Thankful Thursday: For Truths Not Shared

Truth-FacingtheLion

Truth is defined as “that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.”.  As my MS progresses, my memory is sketchy.  My truth relies on the memories of others…. I wonder sometimes if their truth would have been my truth in the same situation.  I am sure those around me are tired of hearing “I don’t remember that” or “here is a random memory”.    The bits and pieces of my truth are a struggle but I trust God has a plan and his will prevails.

This blog post was one I found but really seemed to apply to how things are going today….I had the pleurae of meeting Traci Bild at the Mom Grows a Business Conference several years ago.   She talked about the “7 Truths that Women are Afraid to Share“.  Here awesome excerpts, see if any of them apply to you:

1. We’re Guilty, like ALL the time: WOW!  I thought I was the only one who felt like this, so nice to know I am not alone.  The word “sorry” is something I say a lot and most of the time it is for stuff I can’t even do anything about.  I am learning to not say “sorry” except if it is something I have actually done which is definitely hard for me.

2. We WORRY about EVERYTHING: There is never enough time in the day and no matter how hard you try, you will never get everything done. There is simply too much to do.  Is your To Do List way too long with things that could probably be done with the help of others?  Just for Today, I will turn things over to God and let him handle things.

3. We’re Letting our Health Slip:  In the past, I used to do this and yes, I still do sometime.  Having a diagnosis of MS, letting things go is not an option.  There are others in my life (primarily hubby) who tend to put me before their own health concerns.  Do you have a tendency to say “I am fine” even when you are not feeling great?

4. Our Work-Life Balance Looks Like a 2-year-old on a Balance Beam: A nice term, most women simply can’t strike it. So busy living life, you don’t have time to work ON your life and find ways to create balance.  I LOVE this.  My feeble attempt to work on balance was to take the notifications off of my phone so the only time it “rings” is for an actually call OR a text message.  Novel concept huh?

5. Our love lives are on the Back Burner:  GUILTY!  Enough said.

6. We are in Constant Comparison Mode:  From my ability to maintain my goal weight, to the amount of dust bunnies taking up residence behind the couch to my business – I always compare myself to others!  Social media plays a factor in this craziness for me which is why I have left groups, unfollowed people and just try to limit my time on Facebook.  Being in recovery, I am learning more how NOT to do this.  Spend more time living your life than watching others live theirs.  

7. We’re Still Not Happy!: The end result is people are not happy. While women have more opportunity than ever before, we are more unhappy than at any other time in history. You have the power to create happiness but it requires tough decisions, laser focus on your priorities and standing by them at all cost.

So, how many of these truths are you?  Let’s be honest with each other…Just for today, I am going to focus on me, and spend some quality time with hubby and family.

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!

Recovery After Relapse

 I have gone back and forth trying to decide whether or not I wanted to share this post.   I have been  a people pleaser most of my life and I didn’t want any one to be angry with me. Others will stop reading.  BUT there may be one or two who will be encouraged or know recovery is actually possible.

My first time in recovery, I shared with everyone.  I didn’t care who knew because NA and the people I met saved my life.  They helped me to learn about me which made me confident.  Some would say I got cocky, since after two plus years of daily meetings I walked away from the program thinking I was “better” and was healed.  I was given back all of the tangibles in my life – family, a career, a house, car and so much more.

If you read my blog regularly, you may have noticed I have referenced my relapse and my walk back into recovery.  Pride and ego gets the best of me as I worry about what people will think.  BUT there may be someone out there who needs to hear this story….

When I started blogging in 2013, I shared the story of my addiction. The story of getting clean in 1991 was a blessing.  I was blessed with many years in recovery – from drugs.  Of course, I now know I substituted work for my drug of choice.  I became a workaholic – and some wondered if I cared more about my clients then I did my family.  As a workaholic, I had an occasional glass of wine figuring I had things under control.  Little did I know, it was the beginning of making a total mess of my life again.  See, I forgot one simple thing from those early meetings – a drug is a drug is a drug.  The truth is, anything we become obsessive about is a form of addiction.  So, as I worked for many years at a job I loved; I was able to “manage” my work – addiction.

When for health reasons I had to give up my crazy commute (4 hours a day round trip) and a job I loved – I was lost.  I had no real identity or at least I didn’t think so.  The first year wasn’t bad.  I worked on my direct sales business, and collected unemployment while I looked for something close to home.  The truth was being 54 with LOTS of experience was not an appealing trait for most employers.  All they saw was someone who was “older” and who they thought would quit when a better opportunity came along.

Over the next 7 years, my life would be like a roller coaster ride.  Taking jobs to fill the void and pay the bills.  But each time, my MS (not yet diagnosed) reared its ugly head, and I had to give my notice.  During 4+ of those years, not only did I struggle to find a job but I endured endless testing to determine what was going on health-wise with me.

Financial unmanageability was starting to wreck havoc in my life without a steady income.  MS started affecting my memory, my moods, my balance and my life. The unmanageability throughout my life got worse.  No steady income.  An inconsistent commission check from my direct sales business.  Using credit cards to pay for things or to shop or to keep up appearances.  Drinking wine to relax.  The old behaviors and feelings from my early days of using came back really fast.  Stuffing my feelings again.  Feeling like I didn’t belong.  Feeling alone.  Feeling like a victim.  Feeling unworthy of anything.  Playing the comparison game and never winning.  Being self-centered (I want what I want when I want it).  Angry. Letting pride rule. Jealousy.  All of those things I thought I had dealt with long ago.

See, the reality was I gave up the drugs but I never really worked on me.  I substituted work for drugs.  I identified as a Social Worker.  I identified as mom.  But I never identified as Hope – the person.  Looking back, I was happy with my life BUT I don’t think I was ever really happy with me!

One year ago, I walked back into the rooms of NA, I felt as broken and lost as the first day I walked into the rooms on October 26, 1991.  I have learned so much in the last year.  This year has been a turning point in my life…. you would think at 62 I would have finally gotten it together. LOL.

Are things perfect?  No but they are getting better.  I am learning to like me for me.  I still tend to play the comparison in my business but it is getting better. I am working on re-building broken relationships. I am building a network of strong women who I can lean on.   I am learning to accept my MS diagnosis and truly believe #mswillnotdefineme.

Why am I sharing this?  I want to help someone else who may be struggling.  I am coming face to face with my inner demons so I can move on from the past and embrace the future.

Have a blessed day!

How Do You Build Relationships?


Today I work up with the realization I suffer from “self-centeredness” on any given day.  SMACK!  When I walked back into recovery, I was unaware of how often I actually did this.  I rationalized and justified everything I did.  I thought I was being responsible.  I thought I was hard working (in other words a workaholic).  Slowly but surely I have found out what the true meaning of “self-centeredness” is and how selfish I truly was (or can be).

Self-centered is defined as “concerned solely with one’s own desires, needs, or interests”I used to say this wasn’t me!  Then I looked at some other words for self-centeredness and they included egotistical, narcissistic, self-absorbed, selfish, self-involved, and I didn’t think I was any of those either.  Yes, I was an only-child.  Yes, I was spoiled – I was an only child, an only grandchild and an only niece BUT….. You know what they say “everything that comes after the word “but” is BS!  When I thought of egotistical or narcissistic, I thought of people who were so full of themselves, I mean they actually loved themselves.  Most days I don’t love myself and there are even the occasional days when I don’t like myself so how could I be self-centered?

My first time around in recovery, I didn’t grasp this concept.  I became a workaholic and as I was recently told – “I thought your clients came before us, even though you were there for the important things”.  SMACK!  So, this is a concept I am trying hard to understand.

“I choose relationships wisely and nurture them intentionally.”

Okay, so I may choose relationships wisely but I definitely didn’t nurture them.  WHY?  Because I didn’t know how.  YIKES!  Think about it. When there is turmoil in your relationships, it impacts your whole life.  As a result, my relapse and road to being totally self-centered has effected my business, and my personal life.  It has ruined friendships, it has left me sitting on a “pity pot” and struggling to figure out the difference between being self-centered and being responsible.  You would think at the ripe old age of 61, I would know the difference.

The truth is I struggle with building strong relationships and maintaining them. Even in the relationships I didn’t  choose – family members or coworkers – I mean they need to be nurtured in order to be strong and healthy too.  So, I went from people pleasing (pre-recovery), to workaholic (recovery) to self-centeredness (relapse) to relearning the things I learned in kindergarten about making friends.  Talk about a roller coaster.  Along the way has been filled with a lack of confidence and fear which causes me to become (or at least appear to be) self-involved.  I may not always say “ME, ME, ME” although I am grateful for people in my life who lovingly point out to me when I am being “self-centered”.  It is always like a lightbulb going off.

I know this is totally a ramble and for some they will tune out because they have healthy relationships.  They are able to make the best of those relationships by setting strong boundaries, building trust where they can, and expressing gratitude when others are a blessing to them. For those few people who may relate, take it from one who has learned the hard way….. self-centeredness doesn’t always mean we say “me” or “I”, it can come out through our actions.  Do you justify and rationalize everything you do to make sure your plans stay in take?

So, for today I challenge you to ask yourself this powerful question:

What one gesture could I make today to strengthen one of my important relationships?

Are you already feeling the panic?  What if if you made a simple phone call of support to encourage someone?  What if you wrote a thank you note to someone for something that touched your heart?  What if you put your phone away and gave your undivided attention to the person you are sitting next to?  My simple gesture lately has been to put my phone away and be present in the moment.  Is it tough, without a doubt!

Believe it or not these small gestures strengthen the bonds of a relationship, any relationship. We can’t achieve our goals or meet our needs alone –  we need people. And people need us.  So, if you think any of these may be you…. step out of your comfort zone and make a gesture – no matter how small.

Wonder why you are struggling in your business?  Wonder why you scroll through social media thinking the grass is always greener? The truth is those who are most resilient and successful have strong relationships.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Managing Distractions

I can’t believe Christmas is just two days away – well, Christmas Eve is tomorrow.  I have been sort of a Grinch at home this year – no decorations until last Sunday but I did get some shopping done.  Yes, I squirreled but what else is new, right?

Last Sunday at church,  the first hymn was “Hark the Harold Angels Sing”.  I know it is “herald” but my grandfather always said it was his song and yes, his name was Harold.  I knew then, it was going to be a service I needed to pay attention to.  As we moved through the holiday songs, I found my thoughts drifting to the things I wanted to get done, the people I was missing (Belinda not being home for Christmas) and then BAM!  The sermon was on “managing distractions”.  I knew this was just for me.

The brain fog from MS causes me to get distracted easily, memory is short or sometimes nonexistent and sometimes I find it hard to concentrate.  But the reality is, even without MS, many of us have difficulty managing distractions.  Think about how you or your kids do/did their homework.  Do they need the music or TV on leaving you wondering how they can possibly concentrate?  Or do they need silence?  These days, I need silence.  I get easily distracted but there was a time when I could have the TV on or music and actually remember what I was supposed to be doing.  Do deadlines cause you to focus more?  Is one of your tag lines, I work better under pressure?

#1 Identify Inevitable Distractions

Distractions are going to happen – they always do.  So why not expect them – if they come, you are ready but if they don’t you are ahead of the game.  I can remember when I was a work at home mom, distractions happened and I was never really ready for them.  The TV was too loud or a million questions came just as I was working on a grant.  Then there was the “I’m hungry” cry.  Yes, I miss those days but the distractions are different now.  I start a project or work in the office and thoughts of 10 other things which need to be done in the house enters my head.  Before long, I have squirreled into the “this will only take a minute” project being completed distracted from the work I was doing.  I’m sure I am not alone especially during this busy holiday season.

#2 Learn to Discern the Main Thing

SMACK!  Distractions sometimes pull us away from our main focus – family!  We get bogged down in worrying about having lots of time with family while we miss out on enjoying the quality time we do have with them.  What is your main focus this holiday?  Is it buying the perfect gifts, planning the perfect meal or enjoying the moments with family and friends?  I always “talk” about family being the most important thing to me – tops on my list.  Yet, I find there are times when I place other non-important things before spending time with them.  My focus turns to working in the office to make money to pay bills or being busy in my business (notice I didn’t say working my business).  Yup, I am one of those struggling recovering workaholics….

We have identifying the distractions, so how do you manage them, right?  You got this, it isn’t as difficult as it may seem if you are intentional about it…

#1 Clear the Clutter

No, I don’t mean the clutter in the house!  I mean the clutter in our heads.  Maybe you need to write a list or delegate chores or maybe decide not to do certain things at all – however you do it, JUST DO IT!  Prune your schedule. Control spending.  Weed out the things which aren’t the main thing.  I am working on calendar blocking AGAIN so I block out time needed to work versus time I will spend with family.

#2 Don’t Let Distractions Distract You

We know distractions will happen BUT don’t let them distract you from your MAIN THING! If the most important thing for you this holiday season is family – spend time with them, enjoy them. STOP watching the clock.  STOP worrying about if the house is clean enough or whether there is enough food or how you look.  Enjoy the moments….

The main thing is to make the Main thing the Main thing

This Christmas is different for our family – Belinda in North Carolina, missing my Dad, hubby working so others can spend time with their little ones  has left me trying to figure out how to embrace the change so I can focus on my main thing – FAMILY!  Grateful to have dinner on Christmas Eve with my step-mom and half sister then spend Christmas Day with my mom and step dad as well as my hubby.

What is distracting you this holiday season from enjoying your “main thing”?  When the holidays are over, will you have wonderful memories of the moments shared even with the distractions or will you regret being too busy to have enjoyed your “main thing”?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!