How To Turn Challenges into Opportunities

I have been talking a lot lately about my struggles.  Of trying to decide if the glass is half empty or half full?  My vision has been blurred (and not just by the glaucoma) with the struggle to process thoughts, find my passion and to stay focused. Do you look at the world through rose-colored glasses? Some days I do.

We’ve all heard those sayings, right?  We may have actually felt the distinct difference between viewing life with a positive perspective and viewing it with a negative one.  Positive beliefs draw more positive things, right?

My struggles with emotions is real… some days I want to curl up in a ball and cry for no apparent reason.  Then there are days when I feel like the movie “50 Dates”, you know the one where she keeps reliving the same day and is always happy.  All of these challenges hold opportunity but the key is learning how to change the mindset.

When it comes to facing life’s challenges—because we all have them—we have the change to reframe them,  appreciating how struggles help us build strength and resilience. I could be a world-class weight lifter if that was the case.  LOL.  The key is to train our minds to view these challenges in a more positive light by first reflecting on our lives, identifying those tough times, and understanding how they shaped us and made us stronger.

As I reflect on the past challenges, those I can remember, I struggle with understanding them but I do see how they have made a huge impact on my life.  I can see how the negative mindset has led me on the path of relapse and had me looking at life as if I was a victim.  As I moved into recovery, I am slowly able to embrace the positive in all of life’s challenges and move forward.

In every challenge—and in the time which follows—we build strength and resilience. We don’t have the power to change the past, but we do have the power to find the positive within the past and use it to create a greater impact today.

Thank you for sticking with me during these challenges… my blog posts tend to ramble, my Thirty One business continues despite my bad days, and The Angel Connection is starting to grow.  I guess you are wondering where is the challenge, right?  For me, the challenge in finding my passion and deciding where I want to head in the future.  How am I moving forward?  I am reflecting on these key questions:

What are you learning? How are you growing?

I’m looking for the growth from each difficulty especially in my relapse and my MS diagnosis.  I’m trying to identify new knowledge I’ve gained, relationships I’ve built, or personal growth I’ve experienced. The truth is I’m moving forward despite these challenges, which means I’m strong and resilient, right? I need to open my eyes to the positive outcomes.  I know the lessons I have learned will help me to find my passion again and decide the direction for my business.

How does this challenge reinforce what you are grateful for in your life?

Practicing gratitude has been BIG during my recovery.  I have felt ungrateful for all of the problems which came from my relapse.  I felt resentful.  I needed to find gratitude for what it’s given me and what it’s shown me. As I  look at everything in my life—the big and little things—and learn to appreciate them, it is those things which will help me during the tough times.

What boundaries will you put in place in your life to avoid future challenges and allow yourself to grow?

With the lessons you learn and the strength you build, consider whether there are ways you can adjust your mindset or actions to prevent future challenges. Sometimes life events are out of your control, but other times, you can make changes to move you toward a life of growth, positivity, and purpose.  My MS may be out of my control but continuing in recovery is something I can work on daily.

Today’s post has been a ramble, a way for me to share not only my personal struggles but to try and reframe it to help someone else.  It you are struggling to discover your strength and resilience today, try these simple steps:

  • Use the above questions to look at a challenge from your past. How has this challenge made you stronger and more resilient?  Believe it or not, it has!
  • Make a list of things you’re grateful for. Focus on the positive in your life, no matter what the circumstances. Large or small, it doesn’t matter.

Now, think about one way you can live out your purpose today—and then do it! It could be as simple as a random act of kindness or buying someone a coffee.  Living with purpose requires strength and resilience. Tap into those and challenge yourself to grow further.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

How To Add Some Happy to Your Day

The last few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster.  Over the last several months, I have been facing “reality” in many areas of my life.

MS struggles seem to have increased with wobbly days, brain fog and a wide range of mood swings.  I have faced addiction relapse issues and am again fighting some inner gremlins. The lack of sun in Jersey hasn’t helped much either.  I know it is January and winter is here BUT a few days of bright sunshine would definitely help!

Okay, so I am rambling but it brings me to a list of things YOU can do to give yourself a boost.  Let’s get those HAPPY endorphins  moving.

1.  Go for a walk.  If you feel like chatting, ask a coworker, friend, or family member to join you!  I know it is a little chilly outside for this so why not head to the mall.  My favorite is walking up and down the aisles of Walmart just to get out!

2.  Be kind.  Pick a day and do one to five random acts of kindness.  They can range from feeding someone’s parking meter or complimenting a coworker. How about leaving a piece of chocolate for someone? Or even a simple thank you when they hold the door for you.  It can be just what another person needs to see to turn their day around—and how you can start a karmic shift!

3. Listen to your favorite song. Music can decrease anxiety experienced by patients before surgery, according to a study in the journal, Anesthesia & Analgesia. If tunes can calm pre-op jitters, surely they can help you find your zen place.

4. Count your blessings. People with a more grateful outlook on life tend to exhibit a heightened state of wellbeing, according to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Researchers concluded “gratitude is linked with positive emotions including contentment, happiness, and hope.” At some point during the day, make a simple list of five or ten things you are grateful for in your life.

5. Take a breath. Take one minute today and focus on your breath with your eyes closed. A full minute.  I have to set a timer to make sure I am not rushing through this.  You will be amazed at how this can change your outlook.

6. Stroke an animal, like a cat or dog. If you don’t have a pet, go on YouTube and watch a funny animal video.  I know I am not the only one who scrolls through those YouTube videos, right?

Life is what you make it – if you focus on the negative, you will get negativity.  If you focus on the positive (no matter how small), it will come your way.  There are days I struggle to find the good and something to be grateful for.  It in on the days I beat myself up the worst, I work hard to find my happy place.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

A Different Kind of Gratitude


Thank you Holley Gerth for today’s message…

The sky outside is a dense, soaked grey today. It reminds me of earlier this year when my husband and I watched from our living room window as menacing clouds rose up in the distance then stretched their fingers tentatively toward the ground. We live in tornado country and we don’t take such sights lightly. Flipping on the television, we heard the weatherman telling us to find a safe place as he pointed to splotches of red on the map. We went to our designated spot and took a moment to pray as the tree limbs began to sway outside.

The dark masses soon gave way to brilliant blue again. The wind quieted, and we stepped back into the rhythm of our routine. It was not until hours later as I curled up in my cozy bed under a pile of warm blankets that it occurred to me to say “thank you” to God for what didn’t happen that day.

I mentally scrolled through the list of other disasters I’d narrowly missed in life. The bad-news boy I had a huge crush on as a teenager. The suspicious test results that worried the doctor but turned out to be nothing at all. The countless times I’ve asked God to keep my husband safe as he headed out for a bike ride and then watched him walk back through the door sweaty and smiling hours later.

And, yes, I understand that even if the storm wreaks havoc, the unwelcome diagnosis comes, or the heart gets broken we are still to say thanks. I have experienced firsthand the mysterious, hard beauty that can come from tears and ashes. But the place where I seem to most often miss an opportunity to be grateful is when everything turns out fine and I just go on my merry way.

God invites us to say thanks then, too. First, simply because He is worthy of it. “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good” (Psalm 106:1). What He prevents in our lives is just as full of gifts as what He allows.

Also, this kind of gratitude can cure so much of our discontent. When I think of how I could be suddenly homeless after a storm, I smile a bit more at the roof over my head and don’t notice that stain in the carpet as much. When I recognize I might be in the hospital instead of sitting in a little coffee shop with my computer, it puts that envy-provoking picture on social media into proper perspective. When I think of all the turns my story could have taken, the rocky patches in the road of my relationships don’t seem quite as much like boulders.

I want to remember to express my appreciation for all that’s right in front of me—many provisions, memories being made, dear friends and family. But I also want to thank God for all that isn’t there, for what could have been if things had gone another way or even if I had always gotten my way.

Yes, gratitude is about what we can see. But I’m learning it’s also about what, thankfully, will never be.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

How To Get Unstuck

We are at the end of the first “J” month.  In direct sales, June is one of those dreaded months where business can slow down.  Does it really slow down or do we loose our focus?  For those with kids, the summer means juggling activities and keeping them busy.  For others, it means nice weather so trips to the beach, barbecues and just enjoying time with friends and family.

Did you know, when you allow a summer slowdown, you are really forecasting what your business will be like in September and October?  What you do now will effect your business in 90 days…….It will be like restarting your business all over again when everyone else is gearing up for the busiest shopping time of the year.

Here is a simple three step process from one of my favorite business coaches, Julie Anne Jones. to get you unstuck.

Step 1:  Focus On What You Want

I know I am not alone because as  human beings, we naturally focus on what’s wrong and try to fix it, when things aren’t going our way.  The key to changing your mindset is you need to look for a solution instead of focusing on the problem itself.  I have talked about positive affirmations before – bringing the “good” into your universe, right?  One of the easiest ways to do it is to use these to get your mindset working for you.

Grab a sheet of paper or a journal and answer this question:

If the perfect outcome to your problem magically appeared, what would happen (be as specific as you can. Add details and remember to stay focused on what you want to happen, not on what you don’t want to happen). Doing a thorough job during this step will make the next two easier.

Step 2: Activate Gratitude

When I am feeling down or on the “pity pot”, I take a gratitude walk.  Sometimes it is outside enjoying nature but when it isn’t possible, I start writing a list.  Gratitude is the quickest, and easiest way to change your mindset from the negative to the positive. It’s hard to stay stuck when you’re focused on everything in your life you’re grateful for.

This step is fun…create a “Gratitude List” of at least five things you’re grateful for RIGHT NOW.  It can be as simple as “getting up this morning”, or having a roof over your head.  Keep writing for about 10 minutes.   See what happens when you focus on what you’re grateful for and how quickly things turn around for you.

Step 3:  Create Affirmations

Affirmations are positive “I am” statements about the outcomes you want.  You state them in the present as if they have already happened. Here are some examples:

  • I am attracting the perfect clients in my business and love helping them succeed.
  • I am making enough money to pay my bills
  • I am booking parties and love helping people get FREE products
  • I am at my goal weight and am enjoying eating healthy

Can’t wait to hear how your summer turns out…. Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Will You be Happy While?

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I am sure you are wondering what this blog is all about, right?  What does the bunny bin have to do with it?  They truth is I just think he is cute!

How many times I have you said or thought “I will be happy when (fill in the blank)?  Maybe it is when you lose weight or meet the perfect guy or get the perfect job.  Doesn’t all of that worry, wear you out?  I know it does me!  Then what really happens is I miss out on the here and now.

It’s an art to stay content where you are while you’re on the way to something better.  As you race to your goal, I’m sure you have heard it a million times “It’s the journey, not the destination.”, right?

What if you were to change the mindset and the words from “I will be happy when I get the new job/my kids graduate/I retire/I win the lottery.” to “I will be happy while I wait for the new job/my kids are with me/I’m blessed to have a job.”  Just a slight change in the mindset, allows you to enjoy the moment while you are racing towards your goal.

Here are a few questions courtesy of Valerie Burton to help you appreciate the value of the here and now.

1. What are you grateful for?

Contentment and gratitude are impossible to separate.  Gratitude empowers you to notice the blessings right in front of you.  It opens your mind to the possibility of what if the little blessings disappeared, they wouldn’t seem so little anymore. Stop talking, thinking, and complaining about what you don’t have and start noticing what you do have. SMACK!  I am so guilty of this but I am a work in progress so I am learning to be grateful for the little things.

2. What’s the most important lesson being offered to you right now?

When you’re too focused on the future, you can miss the lesson being offered to you today.  More important than reaching a goal is the person you become in the process of reaching it. What character traits are being developed? What destructive habits are being eliminated? What are you learning you would not have learned otherwise? Look for the lessons. Appreciate them. Embrace them.  Lessons can sometimes be hard, brutal even BUT without the lessons we would not learn and grow

3. When you look back on this time a year from now, what will you wish you had done?

UGH!  This question is HUGE!  I sometimes fall into the “what if” trap and believe me it doesn’t get me anywhere.  The frustration effects my attitude, and we most likely will make choices we’ll later regret. But when you ask yourself this question, you suddenly recognize the magnitude of the opportunity before you. What do you want your legacy to be? Rather than complaining or murmuring about how hard things are, you have an opportunity to face the challenges before you like a champion.  You can’t change the past BUT you can live in the moment and create your own future.

4. In what ways have you already made progress?

Are you like me – beat yourself up for mistakes you have made?  Stop taking yourself for granted. Maybe you (and I) haven’t made perfect progress, but who has? It is important we acknowledge what we have done. Focus on your milestones while they are happening. Celebrate them. Treat yourself. Tell the world. Life is happening right now. Rather than waiting to reach the finish line before you mark your progress, do it with every step you take.

I challenge you to be content where you are right now!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

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