Five Things You Can Do to Make ‘Gratitude’ a Verb

Gratitude – (noun) – the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful.  Look, I’m no Merriam-Webster, but I think there’s an error.  I don’t think Gratitude is ONLY a noun.  I think it’s also a verb.  I prefer to live in gratitude by taking action.  In my humble opinion, so should you.

Today’s post is a perfect segue from last week’s Victim topic.  One way to keep yourself off of the Victim Playground is to regularly remind yourself all that you have to be thankful for.  Of course this includes health, family, friends, income, etc.  But don’t limit yourself to just these BIG blessings.  There are tons of little things, which you can find every day, to be grateful for.  Here are my Top 5 Ways to make gratitude a verb:

1 – Every day, write down those things you are grateful for.  Making a list, putting your thoughts into some sort of record, really cements the emotion of gratitude in various areas of the brain.  And by writing or recording your thoughts, you have just verbed!!

2 – Find the silver lining in every cloud.  Just the other day, after filling up my tank, my car wouldn’t start.  To make matters worse, I was embarrassed to be blocking a gas pump.  I called AAA for a tow and after learning where I was, the operator asked if I was blocking a pump.  My “yes” reply expedited my wait time for the towing company.  20 minutes later, my angel in overalls arrived, replaced my battery and sent me on my merry way.  I said out loud, “Thank you for not starting while I was blocking a gas pump.”  Speaking = verbing

3 – Be present.  With all the technology at our fingertips, we can forget to just seize the moment.  I have connected with some awesome people that I hope to keep in my life forever now.  Had I not been paying attention and hearing their story, I would have missed the depth of their personalities, and have less to be grateful for in simply knowing them. BEING is a verb.  BE present.

4 – Tell someone what they mean to you.  Are you tickled pink to have a certain someone in your life?  Tell them.  Express your gratitude to them.  It doesn’t need to be FOR any reason, other than they add value to your life.  Telling is a verb (as is making someone feel good!).

5 – Be what someone else is grateful for.  What contributions are you making?  Do you make others smile?  Do you go out of your way to make others feel good?  Live in a way that makes others think, “I’m so glad to know  ___________ (insert your name here) .  My life is better for knowing her/him.  The actions you take to be that for others, is clearly a verb!!

There are plenty of bad and disappointing things to focus on in life.  Ruminating on these does little to incite change and quite frankly is more likely to weigh you down.  Instead, add some positivity to your life by reflecting on all the little things that go right.  There are plenty.  I promise.

So, what are you grateful for?  Tell me, and all the readers, in the comments section below.  Oh, and just so you know, I’m truly grateful for you and the time you took to read this post.  Really.  Truly. Grateful.

Tell Me How You Earned that Victim Badge (Said No One Ever)

You got screwed again, huh?  Ripped off? Robbed? Wronged? Overlooked? What the freak? Why do these things always happen to you? You haven’t done anything to cause them.  What else could go wrong?

We all wrap this Victim Snuggie around us from time to time, with a big ol’ carton of ice cream and a Lifetime movie on.  That’s alright…occasionally!!  It’s when we choose to wear the Victim Badge that will have people sprinting as if at a Bull Run.  The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting a different outcome.  Coincidentally, that’s also the prerequisite for wearing the Victim Badge.

I always cringe when I hear, “What else could go wrong?”  I mean, if I were the Universe, I would see that as a challenge too!  There are true victims out there, people who are wronged through no fault or contribution of their own.  Then there are the rest of us.

In every interaction and exchange you have with others, you are contributing something.  If the “same stuff” keeps happening over and over again, you need to look at the common denominator…that’s you my friend.  Of course you can look at the world as if there are villains out there whose job it is to mess things up for you; or you can see what adjustments you can make to start changing the outcomes.

For instance, you cook, you clean, you taxi, you organize, etc. etc.  You may find yourself frequently complaining, “nobody appreciates all that I do around here”.   That may be true, but remove that badge and TELL them all that you do and HOW you want them to show appreciation.  If it’s become too overwhelming for you, divvy up the duties.  However, if you enjoy doing these things, but would appreciate some “thank you’s”, than say so.

Another example might be that you don’t feel like anyone listens to you.  Ask yourself how you could be contributing to that.  Record yourself having a conversation.  Then listen back.  What are you saying? Are you being negative or whiny? Are you using “I”, “me”, and “my” throughout?

Do you find yourself in the same types of relationships?  Do you pick partners that ultimately disappoint you?  Time to look within.  Find the similarities between these relationships (how they began, what attracted you to them, how they began to decline, how they ended) and start looking at what you could do differently.

I understand that wearing that Victim Badge likely makes a person feel highly significant.  The more struggles they’ve faced, the more times they’ve survived after being wronged is supposed to show how brave and strong they are, right?  Not so much.

The Badge Wearing Victims tend to provide an accounting of every bad thing that has happened to them.  This is often communicated through the alternate use of sarcasm and bewilderment.  They don’t typically share how they overcame issues and got out of their own way (likely because they haven’t).

So take off that Victim Badge and replace it with a Badge of Victory.  Life wasn’t meant to just be survived, it was meant to be conquered!! Then ask the Universe, “What else could go right today?”  I’m betting the universe will see that as a challenge as well!

I’d love your comments below!!

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6 Tips to Breathing Life Into Your Work/Life Balance

Scales.  We hate them.  Our efforts never seem to be reflected in the numbers, am I right?  This isn’t true only in our bathroom scales, but often in our ‘work/life’ scales as well.  Now visualize a scale with one side ‘work’ and the other side ‘life’?  Which one is heavier?  No really, think about it.  Unless you work a second paid job, I’m willing to bet the “life” side is heavier.

Let’s break this down:  We all have the same 168 hours per week.  No one gets more.

168 hrs/week
– 45 hrs/week paid work time
– 49 hrs/week sleep time (7hrs/night)

74 hrs/week “life” time

That averages out to about 10 hours each day!

What are you doing with those 74 hours?  Yes, there are many tasks we must take care of, but are you allowing enough quality time to truly enjoy and appreciate this gift of life you’ve been given?

Here are 6 tips to better balance the “Life” side of the scale:

1 – DELEGATE – Yes, sometimes you have to put that Super Hero cape on and git ‘er done.  But not evveryy time.  There are people around you who would be happy to help you.  Your partner, family, friends, neighbors, etc.  Maybe that’s sharing ride responsibilities with another parent or giving the kids some responsibilities around the house like yard work, laundry, dishes, etc.

2 – OUTSOURCE – The average price for a thorough house cleaning is about $125.  Even if you only used this service once a month you could eliminate or lessen some of those time-consuming tasks.  See if your local dry cleaners do laundry pick-up and delivery.  Look into hiring landscapers, painters, professional shoppers, etc.  Yes, we’re all looking to save a buck where we can, but at what expense?

3 – BUDGET –If you don’t pay attention to how much money is coming in and how much is going out, what is likely to happen?  Bounced checks, declined credit cards, additional debt.  The same is true with your time.  The result is loss of sleep, unhealthy food choices, non-quality time.  Make a plan for the week and do your best to stick to it.  Make sure to include all the activities you want to enjoy (working out, traveling, education) and quality time activities like family meals, date night and reading together.

4 – PLAN AHEAD – Maybe that’s making a week’s worth of meals on Sunday’s.  Maybe that’s scheduling time to do absolutely whatever you want to do!!  This could be the hour the kids are at soccer or the hour between meetings.  You can read, workout, nap, shop, meditate or get your groove on…whatever.

5 – GET CREATIVE – Are there personal tasks you could do at work?  Does your company have a laundry service where you could drop your laundry off and pick it up at work?  Do you have work-from-home options so you can occasionally multi-task at home?  Check out your local chamber of commerce to see what new businesses have opened in your area that could take something off your plate.  They often offer deep discounts to new customers.

6 – JUST SAY NO – We all want to be Super Parents, Super Partners, Super Friends, but we can’t do it all, all of the time.  Can you really be the Full-time employee, PTO President, food bank volunteer, football team rep, sexy partner, home repair person AND best friend?  Does your kid really need to play a team sport, take dance, play an instrument, be on the student council, chess club and the honor roll?  Learn to say, “I’d love to, but I’m stretched too thin right now.”

There are moments in our lives when we just have to suck it up and make some sacrifices of our time.  But that should be the exception, not the rule.

Don’t let circumstances determine how you live your life…that’s your job.

What tips do you have that help you stay balanced?  What aspects of your life tie you down?  Share in the comments below.

Finding the Great and Powerful Oz Within

I recently asked my readers to tell me what topics they would like me to blog about this month.  There were a surprising number who asked to learn more about meditation. There are hundreds of sites and articles on the topic, but I wanted to find ways to overcome the common obstacles, like not having enough time and/or not having a quiet place.  Fear not, because I learned A LOT and you will too!

What:  Meditation is a focused effort to quiet the jumble of thoughts in our mind.

Why:  The main purpose of meditating is to insert some calm into your day.  Settle down your mind for a bit.  We could all use a little of that, right?

How: While most of us conjure up sitting cross legged in a quiet room, you may be surprised to learn that there are many ways to meditate.  My favorite compilation of options came from the Mayo Clinic:

  •  Guided meditation. Sometimes called guided imagery or visualization, with this method of meditation you form mental images of places or situations you find relaxing. You try to use as many senses as possible, such as smells, sights, sounds and textures. You may be led through this process by a guide or teacher.
  • Mantra meditation. In this type of meditation, you silently repeat a calming word, thought or phrase to prevent distracting thoughts.
  • Mindfulness meditation. This type of meditation is based on being mindful, or having an increased awareness and acceptance of living in the present moment. You broaden your conscious awareness. You focus on what you experience during meditation, such as the flow of your breath. You can observe your thoughts and emotions but let them pass without judgment.
  • Qi gong. This practice generally combines meditation, relaxation, physical movement and breathing exercises to restore and maintain balance. Qi gong (CHEE-gung) is part of traditional Chinese medicine.
  • Tai chi. This is a form of gentle Chinese martial arts. In tai chi (TIE-chee), you perform a self-paced series of postures or movements in a slow, graceful manner while practicing deep breathing.
  • Transcendental meditation. You use a mantra, such as a word, sound or phrase repeatedly silently, to narrow your conscious awareness and eliminate all thoughts from your mind. You focus exclusively on your mantra to achieve a state of perfect stillness and consciousness.
  • Yoga. You perform a series of postures and controlled breathing exercises to promote a more flexible body and a calm mind. As you move through poses that require balance and concentration, you’re encouraged to focus less on your busy day and more on the moment.

Where:  If you can find a quiet room where you are certain you won’t be interrupted, great.  But don’t rule out meditation if that’s not the case.  You can practice some forms of meditation in your car or in a meeting room at work (with a do not disturb sign on the door if necessary).  You can also meditate while out on a walk or sitting in a quiet corner of your yard.

When:  Meditate as often as you can.  Don’t worry about “rules”!  If twice a day is an option, great.  If twice a week is all you can muster, that’s fine.  Also, you don’t need an hour to meditate.  That’s something you could certainly work towards if you wish, but there are fantastic guided meditation recordings that average only 3-10 minutes.

Here are my favorite sites on the subject:

Sure, we all want to find that Great and Powerful Oz within, but we are so busy putting out all the external fires of our life, that we neglect this man (or woman) behind the curtain.  Don’t you deserve a little self-love?  You bet you do!  Meditate on that!!

Have some tips that make meditating enjoyable for you?  Did you try one of the techniques listed?  Share your results.  Either way, I’d love your comments!

Cheating – It’s Not That Complicated

“It’s Complicated” is a relationship status these days.  Sure, there are some “complicated” aspects to any relationship, but cheating isn’t one of them.  Cheaters cheat because they have a need that is not being met.  It’s that simple.

There are 3 main types of cheaters: Insatiable’s who have more needs than any one person could meet; Incompatible’s who are in a relationship with someone with drastically different personal or religious views (in relation to sex/intimacy) or a different sexual orientation; and finally the Average Jo(e)’s who are roughly 90% of cheaters.

My one tip for those who love an Insatiable or an Incompatible: Run, don’t walk, in the opposite direction.  Your energy would be better spent finding a cure for cancer or eradicating world hunger.

As for those who love the Average Jo(e) and would like to prevent them from straying, these tips are for you.

  1. Don’t get lazy! – We all put forth great effort in the beginning of a relationship.  We are charming and attentive, passionate and affectionate.  Over time, these behaviors can wane.  When they do, over long periods of time, danger is approaching.  Flame Tip: Step it up. You know your lover’s hot buttons…press it at least once a week.  Tell her she looks gorgeous and you don’t know how you got so lucky.  Tell him you’ve been thinking about how good he looks under you.  Whatever works
  2. Don’t disregard their complaints – When we hear, “You never ________ anymore” we get our panties in a bunch.  Stop focusing on the “never” and start focusing on the _______!  Your loved one is trying to communicate a need they have that is not being met.  If you try to rationalize away or disregard their complaint they will just get the need met elsewhere.  Flame Tip:  When you’re on the receiving end of a complaint, no matter how poorly delivered, consider it, then prove them wrong by telling them they’re right and then acting on it.
  3.  Focus on their needs, not yours – Just because you think they should be happy because you cook, clean, work, fix stuff, doesn’t necessarily make this the need they wish to be fulfilled.  For example, it’s great that you mowed the lawn, but if you’re lady NEEDS words of affirmation, this chore is not going to meet it.  If your man NEEDS to be touched, your 5-course meal isn’t likely to meet that need. Flame Tip: What does your partner truly NEED from you?  Is it words, touch, time, gifts, gestures of love? Figure it out, then NIKE (Just Do It)! Check out the Five Languages of Love for further info on this topic.
  4. Add elements of surprise – If you think obligatory, missionary “gettin’ it on” is sexy, think again!  Change it up, add something new or different.  The higher the level of trust in a relationship, the more opportunities for “New and Exciting” exist.   Flame Tip:  What’s an element to your intimacy that you could add to?  Role play, naughty dice, adult store visit are all  options.
  5. Know your role – Business and society sometimes cause us to play chameleons.  This could result in men turning down their masculine and women turning down their feminine.   We all have a tendency (regardless of sex) to prefer the masculine or feminine energy.  Make sure you are catering to your partner’s preference.  Flame Tip:  Polarity (opposites) is sexy.  Determine which energy charges up your partner, then turn it up in a positive way.

If you are an Average Jo(e) and find yourself dissatisfied enough to consider other options, here are my tips for you:

  1.  Communicate – Be as direct as possible in letting your partner know how you’re feeling and what they could do to keep you from straying.  Flame Tip:  Communicate the things that they’ve done in the past that you loved.  Do this by reminding them of a great memory you have of the two of you earlier in your relationship.  Let them know how great that was and how you miss those days and would like to find a way to keep them in your relationship.
  2. Shiz or get off the pot – If you have no desire or interest in rekindling the passion in your relationship, then end it.  You’re not doing anyone favors (kids, your partner, yourself) by sticking around in a relationship you have no intention of nurturing or repairing.

Cheating is a sensitive subject.  I get it.  But if you’d like to prevent it (whether you would be the betrayed or betrayer) it’s going to take work.

Make sure you’re needs are being met (and you’re communicating if they aren’t) and make sure you’re meeting your partners (reasonable) needs.

It’s simple but not easy.  Please share your thoughts on this, I’d love to know what you’re thinking!  Remember, you can respond anonymously by entering your name as “Anonymous”.  Your email is not posted.  Comment below.

What Season Are You Living In?

I LOVE Summer and I’m always sad to see it go.  But I really do love Autumn and the added bonus of experiencing it in New England. Not only do I love wearing sweaters and boots again, but I love the colors traditional to this time of year.  They’re not the new, pretty colors of spring or summer, but the deep, warm, beautiful colors of fall.  The scents and tastes of meals enjoyed year after year fill my memories of this season.

Reflecting on the seasons made me think of the “seasons” of life. Recent studies show that U.S. women live an average of 81 years compared to 76 for men.  That means I’ve begun my Autumn in life.  I suppose this should depress me, but in fact, I feel quite good about it.

In my Spring, I was a bit of a “late bloomer” but learned a lot by watching others blossom and grow.

In my Summer, I was full-on-out!  I wanted to experience everything.  Like Impatiens, I was pretty, but I could wilt without enough attention.  I was fun and exciting, flying by the seat of my pants, pretty and playful as a Day Lily. If you’re tiring of the flora analogies, I’ll just say this: My summer was hot and colorful, enjoyed to the fullest.

But Fall, Mmmmm, Fall. Where summer was moving and hustling, Fall is more like savoring and appreciating.  Don’t get me wrong…I still treasure every moment, I just don’t live in ONLY the moment.  I’m not pretty like I was, but I’ve taken on a warmer glow, a wisdom and grace that I didn’t have before.

In my Autumn, I feel pretty smoldering in a sweater and jeans.  Not exactly how I feel in a bikini.  My Summer would have me jumping through hoops to prove to others that I was good and worthy of their love and affection.  Fall, on the other hand, has me recognize in myself, that I’m worthy of love and affection and won’t settle for less than what I deserve.   In Summer, I needed to be tended by others, my Autumn is much more self-sustaining.  I worry much less what other people think of me and focus on being true to myself.

My “4th of July” colors of summer were pretty awesome (albeit ‘showy’), but I’m certain my Autumn colors will be equally (if not more) impressive!  These blooms thrive in amping up their bad selves with color and foliage and growth (just ask any Autumn-er).  Well Hot Damn!  For this discovery, I’d like to toast my Summer’s ‘wine cooler’, with my Autumn’s Sauvignon Blanc and simply say, thanks for the memories!  I’ll happily trade your insecurities and toned ass for my confidence and love handles!

Here’s to all the ladies no matter what season you’re in!!  Be sure to share why and how you’re celebrating your season!

Communication – 7 Tips to Proving You’ve Evolved

So many bad things happen simply because of miscommunication or lack of communication.  You know when you’re watching a movie and the characters are clearly not sharing all the necessary information with each other and you’re sitting there like, “Tell him!” or “Don’t let her walk away!”?  There are ways to avoid these situations.  Despite the tendency of some, there is no need to revert back to the days when we all had a hairy back! Here are my Top 7 Communication Tips for the Evolved!

1 – There’s no such thing as common sense – This is evidenced by the infinite number of ways to swipe your credit/debit card in a store.  I always feel like a “winner” when I correctly swipe the card without direction from the clerk.  We all have different experiences and personalities, so our “common” differs from others’ “common”.  We also tend to surround ourselves with like-minded people, so when we are outside this group, like in a business or public setting, it can be difficult to communicate effectively.

 2 – Don’t start in the middle – Just think of some of the most classic films and what would happen if they started in the middle: Snow White would just be a creepy dwarfophile; George from “It’s a Wonderful Life” would just be a crotchety, bitter man undeserving of his wife and children; While Sandy & Danny (Grease), and Edward & Bella (Twilight) would just be your everyday conflicted teens, yawn.  So while it may seem obvious to you, don’t start communicating by assuming others know the “back story”.

 3 – Don’t make people work for it – If you have a message, be direct and to the point.  No one wants to be in a conversation that resembles the game of ‘Clue’. Dropping hints, being coy, beating around the bush, these all sabotage a good discussion.  Unless you’re handing out a secret decoder ring, just spell it out.

 4 – Be clear on the purpose of your communication – If you’re trying to help someone, say so.  If you’re upset and want to voice your feelings, say so.  If you’re ticked off, say so.  Don’t leave the person wondering what the point to the conversation is.  Confusion is not a recommended tactic if you’re trying to be understood.

 5 – Make sure your body language and tone support your words – If you’re trying to convey patience, open-mindedness, forgiveness or any other image, watch your non-verbal behavior.  Saying you’re open to hearing their viewpoint, then rolling your eyes as they share, shows them you’re full of crapola!

 6 – Listen – Stephen R. Covey said it best, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”  This means you are not going to plan a defensive comeback each time your partner (not opponent) raises a point.  Listen for the sake of understanding, not strategizing.

 7 – Sometimes writing is the best method – If you want to choose your words carefully, are worried that heated statements could come into play, or that the recipient (or you) could get defensive, then write a letter.  Make sure each thought and feeling you’re trying to convey is expressed exactly how you’d like it to be.  Write, edit, re-edit, send.  This also allows the recipient to absorb and digest what you’re saying and respond in kind.

Communication is the key to peaceful relationships, friendships, and world relations.  Leave the monkey brain where it belongs…with the monkeys!

Share your comments below, I LOVE to hear your feedback (anonymous or otherwise) and I ALWAYS respond!

 

 

Are You a Stoner?

I bet if I asked whether “stoning” is an acceptable method of punishment, most of you would say how barbaric those cultures are that use it for infractions we don’t even consider a misdemeanor.  “Stoning” is a form of punishment where a group throws stones at a person, usually until death ensues.  In rarer cases, this is carried out for a specified period of time in order to only cause injury.  No individual within the group can claim to be the executioner, but everyone clearly bears some degree of culpability. Pretty horrible, right?  You’d never take part in something like that, right? Uh, well maybe not literally, but…  Metaphorically speaking, we have all “thrown stones” and we have all been the “condemned” at one time or another.

Unlike natural stones, the stones we throw don’t have physical weight.  However, they carry as much force and cause equivalent damage mentally and emotionally.  Our stones can be words meant to cut or bruise, or actions that shun others from love and affection.

Let’s think about those occasions when we are the “throwers”.  What judgments do we make about others that make us feel justified in hurling a stone?   Think back to the last time you said something unkind, to or about, another.  Or a time you turned away or avoided someone?  What made those actions ‘OK’?

She always says stupid things, and I was tired of it so I went off on her.”

She’s pretending to be someone she’s not, so I thought it was time to show her that I saw right through her.”

He thinks he’s better than everyone else so I had to put him in his place.”

Look at what she’s wearing.”

I heard she’s slept around.”

That child is out of control.  Clearly they don’t give enough attention to their children.”

And on and on and on, right? Much like actual stoning, these words and actions slowly and cruelly tear a person down.  While the first stone might hurt a little, it’s each consecutive one hitting that same spot over and over again that makes it so torturous and painful.

Now imagine you’re the “condemned” in those situations.  What might you be thinking as each ‘stone’ hits?

I know I don’t always have a filter, but I didn’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings.”

I’m just trying to be who I want to be, I didn’t mean to come across as fake.

I know I can be perceived as pompous, but I don’t want anyone to know how insecure I really am.”

I feel sexy and desirable in my clothes, why does anyone else care what I wear?

I just want to be loved.”

I’m doing the best I can as a parent.  It’s not always right, but at the time, it’s my best.”

We are human, and we all do it, but think before you pick up that next stone.  Imagine the need the “condemned” is trying to meet.  Empathize with it, offer help or kindness. At the very least, offer a silent prayer or positive thought that they become who they were authentically meant to be.  You can’t give someone a hand, if yours are full of stones.

If something truly needs to be said, and your intent is to help this person AND they trust you, be direct and transparent and lovingly offer your perspective.  Using your stones as stepping stones will produce greater results than using them as a form of punishment.

I’ll leave you with the words of Jesus, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” John 8:7.

I invite your comments below if you care to share your perspective on this topic.

Why We All Should Celebrate Rosh Hashanah

I’m not Jewish, but, at times, I really wish I knew a Rabbi. If I did, the first thing I’d ask about is Rosh Hashanah. Regardless of your religious beliefs, this holiday is one we all could benefit from practicing.

Rosh Hashanah begins on September 4th, teaches that God decides who will live and who will die during the coming year. As a result, Jews embark upon the serious task of examining their lives and repenting for any wrongs they have committed during the previous year. They are encouraged to make amends with anyone they have wronged and to make plans for improving during the coming year. It’s all about making peace in the community and striving to be a better person.

Huh. I mean, I guess that’s kinda like my New Year’s eve, but for that (drinking) holiday, I tend to forget about any wrong-doing and start with a clean slate. Convenient, yes? Then I plan to do one thing to be better. Lose weight, tone up, be nicer to the hubby, spend more time with the kids or my mother or my friends or…oh look it’s February…off the hook!

Just imagine…you’re an adult and you could be “selected” by God to “come home”. Do you think God really cares if you’re 5 (or 25 pounds) overweight? Does he care if you drink soda? Act impatient, or change your behavior for a few weeks? Not that any of these areas couldn’t be improved upon, but seriously, aren’t there more important, universal things to worry about???

Have you examined your life? Have you accomplished all that you wanted to? Have you made the difference you thought you would? Have you ‘righted’ your ‘wrongs’? How will you be a better person in the future? Not for a week or a month, but forever on this earth. How will you be your truest, most authentic self? How will you make this world a better place, if only for a moment?

Tell me in the comments section. Inspire others. Inspire me. Share your wisdom, your story. Comment. Shalom.

Why Networking is Crucial to Achieving Your Goals

Networking.  We’ve all heard the word, and some may even get a ‘sketched out’ feeling when hearing it.  For some, it translates to: “self-promotion to the point of nausea.” But I think those 10 letters just got a bad rap! It’s simply putting yourself on the playground of like-minded people.  That’s it.  Not very complicated, right?

I recently attended an “All Class Reunion”.  There I met a BFF, a former BFF and another who I was scared would stuff me in a locker in high school if I held eye contact too long.  I had an AWESOME time with all of them!! I learned who they are today, without the fog of self-absorption that most high schooler’s are afflicted with.  What a gift!  I “met” 2 adult women who are different from who they were last time I saw them.  They approach some aspects of life very differently than I do, but I loved learning new perspectives and I gained a whole new respect for the way they are navigating their lives.

Now while this example isn’t exactly “networking” in the traditional sense, it felt like it, in that we all shared a similar interest: (memories of graduating from a particular high school) and, I’m going to go out on a limb here and presume, we were ALL a little uncomfortable initially.

Whether you would benefit from connecting with others professionally, personally or spiritually, all I can say is, GO!  Put yourself out there with others.  You’re awesome!! REALLY!!  Think about some awesome things you’ve done and some questions you have.  If this is professionally based, jot down some accomplishments you’ve made and some goals you have.  If this is personal networking, note some cool “conversation starters” you may have.  Cool things you’ve done, cool stories you could share and the types of people or activities you’re looking to engage in.  If it’s spiritual connections you’re looking to make, put some thoughts and ideas into concrete words so you can more easily communicate your beliefs.  Don’t overthink these though.  You will learn the most and connect the best if you listen more than you speak, and ask more than you tell.

Why is networking so important? Because who you hang with is a HUGE factor in whether you achieve your goals or not.  Think about it…if you want to be a sought after guru in the Marketing arena, drinks with your same old buds on Friday night likely isn’t going to assist in that goal.  Looking to get your name out there? Your partner and kids already know your name, so hangin at home isn’t helping either.  Have you always had a desire to rock climb, yet no one in your immediate circle has that same desire? You need to get out there and meet other people pursuing and living their dream.  You’ll learn something, they’ll learn something and you each will have added a new connection to your “network”.

Utilize your resources, whether this is your address book or social media. Facebook (personal & professional networking), LinkedIn (professional networking) and if you’re looking for more, check out www.meetups.com (personal & professional networking). This is a great place to find like-minded individuals near you.  Would I steer you wrong?  Of course not.  Check it out!!

Already belong to these sites?  When’s the last time you reviewed your contacts (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) and personally reached out to those people you know could offer you a highly beneficial perspective?  Yeah, that’s what I thought.  Stop procrastinating and go meet some new people.  Then tell me all about it in the comments section!!