Never Forget

  It is Monday morning and we should be heading to Royal Carribean’s Majesty of the Sea for 5 glorious days of my pink bubble. Irma has had other plans and I am home reflecting on so many things…

It is a morning filled with lots of emotion…as a nation, we honor those who were lost on 9-11.  We continue to struggle with the evil which plaques our nation.  We mourn for those lost and honor those whose lives have forever been changed.   This day is one of few memories which I can clearly remember…  I remember as if it were yesterday.  I was working at Mia’s Christmas Shop in Ocean City, NJ.  We had just opened when I was called into the office by Charlie, the owner, who had the television on showing the attacks.  Charlie immediately started to collect money for those whose lives would be changed as a result of this horrific event.  I got to share the events of the morning with many people who were on vacation and CLUELESS about what was happening.  Those days were filled with words like: Hero, Compassion, Love, Kindness, and Bravery.

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September 11th took on a new meaning in 2011 when Heaven gained another Weston angel – Edythe, my aunt, my friend  and my mom’s middle sister.  Growing up, I spent ALOT of time with Edythe (and Elsie). When I was younger, they were my babysitters.  As the years went on, they were a BIG part of my support system.  Edythe (along with the rest of my family) helped to raise Belinda. As Belinda grew up, lives changed – the world moved a little faster and we lost touch with the exception of holidays.

The words describing those involved in the September 11th attacks and recovery efforts could now relate to Edythe: Hero, Compassion, Love, Kindness, and Bravery.

Life seems to be full of moments which ask us to let go when we long to hold on.  I don’t know what you face right now, what season of life you’re in, but my prayer for you is simple and from the heart. May you know the comfort and strength of the One whose love will never fail you, and whose mercies are new every single morning!

As we reflect on this day, hug the ones you love, forgive the ones who you believe have done you wrong and enjoy the moment with those you love.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

How to Maneuver Difficult Converations

timthumb-phpWoohoo Wednesday is all about how to grow personally which will help us to grow professionally whether you are a business owner or not.

Think about the most successful person you know.  Visualize them?  Got the picture?  Do they have the most talent you have seen?  Did they go to college and have the highest test scores?  Do they have a degree from an Ivy League school?  Or, did they earn their success because of their way with words?

The truth is some of the most successful people are a success because they learned how to talk differently – to others, and to themselves.  They conquered the toughest skill of all –  the art of navigating a difficult conversation.  Do they sweat or worry? Or do they effortlessly talk about topics which would utterly stress you (and others) out?  I am in awe how they manage to maneuver through these mine fields without even a scratch.

I wondered how they did it so I went on a hunt to see if I could find out….

Here are six things successful people do differently when they have something hard to say.

Consider what conversation you need to have and

1. Plan it out.

Think about the outcome you want from the conversation. Then stay focused so you don’t get distracted by emotions. This is the tough part for me.  I tend to cry at the drop of a hat – not good in difficult conversations.  Write your key points. Decide how you want to say them. How do you want to end the conversation?

2. Have compassion.

Speak with respect and kindness. See it from the other side, not just your own. Remember it is not all about you.  What do they want? What are they feeling? Acknowledge those things. Hard conversations don’t have to be ugly as long as you are being compassionate when telling the truth.compassion-2

3. Get it over with.

When you need to have tough discussions, do you delay them?  It is the worse thing to do.  The longer you wait, the more stress.  When you stress and wait, all of these tips are useless.  Have the conversation because when you do, you will be able to bless and release.

4. Talk more than you type.

How often would you rather hide behind a keyboard then have the difficult conversation?  This is not the way to approach a difficult conversation.  WHY?  because it is important to have the back-and-forth interaction, sense the tone of the voices, and see the body language.  These are things you can’t convey in texts or emails.   Have a face to face (or phone conversation if in-person isn’t realistic) conversation.

5. Know listening is a form of speaking.

Listening is key to any conversation but letting others feel like they are being heard is extremely important in difficult conversations.  People can see their value in your eyes when you are listening.  I’m not saying to skirt around the points you want to make, just be sure to listen, too.  What did our mothers always say?  God gave us two ears and one mouth so we could listen MORE and talk less.

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6. Question your fear.

FEAR!  It stops us dead in tracks most most of the time.  Having tough conversations is not different.  Fear usually keeps up from moving forward on so many things.  It is not a stop sign. It does not mean we should not move forward.  Use the PAUSE as an opportunity to question your fear.  What are you afraid will happen if you have this conversation? How will you handle the reaction or response?  How can you have the conversation without having an unwanted outcome?  Face the fear and refuse to allow it to silence you by making a plan to deal with it.

So, who are you afraid to have a difficult conversation with?  What are the key points you want to say and how do you want the conversation to end?  Share with us and we will help you fight the fear…

Thank you Valerie Burton for these tips.  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

A Rich Life Without Lots of $

“Ordinary riches can be stolen; real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.” ~Oscar Wilde

This week’s focus has been on money – we need to CELEBRATE it so that it can grow in abundance.  We all want to be rich (in some way), right?

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STOP racing for riches that make you feel unfulfilled!

STOP chasing for more that leaves you stressed!

STOP feeling like you will never fit in with your richer friends.

I will admit that I spent much of my career trying to make more money BUT when I achieved it – it didn’t buy me happiness! In fact, the more I made the more I spent. The additional money left me poorer in happiness, health, and relationships. I didn’t know how to relax and I found I was missing out on those special moments.

The truth was I often failed to recognize the riches I did have.  I was measuring my inner wealth by my external wealth.  I always said that I would never be materialistic yet the credit card debt kept accumulating.  It was not long ago that I started a journey to find my inner wealth and it has been AMAZING!

Here are the things that I learned on my journey:

  1. Authenticity – Stay true to yourself and be at peace with who you are.  It is the greatest richness in life.
  2. Acceptance –  Our natural desire is to control the uncontrollable. I have been there.  Replace that struggle with acceptance and peace. When you find yourself in a situation say “It’s okay. I accept this just as it is.”
  3. Curiosity  – Childish wonder is within us. Set a goal everyday of learning something new, no matter how tiny, then share it.  It will help to reignite your spark and excitement for life – you’ll be amazed!
  4. Creativity – Create something from nothing – a meal, a picture whatever sparks your interest.  It will give you the feeling of accomplishment amid everyday life.
  5. Forgiveness – The act of forgiveness is a true testament to your inner strength. I wrote this for each person: “I forgive you, [name].” Don’t worry if you don’t feel forgiveness the first time; it will come in due time.”  It was so freeing!
  6. Gentleness – Confucius listed gentleness as one of the greatest virtues. The ability to be strong without being abrupt or harsh is a rare and valuable quality.  Next time you want to snap, smile, AND speak softly.
  7. Patience – This is an ongoing process for me.  With patience, you can achieve things over time that may seem impossible. When you start beating yourself up over a missed goal, write a realistic time line, and remember to be as patient with yourself as you are with others.
  8. Gratitude – It takes dedication to notice what you have and be thankful for it. Acknowledging all the good things in each day will make you rich in happiness.  Be sure to note one thing each day that you might have taken for granted, and begin to build a treasury of blessings.
  9. Generosity – Give when you think you don’t have anything to give – it is the true generosity of heart.  When you do this, you realize that you always have enough to share.  Did you know that in this hectic world, your full attention is one of the most generous things you can give.
  10. Kindness – Being kind brings its own rich rewards—inner peace, happiness, and knowing that you are making a difference in the world, one that people will remember.
  11. Compassion – To understand and feel another’s pain is a truly selfless act. This simple acts of kindness will help you to appreciate the areas of ease and plenty in your own life.
  12. Love – Make an emotional connection with others, no matter who it is will bring an abundance into your life that money can never hope to match.
  13. Vulnerability – Letting down your defenses allows others to see the full you. Being vulnerable builds trust in relationships. This is tough for me, but I work at it every day.
  14. Contentment – Realizing you are already blessed with abundance brings serenity and contentment. Acknowledge all the wealth you already have because, as the proverb says, “enough is a feast.”

What are your best tips for living a life full of abundance?  Share them with us.  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

dreams do come true

 

 

 

Are You Being Seen?

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Sounds like a strange question, right?  Aren’t we are all seen by someone?   But are we really letting people “see us” – the true us or are we letting them see the face we put on because of who “we think” they want to see?

It is hard to let ourselves be seen. To open ourselves up and let go of the fear of judgment, the fear of failure, and that dreadful fear of what people will think of us.  It is important for us to let others SEE us because it frees us from the fears that are holding us back from showing our true awesomeness.  It lets our gifts shine through.  It STOMPS on those inner gremlins that make us think small.

Want to overcome those issues of being small?  It will take a little bit of work BUT it can be done.  I lived with not wanting to be seen for years.  I let my need to people-please keep me from sharing my gifts and talents.  That has changed over the last year or so and these are the steps that helped me:

Step #1. Know, really KNOW, that you are unbelievably awesome.

We need to build your self-confidence.  I know it is easier said then done, right?  I have been there.  If you aren’t there yet, just have faith that you are indeed awesome.  I BELIVE in you.  My favorite thing to do when I am feeling “less than” is to CELEBRATE my accomplishments – no matter how small.  It could be getting up in the morning and taking a shower.  Make a list of your strengths, gifts and talents.  Keep them handy so that you can act on them!  Set small doable goals and make sure you achieve them!

Step #2. Give yourself some compassion.

You know that we judge ourselves the hardest, right?  Give your self a break.  Every time you start to judge yourself, read your strengths and gifts.  Give yourself some love and space. It’s okay!  Be nice to YOU, you so deserve it!  This may take some practice but baby steps will help.  Practice a little self-care – a bubble bath, a cup of that “special” coffee or tea.  When you feel special, it will be easier to show yourself some compassion.

Step #3. Let go.

Yes, I am singing the words to FROZEN.  Do  you know how amazing it feels to “let go” of caring excessively about how others see you? OMG!  It is an amazing feeling and life changing.  When you realize that you are changing your behavior based on how someone else might see you, breathe…and tell yourself to let go. It’s so powerful.  We have very little control over how others see us.  If we let fear run our lives, we’re giving the fear and that person power over us.  Don’t you want to control your own life?

Wouldn’t you rather be uncomfortable for a few minutes then let Negative Nelly control the rest of your life?  How many of your dreams will never be reached?  How many people will miss out on your gifts and talents because of this fear?

 

 

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Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Self-Compassion

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“Be nice to yourself. It’s hard to be happy when someone is mean to you all the time.” ~Christine Arylo

It is the New Year and our first Tasty Tuesday and already I am changing things up.  Was one of YOUR New Year’s Resolutions to eat healthy

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Did your alarm go off and the first thing you thought of was yesterday’s failure to stick to the play.  Did Negative Nelly stop by to “beat you up”?  Do you feel that until  you reach the “optimal” number on the scale, that you will never be acceptable or lovable or enough?  I am here to tell you that is so not true….

Today is a NEW day and with it comes a NEW opportunity to eat healthy.  I struggle too.  In the evening is the toughest when I find myself mindlessly eating after tracking everything I put in my mouth during the day.

Do you know the ONE thing that made the most difference lately in my weightless journey?

Acknowledging that I’m human, allowing myself to be imperfect, treating myself kindly and gently when I stumble.  This is also a great foundation not just for healthy eating, but for living a happy life.

When I cease to beat myself up for “blowing it,” there is nothing for me to rebel against.  When I gave myself permission to be human and imperfect, there was no need to beat myself up anymore.  Self-compassion does not come easy for me.  It is something that I work at and practice daily.

Dr. Kristen Neff, the world’s foremost researcher and author on self-compassion defines self-compassion as three elements:

  • Mindfulness – noticing that you’re feeling badly, as if observing yourself from the outside
  • Common humanity – recognizing that stumbling, personal inadequacy, and suffering are part of the shared human experience
  • Self-kindness – being gentle and loving with yourself, as you would a beloved friend

I have struggled with the NEW Weight Watcher’s program.  NOT because it is hard or  restrictive.  I have struggled because it is about change.  Change in the way that I think about certain foods.  I mean I lost 108 pounds on the old plan, why do anything different, right?  The truth is that I see why I am stuck.  I see the things that have sabotaged my weight loss.  Actually, this is the BEST WW program yet.  I am more aware of the hidden sugars.  I am more aware of eating clean so less processed foods.  I actually have to think before I pick something to eat instead of mindlessly eating things that are fat free or diet.

The greatest gift in this new journey is learning to practice self-compassion.

What’s something you’ve been frustrated with yourself about this week? Can you try practicing self-compassion with that? If it were your dearest friend, instead of you, how would you respond to her? Try turning that kind and loving voice on yourself and see what happens. And remember, practicing self-compassion takes practice, so if it’s hard for you, be self-compassionate!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!