Good Things

What Are You Living For?

What days do you live for? I don’t chase Fridays, which is a good thing…there’s nothing worse than wishing your life away. It’s difficult to balance the life stuff with the business stuff, but it’s critical. In the end, it all comes down to prioritizing and finding ways to maximize your time – easier said than done, I know.

This past summer was one of transformation for me – I decided that I needed a new job as I wasn’t feeling any joy in my current position, and I felt like the job deserved better than me. I applied myself to hustling, to finding new opportunities – and today marks the end of my first month in my new position. YES!!! 🙌 It’s bloody amazing to me the kind of change that you can make happen when you apply yourself and put yourself out to the world. The first month on the job has been great, I love the pace, my office (with its own private shitter OMG), and I really dig the work. I hope this will be a good fit and I can stay here – it feels like a good place for me to be. ✨

Anyway, enough about me – back to the topic at hand! When focusing on the ideal balance between the business life and personal life, try to remember the following things:

  1. Pace yourself – We are the type of people who tend to go 120mph for 22 hours a day, expecting everyone around us to keep up that pace as well. You know what? That gets real old, real quick. We need to pace ourselves, be consistent, schedule time for a personal life the same way that we would schedule a business meeting – and keep those personal appointments. It’s important.
  2. Prioritize what really matters – Speaking of what’s important, it’s critical to make the things that really matter a priority….but first you have to figure out what those are. The old adage says, ‘Work smarter, not harder’, and there’s something to be said for that. We need to be discerning about the things that we do, and we can’t say yes to every single thing that comes our way. We need to focus, and hone in on what our essential skills are, and become the very, very best at those. When you can prioritize what really matters and focus on that, you will find that things become a lot more successful, much more streamlined – and it will make the quality of your life better, too. Don’t try to be everything to everyone – it never works.
  3. Set boundaries, and respect them – Decide what your parameters for your work life will be, and respect them. Be firm about time, and share your boundaries with those around you. It’s hard in the beginning to set these restrictions, but sometimes you need to learn to just say no. Develop a routine, and personally respect your own boundaries – if you don’t, nobody else will, either.
  4. Unplug – All of your technology has an off button….use it! Shut things down, unplug, and embrace the quiet time. When you take a day off from your job, take the day off – the emails will wait until tomorrow, and your business will not fall to pieces without you. All of it will wait. The more you can relinquish control and show your employees that you trust them, the more they will grow in pressure situations, and the more you will be able to regain control of yourself and your own life. As you try to hang on to every detail, it’s okay to give it a day, to let everything go for a minute – and trust and believe that the world – and your business – will keep turning without you. Things may go wrong, and that’s okay -it’s a learning experience. Find a way in your business to take a day off – it’ll put the business under a bit of pressure and help your employees to learn and grow…and it’ll free up some energy and space in your brain so that you will return to the work re-energized and ready to go.

The bottom line is this: prioritize what matters, focus on your niche, leave the other topics alone, and find ways to maximize our time. No matter how tired you are, and I get that you are tired, we need to keep moving – don’t be stagnant! Try to make constant improvements, and slowly get better. You got this!

Good Things

Sage Advice

Someone I know posted this online, and I had to share it with you – I seem to think it’s something Drew Barrymore posted on Instagram, but I could be wrong (it’s been known to happen):

How’s that for some truth? My life je more than half over, sadly…and I really feel this need to make the second act the BEST act. I’ve got to enjoy what health I’ve got going on, I’ve got to prioritize the things and people that matter, I need to simplify simplify simplify…and I need to forgive myself for all my wrongdoings. I’ve not turned out THAT bad – but why not use the time I have left to be the very, very best version of me that I can be?

Seems like a good use of time if you ask me. ✨

Xxx

Good Things

First Prize

This is one of my very favorites – I’m not cool enough to be on TikTok, but I’ve had friends send me the amazing chanteuse Nati Dreddd – this here is one of the best. It combines the things I love – a drunken Scotsman, a kilt, saucy fun….and it sounds like a sea shanty. Love. ♥️

You’re welcome, friends! ✨

Xxx

Good Things

Rainbow Connection 🌈

Do you find it easy to connect with people? I do – on a surface level. I’ve never met a stranger, only friends I haven’t met yet. I can find common ground and something to talk about with pretty much everyone…which makes life really super-fun. However, as friendly as I am, I have a lot of difficulty finding people that I can connect with, that I feel that I can trust, and that I feel safe, comfortable, and happy with. Those people are super-rare, unicorns walking amongst us – they are really hard to find.

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How do you know when you meet someone that they are going to be good and trustworthy peeps that you want to have on your Phone-A-Friend list for ‘Who Wants to be a Millionnaire?’ I have done A LOT of thinking about this issue, and have spent considerable time researching this idea – because, obviously, I have made some grave errors in judgment in this area in my lifetime. I’ve trusted people I shouldn’t have, I’ve been wary of people who were probably very worthy of my trust – and I blew it because of my own stupidity. I came across this article on trustworthiness that touts the “CRAC” method : Credibility, Reliability, Attention Ability, and Communication Ability. The author suggests using these 5 core questions to guide your assessment of someone’s trustworthiness when it comes to figuring things out.

Credibility: Does the person speak truthfully? Not in partial truths, but in complete truths. Does the person speak with accuracy? Can the information shared be verified? Is the person consistently and proactively transparent? Do they proactively share ways for you to validate their credibility? Can what you see and hear from them be validated by others? Do they demonstrate competence? Do they provide information in simple, uncomplicated terms – terms that you understand?

Here are some questions to consider about a person’s Reliability: Does the person consistently do what s/he says? Is there consistent follow through? Does the person have a reputation for being reliable? What do others say about the person’s reliability? You can often glean great information on reliability via comments made in various social media channels, especially Facebook. Is the person consistently on time? Look for patterns of meeting/not meeting time commitments and deadlines. Are they surrounded by other reliable people (social network)? If not, watch out. People of a feather tend to flock together.

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Here’s a few to think about when determining a person’s Attention Ability: During conversations, does the person consistently focus on him/herself? If someone shows strong signs of inward focus (overuse of “me”, “I”, and “them”), be careful. Trustworthy people demonstrate an “other” focus by using terms of inclusion and collaboration such as “we”, “our”, and “us”. Does the person consistently do brand promotion (lifting other people up) or brand assassination (tearing other people down)? Does the person demonstrate under-appreciation for your thoughts, comments, and ideas while over-promoting the value of their own? If so, you have a clear warning sign of concerning behaviors.

Finally, one of the greatest ways to determine if someone is trustworthy is their Communication Ability: Does the person demonstrate active listening? This is evident by virtue of the person… Restating what has been said to check for understanding Demonstrating appropriate body language such as navel intelligence Asking open-ended questions during conversations Does the person set expectations that are clear and specific? A bonus question that is also a great one to ask involves availability.

This list is by no means exhaustive….there’s a lot of other factors at play. Think about the person you’re wondering about – are they consistently available? Availability requires intentionality, and people who can be trusted always make themselves available to invest in others. Think about how you feel when you’re with them – do you feel comfortable? Safe? Content? Engaged in the conversation? All of these are good indicators of comfort and trust in someone. Some people just feel inherantly more trustworthy, and you pretty much feel it from the first moment you lay eyes on them – others take awhile. (they’re the grow-ers not the show-ers…surely you’re familiar with them 😉 )

I often wonder how I come across to other people. Do they think I’m friendly? Open? Trustworthy? Honest? The kind of person that they want to be around? I hope so. What does it mean to have a sense of presence? I have always wanted to be one of those people who makes a place better simply by being there. I’m just not sure how to make that happen? Maybe I’m just too hard on myself, which made me think of this article that I read awhile back: 29 Signs You’re Doing Fine (Even If It Doesn’t Feel Like It)

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You have the freedom to live your life the way you want to live it. – If you often worry about what you’re going to do with your life – your career, your family, the next step, etc., be grateful. All details aside, this means you have ambition, passion, drive, and the freedom to make your own decisions.

You are courageously walking your own path. – When people argue with you and challenge your decisions, remind yourself that you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. You’ve got to do what’s right for you, even if some people disagree.

You are making difficult decisions and acting upon them. – How well you play the game of life comes down to the sum of your choices. You know this. Whatever you decide, don’t be the chess piece, be the chess player.

You are working hard for people and causes you believe in. – Working hard for something you don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something you love is called passion.

You are choosing to be happy in your own way. – When you stop chasing everyone else’s definition of happiness, you begin to see that the decision to be happy has been available all along.

You see obstacles in front of you because you are not settling. – If you settle for just anything, there wouldn’t be any obstacles in your way, but then you would never know what you are capable of either. Because your obstacles are your opportunities. Obstacles are put in your way to help you determine if what you want is really worth fighting for.

You have made the best of some tough situations. – Smiling doesn’t always mean you’re happy with everything. Sometimes it just means you’re strong enough to accept it and make the best of it.

You have come a long way. – Do not judge your failed attempts and mistakes as an indication of your future potential, but as part of your growth process. Your past has given you the strength and wisdom you have today, so celebrate it and use the knowledge you’ve gained. Don’t let it haunt you and hold you back.

You haven’t quit and you aren’t planning on it. – People rarely quit over the last thing that happened. Instead they quit a tiny bit each day. Trying to fix the last thing misses the point. Keep this in mind.

You do your best to accept what you can’t change. – Moving on is never an easy thing, but if you start accepting things for what they are it’ll be a lot easier. Acceptance is always the key to moving forward and making positive changes that are within your control.

You aren’t scared to fail forward. – The biggest difference between wildly successful people and total failures is that successful people fail more often, instead of just once.

You haven’t let fear get in your way. – You have to wonder how many people are afraid to die, in part, because they often realize too late that they were afraid to live.

You still believe in the possibilities that lie ahead. – Accept what is, let go of what was and have faith in what could be. Remember, life does not have to be anywhere near perfect to be wonderful.

You dare to dream every day. – Dr. King gave the famous “I have a dream” speech not the “I have a plan” speech. It’s our dreams that change the course of history, not just our plans. Keep dreaming.

You have a vision for your future. – “Vision” is the ability to talk about your future with such clarity, it’s as if you are talking about your past.

You haven’t let the judgments of others stop you. – Keep listening to your intuition, and make this your lifelong motto: “I respectfully do not care.” Say it to anyone who passes judgment on something you strongly believe in.

You are doing what you can with what you have. – The secret to living the life of your dreams is to start living the life of your dreams, right now, to any degree that you already can.

You are doing your best to provide value. – No one is entitled to success. To remain successful, you must constantly find new ways to add value. Keep putting your heart, mind and soul into even your smallest acts. This is one of the great secrets of lasting success.

You go out of your way to help people. – Service is not doing what is required of us. Service is doing more than is required of us. Remember, successful people are always looking for ways to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, “What’s in it for me?”

You aren’t scared to express your love, openly. – Love is great when spoken, but greatest when shown. So if you care about someone’s wellbeing, show it. Keep doing little things daily to show the people around you that you care.

You continue to make a difference. – Have you ever thought about how much your actions mean to others? Maybe that smile you gave to a stranger today made their bad day better. Maybe that hello you gave to a colleague today made them realize people actually notice them and care. Maybe that money you gave to a homeless man today gave him hope. Maybe spending time with someone special today made them forget their problems for a while. Keep it up.

You have enough right now to live comfortably. – You didn’t go to sleep hungry last night. You awoke this morning with a roof over your head. You had a choice of what clothes to wear. You have access to clean drinking water and electricity. You are online right now. You have plenty to be comfortable. Being wealthy is a mindset. Want less and appreciate more.

You haven’t let rampant materialism get the best of you. – Our lives are not defined by the things we possess. Our lives are defined by the things we pursue. Make sure what you own, never owns you.

You are reasonably healthy. – In other words, if you got sick today you could recover. Never underestimate the gift of your health. It’s the greatest wealth you will ever own. It’s the foundation for every chance at happiness and success life has to offer. Your body is the only place you will truly ever live.

Your relationships are less dramatic than they used to be. – Keep forgoing the drama and ignoring the negativity. Don’t let ignorance stop you from being the best you can be. Just keep doing what you’re doing – being sincere and kind, and promoting what you love, rather than bashing what you hate.

You have escaped from some very toxic relationships. – Don’t worry too much about people who don’t worry about you. Know your worth! When you give yourself to someone who doesn’t respect you, you surrender pieces of your soul that you’ll never get back.

You know deep down that you are not alone. – Next time you feel all alone, remember, again, that you are not.

You have great people in your life who are standing beside you. – Know that it’s less important to have more friends and more important to have real ones. And remember, it’s during the toughest times of your life that you’ll get to see the true colors of the people who say they care about you. Don’t take these people for granted. Look around and appreciate them, right now.

You have a home. – A house is a home when it shelters the body and comforts the soul. But a home isn’t always a physical structure, or a specific location on a map. Home is wherever the people you love are, whenever you’re with them. It’s not a defined place, but a space in your heart and mind that builds upon itself like little bricks being stacked to create something stable that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.

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I’m pretty crazy about this list, because it brings up a lot of great points – especially for someone like me who is so bloody hard on herself all the damn time. When you think about it, I have a roof over my head, a beautiful family, a great job, and a pretty decent life. Maybe I do bring a certain presence when I move through the world around me…and maybe I’m not doing half bad, after all. 😉

xxx

Good Things

If It Makes You Happy

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Here’s a little something that I thought you might like to read, especially these days when the world is so difficult and people are stressed :

5 Things That Will Make You Much Happier

Dr. Travis Bradberry

There’s enough advice on happiness floating around out there to make your head spin. Yet, this is understandable, as everyone is different. What makes one person happy might make another miserable.In the face of so much contradictory, and often subjective, advice, what are you supposed to do if you want to live a happier life? Just forget about all that subjective advice and focus your energy and attention on science-proven facts.img_1136 “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama

UCLA neuroscience researcher Alex Korb has spent a great deal of time studying the effects of different happiness strategies on the brain. His findings have a lot to teach us about what actually works when it comes to boosting happiness. Korb’s research demonstrated that your thoughts—and the emotions you feel in response to those thoughts—have a profound impact on surprising areas of your brain. Guilt and shame, for example, activate the brain’s reward center, which explains why we have such a strong tendency to heap guilt and shame upon ourselves. Likewise, worrying increases activity in the prefrontal cortex (the rational brain), which is why worrying can make you feel more in control than doing nothing at all.

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1. Gratitude creates happiness. I’m not advocating worry, guilt, and shame as the path to happiness. The illustration shows why we tend to succumb to thoughts that fuel these emotions. The real neural antidepressant is gratitude. Gratitude boosts levels of serotonin and dopamine—the brain’s happy chemicals and the same chemicals targeted by antidepressant medications. The striking thing about gratitude is that it can work even when things aren’t going well for you. That’s because you don’t actually have to feel spontaneous gratitude in order to produce chemical changes in your brain; you just have to force yourself to think about something in your life that you appreciate. This train of thought activates your brain to make you feel happier.

2. Labeling negative feelings dilutes their power. There is an amazing amount of power in simply labeling your negative emotions. In one study, participants underwent fMRI scans of their brains while they labeled negative emotions. When they named these emotions, the brain’s prefrontal cortex took over and the amygdala (where emotions are generated) calmed down. This effect doesn’t just work with your own emotions; labeling the emotions of other people calms them down too, which is why FBI hostage negotiators frequently rely on this technique.

3. Making decisions feels good. Similar to naming emotions, making decisions engages the prefrontal cortex, which calms the amygdala and the rest of the limbic system. The key is to make a “good enough” decision. Trying to make the perfect decision causes stress. We’ve always known that, but now there’s scientific research that explains why. Making a “good enough” decision activates the dorsolateral prefrontal areas of the brain, calming emotions down and helping you feel more in control. Trying to make a perfect decision, on the other hand, ramps up ventromedial frontal activity—which basically means your emotions get overly involved in the decision-making process.

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4. It helps you to lend a hand. Taking the time to help your colleagues not only makes them happy but also makes you happy. Helping other people gives you a surge of oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine, all of which create good feelings. In a Harvard study, employees who helped others were 10 times more likely to be focused at work and 40% more likely to get a promotion. The same study showed that people who consistently provided social support to others were the most likely to be happy during times of high stress. As long as you make certain that you aren’t overcommitting yourself, helping others is sure to have a positive influence on your happiness.

5. Our brains are wired for touch. Humans are social animals, to the point that our brains react to social exclusion in the same way that they react to physical pain, with activity in the anterior cingulate and insula. Similarly, our brains are hardwired to interpret touch as social acceptance. Touch is one of the primary stimuli for releasing oxytocin, which calms the amygdala and, in turn, calms emotions. There are even studies that show that holding hands with a loved one actually reduces the brain’s response to pain. You might think that’s bad news for people who are socially isolated, but studies show that a massage increases serotonin by as much as 30%. Touch reduces stress hormones, decreases the perception of pain, improves sleep, and reduces fatigue.

Bringing It All Together Kolb’s research highlights just how amazing the brain is, and he summarized his findings succinctly when he said, “Everything is interconnected. Gratitude improves sleep. Sleep reduces pain. Reduced pain improves your mood. Improved mood reduces anxiety, which improves focus and planning. Focus and planning help with decision-making. Decision-making further reduces anxiety and improves enjoyment. Enjoyment gives you more to be grateful for, which keeps that loop of the upward spiral going. Enjoyment makes it more likely you’ll exercise and be social, which, in turn, makes you happier.”

How happy do you think that you are, friends? Here’s an amusing quiz to evaluate how happy you are with your life – my results came back as Very Happy (yaa me!!!). What’d you get? 🙂

xxx

Good Things

Get Happy

I’ve been thinking about Bob Ross a lot lately (not random at all), in particular his quote about there being no mistakes, just happy accidents…and I LOVE that. As a person who has made just about every mistake that a person can make (some I liked so much that I made them over and over again), I like embracing the idea that maybe good stuff has come from all of these screw ups of mine…that maybe it hasn’t been all for naught. Here’s a clip of Bob Ross to bring something awesome to your day:

A quick list of 11 things you can do to make yourself feel happier every day – enjoy!! 🙂

1. Commit to doing one nice thing for yourself every day.

2. Listen to yourself.

3. Forgive yourself.

4. Accept yourself as you are right now.

5. Eliminate toxic people in your life and workplace.

6. Prioritize your health.

7. Stop skipping meals.

8. Breathe!

9. Give yourself a welcoming space.

10. Get some sunlight.

11. Buy premium products for yourself.

Get going on the list – and have a happy day, friends! 🙂 xxx