Hope Wissel, Recovery

How To Sparkle

sparkle

 

This week starts my first “official week” at the gym.  Last week was all about talking to people about my goals, setting up a personal trainer and getting a schedule in place…..  I actually put it in my planner so I don’t blow it off.

Despite my best efforts those inner gremlins have been trying to rear their nasty heads.  They still seem to hang around but are becoming weaker as I spend more time in recovery working the steps….

Let’s face it, we all have inner gremlins.  Have you ever wondered how you can prevent the “inner gremlin” of low self-esteem from creeping in and setting up camp?  Have you ever felt like “I’m not good enough”?  Have you ever thought “I can’t do that”?  Tidbits of negative beliefs creep in every day even when we least expect it.  Let me tell you, when the personal trainer said “one week we will be working in the pool”, I was ready to jump ship!  I was all of a sudden self-conscious about my “jiggle thighs”.  I was worried what people would think.  I wanted to shout “do you  know the last time I was in a pool or even put on a bathing suit????”  She saw the look I gave her.  She asked what my greatest fear was. Then she suggested shorts with a tank top to get over my “fear” of being seen in a bathing suit. Yup, in 3 weeks I will be doing exercises in the pool….

For some, they could quickly slam the door on those inner gremlins.  Others let the negative thought simmer for a moment before kicking it to the curb. Then there are some of us who let the negative thought of “I’m not good enough” ruin their entire day.  So where do you fall in the spectrum of stomping out this inner gremlin?  I will admit, I can fall into anyone of those places on any given day.

When self-doubt creeps in here are some tips which might help:

1. Remember “Life is perfectly imperfect”.

Strive for personal excellence instead of perfection.  I know, I should practice what I preach, right?  When we try to be perfect, we set ourself up for failure and Negative Nelly starts to creep in.  Look for YOUR personal best and when you reach it – CELEBRATE!  Recovery and MS has taught me so much about this.  I do  my best – I don’t (or at least try not to most days) compare myself to others.  Yes, I am going to  celebrate the fact I even getting in the pool.  I actually had a dream where the pool was one of my favorite things to do at the gym.  Don’t worry I will keep you posted.

2. Positive thinking is your decision.

Yes, you get to decide if you want to allow positive thinking to come to your rescue when negativity is banging on the door.  To turn things around… you must have faith, release the fear (let it go…. yes, you can sing the Frozen song if it helps), and focus on the solution. Positive thinking can improve any situation, no matter how awful it may appear.  The positive aspect of the pool (my focus) and going to the gym is to help my muscles stay strong to fight the MS AND drop a few pounds or at least tone up some.

3. Everyone makes mistakes!

Yes, EVERYONE! The real truth is mistakes teach us and allow us to grow. Mistakes are evidence we are trying and doing the best we can.  As we learn and grow from our mistakes, we begin to see more success in our life. Success takes work and mistakes are part of it.  There is a sign I pass every day in front of a local shop which says “We learn from our failures not our successes”.  Focusing on my relapse and what I “coulda, shoulda, woulda” had is not going to help.  I have learned MANY lessons, gotten a little older (okay a lot) and accept my mistakes.  Do you accept your mistakes or do you beat yourself up?

4. Be kind and gentle with yourself.

This has been one of the toughest things for me to learn!  I have to believe I am doing the best I can and so are you.  Your light is shining, no matter how small the flame.  Think of a flower garden – every flower blooms at it’s own pace and shows it’s unique beauty. Continue reaching for the light, and much like the flower, your life will come into bloom as well.  It may not happen as quickly as you (or I) want it but it will happen.

5. You deserve your own unconditional love and forgiveness.

“Be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.”- Max Ehrmann

Letting go is not easy.  Some days it is easier for me because I can’t remember.  Hubby has always said it is God’s way of helping me forget some of the pain.  By letting go of bitterness, resentment and negative feelings; you can move to forgiving yourself for past mistakes. Forgiveness allows you to “love YOU no matter what”. It will lead you to more positive feelings of understanding, compassion and empathy, allowing you to embrace the experience.  On the days I LOVE me, all is right with the world.

6. You can’t always change things, but you can ALWAYS change the way you look at things.

This moment, this negative thought was created by a collection of past thoughts, words and actions.  The bottom line is times can get tough – but you need to believe you’re tougher. When I struggle to remember The Serenity Prayer helps to keep me in check:

When you believe you ARE good enough to create the life you desire, and you believe YOU ARE good enough to make it through any situation…….AMAZING things happen.  The way you look at things suddenly change, and before you know it, your reality positively changes with it.

Now, who said you’re not good enough? Have a blessed day!

Hope Wissel, Recovery

Peace Within

Hi blog followers….. I still haven’t figured out the road I want to take with my blog but this was on my heart today…,  Are you wondering “how can she did she get peace within”? LOL.  I have been wondering the same question.

I have 21 months clean today. I have a calmness I haven’t felt in a REALLY long time.  Is everything perfect in my life?  NOPE!  Honestly, what in life is perfect?  The difference has been my daily practice of the first three NA steps .Actually, I am grateful for a strong third step which says “We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him”.

On those moments I’m alone at home or driving in the car admiring the beauty of the sky, I think about how peaceful life has become.  I am grateful for my relapse. No, I am not grateful for the pain and heartache it caused. BUT it has helped me in so many ways to really appreciate the gift of life.  It has helped me to put my life with MS in perspective and not let it control me.

Over the last few weeks, I have been blessed with a clear head and vey little brain fog.  I have completed physical and occupational therapy – actually graduated out because I was doing so well. YEAH!!  Planning our vacation in April.  Clearing out the clutter so we can put the condo on the market by early summer.  Creating new angel designs.  Tracking my food even though the scale doesn’t seem to be moving much.  Sadly, I had to find a new sponsor which has its growing pains.  LOL. I am taking it one day at a time and enjoying whatever life brings.

Whether you are in recovery or not, here are some simple steps to help you find peace within…

Stop Thinking about Your Past. … 

I will admit for me this is a little easier than for most.  I don’t remember a lot of things –  thank you MS.  I have let go of the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” kind of thinking.  I have stopped beating myself up for the mistakes I made which I can’t change.  Yes, I have regrets.  Yes, I get sad about broken relationships. Yes, the pain and heartache I caused is in my thoughts.  The difference is, I don’t focus on them.  I have faith relationships will be healed.  Definitely not in my time but when God sees fit to make it happen (I will be ready).  I stop focusing on the past and am enjoying the moment of today.

Don’t Push Yourself Hard for Something. …

As not only a recovering addict BUT also a recovering workaholic, this can be tough.  MS has taught me many things – don’t push yourself too hard because you will crash and burn (okay, not literally).  Do I still have goals?  Yup.  The difference now is I am enjoying the journey and where it takes me.  See, God has a plan for my life (and yours) so why not just let it unfold.  This can be rough for a planner (an old grant writing habit).  You can still set goals but don’t push so hard you forget about….

Spend Quality Time with Loved Ones.

Loved ones can be family, friends or someone who are important in your life.  I am learning to enjoy the quiet times. Don’t get me wrong, I always enjoyed spending time with loved ones.  The difference is NOW I am in the moment focusing on them and our time together.  I no longer am thinking about the next thing I need to do.  I am grateful for time with hubby – looking forward to his retirement.  I am grateful for the days (not as many as I would like) I get to spend with momma.  I am grateful for the time spent with my fellow women in recovery.  Are there some I don’t get to spend quality time with?  YUP!  Do I mess them?  ABSOLUTELY!  Still I am at peace.  I can’t control others so fix, managing and controlling everything is a quality I have learned to let go of (there are still some days – LOL). I know in time, the day will come when I will get to spend quality time with ALL my loved ones.

Lastly, focus your attention on those things you can control. …

I have always been a peacekeeper, really “a people pleaser”.  I stuffed my feelings when they didn’t agree with what others thought or did.  I tried to fix, manage and control things.  It was how I hid my feelings as well as my addiction.  If I am focusing on others, I didn’t have to think about me. YIKES!  It used to scare the hell out of me.  I didn’t know who I was.  I didn’t like me.  NOW, I am grateful for being able to look inside and see me (most days).  Yes, there are still days I don’t ‘like myself.  There are days the number on the scale makes me crazy despite my best efforts.  The difference is now, I focus on the things I can control.  I watch what I eat  since eating healthier makes me feel better despite the scale.  I talk to others when those inner gremlins creep in instead of stuffing them behind a closed door.  I wake up asking for guidance and go to sleep being grateful for the day.

A long post but I know in my heart someone needed to hear it.  Have a blessed day!

 

Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Looking For the Good


Thank you Mary Southerland for today’s message…

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works (Ephesians 2:10, NIV).

As an elementary school teacher, I am fairly certain I learned a whole lot more than my students did. My first fulltime teaching position was in a school of 900 students, K3 through second grade.

As I read over the files of my students, I was appalled at the labels that had been attached to these kids by their previous teachers. At the ripe old age of six, these children were described as corrupt, bad, failures, impossible to control … and one child was actually pronounced “stupid.” I was furious! I was also determined to change the way the children saw themselves. I pulled out all the stops to help them understand how special they were, but “Star of the Day” was by far the most successful.

First, I bought a piece of yellow foam board, cut out a huge star, decorated it with glitter, used adhesive letters to write “Star of the Day,” and attached it to my classroom door. I then took a picture of each student in my classroom. Each day, I chose a student to be the Star of the Day and attached his or her photo to the star. I also made a badge that read “Star of the Day” which the student wore all day long. My husband built a special desk, painted it gold, attached dime store jewels and streamers, and mounted the desk to a small platform. The Star of the Day sat on their “throne” all day.

The Star of the Day was my personal assistant, handing out papers, running errands, sharpening pencils … whatever I needed done. The other students watched the Star to see all of the good things he or she did. It could be something as simple as picking up a dropped pencil … or opening the door … or being especially nice to someone who was struggling.

At the end of the day, I gathered all of the children in a circle around the Star of the Day. Each student shared one good thing they had seen the Star do that day. No negative comments were allowed. And every student had to participate. It was amazing to watch the transformation in the students as they learned to look for the good in each other and share it with others.

We need to do the same with the people in our world. We need to look for the good things in each other … not the bad. We need to be quick to draw attention to the worthy things we see each other do and applaud those things.

Our words should be filled with acceptance and approval. We need to be cautious with criticism and liberal with praise.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 “So encourage each other to build each other up.”

People become what we encourage them to be. We need to train our hearts and minds to pass over faults in search of strong points. We should choose to draw the strong qualities of others into the spotlight.

We really can learn to look for reasons in each other to praise God. Everyone needs a cheerleader. When we choose to look for the good in each other, an amazing transformation happens. Our perspective of people changes, but that is not all. The people in our world begin to see themselves differently – the way Jesus sees them, precious and chosen – like a star of the day.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel

Is it time for a break?

The summer is half over and what have you done?  Have you been a Vacation Veronica?  Have you enjoyed family and friends but dread what will happen when you open your calendar for the fall?  OR have you been crazy busy and are in desperate need of a break?

Maybe the question should be, whether or not you’ll take time for a break.  Today, we are living life at a faster pace.  Everyone is offering us ways to save time with more tech gadgets.   Instead of freeing up our time, they  have us trying to figure our how much more we can accomplish with the time saved. I sometimes feel like I’m on a treadmill which keeps increasing speed.   Moving faster but not always sure how much I am actually getting done.  Are you wondering if you need a break?  Here are a few signs it’s time to take a break.

1. You are busy but not productive.

You know what I mean, right?.  You’re doing stuff, just not the most important stuff. You’re shifting papers but definitely not moving forward.  If this is you, take a break. Refocus. Restart.

2. You are irritable, even when nothing particularly stressful is happening.

Do you have a sour attitude?  What I mean is, do you feel frustrated, or unsatisfied in you job? Chances are there’s something hiding beneath the surface. Usually anger— even the quiet, passive-aggressive type – is a sign boundaries have been crossed. Are you stuffing your feelings?  Resentment emerges when we don’t speak up, ask for help, or make a necessary change.  This is probably one of my biggest character defects.

3. You just accomplished a big goal.

Did you know our energy is depleted after we accomplish a big goal?  I always thought it was the opposite.  Studies show, we are more effective and able to work towards future goals when we give our minds and bodies a chance to recover.  This allows our energy to be replenished for the next big goal. When you finish a major project – Celebrate. Relax. Rejuvenate. Then move on.

4. Your body hurts.

Your body will give you warning signs. I don’t mean the aches from old age (yup, my big complaint). I mean things like chronic back or neck pain, headaches, and fatigue.  Don’t ignore them.  These are usually the ways your body is trying to tell you something. Listen. If you don’t, there could be long-term consequences ahead.

5. You’re dreaming about work.

This was me when I was working…. I was forever dreaming of projects, and deadlines.  Now working for myself I am able to walk away from things (sometimes).  No matter what, it’s a definite sign some downtime is LONG overdue.

6. You haven’t had a break in a while.

Are you thinking, none of those apply to me?  Guess what?  Even if they don’t and you haven’t had time off in awhile, it is time to take a break!  It could simply be ten minutes every couple of hours, a day of downtime every week (unplug), and a vacation or personal days for fun time every few months will make you far more productive—and far happier—than working nonstop.

Give yourself a break!  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Business Tips and Tricks

What’s Your PR Strategy?

When we talk about PR, what is the first thing you think about?  By definition, “public relations” is the professional maintenance of a favorable public image by a company or other organization or a famous person.  
For most in direct sales, we figure we are our company, right?  If someone knows the product, they know we sell it – done!  The truth is good PR will help you develop and grow relationships, being known as the “tops in your field”, and land on your feet quickly should you ever find yourself out of work (or your direct sales company closing their doors)..
It’s not about being a pushy sales person, it’s about being a person who people trust.  People buy from those they respect, trust and know.  It’s about people knowing YOU, what your stand for and who you are NOT just about the products you sell..

 

1. All PR is not good PR.

I know can you believe it!  I used to think as long as people were taking about me, good or bad, it was okay.  For celebrities, it might work.  I mean they get book deals and new TV shows, but it rarely works in the real world (our world).  Drama does not make for good business.   Not sure about something,  stay quiet until you get your facts straight. Be intentional about the image you present. Protect it. Polish it. Then, present it.

2. Communicate your wins consistently.

Businesses put out press releases. We should too. This is on my “to do” list for this fiscal year.  You can call them whatever you want BUT you have to communicate!   What better way to recruit new team members or gather customers than by sharing your success.  No, it isn’t bragging if you consistently communicate with people.  When I achieve a goal, I thank my customers because they are the reason I achieved it.   When you work for someone else, you keep them in the loop, right?  It is the same thing for your customers in direct sales.  Let them know how things are going then they never have to wonder if you are still in business.

3. Collaborate and celebrate others.

Being in direct sales, celebrating our accomplishments may feel like shameless self-promotion, right?  Focus on the relationships!  When you celebrate your wins and those of your team,  you are strengthening relationships, and building trust.  Did you honestly accomplish your goal on your own?  Chances are NO!  So build those connections which will help you to reach your goals, quickly and easily with the help of those around you.

4. Stay positive and share your business tips.

In direct sales, we want our communication to be intentional – sharing our progress and ideas.  The key is for others to know what you do is duplicatable.  I tell everyone my business is an open book.  Want to know something – ASK!  I don’t share gossip about others and I definitely will not be the one complaining online about the company I represent when I get frustrated. Stay positive on the outside even if you are fuming on the inside.  There is no better way to kill your business then by complaining about a problem to others.

5. Be kind. Be bold.

Nice is bland and often not even authentic.  Instead, focus on being kind and gracious to people. Tell the truth, but in a gentle and loving way when you tell it. Being arrogant, disrespectful, or obnoxious to get your point across could eventually cause you to lose customers and team members.  One of the top strengths of a good leader is love and compassion. To stand out, be bold in your own unique way. Leaders know when to take a stand instead of following the crowd.  The result will be,  soon the crowd—and the opportunities—will be following you.

What will your PR campaign look like during the next few months?  Share your ideas with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!