Bringing a Different Side of You to Center Stage

As you know, authenticity is the name of the game, here. However, sometimes we have to fake it, ‘til we make it. I don’t mean faking who we are, rather faking that we believe we can be who we want to be. Here’s an example: have you ever appeared “tougher” than you actually felt? Maybe you stood up to a demanding boss, gossiping friend, or unruly client. This is an example of faking it until you make it. This is often how people improve their self-confidence. They walk taller, appear to be confident, until they realize they really ARE confident.

Celebrities often create alter egos to help them step into a performing or public image. Beyonce had Sasha Fierce who she created to give her shy personality the courage to be sexy and carefree on stage. In 2010, Beyonce said she didn’t need her alter ego anymore as she had finally reached a place where she could merge the two identities together. David Bowie had Ziggy Stardust for a period of time. There have been several other celebrities and performers who took this approach as well.

While we may not need to go to such extremes in our lives, it’s not a bad way to incorporate a persona that we have kept tucked away, too afraid to share with the world.  Merriam-Webster defines alter ego as: “a second self or different version of oneself; a trusted friend; the opposite side of a personality.” So, while Clark Kent had Superman, you could have your own super-persona that you just need to release to the world. Now the question is, how does one go about creating an alter ego?

  • Determine Your Alter Ego’s Positive Characteristics – Do you wish you could appear more confident, playful, direct, or patient? Make a short list of those characteristics you most wish you could more openly express.
  • Consider All the Areas of Your Life – We typically alter our personalities a bit in different areas of our life and exude the qualities most appropriate for varying environments. Being more professional in business settings, parental with our kids, and playful with our friends are just a few examples. Is there a particular area of your life (business, personal, relationships, etc.) that this persona would best fit? Consider which areas you’d like this alter ego to show up in.
  • Breakdown the Benefits This Persona Would Provide – For example, if you introduced a more confident, self-assured version of yourself, how would that make your life better? Perhaps you’d be seen as a leader in your field, or show those in your personal life that you won’t be their doormat. This version could help you get that job you’re seeking, or the grant you applied for.
  • Build Your Alter Ego – Now that you have all that information, start imagining how this persona might express him/herself. How might they react to different situations (use recent ones as a starting point)? Are they extroverted or introverted? How would this persona handle problems, challenges, push-back from others? How would your alter ego celebrate successes, victories, and everyday wins? How does this version dress, look, walk and talk?
  • Name Your Alter Ego – This is the fun part. What name best represents this version of you? Beyonce chose a name that she thought sounded sexy, bold, and brave. What name will yours have? If you’d like to take this to another level, create a social media account using your alter ego and post things that this version of you would enjoy, or start a blog or podcast from the perspective of your alter ego.

When creating and sharing this persona, think of how eventually incorporating this version of you into your everyday life will make you a better person living a happier, more fulfilled and authentic life. That’s the idea here.

When I started this blog, that is very much the angle I took. I didn’t start this work thinking I was the most authentic, positive person who had to teach others how to be, and I still don’t. However, writing about topics that related to living in a true-to-ourselves, kind, and positive way, helped me to improve those areas in my own life. I take my own advice as often as others do. I’m a work in progress. I take steps to liberate myself and I hope you’ll do the same.

Alright, let’s have some fun in the comments section here! Tell me the name of your alter ego and some awesome qualities s/he exhibits!

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Greatest Hits – Year One

I have to admit that I enjoy Facebook’s “On This Day” posts reminding me of past memories. Yesterday was 4 years since I told the masses that I started this blog. It was a big, scary step for me (in fact, it took me a full month to shout it out), but I took it. 4 years later and I haven’t missed a weekly post since! It is in that spirit that I will be sharing some favorite past posts from Year One. In the very early ones, I had just a handful of subscribers. My writing has evolved some since then, as have my chosen topics, but my message is still the same. Embrace YOU, be kind, and keep creating the version of you that will bring you the most joy. It’s all about living a life by design. I’ve summarized my top 5. You can click the titles to read the entire post. I hope you enjoy these early year flashbacks!


I’m Rubber You’re Glue…For Grown-ups

My very first official post was posted here on February 10th, 2013. Here, I share the challenges I faced working with a supervisor who lacked integrity, honesty, and kindness. It was the feeling of powerlessness I felt at the time, followed by the eventual realization that I still had aspects of life that were in my control. It was that realization that ultimately led to the creation of my private practice and this blog. It’s a pretty raw post, but the main message still applies today. I’m much better at not allowing negative thoughts about others to crowd my personal mind space and this post is a great reminder of this.

 

 


The Limitations of “Labels”

Published on March 31st, 2013, this is a topic I’ve written about several times. I just have a “thing” about labels. This is about not allowing them to define you and how they can sometimes be used against us by others, but also by ourselves when we use them as a crutch or excuse. We’ve all received and applied labels to ourselves. See if you are doing this to your advantage.

 

 

 


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

This gem was published on October 20th, 2013 and is also a repeat visitor. One of my favorite words and feelings is Empowerment. The perspective offered in this one is from personal experience (I have certainly worn the Victim Badge on occasion). I also know how much better it feels to empower myself and take control of the aspects of life I actually do have control over. There is a bit of tough love in this one, but ultimately empowering. If you are feeling down in the dumps and as if life just keeps throwing you lemons, this is a good read.

 

 

 


Who’s in Your Circle of Influence?

November 10th, 2013 is when I posted this popular topic. An expansion on the old adage, you are the company you keep. I shared how there are some down-sides to this phenomena, but even more so, the benefits if your circle of influence is chosen carefully. There’s a short, fun exercise included that I know you would find beneficial. Think about your closest influencers, then check to see if you are setting yourself up to succeed and achieve.

 

 

 


Living Your Dream, One Step at a Time

This was my post to celebrate the year mark of blogging and entrepreneur-ing (yes, I still make up words). It’s one I’ve had to revisit multiple times since posting it on February 23rd, 2014. It was a reminder that all accomplishments begin with one step. Every success, every dream can only happen when you take that step. It’s a short post, but it reiterates a point I’ve made again and again over the years. It’s also the one I need most when I’m in a rut. Whether you have a business, want a business, or would really just love a summer home, this applies to you, too!

 

 


There you have it – My Top 5 in Year One. I hope you enjoyed these early posts and commented if you felt inspired! Stay tuned for a brand new topic next week!

If you would like to partner up and work on living a life by design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

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The 4 Stages of Change and How to Get Through Them

The one constant in life is that nothing is constant (except for taxes, maybe). We deal with change every single day. Some days the change is minor, like a short-lived traffic jam, other days it’s something major, like the end of a relationship. There are all sorts of in-between’s, but ultimately how we deal with change impacts how we get through the tough times.

When any aspect of our life changes or is altered, it slows us down. Voluntary change usually slows us down less than involuntary change, but this isn’t always the case. Until we accept and embrace our new normal, we progress very slowly.  Learning how to navigate through the stages of change will help us get to a happier, more fulfilled place in life.

The four stages of change are Denial, Resistance, Exploration, and Commitment. Let’s look at each one.

Denial – This is head-in-the-sand, this can’t be happening to me, denial.  For minor things, like a short detour, the effect is fleeting. There’s a moment of, “you’ve got to be kidding me” before moving onto the next stage. For more major changes, like losing a job, this may last longer. Thoughts swirl around how “everything seemed fine yesterday.” We will do anything to avoid the pain of accepting the change. This is a pain-filled stage and the sooner we can get out of here (and admit that change has happened), the sooner we can start working on some solutions to improve the situation.

Resistance – Okay, fine, I get it, change has happened. This is a place often filled with anger. If change is the parade, you are the rain! Blame, blame and more blame. That anger needs to be directed somewhere. While this is a tough stage to be in (for you and those around you) it’s also a necessary, self-preservation stage. At some point, you will hit your lowest point here. Resistance may have more to do with resisting how uncomfortable this change feels. It may appear that anger is directed towards the change, but that’s not always the case – it may just be anger at the loss of what was. Other common emotions during this stage include self-doubt and fear. You are experiencing noticeable growing pains. Making note of all the choices you could make, and the pros and cons of each one, can help you get to the next stage.

Exploration – While still a pretty uncomfortable place to be, the clouds are beginning to part. Hope is peeking in and anger is fading out. In this stage you dip a toe in and take a sip of the Kool-Aid. There’s possibility here. Small at first, but growing as you continue through it. You are becoming more open-minded and starting to think of ways to live with the change. The future is again in sight.  Growing pains continue, but you recognize the value they could provide down the road. This is a good place to start consciously thinking of the possible benefits of the change. What is better? What could be better?

Commitment – Ah, you have arrived! That doesn’t mean the moment you step into this stage you are celebrating, only that you have committed to move forward.  Residual pain may exist, but innovation and creativity show up to conjure up ways to move ahead. There is some semblance of control and our speed is back up to par. Growth has occurred and is recognized here. You can see that you aren’t the same person as you were when this all started. You see you’re kind of awesome in this stage. Your confidence is returning and you can see things from a new perspective. You may see how you could have prevented or better handled the change. Growth has occurred and you’re quite possibly better for it.

Change is HARD! In fact, the stages of change are very similar to the stages of grief. Knowing how you react to change in general can be helpful. Don’t be fooled – you don’t gracefully move from one stage to the next. The door doesn’t lock. You may enter one stage, only to take several steps back into the previous stage. If you know you need to spend more time going through the stages than others, embrace it. Be patient with yourself, but don’t live in any one stage for too long. This includes Commitment. Remember, “A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.”  Understanding these changes can help you help yourself and others who are experiencing an uncomfortable change in their life.

Think of a change you are experiencing now, or one you’ve experienced recently. Note what stage you are in and start thinking of ways to move onto the next.

Share in the comments section which stage you tend to get “stuck” in (it’s the Exploration stage for me).

If you would like to focus on living a happier, more fulfilling life, even in the midst of change, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

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email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

How to Prevent Others’ Opinions from Dictating Your Life

I recently read a book that I LOVED (Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert). While doing some market research, I decided to view the comments others left about the book. There were plenty of 5-star reviews raving about what a wonderful book it was. There were also some 1 and 2-star reviews that could be pretty brutal. Not personally attacking, but seriously tough, like, “Shallow. I expected more unique ideas, interesting takes.” When I look at critiques like that, I wonder how difficult it is for the author to read them. While I imagine she is comforted by the majority of positive comments, it still must sting to receive such negative reviews.

A lesser person might never write again after reading tough reviews, especially if those reviews are the majority. While few of us receive such direct feedback on our contributions, we do, in fact, receive feedback repeatedly, and we store this information. This is often why people don’t try new things. They have seen what happens in life when things are done “wrong”, and don’t want to be that person. Yet, that person, the one who is not motivated by the critical reviews of others, but by their own inner joy and sense of accomplishment, is most certainly living a more fulfilling, happy life.

If you would like to start enjoying a more fulfilling, happy life, you are going to have to seek out your cup of motivation from within rather than from what the masses pour you. Here are some tips to help you do just that:

  • Don’t Over-Value Feedback from Others – Consider what others think, but true authentics do not allow others to dictate their path, journey, or what they contribute to the world. You can take some of the points, particularly if you’re hearing a lot of the same things, and see if this is an area you want to work on. It’s ultimately your call.
  • Measure the Success of Your Contributions Internally – Success is determined by YOU. Not by how much money you make, or how many likes you get, or any other external measurement. If it brings you joy and you’re happy with your contribution, consider it a success.
  • Negative Feedback has Nothing to Do with You – One of my favorite quotes is, “What others think of you is none of your business.” Negative feedback from others gives a glimpse at their preferences and perspectives and has nothing to do with yours. Just because I don’t like olives, doesn’t mean the olive farmer should stop growing them.
  • Our Contributions Do Not Always Equate to Money – Do not shackle what you love to do with making money. If you’re one of the lucky people, you will make money doing what you love, but that isn’t a requirement. Of course we have to make money to live First World lifestyles, but that doesn’t mean all our contributions need to make money. Separate the two if necessary. You can enjoy your job and love creating stained glass art even if you don’t make money from it.

If we all edited our contributions to try to please everyone, we’d be left with nothing – which is often, exactly what people do. They do nothing so they can avoid any critical reviews. In doing so, however, they have robbed themselves of doing something that brings them joy. I love to sing in the car. I’m not bad, if I do say so myself, but I won’t be winning any middle-aged American Idol competitions. I’m sure if you polled the people in cars around me while I belted out the new Rihanna song, Love on the Brain, you’d find some haters. But fortunately, I’m not singing to get discovered, or make money, or impress anyone. I’m singing because I enjoy it. That’s it. The haters are just going to have to roll their windows up.

Okay, so you’ve learned I don’t like olives and like to sing in my car. What about you? What do you enjoy? What’s something you love doing simply because it brings you, and maybe others, joy? Share in the comments section.

If you would like to focus on living a happier, more fulfilling life, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

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email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

 

12 Quotes to Make You Feel Better About Screwing Up

I have made so many mistakes in life. Usually, I recognize them as soon as I make them. It just always seems a moment too late. It is in these moments that I wish life had autocorrect. However, there are two reasons that this is a bad idea.

One: I have learned more from these than I have from all my successes. In fact, when it comes my successes, I often look around like, “how did that happen?” “How can I do it again??”

Two: Have you SEEN all the autocorrect memes?? I can screw up perfectly well on my own, thank you very much! Autocorrect is likely to only make things worse!

Here’s my point: mistakes suck, but they are necessary. Like teeth cleanings. We don’t like them, but we need them. Below are 12 quotes that are certain to make you feel better about your mistakes or forgive others. For those of you familiar with my Wednesday Words of Wisdom (Hello, VIP Subscribers!!!), this is that times 12!!. Enjoy!

There you have it. 12 quotes to help you be a little kinder and more forgiving of mistakes. One quote to keep in mind, is “Once is a mistake; Twice is a decision.” Beware of those who continue to make the same mistakes over and over again – they aren’t learning the lesson (yet).

What say you? Do you have a favorite quote? Share in the comment section. We all can use reminders and inspiration in life – help us out!

If you would like to use your mistakes to your advantage, but you’re not sure where to start, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

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email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

4 Books You MUST Read (and 4 More You May Enjoy)

There’s no bad time of year to read (or listen to) a great book, but winter makes it especially nice. This week I share the last 8 books I’ve read (or listened to) in case you’re looking to add to your library. Enjoy!

The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream by Paulo Coelho – I have this in audio version which is read beautifully by Jeremy Irons. After seeing this title on multiple “must read” lists, I gave it a try. I listened to it for the first time several months ago, and have almost finished listening to it again (this is a rare occurrence for me). It’s a short book, but such a powerful fictional story about an Andalusian shepherd boy who travels from his home in Spain to the Egyptian pyramids in search of a treasure. He meets others along the way and learns many valuable life lessons. This story is told in such a way as to ensure the reader relates to it and applies their own life situation to the lessons learned throughout. (MUST READ)

Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential by Joel Osteen – This is another book that I’ve revisited. It’s like The Secret for Christians. Many similar messages about how God (or the Universe in the case of The Secret) wants you to succeed in life. It’s about dreaming big and having faith that God will provide. Osteen shares 7 steps to living to your full potential: Enlarge your vision; Develop a healthy self-image; Discover the power of your thoughts and words; Let go of the past; Find strength through adversity; Live to give; and Choose to be happy. Positive messages that apply to all circumstances and not preachy.

Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Dave Evans and Bill Burnett – Told through the lens of design, these educators share how in design, everything is built with the end-game in mind. Using examples like the creation of the lightbulb, the printing press, and the internet, they teach us how to design a life through curiosity, action, reframing of problems, and collaboration. I read a lot of these types of books, and this one is a keeper. In fact, I listened to the audio version before purchasing the hard copy of the book in print. This is great for career choices, too!

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson – This alternate approach to self-help books is spot on. The author pretty much emphasizes that you’re not special, or at least the problems you face aren’t. He takes the rainbows and butterflies found in most self-help books out, and replaces them with rain clouds and thunder – throwing an umbrella your way just in the nick of time. Doesn’t sound very motivating, but his delivery is filled with humor, self-deprecating stories, and a whole lotta F-bombs (sometimes a few too many, but forgivable). It makes for an entertaining, and accurate read. This is another audio version I bought the print version of. (MUST READ if you don’t mind naughty language)

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick – I’m not sure exactly what prompted me to get this book. I mean, I like Anna Kendrick and several of the movies she’s done, but I wouldn’t consider myself a diehard fan. It may have been the title. I’m all about the underdog, and this seemed to be a story about an underdog making it. To be honest, I wasn’t sure I was enjoying the story (on audio) at first. It wasn’t especially long, which may have been what motivated me to continue, but the story, and Anna, kind of grew on me the further along I went. I think I most enjoyed her authentic portrayal of herself (at least I think it was authentic, but she is an actor after all), and her inside stories of show biz. It was good, but not great for me.

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah – I LOVED this book. I highly recommend listening to the audio version read by the author. His voice and inflections bring his stories to life. This comedian from South Africa (and host of The Daily Show) shares stories of growing up during the apartheid and after. Not only will you get a dose of history, but you are guaranteed to laugh out loud. His telling is filled with both humor and tragedy. You’ll be left wanting more. (MUST READ)

The Like Switch by Marvin Karlins and Jack Schafer – I tend to geek out on psychology and human behavior. If you can relate, you’re going to like this book. Written by a former special agent for the FBI, you will get super cool stories from the field (like espionage) and how behaviors, even the really subtle ones, tell a lot about what we’re thinking and how we’re feeling. The same techniques used in undercover operations can be used in real life to get others to like you. This is valuable in personal settings as well as professional ones.

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes – This book came out in 2015 and I remember hearing all the fuss, but I didn’t get it until a few weeks ago. The creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, and executive producer of How to Get Away with Murder shares her story of being a shy introvert to living life to the fullest. It started a bit slow for me in the beginning, but once I got to the “yes” parts, I was locked in. She embraces who SHE is, and once she really started recognizing her own worth, she was unstoppable. Inspiring and unapologetic, it’s a great lesson for all of us, particularly women. (MUST READ)

There you have it. The last 8 books I’ve read or listened to. I enjoy listening during all my travel, but sometimes, I want a good book in my hands. I purchase all my audio books through my Audible monthly subscription. Although Audible and the Kindle work together, allowing you to listen to a book audibly, then switch to reading the Kindle version right where you left off, I purchase the majority of my print books from Barnes and Noble. They may cost a little more than Amazon, but there’s no playground I love more than getting lost in the bookstore, so I’m happy to support them. Virtual just isn’t the same for me.

Sharing is caring…share in the comments section any books you would highly recommend. What’s on your MUST READ list or what books, fiction or non-fiction, do you return to?

If you would like some help designing YOUR life story, then an Empowerment Session is a great place to start! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

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email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

Written by, You

It’s easy to feel that sometimes we are at the mercy of life’s circumstances. And let’s be honest, some moments we are. But moments are fleeting, and it’s important to keep in mind that you are the author of your life. While life may throw circumstances your way, you get to determine how each chapter ends. You get the last word. If your business goes under, if you get fired, go broke, or get dumped, that’s not where the chapter has to end. You write the last line. You also write the opening paragraph of the next chapter.

When you write your story, it’s not all going to be pretty rainbows and butterflies, because that’s not real life. There will be ugly parts, parts of you and your story that you are not proud of, but that’s okay. The lines in our story, even the chapters of our story, do not make us who we are. They are a part of us, but they are not all of us. If you don’t like how your story is unfolding, write a new one. Change the plot, the setting, the characters, and even yourself if you wish. You get to choose how you react to life’s curve balls.

Life is complicated; we are complicated. That’s the beauty of it. But underneath all of those complications is a really pure version of who we are. This version is always doing the best it can. This version grows and changes, and we, the authors, get to determine how to navigate through the lessons learned, the plot twists, and the overarching desire to matter.

Don’t write your story through the eyes of others. Share their perspective, consider others’ ideas, but it’s YOUR story. You define the meanings; you determine when you’ve succeeded and when you’ve failed. You decide who you are and where you’re going to take your story. When someone criticizes you or tells you that you’re not enough, that’s their story. Don’t make their story your story.

When you embrace your title as author of your story, you empower yourself. You take back control of the parts you have control over. You determine if your story is a tragedy, comedy, drama, mystery or some exciting mixture of all of these. Your non-fiction tale is yours for the telling. It’s your gift in life. There is no editing, there are no re-writes. There is one story. Write it well. Live it well.

Share in the comments section one of your favorite “lines” in your story.

If you would like some help with your story – if you are experiencing a “writer’s block” in life, then an Empowerment Session is a great place to start! 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 

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.

Would you like a partner on your journey to self-discovery? An Empowerment Session is a great place to start! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

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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.

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