Who Are You Really?

 Over the last two months I have been learning some hard lessons.  Through it all, the theme of “be yourself” keeps coming up.  I know I’m not alone when it comes to struggling with saying what you mean, doing what you love, or relaxing around certain people, right?  I usually blame it on the MS and brain fog but the truth is some days I am not feeling confident and comfortable with being me.  I have been digging  a little deeper lately.  I have even gone back to working my steps from NA.  A chance to uncover another layer of authenticity, and free myself to be unapologetically me..

Not being you is exhausting!   Did you ever consider the amount of energy it takes to keep up appearances, attempting to be perfect (like it will happen), pleasing other people (is it possible?), and trying to make yourself fit into situations which simply aren’t you? When we say “be yourself”, some of us even wonder what it means.

Here are three practical strategies to help you maximize your best you:

1. Say what you need to say.

Do you beat around the bush figuring people will know what you mean when you say something?  Are you too afraid to speak up afraid of what others with think? Have you found yourself telling a little lie to avoid the embarrassment of telling the truth?  These are clear signs you are not being true to yourself.  This hit me like a brick – SMACK!  Try this simple exercise:  Identify one situation when you have not said what you need to say.   You know, you beat around the bush in the hopes someone understood.  Got the situation?  I want to you go to the person and just say it flat out.  If you can’t do it right now, mark it on your calendar to do it.  There was a time when I had no filters.  I said what I needed to say and didn’t worry about what people thought.  Early in my recovery, I was eager to say what I was thinking and I didn’t worry about what people thought.  Over the years, things started changing.  Those old habits came back and I started the “people pleasing game again”.  We are as sick as our lies, no matter how small those lies are.  Authenticity means being forthright. Don’t waste your precious energy pretending all is well when it isn’t.  Take the word “FINE” out of your vocabulary.  Don’t let FEAR keep you in hiding!

2. Do what you know is right.

There is nothing more authentic than living your values. When your actions don’t line up with your beliefs, inner turmoil is sure to follow.  Do you actually know what your core values are? 

3. Give yourself permission to be imperfect.

Okay, this is a tough one for me!  The truth is when we are uncomfortable in our own skin, it is usually because we haven’t given ourselves permission to be human.  In other words, we haven’t given ourselves permission to be imperfect.  We always want things to be perfect.  The perfect weight, the perfect size, the perfect family, the perfect house… it is all part of the “I will be happy when” syndrome.  When you relax, you enjoy yourself more. It is time we value the journey as much, if not more than, the destination.  There will be bumps along the road – embrace them.  Climb over them and keep moving forward, they don’t have to keep you from reaching your purpose (or your goals).

What situations cause you to not be yourself?  What are you afraid will happen if you show people the real you?

I am stomping out the inner gremlins and being true to me…. what about you?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Let Go of the Old, Make Room for the New

I have been spring cleaning over the last few weeks….Chasing some of the dust bunnies away and attacking the many “junk drawers” around the house.  I am always amazed at the things I find.  WHY?  Because I can’t believe I held on to them “just in case”.

I am a just in case kind of gal.  When we go on a trip, I pack extra “just in case”.  When we go on a road trip, I pack extra snacks “just in case”.  So, finding things I have kept around “just in case” I need them or someone else will want it is what I seem to do.  I have been reading the book “Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort of Joy” by Sarah Ban Breathnach and I am slowing looking at things a little differently in our home.

Why is it so hard to let go? Whether it’s old e-mail or a worn-out sweater, outdated files or a toxic friendship, sometimes we hold on to things for too long. They serve no purpose but to clutter our lives unnecessarily. Today, I want to challenge you to face your fear of letting go.

There are a few common fears which appear when it’s time to let go of something. What are you hanging on to even though it’s time to let go? Which of these pesky fears is it time to face?

  • fear you won’t have what you need in the future
  • fear of being wrong
  • fear of loneliness
  • fear of regret

Breaking through fear requires one key factor: courage. Courage requires faith and trust  your future will be okay without the thing you are letting go of.  YIKES!  Scary, right?  You can muster up the courage to let go by coaching yourself with questions which will help you get unstuck, such as:

  • What does my intuition tell me about letting go in this situation? Will I follow it?
  • If the thing I fear most happens, what is my plan B?
  • Who could I ask to hold me accountable and encourage me as I let go?

Make a decision. For those of us who are people pleasers, this is tough.  I know, I am one of them.  I second guess myself a million times.  The best thing to do is to carve out some time to do what you need to do. You can do it.  Start with small amounts of time, say 15 minutes, set a timer and when it rings you are done.

The truth is as I have been doing this, I have realized how much time and money has been spent “just in case”.  I see a sale and think “I could use this” then never do.  I see an idea which worked for someone else so I jump in with both feet, only to find out it isn’t me.  May has been full of life reflections for me.  I wonder why it took till the age of 61 to learn some of these lessons.

Toss out the OLD and move on.  You will be surprised several weeks or months later, you never once needed or missed what was tossed, donated or sold. Imagine that!

My challenge to you is this:  Is there something it’s time to let go of?  You know what it is. Muster up the courage and just do it. You’ll feel lighter for it.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful-day!

What Lesson is Your Life Offering Now?

I want you to take a minute and think about what lessons your life is offering you right now.  The truth is when we change the way we look at situations, good and bad, we can actually learn from them.

God offers lessons everyday and it is up to us to learn from them.  If you are anything like me, you are hard headed (a typical Taurus trait) and may need to go through things multiple times before you actually learn the lesson. As a result, the same lessons are offered over and over again. Whether you are going through a frustrating or exciting time, there is something to learn which will prepare you for greater opportunities on your horizon.

Today, I want you to be intentional about looking for those lessons and finding ways to apply them to the daily challenges you face.  Here are five lessons you may have learned on your journey. If so, consider these a reminder today:

1. Nothing is permanent.

Believe it or not, change is good.  The first change I remember was moving from my childhood home to a new neighborhood at the age of 11.  It took me awhile but I adjusted.  Over the years of going to college, and changing jobs, I quickly learned to adapt to new circumstances, new people, and new surroundings. Nothing in life is permanent.  This fact should encourage you to revel in the joy your life is bringing right now.  It will help lessen your frustration when you encounter circumstances you don’t like. For some change is not easy, for others they have learned to roll with the punches.  Whether it is the loss of a loved one, a new job, or a chronic illness, there is a lesson to be learned.  If there is something or someone you love, in what ways could you embrace and enjoy them more? If it is something you don’t think you can handle, just hold on a little longer. This too shall pass.

2. You are either living on purpose or living by accident.

Too many people wander through life haphazardly, for the last few years I have been one of them.  I latched onto acquaintances, jobs, and life situations just because they crossed my path. I lived by accident.  It wasn’t my plan nor did I actually think I was.  I struggled to find my purpose.  A course called “Fit Within” is helping me to create a fulfilling life where I am purposeful in my decisions. Don’t make a decision without reflecting on what long-term impact it will have on you and the people you love. Pursue the things which empower you to express your values and talents. Choose to be around people you feel good being around—inspiring, supportive people who are moving in the same direction you are. Know your purpose and live in it every day in your work, relationships, health, finances, and spiritual life. Strive not to end up anywhere by accident—just because it was convenient.

3. Fear does not necessarily mean stop.

Does FEAR cripple you?  Do you want to run away or are you ready to roar like a lion and face it head on?  Fear is as powerful as you allow it to be. Most of us feel fear and take it as a warning to stop moving forward. Been there, done that and have more t-shirts then I can count!  We should see fear as a natural emotion which pops up every time we venture outside of our comfort zone. When you feel fear, keep moving. Step out of your comfort zone.  It will help you to grow AND get you closer to your goals. What are you afraid of right now which is keeping you from living your best life? Will you make a decision to move forward despite your fear?

4. Less is more.

Are you someone who shows their worth through money and material possessions?  Are you all about keeping up with the Jones’?  Do you play the comparison game?  The simple truth about self-empowerment is it comes from knowing nothing material will ever prove your worth. This is a lesson I need to be reminded of periodically.  Your worth comes from your identity as a child of God and the impact you make in the lives of others. Don’t worry about impressing everyone else. If you are a people pleaser, this might be a tough pill to swallow.  Focus on impressing God (or your Higher Power) by living the purpose for which He created you—serving and blessing others in the way only you can.

5. The power to change your life is in the choices you make.

SMACK!  This is perhaps the most powerful and toughest of lessons. Better choices create better circumstances. It’s not what happens to you which most impacts your life; it is how you respond to it. Your choices create your future. What kind of future are you creating with the choices you are making today? You can choose to enjoy your life or to be miserable. You can choose to be flexible or keep hitting a brick wall at work or in a relationship. You can choose to pursue your dreams or keep making excuses for why you can’t achieve them. The choice is yours.

What is the most important lesson your life is offering you right now? How will you apply this lesson in your future?

Today I challenge you to take an action in the next 48 hours which will enrich your life in a positive, meaningful way.  Share it with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Do You Want To Be Successful?

Today is all about helping you to reach the goals (or resolutions) you set on January 1st.  To become successful, may not mean adding more things to your life, it may mean you need to give some things.

1. Give Up On The Unhealthy Lifestyle

If you want to achieve anything in life, everything starts here. First, you should take care of your health, and there are only three things you need to keep in mind:

  1. Quality Sleep
  2. Healthy Diet
  3. Physical Activity

Small steps, but you will thank yourself one day.

2. Give Up On Playing Small

If you never try and take chances or allow your dreams to become realities, you will never unleash your true potential.  As a result, the world will never benefit from what you could have achieved.

3. Give Up Your Excuses

Successful people are responsible for their life, no matter their starting point, weaknesses, and past failures.  Realizing you are responsible for what happens in your life is both frightening and exciting.  The truth is excuses limit and prevent us from growing personally and professionally.

4. Give Up The Fixed Mindset

Change your mindset – change your life!  Successful people invest a lot of of time on a daily basis to develop a growth mindset, acquire new knowledge, learn new skills and change their perception so it can benefit their lives.

5. Give Up Believing In The “Magic Wand.”

There is no such thing as “overnight success”.  Successful people make small consistent improvements every day which compound over time and give their desired results.  Plan for the future, but focus on the day ahead of you, and improve just 1% every day.

6. Give Up Your Perfectionism

Nothing will ever be perfect, no matter how much you try.  Fear of failure (or even fear of success) prevents you from taking action and putting your creation out there in the world. But a lot of opportunities will be lost if you wait for things to be right.

7. Give Up Multi-tasking

Successful people know this.  They choose one thing and beat it into submission. No matter what it is — a business idea, a conversation, or a workout.  Being fully present and committed to one task is indispensable.

8. Give Up On Saying YES To Things If They Don’t Support Your Goals

Successful people know in order to accomplish their goals, they will have to say NO to certain tasks, activities, and demands from their friends, family, and colleagues.  It is a short-term sacrifice, but when you achieve your goals, it will all be worth it.

9. Give Up The Toxic People

The people you spend the most time with add up to who you become.  If you spend time with those who refuse to take responsibility for their life, always find excuses and blame others for the situation they are in, your average will go down, and with it your opportunity to succeed.

However, if you spend time with people who are trying to increase their standard of living, and grow personally and professionally, your average will go up, and you will become more successful.

Take a look at around you, and see if you need to make any changes.

10. Give Up Your Need To Be Liked

Think of yourself as a market niche.  There will be a lot of people who like the niche, and there will be individuals who don’t. And no matter what you do, you won’t be able to make everyone like you.  This is completely natural, and there’s no need to justify yourself.  The only thing you can do is to remain authentic, improve and provide value every day, and know that the growing number of “haters” means that you are doing remarkable things.

I’m not going to say it will be easy… some of these I struggle with every day BUT I am determined to reach my goals and MY definition success in 2018.  What about you?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Do You Struggle with Confidence?

Are you a people pleaser?  If so, you may struggle with confidence.  Why do I say that?  Well, as people pleasers, our world can be crushed when some says “they are disappointed in us” or they get upset with us.  Our confidence is shaken and the inner gremlins begin to bounce around in our head.

As we start a new year, it is time to work towards a new you.  One who is confident and believes you are good enough.  My goal in life has always been to bring a smile to the face of others.  Somewhere along the way, the people pleaser side took over and I lost myself.

Last year, I caught glimpses of how talented I was yet there was something deep inside me which believed I wasn’t good enough.  On the days I feel confident, I know I am good at running my businesses and the joy shines out for all to see.  On the days those inner gremlins are chipping away at my confidence, I sit in wonder and doubt about everything I have done in my life or am planning on doing.  Those days can be crippling.

I’m sure I am not alone.  Many of us have been taught to “fake it until we make it”.  For some it works – they can mask their lack of confidence closing the door on those inner gremlins.  There are others (like me) who wear their emotions on their sleeve.  How many times have you been told “get over it”, “pull yourself together”, or the one which makes me the craziest “you should be over this already”.

Sometimes it is more complicated.  Sometimes, it is tough to get over the self-limiting beliefs which have haunted us for years.  We can overcome them with compassion, and patience.

#1 Get to the heart of it

Your struggle with confidence exists for a reason. Maybe someone told you once you weren’t good enough. Maybe you weren’t nurtured growing up. Maybe you were crushed too many times.  Painful, horrible, heartbreaking things can happen in our lives. Some big, some small, which all affect how we feel about ourselves.  Diving deep into these experiences and our stories can help us connect the dots to see where we are now.

#2 But don’t live there

We get stuck!   Once we own the things which shaped and affected our confidence, it’s easy to feel defeated, overwhelmed, and even a little angry.  But we can’t stay in there because we can’t thrive if we do.  It’s our job to move forward, rewriting the stories we’ve told ourselves.  We need to grow confidence in our skills and in ourselves moving forward every day.  The most important part is  letting go of the things which don’t serve us along the way.

#3 Surround yourself with the right things

Everything we surround ourselves with shapes our perspective and experience – it all matters.  We need to surround ourselves with people who believe in us, who inspire us, and who cheer us on every step of the way.  Look for ways to push yourself to be the very best version of you.  STOMP out those inner gremlins which make you feel small or overwhelmed. It is important to nurture your mind and your body. Fill your days with the things which bring you joy, inspires you to take action, and supports you to show up with a whole heart to your work and your life.

#4 Focus on you, not your fears

Fear can be healthy and it is an unavoidable part of living life. But when we devote our time and energy to honing, growing, and nurturing ourselves, we can grow confident in our creative work and life.  The more we show ourselves what we’re capable of, the more we build grow and the more confident we become.  Don’t let self-doubt and fear distract you from becoming the crazy-awesome creative person you’re meant to be.

#5 You’re the one who your lack of confidence hurts the most

OUCH!  This is and was the toughest realization for me.  If I give into my fears, if I let my self-doubt take the wheel, the person who suffers the most is me.  Believe me is won’t be easy – facing ourselves, our biggest fears, and our toughest experiences.  By believing we are capable of more, and we are worthy of running in the direction of a life which feels true to us takes a whole lot of courage.  Becoming confident takes time.  We need to show up every day, even when this inner gremlins in our head are telling us we should quit.  We need to push through the crap so we can get to the good stuff.

The truth is: it’s always, always, worth it.  When we believe in ourselves, once we bear witness to our gifts, strengths, and creativity, we can start to do incredible work in the world and  build a life which is impactful, fulfilling, and sustainable.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!