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 Lesson is Your Life Offering Now?

I want you to take a minute and think about what lessons your life is offering you right now.  The truth is when we change the way we look at situations, good and bad, we can actually learn from them.

God offers lessons everyday and it is up to us to learn from them.  If you are anything like me, you are hard headed (a typical Taurus trait) and may need to go through things multiple times before you actually learn the lesson. As a result, the same lessons are offered over and over again. Whether you are going through a frustrating or exciting time, there is something to learn which will prepare you for greater opportunities on your horizon.

Today, I want you to be intentional about looking for those lessons and finding ways to apply them to the daily challenges you face.  Here are five lessons you may have learned on your journey. If so, consider these a reminder today:

1. Nothing is permanent.

Believe it or not, change is good.  The first change I remember was moving from my childhood home to a new neighborhood at the age of 11.  It took me awhile but I adjusted.  Over the years of going to college, and changing jobs, I quickly learned to adapt to new circumstances, new people, and new surroundings. Nothing in life is permanent.  This fact should encourage you to revel in the joy your life is bringing right now.  It will help lessen your frustration when you encounter circumstances you don’t like. For some change is not easy, for others they have learned to roll with the punches.  Whether it is the loss of a loved one, a new job, or a chronic illness, there is a lesson to be learned.  If there is something or someone you love, in what ways could you embrace and enjoy them more? If it is something you don’t think you can handle, just hold on a little longer. This too shall pass.

2. You are either living on purpose or living by accident.

Too many people wander through life haphazardly, for the last few years I have been one of them.  I latched onto acquaintances, jobs, and life situations just because they crossed my path. I lived by accident.  It wasn’t my plan nor did I actually think I was.  I struggled to find my purpose.  A course called “Fit Within” is helping me to create a fulfilling life where I am purposeful in my decisions. Don’t make a decision without reflecting on what long-term impact it will have on you and the people you love. Pursue the things which empower you to express your values and talents. Choose to be around people you feel good being around—inspiring, supportive people who are moving in the same direction you are. Know your purpose and live in it every day in your work, relationships, health, finances, and spiritual life. Strive not to end up anywhere by accident—just because it was convenient.

3. Fear does not necessarily mean stop.

Does FEAR cripple you?  Do you want to run away or are you ready to roar like a lion and face it head on?  Fear is as powerful as you allow it to be. Most of us feel fear and take it as a warning to stop moving forward. Been there, done that and have more t-shirts then I can count!  We should see fear as a natural emotion which pops up every time we venture outside of our comfort zone. When you feel fear, keep moving. Step out of your comfort zone.  It will help you to grow AND get you closer to your goals. What are you afraid of right now which is keeping you from living your best life? Will you make a decision to move forward despite your fear?

4. Less is more.

Are you someone who shows their worth through money and material possessions?  Are you all about keeping up with the Jones’?  Do you play the comparison game?  The simple truth about self-empowerment is it comes from knowing nothing material will ever prove your worth. This is a lesson I need to be reminded of periodically.  Your worth comes from your identity as a child of God and the impact you make in the lives of others. Don’t worry about impressing everyone else. If you are a people pleaser, this might be a tough pill to swallow.  Focus on impressing God (or your Higher Power) by living the purpose for which He created you—serving and blessing others in the way only you can.

5. The power to change your life is in the choices you make.

SMACK!  This is perhaps the most powerful and toughest of lessons. Better choices create better circumstances. It’s not what happens to you which most impacts your life; it is how you respond to it. Your choices create your future. What kind of future are you creating with the choices you are making today? You can choose to enjoy your life or to be miserable. You can choose to be flexible or keep hitting a brick wall at work or in a relationship. You can choose to pursue your dreams or keep making excuses for why you can’t achieve them. The choice is yours.

What is the most important lesson your life is offering you right now? How will you apply this lesson in your future?

Today I challenge you to take an action in the next 48 hours which will enrich your life in a positive, meaningful way.  Share it with us.

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!

Productive Or Busy?

How often do you answer the question “how are you doing?” with “I’m so busy”?  Think about it…. as wives, mothers, and business owners, we often wear busyness as a badge of honor.

But is “busy” really a label you want to wear? Does it mean, your business is doing well?  Does it mean we have it “all together” as moms?  Does it mean we are reaching our goals and being successful?

Or does busy just mean being occupied? You are doing stuff. I’m not saying some of it may not be purposeful but I am sure some of it is not.  Yes, some of it necessary while some of it we do simply out of habit.  Does being busy mean you are being productive?  Does it mean you are getting things done which actually need to get done?

Think about it… do you have a plan in place for the day or the week? Do you have a clear picture of what is important or what matters most?  If you are “busy”, the answer to both of these questions is probably NO!

What if you were to say “I’m productive” instead of “I’m busy”.  What’s the difference, right?  Semantics?  The reality is, it makes a HUGE difference in how you go about your day.  You become purposeful in what you are doing.

When you’re busy, you take on new tasks without considering whether you even have time to complete them. You are less likely to delegate the task to others.  You are less likely to ask for help.  Why delegate? Because when you delegate, you take time to think: “Do I really have to do this myself? Who could do it instead? When can I ask them? How long will it take to explain?” In many cases when you are busy, the response is “never mind, I’ll just do it myself.” In the long run you waste more time and get less accomplished. Being busy generates a more stressed and hurried way of life so doing it yourself is an easy answer.

What if you were to look at “hurrying up” as the one thing which is actually slowing you down? Yes, if you took just a moment to slow down, you could actually get more of the right things done in less time and be more productive. WOW!  I know it is crazy but it really does work.  It is a great way to de-clutter your life.

I find the weeks I am more productive are when I follow a simple process of planning out my week. I make a list of everything I’d like to accomplish this week. If a week is to overwhelming, do it just for a day.  Now, put each item into one of four categories: Do it. Delay it. Delegate it. Delete it.   Stick with me, it really does work and it can all be accomplished in about 10 minutes.  Yes, you have 10 minutes to spare when the end result is feeling more productive.

So, first pick the stuff you choose to do is important. It is a priority.  I know, right now everything seems to be a priority BUT try to limit it to no more than 3 things.  I hear the groans!

Now, move on to the stuff you can delay. These are things which are not urgent and may actually be causing you stress.  Maybe you really don’t have time to do it right now, and frankly, it doesn’t yet need to be done now. Add it to your schedule for a later date.  This is where my planner comes in handy.  I list things at the bottom of the week in the space called “infinite possibility”.  If I have time, great!  It may get done before the delayed date but most times, it doesn’t.  It is okay!

Here is the tough one – the stuff you delegate.  I will admit, I struggle with this on a regular basis.  Health challenges have helped me to put this in perspective.  Delegate things which do not require your personal attention. Someone else can handle it just fine. Okay, they may not do it your way BUT it will get done.  Does it really matter as long as the end result is the same?  Maybe it is tossing clothes in the washer.  Maybe it is putting labels on the catalogs.  Maybe it is putting out the trash or emptying the dishwasher.  Learning to let go and delegate things has made life less stressful for me which is a plus as some days the health challenges are a struggle.

The last list is the stuff you delete. It is those tasks which serve no important purpose at this time. We all have them.  So, give yourself permission to take them off your to-do list.

The truth is hurrying up or busyness is actually slowing you down. What can you change in order to be more productive?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Bounce Back from Rejection

 Do you hate hearing the word NO?  I know I do whether it is in my business or in my personal life.  No matter what, I usually take it personally.  Crazy, right?  I mean when I ask someone to join my team or host a party and they say NO, does it really mean they don’t like me?  Probably not.  They just aren’t interested in the “offer”.

I love this analogy…. Do you think a waiter/waitress gets upset or takes it personal when they offer you desert and you say no?  Do you think they stop offering?  No, they just keep asking and eventually someone will say YES!

How often does the fear of hearing the word “no” stop you in your tracks?  As a result you keep your ideas to yourself.  Or maybe you hold back from asking for what you want (or need)? Or maybe you never step out of your comfort zone?  Whatever the fear keeps you from doing, it has definitely led you into living a life of regret.

Do you know someone who is resilient?  Do you know someone who no matter what keeps moving forward to reach their goal?  Do you long to be the person who doesn’t take NO personally?

Here are four ways to change the way you see the word “no” so you keep moving forward, don’t get your feelings hurt, and get up the courage to try again:

1. Other’s rejection can be heaven-sent protection.

  Yes, sometimes a “no” deserves a happy dance. Believe it or not, the Universe might have just saved you.  Think of it as if you just dodged a bullet you didn’t even know was coming. Rejoice! You’ve just been saved from a boatload of problems.  I know it is tough to do but with practice, it gets easier.

2. Don’t take things personally.

Okay, so I won’t lie this is so hard for me – the proverbial people pleaser.  I have to remind myself (more often then I want to admit) what others say and do is not about me; it is about them.  Every once in a while I need the gentle kick in the butt as a reminder “the world does not revolve around me”!  I don’t intentionally think like this but it happens or at least my actions seem as if I think this way.  Admit it, I am not alone!   When we understand everything truly is not about us – it takes away the personal aspect, it frees us up to accept you can get caught in the path of other people’s battles and issues which have nothing to do with YOU – your abilities, or your worth.

3. You deserve to be in relationship with people who want to be in relationship with you.

So true for personal and professional relationships. If you have to chase a someone, there is an imbalance.  As a result, your contribution to the relationship is valued as less than what someone else brings to the relationship. This is when feelings of rejection and unworthiness are repeatedly reinforced throughout the relationship. Value relationships with people who want to be in relationship with you – who see your worth, who respect and value you, your time, your strengths. When you decide you deserve this, you won’t see “no” as rejection.  No will be a sign the relationship will not offer you the balance you desire.

4. “No” today doesn’t mean “no” forever.

Timing is key. I tell my team this all of the time.  After 6 plus years in direct sales, if I stopped asking everyone who said no to me if they wanted to have a party; I would be out of business!  This is how we start to build relationships with potential customers, hostesses and team members.  You need to keep the doors of communication open. When they say “no”, I usually ask a few more questions to understand why they said no. Then I ask them if I can reach out again and ask.  They will usually respond with a “yes”.  The door is still open allowing you to figure out how to get to a “yes” the next time.

Situations are different with everyone – someone struggle with hearing the word no in their business but keep moving forward when it is in their personal life.  For others, the reverse is true.  There are even those who can’t handle the word “no” in any part of their life.  The key is to not take it personally.

I challenge you this week to not let a “rejection” leave you feeling bad about yourself. Change the “no” into something which will empower you to keep moving forward to reach your goal.

What is a “no” you haven’t been able to bounce back from?  Can you use any of these tips to help you move forward?  Change the negative to a positive….Share it with us

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!