops and emails were my lifelines. Then I realized that life doesn't work that way. It was those moments that I needed to connect. It's OK to say 'I decided I wanted to branch out'. 'I want to do something of meaning'. Conversations at this time are invaluable. Listening at this time is invaluable. You never know how you'll grow in the process.

3. Pull out some old boxes. What did you write in your journals? Old letters? On the back of old pictures? What were the books or movies that used to inspire you? It's not about going back but about reminding yourself who you are - capturing the spirit of what makes you unique. Now is the time. Who is it you want to be moving forward?

4. Paint the walls red. It can be helpful to change your surroundings. Perhaps your life used to be grey, but you're now ready to fill it with color. Be bold. Be imaginative. Have fun.

5. Be willing to think outside the box. If you get stuck on what you 'should do' you're going to drive yourself stark raving mad. It's about what works best for you. It may not be straight forward. You may have to try a few things. But remember: it's not about the destination, but the journey.

6. Consider the total picture. If you have a family, consider them a part of your process. Share your feelings with them. Tell them what's going on. Reach out for support. Also consider them in decisions you make. Make all of it a family affair.
Note: If you don't have the support of your family, try creating a new inner circle. There are women just like you out there, and they're looking for support just like you.

7. Try not to beat yourself up. There's always someone who's doing it faster - someone who seems to be doing it better. Run your own race. It's not about perfection, but progress.

8. Stay focused on new opportunities. Maybe a friend calls you up. They invite you out. GO....I can't stress this enough. You can't spend your life figuring it out. Usually the solutions are outside your door. That's where you see people in motion. Everyone has their own story. Everyone has their own struggle. We're all part of a common community.

9. Let the BS blow in the breeze. Do not. I repeat, do not call people for approval that you know tend to be negative. This is the best way to drive yourself crazy. Everyone's going to have an opinion. Some of them are great; other ones have an agenda. Again, you have to run your own race.

10. Seek out open minds. This is why I chose coaching. At times of change, people need an open ear. They need someone who's not going to judge. They need someone to celebrate them - encourage them - kick them in the butt from time to time. For a lot of people, including me, that support makes all the difference.

Parents and Caregivers: Staying committed when the going gets tough

Let's face it, life isn't easy. We have our ups and downs. Things shift from easy to hard - even harder when it's someone we love. As a parent, I've felt this on many levels. Making it happen is no longer an option. We love our children or our parents (for all you caregivers out there). We want them to be happy. But it can get messy sometimes. Unlike our careers or even our friendships, it's not something we can walk away from. In the end it's a choice we embrace. But what happens on those days we're fed up? We've had a long day. Our mind is out of sorts. No one says thank you. We just want to take care of ourselves. Is that even possible? I'll take a leap and say that it is, as long as you don't shoot the messenger :)

Here's a few things you can try:

1. Find ways to weave joy in your day. What is it that you like to do? Draw? Dance? Sing? Read? Set aside 20 minutes a day. It may end up being 1 in the morning. Maybe even 5am. Whatever it takes. Put a sign up not to disturb. This is your special time - no interruptions. As you take this time, let go of the stress in your mind. Encourage yourself to smile. Allow yourself to breathe. Hold on to these moments. You may need flashbacks later.

2. Try mental imagery. Think about a pleasant moment – a pleasant face. Picture that in moments of drama: When your child is flipping out - when you have to get up early. Close your eyes and change the scene. Then, if you can bear it, smile. In the end it's only drama if you give it the fuel to be.

3. Surround yourself with reminders. Hang up pictures you like, inspirational words - whatever brings moments of peace. Let your eyes focus on these images. Allow them to put things in perspective.

4. Reflect on your feelings of gratitude. Yes things get crazy. You lose your mind from time to time. But what a beautiful family you have. Think about your moments alone. They're nice, but somehow you end up missing the noise - the sound of life tracking mud through your kitchen. Sometimes the laughter starts to drown out the tears.

5. Chat it up with some of your friends. It feels better when you don't feel alone. Their stories may be crazier than yours. Plus maybe they have some tips. Maybe they have a new joke. Maybe they'd be willing to babysit. Hey, you never know ;)

Finding strength after hitting the wall

We all know the feeling. You've practiced, prepared, got your head in the game, but suddenly you hit a brick wall. Despite your passion to keep going, your body and your mind tell you no. You're too exhausted to move. Your muscles are strained. Your emotional momentum is spent. So now what?

Here's a few things to consider:

1. Change your focus. Exhaustion goes beyond what you're feeling right now. It's not about that single moment, but all the moments that you're dreading ahead. Maybe you've been running your business. Things were going great. You've finally hit your stride. But then something happens. Maybe your customers changed. Maybe you've changed. But for some reason things have slowed down. Instead of thinking that things may be over, think of a ways you can change your perspective. Maybe it's time to revamp.

2. Listen to your body. If you're tired then you may need a break. I know it can sound like a luxury, but sometimes it's just what you need. Step away from the chaos a second. Go out with your friends. Take a long walk with your best set of headphones. Take some time to look at your life from a distance. What's really going on? How can you dust yourself off?

3. Throw a party. Here's the thing. This may just mean that one phase is over. Maybe you've reached your plateau. You did great. It was amazing. Now it's time for the next phase to start.

4. Start having new conversations. Who are the people who lift you? Go find them. Tell them what's going on. Allow them to do what they do. Be open to their comfort and remember to laugh now and then.

5. Say thank you. The wall is often a sign. It's a message for you to make a decision. Whether you stop or you decide to keep going, it interrupts you from the chaos of life. It reminds you that you do have some choices. The trick is to own whatever choices you make!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Just keep moving!

It's hard not to give up sometimes. No matter what you try, you can't get it right. You start feeling like it's not meant to be. The more time that passes, the more difficult it is to keep going. It's hard to erase all the voices: the people who keep saying you can't, the chattering of fear in your mind. At this point success seems elusive. So what now? Do you stay in bed under the covers? Perhaps you'll try crossing your fingers.

Not too long ago I saw this movie "Meet the Robinsons". It started out like most kids movies do - silly, slightly suggestive, 10 things going on all at once. But this one had a really great message - "Just keep moving". The kid the story's centered around doesn't have the best string of luck. But through a series of unlikely events, he gets a glimpse into his future. Turns out he's this amazing scientist well-regarded by the people around him. Of course it wasn't always this way. On the surface, he has all these ingenius inventions, but this is after years of his ideas blowing up. Yet through all of the challenges he faced, he told himself to just keep moving. It ended up becoming his motto.

It's funny how a lesson can hit you - sitting in a movie with husband and my son, I managed to get re-inspired. When I want to stop, I just think of that motto. Sure a few ideas may blow up in my face, but if I Just Keep Moving, I can truly change the course of my future.

And if I can, if he could, why can't you?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Creative and expressive brainstorming

Feeling stuck? Well it's time to get you out of your box!

Here's 10 creative ways to get started:

1. Play a little dress up. Imagine you are one of your friends, a parent, a mentor - your favorite celebrity - someone who you've always admired. Imagine that you have their strength, their vision, their sense of fearlessness. (Funny thing is you probably do!) Using their qualities, how would you approach your dilemma?

2. Get out some paper and write. Then keep writing. Try not to censor yourself. Don't think about what you can't do. Don't decide what you think is impossible. Just keep writing. If it helps, put on some music - anything to keep you happy and open. Remember, it's not about making it perfect - it's all about getting it out. After about 20 minutes, stop and put your list away. Go for a walk or take a long bath. Don't go back to your list. Just let it all seep in. The next day, go back to your list and circle a few possibilities. Then from there you can start taking action.

3. Imagine yourself one year from now. Your challenges are gone. The road you have before you is clear. Where do you see yourself being? Who are the people around you? What does it feel like? What does it look like? Take in the sights and the sounds. It's your very own canvas to fill. What do you think happened to get you to where you are?

4. Try vision boarding. This is all about getting creative. Break out the poster board, some glue, some magazines - whatever your mind can imagine. The idea is to get re-inspired. Cut out pictures, words, phrases - whatever starts to jump out at you. Without thinking, put it all on your board, but don't glue it down. Once it's there, it's time to start thinking. What do you want to keep? What do you want to take off? Remember, this vision is about your new future - about the inspiration you will need to take action.

5. Break out the music. It’s time to pick out your new theme song - something that speaks to your brand new beginning. As you listen, jot down what comes to your mind. If you don't connect as much to words, pull out some crayons or a paint brush. Draw what you're feeling inside. Once you’re done, put it in a place you can see it. Let it remind you of who you can be.

6. Confront the monster that lives in your head. Try to your best to draw out its voice - reveal the critic who keeps saying you can't. What does he or she look like - sound like - feel like? Create something that reminds you of him/her. Give him/her a name - some characteristics. Then in front of somebody (or a few people) have a coming out party. Introduce your monster to them. Tell them how he/she makes you feel. The ways he/she is holding you back. Then decide that it's time for goodbye. Let your monster go. Tell him/her you don’t need their protection. Then take a moment to introduce who you are, starting today...!

7. Try on a few different outfits. Sometime we need to feel it. We need to experience what it would be like. So if you've been thinking of doing something, go do it. Call up somebody who's doing it. Shadow them for a day. Ask them some questions. Allow them to share their experience. Then consider how this would fit in your life. Find out the things that you may need to learn. Try it on for a minute. Feel what it would be like to be there - the parts that you like or don't like. Then decide if it's the right fit for you.

8. Fill the gaps. You're in the middle of point A and point B, but something seems to be in your way. Stop for a minute. Figure out what it is. Is something worrying you? Is there a challenge that you just can't get pass? Try your very best to be honest. What would happen if you broke through your barrier?

9. Get a group together. Two or three heads can be better than one. Get the creative minds flowing. What are the possibilities? What approaches could you try to embrace? Where can you find some support? What resources could you use to move forward?

10. Click your heels three times. Consider the resources you have (verses don't have). Try your best to let go of the problems. Maybe they are what's holding you back - not because they aren't real, but because they blind you from finding solutions. Try your best to stay positive and if you can't go kick rocks with a smile.

Again, these tips are just a start - a trigger to help get you going. Once your possibilities are open, the next step is to have a target, refine your focus and start thinking about setting some goals. In the end, the most important thing is your own commitment. Without that, solutions are merely ideas!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The first steps to finding your peace

So you've finally reached the end of your rope. One moment. One decision. No regrets. You're ready to just walk out the door. Who hasn’t been there? You start to hate your job - become unhappy in a relationship, but then (for some reason) you stay. Or you leave - but the cycle just keeps on repeating.

It's never our intent to choose misery but we're convinced that we don't have a choice. “This job pays my bills.” “I can't be alone.” “I'm exhausted and it's all just too much.” So the question is what can you do?

1. Start with the woman in the mirror

What excites you? What annoys you? What matters the most in your life? What places make you feel most alive? Think about your talents, your wishes and dreams. What kind of connections are you making with others? What can you do to get back in your zone? Begin to reconnect with yourself. Think openly and without restriction. How does your life fit the person you are?

2. Think about where you are going

We’re always running here and there - doing this and that, but when do we stop to ask why? “Who am I doing this for?” “How committed am I to my choices?” “If I stay at this job or in that relationship, and nothing were to change, what damage am I ultimately causing?” It’s all about choices. So if you're not happy, what are YOU going to do about it? What direction do you choose for yourself? (If you get stuck, see my post on "Creative and Expressive Brainstorming")

3. Making sure the decision is yours

Deciding what you want can be tricky. You know you want something to change, but the details start getting all blurry. You start looking in other directions. “I like that thing they have.” ”I want that feeling they feel.” “Maybe I should go where they’re going.” Depending on how driven you are, you may just get there. But without first looking at who YOU are and where YOU want to go, the results can be quite disappointing. You end up finding what you think that you want, but somehow loose yourself in the process. Maybe that's why you took that job in the first place – maybe that’s why you’re still in that relationship. You thought you were chasing success. You thought you were doing the “right thing”. But somehow you feel empty and confused. Maybe, because it was someone else’s dream, you became disenchanted. You stopped showing up as yourself. Everything slowed down. Your performance dropped. You ultimately felt disconnected. It wasn’t that the job stunk or that person was an absolute monster, it was that you showed up as somebody else. When faced with “how do I get there?” you never questioned if you wanted to go.

This is often the point of frustration. “I tried everything.” “I did my best.” “I gave them everything and still I'm not happy.” “I feel like a failure…like I’m going to be miserable forever.” Suddenly, all hope seems elusive. The consideration that maybe there’s something deeper is a doubted possibility. And with that, “how do I get there?” goes right out the door. But that’s when you need to go back: “Who are you?” “Where are you going?” “How will you know when you get there?” “What energy will you bring to the table?” With this clarity, the flow can start to happen. This is the moment of empowerment, because suddenly it's all about choice. You suddenly start feeling accountable, because the actions that you take are your own.

4. Don't be afraid to dig deeper

Changing ourselves it not simple. We all come with our own host of demons - "I'm not good enough," "This can't happen," and the popular "Who am I kidding". Often, the way we see things is the way we’ve seen things for quite a long time. And that can be hard to let go of. You may resist or insist that you just want to solve the problem in front of you.

You just want to leave your job or that relationship. You just want to tell your boss off or let the air out of somebody’s tires … without, of course, getting caught That’s it. That’s all. So now what?

Do you start drafting the 'Dear John' or resignation letter? Do you jump in the box and play victim? Or do you take an honest and deep look at yourself? What is it that's holding me back? Who do I need to become to move forward? How can I let go and define my new future? How can get help so I won't be alone?

5. Consider your needs

In asking yourself all these questions it may be good to consider your needs. What would it take to make you feel safe? Is it money? Is it access to certain resources? Is it knowing that you're not going to fail? How is this fueling the decisions you make? How are your fears in the way of your progress? Give yourself the right to be honest. The feelings that you have are important. But the question then is: Is what you’re doing now the only way to accomplish your goals? What is this approach costing you? That's one choice. What are some other possibilities? How can you feel secure and also find your happiness? What can you do right now to enjoy where you are today?

Maybe you stay; maybe you'll go. Maybe what you need is a plan. No matter what approaches you take, perhaps the most important thing is to try and see the opportunities in front of you. How can you raise our optimism? You may hate your job right now, but how can you make the most of it? What’s one thing you can do every day to move you closer to reaching your goals? How can you use your time to develop your skills? How can you engage the people around you to be the change that you want in your life? If you feel unappreciated, who can you appreciate? If you feel you lack respect, how can you give that respect to others? How can you make your energy contagious? How can you, while being true to who you are, not only enjoy but transform the world around you?

6. Embrace the idea of change in your life

When we go back and rewind for a moment – the frustrations with the job or in that relationship, what we’re really asking ourselves is: How do I want to feel and how can I make that happen? Now that I know who I am and where I'm going, how am I going to get there? How can I grasp the opportunities in front of me – not only down the road, but in this very moment? Whether I take the actions to stay or decide that it’s better to go, how can I create my own happiness? How can I, using every gift I’ve been given, embrace my own moments of joy? Remember, only you can create your experience!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

From stress to empowerment: The true art of using your power

At nighttime our minds start to chatter. We toss and we turn - we feel anxious. We think of things that we didn't get done - things that keep weighing us down. The clock ticks. The sun sets; and by now it's almost 1 in the morning. This is especially fun for my husband, unless he says something that can help calm me down. Well the other night that's exactly what happened. He reminded me of what I make possible - all the strength and the talents I have. He called it my super power (did I mention we have a 9 year old son). Suddenly my mind opened up, but this time in a whole different way. I started to imagine my power: things that make me into who I am - ways I have helped other people - the qualities that I've always admired. I was like the hero who had to focus her energy. At first I'd knock down a few cans. But eventually I would learn how to fly. All at once, I realized that I had these abilities and that I had the power to focus and use them. I had the ability to create my own peace. Tomorrow might be a great day. It might be not so great, but if I embrace and refocus my power, everything will fall into place, even when the day's less than perfect.

Think about it for a moment. What would happen if you closed your eyes and imagined the powers you have? What are the qualities that make you unique? What are the things that help you to weather your storms? Who are the other heroes and sidekicks around you? If it makes you happy, throw on a red cape - whatever creates the strongest image. With these powers, imagine that nothing and noone can defeat you. No one can stand in your way. You are larger than life. You are stronger than ever. Imagine it. Breathe it. Embrace it. Draw it with ink in your mind. Then, take that power and lay down on your pillow. Tomorrow's going to be a big day!

Defining Your New Normal

When we go through a change in our lives, we start wishing it would get “back to normal”. We think about it, talk about it - lay awake dreaming about it at night. If only we could go back in time, all the chaos around us would fade. So we try to be that person again or go back to when we used to be happy. But nothing works. And in the meantime, frustration sets in. After doing this a few thousand times, I decided it was time to be still. In that moment, it dawned on me. The reason that we cannot go back is because we were meant to go forward. I’m not meant to be 20 again. I’m not who I was before I got married or before we started our family. I can draw from the lessons I learned. I can build on certain parts of my past; but I now have a new opportunity. I have a chance to become even better. Yes, I now have a few added scars and my exterior is a little more weathered, but I’ve also grown wiser and stronger. I’m more aware of who I am as a person. Of course with that came with a whole load of baggage – years of questioning if I could make my own choices - years thinking that happiness was just an illusion. It’s normal (there’s that word) … it happens. But one thing that it is not is true. The truth is that you CAN create your experience. You have the ability to take charge of your life. Whether you call it starting over again, or simply readjusting your angle, you have the power to choose a new path. As you read through my blog, I encourage you to take time to reflect - to pretend that, even if just for one moment, anything and everything is possible. After all, how you see things is all up to you!