Thankful Thursday: Judgement

 

Judgement is defined as the forming of an opinion, estimate, notion, or conclusion, from circumstances presented to the mind”.  I know, why would I be thankful for “judgements”, right?   First because I am learning when I am judging someone else, I better look at myself in that particular area.  Second, I am learning to turn Judgement into Curiosity…..

Think about how many times you have judged or been judged by someone – no matter what the reason?  I know we try our best NOT to judge but isn’t it human nature to judge others.  I will admit since being in recovery, I realize how often I judge people and I don’t like it.   I usually find the reason I am judging them is because something is missing in me – a relationship with my Higher Power or a case of envy or jealousy. 

Isn’t it natural to form an opinion about information we receive?  The problem arises when we proclaim our opinion as the truth, even when we don’t have enough information to come to a definite conclusion.  How often have you done this?  I know I am not alone, right?

We judge people for the way they look, for the way they dress, where they live, what we “think” their life is like, what they eat, how they act……….you get the picture, right?  Social media doesn’t help either because we only see the image people want to project which is usually positive with all of the struggles.  As a result, we determine what their life is like based on just a few pictures.  I have found I do the same thing in my direct sales business as well as my small business.  I judge who may be potential customers or be interested in certain products.  I have already decided they may or may not buy based on what we think or what we perceive.  BUT have we talked to them?  Have we asked them any questions?

The first step in wanting to change this habit is to be aware AND admit you are doing it.  When you stop judging others, you will notice yourself connecting with people more authentically and learning valuable information about them. When others feel like they are being heard, they are more open to hearing you.

I challenge you to try this: The next time you are tempted to be judgmental, instead, be curious. Instead of deciding you know their motives, intentions or backstory, withhold those judgments and listen. The only way to build bridges is to refuse to jump to conclusions, and instead be curious.

1. Be curious by asking questions of yourself.

  • Why do you suppose they did/said/feel that?
  • How does it affect me, if at all?
  • Why does it bother me?
  • What could I learn from this person or situation?

2. Be curious by asking questions of others.

What if we asked them to tell us more about (fill in the blank)?  Or maybe you have been in their shoes, so you can share with them, or ask how they are feeling.  Better yet, say nothing at all. Let them talk and just listen.  Listening can be tough when we have already “judged” someone but force yourself to LISTEN!

We can learn so much about people by turning away from judgment and towards curiosity. When you ask those two questions – of yourself and others – you will gain a new unexpected perspective or a new piece of information providing insight you might not have had before.  It will help you build trust which will  open the door to greater connection.

Who have you been (tempted to be) judgmental towards recently? At work? On social media? With a friend or family member?

Maybe in your business…. Have you hesitated because you had already decided they wouldn’t be interested or couldn’t afford the products?  Have you missed an opportunity to connect with someone new?  Maybe you have missed out on giving or receiving a blessing because you pre-judged them and their situation.

What would happen if you were curious instead of judgemental? Share your AHA moment with us.

Have a blessed day!

 

Do You Live to Work?

Do you work to live or live to work? Maybe you are wondering what’s the difference.  Believe me, there is a huge difference.  No, this isn’t a plug for joining my direct sales company unless of course you are looking for some extra money or a career change…… Sorry I squirreled.  LOL.
This about this:   Happier people are more productive, thereby getting more work done in less time than others.
We all dream of working less, right?  A chance to maybe retire, focus more on your family and the other things which matter most.  I’m sure there are some who love their job – that’s awesome.  I mean work is wonderful when you are passionate about what you do.  But there is more to life than work.  Sadly, it took a diagnosis of MS and a relapse for me to realize it.  So what would it be like if you didn’t have as much?  What would you do with the extra time?  Who would you spend it with?  This could mean reducing your hours at your current job, stop taking work home nights, weekends and vacation or maybe eventually stop working all together to focus on your family.  Now, I know this is a luxury for many but here are 4 strategies from Valorie Burton which might help:

1. Restructure your day and break bad work habits.

Are you working too many empty hours? Could/should a 50-hour workweek really be a 40-hour week? Many workers work hard, but not smart. I definitely fell into this category when I was working.  If I only knew working less was a matter of breaking some bad work habits. Actually, for me, it was substituting one addiction for another.  If you are the first one in and the last one out every day (yup that was me most days), something might be wrong.  Try to create a personal deadline to force yourself out of the office.   Maybe schedule a 5:30 dinner date or class at the gym so you have to leave the office on time. This one was always tough for me, I was usually late for the appointment after work.  Maybe you need to find ways to eliminate distractions to use your time in the office more efficiently.  My biggest distraction was my need to fix, manage and control situations.

 

2. If you want to work fewer than 40 hours, know your company.

Does your company allow for it?  How will it effect your future goals in the company or in life?  There are still places where working less means no or slow promotions. Are okay with that?  Then there are those businesses who love to spend less money on employees who can give them more bang for their buck. In those companies, scaling back is not necessarily a career killer—as long as you make an impact. If you work fewer hours but give your all and make a contribution to the bottom line, you will always be seen as a valuable player. So part of the strategy for working less is being strategic and performing at your best, whether you’re working 40 hours a week or 20.

 

3. Can you afford to work fewer than 40 hours? If so, make a plan.

Are you prepared for this financially?   Usually the main reasons to work is to earn a living and pay bills.  The doors open wide when you live below your means. If you quit your job or scale back your hours, would you be able to make it? If not, make a plan to get to the point where you don’t have to work so much. Trim your expenses and save, save, save!  I was a paycheck to paycheck person.  I was definitely not ready to work less than 40 hours per week or leave a salaried job.  No plan, just dove in leaving a great job due to health issues “assuming” someone would want to hire me closer to home at less hours.  A story for another time.  LOL.

 

4. If you want to work fewer than 40 hours, ask yourself if it is time to switch careers.

This option would be a long-term solution—a higher-paying job down the road for fewer hours than you work now. Ask yourself, “What opportunity would allow me to earn more for my time?”  Lots of people transition into new lines of work – direct sales.  One good thing of a forced transition is the opportunity to reevaluate your options. A different career path could dramatically increase your income while demanding less of your time. You may need time to prepare or train, but it can be a smart, long-term solution.   This may be awesome for someone thinking of starting a family who doesn’t want to work long hours as a parent.  Think ahead and plan for a transition to working less.

 

I challenge you to dream big. It’s possible to work less in your future and maintain a happy life.  Ask yourself these basic questions:

  • What would it look like for you to work less?
  • Does this idea appeal to you? Why or why not?
  • If you’d like to make it happen, what is your vision for it?

Have a blessed day!

What is Your Life Purpose?

 

Have you ever wondered why you are here?  I don’t mean just in this house? Or in this job? Or with this person/ spouse/ partner?

In the movie The Color Purple, there is a scene in which Miss Celie finally musters the courage to leave Mister. He’d just finished saying some pretty nasty things to her (paraphrasing): “You’re poor. You’re black. You’re ugly. Nobody wants you.”

To which Miss Celie replied, “I’m poor. I’m black. I might even be ugly. But I’m here!”

There is a reason each of us is here.  Honestly, most days I wonder what my purpose is….I’m sure many have lost family and friends who were here last year and who aren’t now.  Many have passed on fulfilling their purpose on this earth.  But you are still here. And your most important job in life is to know why.  I know pretty heavy for early morning, right?

I have been pondering this question for the last few weeks.  What is my purpose in life?  There are days (very few) when I think I know but more times then not, I’m clueless. I could blame it on the MS or the lack of memory or 100 different things but the truth is some days I feel lost.  Torn between what I think I “should be” doing and what I really want to do.  Torn between having the confidence to work my angel business releasing my creativity or just sticking with what I know works in my direct sales business.  Some may say do both BUT my MS requires me to keep things simple.  What about you, do you know your purpose?

Can you state your purpose in a single, simple sentence?  I know I can’t!  If you are like me, ask yourself this question:

How is someone’s life better when they cross your path?

Whatever your answer, is, can you say it quickly – in under 15 seconds.  Why so fast?  Because in most cases we only have a few seconds to share with people we meet.

I believe my purpose is “bringing hope and a smile to those who are struggling, reminding them they are special”. I like to help people.  Maybe it is the people pleaser in me.  Maybe it is just the “helper gene” LOL.  Or maybe it is just the fact someone was nice to me when I was struggling.

For some, it may sound kind of cheesy.  The simple gesture of bringing a smile to the face of others makes a difference in their life (and in mine).  It can make a dark day sunny.  It can dry a tear in their eye.  It can change their negative mindset to positive.  YES!  A simple smile can do it.

Your purpose is about how you uniquely serve the world and make it better in some way. It uses your unique gifts, strengths and experiences. It is something you do well. And it comes naturally to you.  It means you are willing to share your gifts and talents with others.  I am seeing new gifts develop or at least come out again – my creativity in making angels.  Seeing how putting the pieces together to form something wish brings memories to life is so humbling.

I think about my success as a Social Work….I know I made a difference. Some may think I am being conceited but I actually saw the difference I was making.   I am actually humbled by the blessing I am able to give to others.  Even when things are tight for me, there is a way to give back – a cup of coffee, a ride to a meeting, a smile, a thank you – everything makes a difference.

Today, I challenge you to take a few minutes and answer the question….Once you get the answer, write it down. Don’t forget it. Make it your mantra. A fulfilling life is a life lived with purpose.

How is someone’s life better because they cross your path?  Share your life’s purpose with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

How to Stretch Yourself

When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone?  Be honest!  I don’t mean putting your toe out, finding it was too hard and giving up.  I mean really stretched yourself?

Honestly, I can’t remember when I last did.  To do it, I would have to BELIEVE in myself.  Hmm, I don’t know about you but I struggle with it.  On the outside many see a CEO of her own business who lives life on her terms.  The truth is most days I struggle to believe in myself!  Okay it is out there and I can’t take it back……

I always find when I stretch myself beyond my comfort zone, I am surprised it really isn’t as uncomfortable as I thought it would be.  As I stay in the “new zone”, I get more and more comfortable.

The last 60 days have been filled with lots of changes for me – personally and in my business.  All good things but things which needed to be done.  Clearing out the clutter to make way for more blessings!  One of the first things I wanted to do was create a list of goals.  I’m great for lists.  When we step out of our comfort zone, too many BIG goals can be so scary we retreat.  So I am working on being inspired.  I know vague, right?  Definitely not a SMART goal but I am working on one.  I am going to set a goal which stretches me and as a result will excite me enough to move into action.  I have been told a “stretch goal” will develop your character by tapping into your strengths.

Since MS seems to have wrecked havoc on my memory and my thought process, I struggle with figuring these kinds of things our.  I know the answers are all in my head, it is just getting them out and on paper.  Thank you Valerie Burton for these questions to help me (and you) find your stretch goal.  Answering these questions will help you (and me) find the inspiration to forge ahead and stick to the goal.  Who is ready to join me?

1. What vision feels just beyond your reach?

Are you great at helping others see their vision but you can’t see it for yourself even if you want it?  Yup, I’ve been there.  Do you want to double or triple your income?  Maybe you want to  explore your romantic streak or event your fun side. Do you dream of eating healthy, exercising and being at goal weight? The purpose of this goal is to not choose something realistic, but to choose something which feels beyond your reach — the one you think is as not really possible.  The truth is “it is possible”.  Do you have the faith to believe it? A stretch goal forces you to reach higher than you think you can. If you don’t have to stretch for it, it’s not big enough for this exercise.

2. What specific, measurable, and time-sensitive goal would bring you closer to that vision?

Now for the fun part where we get specific about the goal. Make it vivid. Describe it in a way you can measure your progress so you know when you have reached the finish line. And most importantly, give yourself a deadline. You know what happens when there’s no deadline, right? It’s always something you’ll start tomorrow. Before you know it, a year has passed and you set the same goal again!   Sort of like those New Year’s Resolutions.  We make them at the beginning of the year with no specific time frame in mind.  A year is a long time when you don’t have a plan.  Here is an example: “I’m going to have more fun and truly enjoy my life rather than treating every activity like a burden” is a great vision (not mine). You could break it down by saying, “I am going to travel for pleasure more. Once every three months I am going to take a fun trip, even if it’s just a weekend road trip somewhere adventurous. And my first trip will be four weeks from now.”

3. Who will you tell?

Make yourself accountable.  Don’t keep your vision and goal to yourself. Tell somebody. Actually,  tell EVERYONE who is a supportive person in your life. Negative people may throw water on your passion and excitement: “Are you sure?” “That sounds hard.” “You’ve never done that before!” You don’t need doubters to fill your head with negativity.  Find someone encouraging, they might even want to join you. Chances are if you keep it to yourself, you will  quietly drop the goal if you don’t achieve it. Commit to it. Declare it out loud. When we  share our plans with others, it is far more likely you’ll actually carry it out.

So, are you going to stop playing it safe?  Are you going to STRETCH????  Share your goal with us, so we can celebrate and encourage you along the way.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

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!