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3 Articles to Help You Be All You Can Be

26 Jun

While it’s important to be present in the current moment, as I’ve mentioned before, I can’t help but to (constantly) read articles, blog posts and books on best practices. More specifically, best practices on being your best self.

Here are 3 of the best.  Click on the title to take you to the article.

30 Behaviors of Unstoppable People

By Benjamin P. Hardy

A lot of people are good at what they do. Some are even elite. A select few are completely unstoppable.

This is How to be Super Productive Every Day Without Losing Your Mind

By Thomas Oppong

Extremely productive people know the difference between urgent and important.

This 1 Habit Separates Successful People From Everyone Else, According to Warren Buffett

By Elle Kaplan

Who knew?

3 Things I Learned From Getting Older

24 Jun

1. HOW TO BE KINDER TO MYSELF

I’m a lot easier on myself. As the years rolled on, I’ve learned to be as kind to me as I would be to anyone else. It took a lot of work to get to this point.

When I was younger, I always had this voice inside my head that pushed me on. It began with my mom encouraging me, and then it became my own. It whispered:

The sky is your limit. You can go as far and as high as that. Easily.

That was when I was a kid. Walking my dog, Maggie, at night. And I believed it.

Photo by reza shayestehpour 

But that voice changed as I got a little bit older. It started to grow more critical and judgmental. It was damn harsh. Where did this come from? I think it was because I was so influenced by everything in my teens and 20’s. Magazine ads, sitcoms, MTV, friends.

You sounded stupid when you said that. You don’t even know how to do that.

And I started to believe that too.

But as I’ve gotten even older, I simply don’t care as much.  Fitting in, keeping pace and people’s perceptions of me – all that -is exhausting. There’s a huge freedom in letting that go.

As I’ve gotten older, what I let influence me has changed. People who are authentic, funny and creative interest me more than people who try too hard to fit in.

 

2. HOW TO SAVOR THE PRESENT

I have the ability to realize  – in the very moment – that everything I do becomes a memory.  If your mind doesn’t go down the crapper, those collections of memories will be all you have someday. When I was younger, I didn’t think like that. I was too busy indulging. Now, I savor every moment I can knowing I will someday reflect back on that moment.

A good example of this was holding my dad’s hand when he was dying. I held his hand in mine and studied his flat palm, then traced the veins on top of his hand and I remember the softly rounded fingertips. I etched this in my memory to have forever.  13 years later, I can close my eyes and remember how his hands felt. 

As I’ve gotten older, I realize the importance of really appreciating the present moment. I do this when playing cards with my husband, snuggling with my bulldog, laughing with my sister, visiting with my sister-in-law or just about anything.

3. HOW TO RESET MY MIND + FOCUS

Another thing I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is how important it is to have a positive disposition. You always have a choice on what to focus on. Always. You can choose to live in a way that you add joy to others lives or you don’t. It’s as simple as that.

But as you get older, you are faced with a lot more shit. There’s the rub. YOU WILL GO THROUGH TOUGH TIMES. No doubt about it. Someone will pass away, you’ll have to put your dog down, or less dramatically — you’ll just have more crappy days. Anticipate it. Go through it. Feel it. But get a shovel and start digging your way out. The only thing that soothes pain (next to prayer, for me) is time. Spend your time wisely. 

Getting older has helped teach me to reset my mind. To focus on my side of the street, to understand that I can control only what I can control and not to enable people I can’t control. If I want to be an encourager, then I must not let things trip me up

Don’t get me wrong, I am not thrilled with getting wrinkles and achy muscles. But these are some positive aspects of gaining experiences (or getting older…!)  What are you learning? 

Staying Curious in a Curious Time

21 Jun

Have you ever felt like you’ve lost your mojo?  That is how I’ve felt this year.  I hate saying that out loud because I have so much to be thankful and happy for when so many of my friends and acquaintances are going through a hard time.  Do you know what I mean?  If all I’ve lost is my mojo then I’ve got it pretty good. Mojo might be over-rated anyway.

What this year has taught me so far is that life is finite.  You see, I never thought that.  My thinking as a self-absorbed career girl has always been that there is so much time left.  In my 20’s I smoked like crazy because – WHY NOT?  Life was long and I’d have plenty of time to quit (and thankfully, I did!)

Here is why I’ve lost my passion and how I’m going to get it back (took some soul searching)

How I lost it:

  • My career in the past was bent on leading clients in new directions with marketing.  I was talking Facebook, blogs, and Twitter in client meetings across the country 8 years ago!  I loved educating clients on more relevant ways to market their business.  I was driven (driven is the operative word) by coming up with unique ways to make a connection between my clients and their customers.  And it worked.  I think I’m missing that driven part now. And it has something to do with connection.
  • Loss, in general, has shaken me.  Knocked me off center.  And I hate saying that because it hasn’t been my loss. But I really feel for my friends who have lost parents, siblings, and pets.  Sudden loss, surprising loss.  Friends with cancer who have lost parts of their body to surgery.   Even the loss of people I admired but didn’t know personally rocked me.  Anthony Bourdain, who I quoted here, had my dream job and I loved following him around the world.  Kate Spade was the first expensive purse I bought and I have her inspiration all around me in her books, shoes, earrings and more.

I’ve felt knocked off center a bit.  But this is how I’m getting it back.  I’m not going to include the things you think I’m going to say like being thankful.  These are very true but you can read that anywhere.  I’m going to be thankful and grateful every single day.  Because I am.  And just because I’ve felt off – doesn’t mean I’m not appreciative.  After all, I am The Appreciator!

How I’m getting my Mojo back:

  • Think in the present tense.  I tend to think in the future.  I don’t dwell too much on the past but instead am always thinking of what’s to come.  Or what I think should come.  For example:
    • When I lose 80 pounds, I’ll be so much happier
    • When I accomplish the goals I have set out for myself for the day and the week
    • When we are able to buy a cabin up north
    • When, when, when

If you’ve never read anything by Eckhart Tolle, read him.  His faith is different from mine, but I appreciate his thinking and beliefs about living in the NOW.  This I’m going to practice.

  • Guarding My Mind. There is so much shit content out there. Whether it is podcasts, blogs, television, articles, webinars, social media – it is all consuming.  Oh, I love it, don’t get me wrong.  I’m a consumer.  Like this, this and this<swoon> 

Proverbs 4:23 says: ” More than anything you guard, protect your mind, for life flows from it.”

I’m going to guard my mind and train it to focus on my main passion – being curious.  If I can stay focused on that goal and that is what I seek out in the content I’m consuming, then I think I can get my groove back on.  It’s so easy to get off track and run down that rabbit hole of WOPAD (what other people are doing) – I’m going to stay curious.

Is this getting too deep for you?  It almost is for me.  Need a coffee break.

OK.  I’m back.  Here is the biggest thing.  Saved the best for last.

I need to create.  It’s what drives me.  (wait. there is that word again!) And I’ve so gotten away from that.  If I really think about when I’m happiest – it is when I’m being creative.  Whether it is re-arranging furniture (only when ROF is gone, it stresses him out) or making a playlist, helping my clients, compiling an inspiration board or cooking dinner – I need to be creating.

Are you in a funk?  What do you NEED to be doing?  Do it.

 

sometimes you gotta just float!

29 Jan

Just some musings on Tuesday evening.  I am obsessed with my morning routine.  It looks like this:

  • Wake up before or at 5 am
  • Rinse face and go downstairs to office
  • Do bible study (via bible app on phone)
  • Read devotional: my utmost for His highest (been reading every year for 15 years and counting)
  • Write in my new productivity journal  – see what I have here
  • Write out my daily work and personal to-do
  • Read Brendon Buchard’s High-Performance Habits bookSidenote: I also have the audiobook so I can finish listening to it in the car!
  • Meditate using app on my phone – 5 min top focused on mindfulness
  • Pray – 5 minutes top
  • Skim about 100 blogs in my full FEEDLY app (this is my “tv”)
  • Catch up on news by reading the annoying “THE SKIMM” email blurb or flipping through Flipboard app
  • If I’m being honest, and I am, I spend a good 15 minutes flipping through Instagram at the end

Then I get ready and start my day!

However, admittedly, at the end of the day, I get simply exhausted with how creative, cute and clever everyone is on social media.  I’m overwhelmed with the number of “good advice” business books I read and how much I have to remember in order to perform at the highest of levels.  Instead of feeling inspired or motivated, I’m just damn tired.  Even though all of it is something I want to do.

At night, I have to give myself a break and just mentally float.  Have you done that?  I close my eyes and think about nothing at all except floating atop the warm water. I know that sounds stupid but it is a great way to disconnect from distraction.  I visualize my hands dropping under the water and then resurfacing.  I feel the sun hitting my face and top of my knees.  I clear my head.

Then I get up at 5 am and do it all over again.   

encouragement for today

11 Nov

there’s something i want to remember every single morning.  

but i don’t.  i wake up and go through my programmed routine and i forget.  in the beginning i didn’t forget. and i made myself promise that i wouldn’t.

i don’t want to forget to remember to live this day as if i had 4 months left to live.  

like so many people out there, i learned this lesson the hard way.  it happened to someone close to me.  in fact, now that i think about it, it has been a similar situation for several people close to me.   why should you listen?  because i promise that if this news hasn’t crossed your path yet, it will someday.  

do you know what my dad did when he found out he had 4 months to live?  he moved, within weeks, two doors down from me in an OK apartment complex in dallas, texas.  do you know where he was living?  in a million dollar or so house on a golf course on hilton head island – away from his children – away from his family.

when he got the word that he was dying, his very first thought was me, my sister and my brother.   and my mom.  he didn’t give a shit that he was going to a rented one bedroom apartment – all that mattered was he was close to his family.  he didn’t care about feeling uncomfortable about asking our forgiveness, he did it.  and quick.

i could go on more about this but this encouragement for today isn’t about my dad.  it’s about you + me.  how can we live each day with this mindset?  here is what i thought about:

1. close your eyes.  you just got this horrible news.  what is very most important to you?  make it that important every single day and act as such.  pick up and move to dallas, so to speak.

2.  make it right.  if there is anything off kilter, make it right, now.  don’t wait for this day to come.  make it right RIGHT NOW.

3. make other people important.  taking a lesson from dad, i absolutely became the center of his life.  and i wasn’t before.  he was genuinely interested in what i was doing, saying, learning.  my favorite memories ever were in the morning before work, i would see his bald head bouncing down the outside walk to my house for coffee.  i loved it.  he couldn’t wait to wake up and talk to me about my day and what i was going to do.  i need to be like that every day with everyone i encounter.

4. get over yourself.  and your fears, insecurities and inhibitions.  it’s not about you.  it’s about your time with people important to you.  big difference.  so say i’m sorry, say i’m scared, say let’s pray, say i love you – stop with the inside voice telling you stupid things.  you only have a limited time.

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making inspiration real.

19 Sep

sometimes i’m overwhelmed by inspiration.  ha.  what a problem to have.

i mean it.  of course, i seek it out.  my rss feed, podcasts, flipboard all stream inspiration constantly.  i love it. even the music i listen to during the day is what i call “epic inspiring” – check it out here.  helps keep me in the zone as does the geranium essential oil i infuse my air while working.

it is a basic need that i have to be inspired. to remember the dreams i have for myself.  to hold on to them so no one takes them away.  to fine-tune them and evolve them and push myself to limits i didn’t know existed.

here are 3 other (somewhat surprising) things that can be inspiring:

DISAPPOINTING NEWS

i don’t always follow this, mind you,  but it’s important to note.  how can you be inspired by the disappointing news?  if the news relates to you like:

  • lose your job
  • didn’t get that house you wanted
  • test results weren’t expected
  • trip was canceled

then allow yourself to feel the news.  kick, scream and know that “it sucks.”  then be inspired by the fact that this is what is called a CLOSED DOOR.  and a closed door, to me, is an opportunity to find your real calling, a better house or even avoid unseen disaster down the road.

i’ve seen this played out many times in my life and in others.  about 20 years ago, our ad agency lost all the

about 20 years ago, our ad agency lost all the buick business.  i was 3 of about 15 people left and had to let go many of my colleagues and friends.  it’s easy for me now to paint you a picture of what happened with one of those people:

LET GO:  someone who reported to me, who took the job to learn from me and who had taken a step backward in her career to do so. THIS STUNK.  for both of us!

NEXT STEP: she considered this an opportunity to follow one of her favorite bands to NYC and at over 35 years old, up and moved herself to NYC.

WHAT HAPPENED:  became a VP at the world’s largest ad agency working on a global account.  Way surpassing me and the agency that let her go.  whoop!  whoop!

true story.  you know who you are.  

(then there was the guy we let go where we found a pot “bowl” in his desk drawer after we cleaned it out.  probably different story for him…)

THE ORDINARY AND MUNDANE

when things are ordinary and mundane – it means you are not present in your own life.  it means you are on auto-pilot or simply don’t think big enough for yourself.  maybe things happen to you versus making things happen.  just saying.  maybe?

when things are this way, it is an opportunity to be inspired by this:

someday, you will wish for the ordinary and mundane things in your life!

wait, did that depress you more?  sorry.

i meant.  WAKE UP!  here are two ways to drive to work:

  • get in car, buckle up, listen to news, yawn, drink coffee, get to work or –
  • get in car, buckle up, listen to inspiring talk or music, be interested in what is going on around you on your drive.  appreciating the crisp fall weather, the smell of pumpkin syrup in your coffee, smiling at the driver next to you.  noticing the older woman waiting for the bus hunched over made you sit taller.  saying a prayer and thanking God for the car you are driving, the family that loves you and the full day you have ahead of you.  calling an old friend just to say hi before work with a quick ‘HEY THINKING BOUT YOU message, get to work

and lastly, get inspired from:

PEOPLE WHO DO NOT HAVE YOUR BEST INTERESTS AT HEART

how is this inspiring?

be inspired that you recognized this fact about them and be inspired to move on and not care.  put on your blinders. be inspired to get focused, get energized – this can be one of the best motivators.  the day you finally realize that what other people think about you matters very little.

 

 

Word.

7 Aug

maybe you had to hear these as much as me?

4 reasons not to strive for perfection

23 Jul
striving for perfection has always been seen as an admirable goal.  whether it’s getting into the right schools, cleaning your house just right or toning your body, perfection is what we want.  or is it?
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here are four reasons not to strive for perfection:

1. when we are hyper-focused on perfection, there is a chance we may miss the things that would truly make us happy.

In her 2012 article in Harvard Magazine titled “Effortless Perfection”, Isabel Ruane wrote:
“Last winter, I had wondered how I could ever reconcile my guilt at having relaxed my work ethic with my certainty that doing so had allowed me to grow in other ways. I had worried about where my duty lay: to Harvard, for offering me an education and paying a great share of its cost; to my parents, for raising me, guiding me, and making sacrifices for me; or to myself, maybe more in need of reflection and friendship than a spotless transcript. Now I realize I was worrying about the wrong “duty.” My duty to the world isn’t to be perfect. It is to take care of myself as best I can so I can give back to the world the love and care it has given to me. If slacking off was what I needed to make myself happy and available to help others, then this decision reflected no disrespect for my parents, for Harvard, or for my own work ethic.”
 

2. perfection is subjective and abstract.

there is nothing wrong with having personal goals and wanting to achieve them.  i try to achieve my personal best every day.  with my career, with my personal life – everything.  having goals is what guides my day-to-day living.  on sunday, i write out goals for the week and if i achieve them- to me that is perfection!  But this is MY personal best with which i connect with perfection, not yours.

it becomes judgement when we start projecting our “strife for perfection” on others.

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perfection is subjective because with social media and just media in general, everyone can photograph and video their best foot forward – always.  some blogs that i follow, you’d think they only live a life of crisply curated +  snapped recipes and coiffed living rooms.  they can build the perfect career and host the perfect dinner party – NO! – not a boring dinner party but a bollywood-themed movie night complete with belly dancers. to me, the takeaway is  that they are PERFECT.  and that un-truth can bring someone down.  ok, sometimes i’ve been brought down by it.  ok, sometimes i contribute to it.  <sigh>

so good for danielle guenther  who photographed brilliantly the not-so-glamourous life of parents.  she says “capture the moment, because in the end, all we have are the memories.”

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 and lastly…

2. perfection is unattainable.

you’ll never get there – ever.  as a Christian, we believe that only Christ is perfect.  why oh why can’t i remember that?
“I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection.
Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God’s business.” 

4. if you strive for only perfection, you may fly by the lessons that failure teaches us. 

“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.”
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inspiration for today

15 Apr

today i’m in naples, florida with people I love. ROF arrives today and i can’t wait to see him!

i’m thinking about my wonderful aunt jeanie.  she passed away on wednesday. i loved her.  I used to stay at her house in columbus ohio when i handled the buick account at JTC Advertising.  she was always so excited to see me and hear about what i was doing.  she and I shared a love of books and movies.  she had so much life and interest in people and places!

she also could play the piano so well.  i snuck a video of her playing the last time I saw her.



i’m thinking of her sisters- my mom and aunt sally- and her kids, my cousins and her many grandkids.

oh! here are some things i’ve been meaning to tell you.  pass it on + be inspired!


  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  

heart attacks + fries

22 Feb

happy new year!

yes, i realize that it’s almost march but i haven’t posted since december.  i got a new job and started it in january and have been running ever since. (new job is awesome, by the way)

right now, i’m on an early morning delta flight out of dfw headed first to minneapolis and then to duluth. the cabin in this small plane smells like freshly brewed coffee and morning breath from the several men around me sleeping with their mouth wide open and head back.  from duluth i will rent a SUV and drive an hour and half to ashland, wisconsin.  otherwise known as God’s country.  look it up on a map.  it may be only 6 degrees up there but i consider it to be a huge perk of my job to experience the beauty which is northern wisconsin. then i turn around and drive back, stay by the airport and am on an early morning flight out of duluth to minneapolis and land back at dfw tomorrow at noon.

living healthy.

so at my age (46) i just realized i could die someday.  as a gen x’er (i’m stereotyping) the thought of dying or coming up on serious health issues could not have been further from my mind.  i was invincible and could smoke as much as i wanted (after all, the kids from my favorite movies did like st. elmos fire and singles.)

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drink wine as much as i wanted like carrie bradshaw in sex and the city and not care about how it affected me and my body.

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now i know.  and it’s a sobering fact of life.  you get old and your body and organs go along for the ride.

my brother who is four years younger than me had a couple massive heart attacks around thanksgiving. they had to shock him 19 times and his heart stopped beating for over 15 minutes.  my brother and i have a very strained and challenging relationship but it has made me sad for him.  it has made me think of me too.  that maybe it isn’t enough for me to just drink my trader joe’s super green powder drink every morning and “try” to walk 30 minutes before slumping back in front of my computer for the rest of the day.  maybe i have to do more and maybe it’s urgent.  maybe i better stop thinking that all there is what makes me happy now and think about the fact that what i do now will make me very happy in the future.

so i’m not a complainer or a whiner, i’m a doer and so i got a physical.  i’m on a plan to lose weight and eat right.  it is not going to be easy.  in fact, i forgot about eating right when i ordered a BLT sandwich and fries at st. pete’s dancing marlin this weekend. i only ate half.

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baby steps.

i also have a cardiologist who is going to run all the tests and wants to see me every 6 months.  she’s awesome.  my mom had her first heart attack at only 49.  and i’m 46.

it’s a journey,right?  that’s what they say.  i hope that i can do this and have encouragement along the way.

happy new year!

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