Unclutter Your Life

Throwback Thursday: Dream Big

I was scrolling through old blog posts for inspiration.  Sometimes I get stuck – wondering what to write about or if any one would notice if I recycled an old post then SMACK, I remember I would would know the difference.  Sometimes an old post pertains to what is happening now in my life so it could stand another look…

Back in 2014, St. Pauls’ UMC did a church-wide study during Lent called “Daring to Dream”.  Back then, I was in the midst of letting fear keep me from letting my dreams soar.  Funny, I am back in the same spot and I am not even sure why.

On Easter Sunday, Pastor gave a sermon entitled “Dream Busters – Dream Builders” which in a nutshell was about faith, hope and the love of Christ which enables us to fly on the wings of God’s dreams for us.  I looked back at my notes from the sermon and at the book we were reading and it was yet another wake up call for me.  I say it a lot but God is always working in my life, allowing me glimpses of what he has in store for me.   Yes, I get scared but not scared enough to keep me from reaching for those dreams. Sometimes it is just enough fear to keep me focused and working towards his dreams for me.Here are the three dream busters which keep us from reaching our full potential:

  1. Yesterday’s failures. I know I am not alone in allowing the shackles of guilt and shame to continue to bind me. Of course, not as often as they used to but guilt about past mistakes do continue to haunt me.  I rehash the mistake over and over until I finally turn it over to God and let it go.  Sound familiar?
  2. Today’s frustration.  Are my personal expectations too high? YES! Do I compare myself to others (personally and professionally)? YES!  Perfect Polly creeps in on occasion and convinces me if I’m not “perfect”, I will never achieve my dreams. WRONG! It is NOT about perfection, it is about the journey. One of my favorite mantras.
  3. Tomorrow fears. Some days, I don’t even know what I am fearful of – fear of success, fear of not measuring up, fear of disappointing others or fear of failing?  Or is fear just an excuse for not trying?

Once we know what is busting our dreams, when can figure out how to change the dream busters into dream builders?

  1. Doubts dispelled. I need to remind myself daily with God all things are possible. Remember the mustard seed? I keep a mustard seed jar close (a gift from my Director) to remind me of this message.  Because as long as you have a small amount of faith, things are possible.
  2. Despair dispersed with confidence and hope.  I never realized what a control person I was until someone called me on it.  Let Go and Let God because he alone can provide for our needs.  Really?  It goes back to faith as small as a mustard seed.  Be confident God will provide for our needs.  He will also be there to wrap his arms around us and give us hope when we feel weak.
  3. Security of Love. Have you ever doubted God’s love?  Be honest!  I know in my darkest days, I wondered how he could possible love me.  The truth is God’s love has lifted me up from the depths of addiction along with my sometimes shady past and he continues to love me on a daily basis.

Are these some of the barriers holding you back from dreaming BIG? I have found as long as I open my heart to God and his love, I am able to DARE to DREAM.  Pause for a moment and think about your dream.  Picture it.  Feel the feelings you would have if you reached it.  Haven’t dreamed in a long time?  It may take some practice but be still and listen to your heart.

What are your barriers to dreaming big? Share them with us…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Unclutter Your Life

Success Your Way

“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth” – Henry David Thoreau

There are four definitions for success in the Oxford Dictionary:

  1. The accomplishment of an aim or purpose:
  2. The attainment of fame, wealth, or social status
  3. A person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains fame, wealth, etc
  4. The good or bad outcome of an undertaking

What is your definition of success?  Is it a cookie cutter picture like others in your life or is it uniquely you?

My picture used to be cookie cutter.  In a nutshell, it was be the top in my field, make “big bucks”, make a difference in the lives of others and live happily ever after. When I became successful and a Chief Operating Officer of a non-profit, I didn’t feel like a success.  I couldn’t or didn’t want to see myself as others saw me.  I was content to be in the corner letting others receive the accolades.

When I entered the world of direct sales, my picture of success was a cookie cutter.  Yup, I am a people pleaser and didn’t really think about what I wanted.  I had forgotten how to dream and define success for me.  Over the last six months, things have changed.  I can’t explain it.  I don’t know if it is a result of the health issues or creeping up on 60 years old or whether I am just seeing myself as others see me.

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I have done a lot of digging, and I want my success to be defined as what feels fulfilling and meaningful to me.  Ultimately, the traditional definition of success just does not feed my soul or offer any long term fulfilment and joy – for me.  Traditional markers of success are about how the world perceives us and seldom takes into consideration how we feel about ourselves, our life or our work.

I have played the comparison game and so have you, where we have compromised our health, our relationships, and our wellbeing to reach someone else’s definition of success. We have ignored our own values so we could be accepted by others instead of building our own success dream. As a result, we find ourselves with a life which is exhausting and unfulfilling.

Building your own approach to success isn’t easy.  I regularly battle with Negative Nellie and Perfect Polly.  They are the inner gremlins who want me to continue to be a cookie cutter model of success.  How have I began building my own approach to success? I want to share with you some things which have helped me to find some peace in my world:

Contentment: Do I feel satisfied in my day-to-day life? Even when the stressors and challenges can’t be avoided, am I content with how I am spending my days?

Purpose:  Is my life all about me or is it bigger than just myself and my own needs? Am I am contributing to the world in a way which fulfills my purpose in life?

Passion: Am I excited about my work and my life? Am I eager to get up and start the day?

Joy: Am I happy with my life?  Maybe not every single second of every single day, but do I find joy and pleasure in my life on a regular basis?

Stability: Am I financially stable? Am I making smart decisions with my finances?

Personal growth: Am I open to changing, and growing in my life? Am I becoming the best version of me?

Devotion: Am I committed to what matters most in my life?  Am I giving 100% to the  priorities in my life?

Peace: Am I at peace in my day-to-day life, even when things may not be going as planned? Am I staying connected to my core values, to live an intentional life?

Authenticity: Am I showing up, in both my work and life, fully and 100% myself? Am I owning my story and living in my truth?

Remember these are my markers for how I am redefining success in my life.  Truth be told, I don’t live up to these every single day, BUT I am a work in progress not looking for perfection.  I’m learning to shift the focus from worrying about how others perceive my life to focusing more on how I feel about my life.

Tell us what success looks like to you…. no cookie cutter answers.  What questions would you yourself when fears of “am I successful?” and “am I good enough?” creep in?

Have a ThirtyOne-derufl day!