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!

 

What’s Your Take Away?

Since this week is a week of reflection in preparation for the New Year, let me ask you this question:

What’s the most valuable thing you are taking away from this past year?

Did you learn something new?  Did you overcome an obstacle or health challenge?  Did you find a solution to a problem?  Have you found a new passion in your business?

For me, this question is actually helping me shape my plan for the upcoming year.   Think about this:

Were you faced with a challenge this year?  Did you find a solution to it?  Believe it or not, there is probably a greater lesson to be learned in the solution which you can apply to new situations in the future. When you take a few moments to reflect, you begin to take ownership of your newfound wisdom. The best part is, when you take away the greater lesson, you won’t have to learn the lesson over and over again.

Whatever is going on in our lives at any given moment is actually there to teach you and help you to grow.  BUT it can only happen when you pause, reflect and ponder the message being offered.

As I look back on 2017, I have learned many lessons by identifying the situations which frustrated, disappointed, perplexed, or even excited me.  I am grateful of a planner which helps me track those moments because the memory is not what it used to be…

As I look at each situation, I ask myself one powerful question:

What am I going to take away from this situation so  I am somehow better for it, wiser for it, and able to move forward in the most powerful way possible?’

Then I am owning the answer!  I am applying the wisdom in other areas of my life now and looking for ways to store it so I can use it in the future.

Guess what?  You just got a little bit wiser!

I challenge you to look at a situation you are currently facing or faced this past year.  Now ask yourself the powerful question:

What am I going to take away from this situation so that I am somehow better for it, wiser for it, and able to move forward in the most powerful way possible?

Share your lesson with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Revisiting My Word for 2016

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The last few years, I have selected a word to be my theme for the year both personally and in my business.  This year, my word is ‘CONFIDENCE“.  I have overcome hurdles, HUGE hurdles to move closer to becoming the person God wants me to be.

I believe God created me to be a person who gives so others smile. To fight for the underdog. To believe all people are good and kind deep down – yes, sometimes it’s a little deeper than others.

I longed to see myself as confident, caring, generous, passionate, loving, and creative. A person with faith and courage. Someone who is strong and powerful. Confidence for this year was defined as:

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

So as we creep towards the new year, I wanted to reflect on the accomplishments and whether or not I had achieved my goal….

Yes, despite all odds I have believed when things got rough.  I believe the health challenges have been a blessing.  I have met amazing people who I never would have met.  I have come to understand the chronic pain my hubby lives with.  Yes, I have hung on when the going is tough.  Ready to push through despite all odds.  Yes, I have kept going when my business is slow knowing the seeds I planted  along the way would grow – and the are!  I had the confidence to overcome the inner gremlins when it came to the tough decision of turning down an opportunity with a grassroots non-profit.  Yes, I have decided to move forward with Rays of Hope – Angel Connection knowing in my heart it is part of the plan.  Yes, I am giving my notice to my part time job and #jumping in faith.  Yes, I am continuing to learn to live with my diagnosis of MS – learning my limits yet not allowing #mstodefineme.

The biggest step has been in stomping out the inner gremlins who have haunted me all my life.  Do they still rear their ugly head? YES.  But I have learned to squash them and move forward.  Along with this step comes the internal realization and the ability to see the person other people see in me.

Please don’t misunderstand, this is a work in progress.  I still struggle with confidence every day as well as playing the comparison game.  Through it all, I trust and believe if I walk in God’s plan all things are possible.

Share with us your word of the year and the changes it has made in your life.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

What Are Your Obstacles?

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When I graduated college, work was all about moving up in the corporate world.  I never thought about being my own boss.  To me that was a lonely life – I needed people.

My first home-based business was “Special Tots” a line of premature baby clothes.  I designed them, cut them out, sewed them and then marketed them.  I loved it but I was not ready to be my own boss.  Then came “H.O.P.E. Consultants”, a grant management and consulting service for non-profit agencies.  A success but I missed the daily connections with people.  When I closed those doors to go back to non-profit development, I never thought I would be by own boss again.

Then life changed – Belinda was living in North Carolina, the commute to work was 4 hours round trip, I got married and there were some health struggles.  The pros of being my own boss: making my own hours, no commuting and doing something I loved far outweighed the BIGGEST con which was the lack of people.  YUP, I was ALONE.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my business.  But it tends to be solitary work. I write alone. I sit in the office alone talking to people on the phone.  I coach alone, mostly by phone.  I work from home, my team scattered about this and other states. The crazy part is that I question my passion when being “alone” gets lonely.

What’s missing is the connections!  Connection isn’t just “networking.” Connection isn’t just collaboration. Connection isn’t just communicating with people. I love how Valerie Burton describes it: “Connection is love. It is the moment, however brief, when your soul aligns with another and you serve one another’s needs in some way. It could be a smile, a touch, an idea, a word of encouragement, or act of support. But connection makes life and work juice”.  This is just one of the hurdles that you can expect when you work a solo-preneur.

How about blending Your Work Life with Your Home Life?  Most people enjoy the fact that an office job gives them the ability to leave their work at the office. This is tricky if you’re working in your home, and even tougher for those you live with. I have a separate office space in the house – a spare bedroom.  It prevents my business from intruding into every aspect of our personal lives– for the most part.  At least the physical aspects of it.  The advantage is that there is  no commuting!  Blending is a lot easier if you build your business around something you’re personally passionate about.

How about working longer and harder than ever before?  Many entrepreneurs say “I work from the minute I wake up until the minute I go to sleep.”  That may be the case some days, but it will be especially true in the beginning.  You will do whatever it takes to get your business going.  The advantage is that you will work longer and harder, but it’s ultimately for your own gain.  Nothing is more satisfying than that!  While you will make time sacrifices, you’ll also have more flexibility.  I ultimately have the ability to change my schedule when I need to. There are certainly sacrifices toward owning your own business, but for successful entrepreneurs, the advantages far outweigh the difficulties.

No matter what the obstacle in owning your own home-based business, there is a solution.  The passion you have for your business combined with the desire to reach your goal will help you find that solution.  Need help finding those solutions, reach out… I will be more than happy to help you on your journey.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!