What Does Your Success Look Like?

Success is defined as “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose” and is something different to everyone.  The true meaning of success is up to YOU.

A new year at Thirty One allows me to reflect on my accomplishments, where I stand on my goals for the year and define (or re-define) what success will look like for me.  When you think of success, you probably think of more money, maybe another car, travel – all tangible things, right?  In the past, I always said success was being debt free. I still want to be debt free, who doesn’t, right?  But will it alone get me up in the morning?  For some the answer would be yes.  For me, no.

I want my legacy to be more.  I want to know I have made a difference in the lives of others.  I want the ability to give to those in need.  Success to me isn’t about just being debt free, it is about what I can do with the money.  Don’t get me wrong, part of the reason I have debt is because I give to those in need and try to make a difference in the lives of others even when I don’t have it.

Do you have tunnel vision when it comes to what your  successful life will look like?  Are you focused on the tangible things or are you creating a legacy?  I have heard it said often “people may not remember the day you were born or the day you die but they will remember how you lived your life (or made people feel)”.  What will they remember about you?

Success isn’t a destination—it’s a progressive realization of a worthwhile dream or goal.  What is your dream or goal?  Dream BIG!

Years ago, I had a dream of opening a house – a place where those infected/affected with HIV/AIDS could come and enjoy life forgetting about their life struggles for a moment.  In the early days of my work in HIV/AIDS, I created a place like it.  For some it was my office to get help with problems, for the kids it was a place to play and get snacks, and for others it was just a place to forget for a moment how cruel life could be.  The last time I was in Bridgeton, I drove by what used to be “Hope’s House”.  The small office, long since closed and moved to a new location, brought back some memories I thought were lost.  I honestly didn’t know what I was creating.  I didn’t know I would make a difference but my passion to help others showed through all I did.

As I moved from HIV work to working with struggling addicts, chronically unemployed and single moms – the dream faded slightly but my desire to make a difference in the life of others was still there.  Since retiring from social work, almost 6 years ago, I’ve been searching to find the dream and the passion.  Despite my best efforts, the MS beats me up and steals my passion as a result of stealing my memory.  Some days I feel like it is an excuse while other days I embrace the reality and enormity of it all.

Do I still dream of making a difference?  YES!  Do I know what it looks like?  NO!  Success to me is seeing a smile on the face of a single mom struggling to provide for her children.  It is seeing a struggling addict believe in themselves if even for a moment.  It is seeing a smile on the face of someone enduring the pain of treatment of a chronic disease. In today’s busy world, I’m not sure how my view of success fits in.  I’m the eternal optimist, seeing the good in everyone and looking for a place to make a difference.  What is your dream?

While I continue to search for a place to connect, I will continue to give back in small ways.  This month we are again doing our FIGHT HUNGER campaign.  A chance for YOU to make a difference in the lives of a child.  You can sponsor a thermal tote which I will fill with healthy snacks and school supplies.  These will be delivered to children in need in the local area to bring a smile to their face.  My Thirty One team, the Rays of Hope, will be collecting thermals all across the country and delivering them to children in their area to make a difference.

Remember you can also help me to make a difference by nominating someone on my “Give Back with Me” page.  Each month, a someone special will receive a Thirty One product and words of encouragement.  Do you know someone who needs some “loving on”?

I know I squirreled.  When I started today’s blog, it was about defining success in your life and I’m not sure I have helped you to do it.

I challenge you to take a moment and think about what success means to you.  Think about what people will say about you when you are gone – how will they remember your life?  I would love to hear your definition of success….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Gaining Confidence Is An Ongoing Process

I have been having one of those weeks…. yup, fear and doubt has crept in.  My confidence has been shaken and I am wondering what my purpose is in life.  What happened?  I’m not sure except I have had some weird health days.  Days of feeling unsure.  Most days I can shake it then there are some when I need a confidence booster.  Surrounding myself with supportive  friends and family is part of it BUT sometimes I need to work on me.

Here are some things I do to help shake those nasty inner gremlins:

1.  Share Your Gifts & Passion with Others

Everyone has gifts and talents even when our confidence is lacking.  When I have days like this, I start writing.  Because I know sharing my struggles with others is one of my gifts.  You have accomplished great things – don’t downplay what you have achieved.  I know I am guilty of this all of the time.  The truth is, we are all good at something and there is always someone who wants to learn.

2. Forgive Yourself for Your Mistakes

When I have days like this, I tend to focus on all of the mistakes I made in life. Remember negative thoughts brings more negative thoughts.  When we hold ourselves or others to high standards expecting perfection, we are usually left feeling less than, a failure, and unworthy. Give yourself a break!  Self-forgiveness is an important step towards building your self esteem and confidence.  Everyone make mistakes, you are no exception and you deserve to be forgiven.

3. Pay it Forward or Pay Yourself

Are you looking to right your wrongs or make a change due to mistakes from your past which may be holding you back?  We can’t wave a magic wand and make them go away BUT we can change the outcome.  Didn’t make school a priority in your life?  Go back and take some classes.  Maybe you weren’t there for friends and family – make amends.  As a recovering addict, my mission is to help those who are struggling because others helped m.  What mistake can you forgive yourself for so you can move on?

4. Be Solution Focused

I always say negative thoughts brings more negative – positive brings more positive, it is the way of the Universe.  So, when you are always complaining about not having enough (of anything), nothing gets accomplished. Look for solutions when things aren’t going as planned. This will take some practice before it becomes natural.  In the end, you will be able to approach a problem from a mindset of how to solve it instead of WHY ME victim mindset.

5. Smile

I know it is hard to smile when you are feeling less than BUT a little smile goes a long way. You would be surprised how it can actually change your mindset. It makes me feel good to smile, and it can also brighten someone else’s day.  In some cases this is where I advocate, fake it till you make it.   I don’t mean being fake to others, it is about learning to pick your head up and feel good along the way. The more you do it, before long, you will forget you were “faking it” and actually feed better, maybe even GOOD or GREAT!

6. Fear is Your Friend

FEAR is huge when we are not feeling confident (at least for me).  I am trying hard to use fear to my advantage! Think about it – fear shows up when you are about to step out of your comfort zone, stretch yourself and build your confidence. This is your secret weapon to growing.  When you recognize it is about to get scary, you are about to expand yourself which is HUGE confidence builder.

Despite popular belief (and my constant writing about it) I do struggle with confidence.  I am always amazed how I am more confident around people I don’t know then I am around friends or business colleagues.  Those nasty inner gremlins love to play the comparison game.

Share your struggles and your successes with us.  Let’s BUILD each other up so we are all successful in our business (and our lives).

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

The Struggle of an Optimist

Stomping out inner gremlins and banishing ANTs (automatic negative thoughts) from my life is an ongoing battle. When a crisis occurs, I jump into Social Worker mode.  Handle things, take care of everyone, and make sure nothing slips through the cracks… you get the picture, right?  I mean every crisis needs a person like this, right?  On the outside, I look like a rock while on the inside I am falling apart.

When I started blogging over 4 years ago, it was about my life – the good, the bad and the ugly.  Somewhere along the way it changed to sharing tips and tricks for organizing, business coaching tips and more.  Don’t get me wrong, I love writing and helping others but I believe in my heart I can also help people by sharing my strengths, hopes and experiences.  Why am I saying all of this?  Because today is about getting through a life crisis.

My dad is currently in a rehab and has been placed on hospice for end stage COPD.  Dad played hard during his life and it has caught up with him at the ripe age of 86.  On his good days, he still has his smart answers for the nurses but he is tired of fighting.  The pain has gotten too great.  So, on Friday, “social worker” mode kicked in.  I truly believed I was handling things well.  A10-minute meltdown after getting the call from the rehab about his condition and I was done.  Then on Sunday at church. a friend said “are you okay? you look like you are going to cry”.  The water works started again.

Today, I am practicing some of the things I would have told family members of clients many years ago when a crisis occurred:

Limit Your Pity Party:

A wise friend gave me some sage advise:  “Every now and then you have to have a good cry, your own little pity party to get your feelings out. Then the next day you feel renewed in your fight and battle on.”  

So, I let the tears fall, went to bed and woke up ready to conquer the world.  I am learning to share the details of what is happening without putting any negativity into the Universe.  Leaning on God for his strength to get me through the tough days.

Do What You Don’t Want to Do:  

A crisis hits and what do we do?  Crawl in bed and pull the sheets over our head?  Avoid friends, and family?  Stop working? Not eating or sleeping?  Maybe even turn to a drink or two to help numb the pain?

Guess what? None of it will help in the long run.  It will send you down a path which is hard to come out of.  For me, I have a business to run so I can’t just hide.  For those who work for someone else, going to work is a great way to keep some normalcy in your life.  For those of us with our own business, we need to find ways to keep moving through the tough stuff.  Here are some things I have been doing:

  • Feed your body fresh, organic food (hubby says my nose is starting to twitch like a bunny)
  • Walking more every day.  Got to get my steps in.
  • Read a book which inspires you.  I keep it to something short because my attention span is short.
  • Watch a comedy show and laugh.  I am grateful for hubby’s ability to find old comedy shows on Amazon Prime
  • I treated myself to a new outfit.  A way to give myself a little pampering.

Take Care of Yourself Before You Take Care of Others

Yup, I am the proverbial care giver.  Taking care of the rest of the world while I tend to forget about me.  My “me time” consists of early morning hours in my office for devotions and to work on my business.  As the day moves on, I tend to struggle with balancing how to care for others while getting things done I need to do. Then I get annoyed when I don’t get my “to do” list done.  Crazy right?  I know I am not alone.

The truth is to help anyone, you must put yourself first. If you don’t take care of you, who will? When a crisis drops in your lap, you will be better able to tackle it if you have been taking care of yourself — giving back to you. Never forget how much you matter. You cannot fully give to others, including your work, if you haven’t taken care of yourself.  A lesson I am learning (sometimes the hard way).

Relive Stress and Release Anxiety

For some this is writing?  Or exercise? Or work? Or cooking?  The key is to do something to help you release anxiety before it has its way with you.  For me, I have to start my day with a cup of coffee and devotions or I am a mess the rest of the day.  I stop for about a half hour to send positive energy into the Universe.  Writing also helps.  Blogging daily has helped me personally, as well as for my business. Find what works for you –  take up writing, or an art of some kind, or learning a new skill, or take up an exercise like power walking, yoga or kayaking. Choose an activity that causes you to thoroughly focus and helps you let go of tension or pent-up anxiety.  It is also important you get enough sleep. Overtired, overstressed and increased anxiety are your own personal crisis waiting to happen.

A long post but in my heart I know someone needs to hear this – even if it is just me.  Have  a ThirtyOne-derful day!

The Reward of Letting Go

Today’s blog is courtesy of Daily Devotions

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Genesis 22:1-3

While it’s often a struggle to put everything on the altar, one thing I’ve learned is that you don’t have to understand how God will accomplish His plans. All He asks is that you surrender your will to His and trust that He will show you the way forward (Prov. 3:5-6). Abraham’s willingness to give up what was most precious to him came from his unyielding faith in the Lord’s trustworthiness.

However, if you tell God no because He won’t explain why He wants us to do something, we are actually hindering His blessing. But when we say yes to Him, heaven opens to pour out His goodness and reward our obedience. What matters more than material blessings are the things He is teaching us in our spirit. But don’t mistake His way of rewarding as being like a parent who withholds a treat until the child does as he’s told. Rather, obeying the Lord naturally positions us to receive what He is already trying to give us and accomplish in our lives. So, when we fail to trust Him and refuse to do what He says, we are the ones choosing to close ourselves off from those good things.

What has God asked you to do? Have you only partially cooperated? Or have you, like Abraham, given up your need to understand and then obeyed completely?

If the Lord says to give more than you think you’re able to give, know that He will provide. Whether things are running smoothly or the bottom has dropped out, He is always trustworthy. You can count on almighty God to keep His everlasting Word.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

No Money

“If you want to feel rich, just count the things you have that money can’t buy.” ~Proverb

Three apple

Three apple

The back to school rush is on!  It has been a few years since I had to get Belinda back to school but I still remember the struggles.  I was a single mom who struggled to make ends meet.

Are your kids going back to school?  Have you just lost your job?  Have you left a job to start your own business?  Or are you unemployed and receiving assistance.

Think about YOUR bad money situation.  The time when you had to carefully watch your spending.  You weren’t able to afford simple luxuries like McDonald’s or a Starbucks coffee.   You worried about how to make ends meet.  Maybe you have a dream that you thought was impossible.  The kind that scares you to the core, makes your palms sweat, and your heart beat faster? Yep, that’s the one.

I have been there, done that and still sometimes manage to live paycheck to paycheck.  The reality is that we need to look at those times as blessings with LOTS of valuable lessons in them.  I know it is hard when you are struggling and you can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel BUT believe me there is a light.  You just need to focus on the end and enjoy the ride in between EVEN when it is bumpy.

When money was tight, I learned some lessons that I wanted to share with you:

1. You connect with people.

When we lack money, we become more dependent on others.  It can be a painful experience, but it can actually help you strengthen your connections. Allowing others to be there in moments of difficulty isn’t always easy (hello, pride).  When you share your vulnerability with others, you give them permission to do the same and you make deeper connections.  Build stronger relationships.

2. You realize your fears were overblown.

Let’s test your fears.  List all of the worst things that could happen if you don’t have enough money (or whatever your fear is).  Write them all down in detail.  It may look like this:

FEAR told me that I wouldn’t be able to pay the rent, so I’d end up on the street. I’d lose all my friends, I couldn’t afford to go out, so I’m at risk of starvation and potential death.

Has any of that happened?  Is it really going to happen?  Our minds imagine everything that can go wrong, and builds up our negative expectations.  The reality is rarely as bad as we imagine it will be.  Most of the scenarios exist in one place only: our imagination.

3. You tap into your inner strength.

When things around you are uncertain and unstable and life isn’t easy, you simply have to tap into your inner strength.  The only thing that you can control is YOU!  It is inside YOU that you can draw true and lasting strength.

4. You become more grateful.

When was the last time you were grateful for the little things – the ability to go for a walk, watching the sunrise/sunset, or playing in the park with the kids.  Maybe you can’t afford material things or things that others take for granted, BUT you are blessed.

Happiness isn’t derived from what we can buy, but from the gratitude and appreciation we gain from our own experiences.  Each day is a gift.  Good or bad, each day is a blessing.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!