This Isn’t How You Planned It

Is your life going the way you planned it?  Are you living out your dreams?  Or are you on the verge of giving up? Are you working at a job which seems fruitless?  Is your relationship hitting a brick wall?   Do you get a little extra money, and then an unexpected expense saps the money as quickly as you got it?

I’ve been there and some days I’m still there.  Sometimes life is all about moving ahead when the road is long and hard. When you’re exhausted and weary, it’s essential you take charge before you burn out or give up.

Like you, I’ve been there, done that!  I never planned to reconnect with the love of my life 16 years ago. I never planned on leaving my dream job.  I never planned on being diagnosed with MS.  Life happens and the plan changes.

The best skill you can gain in life is the ability to navigate unexpected turns and setbacks life throws your way. NEWS FLASH!!!! Life doesn’t always go the way we plan it. The truth is, it rarely does.  So, let your challenges build character and perseverance to empower you to stay the course and win your race.

Here are some tips from the amazing Valerie Burton on just how to do this:

1. Stop expecting things to be easy.

The quickest way to become discouraged is to expect life to unfold just the way you planned it, with few or no obstacles or opposition. Raise your hand if this is you?  I know I’m not alone here.  Life is so much easier when the expected challenges appear –  you know, the ones you planned for.   Don’t get caught up in feeling sorry for yourself when hard times come.  This is the perfect opportunity to tap into your strengths, character, and faith to courageously face whatever life throws your way.

2. Get some fresh air.

When your inner gremlins get the best of you, and you start traveling down that dark tunnel, it might mean you need a break.  Have you been focusing on your problems, rehashing them over and over in your mind? Remember, focusing on the negative brings us more negative.  Take a walk. Do something different. Get out of your normal environment. It can energize you and redirect your thoughts.

3. Get some perspective.

Fresh air will give you perspective and clear out some of the cobwebs or maybe even blow away the inner gremlins.  The greatest difference comes when we focus on someone else’s life. When you start focusing too much on what’s wrong in your life, force yourself to notice what’s right. STOP and think of three things you’re grateful for. Believe me, you probably can’t stop at three! Now, open your eyes to others’ stories about determination and strength.  Despite what we may think, we are not the first person to face our challenges.  Look for someone who has gone through them with strength and grace? When you realize you are not alone, you will feel the rush of power. In face, you may discover someone who has triumphed through far greater challenges and can be a source of inspiration.

4. Commit to running your race to the best of your ability.

Who knows why you are going through what you are going through? It may not even be worth the energy of attempting to figure it out. What is worth your energy is expanding your character and capacity in the process.  Think about the ways will you become a better person by persevering through this? What growth do you intend to glean through it all?

5. Be an inspiration.

Yes, you can be an inspiration for someone else.  Your story may be just the thing someone else needs to hear to overcome their obstacle.  Every person who has faced a challenge has overcome them with their attitude, determination, and faith. Tackle your challenges in a way your children, friends, family, and coworkers will be inspired by your example. You can give others hope by simply acting with the courage to live and love fully in the face of fear and disappointment.

The first time I was told I was an inspiration, I laughed because the truth is, I never believed I could inspire anyone.  My life was my life full of challenges and obstacles.  Some I have overcome and some inner gremlins I still do battle with.  About 2 years ago, when the diagnosis of MS was “unofficially” given, I made a decision to allow my setbacks to build character and perseverance. Truth was my life’s journey had brought me to where I was today.  The challenges were actually a blessing in disguise.  Do I always understand it? NO!  Do I always like it? NO!

If you are struggling, I challenge you to stop feeling sorry for yourself.  It is time to gain  some perspective which will inspire and empower you.   When you get discouraged, what thought will lift you up?  Share it with us, maybe you can inspire someone else…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Reflection on Accountability in 2017

My word for 2017 was “accountable”. I was determined to be more accountable in all aspects of my life to reach my goals.  Let’s see how it went….

As I look back on 2017, I see so many ways in which I was blessed.  My goal was to start fresh – a new me for a new year.  By being accountable, I wanted to take responsibility for my actions – willing accepting praise and constructive criticism.

I will admit I was apprehensive about having this as “my word”,  Fear of failing. Fear of having to explain my actions. Fear of letting others down. You get it, right? Being accountable would mean I needed to be willing to share my dreams, and my plans.  I would need to share my successes and my failures.  I love helping others achieve their goals BUT honestly, I am not the best at taking my own advice. This word meant I needed to be utterly transparent, stepping further out of my comfort zone then ever before. It meant learning to love myself (the good, the bad and the ugly) unconditionally.  It meant being accountable in every aspect of my life which was scary as HELL!

I used the letters as an acronym which helped me to break things down into manageable steps.  I had the help of an AWESOME accountability partner and although may not have always communicated, we were there for each other.  Thank you Amber for helping me to let down the walls so I could grow  in my business.

Let’s look at the goals for 2017:

  1. Reach my goal weight by maintaining the new eating plan. DONE!  The doctor set a goal weight for me and I am maintaing it.  I am 95% of the time gluten free and feeling much better.
  2. Be consistent in my business with book, sell, recruit.  Consistency in my business paid off.  I earned the Leadership Incentive Trip for the first time.  My personal sales increased by 18%, and my team’s sales increased by 24%.  My recruiting was down from last year BUT I maintained the same team members throughout the year.
  3. Nurture my relationships with my hubby, family and friends.  This is an ongoing process but I am blessed to have strengthened of my relationships.
  4. Pay off some of my credit card debt.  Well, this goal wasn’t achieved but I am not giving up.

For those who set goals in 2017 (or on a regular basis), you may say – these aren’t good goals. They are not measurable nor do they have a time frame attached to them and you are right. I have found those types of goals (resolutions) fall by the wayside and are never obtained. So, this year I tried by laying out my general goals, set a plan each month to achieve them and then was accountable for each step I take. The overall results were – GOALS MET (mostly)!

Have you selected a word for 2018? What drew you to the word and what does it mean to you? Share your word with us…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

What Will Be Your Legacy?

Today would have been my grandmother’s 104th (I think) birthday.  As I reflect on her life (what I can remember), I wonder what my legacy will be?  Have you ever thought about yours?

During a recent study at church, I was hoping to discover my spiritual gifts, personal style and God-given passion for serving.  I will admit, some of it was eye opening but it got me thinking about my past.  Now for those of you who follow my blog, you know memories are in short supply as a result of the MS lesions but I try to reflect often in the hopes, the gaps will one day be filled.

What will be your legacy?  

A legacy is “an amount of money or property left to someone in a will” but it is so much more.  I remember hearing once it is not the dates on a tombstone but the dash in between which people will remember.  On this Monday morning, I am wondering what my legacy will be and how it will be linked to my business.  

I want to make sure my business speaks to my passion.  Does yours?  I want to be sure “my dash” represents what matters most in my life, my passion.

When I am struggling in my business, reconnecting with my passion (or what I want my legacy to be) is a the easiest way to get back on track.

My degree is in Administration of Justice.  Yup, I bet you didn’t see that one coming, right? I wanted to be a lawyer, actually a public defender so I could help those who couldn’t afford an attorney.  I used it for a little bit when I worked for the Police Department and Security at the Claridge Casino many years ago.  During recovery from my drug addiction, I found a new way to use my degree – in Social Work.  It was the early days of HIV/AIDS so it was better known as “case management”.  It was there I found my passion.  My passion to make a difference in the lives of others.  Not sure what your passion is, here are some tips from a recent blog post I read:

  • Have kids? Ask them, “what does mommy/daddy do for work?” As you hear their answer, listen to your heart.  Do you beam with pride if they guess it right? Or do you feel pangs of disappointment when they guess things like “go shopping” when you really sit at a desk all day. For years, I’m not sure Belinda understood the work I did BUT she did get to know some aspects – Easter baskets for kids, special events, helping deliver gifts at Christmas & turkeys at Thanksgiving.
  • Once you have their answer, then ask what they think you should do for work. This could really be interesting.

Being in direct sales, I can pretty much guarantee when I am gone, my business will be gone.  No one to carry on the “purse gig”.  It wasn’t my intent to put a damper on your day!  I didn’t want to make you sad or think about things you had no desire in thinking about right now, but sometimes things come our way for a reason unknown to us.

Have you been thinking about changing jobs, starting a business or just feel there’s something bigger out there for you?  If so, know “life is short”.  You are not promised today or tomorrow, so why not live big? Why not put yourself out there and do exactly what you were meant to do?

Talk to your kids and see if they know what you should be doing!  I know it can be a little scary because you never know what they will come up.  Of course, it could depend on their age.  Put a plan in place to move towards your passion if you aren’t already living it.

When you sit back and look at your life, think about all of the lives you are touching.  I’m sure it is more lives than you know (or think)!

What will be your legacy?  Share it with us….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Throwback: An Act of Kindness

No-Act-of-Kindness-Is-Wasted  This post first appeared in 2015..

Today’s blog was inspired by Lori Deschene….

As we approach the last few shopping days till Christmas, I have noticed a few things: tempers are shorter, people are in a hurry, while store employees are tired and feeling unappreciated.  The happiest time of the year has become the “let’s just get through this season”.  No, I am not being Negative Nelly just stating some observations while I was out shopping the other night.

The holiday season has taken on a new meaning for me.  I can’t explain it – hubby would say it is old age.  LOL.  I have found myself NOT just getting a gift because I need to get something.  I am NOT spending tons of money to show how I feel about someone.  I have found myself showing compassion and understanding more than ever before. I am surprised at their response.

Over the years, I have been shown kindness in many ways from friends and family but the kindness of strangers has taught me lasting lessons.  Think about it as you check out at the register.  Smile and greet the cashier.  Ask them how they are doing.  Maybe give someone a tip that they weren’t expecting.

They all have struggles, and dreams, and goals, and responsibilities, and they too could benefit from someone showing them patience, kindness, and understanding if they’re a little slow or less than friendly.

The other day I was with hubby as he stopped for gas.  He ALWAYS pays cash.  The total was $16 and he told the attendant to keep the change.  Okay, so $4 isn’t a big deal but the smile that spread across the attendant’s face was priceless.  He couldn’t thank us enough.  A random act of kindness made a difference in someone’s day.

The world is a better place when we see people beyond their nametags, and visualize everyone as someone who truly is doing their best.

We’re all a little scared and a little rough around the edges.

We’re all looking for love, support, acceptance, and appreciation.

And we can all get and give these things every day, one tiny act at a time.

Has the power of tiny acts of kindness, forgiveness, and acceptance made a difference in your own life?  Here are some suggestions from Tiny Buddha’s 365 Love Challenges of small acts that we can all do:

Be patient and understanding with people who serve you, especially if they have a lot of customers to tend to.

Compliment someone who serves you in some way (for example, a waiter, barista, or bus driver) on how well they do their job.

Empathizing instead of criticizing is a big thing. Getting up to help instead of sitting back and judging is a big thing.

Keep an eye out for someone who looks sad—a friend, coworker, or even stranger—and say something that might make them laugh or smile.

It may seem like a tiny thing, but sometimes the tiny things are the big things.  And it’s big things like these that help us all feel seen, appreciated, and loved—and far happier for it.

What Random Act of Kindness will you do today?  Share it with us and let us all celebrate the spirit of Christmas this holiday season.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Overcoming Discouragement

Happy Monday!  If no one has told you lately, let me tell you how amazing you are.

For some of us (yes, I’m included), no matter how much we achieve or how much progress we make, we still have those nasty inner gremlins (and maybe some outer ones) who want to knock us down.

It’s the gremlins in our head saying:

  • “You’re not good enough.”
  • “You’ll look like a fool.”
  • “Who do you think you are?”
  • “You are self-centered. It isn’t always about you”.

When these mantras start, it is sometimes hard to silence the noise.  Verbal abuse whether external or internal can eat away at us.  Did you know there are things you can do to actively combat those nasty inner gremlins?  If it is an outer voice saying these things, the inner voices feed on those comments long after the outer voice has stopped talking.

Here are four simple ways to overcome those nasty gremlins:

1. Start talking to yourself

“You need to stop listening to yourself and start talking to yourself again.”

Those nasty inner gremlins are setting you up for failure.  We are what we feed our mind.  When we feed those nasty gremlins positive things, they will shrink in the corner and the good will overcome.  When we feed them something negative, you know what happens.

The bottom line is: the statements and questions you use in conversations with yourself make a huge difference in what you do, how you think, and how you feel.

Instead of questions like, “Why am I having such a hard time?” or, “Why does this always happen to me?” Try, “What just happened, and what can I take away from this?”  Ask yourself questions which are life giving not life killing. OUCH!  What we do, how we think, and how we feel are all dictated by the conversations we have with ourselves. Pay attention to those conversations and watch how your life changes.2. Celebrate Often

When was the last time you celebrated a small victory?  Or do you wait until you reach a huge milestone to celebrate?  Did you know by waiting to celebrate, you are giving those nasty inner gremlins a chance to sneak in the back door crushing your joy?

Why not celebrate everything and everyone—all the time?  It’s hard to stay discouraged when you’re constantly searching for something or someone to celebrate. The seeds of depressions have a tough time taking root in a grateful heart and the same is true with discouragement and celebration.

You have your goals set, right?  Now create smaller ones leading up to the BIG one and plan some kind of celebration when you reach a small milestone. It doesn’t have to be elaborate—just give yourself a reward for making progress.  Then watch for others who are hitting their small milestones, and recognize them when they do. When you acknowledge an achievement others are overlooking or discounting in their own lives, you can do wonders for their confidence.

Celebrating small wins along the way will keep you motivated and encouraged. Don’t neglect it!

3. Prune Your Negative Vines

This one can be tough but it is probably one of the most important pieces to the puzzle.  When you don’t prune unproductive branches off a fruit-bearing tree, you can’t expect much of a harvest.  The same goes for us.

We must distance ourselves from negativity. If we don’t, we stunt our own growth.  Your dreams, visions, and opportunities will always require you to become more than you currently are. In short, you must grow to achieve them.  So, how can you grow when you are surrounded by negativity?

Those outside voices feed the negativity to those nasty inner gremlins and the result is they squash your dreams saying things to discourage you.

The vision you have for your life (and your family’s life) holds more weight than other people’s opinions.  So distance yourself from negativity. Don’t listen to people whose intentions are just to slow you down.  For some, the most negative people in your life can be those who are closest to you. You can actually use these four strategies to distance yourself from them.

4. Establish Boundaries

Imagine how easy it would be for an army to capture an unprotected city. The same thing can happen to your mind if you don’t establish boundaries.  Boundaries are the castle walls surrounding your mind, preventing discouragement from walking right in and taking control.  The problem is most people are scared to set them.  I know I am sometimes.

We don’t want to offend others, so we tolerate the negative people and activities influencing our thinking and behavior. When we do this, we let their meaningless opinions take priority over our own goals and dreams.  Whom you spend time with, what you spend time doing, and what you allow in your mind will either help you overcome discouragement, or fall to its forces.

Boundaries are the only mechanism for keeping the bad stuff out and the good stuff in. If you want to overcome discouragement, boundaries are vital.  We’re all either in a crisis, coming out of a crisis, or headed for a crisis—is it just part of living life.

But, we can choose how we react to whatever life throws at us, including discouragement.  When you equip yourself with the proper defenses, you can overcome it and live the life you were made to live.

Share a time you overcame discouragement and how did you fight back?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!