Friday, January 14, 2011

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Monday, March 8, 2010

How to Be Certain in an Uncertain World


I am preparing myself for change because it’s inevitable. Spring is coming, the economy and job market are still in a slump. Even the planet seems to be behaving in a tumultuous way with so many earthquakes and other strange phenomena.

Like most of you, I've got a lot on my plate and a lot at stake. If we watch the news every day or listen to our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, or anyone other than ourselves, we can become immobilized with fear. We start telling ourselves that trying is hopeless and paint a picture of doom. “There are no jobs out there!” “You can’t sell your house in this economy!” You had better not start a business now!” And yet, if you take a closer look, people are still getting jobs, selling their homes, buying new homes, starting businesses and doing amazing things.

I am choosing to close my ears to negativity, to do everything in my power to make sure that the things I am in control of are done, and taking intelligent risks because I believe in my heart that no matter what, I am going to be okay!

Here are three things that I am doing that you can try too:

1- Be grateful. Look around and recognize that you have so much to be thankful for. If you are having trouble figuring that out look at people who are so much less fortunate than you. When basic needs like clean water are a daily challenge, then you really have something to be concerned about.

2-Ask yourself, “What am I in control of?” and then write a list of things you can do like getting fit, caring for yourself, sharpening your skills, and get to work on them right now.

3-Create order and peace in the environment around you—your room, your home, your workspace. I guarantee you will feel better immediately.

So even if your own personal “Henny Penny” is telling you the sky is falling, put on your helmet, put a smile on your face and get moving.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Push Button for a Better You


Most people could be better. It doesn’t matter if it is weight, fitness, manners, penmanship, school or work performance. The problem is that it takes effort to be better and self-motivation is in short supply. Rather than try, some people like to say, “That’s just how I am,” as though “how they are” were written in stone and you had better just accept it because they certainly have.

I met with a personal trainer the other day to evaluate where I am right now. Even in that evaluation session, he would not accept my perception of where I was and what I could not do. He pushed me to do more and somehow I did.

I was shocked and really a bit annoyed, not with him but with me for believing and arguing for my limitations. No one knows better than me that HABITS ARE JUST LEARNED BEHAVIOR AND LIMITATIONS EXIST 90% IN THE MIND and yet somewhere along the line I started babying myself when it came to pushing myself physically.

It began a few years ago with a badly broken ankle. I fell down the attic steps in my house into a lotus-like position and beyond that, I’ll spare you the gory details. After dealing with mind-numbing pain, surgery that involved more plates and screws than in your front door, and a year of physical therapy, I became a bit gun shy when it comes to pushing myself, but after what I just learned, I think it’s high time I raised the bar for myself.

After all, you may think you can’t do something, but let Godzilla come after you and you’ll be amazed at what you can do. In fact, you will be leaping fences and running faster than an Olympic gold medal winner. You just need a little push.

Are you going to wait until you are chased, or are you going to start pushing yourself to be a better version of you now?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Changing Roads


Many years ago, through relentless persistence, I landed what I thought was my dream job. You see I understood “The Secret” long before it became a movie. In fact, there is nothing I have put my attention on seriously that I have not achieved.

My dream job lasted all of six weeks. I was not fired, I fired myself. Although the job only lasted six weeks, the affect it had on me for years was devastating. It was a defining moment and not in a good way. My faith and confidence in me was shaken. I forever judged myself and tried to make sense of what happened. As a result, I stopped trusting me. Everything I stepped into from then on was done with uncertainty and I then let my own internal naysayers take hold from there.

As a result, I fell into a deep depression and gave up on dreaming. With no goals and no direction I let life knock me around. I began taking temporary jobs anywhere and sometimes spent my lunch hour crying and asking God for guidance. Not long after, I received a one-day temp assignment and this note was tacked to the wall in the cubicle where I sat. “"Each of us has the right and the responsibility to assess the roads which lie ahead, and those over which we have traveled, and if the future road looms ominous or unpromising, and the roads back uninviting, then we need to gather our resolve and, carrying only the necessary baggage, step off that road into another direction. If the new choice is also unpalatable, without embarrassment, we must be ready to change that as well." Maya Angelou”

I stopped breathing and actually looked around to see if this was a joke. Wow. I asked and God really answered. I have read, so I thought, everything Maya Angelou ever wrote and never saw this quote before. It was so personal and so right for me. I learned so many things from that so-called “dream job.”

Today, I welcome change and a chance to take roads uncharted. I walk away from these experiences with baggage that is worth carrying and leave the stuff that doesn’t serve me behind. Change is not and never will be easy but it’s the only way to get new results and a life worth living.

Right now, you and I are at the intersection of life and the stop sign is down. Do you want to keep doing things in the same way or do you want to live your life differently? Make a change.

“What kind of life do you want to live and how close are you to living it? ~Oprah Winfrey~

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Morning-The Breakfast of Champions


Morning is the best time of day. I know there are a lot of night owls who will disagree with me, but please hear me out. Waking up before the business of the world begins is amazing. It’s quiet, not just in your immediate area, but quiet in your hemisphere of the world. This creates a quiet in the mind too and real thought begins to take place.

You can also witness some amazing things in the universe like watching the sun rise and hearing the sounds of nature responding to this event--but most of all, you can hear you.

Morning is a time, if you let it, where you can think independently of the influence of the world. No phone, no TV, no internet, no radio, just quiet. Most successful people became successful because they began to get up early and seize the day.

It’s hard to design the life you want when the phone is ringing, you have work to do and the distractions of the world are in full effect.

Amazing decisions begin before the light of day.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Counting my blessings…


No matter how things are going in our lives they could always be better, but it sometimes takes a tragedy to make us realize they could also be worse. Just put yourself in Port Au Prince right now and I think you will get my drift.

I met a woman a few years ago in the Dominican Republic. Her standing home structure was about the size of two tiny rooms and a new cinderblock structure was being built around it about two maybe three times the size. She showed me her home with great pride and talked about what was to come with a glad heart. Her pride in her tiny garden that had a growing lemon tree and mint leaves shone in her eyes.

She went out of her way to welcome us. She had black sweet coffee, a Dominican favorite, and offered us some. Not wanting to put her out in any way, I thanked her but declined. Later on, we talked a little more about coffee and I mentioned that I liked milky unsweetened coffee. My husband told her he only drank tea. We continued to talk with her husband while she excused herself and moments later appeared with a hot cup of milky coffee for me and tea for my husband. She had slipped away to borrow a can of evaporated milk from a neighbor and picked leaves from her garden for my husband’s tea. Tears still come to my eyes when I think of this. I made a pact from that day on that I would always be hospitable to unexpected guests and never think of my home as not enough.

We do that often in our lives without thinking. We feel that others have so much more than we do. Better homes, better husbands or wives, better jobs, better lives. Our want lists get bigger and bigger, making us always feel dissatisfied with what we have. We find ourselves always looking to the next big thing that we can get and then wonder why it still doesn’t make us happy when it’s in our hands.

Stop and take a moment to really appreciate all of the things in your life right now. I mean really take the time and look at everything with a new eye. Appreciate that you woke up on the right side of the dirt this morning. You are breathing. You are here in this moment. So many people in Haiti are so very thankful today for just that, so ask yourself, “What could I possibly be complaining about?”

To help the people of Haiti:

Yele Haiti
To donate $5 --Text “Yele” to 501501
To donate $10--Text “Haiti” to 501501

American Red Cross
To donate $10--Text “Haiti” 90999

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fill Your Cup


Yesterday was one of my worst days ever. Why? Because I forgot that Superwoman is not my middle name. I am not alone; most women suffer from this syndrome. Men seem to have a mechanism that does not allow for this kind of foolishness.

We have to remember that if we don't take care of ourselves in the midst of taking care of the world, we will eventually suffer a breakdown, mentally and/or physically.

What should we do?

Take time out for you, and I am here to tell you that shopping is not a part of this agenda. Think about this. If you didn't have a dime, what could you do for yourself? Last night I put on some relaxing music and sat quietly in meditation and gratefulness. Then I moved on to a bubble bath with candles and music. Add to that an early bedtime and you've got the makings of a great morning, but don’t stop there.

Spend some time with yourself. Get out and enjoy nature--it doesn't cost a penny. It doesn't matter if it is cold, raining, or snowing; just take a moment to marvel at the universe and its workings. Stay off the phone, shut down the computer and just be alone with you. Don't think, just breathe.

It's amazing how little it takes to refill your cup and feel whole again, but doing this regularly is required. And please, don’t make the mistake of waiting until your cup is empty. Take a few moments and make a list of what you can do for you right now. My sister just recently went ice skating, something she has not done since she was a teen and the result was not only exhilarating, it was empowering.

Now just like you take care of everyone and everything else, take the time to take care of you. Your cup is waiting for a refill.