10 Leadership Qualities the World Needs Right Now

Everyone is in a position to lead. While not everyone steps up to that potential, we all have it.  Some are leaders in the workforce, others in the home, still others at church, school or within clubs and organizations. Leadership is being criticized and redefined every day, but there are certain attributes of great leaders that are the foundation to any leadership style. Being a leader is a privilege and should be treated as such. Leaders can choose to use leadership only for their own advantage, but the exceptional ones use it in a way that benefits others. Below are my top 10 characteristics of great leaders (and, boy, does the world need more of these right now):

  1. Leadership is Not a Title – Leaders know that a mindset of leadership is what allows others to view them as a person of influence, not a title.
  2. Leaders of Self – Great leaders lead themselves first. They work on their individual goals with the same qualities they use to work on professional goals. They show self-control and discipline. This doesn’t mean they’re perfect, only that they are self-aware and can positively control their own behaviors.
  3. Treat Others with Respect – Leaders treat others with respect regardless of title, influence, or beliefs. They may disagree, strongly even, but they do so respectfully and professionally.
  4. Give Value – Great leaders are valuable contributors in all that they do. They do not wait for others to request it or praise it, they just lead and add value for the greater good. They are able to look at both the big picture and the details within that big picture, as well as the finer aspects that include individuals and the impact their contributions make on smaller groups.
  5. Team-Focused – Leadership is an opportunity to utilize the individual strengths of the team in such a way that everyone succeeds. Great leaders pride themselves less on being great leaders and more on being great team builders. They don’t showboat their individual accomplishments, but they do celebrate those of the team.
  6. Integrity – They have it or they don’t. There’s no half-way. Integrity is a daily decision. Mistakes may be made, but they are up front and honest about them and genuinely work to be better.
  7. Earn It – No matter what their resume says or the number of personal and professional recommendations they have, they recognize that only their behavior will earn respect.
  8. Action Takers – Listening is a valuable skill and one they use regularly, but they take action on new information and look to constantly improve themselves and their teams.
  9. They Step Out – Leaders don’t hide. They step out and show their pride and their humility. They look others in the eye during shining moments and dark ones. They are transparent and willing to be vulnerable.
  10. Opportunities & Continued Growth– They look for and appreciate opportunities to learn, grow and improve, even when they don’t like how these opportunities present themselves. They seek out perspectives in order to understand how they’re being viewed and work to improve in any area necessary. They strive for greatness, not perfection.

There you have it, my top 10 leadership characteristics. If all leaders strengthened and exhibited these qualities, we’d all be better for it. The best place to start is with ourselves.

Now I want to hear from you! Which of these 10 are you strongest in? Are their other qualities that you believe makes a great leader? Share all that and more in the comments – I want to know what YOU think.

If you would like some support on designing your life and strengthening your leadership skills, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of a complimentary strategy session!

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email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

Designing Your Environment

There are plenty of external factors that can influence our level of enjoyment in any given moment. The number of cars on our commute and how they are moving; the number of people in line at the ice cream shop we love; the speed and friendliness of the DMV worker processing each customer; the contents of an email we receive; a political social media post, and more. While it may seem we are at the mercy of these externals, we have more control than we think.

Think about drinking water. It isn’t just scooped up from a flowing stream and put in a bottle. It needs to be filtered and cleaned before it becomes a healthy drinking option for us. The same is true in life. You have to filter and clean what you’re consuming so your environment is as healthy and enjoyable as possible. Here are some ways to do just that:

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff – Your attitude has a LOT to do with your level of happiness. Sure, that motorcyclist weaving in and out of traffic going 100mph may frustrate you, but that’s not in your control. Ruminating about the senselessness of it and how “people now-a-days only care about where they’re going” isn’t going to change a thing. Instead, send a prayer for safety their way and move on to happier things to ponder.
  • Social media – There is a lot to see on social media threads. How much of it actually makes you happy? Really, think about it. If you were to compare your level of happiness before you started scrolling and after, do you think you’d be happier? I’m willing to bet you would not. In fact, there is a strong likelihood it would make you less happy. Whether it’s a political post that gets your blood boiling, a sad stream of people who have lost loved ones, or the ever-present FOMO (fear of missing out) feeling we get when people seem to be living perfect, exciting lives, there’s a good chance we conclude a social media scrolling session feeling relatively crappy. So, instead of checking the feed every 30 minutes, limit yourself to just a few quick visits each day. Also, remove anyone you aren’t truly trying to maintain a social connection with. A crowd of “friends” brings a crowd-sized amount of “stuff” you may not want to be consuming every day.
  • News Alerts – While there’s certainly a level of enjoyment in being “the first to know” the latest news story, that excitement is usually quickly replaced with a feeling of “how bad things are getting.” Just like with social media, you should be controlling how frequently these notifications enter your world. Let someone else consume this information in excess. If it’s something really important, you’ll find out about it. In fact, KEEP the weather notifications on your phone. Everything else? Save it for later. A 10-minute perusing of your favorite news site will tell you everything you need to know to stay current. By letting a little time pass between the first Breaking News announcement and the updates, your information is likely to be more accurate anyway.
  • Television – If you’re a big fan of TV shows, consider how these may impact your mental state. Are these shows filled with a lot of drama or violence? It doesn’t really matter if it’s fact or fiction – your brain processes the information the same. It all becomes part of the environment you’re “living” in, so choose wisely.

There you have it! Some ways to control your environment and experience more enjoyment and happiness. The more you control what you’re consuming, the more control you’ll have over your inner thoughts. Your mind is your “mental garden” and you want to design it so that it brings you peace and comfort. This starts by controlling what you bring into that “garden.” Bad stuff exists and I’m not suggesting you pretend it doesn’t, but just because it exists doesn’t mean you have to consume it every moment of every day. It’s there, so be aware, but don’t cover the walls of your world with it. There’s plenty of good stuff happening, too!

Share in the comments section which of these you want to work on or something that has worked for you and helped you to keep your environment a happier one.

If you would like some support on designing your life (and environment), then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of a 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 

Looking for a Sign When Making a Decision

When we have tough decisions to make – decisions with no crystal clear right choice – we often look for signs. In a recent conversation, I was asking someone which path they were going to take and their answer was they were just going to sit on the fence right now until they got a sign letting them know whether to go left or right. Of course, it would be nice if we received confirmation from the Universe that a decision is the exact right one, but that’s not usually how life works.

We have all faced decisions where we just weren’t sure we were making the right one. During this time of uncertainty, we likely “sat on the fence,” too. Trying to keep a foot in both places while awaiting the confirming sign from the Universe. But if you’re at the crossroads of a decision, the Universe has already sent you the sign. The sign is a change is necessary. THAT’s the sign. The beauty of the human experience is there are rarely two options with one being clearly right and one being clearly wrong. There are many options, with some better than others, but all of them come with pros and cons.

When faced with a difficult decision, the lesson may be found in the deciding, not in the actual decision. There have been numerous studies that show once we make a decision, we tend to believe it was the right one. Although perspective has a lot to do with this. If you are looking for reasons why it was the right reason, you’ll find them, but if you’re looking for reasons why it wasn’t, well you’ll find those, too.

You always have the resources to make a decision. Whether that’s based on your own gut instinct, life experience, or logic, the answer lies within you. When you are clear that there is an unhappiness, unsettling or some other ongoing discomfort alerting you to the need for change, that’s the Universe telling you that you’re ready for it. It’s only when you get lost in your head, and doubt your intuitive skills and abilities, that you start questioning your readiness for change. Trust that the Universe is sending you a sign – a sign that you’re ready. You’re ready to face this uncertainty. You’re ready to find the answer. You’re ready to make a change. You are being challenged to change. It may be a small change or a big change; it may be a change in your behavior or your perspective, but change is necessary.

Stop doubting your ability to make this decision. You are resilient and life is trying to provide you with another beautiful lesson. Embrace it, lean into it, and move forward.  The sign is there, it’s within you, it always has been. But you cannot truly move forward while keeping one foot firmly planted in yesterday. Commit to forward movement, even if today it’s just a baby step. Trust that you have all the tools you need to make a decision, because that’s the sign the Universe is trying to send you.

Your turn! Share in the comments section a time you trusted your inner wisdom and made a tough decision.

If you would like some support on paving your own path, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of a complimentary strategy session!

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email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

Using Personal Accountability to Improve Your Life

Have you ever caught yourself complaining about your circumstances…the unfairness of it all? I know I’m guilty. There have been many times when I have become so wrapped up in my “story” that I wasn’t able to find my way out of it. These are dangerous places to be. This is being a victim, and no one likes being a victim…unless, of course, they do. I’m guilty of that, too. When I get wrapped up in my “stories,” I am living the life of a victim. I’m powerless and not taking action that will change my circumstances. While there may be truth to some of my story, swimming in the injustice of it all will change exactly nothing. I can honestly say that when I take responsibility for my role in every circumstance, I live a much happier and healthier life.

When we place our happiness in the hands of others, we are setting ourselves up to be a victim. This happens more than we think. Each time we place expectations on others, we are placing our happiness in their hands. When we focus so heavily on what others are doing instead of how we can react to it we are placing our happiness in the hands of others. It is only when we take responsibility for our own happiness that we can truly be happy.

If you’re playing cards and you’re dealt a crappy hand, you have three choices: you can carry on about how crappy your hand is; you can quit the game; or you can suck it up and play it to the best of your ability. While you may be right about how crappy your hand is, which version do you think you’ll be happiest in? In the first version, you may start bringing more “story” to your circumstances. You’re never lucky or the dealer set you up on purpose or other unhelpful tidbits that bring you further into victim status. If you quit the game there will be new, likely unpleasant, circumstances to face. In the play what you got version, you’re taking action to change your circumstances. You’re not attaching any particular meaning to the occasion – just a crappy hand that you’re going to do your best to play. Imagine if you reacted to all life’s “crappy hands” that way.

Taking responsibility is not easy. We have been creating stories and attaching meaning to our circumstances since childhood. Having an awareness is the first step. Pay attention to when you’re creating a story or being a victim. Try to quickly transition out of those and take action by being personally accountable to your own life. The added beauty of this is that you also don’t try to carry others’ responsibilities. You recognize that we all have to take responsibility for our own lives. You can’t carry the weight for other people. They have to deal with their own personal accountability.

This week, try to pay attention to your reactions to life’s circumstances. Instead of creating a story around the aggressive driver on your commute, understand he’s got to be accountable for his actions and you’ve got to be accountable for yours. That means you just carry on and drive like you know you should. Instead of whining about a challenging initiative at work, you figure out how to use your experience and skills to make it a success. Because you’re accountable for your piece of it, so make your piece shine.

Share in the comments section a time you took personal accountability for a crappy situation and how it helped you find greater happiness.

If you would like some support on becoming more personally accountable, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of a 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!)

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You, Only Better

A blog about authenticity likely has lots of messages about being yourself and accepting who you are, and that’s true here at Authentic Life. But the message doesn’t stop there. Yes, you should “Be You!” and, yes, you should accept yourself for who you are, but that doesn’t mean you get complacent. You can be you WHILE running, walking or even crawling your way towards the best version of yourself. That means that today you accept yourself, flaws and all, while simultaneously trying to be even better. Better by YOUR standards, but better nonetheless.

So often I hear people say, “That’s just the way I am.” And that’s true only for as long as they want it to be true. You can take an accounting of your flaws and then simply announce that’s just the way you are, but that is NOT personal development. Personal development is accepting those flaws while working on those you’d like to change.

The beauty and excitement of life is the journey to trying to become your best you before you leave this earth. The best you during your time here. There will always be another level. A level that will bring you joy and fulfillment. Certainly age will gradually start to physically limit us, although there are plenty of 80-year-olds who run marathons, but our flaws are not limited to our physical bodies. Our flaws often exist in our attitudes, behaviors and perspectives. Neither age, nor time need impair our ability to work on those areas if we identify flaws within them.

Being you, only better, means you look honestly at yourself every day in every interaction. You treat yourself with love and acceptance, but put energy into working on those areas you want to improve on. Do not mistake this for negative self-talk or an excuse to feel crappy about yourself. That’s not developing. Developing means you’re willing to be honest about those areas that are holding you back and be willing to do the hard work to improve. This is also not about seeking perfection. Perfection, as we know it, is a myth. This is about living your life as your best self so you can feel joy, fulfillment, and make a true positive contribution to the world.

The message today is simply to be you, but don’t stop there. If you always strive to be a better you (on your terms), you will be. Being you, but better, means you put the work in. You don’t just chalk up your flaws as “who you are.” You work at it. Henry David Thoreau said, “You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself into one.”  Do that. Hammer and forge yourself into the you, you want to be.

Your turn to share some inspiration. What’s a flaw or personal challenge you faced that you overcame through desire and persistence? Share in the comments.

If you would like some support on becoming your best YOU, then an Empowerment Session is for you! 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 

How Habits Influence Who You Are Today

We all have habits. Good ones. Bad ones. In-between ones. But we’ve got ‘em. These habits have greatly influenced the life we are now living. I think of people in my life and how their habits have impacted them. The cousin who has protected her skin from the sun for the past 30+ years, looks 15 years younger than her peers. I know someone so bitter over a divorce that happened over 20 years ago and she can’t figure out why she has such a hard time connecting with men. Then I think of my habits and see which ones I happily broke (smoking) and which ones continue to haunt me (procrastination).

Our habits make us. Whether our habits are eating sweets or having an optimistic attitude, they are impacting us today. Habits are sneaky. You don’t always see them until they’ve already made themselves at home. Like a houseguest that doesn’t leave until you make them. And that’s just it, really. You have to make the bad ones leave and invite the good ones to stay. In both cases, there’s a period of adjustment. Even though you know that mooching houseguest was no good for you, you still may miss her. She was crazy and no good, but damn, she was fun. Then there’s that good houseguest who you know is good for you, but he’s just so…boring. Like an uncle that is trying to interest you in reading more intellectual works and all you want is to watch a trashy TV show in peace.

Here’s the thing. You have to look these habits in the face and really decide if they stay or if they go. It’s not gonna get any easier. You’ve got to do the hard work. The you tomorrow is not going to want to do it any more than the you today. So stop waiting and just get to work.  Don’t you wish you could say, “thank goodness my younger self did that hard work then so I wouldn’t have to today.” Maybe you can say that about some things, but I’m willing to bet there are other habits that you’ve been carrying around for a while now.

It’s time to figure out which habits need to go. What is something you can do today to start developing that good habit and evicting that bad one? You don’t create a habit in a day, but you can start it in one. Figure out a first step and do it now. Right now. Find someone who already has this habit developed and pal around with them. They’ll be a good influence and will support you while you work on developing the habit for yourself.  Want to get better at saving money and spending less? Want to get off the couch and hit the gym? Want to start seeing the good in life instead of all the bad? Whatever habit you want to break or start, today’s the day. Write down 10 things you could do to make or break that habit and get started on just one of them today. It won’t stay difficult. It will get better and easier. Do your future self a favor and start today. Baby steps count. If you want to start living a healthier lifestyle you can start as small as committing to eating an extra serving of vegetables every day. And then do that every day until it becomes a habit. Then you can add something new to start building into a habit. Easy-peasey, right?

Now it’s time to share some wisdom. How did you make or break a habit? Share in the comments section.

If you would like to work together on developing healthier habits and living the lifestyle you desire, then an Empowerment Session is for you! 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 

Coping Mechanisms That Get In Our Way

We all have stress to varying degrees. It’s how we deal with that stress that determines if we reduce it or increase it. Sometimes stressors are external like a looming deadline, demanding boss or difficult family member. Other times, they are internal like when we worry what others think of us, try to uphold an image, or live a perfectionist lifestyle.  No matter what your stressor is, you likely have coping mechanisms that are in place to help you deal with them. And that’s good…maybe.

There are plenty of coping mechanisms to choose from. They are all intended to make us feel better, but over time, they may actually have the opposite effect. If we find a way to ease our stress, that’s not so bad, but these coping mechanisms become habits. And when that happens, instead of just being along for the ride, they start driving our decisions. I’ll use one I see A LOT: wine.  Me and many of my lady friends love us some wine. Long, stressful day at work? Wine. Argument with a spouse? Wine. Something to celebrate? Wine. Before long, this habit permeates other areas, because the triggers start to increase. At first the trigger was stress. Then, since wine usually comes out in the evening, it started showing up not just on the stressful nights, but every night. One glass turns into 3 glasses and now a habit has formed and you’re stressed more because you just don’t feel good anymore.  See how sneaky those little buggers are?

What to do? First, identify your coping mechanisms, the unhealthy ones, I mean. Alcohol seems to be a pretty obvious one, but there are plenty that are more insidious. Smoking, yelling at people, guilting others into or out of things, emotional eating, complaining, playing the victim, excessive exercise, over working, spending too much time on social media…the list goes on.

Then you need to identify your triggers. What is going on, in your life or in your mind, right before you start using that coping mechanism? Looking for a pattern will help you uncover them , too. Like the wine example I used that started off as a stress reducer and ended up being an evening habit. Sometimes there are a few layers to these triggers before you find the original one. For example, maybe when you were 16, your high school sweetheart broke up with you. You consoled yourself with a container of Chunky Monkey. The next time you hit a stressful moment (that chemistry test) your memory reminded you how good that Chunky Monkey made you feel. Now you’re 47 and guess what you turn to when stress hits (or even when it doesn’t)?  You guessed it…Chunky Monkey or whatever naughty food you’re into now. You now have the added stress of weight gain, sugar crashes, and the like.

Once you’re clear on the unhealthy coping mechanism and its trigger, you are ready to replace that bad boy with a healthy coping mechanism. These are things like going for a walk, playing with the dog, meditating, talking your feelings out with a trusted friend, getting a massage, listening to relaxing music, and whatever else you can think of that you feel would be a healthy coping mechanism to reinforce.  As with any, it’s not hard to overuse any one, so be cautious that you’re not using any coping mechanism in excess, even the ones that seem healthy at first glance.

One thing is certain and that is stress ain’t goin’ nowhere, so we have to learn to deal with it in a healthy, productive manner so that we can reduce it without causing other stress (for ourselves or others.)

Alright, that’s enough from me. It’s your turn. What’s your favorite healthy coping mechanism? Share in the comments.

If you would like to work together on developing healthier coping mechanisms and habits, then an Empowerment Session is for you! 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 

26 Ideas to Make the World a Better Place

It’s Memorial Day Weekend.  This is the time to remember all those who have passed before us and remind us just how precious life is.  Explaining Memorial Day, PBS says: “all Americans must take a moment to remember the sacrifice of our valiant military service members, first responders and their families. Memorial Day is a day of both celebration and grief, accounting for the honor of our heroes and reflecting on their tragic loss.”  My family has a long line of military and public service. Fortunately, none had to make the ultimate sacrifice of their lives. I originally posted a version of this on May 26th, 2013 – a little over 5 months after the Sandy Hook School tragedy. At that time, school shootings were still such a rare occurrence and our news feeds weren’t nearly as filled with these tragic stories. Sadly, things have escalated, making it even more important that we all share our voice, but the message I most wanted to bring in 2013, and again now, is how resilient we are as a nation. Even in the face of tragedy, good rises.

Ann Curry started a project of committing 26 Random Acts of Kindness to honor the 26 lives lost at Sandy Hook School.  While numerous worthwhile projects were born from this tragedy, this project helped quantify the good that still exists in the human spirit.

Check out (and “Like”) the Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/26acts for more about this ongoing project.  Stories are shared to encourage and report wonderful examples of people doing simple acts that serve to restore faith in humanity.

There are so many awesome ways individuals can spread a little joy.  Here are 26 of my favorites:

  • Personally thank a veteran this weekend
  • Buy 26 roses and hand them out to random people that look like they need a little love
  • Create care packages for homeless people (hygiene products, snacks, etc.)
  • Give $5 extra at a toll booth and tell them to apply it to as many cars as possible
  • Give $5 extra at Dunkin or Starbucks for the next person
  • Volunteer at a food bank, soup kitchen, homeless shelter, school, etc. (those places need us all year long, not just around the winter holidays)
  • Donate to causes that you believe in
  • Donate clothing and household items to the Salvation Army or Goodwill
  • Volunteer at special events like Relay for Life, Special Olympics and community clean-ups
  • “Share” a friend’s  “new business” post
  • Take the time to listen to that long winded co-worker’s story instead of doing the army crawl around the building to avoid them
  • Send someone an email telling them what a great job they did
  • Ask an elderly person to tell you one of their proudest moments
  • Thank a police officer and other first responders for their work in the community
  • Post a public “thank you” to someone who has helped you in some way
  • Make a “Welcome” package for the new neighbor
  • Ask the new co-worker if they’d like to lunch with you
  • Give your bag of returnable cans and bottles to that person you see picking them up along the street every week
  • Visit the new business in town and try to help them succeed
  • Email the corporate office of a business letting them know you received great service from someone on their staff
  • Mentor a youth in need by becoming a Big Sister or Big Brother
  • Offer to do yard work for an elderly neighbor
  • Never pass up a kid’s lemonade stand…buy generously
  • Tell that pompous, know-it-all that  drives you batty something you truly like and admire about them
  • Forgive someone’s crabby behavior and treat them nicely anyway
  • Volunteer at a local ESL (English as a Second Language) program or learn someone else’s language (Spanish, Sign, etc.)

Behavior is often contagious.  When someone treats you poorly, you are more likely to treat someone else poorly while in your pissy-place.  Yet, when someone treats you kindly, you are more likely to ‘pay it forward’.  In essence, like one stone creating many ripples in a pond, your act of kindness has the ability to (directly or indirectly) impact millions of people!!  If you spread it out over one year, that’s only once every other week. (Math whiz you ask? Why yes, yes I am!)

While our service men and women, including first responders, continue to do their important work, we all have work to do to make this a better world to live in.

I’ll leave you with a quote I stumbled upon just before originally writing this post:

“The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy.”    -Kalu Ndukwe Kalu

Will you share your own preferred random acts of kindness in the comments section? You never know when you might inspire someone else.  

If you would like to work together and bring more good to the world by taking time to become the best version of you, then an Empowerment Session is for you! 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 

Knowing is the Easy Part

Most of us have personal goals. We have things we want to work on and improve upon. Knowing what to do is usually the easy part. It’s the doing that’s tough. Let me impart a warning: Disrupt yourself before someone or something else does it for you. There are things you know you need to do. If you don’t take it upon yourself to start working on them, life will eventually do it for you and will likely have greater time pressures than you would have now.

I’ll use health as an example. Let’s say I want to lose 20lbs. I KNOW what I need to do to lose the 20lbs. I could disrupt myself and start eating better and exercising more. But I keep putting it off while the scale continues to climb. Then I go for my annual physical and the doctor tells me I have high blood pressure, I’m pre-diabetic, and I’m making my heart work too hard. Guess who just disrupted me? The doctor. She tells me I need to lose weight to turn these issues around before they start creating even more serious problems. How much do you want to bet that I’m kicking myself because I knew what I needed to do before things got so dire?

Where do you need to disrupt yourself before someone or something else does it for you? Are you drinking too much? Do you need to face the problems in your relationship? Is it time to learn some new skills for work? Are you ready to address your depression? Do you need to stop charging up those credit cards? Are you ready to stop enabling a loved one? Is it time to eat better and get more exercise? Only you know the answer, but wouldn’t you rather make the decision on your terms?

So, how can you get started? DO something. Don’t think, or plan, or graph, or participate in any other form of “research” or “preparation.” DO something. It doesn’t need to be big, but it needs to be something. Need to stop drinking? Dump everything in the house. Need to discuss relationship issues? Set up a time to talk. Need to start exercising? Go for a walk. Today. Right now.

If you give your mind enough time, it will find a way to talk you out of it. It will reason with you and explain why tomorrow will be a much better day to get started. But tomorrow always stays tomorrow. You need to stop thinking and start doing. You are racing against time. What is one action you can commit to right now to disrupt yourself and start proving to yourself that you can do it? Start there. Stop blaming others, or your circumstances, or the unfairness of it all, and take back control. Take action and create the disruption you know you need to be the best version of you.

Tell me in the comments section how you have disrupted yourself in the past and how it led to greater wins.

A great place to start taking action is scheduling an Empowerment Session with me! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session that is sure to leave you feeling motivated and excited about taking more action to make your life better!

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 

Taking Time for Rest and Reflection

I think back to when my kids were young, and I feel like I’m busier now than I was then. I think we all are. We’re just so busy. We’re always doing something, and when we’re not doing something, we feel guilty about it or make excuses for it. But it’s important to take time to rest and reflect. To be curious and wonder, and imagine, and consider possibilities. While on the outside it may appear we are doing nothing, on the inside we are doing very important work.

Rest can take the form of sleep, meditation, or just quiet time in your own space. Rest allows our bodies to heal and repair. But there are other ways to rest from our busy-ness and that involves activities that may not look like rest. Here are some examples:

  • Spending quality time with friends and family – What’s important here is the “quality” aspect of these gatherings. You need to genuinely enjoy time with these people in order for it to be considered rest. This could be a picnic, a leisurely walk, time by the pool, a shared dinner, or a chat over tea. These types of connections leave you feeling lighter and relaxed.
  • Sitting quietly with your eyes closed – This can be a more formal method of meditation, or just you being aware of each body part and focusing on relaxing each one.
  • Eating natural, easy to digest foods – We put our bodies through a lot of extra effort when we consume too much processed, hard to digest foods. Some toughies include: dairy, fried foods, spicy foods, chocolate, alcohol, carbonated drinks, beans. Try replacing a heavy dinner with a lighter one, like salmon and brown rice. Also, drinking lots of water throughout the day helps, too! (9-11 eight-ounce cups per day for women, 12-13 cups per day for men is the general recommendation)
  • Deep, relaxing breathing – Focus on your breath and fill your lungs with oxygen. Take a deep breath in for four counts, then slowly release for 8 counts. Focus only on your breath. Do this for two minutes and you’ll feel refreshed and rejuvenated.
  • Nap – Short naps (20-35 minutes) can recharge you and make you more productive. They can also help minimize the effects of lost night sleep.

Reflection may seem like a luxury, but it serves an important purpose. Reflection is the process of looking back on your actions, both good and bad, considering their outcomes, and using those conclusions to direct future actions.  Reflecting like this improves your problem-solving skills and strengthens higher level thinking. Give yourself some time to reflect on the following questions:

  • Am I using my time wisely – Sure, you may be busy, but are you busy in the right way? Are you balancing the areas of your life appropriately?
  • Am I being true to my values and beliefs – It’s all too easy to do what is accepted by others, but that may mean being untrue to yourself so much that you lose your own identity.
  • Have I set goals and made a plan to achieve them – Getting lost in auto-pilot is all too common. Make sure you don’t lose sight of a future by your design. You don’t want to realize in 20 years that you followed everyone else’s path.
  • What behaviors and tendencies have I improved in over the years – Noticing where you’ve grown and improved is an important step in the reflection process. It reminds you that you can change any aspect of yourself that you want.
  • What behaviors and tendencies do I need to work on – There’s always room to become the best you. Considering the stage of your life now and the future you desire, consider what areas need some attention and effort.
  • What actions do I need to take that I’ve been putting off – We all do this. We can get fearful or overwhelmed by “next steps.” Taking the time to consider what the next small step is can gradually lead us a little closer to achieving what we need and want.

Making rest and reflection a priority in your life can mean the difference between “passive living” and “active living.” Living is meant to be an action verb – so get living by incorporating more rest and reflection in your life so you can truly live a life that YOU design.

Share in the comments section your favorite way to rest and/or a reflection question you love.

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email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com