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

Speak Up

I came across this article today and wanted to share it with you. For a person who has no trouble speaking up for others, my default setting is always to keep quiet when it comes to advocating for myself. I fall into the ‘polite Canadian’ trap and say nothing…which isn’t helpful and doesn’t serve me well. This is a common thing with women, sadly….and it’s gotta change for all of us, don’t you think?

Ten Steps to Being an Effective Self-Advocate

Sometimes you may feel as if you have lost control over your life, your rights and your responsibilities. Regaining your sense of control by successfully advocating for yourself will give you back the hope and self-esteem you need to work toward recovery.

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1. Believe in Yourself
You are a unique and valuable person. You are worth the effort it takes to advocate for yourself and protect your rights. You can do it! You may need to work on raising your self-esteem to really believe in yourself and become your own best advocate.

2. Know Your Rights
You are entitled to equality under the law. Some of us who have had mental health challenges erroneously believe that we do not have the same rights as others. I did for a while. I allowed people I did not know well and did not trust to make decisions for me and take control of my life. I now have systems in place so if I am not able to make good decisions for myself, others of my choice will make them for me.

3. Decide What You Want
Clarify for yourself exactly what you need. This will help you set your own goals and help you be clear to others about what it is that you want and need for yourself.

4. Get the Facts
When you advocate for yourself, you need to know what you are talking about or asking for. The internet is an excellent source of information. However, you will need to check its accuracy by looking at several different references to see if they agree. Check with people who have expertise in what you are considering. Ask others who have issues similar to yours. Check references in the library. Contact mental health agencies and organizations for information and support.

5. Planning Strategy
Using the information you have gathered, plan a strategy that you feel will work to get what you need and want for yourself. Think of several ways to address the problem. Ask supporters for suggestions. Get feedback on your ideas. Then choose to take action using the one that you feel has the most chance of being successful.

6. Gather Support
In advocating for what you need and want for yourself, it is helpful to have support from family members, friends and other people who have similar issues.

7. Target Efforts
Who is the person, persons, or organization you need to deal with to get action on this matter? Talk directly with the person who can best assist you. It may take a few phone calls to discover which organization or person can help, or who is in charge, but it is worth the effort. Keep trying until you find the right person. Maybe the right person is your spouse or another family member. Perhaps it is the head of the local housing agency, your doctor, a case manager, a vocational rehabilitation counselor, or a state legislator.

8. Express Yourself Clearly
When you are asking for what you need and want for yourself, be brief. Stick to the point. Don’t allow yourself to be diverted or to ramble on with unimportant details. State your concern and how you want things changed. If the other person tries to tell you reasons why you cannot achieve what it is you want for yourself, repeat again what it is you want and expect until they either give it to you, help you get it, or refer you to someone else who may be able to give you what you need. If you feel this may be difficult for you, you may want to role-play different scenarios with a supporter or a counselor.

9. Assert Yourself Clearly
Don’t lose your temper and lash out at the other person, their character or the organization. Speak out, asking for what you need and want and then listen.Respect the rights of others, but don’t let them “put you down” or “walk all over you.”

10. Be Firm and Persistent
Don’t give up! Keep after what you want. Always follow through on what you say. Dedicate yourself to getting whatever it is you need for yourself.

Good suggestions, eh? I know! I find myself getting stuck with clarifying exactly what it is that I truly WANT…which should be the easy part.

I was talking about what I want to do with my life with someone recently, and I confessed that I was still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Which is crazy. My ass is closing in on 50 at a pretty good clip….Shouldn’t I have this shit worked out by now? You would think so. My problem is that I can’t narrow it down – I want to go in to business for myself, I want to open a cheese shop, I want to write a book, I want to become a yoga teacher…I want to do about 3573 different things. But how? How do I stand up for me, put my needs first, and figure this shit out? How do I pick which thing is going to be the right path forward? I don’t want to work until I’m dead….so I’ve got to figure it out.

Argh.

I’m currently accepting suggestions.

Xxx

Good Things

Wannabe

All those years ago (more than I care to count), modern-day prophets The Spice Girls sang, “If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends (gotta get with my friends) / Make it last forever friendship never ends,  / If you wanna be my lover, you have got to give, / Taking is too easy, but that’s the way it is.” Deep stuff, eh? I know. If you take these words as gospel (and I don’t know why you wouldn’t), you would think that it would be super-easy to win a woman’s heart, right? Wrong. It’s much more difficult than this. However, prepare yourself, friends…I have found the definitive list of things that need to happen in order to win the woman of your dreams (or me, whichever) – this list is GOLD. For realz.

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According to this article, these are the things that women want – and, to be frank with you, these are EXACTLY THE THINGS THAT I WANT!! The article is right!!! Woohoo!!!! Give it a read! 🙂

1. Humility For most men, our competitive nature and desire to get ahead leave our ego to lead the way. We are constantly trying to prove our worth to ourselves and others, trying to be seen as better than others. In relationships, this is a losing proposition. Women don’t want conceited, aloof, or jealous men. Women want humility, equality, and decency. They don’t want to be put on a pedestal, but they don’t want to be demeaned or looked down upon either.

2. Vulnerability This is something we try to hide, suppress, and run away from. While women don’t necessarily want us to wear our emotions on our sleeves, they do want us to share what’s bothering us. If we’re feeling stressed or upset about something, they appreciate hearing from us. It shows them that we trust them enough to share our emotions. It may be hard for you to do because you’ve not practiced being vulnerable, but the more you open up, the more appreciative the woman in your life will be.

3. Emotional awareness Women appreciate a man who can sit comfortably with his emotions and be open to discussing issues without yelling or running away. Our emotional maturity and growth are what women want from us more than anything else. So, be willing to listen without judgment or trying to resolve a situation. Listening helps her let go of strong feelings that might be holding her down. You don’t have to solve a problem either—just listen with your presence and your understanding.

4. Attention How often are you multitasking when you talk to the women in your life? How often are you working when conversing with them? Women cherish the quality time they spend with us. They want us to be attentive and show up fully when we are with them. When you’re spending time with women, focus! Carve out time when you’re with the women in your life and be as attentive as you were when initially dating.

5. Gentleness It’s not in our nature to be soft and gentle. We grow up learning to value roughness and competitiveness. But when it comes to our relationships, gentleness in words, thoughts, and actions will save the day. Treat women with respect. Be kind. Speak softly.

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6. Love in action While “I love you” is one way to communicate your love, women want to see our love in action. This means showing up for them, planning things with them, and being present with them. Your quality time, presence, and involvement is what women want more than sweet nothings and chocolates. Love in action means being thoughtful, considerate, forgiving, and compromising. Say loving words, yes, but also show it with your actions.

7.Affection Along the lines of love in action, how about some romance? Women like the small things, the thoughtful gestures that show them that we’re thinking about them. Yes, this could be an unexpected text, doing something for someone that’s important to them, picking up their favorite food or running an errand without being asked. It also means a gift for no reason, a greeting card telling her how you feel about her, a love note on the mirror, or a simple lunch date during the workweek.

8. Appreciation So much of what both people do in a relationship goes unnoticed. Couples are quick to pounce on each other with complaints and disagreements but hardly share what they value about their partner. Women usually juggle many things at once and are often taken for granted. Letting her know that you appreciate what she’s doing or that you’re noticing her many sacrifices will help her feel valued and cared for.

9. Acceptance Instead of challenging, making fun of, or questioning the woman in your life, why not accept her? Unconditionally. Don’t point out her flaws, don’t complain about particular traits, or make her feel bad about something she’s already feeling bad about. Women are used to feeling judged. If we simply drop the judgments and accept women unconditionally, we will help them feel loved and safe in our presence.

10. Strength Women appreciate our strength. This doesn’t necessarily mean we need to go out there and beat up someone who got on her bad side or rush to solve every problem that comes her way. A gentle strength simply means listening to her, validating what she’s experiencing, and reminding her that she has the courage and ability to deal with whatever life situations arise. Letting your partner know that you’re there for support but that she’s got this is often all the strength she needs to go forward.

11. Straightforwardness We don’t tend to overthink things or complicate things. We worry less about what others think and don’t spend too much time projecting the unknown. Continue to keep things light by finding the simple answer in complex situations and bringing that healthy perspective to any problem.

12. Humor Life’s too serious already. Women want to laugh. Humor is a great way to reduce tension. If you’re a funny guy, play up the humor in your relationship. If you’re not the humorous type, work on finding what you find funny and share that with your partner. Laughter, more than love, is the shortest distance between two hearts.

YES!!! Isn’t that brilliant???! I KNOW!!! The part about acceptance? Awesome!!! Appreciation?? Affection???! Gorgeous stuff!!!! This list really is great – and, if you’re a dude reading this, please use these strategies to make your woman feel special. It’ll be worth it, I promise. 🙂 xxx

Good Things

Hard Advice

I just want to share this article with you – please read it, carefully, and let the words soak into your brain. There’s good stuff here:

19 Radical Truths I Wish I Could Tell My Younger Self

by Fran Sorin

Something happens to a woman when she turns 50. Call it an awakening of sorts—a tipping point. For me, it was as if a cloud had been lifted and I could finally see what really mattered in life. The realization hit me hard. I’d been on this earth for a half a century and my time was limited. This coming of age, for me, came with a feeling of freedom and urgency. It’s a time to take stock of your life: where you’ve succeeded and where you’ve failed, opportunities you’ve passed up and those you’ve taken advantage of. Ask yourself what you love and what you want to change. How do you want to journey through this next phase of your life?Reflecting on my younger years, I wished an older, wiser woman had taken the time to help me create a road map for a life of meaning, creativity, and joy.It would have saved me a lot of time, confusion, and worry. And it would have given me clarity, a sense of calm, focus, and self-assuredness as I journeyed through this very complex world of ours. With that in mind, here are some of the things I would’ve liked to tell myself a few decades ago:

1. You have to be your own top priority.If you tend to your own well-being first, you’ll have much more energy to help others. Because women have historically taken on the role of caretakers, it’s something we do reflexively. Remember that practicing self-care is not selfish. It’s a necessity if you want to lead a rich and productive life.

2. Nothing is worth sacrificing your health.Although our culture talks a lot about de-stressing, the majority of us are still leading stressful lives. When you realize that most diseases are related to lifestyle choices, you might get serious about integrating exercise, nutrition, and relationships into your daily life. You’ll be astounded by how much more productive, positive, and healthy you feel.

3. The people around you should be those who love you and support your growth.How many times have you spent time with a friend or family member who is negative, judgmental, or an energy vampire? Stop making excuses for the toxic people in your life. Anyone who is consistently negative needs to be kept at a distance. Your five closest friends are a mirror of what you truly think of yourself. Make sure that they embody attributes and values you cherish.

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4. To get anywhere, you have to get comfortable with saying no.It takes practice to catch yourself if you tend to say yes out of habit. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll be delighted to see how much time and energy you have to pursue your passions.

5. Don’t let anyone else’s perception influence your choices.People who fill their lives up with stuff they think they “should” do rarely feel fulfilled. Replace “I should” with “I choose to” or “I want” and see what you come up with. I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results. Spending time chasing the approval of others will not only drain your energy but will keep you from uncovering the best parts of yourself. When you catch yourself in self-doubt, call on your wise inner self to remind yourself that you only need to please and receive approval from yourself—no one else.

6. Doubts hold you back; affirmations propel you forward.Women spend so much time questioning whether or not they’re good enough, smart enough, pretty enough. As soon as you hear that inner critic, replace that voice with the phrase, “I am enough” or “I am the artist of my life.” I can’t tell you how many clients have tried this technique with astounding results. They report back to me that they feel like a weight has been lifted off of their shoulders and that their self-perception has been dramatically improved.

7. There’s always time to be still.Our culture places a high priority on productivity and keeping busy. If you give yourself 15 minutes of quiet time the morning, you’ll start your day from a centered, calm state, so that no matter what happens you’ll be able to respond thoughtfully rather than react instinctively.

8. You need to become a person you can love before you try to love anyone else.Look at yourself in your bathroom mirror each morning and say “Good morning. I love you.” It may sound hokey, but the more you do it, the more you’ll come to appreciate who you really are. You’ll discover internal beauty and great self-love by making this one small change.

9. Gratitude really does change your life.Develop a daily gratitude practice. It takes five minutes. I love sitting with a notebook and taking stock of what I’m grateful for each morning. Whatever comes to my mind, I write down in a quick list format. The key is to allow yourself to experience the feeling of gratitude. For example, if you’re truly grateful for the delicious cup of coffee you’re drinking, take a deep breath and sink into the sensation of appreciation you feel for that cup of coffee.

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10. It’s cool to be your own best friend.Becoming familiar with your moods, motivations, and deepest desires is critical if you want to live a meaningful, abundant, and productive life. Rather than walking through your day mindlessly, check in with yourself every few hours. How do you feel? If you have a strong negative reaction to something, take note of it. Figure out why. Notice when you feel pleasure, fun, joy, spirituality, and creativity: Being aware of these positive experiences means you can find ways to incorporate more of them into your life.

11. You are responsible for yourself—and only yourself.Blaming external circumstances for your unhappiness will only perpetuate it. Instead, when you find yourself bemoaning the state of the world, affirm to yourself, “I am responsible for my own life and I choose to create an extraordinary one.”

12. You need to believe in your own abilities.Once you own that you have the power and ability to create a life that you deeply desire, you’ll experience—deep in your soul—the power you possess, which, in turn, will inspire you to make changes. You’ll also understand that there is a solution to practically every issue and that you have the ability to figure out what that solution is.

13. You’ll always learn more from listening than you will from talking.Whether with an old friend, a stranger, a family member, or in business, learn the art of listening. Becoming an excellent listener will enable you to develop more intimate and deeper connections. You’ll also have more interesting conversations and it will keep your mind active and growing.

14. Curiosity is the key to never being bored (or obsolete).We live in a culture that places a high priority on expertise and productivity. If you want to live a rich, creative life, you need to expose yourself to new concepts and practices. And even in areas you’ve been exploring for years, there’s always more to learn. Let go of perfectionism. Be willing to fail. It will reveal so many possibilities.

15. Hatred costs everything. Forgiveness costs nothing.So many of us hold deep grudges indefinitely. Often, an inability to forgive others is a sign you struggle to forgive yourself. Catch your inner voice making critical or angry comments about others, and acknowledge that what you’re feeling toward them is actually a reflection of how you feel about yourself. Just by noting these feelings and reminding yourself to let them go, you’ll begin to dissolve these feelings of anger and judgment. You’ll experience a rush of positive energy, relief, openheartedness, and compassion.

16. Spending 20 minutes a day in nature is one of the best things you can do for yourself.It’s a profound way to de-stress, clear your mind of clutter, jump-start creativity, and experience feelings of well-being, calm, and awe. Take just a few minutes a day to awaken your senses and you’ll reap magical benefits in all areas of your life.

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17. You’re much better off doing one thing really well than three things poorly.We’ve been led to believe that success means multitasking all day long. When you slow down and practice being present and focused each moment, you’ll experience a deeper, richer, and more meaningful life. Try this: Stop whatever you’re doing, sit still, clear your mind, and take three deep breaths. Then start again.

18. “Life is far too important to be taken seriously.”OK, so I borrowed that one from Oscar Wilde. Life is a paradox. Knowing how to integrate fun, laughter, and playfulness into your pursuit of a meaningful life will jump-start your creativity and enable you to develop deeper connections. Think about it: After you’ve had a good laugh, don’t you feel more light-hearted, happier, and able to continue your day with more ease?

19. Your job here is simple: to create the life of your dreams.We all have moments of self-doubt. In those moments, let your wiser self remind you that you’re highly intelligent and creative. All it takes to make a difference is the desire and drive to keep making it happen. If you set your mind to it, believe in yourself, and take action, you’ll always find a way to create an extraordinary life. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Great, right? I have come to a lot of these conclusions myself, but it’s only in the past few years that I’ve found my way to this knowledge – imagine how different my story would’ve been had someone told me this when I was younger? Although, I likely wouldn’t have listened, but…still. It might have been nice to have the advice. 😉

xxx

Uncategorized

Steal My Sunshine

I had a tough day recently which started with someone close to me telling me that they felt a shift in my energy and that I was off, asking what was wrong. This was all news to me as I was in the middle of living yet another kick-ass day, so I replied that I was good, all was well, that I wasn’t sure what was meant by me being ´off ´. A fair response, yes? I was then met with: ´You don’t know? Oh, really? Alrighty.’ Gotta be honest, friends….this exchange (via text, yet) REALLY pissed me off. Big time….and I don’t often get angry. Grr.

A few short hours later (after my sparkly morning continued to deteriorate by my supervisor trying to pick an argument with me – I refused to take part so she had to give up), I saw this little gem:

Brilliant, eh??? I KNOW!!!! It’s true!! Whatever was being perceived had bugger-all to do with me, and everything to do with the perceiver…which is okay. I don’t have to own it, I certainly don’t have to feel badly about it – because I did NOTHING wrong. NOTHING. It’s like a twist on the old adage ‘What others think of me is none of my business’ – I’m just gonna keep on doing me, and let others work their own issues out. Yaa me! ✨

What’s rockin’ your world today, friends?

Xxx