Small Habits Make a Big Difference

When we have an area in our life that we want to improve on, there are two common missteps we take that squash our efforts. The first is envisioning the difficulty. We start thinking of how hard and seemingly impossible it would be to achieve that goal. The second misstep is biting off more than we can chew, and completely rearranging our life to achieve the goal. Both of these result in an unachieved or unsustained goal. This is discouraging and results in some pretty negative self-talk whenever we are reminded of it. Let’s unpack these for a moment before I share the small fix that makes a big impact to combat them.

When we have a goal, before we even start working towards it, we imagine what we might have to do to achieve it. And in just a few short seconds, we have imagined the virtual impossibility of making that goal a reality. It may be the effort we think we’d have to put in, or the length of time we think we would have to work at it. But often, it’s just the thought that keeps us from taking action. For example, if you wanted to lose 20lbs, you think how nice it would be, but then you picture having to get up early (when you already don’t get enough sleep) to workout. You’d also have to skip sugars and carbs like all.the.time. Your BFF’s are getting together for a dinner in a few weeks, so you’d have to drink water and eat a salad? No thanks! If I want to be miserable, I’d rather be miserable being 20lbs heavier and eating what I want, thank you very much! This is what happens when we envision the difficulty.

If you are able to dodge this goal-crusher, worry not, its cousin is just around the corner. In this scenario, you are beyond excited and motivated to achieve your goal. You have an aggressive plan of attack. You are going to annihilate that goal. In the example of the 20lbs, you are going to workout every day for at least one hour. You will sign up for multiple classes: cycling, yoga, core work, and kettle bells. No sugar, no carbs, no gluten, no dairy. Protein, protein, protein. You will exhibit the most impressive will power anyone has ever seen. Sounds great, and may even work for a little while, but eventually, you are going to hit a wall. Hard. You will be so exhausted from working so hard, sacrificing so much, that you will have nothing left. And so, the wall will win, you will feel defeated and sooth yourself with a gallon of ice cream, a bottle of wine, and/or some cheesy garlic bread. This is the result of biting off more than you can chew (pun intended).

There is a much better way to achieve our goals and maintain them. Ready? It’s by implementing small habits. I know, you’re thinking it will take too long to achieve your goal this way. However, our small habits are so much more powerful than we think. This goes for both good and bad ones. If you get into the habit of watching TV every night after dinner, this can lead to snacking on unhealthy treats, and falling asleep too early, which disrupts your sleep during the night, leaving you tired the next day. This lack of sleep can lead to sugar and carb cravings and over-consumption of coffee. The cycle will gradually worsen unless a healthier habit is developed. All from one, seemingly harmless, habit of watching TV after dinner.

Switch that with a good habit and the story changes dramatically. Instead of TV, start walking for 30 minutes every night after dinner. This gives you some energy to make a healthy lunch for work the next day. You sleep better through the night, and eat better the next day. Before you know it, you are walking up to an hour most days (because you want to), losing weight and toning muscles. Your pre-made lunches are healthy and save you money each week. All from one small habit change.

The key to the change is making the habit so small and achievable that it isn’t difficult to see yourself doing it for, well, maybe forever. Healthier habits will follow down the road, and you will welcome them instead of seeing them as a chore. Pretty cool, right? For you finance buffs out there, this is compounding in action. This process works in business, health, parenting, and relationships. It works for anything. It’s all about the small habits; the small changes.

If you read last week’s post, you know ACTION is the name of the game! What is ONE small habit you could start doing that could put you on the path to goal achievement? If you’re a whiz at this, share the small steps that have proven successful for you already. Post them in the comments section.

Nothing conquers a goal faster than some reinforcements.

If you are REALLY ready to make that change you’ve been thinking about, let’s strategize together. I offer a free Empowerment Session to my readers.

Email me at April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com to set up your session.

Why We Don’t Need More Information

We live in an information-rich world. We can find out just about anything with our friend, Google. As much as I love Google, he isn’t what I need more of in my life. At least not when it comes to getting stuff done. We all have goals, even if they’re just rolling around our mind like marbles in a jar. There are things we want to accomplish; maybe even need to accomplish. We may want to improve a relationship, lose a few pounds, run a marathon, or get a better job. One thing is certain: more information is not going to get those goals accomplished.

We can all get stuck in Analysis Paralysis. We research the heck out of topics and just keep adding to our wealth of knowledge and information on them. Where we need to actually spend our time is in the DOING. You can read every bit of information that’s ever been published on relationships, but until you take action and start doing the work to improve a relationship, nothing is going to change. That goes for all of our goals. Even if you take the wrong path at first, it is much easier to change course while you’re in motion than when you’re at a standstill. (Have you ever tried turning the steering wheel of parked car?)

If you really want to accomplish your goal, then you need a little less information, a little more action, please. (I think Elvis would be okay with my play on his lyrics here!) Here are 5 steps to get you started:

Write down your goal – Letting your goals roll around your mind makes them harder to focus on. I mean, let’s be honest, there’s a lot rolling around up there already.

Write down why you want to accomplish it – Don’t skip this step! You have to have a compelling reason that is pretty heavy and serious to remind you why you want to push through the difficult parts of accomplishing it. This should be a very emotional statement.

When do you want to accomplish it by – Set a deadline. Write it on the calendar. Be realistic, but stretch yourself a little bit.

Commit to something every day – It is often our habits (not the good ones) that got us to the place of wanting to achieve this goal. So it’s important to create new habits (the good kind) to help us achieve this goal. You don’t have to commit to something that’s too big, start small if you can. For example, if you want to lose 20lbs, but haven’t done any form of exercise in 5 years, you could commit to walking for 30 minutes every day, rain, sleet, snow or hail. You can up the commitment later, just pick something for now.

Get support – You will eventually need some encouragement to keep on, keepin’ on. Sometimes you’ll need a cheerleader, other times an accountability partner, and maybe even a drill sergeant on occasion. Don’t do this all alone. If you can find a buddy who has the same goal, great, but even if you don’t, there are people in your life who are more than willing to help you achieve your goal.

Once you have done these steps, it’s time to take action! If your goal was to get a better job in 9 months, and one of your steps was to join some networking groups, then send an email to someone in the group NOW, letting them know you’re interested. If you want to run a marathon, go buy some cool new sneakers to train in, NOW. Setting yourself up for small wins is a huge part of staying motivated. Each time you take action, it’s a small win (and maybe even a big win!)

Share your thoughts in the comments section.

There are so many more tips, tools, and techniques that could make the difference for you. If you would like to work on creating a much more customized plan while getting regular support, I encourage you to reach out for a free Empowerment Session with me. This counts as taking action, too (in a really big way!!)

Send me an email at April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com and I’ll send you my schedule to select your session.

Common Distractions That Can Cause More Harm Than Good

We all have defense mechanisms that kick into gear when we are faced with emotional pain, stress, and even those little things we just don’t want to do. This is just part of the human experience. For hundreds of years, people have dealt with pain, stress and undesirable tasks. The difference is, we have a lot more ways to distract ourselves from them today, and many of these ways are really, really bad for us.

There is a big difference between taking a short break from reality and altering our consciousness on a regular basis. We have all stuck our head in the sand to avoid dealing with something that made us uncomfortable. A glass (or three) of wine after a tough week, some retail therapy after a heated disagreement with our partner, or some good-old-fashioned smack-talking with our nearest and dearest. We all need a break sometimes, and escaping reality in these situations is, well, reality.

So what’s the issue? The issue is when we rely on unhealthy behaviors for an extended period of time. While there are some superstars out there who go for a long, sweat-inducing run to relieve their stress, there are many more who choose less beneficial measures.

Here is a list of some of the most common methods people use to escape pain and stress:

  • Alcohol/drugs
  • Smoking
  • Coffee
  • Food
  • Sugar
  • Television/Movies
  • Surfing the web
  • Social Media
  • Over-filled schedule
  • Shopping/Purchases
  • Exercise
  • Online games
  • Gambling

Smoking, drinking, and sex have been around for quite some time, so I think it’s safe to say we are all aware of these options. We are also aware of people who have used these methods in excess which endangered their health and well-being. All of the above, used in large quantities and/or over an excessive period of time, can be very bad for our health.

I invite you to self-assess and ask yourself:

  • What method(s) of escape do you use when you’re stressed and pained?
  • How frequently have you been using that method (every day, a couple times a month, etc.?)?
  • Is it becoming, or could it become, a problem for you?

Everything in moderation, of course, but is drinking several glasses of wine every night possibly a sign of escape? Could the four hours of primetime television shows most nights of the week be a form of distraction?

When we rely on behaviors to distract us from life, we are stopping our growth.

There is no judgment here, and I’m not going to follow-up this list with a host of activities you should participate in instead. You know what’s healthy and right for you. You don’t need me or anyone else to tell you that. But is it possible that you need to work through whatever situation you are avoiding? Is there something on your mind that seems so daunting and overwhelming that you would rather ignore it a little longer than begin the rigorous process of dealing with it? Is there a weight on your heart, or on your mind that you fear is too heavy to handle?

I encourage you to talk to someone. We so commonly address the symptoms (addiction, weight gain, loss of energy, etc.) instead of the underlying cause. Sometimes you know exactly what you’re trying to avoid, and other times, you are so tangled in your own thoughts and feelings, you can’t pinpoint it. All of this is part of the human experience, too. But you are much more empowered to do something about it than our ancestors were hundreds of years ago.

If you are unhappy with the answers you gave to the above questions, I encourage you to take advantage of the complimentary 30-minute phone Empowerment Session I offer. Calling in some support and reinforcements will make the issue your avoiding a whole lot more manageable. You will leave the call with clarity, hope and solid steps to start living a life by design.

Email me at April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com to let me know you’d like to set up your Empowerment Session. I’ll send you my calendar openings reserved for these free offerings. (Please keep in mind that I only have a limited number of complimentary sessions each week, so email me right away for the earliest availability.)


 

Clearing the Clutter in Your Life

We accumulate many “things” throughout life. Some of these things are in physical form, like clothes, gadgets, knick-knacks and papers. Others are non-physical, like memories, feelings, hobbies, habits and beliefs. Still others are both, like the people in our lives. Everything we collect serves a purpose for us in some way. Sometimes we need these things for a very long time and sometimes only for a short time. Just like in our homes, if we have too much “stuff” in our life that doesn’t add value and simply takes up space, we can feel overwhelmed and stressed.

I recently read, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo. In it, she shares her process for eliminating clutter from your home. I encourage you to read it, but I will share the two main take-a-way’s I was left with:

  1. Keep only those things that bring you joy
  2. Get rid of anything that doesn’t bring you joy, but before you do, thank it for providing for you at one time

She has a very specific order for going through your things. For example, the first category to go through, is clothing. The very last category is sentimental things. Her reasoning is that we have less of an emotional attachment to clothing and can more quickly determine which items bring us joy and which ones no longer do. Once we have a clear feeling of what truly brings us joy versus what we have held onto only because it once brought us joy, we can more easily separate items to keep and those to get rid of.

While she was referring solely to physical items, the two rules could just as easily apply to non-physical things, too, like your memories, feelings, hobbies, habits, and beliefs. Are you hanging on to some of these even though you don’t need them anymore? For example, did you get emotionally detached following a bad breakup years ago, but now it’s negatively effecting your current relationships because your guard is always up?  Maybe you’re not even aware of some beliefs that you’ve had since childhood. Perhaps they served you then, but you no longer need them as an adult. Kids who were taught to be people-pleasers may find themselves feeling taken advantage of in adulthood. Letting go of the need to please all people can help them acquire more joy in their lives. Do certain memories or feelings (like a grudge), take up space in your thoughts but don’t really benefit you anymore? Consider any that seem to be causing you some trouble now.

You can follow this process with the people in your life, but do so cautiously. Obviously, dealing with people is a much more delicate process than when dealing with objects. We don’t keep people in our lives simply because they do something for us, however, they should bring more joy to our lives than not. Toxic relationships don’t bring joy; they bring emotional clutter.

Do the joy check each day and consider if you have any clutter in your life that needs to be taken out. By regularly checking in with yourself, you will be able to make decisions that add joy to your life. Having a ready supply of joy helps us through life’s many challenges.

What “stuff” in your life brings you the most joy? Share in the comments section!

Do you have so much clutter in your life that you don’t even know where to begin? Are you feeling overwhelmed and stuck and just wish you knew how to turn things around?

If you truly want more joy in your life… a LOT more, then It’s time to take action. Email me at April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com to set up your FREE strategy session. You will leave the session with a greater sense of hope and empowerment, guaranteed!

The One Mind Shift That Will Change Your Life

When it comes to personal development, true purpose and happiness there is one shift that will generate the most benefit (and, yes, change your life): Taking responsibility. This is not an easy thing to do. It is much easier (and feels better in the short-term) to blame others for our woes and put our attention there. But it’s much more beneficial for us to carry our own burdens. And not just carry them, but examine them. Turn them around, explore, investigate and analyze them. Work out those demons. The only way to do this is to own them.

When you own your piece of every situation, you take back control. One distinction I must make is this means taking responsibility for your OWN burdens. You cannot take control of someone else’s. Taking responsibility means taking responsibility for what you bring to every relationship, goal, experience and situation. You can’t control others and you certainly can’t control all the events that occur in your life, but you can control YOU and how you react to life’s many twists and turns.

The next question then is, How? How do we turn that mind shift into action? Here are 12 ways:

  1. Focus on your strengths – During challenging times, we tend to focus on our shortcomings and weaknesses. A mindset on what we are lacking will not usually show us the best way out of a situation.
  2. Be clear on your goal – Whatever the situation is, you have to have clarity around what you ultimately want to happen.
  3. Focus on what you can do – It’s common to feel trapped in circumstances we are not in control of. However, there is almost always something we can do to improve any situation.
  4. Consider your options – We tend to consider the two most obvious options. We can either do this or we can do that. But there are always more than two options. Consider all the possibilities.
  5. They’re wrong, you’re right, so what – Spending a whole lot of time on how you’ve been wronged, shafted or victimized will do nothing to change your situation, no matter how right you may be. Being stuck in that thought pattern only leads to learned helplessness.
  6. Change your view – Easier said than done, but when you consider other views of your situation, you may find a solution right out in the open. Imagine how various people in your life would view this situation. You don’t have to agree; you just want to try on their perspective.
  7. Reassess frequently – Look back on the steps you’ve made and determine what you did well, what could have gone better, and how you would handle it differently now. In other words, learn from your actions.
  8. Get resourceful – Just because you’re taking responsibility, doesn’t mean you can’t call in reinforcements. Asking for help IS taking action.
  9. Know the difference between ‘action’ and ‘perfection’ – When you take responsibility, you are stepping up to take action, not to be perfect. Trying to be perfect will get in the way of moving forward.
  10. Mitigate your weaknesses – We all have them, but if they are taking power away from you, you need to take steps to strengthen them. (See #8)
  11. Trust yourself – You have a ridiculous amount of knowledge and experience. You have the answers within, you just need to trust that and then seek them out. You’ve got this!
  12. Know when to take the lesson and move on – When we take responsibility, it doesn’t mean we just keep showing up for the sake of showing up. After we’ve given what we feel is our best, we may have to take the lesson from a situation and move on. That’s not failure; that’s growth.

Share some goodness: what’s a situation in your life, that once you took control of your role in it, things changed for the better? Share in the comments section.

Is there too much noise around you to do this alone? Do you feel inundated with circumstances, situations, and people who are making you feel powerless? Help is one short email away. Drop me a line at April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com and we’ll schedule a complimentary consult that will leave you feeling empowered and hopeful!

Are You Stuck in the Planning Place?

Planning is important, sure. There are all sorts of things in life that are better with planning, but too often we can get stuck there. Especially if the next step requires leaving our comfort zone. We tend to over-value the need for planning, and under-value our resourcefulness. I bet you know a couple who didn’t plan on getting pregnant but it happened. I bet they figured it out. How about when a major, expensive car repair becomes necessary? We figure it out. We either figure out how to come up with the money, or we figure out how to do without the car.

What area of your life is stuck in the Planning Place? You KNOW you aren’t happy where you’re at in this area, and yet you fool yourself into thinking that just because you did a Google Search, made a phone call, tossed it around in your mind, or mentioned something about it, that you’ve just got to wait now until the “right” answer presents itself. Or maybe you are actively planning and trying to prepare and consider every conceivable outcome before you decide which path to take. Enough is enough. You have to make a move.

Have you ever been detoured while driving and for whatever reason not only were there no signs to direct you, but you didn’t have a GPS to help you find your way back to your route? I’m willing to bet, you found your way to your destination. You may have even taken a wrong turn. You may have even had to ask someone for directions. Or stop and turn on Google maps. Or you took the really, really, realllllly long way there. But you got there. Because you’re resourceful. Would you have gotten there if you just stopped the car and considered every other possible route? NO. You would not have made any progress getting there until you started moving the vehicle again.

Planning, in and of itself, does not move you forward. It is only when you ACT on your planning that movement begins. You have to start moving. You can’t possibly plan for everything anyway. And you don’t have to do this alone. There are resources everywhere, but no one can make the first move but you. If you’re unhappy with your health, DO something about it. Doing is different from Planning. There is a good chance that whatever the end result is that you are considering, there are a whole bunch of small steps you would need to take before you got there anyway.

If you want to learn how to ride a bike, you could read a manual about it. This could be the best manual ever made on the topic. It covers everything you would ever need to know about riding a bike. But until you RIDE the bike, you will not be any closer to the end result of being an experienced bike rider. Take a small step. You can adjust as you go, but you’ve got to go. Life is way too short to spend it planning, and never doing. There are so many possibilities out there. There is not just one path to Happiness. There are many, many paths. Chose one and if you have to alter your course later because you don’t like the one you’re on, you’ll do that.

How about you share some successes? What’s an action you took at some point in your life that truly changed your path and resulted in a positive outcome? Share in the comments section.

Do you need a resource to help nudge you out of the Planning Place and into Action? That’s my Jam! Email me at April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com to set up your FREE strategy session. It’s time for you to take back your power!!

How Setting a Daily Intention Can Improve Your Life

Starting your day with an intention may seem obvious. Don’t we all start our day with the intention of being on time, having a good day, getting our work done, not strangling an annoying co-worker, and other similar goals? For the most part, yes. Many have to-do lists that they intend to complete. But I’m not talking about THOSE intentions (important though they are). I’m talking about an intention that will apply to all areas of your life from the moment you wake right through to the moment you go to sleep.

These do not need to (and really shouldn’t) be complicated, lengthy intentions. They should be intentions that you can apply at work, home, etc. For example, your intention may be to “be positive.” You can apply this everywhere. You start thinking about what a great day you’re going to have, you talk yourself up on the drive in, not seeing that third red light as a “sign” of a bad day to come. You walk with a little pep in your step and smile in greeting to others. You avoid complaining about the loud phone talker, gum snapper, know-it-all and water cooler gossiper…because you set the intention to be positive. When you get home, you focus on not whining about your day, and handling the limited dinner options (since you forgot to go to the grocery store), in stride.

Some moments will be easier than others; some days will be more successful, too. But when you set your focus, things HAPPEN! Good things. Your intention could simply be one word, like “confidence.” So you will go through your day talking yourself up. You look good, you’re interesting, you have great ideas to contribute, you walk tall and speak with authority. Get the idea?

Here are some helpful guidelines for your intentions (but keep in mind, there are no rules here).

  • Keep it simple and general enough to apply throughout your day.
  • Make it relevant to an area of your life you’re trying to improve (like the positivity and confidence examples used above).
  • Make it a little challenging, but not too much…it will likely get more difficult as the day progresses.
  • Your intention is best phrased as something you will do as opposed to something you won’t do. (If you have “don’t be negative” going through your mind all day, the word that stands out is “negative,” which will make it harder to avoid.)
  • Change it as often as you like. Some prefer daily intentions, others weekly or monthly.
  • Reflect on how you did. Replay the day and think of how many times you focused on and applied that intention to various situations.
  • Celebrate your wins. Even if there weren’t as many as you had hoped. Progress is progress.

Having a clear intention every day will help you be who you want to be. If you’re trying to improve your attention to detail, “pay attention to the details” is a great intention to have. You are channeling all that energy towards something good. Having intentions just float around in our brains doesn’t help us improve. We need to clearly state it! Do this every day…you will absolutely notice the improvement after just one day!

This week’s commenting is going to be FUN!! State your intention. That’s it. No explanation required. Just tell me in the comments section what your intention is. Overachievers are welcome to come back and share how successful the exercise was for them.

Would you like to put even more energy towards an area of your life you’d like to improve? I have an arsenal of tools, techniques, strategies and methods to get you where you want to be quicker! Email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com and we’ll set up your complimentary strategy session.

Why “Find Your Passion” is Bad Advice

From as far back as I can remember, I began the Search For My Passion. I don’t recall where I heard this advice or why I saw it as such a necessity, but I was on the hunt. As a parent, I can’t even count how many times I’ve told my kids to find work that they were passionate about. The reason this is such bad advice is that it’s incomplete. It doesn’t give the recipient the information they need to successfully locate their passion.

Passion isn’t something you find, like, say, a $20 bill or a great deal on shoes. If you find a $20 bill, there’s no question that you did. You won’t mistake it for a $100 bill or a penny. The same is true for a great deal on shoes. You know approximately how much they should cost, and you know how much you’re paying. It’s simple math to determine a great deal. Finding your passion, however, is not usually so evident.

There are some people who knew from childhood what they wanted to be and never wavered. They found their passion early (REALLY early). But they are not the norm. Most of us try to connect what we like with careers that would allow us to be paid for doing it. If you like kids, you may look into becoming a teacher, if you like animals, maybe a veterinarian and so on. But unlike a $20 bill or a great deal, we’re not really sure if we found our passion or just something we might like doing sometimes.

Finding your passion implies that it’s there, in the Universe somewhere, just waiting for you to discover it. Like that’s easy. I know more teens and young adults who are tortured over this. Adults, too, actually. It’s like Pokemon Go for Passion. Everyone running around looking for their passion. Here’s where “find your passion” is bad advice. It leads us to believe that we’ll recognize it the moment we see it. It’s not always (or usually) that easy.

Finding your passion is similar to finding the love of your life. Most people don’t lock eyes with a stranger and recognize that they are going to be their soulmate. Yes, we’ve all heard stories like that, and good for those that discovered them so quickly, but again, not the norm. Most of us find our deepest relationships by building and developing them over time. Still others have found multiple soulmates over their lifetime. Passion is like that.

A small few will find their passion right away. But most of us will develop a passion for something over time. And still others will find multiple passions over their lifetime. It’s all good. But should you heed or offer the “find your passion” advice, please don’t stop there. For most of us, our passion is not going to tap us on the shoulder and announce their arrival.

Our passion needs to be cultivated. Knowing what we like, what activities and tasks we enjoy is the seed. It starts there. Try inserting those activities into your career, volunteering, and your personal life. Practice them in different settings, experiment with them. Life gives us multiple opportunities to express our passion. It’s not in one place and it doesn’t always look the same. Develop your passion. THAT’S what we should be advising others. That’s what we should be doing for ourselves. This requires patience, and hard work. It means there may be moments you aren’t loving what you’re doing, but with some time, commitment and mastery, you will find that love. It also means you can start where you are today. You don’t need to quit your job. Start developing your passion right where you are. You may be surprised by what you find.

What’s a passion you developed? Something you learned to love in a big way. Share your story with us in the comments section.

Would you like some help developing your passion? Are you still confused or frustrated about your search for passion?

I can help. Email me at AuthenticLifeChronicles@gmail.com to set up your complimentary strategy session. Together, we’ll develop a plan to get you on the path to living a life by design.

 

How to Make the Leader in You Shine

Everybody has an opinion on what qualities the best leaders possess. There is also no shortage of opinions on whether someone can be taught to be a leader. Some feel you have it or you don’t. I’m of the camp that everyone can be taught to be a leader…if they want to be. That’s really the only criteria. They have to wanna. The other issue I hear quite frequently is that there aren’t enough leadership positions to go around, leaving some leaders out in the cold. This is SO untrue.

If you’re itching to let the leader in you OUT, then you’re in luck, because I have some tips for you. But first, you’ll need to remove a myth in your mind. Myth: You need to be in a leadership position to show your stuff as a leader. This just isn’t true and could be the Numero Uno problem holding you back. If you’re waiting for the title of “Leader” before you show your leadership qualities, you’re likely going to be waiting for a long time. Being a leader is a mindset, not a job title. Now let’s get to the tips:

  • Seek out other leaders who inspire you – then ask if you can interview them – learn about their journey. They likely have a bunch of do’s and don’ts to help you.
  • Take the initiative – Don’t wait for someone to tell you they want to see your leadership skills, just show them every day.
  • See every task/job as an opportunity to show your skills – Whether you’re the maintenance clerk or the CEO, you should take pride in the quality of your work and be a leader.
  • Seek out mentors and sponsors
  • Your actions are always on display – You’re being watched by others…be impressive (every time).
  • Knowledge is power – but only if you use it
  • Reflect on the possibility that you are getting in your own way – That chip on your shoulder, negative attitude, or resistance to change likely isn’t going to help you advance.
  • Set clear, specific, SMART goals for yourself – Is there an area you need to improve in (interviewing, networking, technical skills, etc.)? Then set a goal to improve, seek help, and make it happen.
  • Be clear on your specific strengths AND weaknesses – Try getting 360 feedback
  • Share your knowledge and mentor others
  • Take action before you’re “ready” – Preparation is necessary, but don’t get stuck there. Learn the basics, then jump in. You learn more doing than you do preparing to do

Now self-assess from this list. How’d you do? Every leader, no matter how high up the ladder or how far they’ve come, still chooses several of these as opportunities. Being a leader means you NEVER stop learning and growing. So embrace your opportunities and focus on those that are most important to you at this stage of your development.

We’d love to hear from YOU! Which one on the list are you like a Boss in? Which one would you like to spend more time on? Remember, no shame in the game! Share in the comments section.

Do you want to speed up the process to let your inner leader shine? AWESOME! Let’s not waste another moment. I can give you personalized attention that addresses your unique situation.

Contact me at AuthenticLifeChronicles@gmail.com to set up your complimentary strategy session.

Creating White Space in Your Life

In web and print design, “white space” is very important. White space is what surrounds the content. It appears to be nothingness – blank space. While this element often goes unnoticed, it’s obvious when it’s missing. You know when you open a book and print is filling almost every inch of the page? Typically, that’s overwhelming and we are much more likely to put that book down (or dread having to read it). For this same reason, it’s important to have “white space” in life.

White space often seems as if it isn’t doing anything, but that’s untrue. In fact, most of us seek out white space, unconsciously. When you’re organizing or rearranging furniture; when you declutter or clean. These activities are often how we create white space in our lives. Our physical spaces need this as much as our psychological and emotional ones do.

Many years ago, when I was a smoker, there were two primary reasons I enjoyed smoking so much: It required deep breathing (which we now know is relaxing) and it gave me 5 minutes of white space. Thankfully, I have since found much healthier ways to create white space in my life. Here are my favs:

  • Sitting on my front porch people watching
  • Reading an interesting book
  • Taking a long drive/ride
  • Listening to music or a podcast
  • Reflecting as I drift off to sleep or wake in the morning
  • Spending quality time with my family and friends
  • Hiking or walking
  • Getting a massage or spa treatment
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Biking
  • Running
  • Napping
  • Relaxing at the beach
  • Gardening
  • Having a good ‘ol cry

To some, these activities may seem unproductive and without value, but they are examples of life’s white space. They relax, calm, quiet or center our mind. This is important because it prepares us for the busy “content” of life – work, family, kids, responsibility. These white space activities allow us to avoid overwhelm, tension and stress.

If you’re feeling overwhelm, tension and/or stress, work on creating white space. Are you filling your time with too many tasks or activities that don’t calm you? Check your physical spaces too. Are your bookshelves lined end to end with books you haven’t looked at in years (and likely never will)? Has the kitchen table become the “catch-all” for mail, papers, and other clutter? This content is taking over your white space. Have you ever had an important project deadline approaching and promptly began organizing your desk? This is not just a sign of procrastination, but an unconscious desire for some white space. Listening to the signals your body and mind send you will help you find the space you need to be at your best.

Your turn: How do YOU create white space in your life? Share in the comments section so we all can benefit from your wisdom!

Would you like to find some white space sooner rather than later?

You’re in luck! Email me at AuthenticLifeChronicles@gmail.com to set up a complimentary strategy session, and together we’ll find just what you need!