Monthly Archives: May 2014

Being Thankful


I want to start today’s Fresh Start Monday by first thanking the men and women who have sacrificed the ultimate so that you and I enjoy the freedoms we have today. Let’s all take a moment to reflect on what life for us would be like had they not done so. And now that brings us to today’s topic…Being Thankful.

So often life throws us so many curve balls that we’re so immersed in catching, avoiding, redoing or whatever that we tend to forget to be thankful. Each of us regardless of where we are in life should have something we’re thankful for each and everyday. If anyone reading this doesn’t agree then my heart aches for you. You see none of us woke up this morning on our own power, so to open our eyes to a day we’ve never seen before is a thankful moment.

When you jumped in the shower and the water ran down your body while you lathered up with your favorite soap or body wash, didn’t it feel wonderful? And when you stepped out of the shower and wrapped a clean towel around your body while you looked in the mirror and brushed your teeth. Were you thankful?

As you looked in the closet to choose what you’d wear were you thankful? Or what about when you made your way to the kitchen and opened the fridge? You stood there deciding on your choice of food to start your day, were you thankful? These are things you do everyday and I’m certain if you’re like me you’ve gone past someone you know didn’t have it as easy as you that day. I’m not talking about those who’ve made that choice to be where they are I’m talking about those who because of circumstances they weren’t in control of have had to do things a little differently than us. But even they still have cause to be thankful. Why? Because they too have been presented with a new day in which they can be thankful for the opportunity to make a new choice, a new decision or choose a different road. It still boils down to their choices.

And yes, I know for some that is a huge challenge so I in no way am trying to belittle the trials they are going through. But back to you and I. We have already started our day better than most. You’re headed to a job, career or your very own business, isn’t that worth being thankful for?  You know that at the end of the week or whenever your compensation time comes around you will be paid for the work you’ve put in. Again another reason to be thankful. It allows you to take care of your necessities and maybe a few wants and if you fall a little short well you’re able to add to it depending on what you want. You can add another job, or turn a hobby into additional funds. It’s up to you.

Let’s not forget about the people in our lives, our spouses, significant others, children, parents, siblings and other extended family members, the list is a long one. There are mentors, friends and the like and don’t forget about your enemies! They serve a purpose too, one being helping you to remember to be thankful for the people in your life who are in your corner and love you just as you love them. I’ve only made a small list I’m sure yours can be as large or small as your universe happens to be.

The point in this little exercise is that we all have something(s) to be thankful for and we should not let the sun set on the day without acknowledging it. After all as my husband is so fond of saying “tomorrow is not promised to any of us for tomorrow never comes until it becomes today!”

 

The Journey Begins


Isn’t it exciting when you’re getting ready to go on a trip? It took planning and now the big day has arrived! Your bags are packed, reservations have been made, the car is all gassed up or if you’re flying you have your tickets in hand. And just before you walk out the door you take one last look around your home to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything. If it’s an extended trip you double-check to make sure your mail is taken care of, you have a trusted relative or friend come over and tend to your pets and plants. Once you’re satisfied everything is in order with a smile on your face you walk out the door.

So shouldn’t you take as much care with your life journey as you do with your vacation? isn’t it just as if not more important? Then start today by giving it the attention it deserves. The next few blogs will deal with the preparation of a new life journey. Every day is an opportunity waiting to be taken advantage of. Unfortunately many of us choose to let these opportunities pass us by. Shhh… I hear you saying I never made that choice. Allow me to remind you. Remember the morning you woke up late? Either the alarm didn’t go off or if you’re like me sometimes I tend to hit that snooze button for just a few more minutes. Now that you’re running behind you start scrambling to catch up. You rush to get dressed, can’t find your clothes, the papers you were working on are scattered on the coffee table, you skip breakfast because don’t have time, now you’re caught in traffic and you’re fuming because everyone is in your way! Or, what about the day the boss gave you an assignment that you inwardly said, “that’s not my job”, better yet what about the day the job you’ve been on for years suddenly decides you’re no longer needed?

Any of this sound familiar? I thought so. You see each of these were opportunities you squandered. They were squandered because instead of that extra few minutes you could have put in 10 minutes of exercise that your brain and body would have appreciated. You could have had breakfast  and again your day would have started off on good footing. And while we’ll at it instead of fuming at the other drivers you could have popped a CD in and listened to some soothing music or better yet listened to something that was positive and empowering, even start to learn a new language. Missed opportunities.

What about that assignment instead of thinking “that’s not my job”, you could have looked at it as an opportunity to spread your wings. It could increase your knowledge base and show your diversity. And remember everything doesn’t have to have a dollar value attached. The growth in career or even a burgeoning entrepreneurial spirit could be ignited just by taking on an assignment that’s “not my job”. Imagine the possibilities and go forward with positive anticipation.

Nothing can spur you on in life more than when your comfort zone has been tampered with. As in the case of losing a job. Instead of thinking of it as losing a job why not look at it as an opportunity. I know the bills still have to be paid, mouths have to be fed and the roof must be maintained, still there’s opportunity there. You just have to find it and use it to your advantage. I’ll never forget the day I was laid off and it wasn’t just me there were 13 others let go the same day. I quickly packed my things, made the rounds to say good-bye to colleagues I’d worked with for years and headed out the door with my head held high. The next 2 weeks i spent examining myself. I used my severance to give myself breathing room and as it turned out that was a smart move for it was nearly 2 -1/2  years before I found another position and even at that the position was an opportunity.  During that 2-1/2 years of unemployment I got to know my sister-n-law better and found myself being her champion when the cancer came back and she needed a helping hand to make it to appointments. And still when this time cancer won I was there for my brother and niece and nephews, things iI couldn’t have done had I been working. Taking advantage of a circumstance and viewing it as an opportunity.

Once they were all doing better and funds exhausted I was blessed with a new opportunity. . I feel blessed to be where I am and just think it wouldn’t have happened if I’d stayed in my old comfort zone or wallowed in self-pity. I didn’t just help family I helped others and myself. I published a book, did more programs to encourage and inspire others and gained a new name! Starting over is always a challenge but it’s how you deal with the challenge that will determine your success or failure. No excuses allowed!

What new journey do you have in mind? Have you made plans? Not the kind that are just in your head, but the kind that requires you to write a plan. It must have a what, when, where, how and of course a who.

1. What is it you want to achieve or do?

2. When do you plan to accomplish it? Break it into smaller increments so that you’re not overwhelmed. 2, weeks, six weeks, 90 days, six months, a year. It’s your goal you decide.

3. Where is this to take place? is it at work, a totally new adventure, school, etc. Again you decide.

4. How will this be accomplished? Will you need to go back to school to gain a new skill (online or on campus or a combination)? In determining the how will you need to invest monetarily? All good questions and necessary to answer in order to have a plan that you can put into action.

5. And of course who do you envision helping you to achieve this goal? Do you have a mentor, someone you trust to be honest and supportive. After all you don’t succeed alone, no one does there’s always someone or something that had a hand in your success. And in actuality you don’t fail alone either,  it all depends on whom you’ve chosen to travel with you. The journey is so much sweeter when it can be shared.

So I implore you – get your pen out and start your list. It can be as elaborate or as simple as you choose. It’s based on what you are wanting to accomplish.  And once that has been accomplished don’t forget to celebrate it. Celebrate your milestone, give yourself permission to have a special gift, throw a party, however you celebrate make it memorable. Just make sure you celebrate and invite someone to celebrate with you!

After the celebrating is over start again. Never quit there’s so much waiting for you but you have to start the ball rolling. Can you do it? I believe…no, I know you can. Let me know what your plans are and if I can help I’ll do that too! Life is a journey, start traveling and enjoying it, you’ll find there’s no time for self-pity or fear. Enjoy the planning and next week we’ll discuss ways to make a good beginning. So you see your ‘Fresh Start” is here waiting for its marching orders. Ready..set..go!

 

Forgiveness – Ready, Set Go!


If you’re like most people whenever you’ve been hurt, betrayed or violated someone somewhere told you to forgive. Funny thing though they never tell you exactly how you’re supposed to do that. Do you tell that person I forgive you, give them a hug and a smile and go on as if the pain does not exist? Or better yet do you wait for them to do it again and you go through the forgiving cycle one more time. And besides, just how exactly does forgiving help you?

All of us at some point in our lives face these questions. The effort of forgiveness can be for something as trivial as hurt feelings or it could be something with much higher ramifications. The common denominator is the same no matter who the injured party is. YOU. And you’re the most important equation that you must forgive. How?

Letting it go. I know that’s a very simplistic answer to a very complex subject. There are instances in which the act of forgiveness is extremely easy, but in other cases it requires you to dig deep within in order to accomplish it. This is the type of forgiveness we’re dealing with today. The kind that requires you to acknowledge and accept past transgressions in order to learn, thrive and move forward. For those of you who have suffered the indignities of domestic violence, abuse and sexual assault this step will be a lifeline to propel you forward so that you are not defined by the circumstances of your past.

“Forgiveness is choosing to love. It is the first skill of self-giving love.”
~Mahatma Gandhi

This is a great explanation for by forgiving you are opening the door to love and the most important person requiring forgiveness is…. not the person who did the wrong, oh no that gift, that beautiful jewel belongs to you. Forgiveness is more for you than the other person because it is ourselves we have the hardest time forgiving. Sure many may argue that no the person that wronged me, that’s the hardest to forgive and I just can’t do it! Okay so how long will you allow another person to have control of you and they are no longer in your life? I ask this question and want you to think about this. That person, male or female, family member, sister, brother, husband, wife, lover, friend or any ex.. is sleeping soundly every night and going about their daily lives giving no thought for your plight but because you refuse to forgive they are still in the driver’s seat of your life! Get the picture, so how’s that working for you? Understand this:

“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”
~Paul Boese

“People can be more forgiving than you can imagine. But you have to forgive yourself. Let go of what’s bitter and move on.”
– Bill Cosby

Today I challenge you to take a pen to paper and write a heartfelt letter to yourself. In it lay it all out there, forgive yourself for the choices you made, forgive yourself for loving someone who didn’t love you and therefore mistreated you. Forgive yourself for holding on when you know in your heart you should have let go. Forgive yourself for having more faith and trust in someone else than you did in yourself. Forgive your self for allowing another human being to define you.  Be specific in this letter to you and leave nothing out.

Finally once you’ve told your self all the things you’ve forgiven you for, list those persons you need to forgive so that you can make room in your heart, spirit, mind and soul for the new treasures and jewels waiting to reside in the space once occupied by unforgiveness. Now take that letter read it, own it and accept it, now rip it to shreds and burn it while at the same time rejoicing that there’s a new spring in your step, a beautiful song in your heart and great anticipation for a journey that will take you to greater heights you never dreamed could be yours.

Happy journeying my friend for just around the corner are many gifts waiting to assail you and as you encounter each one partake of them with a hearty appetite for more juicy morsels are still waiting to entice you. Now go out there and share this new confident person with the world ,after all, you’ve made it through the storm and though this walk called life will at times assault you with its unpredictability stand tall knowing you’ve learned to not hold on to the bad because holding on means you could miss something beautiful.

 

 

 

Your Best Self Revealed – Part 2


A quick review of last Monday: There were eleven statements you were asked to go through and be honest with yourself as to whether or not those statements applied to you. I hope you took the time to really evaluate yourself and where you stood with each one. The only right answer is the answer that you know is true. no one else can make that determination for you. Now that you’ve had time to think on those statements let’s now move forward to part 2 of your best self revealed.

In order for your best self to be revealed to you a very key component is YOU. What are you to you? Sounds strange I know but think about this: Everyone wants a friend. We can lie to ourselves and say that’s not true that “I” don’t have to have any friends. Stop right now with that thinking because honestly, you know that is not true.

So what can a person do. It’s really simple……. Have you figured it out yet? Okay, I’ll give you a few more minutes….Do you have it yet? Time’s up, here’s the answer:

First and foremost – Be a Friend to Yourself. Let’s just say that one more time, first and foremost  – Be a Friend to Yourself. I know the question becomes, how? And you’re in luck for today you’ll get what you need and then I know the next time you’re in the mirror and looking at yourself you’ll say, Hi friend.

1. Always be true to yourself – You are the one person you should be able to depend on for honesty more so than any other person. So don’t sugar coat things. Be honest, it is only through this honesty that you’ll carve out what’s not needed and graft in the mos t important things you’ll ever need.

2. Stop comparing yourself to others – We are all unique individuals and as such we should never compare ourselves to anyone else. What one person has accomplished should not dictate what you have or can accomplish. There’s nothing wrong with seeing the success of others and want to succeed as well, the trick is to not base your life on what another has done.

3. Accept things you can’t change – As much as we like to believe that we are the authors of our own fate there will be plenty of times when things happen that you have no control over. This does not mean you’re a failure it just means there’s nothing you can do to change it. What you can change is how you react to those things. Clear-headed, thoughtful, methodical, even-tempered are just a few attributes that will serve you well when dealing with things you can’t change.

4. Focus on your strengths – We all have weaknesses – they serve a purpose, it helps to keep us humble. But instead of focusing so much on those weaknesses look at your strengths. And I know it sounds weird but many times a weakness can actually turn out to be a strength. So celebrate your strengths, cultivate them and make them a part of your every day existence.

5. Write your success stories – No one knows your success stories better than you. So write them down, revel in them and don’t keep them a secret, share them so that it may encourage others to not give up. Share them with your family, children, friends even strangers your success story at the right time can give hope to someone who is close to giving up.

6. And this one is really important – this one will help you to propel forward to a “Fresh Start” and that is: Forgive Yourself. We have come to make light of forgiving ourselves we’re so attuned to forgiving others and that is important but more important than that is forgiving yourself.

Forgiveness is such a big word and it carries a lot of weight. Next Monday we’ll explore just how important Forgiveness really is. Until then I toast you as you continue on the road to “Your Best Self Revealed”.