Unclutter Your Life

Overcoming Discouragement

Happy Monday!  If no one has told you lately, let me tell you how amazing you are.

For some of us (yes, I’m included), no matter how much we achieve or how much progress we make, we still have those nasty inner gremlins (and maybe some outer ones) who want to knock us down.

It’s the gremlins in our head saying:

  • “You’re not good enough.”
  • “You’ll look like a fool.”
  • “Who do you think you are?”
  • “You are self-centered. It isn’t always about you”.

When these mantras start, it is sometimes hard to silence the noise.  Verbal abuse whether external or internal can eat away at us.  Did you know there are things you can do to actively combat those nasty inner gremlins?  If it is an outer voice saying these things, the inner voices feed on those comments long after the outer voice has stopped talking.

Here are four simple ways to overcome those nasty gremlins:

1. Start talking to yourself

“You need to stop listening to yourself and start talking to yourself again.”

Those nasty inner gremlins are setting you up for failure.  We are what we feed our mind.  When we feed those nasty gremlins positive things, they will shrink in the corner and the good will overcome.  When we feed them something negative, you know what happens.

The bottom line is: the statements and questions you use in conversations with yourself make a huge difference in what you do, how you think, and how you feel.

Instead of questions like, “Why am I having such a hard time?” or, “Why does this always happen to me?” Try, “What just happened, and what can I take away from this?”  Ask yourself questions which are life giving not life killing. OUCH!  What we do, how we think, and how we feel are all dictated by the conversations we have with ourselves. Pay attention to those conversations and watch how your life changes.2. Celebrate Often

When was the last time you celebrated a small victory?  Or do you wait until you reach a huge milestone to celebrate?  Did you know by waiting to celebrate, you are giving those nasty inner gremlins a chance to sneak in the back door crushing your joy?

Why not celebrate everything and everyone—all the time?  It’s hard to stay discouraged when you’re constantly searching for something or someone to celebrate. The seeds of depressions have a tough time taking root in a grateful heart and the same is true with discouragement and celebration.

You have your goals set, right?  Now create smaller ones leading up to the BIG one and plan some kind of celebration when you reach a small milestone. It doesn’t have to be elaborate—just give yourself a reward for making progress.  Then watch for others who are hitting their small milestones, and recognize them when they do. When you acknowledge an achievement others are overlooking or discounting in their own lives, you can do wonders for their confidence.

Celebrating small wins along the way will keep you motivated and encouraged. Don’t neglect it!

3. Prune Your Negative Vines

This one can be tough but it is probably one of the most important pieces to the puzzle.  When you don’t prune unproductive branches off a fruit-bearing tree, you can’t expect much of a harvest.  The same goes for us.

We must distance ourselves from negativity. If we don’t, we stunt our own growth.  Your dreams, visions, and opportunities will always require you to become more than you currently are. In short, you must grow to achieve them.  So, how can you grow when you are surrounded by negativity?

Those outside voices feed the negativity to those nasty inner gremlins and the result is they squash your dreams saying things to discourage you.

The vision you have for your life (and your family’s life) holds more weight than other people’s opinions.  So distance yourself from negativity. Don’t listen to people whose intentions are just to slow you down.  For some, the most negative people in your life can be those who are closest to you. You can actually use these four strategies to distance yourself from them.

4. Establish Boundaries

Imagine how easy it would be for an army to capture an unprotected city. The same thing can happen to your mind if you don’t establish boundaries.  Boundaries are the castle walls surrounding your mind, preventing discouragement from walking right in and taking control.  The problem is most people are scared to set them.  I know I am sometimes.

We don’t want to offend others, so we tolerate the negative people and activities influencing our thinking and behavior. When we do this, we let their meaningless opinions take priority over our own goals and dreams.  Whom you spend time with, what you spend time doing, and what you allow in your mind will either help you overcome discouragement, or fall to its forces.

Boundaries are the only mechanism for keeping the bad stuff out and the good stuff in. If you want to overcome discouragement, boundaries are vital.  We’re all either in a crisis, coming out of a crisis, or headed for a crisis—is it just part of living life.

But, we can choose how we react to whatever life throws at us, including discouragement.  When you equip yourself with the proper defenses, you can overcome it and live the life you were made to live.

Share a time you overcame discouragement and how did you fight back?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Unclutter Your Life, Woohoo Wednesday

Let Go of the Need to Please

“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.” ~Brene Brown

It is Wednesday which means it is HUMP Day and Woohoo Wednesday.  It is the day we focus on US!  The things we like, the things we don’t like and the things we want to do better.

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How many times have you longed to hear the words “you’re so nice”? Or maybe you wait patiently (okay, impatiently) to see how many likes you will get on a post on Facebook or Instagram.  Admit it, we have all been there some time in our life.

I remember moving to a new neighborhood when I was younger.  The same town but a totally different part where I had to make new friends.  I always felt like I wasn’t pretty enough or good enough or smart enough for the popular crowd.  Sadly, those people pleasing characteristics carried over into adulthood.  Crazy, right?270910819fbd9cf830e3b735a08b7b8eI still have a habit of unconsciously putting a great deal of my energy into people pleasing. I keep the boat steady, navigating carefully so as to not make too many waves.  I dislike conflicts of any kind – mainly because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. It’s in my bones to be a peacekeeper. My comfort zone is melting into the background of things, being an observer.  I don’t want to make waves, cause trouble, or upset anyone.

All of these traits have left most people seeing me as a “nice” person. Have you ever wondered if this is really a compliment.  Is “nice” the legacy I want to leave on this world? Is it what I want to be remembered for someday? That I was “nice”? Actually – No.  Nice is sweet, accommodating and agreeable. Nice is polite. But nice does not describe what I or you believe in. It doesnn’t indicate where our boundaries are.

So what about YOU?  Is “nice” the legacy you want to leave behind?

Or do you want to be remembered as a strong and confident woman. A woman with a sense of grace and integrity.  A woman who is straightforward, authentic and very clear about her boundaries. A women who stands firmly in her own truth. A woman who has little concern about receiving approval or validation from others.  A woman who knows who she is and is completely at ease in her own skin. WOW!  I want to be her, what about you?

authentic

We need to be “authentic” and for some it is “the daily practice of letting go of who we think we are supposed to be and embracing who we are.”  We need to release our  need to please, and replace it with the courage to reveal our real and vulnerable selves.  YIKES!

#1 Reclaim your own authenticity.   To do this, we have to figure out when we are losing sight of it.  Resentment creeps in when I am playing the “people pleaser” role. It’s the first sign I am using too much energy worrying about disappointing others.

#2 What is causing the resentment?  Were you unclear about a boundary? Are you uncomfortable with a situation and you haven’t expressed your feelings to someone? Are you holding back you own feelings to avoid hurting another’s?

I have always loved to write – it is my release when it comes to stomping on the people pleasing characteristics, I tend to write a dialogue with myself. Try finishing these sentences and be specific.

1. I feel resentful because….

2. This means I haven’t been clear about something bothering me. Here is the blurred boundary…….

3. Here’s what’s okay with me….

4. Here’s what is not okay with me….

Believe it or no, when all is said and done my feelings of resentment and anger are not actually directed at another person. They are toward me. I am disappointed in myself for not staying loyal to my own values, for not giving myself the respect I so freely give out to others.

Being authentic takes courage. Learning to wade through the discomfort of setting boundaries takes risk. We risk disapproval. We risk being disliked. But I think the risk is worth it if we ultimately find respect for ourselves.

Are you ready to reclaim your authenticity. Let’s be brave, real and imperfect. Let’s be compassionate, kind and honest. Because really, aren’t these so much better than being “nice”?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Business Tips and Tricks, Home Office

The Work Week Commandments

monday morning

YEAH!  It is Monday and I am thrilled.  I worked some crazy hours the past 11 days to cover for a co-worker who was on vacation.  Thankfully, it was not every day but truth be told, I couldn’t have handled anymore.

I am ready to kick October into gear – I know we are halfway through the month but I am not giving up because it started off slow.  I had an awesome event on Saturday and I have some exciting things coming up the rest of the month in my business. When I get crazy busy and find myself spending less time than I want in my business, feelings of being unfulfilled, overwhelmed, never good enough, overstretched, and underutilized start floating around.  I received and email about setting rules for yourself to keep your workweek fulfilling, productive, purposeful, and joyful along the way and wanted to share it with you.

Are you interested in hearing more?  These tips came from Jen Carrington and are part of her The Intuitive Workweek program. You can refer back to whenever you start to doubt your natural instincts, or fear you’re not good enough, or when you’re feeling stuck and overwhelmed in the daily routine.

These are Jen’s workweek commandments, rooted in her own vision and desires for her workday. Hopefully, they encourage you to know you have permission to work in a different way.

1. No matter what gets done today, I am enough

My self-worth is not defined by how productive I am each day. It doesn’t serve me to live in a culture where being enough is hinged on an external source of validation. No matter what gets done and is left undone, I am committed to living in a culture of enough in my work and my life.  So true for me too!

2. Be in this for the long haul, not for the instant gratification

If I pursue instant gratification alone, I will never build strong foundations in my business and my life. I’m in this journey for the long haul and I will sow seeds now I can reap along the way, instead of obsessing over instant wins on a daily basis.  Me too!

3. Leave people better than I found them

Whether it’s through the work I do with my clients, a simple email exchange, or through the content I share online, my core goal is to show up and always play a positive and encouraging part in someone else’s day. In every interaction I have in my business, I want it to be the guiding focus.  Me too!

4. I have to live it to give it

I cannot truly be of service if I’m running on an empty tank. I cannot encourage and support others to live a wholehearted, fulfilling, and impactful creative life if I’m not also doing it myself. My number one job is to live what I’m here to give, so I can truly show up and be of service along the way.  WOW!

5. Show up wholeheartedly each and every workday

When I’m showing up in my business, I want to do it with a whole heart. I want to show up 100% and give the best I can give that day. There’s no room for a half-heart in this journey. Showing up wholeheartedly isn’t the same as hustling myself into the ground for the sake of it; it’s honoring the energy I am able to give to my work and showing up fully when I’m working in my business.

Although, many may apply to you, it is important each of us look for our own work week commandments.  Here are some questions to ask yourself to find yours:

  • What boundaries, mindsets, and mantras do I want to guide me each workday?
  • What core values do I want to honor when I show up in my business?
  • What do I want to remind myself of each workday so I can run my business in a way that feels good to me?

Does your daily grind feel far from dreamy and productive?  I have been there, done that and got the t-shirt.  Today, I am focusing on discovering a better and more joyful way to work in my business. You can choose to be more. You can make brave and bold steps forward towards a life which works for you.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Unclutter Your Life

WOMEN ROCK!

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Do I have your attention?  When did it become ok for women to put everyone else’s needs first?  Admit it, we all do it.  As a result, we are frustrated, grumpy, tired and not getting anything done on our list.

It happens because we as women wear many hats – wife, mom, daughter, business owner, employee, taxi driver (you know the mom taxi) and the list goes on. It seems everyone needs us.

In order to avoid conflict and not hurt anyone’s feelings we neglect our own needs and put ourselves on the back burner.  This is not emotionally or mentally healthy. Many of us have become a people pleasers.

There are five things you can start doing NOW to make your needs a priority without feeling guilty.

#1 START SAYING NO

Did you know every time someone asks you to do something, you’re not obligated to say yes?  I know a novel concept, right?  You have a right to say no if it’s not something you really want to do. And you don’t owe anyone an explanation, NO is a complete sentence.

We struggle with this because we don’t want to disappoint anyone and we want to keep peace.  The truth is when we say yes every time someone asks us to do something we are saying no to what we want to accomplish. We get stuck when we say yes to everyone but ourselves. Ask yourself, would the people you’re are constantly helping out do the same for you?

I’ll admit this is challenging, however it gets better with time.  If people genuinely care about you they will respect your response.

#2 SET BOUNDARIES

We have a tendency to spread ourselves too thin and we end up blaming others instead of taking responsibility for our actions.

“A lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect.” If you don’t set boundaries, you can’t be mad when people cross the line.

Start setting boundaries by being honest with yourself and acknowledging how you feel. Pay attention to what’s causing you to feel like boundaries have been crossed. Acknowledge those emotions, even if it is hard.  If you feel like someone has crossed the line, express how you feel to the person who you feel crossed the line. Be a grown-up and have an open, honest conversation.

#3 CREATE ME TIME

Yes, I can see the eyes rolling and with it comes the excuses.  Self-care is not optional, it is important for your personal growth.  When you think of self-care, you think of getting your hair done, retail therapy and mani/pedis, right?  Self-care is more about taking care of your mental, emotional and physical health.

Practicing self-care isn’t selfish, you deserve to block time for you the same way you block time for everyone else.

#4 DUMP THE HEAD TRASH

Did you know we have 50,000 thoughts per day?  Of those thoughts, how many negative thoughts race through on any given day?  When you feed your brain negativity then you can’t produce anything positive.

You are good enough. You are capable of great things. You’re not too old. You’re not too young. You don’t have to be defined by your past. You’re not a failure.  You become what you believe and it’s up to you to begin to shift your thinking.

When you have a negative thought switch it to something positive.  Start affirming the woman you want to become.

#5 MAKE A HAPPY LIST

Do you know what makes you happy? What brings you joy each day?  I don’t know about you but I struggle answering this.  I challenge you to create a list of 50 things that make you happy and be intentional every day to do something off your list. It doesn’t have to be anything big just whatever brings you joy.

Here’s what makes me happy (not in any particular order): Starbucks, the beach, family, doing puzzles, road trips… you get the picture, right?

So I want you to

Say yes to your dreams.

Say yes to your goals.

Say yes to putting you first.

Say yes to doing things that make you happy.

Say yes to change.

Say yes to loving yourself.

Say yes to living the life you were created to live.

Say yes to being free.

If you want to practice some self-care, come visit me tomorrow at the Asbury Park Convention Hall at the WOMEN ROCK event….

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It’s a free event full of information, shopping and just hanging out with some of your friends.  Hope to see you there.  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

MS will Not Define Me

How To Have Less Stress

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are” – Theodore Roosevelt

TGIF!  Thank God it’s Friday… that is the chant that I hear far and wide?  This week has been a challenge for me on so many levels.

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I have been stomping on the inner gremlins of fear and doubt all week.  I have been struggling with stepping out of my comfort zone.  I have been worrying about pleasing people around me – doctors, family, friends, my team and my customers. I have had doubt about business decisions.  I have had fear when it comes to finances. Lots of stress.

Since stress is a key trigger in my MS, I am always on the hunt to eliminate it.  The thing is that many times, I don’t know that I am feeling stressed.  You know what I mean, right?  You think the day is going just fine when someone asks “are you okay?” or someone says “you sound annoyed (or snarky or angry)” or better yet they ask “why are you so stressed”?  Or worse, you SNAP at something someone says.  SMACK!!! This is when I know that I’m stressed.

Here are some things that have been helping me to eliminate stress personally and in my business:

  • Honoring my boundaries: Being a recovering people pleaser, setting boundaries in both my work and my life is a big deal.  Then top it off with trying to honor them.  Can you say stressful?  So, I have been planning out my days in my planner and sticking to my schedule.  That even means scheduling time for social media, sleep, office hours and even meals.  Maintaining boundaries and learning to say no relieves stress and the inner gremlin of guilt.
  • Getting outside:   I am so excited about the weather changing so I can go outside for just a few minutes to bask in the beauty of day.  Yes, I love being my own boss and working from home but then I get a little stir crazy.  I need people contact.  I’ve found that getting out plays a huge part in reducing the stress.  I love the idea of working from a local coffee shop or taking a walk around the neighborhood at those key times when people are walking their dogs.  I don’t have a dog to walk but it gives me a chance to engage in conversation with people.  It’s easy for me to stay inside and get lost in my computer but when I break my routine and engage with people,  I am happier, healthier and less stressed.
  • Finding joy, fulfilment, and creativity outside of my work: This is actually tough for me – a struggling workaholic.  I get obsessed with work – or the busyness of work.  This is why setting boundaries are so important.  My diagnosis of MS has been a blessing.  I am forced to STOP and take time for other things.  Why fight it, right?  The truth after a break, when I return to my desk/office, I am more creative and energized.  Scheduling time for lunch with hubby, spending time with friends and family or just working on my puzzle clears the head and brings me joy.  In other words, letting myself be instead of obsessing over work and the responsibilities that come with it is a stress reliever.

As the warmer weather approaches and life changes, stress creeps back into our lives.  I’m sure that I’m not the only one needing less stress and more joy in their life right now.  I am always surprised that as I prioritize  others joy and their wellbeing; I give myself permission to do the same.

What will you do this weekend, to reduce stress while creating more joy in your work and your life?  Share with us your best tips.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!