Stop The Comparison Game

12414868-Stop-sign-illustration-Stock-Vector-noWOOHOO!  It is the weekend, okay, the start of it and it is Feel Good Friday!  The day when we squash those inner gremlins who want to keep you from being happy…

When was the last time you compared yourself to someone else?  Over the years, I’ve compared myself to others when it came to school, looks, money, my business and more. The first step in stopping the “comparison game” is to acknowledge it.  The truth is everyone has done it at one point in their life. The difference is what happens after the comparison…

Some people compare themselves to others to determine their personal value which usually ends up with us feeling like crap, right?  Negative thoughts bring more negative thoughts.  Or do you play the comparison game and get inspired.  Does it motivate you to change your situation?  Honestly, this doesn’t happen to most people and in the end results in more negative thoughts.  Either way, by comparing yourself to others, you are holding yourself back.

Sure, you may not be able to reach a goal as quickly as someone else or it may require more hard work, but it doesn’t mean everything is impossible for you. Everyone is on a different path, and there are people who are better or worse off than you.  Instead of comparing your path to those around you, why not focus on what you can do to make your dream a reality.

Here is how you can stop comparing yourself to others…..

#1 – Realize comparisons are often negative and most of the time they do not help.

As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”  Be happy for others and instead of feeling jealous be happy for their success of others.  Good things can happen to other people, it doesn’t mean your life is any less important or any less of a success.  By being happy for others, you’ll learn to accept yourself and let more positivity into your life.

#2 – Be motivated, not competitive.

Be inspired by other’s success or happiness. The next time you find yourself comparing yourself to someone, think about how you could possibly do something similar (if it’s what you truly want to do). Use others achievements as inspiration for your own life and goals.

#3 – Take a break from social media.

This is tough in today’s world so why not “stop following” those who you play the comparison game with.  I am still friends with some people BUT I don’t check their news feed for snipits of their wonderful life.  Social media can be fun but you are just seeing carefully selected pieces of someone’s life.

#4 – Be confident.

I compare myself to others because I tend to lack self confidence.  While I’m not as confident as I would like to be, I am getting better.  Gaining confidence can help you too.  Yes, you can learn to be more confident.  When you are confident, you will learn how to stop comparing yourself to others because you believe in yourself.

#5 Be positive and happy with who you are.happy dance

No matter how life may be going for you, I believe a positive outlook can help to improve your life. It’s all about being grateful for what you already have. Everyone experiences sadness, anger, being scared, etc., and sometimes it can be difficult to see the positive or to be happy in spite of the circumstances.  Negative thoughts keep you feeling stuck with the feeling like there is no way out of your problems, and zero options. While being positive helps you realize you are able to do things, you are in control of your life, and the little things will not kill you.  You will be able to move on and deal with stressful situations better.

#6 – No one is perfect.perfect1

Accept your past and present, realizing you can make changes for the future if you truly desire to do so.  You may be at the beginning of the journey while someone else is at the middle or end.  You don’t know what they’ve been through, so you can end the comparison game.

 

These things are sometimes easier said then done.  Pick one and focus on it if you can’t fathom doing them all at once.  Find YOUR dream, then figure our YOUR action plan.

How could you stop comparing yourself to others?

 

Success Your Way

“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth” – Henry David Thoreau

There are four definitions for success in the Oxford Dictionary:

  1. The accomplishment of an aim or purpose:
  2. The attainment of fame, wealth, or social status
  3. A person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains fame, wealth, etc
  4. The good or bad outcome of an undertaking

What is your definition of success?  Is it a cookie cutter picture like others in your life or is it uniquely you?

My picture used to be cookie cutter.  In a nutshell, it was be the top in my field, make “big bucks”, make a difference in the lives of others and live happily ever after. When I became successful and a Chief Operating Officer of a non-profit, I didn’t feel like a success.  I couldn’t or didn’t want to see myself as others saw me.  I was content to be in the corner letting others receive the accolades.

When I entered the world of direct sales, my picture of success was a cookie cutter.  Yup, I am a people pleaser and didn’t really think about what I wanted.  I had forgotten how to dream and define success for me.  Over the last six months, things have changed.  I can’t explain it.  I don’t know if it is a result of the health issues or creeping up on 60 years old or whether I am just seeing myself as others see me.

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I have done a lot of digging, and I want my success to be defined as what feels fulfilling and meaningful to me.  Ultimately, the traditional definition of success just does not feed my soul or offer any long term fulfilment and joy – for me.  Traditional markers of success are about how the world perceives us and seldom takes into consideration how we feel about ourselves, our life or our work.

I have played the comparison game and so have you, where we have compromised our health, our relationships, and our wellbeing to reach someone else’s definition of success. We have ignored our own values so we could be accepted by others instead of building our own success dream. As a result, we find ourselves with a life which is exhausting and unfulfilling.

Building your own approach to success isn’t easy.  I regularly battle with Negative Nellie and Perfect Polly.  They are the inner gremlins who want me to continue to be a cookie cutter model of success.  How have I began building my own approach to success? I want to share with you some things which have helped me to find some peace in my world:

Contentment: Do I feel satisfied in my day-to-day life? Even when the stressors and challenges can’t be avoided, am I content with how I am spending my days?

Purpose:  Is my life all about me or is it bigger than just myself and my own needs? Am I am contributing to the world in a way which fulfills my purpose in life?

Passion: Am I excited about my work and my life? Am I eager to get up and start the day?

Joy: Am I happy with my life?  Maybe not every single second of every single day, but do I find joy and pleasure in my life on a regular basis?

Stability: Am I financially stable? Am I making smart decisions with my finances?

Personal growth: Am I open to changing, and growing in my life? Am I becoming the best version of me?

Devotion: Am I committed to what matters most in my life?  Am I giving 100% to the  priorities in my life?

Peace: Am I at peace in my day-to-day life, even when things may not be going as planned? Am I staying connected to my core values, to live an intentional life?

Authenticity: Am I showing up, in both my work and life, fully and 100% myself? Am I owning my story and living in my truth?

Remember these are my markers for how I am redefining success in my life.  Truth be told, I don’t live up to these every single day, BUT I am a work in progress not looking for perfection.  I’m learning to shift the focus from worrying about how others perceive my life to focusing more on how I feel about my life.

Tell us what success looks like to you…. no cookie cutter answers.  What questions would you yourself when fears of “am I successful?” and “am I good enough?” creep in?

Have a ThirtyOne-derufl day!

 

 

 

Looking Forward to 2017

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My word for 2016 was CONFIDENCE. 

CONFIDENCE to believe when the way is rough.  CONFIDENCE to hang on when the going is tough. CONFIDENCE will guide me when my business is slow.  CONFIDENCE will guide me as I move forward with the Rays of Hope – Angel Connection.  CONFIDENCE will guide me as I overcome doubt with my new contract working with a grassroots non-profit.  CONFIDENCE will guide me as I learn to live with my recent diagnosis of MS.  CONFIDENCE will guide me as I see and believe in the person that others see in me.  CONFIDENCE will guide me as I squash the inner gremlins that have haunted me all of my life.

As a wrap of to this year, I’ve been reflecting A LOT as well as praying on what my word will be in 2017.  I love the beginning of a new year, with all of the hopes and possibilities of what’s ahead, but I know it’s also easy to feel overwhelmed with having 12 brand new months to tackle too. By sharing some of the things I’m looking forward to next year, my hope is it will encourage you to think about what you’re excited about in 2017 so you can enter the new year feeling ready and raring to go!

1. 5 Year Anniversary!

I can hardly believe hubby and I will be married five years and we have been together for 16 years.  My goal is to earn the Leadership Incentive Trip with Thirty One so I can take him on a cruise for our special anniversary.

2. Adventures, big and small!

We’ve been lucky enough to do a little traveling – North Carolina to visit the girls and I headed to Ohio for National Conference.  We had adventures like traveling the State to see doctors about my MS & the many symptoms.  I want to embrace the mini adventures next year too – day trips out to explore new places, and weekend breaks.

3. Full-time in my business

I have been in direct sales for almost 6 years and I am really excited to see what this next year has to bring. I am committing to my business full-time so it will be my main source of income to help with the household bills.  No more part-time job.  I am so grateful to be able to work from home with so many amazing women.  Along with my direct sales business, one of my biggest priorities in my business next year is to continue to create different ways to show up and be of service to the community.  I feel so grateful every single day this is my job, and I want to just give it 100% and show up fully for my business in 2017 along the way.

4. Continuing to embrace less stress, more joy in work and life

This has been one of the biggest takeaways for me in 2016 – a mindset of less stress, more joy is what serves me best in my work and my life. Keeps MS symptoms at a minimum and makes for a happy Hope.  I am learning how to embrace the seasons in my life.  I’m feeling focused, productive, and inspired as I end 2016.  In 2017, I want to give myself permission to live my creative life on my own terms, and embrace my own natural ebb and flow of rest and hustle too.

5. All the growth, discovery, and lessons ahead to come

I don’t know about you, but I learn, grow and change so much during a year.  In 2016, I’ve discovered so much more about myself, who I am, and what is most important to me.  I feel so much more aware and connected to what matters most in my life. I’m so excited to experience all the lessons 2017 has to bring.

I want to thank you so much for following my blog this year.  I’m so grateful for the opportunity to connect with you every day.  My vision in everything I do with my business and online presence is to support, encourage and inspire you to be the best YOU, you can be.  I hope to continue to do it in 2017 too.

I believe this is each and every one of you…d41d60aa5f46b43b9c0545e7f97b07c5

What will your word be for 2017?  Share it with us and let’s work together to make this year a success….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Let’s Give Thanks

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Today is filled with mixed emotions…as usual, I am crying tears of joy and gratitude mixed with tears of sadness.

I am blessed today, Belinda and Ashley are back in Jersey to celebrate Thanksgiving with us.  It is a short trip but a chance to spend a holiday with the girls just the same.  We will watch the Macy’s parade then head to dad’s for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.  I struggle with memories of years gone filled with high school football games, homecoming floats, dinner at Grams with the entire family.  As the years past, lives changed and so did family dynamics.

I am blessed in so many ways.  I am blessed to have a supportive hubby who is constantly searching for solutions to my health issues.  I am grateful Rob’s health is better and we will enjoy Thanksgiving together.  I am grateful that my family is healthy.  The year has been filled with many trials which have all been blessings in disquise

Thirty One has blessed my life too.  Who would have thought 5 plus years ago, a $99 kit would make such a difference in my life.  A growing business with an amazing team of women who continue to amaze me with their strength and friendship. An income which allows me not to work full-time and a multitude of awesome women who have gone from customers and hostesses to friends.  The greatest blessing is to be able to share with those who are struggling giving back to our community.

Words can’t express how grateful I am today and every day.  My wish is each of you have a blessed Thanksgiving – enjoying the time with your friends and family. Cherish the moments for all the years to come.

A Thanksgiving Prayer by Gwen Smith…

Dear Lord:

We come with hearts of gratitude today to bless Your name and to ask that Your hand of blessing would be upon us. THANK YOU, Father, for loving us with an eternal love that stands firm, even when we are unlovable. THANK YOU for being faithful, righteous, holy and just, yet willing to see us, Your children, through divine eyes of compassion, mercy, forgiveness and grace. THANK YOU for being a God of restoration and renewal in the midst of a broken, pain-filled world. THANK YOU for providing for our needs, directing our paths, and establishing our steps.

We acknowledge Your sovereignty, Lord, and freshly submit to Your will today. We ask Your BLESSING and GUIDANCE over our children, grandchildren, marriages, families, and loved ones. We ask Your BLESSING and GUIDANCE over our country, president, governors, senators, representatives, and local officials. We ask Your BLESSING and GUIDANCE over our communities, churches, schools, work places, decisions, and opportunities. Please FILL US with the presence of Your joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, and self control today. HELP US to see as You see and to love as You love. HELP US to serve others humbly for the sake of Your name. HELP US to be light that shines in the darkness. HELP US to follow Your ways and continually seek Your leading.

You are our hope and our strength, Lord. We give you THANKS in all of this and ask for the fullness of Your BLESSING in all these things, according to the power of Jesus Christ who is at work within us through Your Holy Spirit.

Amen

Have a ThirtyOne-derful Thanksgiving!

Learning to Give Joy Away

Thank you Mary Southerland for today’s message:

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I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want – Philippians 4:12, NIV

I once heard a story that offers a great prescription for joy. A young believer came to a man who had followed Christ for many years with the complaint that he had lost his joy. The older and wiser Christian responded, “Go do something for someone else. Repeat that act of kindness nine times. Then you will find joy.”

When we develop the habit of looking for a need and then meeting that need, we will experience joy as never before. Many times, instead of looking for a need, we look the other way.

One of the most amazing paradoxes in the Christian life is that the more we give, the more we receive. We simply cannot out-give God!

In Luke 6:38 we find an amazing promise, “If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving – large or small – it will be used to measure what is given back to you.”

If you want joy, learn to invest your life in others. Be on the lookout for a need and meet it. God created us to share each other’s load. A shared load is a lighter load.
F.B. Meyer once noted: “I used to think God’s gifts were on shelves – one above another so that the taller we grow, the easier we can reach them. Now I find that God’s gifts are on shelves, one beneath another, and the lower we stoop, the more we get.”

The apostle Paul says it this way in 2 Corinthians 9:10, “For God is the one who gives seed to the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, He will give you many opportunities to do good, and He will produce a great harvest of generosity in you.”

Give your time.
Give encouragement.
Give a praying heart.
Give a listening ear.
Give yourself.
Give materially.
The more you give, the more joy you will experience. The more joy you have, the more you will want to give. God always rewards “joy-givers.”

Philippians 4:17-18 “Really, it is not that I want to receive gifts from you. But I want you to have the good that comes from giving. Your gift is like a sweet-smelling sacrifice offered to God. God accepts that sacrifice, and it pleases Him.”

The idea of a sweet-smelling sacrifice is taken from the sweet-smelling incense that was burned along with the Jewish sacrifices. When we meet a need in the life of someone, it is a pleasing aroma to God and a sacrifice of praise to Him. In fact, when we meet someone’s need, we are actually giving through that need to God Himself. In other words, that met need becomes a deposit slip in our kingdom account. The perspective and heart behind the giving really matters. Joy-givers please God.

Three men were hired to work on a large building project. One was asked, “What are you doing?” He responded, “I’m mixing mortar. The second man said, “I’m helping put up this great stone wall.” When the third man was asked what he was doing, he replied, “I’m building a cathedral to the glory of God.” Perspective is a powerful thing.

In Philippians 4:19, Paul goes on to say that when we meet the needs of others, God will meet our needs. “My God will use His wonderful riches in Christ Jesus to give you everything you need.”

When we give out of our limited resources, God gives out of His unlimited resources. What a solid foundation for a life of joy!

God stands today, arms open wide, ready to pour out His unspeakable gift of joy into our lives so we can have joy … and so we can share that joy with others. Our gift back to Him is to be a joy-giver.