Advice and Confessions

Comfort Zones and Saying Yes (To Myself)

Oh, how I love my warm, safe comfort zone. It’s familiar and I know what to expect from it. Did I mention, it’s also BORING as hell?!

Do you ever stop and take inventory of your life? I mean really stop and look at where you are? I’ve been doing a little bit of that lately, after starting once again, to step outside of my comfort zone. A comfort zone is safe, but we don’t grow there. If we always stay the same, nothing changes and if nothing changes…well…NOTHING CHANGES. We can’t expect to sit back and not be in the driver’s seat of our lives. If we aren’t happy with our current situation- WE have the power to change it.

Each of us has a different definition of happiness. If you stop and let yourself feel-what emotion is the first that comes up? For me, lately, it’s been a feeling of blah. Like- is this it? Is this what my life is going to be and more importantly, am I HAPPY with the way it is? My best friend likened it to being on auto-pilot. Going through the motions. You know, when you drive the same route home every day, only to get home and not even remember driving?

I think we let ourselves get tunnel vision sometimes. We focus on something and that takes our entire attention so that everything else around us is a blur. I don’t think life has to be like that. Life is meant to be lived, not just survived. The one thing we cannot get back is TIME. Maybe it’s time to take inventory of what eats up our time and if it’s sucking the life out of us or filling us up.

My YesSometimes we are so busy saying YES to everyone else, we forget about saying YES to ourselves. The word NO is a complete sentence- it doesn’t require an explanation. If you’re anything like me, you’re an explainer. I come from a very long line of people who feel we have to explain or justify our actions. Saying no to someone or something isn’t a bad thing and you don’t need to explain yourself. (Note to self- re-read that sentence).

If I stop and take inventory of my current situation, my life right now, I should be smiling ear to ear, so why aren’t I? Maybe because I feel guilty for letting myself be happy? Maybe it’s because my life doesn’t look the way it should to others and as a lifelong people pleaser, I’ve always shrunk myself to let others shine.

The thing is, we are all put here to live our best lives. We are meant to be happy. Happiness is different for everyone. As Rachel Hollis always says- “What Other People Think of You, is None of Your Business.” You do you and I’ll do me.

Take a minute and think about where you are in your life, what is the first emotion that comes up? If you don’t like it-change it. You have the power to make the change.

 

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Advice and Confessions

What’s Your More?

I am 10 days into the #last90days challenge led by Rachel and Dave Hollis. For those of you who aren’t familiar with them- please do yourself a favor and go find them NOW! 5 to ThriveThe #last90days challenge is based on Rachel’s 5 to Thrive Concept. Do these five things every day and you will see a shift in your life. This isn’t rocket science, most of us know what it takes to be the best version of ourselves. Most of us know it takes starting over again and again no matter how many times it takes.

Made for More

We are all #MadeforMore. I’ve been hesitant to put in words what my “More” looks like. I think I am scared because I know when I put it out here, it’s really real. And honestly, I don’t know all my “More” yet. But here is what I do know.

  1. I wake up in the morning and count my blessings because I am still able to start fresh.
  2. I don’t let the feeling of fear run my life.
  3. I take chances and I listen to my intuition.
  4. I stop living to please other people.
  5. I RUN a mile a day.
  6. I write for myself at least 3 times a week.
  7. I show my children they are capable of doing anything as long as they work hard and stay true to themselves.
  8. I hold space for anyone who needs it.
  9. I know that the Universe and God are working FOR me.
  10. I look for the little things, the silver lining in life and practice gratitude every day.

Those are just 10 things that, as I started with #1, flowed out of my head. There is so much more. I am no longer satisfied with existing, I want MORE. I want to live my life according to my rules and no one else’s. I have always been a people pleaser and have avoided conflict all of my life. I’ve been taking baby steps to break those habits. Some days are better than others.

My “More” doesn’t look like your “More” and that’s the beauty of it, we are all so unique and not everyone will agree with some of our “Mores.” And that’s OKAY. We can be the juiciest peach in the world and for the people who don’t like peaches, it won’t matter, because we aren’t for them, they will never like peaches and that’s okay. There are plenty of others who love peaches and love who we are, no matter what. Don’t continue to try to change the non-peach lover, don’t beat yourself up because you think, if only I showed them how sweet I am, they’ll decide to like peaches. THEY WON’T and it wastes so much time and energy to try to convince them they like peaches.

Figure out what your “MORE” looks like. What does a day in your best life look like? Visualize it to every little detail and write that down. Keep it someplace you can read it often. What we focus on becomes our reality, so let’s focus on OUR best selves and leave others to do the same.

 

 

Advice and Confessions

It’s Never About Us

It's Not About YouI’ve been telling myself that repeatedly this morning. How people treat us, how they react to us and respond to what we do, is NEVER about us. It’s ALWAYS about them and where they are in their lives. We all see things from our own perspective, from what we feel within ourselves and we project that outward. If we feel happy and giving, we give happiness and are generous to others. If we feel anger and bitterness, that also reflects onto how we treat others. We do things because of where we are, not because of what someone else did. Our actions are based on reactions of how we feel inside.

I tell myself that this morning as a reminder that I cannot control what other people do, say or feel. I can only control MY thoughts, actions, and emotions. I can only control how I respond and if I find myself responding with anger, bitterness or spite, that is my internal compass to dig deep and see why I am feeling that way. What inside of myself is missing?

People treat us the way they are feeling inside themselves. Don’t take it personally, although that is VERY hard to do. I find myself sitting in this space this morning, trying my hardest not to let anger and bitterness reflect outward. I remind myself that I control my thoughts and feelings and what someone else does or says is not a reflection of who I am, it is a reflection of who THEY are.

Don’t let yourself get caught up in other peoples issues, it’s not our job to fix someone else, it’s our job to protect ourselves and live our best life. It’s not our job to make someone else happy, each and every single one of us is responsible for our own happiness.

Advice and Confessions

Perception

Christmas 2014.pngThis picture was taken Christmas of 2014. We look like a picture perfect, happy family. I posted this on FB when it was taken and I am sure I had some happy, glossed over version of the truth along with it.

This was taken when I was 9 months post divorce and in the midst of one of the most tumultuous times of my life. I had never felt so alone, but the photo doesn’t reflect that, does it? Looking at it now, I see the sparkle in my eyes is missing, my smile is almost forced.

Comparison is the thief of all joy. We scroll through our social media feeds and see all the happy families, smiling faces and exotic trips. We compare those lives to ours. So many times we feel less than because we aren’t able to take our kids on fancy trips or we don’t have big family get-togethers. It looks like everyone else in the world has their lives together, except US.

I am here to tell you- pictures don’t tell the whole story. They don’t tell you that behind the happy smile, someone might be struggling with anxiety or depression. They don’t tell you that in the big groups of family photos there are strained relationships. We put into the world what we want everyone to perceive our lives to be. While many times, our lives are much different.

We don’t want to look like the family who has issues, or the woman who struggles daily with her body image. So we put on a happy face, we apply whatever filter looks like it may enhance the image and we post it.

We can’t judge someone else by the photos they post online. Each of us is battling our own demons at any given moment. We need to stop assuming everyone else has it better than we do. We need to stop passing judgment or comparing our lives to someone we see in our Facebook feed.

If we live our lives for ourselves and stop letting how we SHOULD look to the online world, we begin to love others for who they are as well. Behind every photo is a story we know nothing about.

 

 

Advice and Confessions

What’s In Your Toolbox?

I’ve been doing a lot of reading, writing and reflecting the past couple of weeks. For the last few months, all of those things have been absent from my life. I am feeling a sense of renewed energy, commitment to self-love and helping others. I can only credit that to what I’ve put in my toolbox.

We are given unique gifts and talents, but I think we find ourselves shrinking back because of fear or feeling we aren’t enough. We sometimes feel “why me?” Why would anything I have to say or write or do matter to anyone else? The thing is, IT DOES. YOU MATTER.

When we find ourselves asking questions like “what if?” Those are the questions we need to start really paying attention to. Those are the seeds of change, our potential gifts that unless we step outside of the fear, will remain unseen. When we were children we had an undeniable lack of fear and our imaginations were wild. We thought we could do anything or be anything we wanted. As we grew up, society told us to do the safe thing, the sure bet and to fit inside a box of expectations. Our dreams and passions packed away inside of us, screaming to get out.

Back to my toolbox theory. My toolbox is now full of books, a new journal, and motivational and inspirational podcasts, but the one thing that hasn’t changed in my toolbox is ME. I am the one constant that has always been there, but I wasn’t choosing the right tools for what I needed to help propel me to the next best level of myself. Until we start putting the right tools in our boxes we will remain where we are. When we make a habit of pulling those tools out every day we begin creating a new version of ourselves. We surround ourselves with things that will remind us that we are made for more, that we are special and each of us is unique.

We cannot surround ourselves with negativity, with status quo and expect change. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. We have to change what we put in our toolbox and we have to USE those tools to help us share the gifts we are given.

What is in your toolbox?

Photo: Getty Images

Advice and Confessions

We are Made for More

On my morning run/walk, I listened to another Rachel Hollis podcast, which was followed up by watching Dave and Rachel on FB live when I finished. Rachel talks about us being “Made for More” and at first I struggled with this notion. What does that mean for me? As she broke it down this morning, the lightbulb went off. Her more doesn’t equal my more and my more doesn’t equal your more.

Our “mores” are all completely different because we are completely different and unique humans. We are all so often in competition with each other, afraid that there isn’t enough success to go around. It’s funny now that I’ve reframed it- someone else’s success may not be something I am even remotely interested in and my idea of success is probably not someone else’s. There isn’t any reason to tear each other down, to compete with another person. We cannot be everyone’s cup of tea and that is OKAY. There is enough individual success to go around for each of us.

We were put here to live our best lives. That means something different to each and every one of us. When we open ourselves up to the diversity surrounding us, to let each person be their own, instead of labeling as something YOU think they should be, because of your own beliefs, we are freeing ourselves from passing judgment. We often get so caught up in what other people think about us we forget how WE think about ourselves. We become a facade of a person scared to share our stories and our voices, because we might make someone else mad. We live small. We let other people’s opinions dictate who we are. WHY? I can almost 100% tell you the person you are trying to impress or not upset, is doing the same thing with someone in their lives.

If we all just live our own best lives without worrying about anyone else, we can live the life we are made for. Rachel says “the opinion someone else has of you, is none of your business.” If someone doesn’t want to let you be who you are with 100% truth, that person isn’t for you and will never be for you. But I can guarantee for that one person who isn’t for you- there are another 5 or 10 who are. We need to surround ourselves with people who accept us for who we are, even if they don’t always agree with that. The people we surround ourselves with are the people we become most like. If we surround ourselves with people who want us to live small, we will live small. If we surround ourselves with people who live big and want us to live big, we will begin to follow suit.

When we show up as we truly are, not hiding pieces and parts of ourselves, we show others it’s okay to show up as they are.

Photo by Constantinos Panagopoulos on Unsplash

 

 

 

Advice and Confessions

Living Our Best Lives

Today was a great example of living my best life. It wasn’t a huge event, I didn’t get a big award for anything, but today was one of those days I can reflect back on and know it was one of my best days.

Sometimes we get caught up in wanting bigger and better, achieving more and getting recognition for our achievements. We think if we have grand accomplishments we are living our best lives.

I am becoming more aware that living my best life isn’t about major milestones or accomplishments. It’s about, at the end of the day, being able to reflect back and smile. To feel a sense of peace. Today was one of those days.

41416171_10156044399739005_7300906119243759616_nMy son pitched his first college baseball game today. He’s played baseball since he was old enough to pick up a bat. My Grandma, who is 94 years young, has always loved watching baseball. When she knew he was coming back to our hometown to attend college, she was thrilled, even more thrilled to hear he would be playing baseball.

Today the sun was shining, we felt the warmth of the fall day and listened to the sound of the ball being hit off the bat. Watching my Grandma beam with pride as her great-grandson stepped up on the mound to throw his first pitch was a moment I will never forget. She is forgetful and repeats the same questions over and over, but today, she was in her element.

Today she was living one of her best days, making it one of my best days too. We don’t need grand events to live our best lives, to live in the moment and take in all the little things around us is what it is about. The twinkle in her eyes, the smile on her face. Her pride was radiant.

Life is being lived all around us, we get so caught up in wanting bigger and better that we forget it’s the little moments that really matter.

Take a minute and slow down, to watch the joy and contentment in our loved ones faces. You might find that living your best life is quite simple and with a little awareness, can happen on any given day. Coop and Gramma.png

 

 

Advice and Confessions

Hope is Not a Strategy and Decisions are Not Actions

I was recently introduced to Rachel Hollis’ work and was listening to one of her podcasts this morning on my run. In it, she said, “Hope is Not a Strategy.” That really hit home and made me stop and think. Hope is great, hope is something I think we all cling too. But when it comes down to it, it is not a strategy. To make change, to REALLY make change we have to do more.

Another quote that really got me thinking came from Cody Jefferson, he said in an Instagram video yesterday, “Decisions are Not Actions.” You can decide all day to do something, you can write it down and make plans. You can set it up in your calendar and tell yourself what your plan is. But until you actually DO SOMETHING about it, you are stuck in the same place you’ve always been. Planning for more, but not doing more.

I’ve always been a planner. I can come up with the best workout plans, the greatest meal ideas, in fact, I can’t even begin to count the number of Pinterest boards I have on healthy meals, and quick workouts. I can, however,  tell you the number of times I’ve actually gone back to look at those boards– ZERO. I have the best intentions, just like most of us do, but until we actually put our plans and decisions into action, we will stay where we are.

I’ve been a big believer for a while that what we focus on is what we get. The way we choose to see things is a direct reflection back on what we get out of life. If we are always looking at the negative, we will always receive negative. If we choose to look for the positives, we will receive positively. Now, I am not saying to walk around with rose-colored glasses on and ignore what’s going on around you. I am saying, out of every negative thing, we can usually find a positive. If we are always looking for the negative that is all we see, but if we choose to start looking for the silver lining, a whole new world opens up. When we look for gratitude we receive gratitude. Our minds cannot focus on two emotions at once- so we get to choose- do we look for gratitude or do we look for negativity.

We are in charge of our own lives. We get to choose happiness. Out of every experience we have we can look for the blessing and lesson. Our happiness is not dependent on when we achieve something, it’s dependent on how we see things. We have a choice- what will you choose? Will you continue to make decisions and plans without taking action or will you start with one thing and make a move?

 

 

 

Advice and Confessions

My Journey to Wanting and Having More

I am beginning another phase of my journey. This past year has been filled with lots of emotions and even a move back to my hometown. I am also in the middle of a custody suit with my ex-husband. I’ve been quiet about it. I’ve been walking on eggshells, making sure I don’t do or say the wrong thing. But you know what? The thing is, I am me and I have always been the main supporter and caregiver for both of our children. I’m not perfect, but no one is and that’s okay. I put my children first and most of the time myself second or even third.

My story hasn’t been all sunshine and roses, I’ve struggled with quite a few things. Managing money, my weight, my self-esteem, being a people pleaser to name a few. But through that all, in my heart, I know I want to continue to be better, for myself and for my children.

So I am continuing my journey to giving more, to being more, to showing up more. For me. For my children. For those who love and support me and for those who don’t even know me. I want to be transparent. I don’t want to hide behind a facade of “everything is okay all of the time.” Because it’s not and that’s OKAY.

I want to celebrate my wins without feeling guilty and I want to ask for help when I am struggling. I want to share stories and I want to hear your stories. I want to help you not feel alone in what you are going through, because chances are, I’ve been through it, or I know someone else who has.

I restarted my Couch to 5k running program last week. I ran for three days straight and then the weekend hit and boom, as usual, I fell off the wagon. I didn’t beat myself up about it though, I got back up on Tuesday and kept going. I’ve never been an athlete or athletic. One day about 10 years ago, I told myself I wanted to start running and I wanted to run a 5K. My family laughed. But I was determined and I did it. I not only ran a 5K, but a few of them, in addition to a couple of 10K’s and a half-marathon. And then life happened, and I let that passion fall to the wayside.

I cheated on my husband (you can read about that here). Now before you go and start to judge, take a minute and read the article. See if any part of it resonates with you. If it doesn’t and you still want to judge, then, by all means, go ahead.

We divorced in December of 2013, but continued to live together until March of 2014. I was a mess. The first couple of years after the divorce had me reeling to find validation, who was I? I started to really hit my stride in the last 18 months, I began to do things I wanted to do, to work on who I wanted to be. I became a Certified Life Coach, I stepped outside of my box and started working on projects I had no real knowledge of until I dove in and learned. I was scared of looking like a failure- to be honest, I still sometimes am.

What I know in this minute is that I want to do better. I want to be better. And I want to share my journey with you.

Fear is a liar. Together we are better. Instead of shrinking back inside my safe comfortable shell, I am going to push myself to step outside of my comfort zone and show up the only way I know how- Perfectly Imperfect.

Photo by Jurica Koletić on Unsplash

Advice and Confessions

Authenticity: What It Means to Me

Authenticity; it’s a word that gets thrown around a lot. Everyone talks about being your authentic self and showing up authentically. But what exactly does that mean?

To me, being authentic is simple. I’m simple. It doesn’t take much to make me happy. When I am my most authentic self, I am silly, I am a smart ass, I am devoted. If you’ve earned my trust, I am one of the most loyal people you’ll meet; but if you’ve done something to someone I love, watch out. I am a nerd and a geek. I love chocolate. What you see is what you get. No hidden agendas.

I’ve hidden so much of who I am over the years, I became what everyone else expected me to be, or at least what I thought everyone expected me to be. I am human, I’ve made more bad choices than I can count or remember, and, I most likely still will. My shell is cracking, the facade slipping away. I can no longer hide who I am. It radiates from me like a beacon. I may not always say the right things or know all of the answers. I’ve come to terms with that. I will no longer settle for less than who I am, in all my glorious mess.

Authenticity, to me, is being Perfectly Imperfect. What is it to you?