Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday: My Story

Today I am thankful for my story….

There was a time when I was Negative Nellie, looking at my past and not liking myself very much.  I’m sure I am not alone, right? My story is a bit messy – addiction, relapse, recovery, and a whole lot in between but it is the story which made me the person I am today.  There are days when I don’t like the way I look or sit on the “pity pot” because of circumstances BUT for today, I am grateful for all of these things.  I am even learning to like myself, a little bit at a time.

I recently re-read a blog post by LYSA TERKEURST entitled “Learn to Love Your Story“.  It is helping me to change my perspective every day but especially on those days when Negative Nellie comes for a visit.

She talks about loving your story – your life – being content in the moment and enjoying it! WOW!  This week has been an emotional roller coaster and I am not sure I even know why.  No major fiascos, no crisis – just little hiccups which quickly sent me on a road less traveled (okay so maybe it is traveled a little bit more than I want it to be).

It is strange but I can almost tell when I wake up, if I am going to love my story day.  Crazy, right?  Hubby always ask for a warning or a text alert message.  Thankfully, I am starting to share how I feel without getting snarky.  On those days I  STOP, take a breathe and regroup.  Praising and thanking God for my life… my story.  See I forget sometimes.  My life may not be a story book or full of lots of happy endings but it is MY story.  It is the life he gave to me.

Hubby and I were talking the other day about just this thing.  We were reminiscing about days gone by.  I have no regrets nor does he because it is because of those things we are blessed to be in each other’s lives today.  We had our struggles.  We had our heartache.  We had our joys.  Life wasn’t perfect but we got through it to get us where we are today.  The struggles still come but now we try to look at the differently – together.  I’m learning this time around in recovery, marriage is a joint effort and I don’t have to carry things all on my own.

Lysa talked about “pre-deciding” to LOVE her story.  NOTE to self: change my point of reference BEFORE the day begins.  Stop thinking about the “what if” and “predicting” what may happen in any given situation.

I decided I would look at it all through the lens of noticing the rich evidence of life through each mess and mishap.

Did I do it all perfectly? Nope, not at all.

But even if we choose to be noticers with thankful hearts just once today, we’ll start to look at our stories in a different way.

A more beautiful way.

So I whispered, “Notice. Be a noticer. See all the fun represented here and thank God for these moments.”  Noticers see the lovely in front of them and learn to love their story.

What might happen if you pre-determined to look through the lens of lovely today?

Thank you Lysa for reminding me to look through the “lens of lovely” today.

Have a blessed day!

Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday: The Lens of Lovely

I  re-visited a blog I read some time ago by LYSA TERKEURST.  It changed my perspective on things a few years ago, and right about now, I could use a change in perspective when it comes to my weight and view of myself.  The blog was entitled  “Learn to Love Your Story“.  I am hoping it will chase  Negative Nellie away when it comes to how I view my body and my weight.  A change in perspective will help me get motivated and back on track to lose the few pounds I have gained…

Lysa talks about loving your story – your life – being content in the moment and enjoying it! WOW!  Most days I do love my life but then there are those curve ball weeks.  An emotional roller coaster and I am not sure why.  No major fiascos, no crisis – just little hiccups which quickly send me on a road less traveled (okay so maybe it is traveled a little bit more than I want it to be).  You know the journey with Negative Nelly where you struggle to see the light at the end of the rainbow?

Since starting my recover journey again, I can almost tell when I wake up, if I am going to love my story for the day.  Crazy, right?  Of course, I should carry a warning notice around my neck which was “STOP! NOT A GOOD DAY!”.  Send out a text alert to friends and family so they know to stay away.  LOL.  The reality is, on those days  I need to STOP, take a breathe and regroup.  The Serenity Prayer and the Third Step Prayer have become my go to for getting some peace in my life.  I need to then praise and thank God for my life… my story.  See I forget that sometimes.  My life may not be a story book or full of lots of happy endings but it is MY story.  It is the life God gave me or at least he tries to keep me on the right road when I take my will back.

Memories are hard for me.  But there are days when hubby and I talk about the past – reminiscing about days gone by.  I have no regrets nor does he because it is because of those things we are blessed to be in each other’s lives today.  We had our struggles.  We had our heartache.  We had our joys.  Life wasn’t perfect but we got through it to get us where we are today.  The struggles still come but now we try to look at the differently – together.  I am grateful for the times he helps me to remember by playing a song or sharing a picture.

Lysa talked about “pre-deciding” she would LOVE her story.  NOTE to self: change my point of reference BEFORE the day begins.  Stop thinking about the “what if” and “predicting” what may happen in any given situation.  I am learning to live in the moment thankful for being able on some days (working towards all days) to live without expectations.

I decided I would look at it all through the lens of noticing the rich evidence of life through each mess and mishap.

Did I do it all perfectly? Nope, not at all.

But even if we choose to be noticers with thankful hearts just once today, we’ll start to look at our stories in a different way.

A more beautiful way.

I remembered our key verse, Philippians 1:3, where Paul says “I thank my God every time I remember you.” I have plenty of reminders each day to thank God for the people in my life. To rejoice over every piece of my story. Starting with those shoes.

So I whispered, “Notice. Be a noticer. See all the fun represented here and thank God for these moments.”

Noticers see the lovely in front of them and learn to love their story.

What might happen if you pre-determined to look through the lens of lovely today?

Thank you Lysa for reminding me to look through the “lens of lovely” today.  What are you thankful for today?  Share it with us so we can all celebrate together.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Unclutter Your Life

Three Inspirational Words

I am a HUGE fan of Andy Andrews.  If you haven’t read any of his books, you need to! They will make a lasting impression on your life, I guarantee it!  He is the inspiration for today’s blog.

Think about the last time you were discouraged – in your business, or in your life. Feeling discouraged, you probably had little energy and let things go.  As a result, you considered quitting.  Maybe you were convinced the best part of your life was over or you began to isolate.  Have you or someone you know described their situation as discouraging or maybe even felt like a personal failure?  We’ve all been there, if only for a moment, right?

At our low points, the first thing we do is search for words to inspire us.  Thousands search Google every day for inspirational words.  What are we hoping to find?  The magic wand, right?  Actually, we are either:

  1. Hoping to inspire someone, or
  2. Hoping to have someone recognize our own need to be inspired.

The truth is “inspirational words” are rather useless. Yup, I said it!  Someone who really wants change or be motivated is really looking for tangible results.  Inspiration by definition is the process of being mentally stimulated to do a certain thing which means it is a word used to stimulate someone toward a specific outcome.

How often when we doubt ourselves, have we been “stop telling yourself you can’t…because you can!”.  How effective were those words? Not very I’m sure.  Think about these:

#1: YET!

The word “yet” is filled with hope for the future.  It can be annoying when someone says it especially when we are wallowing in a pity party,  The power of YET is true. And it’s why YET always wins in the end.  You need to harness the power of YET.

No matter what you say “can’t to” when you add “yet” to the end of the statement it changes from a negative to a positive statement. Things just haven’t happened “YET”

  • You can’t play the guitar…yet.
  • You can’t catch fly balls…yet.
  • I’m not comfortable in front of a lot of people.…yet.

#2: PROUD

This word is designed to erase doubt about whether or not you are “on the right track”.  Maybe no one ever has ever said these words to you?  Sadly, far too many have never heard these words.  No matter how much success you have without these words being spoken by someone – you are missing the impact it will have on you and your life.

The truth is, it doesn’t take much effort to “be proud” of a person.  My mission every day is to make a difference in the lives of others – so I am always on the look out for people —young and old, rich and poor—who rarely, if ever, experience the satisfaction and joy of having another person express gratitude and amazement at the life they are leading.  The inspiration provided by the word PROUD can’t be measured.

If no one has told you, let me be the first to say “I am proud of you. I am proud for you. I am proud of the person you have become and of who you are becoming. I am proud of the difference you are making in this world, for this world, and for the people of this world.”

#3: IMAGINE

This word has no limits attached to it.  Its power exists in the four dimensions—height, width, depth, and time.  When you embrace this word, you can take “nothing” and turn it into “something.”  This word provides the greatest degree of hope and control.

While YET is an adverb encouraging patience with one’s progress and PROUD is an adjective that acknowledges what one has already done or become…IMAGINE is an action verb….

Imagine describes an action you can (and must) choose to engage in.  Think about it, everything ever invented was first imagined by someone.  Everything from products to recipes were first pictured in someone’s mind before they became useful, sealable, and edible items.

One of my favorite books by Andy Andrews is the Butterfly Effect.  It is about an original thought or action by the first person sparking a series of increasingly inspirational thoughts in other people, which becomes a rising tide of opportunity throughout the world.

I want you to know whatever you wish to accomplish, you must first imagine. And whatever you imagine, you can do.  Powerful stuff!

Or maybe there is someone you wish to inspire, take a few minutes to imagine with them.  Prompt them to imagine what their life will be like when they find “the answer.”  Have them walk through and imagine the ripple effect it will have in the world.

These three words have made an impact on my life.  It has helped me to imagine the difference each of you can make in the lives of others. And as a result, I want you to know in advance how proud of you I already am.  Then know your very best—is yet to come!

Have  a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

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!

 

So You Want to be a Leader?, Unclutter Your Life

Are You Taking Risks?

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Risk is defined “as exposing (someone or something valued) to danger, harm, or loss.”  Honestly, how many of us actually take risks?  The truth is we take some risk every day – we drive a car with only a yellow line separating us from the other car, we fly in planes, and I am sure the list could go on.  Most of us don’t think of these things as risks, right?

Often, my fear of failing stops me from stepping out into uncharted territory. Although I believe that you learn from your mistakes, I am often hesitant to walk on a path that is less traveled. Taking a risk can sometimes mean just stepping out of your comfort zone.

I talk a lot about stepping out of your comfort zone . I believe that many of us don’t and as a result, we are kept from reaching our full potential and our goals in life and in business.  So whether you are jumping into a new job, a new relationship, a new business or anything else that takes you out of your comfort zone, here are some tips to determine if you should take a risk or not:

  • Trust yourself. When you take a risk, you need to trust that you have the skills to reach your ultimate goal. If you lack self-confidence, the first step is identifying your weakness.  Then seek out others who can help you through the struggles.
  • Think creatively.  Being unique is wonderful.  Standing out or above the crowd allows us to shine.  Remember that when you step outside of the box, you don’t want to loose sight of your vision/goal.  You can be creative while still  using some of the tried and true ideas that have helped others be successful.
  • Know your field and product/service.  Love what you do and the rest is easy.  I have taken risks many times when it came to new jobs.  The secret to all of them was that I loved what I did.  I learned everything I could so that I could be an expert in that particular area.  If you are joining a direct sales company,  LOVE their products. Learn from those who have gone before you.  Take classes. Read books.  Network with others in your field and out of your field.

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  • Implement a support system and seek expert advice. When I stepped out of my comfort zone to join a direct sales company, I found an AMAZING support system in my upline and other Thirty One sisters. Find a network of professionals who you trust that can guide you in those areas where you are weak. Here are a few that have helped me:  Entrepreneurial Think Tank for Women, The Desiree Wolfe, Eryka Peskin, JulieAnn Jones, Britt Bolnick and the list goes on personally and professionally.

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  • Show courage. Sometimes it just comes down to – Do I have the courage to step out of my comfort zone and take a RISK. “By showing courage, you are also showing good leadership skills” – I never really thought about that.
    Never give up. Stepped out and it didn’t work out?  Maybe you didn’t get the response you were looking for?  Maybe you it didn’t turn out like you planned? Okay – build a bridge and get over it.  Learn from this and move on.
  • Don’t listen to negatives.  Ignore Negative Nellie.  Stop talking to her since those negative thoughts will undermine your self-confidence. If she has taken up residence in your head – close the door on her and find some positive affirmations to keep the door locked. This is sometimes our biggest hurdle.

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Risk means there is a potential for loss. It means that we are stepping out of our comfort zone and walking in FAITH. If the risk is God-centered, then he will lead us through it. Even if it is not a success or is a flat out FAIL, there is a lesson that can be learned. Step out of your comfort zone, take a risk and see where it leads.  What will you do today to step out of YOUR comfort zone?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!