Family, Growth, Personal Development

For Better Or Worse

Today marks four years of marriage for us. During this time, I’ve learned why the vows are what they say. During this time, I learned the weight of those words. We have had richer and poorer, sickness and health. We’ve felt the better and the worse.

This is going to be brief. But basically my message is this. If you hit moments in your marriage where you question, doubt, don’t know if you’re doing something right, you’re in good company, most of us don’t. But day by day you learn. You learn more about your spouse but mostly yourself. Just like motherhood is new and when you start, you won’t have it figured out, you won’t in a new marriage either.

So today, trust the process, love your spouse and give yourselves permission to not have it all together. None of us truly do; don’t give up.

‘Til death do us part.

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Growth, Personal Development

When Progress Won’t Come

I’m sure you’ve felt this way… maybe you’ve tried something over and over again and don’t understand why you just aren’t seeing the results. You have been eating healthy and not matter what, you can’t drop the weight. Or maybe you’ve tried to sleep train your baby and it feels like. It’s. taking. FOREVER. Possibly it’s a relationship that you feel you’re putting so much into, and not seeing a lot of reciprocation. I get it.

When I’m working on a goal or a plan and I don’t see results, much like the confused people at the Weight Watchers meetings, I feel like giving up. I think we all take the “lack of results” as a “lack of progress”, which actually isn’t true.

Something I heard Joyce Meyer say in a podcast was this:

“You may have to do the right thing for a long time before you get a right result.”

Wow, how true is that. Just because you aren’t seeing the rewards of all your hard work, doesn’t mean your work doesn’t count or you aren’t getting closer.

For instance, we have a family goal of paying off student loans. It’s hard, it’s daunting, and it takes time. But this is one of our many goals. Some months it feels impossible. But step by step, as we keep working together, we make progress. Sometimes progress is slow, but even slow going is advancement.

As a mom they say sleep training can take up to two weeks. Well that’s not super encouraging to the mom that’s trying to get her own sleep. When you hear that noise on the monitor and all you want is for some consistent shut eye, it’s not super encouraging. But you do it, you keep moving forward. And then that glorious night will hit — you will sleep the whole night with ZERO feedings.

Like a seed that’s planted in the ground, it takes time to sprout. Because we don’t see the sprout for a few weeks, doesn’t mean the seed is “broken”. And just like that seed, your goals will take time. Don’t dig up your “seed” prematurely and kick the dirt in because you don’t see instant results. Keep working at it mama, keep driving, and your plant will bloom… in time.

Mom Life, Personal Development

If We’re Being Honest…

If we’re being real, we all lie to people in our lives more than we realize.

  • We say that we can go to a meeting, when we really don’t want to.
  • We offer services and help to friends when we know we really can’t.
  • Sometimes we say we think our friend or family member has a great idea, when we think it’s horrible.

As women, as moms, we do a lot of “white lying”, trying to please other people.

Well you say, wait, that’s not really lying… I’m just protecting someone’s feelings.

Whatever the reason may be, if we aren’t being honest with others, we aren’t really being honest with ourselves.

Let me explain.

We want to make everyone happy. We want to avoid confrontation, and we desperately want to be liked and accepted. So that desire to feel comfort and conflict-free makes us sign up for obligations that we have no business or time to do/fulfill. It may just be something you don’t want to do. Later on, we become resentful at those with whom we’ve set up said obligation with. Because all we wanted was to say, “no” but because we didn’t do that we are now rotting inside and feel horrible.

Instead of committing to things we can’t commit to, or telling others what we know will make them feel good, we have to start being more proactive. We have to protect ourselves and say no.

There’s nice ways to do it, but to fear others responses to our boundaries, just isn’t an acceptable excuse anymore.

Because if we are being honest, we haven’t been being honest with ourselves. And that’s just about the worst feeling of all.

Personal Development

Help for the Judgmental

**For those that probably get judgmental from time to time… ;)**

I was sitting in traffic and I thought, why do people still smoke?
I was getting my hair done at the salon I thought, who dyes their hair to match the rainbow?
I read a memoir and I wondered how people can be so self-righteous?
I watched my peers and I thought how can someone be rude?
I saw something done by a relative that I thought was totally weird, I asked why?

Maybe you have too. I became acutely aware of just how much we subconsciously judge or measure others in our minds, DAILY. We don’t have to say a word; our eye rolls, thoughts, gestures and mannerisms say it all. Of course we all have opinions and thoughts, but we don’t need to spend more precious time thinking about or verbalizing them. The more time we give a thought, the longer we entertain it, the longer it takes up valuable real estate in our minds.

I wonder if half the time we can’t sleep at night, are unhappy, or just plain miserable sometimes, is because we devote all our energy toward nit-picking at others when we really should focus on our own lives. Sometimes those who tend to have a perfectionist attitude like myself, we are also classic nit-pickers. And that same talent that can be helpful when fixing a problem, can also become a judgmental tone that takes control and can ruin relationships and make us come across as crass and uncaring — even though we may not be at all. I think many times poking at another person’s flaw or difference, somehow makes us feel better. Maybe it’s because we are secretly insecure with ourselves, but pointing out something in another that we don’t struggle with, it brings us a sick sense of comfort, like I have my crap together in my life.

So maybe tomorrow in traffic, we ignore the smoking habits… ignore the rainbow hair, the books we didn’t relate to, the rudeness, and the weirdness. Maybe we focus on the sun shining in traffic, the hairdo we just got, the books we love, and all the kindhearted people there are in the world. Just maybe, that would be a better use of our time. I know I’m going to try.

Impact, Mom Life, Personal Development, Self Help

The Little Changes Add Up

I think as moms, wives, women, people, we assume that if we can’t “eat the whole elephant” or accomplish the big goal all at once, then we have somehow failed. It’s not true. The true wins are in the everyday, the ordinary, the habits we form daily. I don’t think we are supposed to have “made it” quite so quickly. It’s the little tweaks, the small improvements and corrections that really make the biggest differences.

I may not have time to run five miles a day but I can walk before work.
I may not have time to spend with my baby all day but I can spend two hours of focused moments after work.
I may not have time to travel where I’d like to right now but I can go on a trail I’ve never been to.
I may not have time to do lunch with my relatives but I can give them a call to check in.
I may not have time to get my masters but I can read every night.
I may not be able to give millions to disaster relief but I can give something.

It’s so not about my limitations, it’s about doing what I can do, enjoying what I do have, and being who I can be.

Awareness, Passion, Personal Development

Why We Can’t Quit Netflix

We’ve all been there… whether it’s Hulu, Netflix, or buying a full series on Amazon Prime, we just love our series. There’s something so addicting about following a crime show or a major drama all the way through to the point where you think you almost know the characters. It can be the same with books, the Twilight trilogy the Harry Potter series. We form attachments to these story lines and beg for more.

Why is it, that we love our series so much? Is it the connection to the story lines, interesting plot twists? Or could it be something more… something like escapism? I don’t think it’s intentional, but sometimes we really crave a fantasy. Life can be hard, it can be monotonous and even though we are adults, we all have that inner child that would like to live in a “Peter Pan Neverland” world, one where anything is possible. As an adult, in our own ways, our addictions to TV series are our way to escape our regular, mundane lives. We can be detectives, royalty, or survivors on a lost island conquering whatever feats may come our way.

When the series ends, or the book is over, it many times feels troubling or like a let-down. It’s as if closing those last few pages, or watching the series finale means that our fantasy is over, and it “wakes” us up. We get out of the dream-like slumber, the comatose state we were in, and realize we are back to the “real world”. Back to the kids, the obligations, the dishes…life. I think that’s the real reason why people watch Netflix and get lost in series.

I don’t think people intentionally choose to waste time watching TV or reading fiction books. I think it’s a way of dealing and maybe even hiding from pain and the world. As long as you’re in a fictional world, escaping it all, you aren’t dealing with real life or living out your own dreams and goals. You can mask pain, or unfulfilled dreams with fiction and live vicariously through characters, those that aren’t real.

So, where do we go from here? Do we stop watching the series we love? Stop reading fairy tales? I don’t think so. I think the mind does some of it’s best work when it can dream and go on imaginary trips. I think there is value in the fantasy world, and room for creativity. But I do think we need to be aware of what we are doing and realize that escaping forever isn’t okay.

Instead of clamming up and shutting out the world incessantly, I believe we should spend more time creating our own dreams, reaching our own goals, making our own imaginary ideas come to life. And I think we need to stop being afraid of doing those things that we only watch on TV. Whether it’s to travel to a place we have never been, taking on a new sport, or investing in a relationship we’re afraid to dapple in…we should stop fearing and start living. We should aim to create lives that we don’t feel the need to constantly escape from, and we should be honest with ourselves about why we feel the need to do so.

 

 

 

 

photo credit: https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=zPFsRrX0&id=970834A46A50132B6922DC9D706F8EE5B99B4E2D&q=netflix&simid=608055976242972779&selectedIndex=1&ajaxhist=0.

overcoming, Passion, Personal Development, Recovery, Self Help

10,000 Hours…

If you’re anything like me, a recovering perfectionist, you get really annoyed when you can’t do something well, naturally. I remember it back in school. I was a natural academic but not naturally athletic. I would get very annoyed and frustrated when I couldn’t play baseball in gym class or shoot hoops flawlessly like the jocks. Who knows why, but many of us have this idea that was carried with us throughout school and adulthood, that most skills come naturally and if they don’t, that there’s something inherently wrong with us. I’d accredit this idea to our upbringing by parents who expected perfection and rewarded us based on this “accomplishment” system…but I digress. We think skills, even those we are gifted with, come to us naturally, as if it doesn’t take hours of sweat and toil to make us “great”.

We all have some natural skill or aptitude in something; stunning business acumen, sports, or music. And many times we feel that that innate natural ability is all that will carry us into success. But we forget a huge component to making it to that genius or success level in our talent. Practice.

It seems so boring yet so rehearsed. Practice.  You heard it in school, over and over, “practice makes perfect”. Is there actually something to that phrase or is it just bologna? According to Malcolm Gladwell, there’s a magic number to reaching the mastery level in any skill. 10,000 hours. It takes 10,000 hours of practice doing something to become an expert. 10,000 hours of speaking, writing, singing, marketing…etc. And I think we forget this main ingredient when we pursue our natural gifts. Because they are so natural to us, we feel almost as if becoming “great” in it should just come, well, naturally. But that’s very deceiving. Just because something comes natural to us, doesn’t mean it doesn’t or won’t require practice. It seems so obvious that effort would be a necessary ingredient for success but it’s so easily overlooked, probably because it’s so simple… not easy, but simple.

I remember as a new working person in the professional world, being yet again annoyed that I wasn’t at the level of my superiors. But yet again, it’s practice, it’s time. Of course those that have been in the business world for twenty years have an edge over someone who has been alive twenty years… it seems so clear that it takes time and rehearsal to hone in on our skills to achieve mastery.

So if you are gifted want to be a “great” writer, write. You want to be a great business person, put in the time prospecting. Don’t get discouraged that it takes time, that it requires practice. That’s why we had band practice, track practice, etc. We even called it “practice” in school, and I don’t think that was a mistake.

Keep practicing, don’t despise the process. When we see the greatness of others exhibited, we don’t see the hours of toil, of failure, we only see the end product. But it took them also, 10,000 hours…

Put in the time to become a master.

 

 

photocredit: http://kayleadershipacademy.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/10K-where-to-apply.jpg.

Business, Career, Personal Development, Talents

Our Obsession With Titles

We can’t help ourselves. We have a love affair with titles. Director at Large, President & CEO, the Marketing Manager… we’re obsessed! It’s as if we somehow put so much importance on letters formed together and string them along our names… Jane Doe, MBA. And the more letters, by all means, the better! You only have a bachelors degree? Yikes! Maybe one day you’ll be more prestigious. A liberal arts degree, well that’s just not as useful to the world as the bachelor of science.

Don’t misunderstand me, I believe in recognizing hard work. The admin who has worked tirelessly for years to obtain the CEO status, she’s well-deserved of her role. The doctor who put in thousands of dollars and hours of study, hat is off to you. It’s a cause and effect world, sowing and reaping exists and therefore those who put in more should rightfully get more out of it. This can be demonstrated in the military very well. You don’t move up the ranks by not putting in effort and taking on a lot of responsibility. You don’t become Commodore of your ship overnight. There is a reason why there are titles and they help us distinguish where we all fit and maintains order.

On the flip side, there are those that don’t deserve their titles. I think the military is the easiest place for us to accept them because we realize they are earned and there is sacrifice involved in good leadership. There’s no greater degree of sacrifice than in the military. But it’s harder for us to accept the Executive’s position because I think to some degree, we don’t trust the white color corporate world the same way. And how many times has it been seen that the “Executive Admin” aka glorified secretary, did more of the role than the President or CEO? I’m not saying that it’s always that way, but many times titles get sticky and those who really perform more of the job functions many times are not properly recognized.

The problem becomes further created when we become obsessed with them, when they provide identity. Suddenly I don’t feel important without the alphabet after my name. And I think this is a problem because it perpetuates this idea, this theme that I grapple with, of finding our value as people in what we do rather than in who we are. Because what happens when you lose that job, and you aren’t the CEO or the Director of Selection? What happens when a disability makes it impossible for you to perform at the level you used to? Or your department gets out-sourced? What do we do, and who are we when the titles are gone?

I think it’s safe to say that there’s a difference between working hard and trying to be our best to serve others versus working hard to prove something. I can say that because I’ve done that–and it just leads to burn out. It’s an insecure way of being that leaks into our professional world and causes us to seek advancement and title for the wrong reasons. Bettering ourselves, there’s nothing wrong with that. Learning more and serving a wider range of clients, that’s what we should be doing. But it can never be for the reason of self-identity and that’s what this title-crazed culture has become. We should seek to serve and do our best, the titles will just be a symptom and by-product of our service.

Loss, overcoming, Personal Development

When There’s No Closure…

I’ve spent a lot of time personally thinking about why we just don’t like incomplete endings. We don’t like the inconclusive break-up. We don’t like a “we’ll see” from a job offer or an unclear medical test result. It’s the black and white, the categories, the classifications that we seem to drift toward and prefer. Shades of gray, well that’s a friend that doesn’t offer our hearts and minds much comfort. We’d prefer to have an answer, a clear beginning and end.

I wondered why this might be. Why do we drift toward always seeking closure, seeking an answer. I thought about the movies and books we like. As children, we read fairytales. Is it any coincidence that these books have a clear beginning, middle and end? There’s a problem that gets solved and a happily ever after. And we like that completeness, that wholeness almost as much as the happy ending.

But unfortunately, many times we don’t know the reasons or the “why”. We don’t know why a relationship had to end or why we had to fail at something. It doesn’t make sense why we lost a loved one or a child, there’s no way to reason our way out of it and no way to make peace. Somehow instead, we have to choose peace and choose our closure. We have to make do with what’s been dealt us and do our best to say goodbye to let go of what we didn’t think we’d lose.

This was most seen in losing my mom. She didn’t die. She wasn’t physically ill or disabled. She just couldn’t be a mom, for whatever reason. Blame it on mental illness, call it selfish… who knows. But there’s no grave stone to grieve along. There’s no prayer card to admire. But it’s still a huge loss, and an unclear one. Somehow, my family still needs to grieve and seek closure.

Since the loss of her, I have had many others that never seemed complete. But hers taught me how to be resilient and to understand the importance of seeking peace in the midst of confusion and not understanding. The ability to choose your peace. There will be many more “mom losses” in life, many more unclear hurts. But it’s imperative to find your own peace, create your own fairytale, and to find your own happy ending.

Passion, Personal Development, Recovery, Self Help

STOP HELPING OTHERS WHO DON’T WANT IT

Not an overly creative title, but you get the point. Have you ever tried to walk a dog, and they just didn’t want to go. Every inch you went, you pulled on that leash, willing for that stubborn hound to move, and he just wouldn’t budge? Well, we’ve all had that moment with an animal, but what about with other people?

Have you tried helping someone get a job, or get out of debt, or gave them a piece of marital advice, and they just blew you off? They acted like they might be listening, but the whole time they did, their heart was just not in what nuggets of wisdom you were sharing. I’ve done that many times, and then felt insulted that my advice wasn’t heeded or help not welcomed. Why won’t they just listen? I’ve been through this before, what I’m saying makes perfect sense…

And that all might be true. What you’re saying and explaining might be spot on. But there’s many different reasons why others just might not act on your advice.

1. They may not be ready to hear it.
Sometimes other people are going through circumstances that make them impervious to what you’re saying. They hear your words but it makes no connection with their heart. They simply are not ready.

2. They just don’t care.
Not all people are motivated and want to be better. Let’s just admit it. Sometimes mediocrity is the goal, and self-improvement, well… why bother?

3. They feel ashamed listening to your advice.
It can be intimidating to listen to someone on their “high horse” talk about how they figured something out while this other person is learning. It can be humbling. It’s not that they don’t want your advice, but it’s just hard to hear.

Whatever the reason, stop casting your pearls of wisdom to those that don’t seek you out. If someone wants to change, they’ll have the initiative to start and make the first move. But handing out help, when it’s not wanted is a waste of your time and efforts. Use those efforts for those that value your perspective and want to win.