6 Questions to Help You Answer, ‘Why Does This Always Happen to Me?’

Sometimes it seems as though history, our history, repeats itself. Recently, a family member asked, “why does this always happen to me?” In this case, it was simply misplaced keys (again). My immediate thought was, “because you never put your keys in the same place twice.” But I wisely kept this to myself as I don’t think their question was a literal one. It caused me to think about how many times a client, friend, family member or co-worker has asked this question. Heck, I’ve asked this question.

Patterns show up in all areas of our lives. Maybe you keep getting passed over for a promotion, or yet another relationship has let you down. Perhaps you have been taken advantage of…again, or you just can’t seem to dig out of your financial hole. As far as you can tell, if you admit it, there is one common denominator – you.

History really does repeat itself, at least until we change it. If you find yourself wondering why some particular event or challenge keeps repeating itself in your life, you may need to reflect on a few things. The beauty of this personal accounting is that there’s no need to share it with anyone. You can consider the areas below, keep the results to yourself (if you wish), then start working on changing the pattern.

Ultimately, you are going to be looking for patterns in your behavior. These patterns may not (and likely won’t) paint you in the prettiest picture, but that’s okay. It doesn’t make you a bad person – it just means you are battling aspects about yourself just like every other human being is.  So explore the questions below, embrace the answers you intuitively give, and start thinking about how you can change your history.

  • What criticisms did your parents make of you when you were young? – When I was a tween, I remember my parents saying on more than one occasion that I had an answer for everything. While it would be nice to say I learned my lesson during this stage of life, sadly that’s not the case. It took many years as an adult to realize I didn’t always have to give an excuse, explain why I was right and someone else was wrong, or even say anything at all. Being argumentative was not a quality that people appreciated, so I had to learn when to zip it, and when to stand up for something. Choosing my battles – that wasn’t always my approach, but thankfully it is now.
  • What opportunities continue to show up on job performance evaluations? – Ever feel like you just keep getting short-changed in the “boss” department? If you keep getting stuck with bosses (or employees, or co-workers) who don’t get you, maybe you need to consider how you’re contributing to these issues. It’s very likely the same demon is being mentioned in your performance evaluations. Often, where we are coming from is different from others’ perception of us. It doesn’t really matter who’s right or wrong in these situations. Others’ perceptions are absolute truth to them, so if we want to change it we have to change ourselves.
  • What do you “always” or “never” do? – Often during arguments, someone will say, “You always…” or “You never…” While you could argue the full accuracy of these statements, there is likely a nugget of truth in these. Consider them and how you can begin improving.
  • What are your strengths? – As with everything, even our strengths can be weaknesses.  For example, if you are a trusting, generous person, there is likely a flip side to this coin. Perhaps you find you are taken advantage of a lot. Consider your strengths and how they may sometimes be used against you. Think about slight changes you could make that would minimize any future damage.
  • Are bad things really happening more often to you? – Sometimes it’s our perspective that is out of whack. Do you really hit more red lights than anyone else or do you just seem to have an eye for the negative?
  • Are you taking control or relinquishing it? – It’s so much easier to blame others for your challenges, but you always have control over some aspect of every situation. It’s quite possible that you are your own worst enemy in certain situations. Luckily, you are in charge of your behavior and your attitude. Use both to your advantage, and as a means to take control of challenging situations.

Hopefully, these have given you great insight, but remember – you don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. If you are a giving person who keeps being taken advantage of, you don’t want to get rid of that great quality. You may just need to add some layers of protection to ensure you continue to stay true to your nature of being kind and generous, while preventing the leeches in life from feeding off of it.

When we take control of our short-comings and look them square in the eye, we alter our patterns and prevent our history (at least the parts we don’t like) from repeating in our lives. Be willing to confront yourself and to change those parts of you that are holding you back. You are the boss of you, so step up and resolve to make an even better version of yourself!

Share in the comments section which pattern you would like to change or one that you have already successfully changed.

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10 Ways to Stretch Your Comfort Zone

Wouldn’t it be great to stretch yourself a little this year? Imagine you…just a little better. A little more confident. A little more bold. Pretty awesome, right? Well, that’s not going to happen doing the same old, same old in 2017. If you want different results, you’re going to have to take different actions.

We all have comfort zones in various areas of our life, and that’s okay. We need to have a place to relax, and just be. But, too much of this goodness can lead to boredom, feelings of unfulfillment, self-criticism, and general discontent. We don’t grow and improve if we aren’t stretching ourselves. So unless you want the 2017 version of you to be the same as your 2016 version, why not do some stretching?

Some tips for not pulling a “comfort zone muscle”:

  • Small steps are great. Gymnasts don’t start doing a split their first week. It takes gradual stretching over time.
  • Get a buddy. Sometimes the unknown and scary is a little more tolerable when we aren’t doing it alone. Go ahead and grab a friend – it will be good for them, too.

Researching is necessary at times, but don’t get stuck there. It doesn’t count as stretching during the “research phase”.

Now that all of that is out of the way, here are TEN great ways to stretch yourself:

  • Toastmasters – This public speaking and leadership club is a great way to improve your public speaking and leadership skills. Public speaking is one of the top fears people have. Find a club near you and stretch these skills with other people who are looking to do the same. ToastmastersInternational.org
  • Ask for Help – This one can be a toughie. We all need help at times, and most of us really enjoy providing it when someone else is in need. If you need someone to lighten your load, or teach you something new, don’t sweat it, just ask.
  • Promote Yourself – Modesty can be good, but not if it’s at the expense of your success. Highlighting your skills and expertise shows others how you can help them – it’s not bragging. Polish up your resume or create (or update) your LinkedIn account. LinkedIn.com
  • Take a Class – A college course or adult education classes can give you a little edge on some area of your life. Learn something new or go deeper with something you’re already interested in.
  • Get a Personal Trainer – If you have physical goals, you’re more likely to get them accomplished with some help. Hire a personal trainer who will hold you accountable and support you as you work towards your goals.
  • Meet New People – This can be challenging if you’re comfortable with your current circle of friends. If meeting new people and actually talking to them makes you cringe, joining a new club could be a great stretch assignment for you. This could be a networking group or a group centered on a hobby. Visit MeetUp.com to find a group near you.
  • Why So Serious? – Play is fun! You don’t need a reason to want to have fun. Take voice or dance lessons. Try acting or improv classes. Check out the website of your local theaters or do a Google search for an offering in your neck of the woods.
  • Travel – This can be scary, so stretch yourself. Visit a new place. Bring a friend and just explore.
  • Be Bold – Try something that makes you feel a little queasy in the belly – a ropes course, skydiving, snowboarding or rock climbing are good examples.
  • Get a Personal Development or Life Coach – Ahem…Just like the personal trainer, Personal Development Coaches can help you set goals, develop a doable plan to achieve them, then support you as you work through the challenges.

These are just a few ideas to help nudge you out of that comfort zone. Try one or think about something that you know would improve some aspect about yourself and try that. There’s no wrong action here. If it makes you a little uncomfortable and you know you’d be better for it on the other side, go for it! When you stretch a little, over time, you’re going to see (and feel) the difference. You will start collecting all these little wins which will develop your confidence and resourcefulness. Now THAT’s something to celebrate!

Alrighty Oh Bold One! Share in the comments what you’re going to do to stretch your comfort zone.

Need help figuring out where to begin? An Empowerment Session is a great place to start! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

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11 Tips to Making 2017 Great

Happy New Year! Whether resolutions are your thing or not, you have to have goals if you want to live a life by design. And who DOESN’T want to live a life by design? Being towed along by others is no way to live. You have ideas, opinions, desires and wishes. Let them be heard and achieved this year.

Whether big or small, there are some keys to success that you’ll want to use. These work if your target is to make a lifestyle change, like living a cleaner life, or if this is a one-and-done goal like saving up $5000 for something special. Follow ALL 11 and success will be yours!

  1. Know What You Want – Call it a resolution, goal or target, but be clear about what it is. SUPER clear. You want specifics, like numbers and other measurables to periodically check if you’re on track.
  2. Know Why You Want It – It’s important to know why you want what you want. There should be an emotional connection with your goal. Why would you be happy if you achieved it? Why would you be disappointed if you didn’t? This is what you will refer to when you just don’t “feel like it” one day.
  3. Give Yourself a Deadline – Parkinson’s Law says that work will expand to fill the time given to complete it. Put a date on it. Be realistic, but don’t just say “by the end of 2017.”
  4. Break Up a Big Goal – Big goals are great, but can get overwhelming. Break them up into smaller chunks. It’s great to want to start a successful business, but there are many steps along the way. Create mini goals that will get you to the bigger one.
  5. Start Small Habits – Don’t underestimate the power of small! It’s a collection of little steps that get the big jobs done. What daily/weekly/monthly habit(s) could you introduce to support your goal? Going to the gym for an hour 5 days a week is great, but walking 30 minutes a day may be easier to sustain – and easier to sustain means longer-term benefits.
  6. Stop Bad Habits – Is watching 3 hours of TV really helping you achieve your goal? Cutting out just a third of that will help. Set a timer when you dive into social media to ensure you don’t get lost there. Consider what habits you have now that will get in your way. Then minimize or eliminate them.
  7. Schedule It – Carve time out in your schedule. I’m talking commitment here! Commit to do what you’ve got to do. Make it non-negotiable. If you can start your day with it, that’s ideal.
  8. Buddy Up – Surround yourself with others who have the same goal. That collective energy will help all of you.
  9. Prepare for Slips – Plan ahead to prevent slips (have a list of diet-friendly places to eat, pack snacks, etc.) Always have a Plan B. If you can’t go to the gym, what can you do instead to stick to your plan?
  10. Life Happens – The slips will happen. Own it. Don’t make excuses, don’t justify it, don’t blame. Take responsibility, revisit your “why,” shake it off and get back on track.
  11. Review Your Progress – Celebrate your successes along the way and learn where you took a wrong turn. We all crave immediate feedback, so these regular reviews allow us to give that feedback to ourselves.

2017 is yours for the taking! Be Bold, Be Brave, and Live a Life By Design!!

Share in the comments section what your goal is for 2017.

Thank you for stopping by and being part of my Authentic Life family! As always, I’m here to support you, so take advantage of your FREE Empowerment Session and get 2017 off to a great start.

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Holiday Reflection Activity

The Holiday Season has us hustling and bustling and despite all of our efforts, something will be forgotten. But once the holiday arrives, we have no choice but to carry on and make do with what we have. The beauty of this season is we have some time to reflect on our past, present, and future. While this can certainly cause some pain, it can also provide great clarity on what we have to be thankful for and the many opportunities that lie before us.

Below is an exercise you can do on your own, but if you are spending your holiday with others, this could be a really fun group activity, too.

PAST – Think of the past 12 months

  • Looking back on the past year, what’s something you are incredibly grateful for?
  • Share a valuable lesson you learned.
  • What goal did you not accomplish?
  • Share something you did that you’re proud of.
  • What’s something new you realized about yourself?
  • What goal did you accomplish?
  • Share a fond memory of the past year.
  • What word best describes the past year?

PRESENT

  • What word best describes how you feel right now?
  • On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) how satisfied are you with who you are as a person today?
  • What are you most grateful for right now?
  • What is most important to you right now?
  • What can you do to get the most out of today?
  • Do all the people you care about KNOW how you feel about them? Are you sure?

FUTURE – Think of the next 12 months

  • What goal do you want to accomplish in the next year?
  • What will be the most challenging aspect of achieving it?
  • Name 3 people who could help you achieve it.
  • Name one word you would like others to use to describe you one year from now.
  • What are you most looking forward to?
  • What quality about yourself do you think will be most beneficial in helping you achieve your goal(s)?
  • What do you want to spend more time doing over the next year?
  • What do you want to spend less time doing over the next year?
  • What skill do you want to acquire or strengthen over the next year?

I challenge you to write down your answers to these questions and check in periodically to see if you’re on track or not.

Reflecting like this can help you move forward. We can’t change our past, but we can change how we view it. Both your present and your future is yours to create. Make this a year of living a life by design, not by default! If you need support, take advantage of a complimentary Empowerment Session.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!!

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The Key to Personal Development and Achieving Your Goals

It was four years ago this month that I decided to take back control of my life. I was feeling unfulfilled in my career and was dealing with the deluge of emotions that followed a hometown tragedy. I decided I didn’t want to play “victim” anymore. I knew I couldn’t control everything, but I also knew there were things I absolutely could take back control of. There was one key to this transformative empowerment: communication.  If there is an aspect of your life that you want to change, a future version of you that you seek, I encourage you to read on. Following these steps will allow you to shape your future instead of just reacting to your circumstances.

When people speak of personal development and goal achievement, they don’t often attribute it to communication. However, I assure you, little to no progress will be made without it. There are two parts to consider with communication – the communication you have with yourself, and the communication you have with others. Both are required. I’ve narrowed down the 3 most important aspects of each part.

Communication with Yourself

  • Dealing with Your Inner Critic – We have all dealt with this nasty voice in our head. Our inner critic knows just how to hit us where it hurts. There is usually just enough truth to these thoughts to make us buy the whole story, but that’s like believing every claim of an As Seen on TV product. Take the communication you receive from this naysayer with a grain of salt. Use the truthful information to your benefit and throw the rest away. Action Step: Write down what that inner critic is saying, then vet out fact from exaggeration.
  • Have an Honest Strength and Weakness Conversation with Yourself – When you are looking to improve yourself and achieve your goals, you have to be willing to take pride in, and use, your strengths. You need to leverage these for your benefit. We all have strengths, be proud of yours and don’t hide them from yourself or others. The same is true for weaknesses. We all have them. Be honest with yourself about which ones are holding you back. There’s a good chance that your ineptitude in math will NOT stop you from becoming your best self, so focus on the ones that are, instead. Action Step: Make two columns and list the strengths that can most help you achieve your goals and the weaknesses that are most likely to get in your way.
  • Articulate a Plan – In all aspects of communication, whether verbal, non-verbal, or written, the ability to articulate our message can be the difference between success and failure. Be clear in your language, purpose, and plan. Action step: When designing your plan, answer the who, what, when, where, why, and how. The greater the detail, the greater your chance of success.

Communication with Others

  • Willingness to Listen – You will learn so much more listening than you ever will talking. In order to best communicate with others, you need to understand them, their perspectives, and their beliefs. The best way to accomplish this is to listen. Once you understand these aspects of them, you can adapt your communication to ensure they understand you. Action Step: Ask questions about others first. What questions do you need answered that will help you communicate best with them?
  • State Your Needs – As clear as it seems to us, our needs are not always as obvious to others. What is common sense to us, is not always so common. We all have different perspectives and experiences, so stating clearly and succinctly what our needs are is the quickest way to get them met. Action Step: What are your needs right now, and how can you state them in a way that others will understand and be willing and able to help?
  • Be Direct and Tactful – We live in an increasingly busy world. People have many communications thrown at them every day: emails, texts, social media messages, voicemails, papers, bills, and more. We just don’t have the time to puzzle out the meaning of an obscure message. Be direct, yet tactful when communicating with others. They will appreciate both and be more willing to support you and your goals. Action Step: Think of others who can help you. How can you make a request of them in a direct, tactful way? (Make sure you are prepared to share how you can or would be willing to help them in return.)

As you can see, our personal development and goal achievement relies on our communication skills. When we communicate effectively with ourselves and with others, we are positioned for success. I have tweaked my plans and goals throughout these past four years, but I had to start somewhere. By using and improving my communication skills, I’ve been able to reach my goals and improve myself. Taking these steps will put you back in the driver’s seat of your life and ensure you are living a life by design.

Your turn! Which one of these have you been most successful at? Share in the comments section, in as much detail as you wish, the one that has been most helpful for you.

Would you like to see how an Empowerment Session works? Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

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5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Retail Workers

During the holidays, everyone seems to be hustling and bustling, very focused on getting everything on their list. There is so much to do and little time left to do it. Parties to prepare food for, gifts to buy, Secret Santa’s to participate in, decorating, celebrating, and all the other hoopla. All this can leave us a little impatient, short-fused, and irritable. (It’s not just me, is it?) There is a very special group of people who experience these same stressors while working hard to absorb impatience, short-fuses, and irritability, and trying really hard not to show those same behaviors to you. You probably see these people every day…Retail Workers. These special people would absolutely appreciate some good cheer!

That cashier or other grocery store employee, the clerk at Macy’s, the small business owner in your town, and many, many others. They are dealing with everything you are, but on top of it, they are trying to keep a smile on their face when they are being chastised for not getting you out fast enough. Don’t they know you have a MILLION things to do still??? Yes, yes they do, and so do they. Unfortunately, this time of year usually requires they work weekends and nights, so their time is even more limited.

Working in retail is not for the faint of heart. I’ve held retail jobs since I was 15. There’s an exciting energy to it, and honestly, most people are kind and respectful. The “regulars” become friends. They love that you know about them, and they take an interest in your life, too. It’s the few that felt it was okay to personally insult me because the price tag was wrong. Or the ones who thought I must be an uneducated, low-level human, and therefore could be treated that way. It was these few that could wreck an entire day.

Here are 5 things you probably didn’t know about retail workers:

  • They answer to hundreds of bosses – Think of your job for a moment. Whether you work inside or outside the home, you have to answer to someone. Your boss, your kids, your spouse, your clients, your boss’s boss, the VP, the owner…you get the idea. For most of us, that equates to one person most days. Now imagine, if you will, that you have hundreds of bosses. One boss likes their bags packed light; another wants as few bags as possible. One boss wants you to carry on a conversation with them; another wants no talking, just quick, efficient, work. One boss looks at you like you’re nuts when you remove the clothing from the hangers; another wants each article wrapped in tissue paper; one boss thinks it would be better if you did it X way, while another wants to know what kind of idiot doesn’t think Z way is the best option.
  • They hide a lot behind those smiles – On top of doing a good job technically, retail workers are required to appear as if they like it. All. The. Time. Regardless of the fact that Customer #133 just told them that they were an idiot who couldn’t even figure out a simple coupon. Despite the fact that their 6-year-old has strep, but they couldn’t find someone to replace their shift.  These are the challenges that retail workers face, and deal with. All. The. Time.
  • Retail workers are educated & skilled – They are smart, skilled, talented people. Some are formally educated with college degrees, some are informally educated through life experiences. They bring these skills to their job and use them to try to make their customer’s experience a positive one.
  • Retail workers are people…with feelings – What’s most important is these people are just that…people. People who deserve to be treated with respect. People who are often just as frustrated as the customer when something doesn’t ring up correctly, or co-workers call out, leaving less people to get the job done. These are moms and dads, sons and daughters.
  • They tend to be more patient with others – Since they know how it feels, if they have to call you at your place of business, even if they are upset about their customer experience, they are more likely to treat you kindly, respectfully and show you patience.

Certainly there are some people out there in retail, who are not a good fit for the industry. That’s true in any organization or field of work.  But for the most part, these are people working really hard to support themselves and their family. Working at a busy pace, on your feel all day is exhausting. Some make this their career, and others are just passing through, but they are doing the best they can and truly want to make their customers happy. Share your good cheer with them every day, but especially during this busy season.

I’d love to know your thoughts on the topic. Is there a retail worker who has made a difference for you? Share in the comments!

Would you like to see how an Empowerment Session works? Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

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The Worst Career Advice That Just Won’t Die

Recently I was talking with a successful female leader. She was sharing some details of a meeting she was part of with a bunch of male executives. An idea was presented in the meeting that she was completely opposed to, and she told me that when she argued against it, she made a terrible error. She said, “I can’t believe I said this, but I started my argument with, ‘from the bottom of my heart…'” It took me a moment to understand why she was so horrified by that statement – and then it dawned on me…it was too feminine. It was then that I realized the worst career advice is still alive and well.

Women are often told to turn-down their femininity, while males are told to (when appropriate) turn theirs up. Men and women possess both masculine and feminine traits, but often try to hide some and accentuate others. This puts us out of balance with who we truly are. We are all different and some have more masculine traits and others more feminine. What’s important is that we stay balanced with our unique combination.

Women are encouraged to turn-up their masculine traits, like assertiveness, competitiveness, strength, dominance, and directness, and turn-down their feminine ones, like tenderness, compassion, empathy, caregiving, collaboration, and surrendering. I’ve seen it over and over again…too many years of this, and before long your authentic self is buried so deep, you don’t even know who you are anymore.

We need all of these traits at various times, so none are bad in and of themselves. But when we hide who are, when our outer self is completely incongruent with our inner self, we are setting ourselves up to feel a whole lot of pain. Certainly, there are occasions when we need to adjust our traits to the circumstances, but that shouldn’t be most of the time. When we are true and authentic we will attract people to us. The kind of people who appreciate these qualities. These are the people who become our friends, clients, and mentors.

There’s a reason we have both masculine and feminine traits – they complement each other. They work together. Think about it. Take a masculine trait and combine it with a feminine trait and you’ll see magic!

  • Compassion + Assertiveness = Making a tough decision while being compassionate to those who will be impacted by it.
  • Empathy + Directness = Giving constructive criticism while empathizing with the recipient’s discomfort.
  • Caregiving + Dominance = Making a loved one go to the hospital for a potentially dangerous health situation.

See? When combined, masculine and feminine traits are like a bag of Kettle Corn – a little sweet + a little salty = a perfect combo!

Every couple I know (heterosexual and same-sex) has a complementary mix of these traits. One always has a higher level of masculine traits and the other a higher level of feminine traits. That polarity between people is often a large contributor to the attraction. The same is true in the workplace. Having a mix of people with varying levels of masculine and feminine traits is what contributes to diverse, thoughtful, and innovative teams. Having leaders and team members who are genuine and authentic results in honest relationships and greater respect.

Embrace your feminine and masculine qualities. Their unique mix is what makes you – you. If you find yourself on the receiving end of The Worst Career Advice That Just Won’t Die, might I recommend practicing some empathetic directness?

Tell me in the comments section your favorite feminine and masculine traits that you possess and how they have worked to your advantage.

 

Would you like to see how an Empowerment Session works? Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

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4 Questions to Help You Design Your 2017

This time of year can cause us to focus on all the things we have to do before the year ends (which often translates into all we have to do for other people). But we are missing out on a wonderful opportunity to start thinking about what we need to do to start 2017 off right for ourselves. That’s the difference between being reactive and proactive. When it comes to life, are you playing defense or offense? Are you reacting to circumstances or making every effort to create those circumstances? This strategy can be the difference between working harder versus working smarter.

If you want to play offense in your 2017, you have to start planning NOW. Living a life by design requires you to design your life ahead of time. Of course, there will be circumstances beyond your control, but there will be many within your control, so your time is better spent planning those than worrying about what could happen. So, where do you begin? GREAT question!

Everything starts with your goals. You can’t live a life by design if you don’t know what it looks like when you’ve achieved it. Ask yourself the following questions for 2017:

  • Who Do I Want to Be? – What adjectives would you like others to use to describe you in 2017?
  • What Do I Want to Accomplish? – Is every year the same old, same old? You want to lose weight, find a life partner, travel, or pay off your debt… Let’s make this year the one when you actually get it done!
  • What’s Standing in My Way? – We are generally pretty aware of the obstacles that are in our path to success. We are also experienced and clever enough to know how to get around them. Sometimes it’s other people who hold us back, and other times we are our own worst enemy. Whether it’s external or internal, isn’t 2017 the PERFECT year to change this?
  • How Can I Use My Strengths and Minimize My Weaknesses? – The successes we accumulate are often a result of properly using our strengths while minimizing the impact of our weaknesses. How can you use this strategy to accomplish your goals for 2017?

If you give serious thought to these questions, you will realize – You have the answers. You just need to allow yourself a little time to reflect and consider the version of you, you’d like to be in 2017. Being the architect of your life isn’t easy but it’s absolutely doable! When you take control and plan for your future, you will find that you are no longer at the mercy of your circumstances.

Now it’s your turn. Which of those four questions: who you want to be, what do you want to accomplish, what’s in your way, and how to use your strengths and weaknesses, most resonate with you? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

That being said, there is no better investment than the one you make in yourself. Whether that investment is in the form of attention, time, or money. When you put these values on the line, you are NOT going to let yourself down. In this spirit, I have some AWESOME offers for you!

  • FREE ebook by Michael Hyatt – This ebook features habits that some of your favorite and most successful people have discovered. People like Tony Robbins, Marie Forleo, Amy Porterfield, John Acuff and MORE share their secrets to success. Success leaves clues…I want to let you in on them. Download the Free Ebook!

bye-achievers-ig

  • Plan Ahead Badass Rates – I think if you’re badass enough to commit your attention, time, and money to living a life by design in 2017, you should get some pretty impressive perks. Check out my Special End-of-Year package rates for 2017 (up to 50% off)!!
    1. 50% Off 10 Sessions in 2017 – This package is for the Serious Goal Setter who wants to commit to longer-term support to ensure any obstacles that come up along the way are demolished!
    2. 40% off 6 Sessions in 2017 – This half-year package is perfect for the on-the-go goal setter who likes to fast track their goals and wants to just get on the right track.
    3. 30% off 3 Sessions in 2017 – This package is perfect for the person who wants to dip their toe in and get a feel for goal setting or the person who just needs a little cushion, and the support that comes along with the empowerment sessions.

Would you like to see how an Empowerment Session works? Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

Decision Making and Choosing the Right Path

Have you ever been tripped up trying to make the right decision? As if there were one right path and one wrong path. Perhaps there’s a situation in your life right now that you’re weighing the pros and cons of, and you just don’t want to make the wrong decision. I’ve seen this in every conceivable area of life. I’d like to offer you an alternative to consider: What if there were a bunch of “right” answers. What if, of all the options you have before you, ALL of them were good?

There are so many decisions we are required to make in life: life partner, career, education, hometown, one-piece or two-piece, boxers or briefs…you get the idea. We tend to think one is ultimately better than the other, but what if neither was better, they were just different. Different lessons, different experiences, but the sum total of our happiness and fulfillment would ultimately be the same?

If you are weighing a decision, consider those concepts while asking yourself the following questions regarding all your options:

  • Is there an option I haven’t considered?
    • Often we get stuck between Option A and Option B and become blind to Options C-Z. I have a friend who was stuck on whether to be a graphic designer or photographer. After four years of art school, she ended up owning her own successful small business which had nothing to do with art at all.
  • Is it really an either/or situation? Could I choose more than one option?
    • Years ago I was in a rut at work. I wasn’t sure if I should ride out the tough patch at work or start my own business? So I did both.
  • What lesson might I learn from each option?
    • Turning our fears into lessons, allows us to take a different approach to them. If those fears were to become reality, is there a valuable lesson there? If so, what could it be?
  • Which options would allow me to give or become the best version of myself?
    • This question works well with career decisions. Should I take the higher paying position doing what I do now, or the lower-paying one that would make a difference on issues that are important to me?
  • Considering the impact of this decision, have I considered the options for an appropriate amount of time? (Not too much, not too little)
    • Is a month really long enough to determine if your ho-hum marriage should end? Do you really need three weeks to decide whether to cut your hair or not?

Decisions can be difficult and many shouldn’t be treated lightly, however, having a “one right path” perspective can tangle us up unnecessarily. I think with the billions of people on this planet, the multiple options available to us, all the possible combinations of opportunities and experiences that there are any number of wonderful people we could fall in love with; careers we could excel at; lives we could live.

We have such beautiful freedom to reinvent ourselves everyday if we wish. Our story isn’t pre-written – we write it, word by word, page by page, day by day. Don’t allow circumstances, fears, or the expectations of others to write your story – there is only one author to your life, and it’s you.

Would you like to work on improving this aspect of yourself? Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

Dealing with Post-Election Emotions

I know, I know, you’re probably tired of anything related to this year’s presidential election. But this is different. This week I’m addressing something hundreds of millions of Americans are experiencing – Post Election Emotions. There has never been such an historic election in my lifetime. It doesn’t matter if you were rooting for Clinton, Trump, someone else, or no one. There is a good chance that you are experiencing some weighty emotions. Regardless of whether you are devastated over the results, celebrating them, or somewhere in between, you likely could use some help settling your emotions, or understanding how to handle someone else’s strong reaction. Feel free to skip to the section that pertains to you.

Dealing with Your Own Strong Emotions – When we are deeply fearful and feeling hopelessness (which is how many people are describing themselves right now), we are likely in fight or flight mode. What this means is that other areas of the brain, like our rational thoughts, fade to the background and our attention is laser focused on short-term survival. We view everything through the lens of fear. The first order of business then is to get out of fight or flight.

Here are 4 ways to get out of fight or flight mode:

  • Get physical – Burn off those stress hormones by doing something physically tiring for 5-10 minutes. Go for a brisk walk, vacuum the stairs, scrub the bathroom floor, chop wood, open 25 jars of pickles – whatever works for you.
  • Journal – Get all those thoughts, worries, fears, and emotions down on paper (or screen). They run rampant in our mind. Getting them out of our head and into words allows us to process that information in a more productive way.
  • Just Breathe – Breaths (that expand our belly, not our chests) settle us down and provide much needed oxygen throughout the body. Breathe in through your nose to the count of four, then exhale through the nose to the count of four. Repeat.
  • Relaxation Response – Dr. Herbert Benson discovered this in the 1960’s. Close your eyes, sit comfortably and repeatedly recite (or think) a calming word or phrase while calmly breathing. Ideally this is done for 10-20 minutes, but even 5 minutes will have benefits. This counteracts fight or flight.

Now that you’re calm, you can focus on more than just your immediate fears and worries.

Here are 4 ways to get into a state of empowerment:

  • Control What You Can Control – Don’t waste time on things you can’t control. Focus on what you have the power to influence or change.
  • Review your Journal – Now that you can look at what you wrote, what are some actions you can take to address those fears? There are likely others experiencing the same concerns; connect with them and discuss as a group how they can be addressed. Action is empowering.
  • Reframe the Problem – Bill Burnett & Dave Evans share in their book, Designing Your Life – How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life that “gravity problems” aren’t really solvable. For example, “I wish Trump wasn’t the President-elect.” That problem can’t really be solved. He is. Reframing that problem into one that has some solutions could look something like this: I’m worried my local politicians don’t know how important this issue is. NOW you can do something about that.
  • Get Educated – Research your remaining fears and possible solutions. How viable are they? How accurate are they? What resources are available to help you?

Getting out of a high level of emotion and into the planning stages of action puts you back in the driver’s seat. You are NOT powerless. This is NOT hopeless.

Dealing with Others’ Strong Emotions – It can be incredibly difficult and frustrating dealing with someone else’s strong emotions when you just don’t understand them, or you feel they are completely unnecessary. However, if this is someone you respect and care about, there are steps you can take to help them and preserve your relationship at the same time. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts to help you navigate these deep running emotions:

DON’T:

  • Don’t Discount Their Feelings – Don’t make it about you. It doesn’t matter how much you don’t understand them, acknowledge the feelings and be respectful of them. Telling them to “get over it” will not help.
  • Don’t Try to Reason with Them – Trying to convince someone why their reaction is wrong or how your way of thinking is better will not get them in a place to discuss the topic and have an open-minded discussion.
  • Don’t List All the Arguments – If they were “With Her,” listing all the reasons you think Hillary fell short and was undeserving also won’t help.

DO:

  • Empathize with Their Feelings – You likely would have felt similarly if the election turned out differently. Connect with them through that understanding.
  • Truly Listen to Their Concerns – Hear their fears, worries, concerns, and thoughts and validate them. You don’t have to agree, but acknowledge that you understand and respect where they are coming from.
  • Ask How You Can Help – At this early stage, they may just need to avoid the topic altogether. If not, they may just need you both to agree to disagree and not get into discussions on the topics. Asking how you can help is the best way to find out what they need.

Dealing with someone who is emotional and seemingly irrational is no easy task, but remember that to them it’s very real. You can respect that without agreeing with it.

This election has broken up a lot of valuable relationships. That’s how strongly people have reacted. It’s going to take time and effort to work towards become less divided. For those who voted, they chose their candidate for a reason. For some, it was as easy as which one they liked better than the others. But for many, it was based on deeply held beliefs. For all involved it’s important to not make assumptions. Just because someone voted for Hillary doesn’t mean they are Pro-Abortion, and just because someone voted for Trump doesn’t mean they are Anti-Gay. Think back in history – what has always had the greatest impact, Love or Hate? If you ask me, I’ll tell you, Love Always Wins.

Remember, you don’t have to like someone or agree with their beliefs to show them kindness. Be kind.

 

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com