4 Ways for People Pleasers to Live Authentically

People Pleasers often struggle with their authenticity. The primary pattern for People Pleasers is to put their own needs aside for others. Believe me, as a recovering People Pleaser, I know this truth all too well.  When you focus on meeting the needs of others over meeting your own, it is simply a matter of time before you lose sight of what you DO need. It usually takes a significant life event to shake things up for a People Pleaser. Maybe they get burned one time too many, or their marriage falls apart, they lose their job, or they lose a loved one. It is during this time that they start to consider their wants and needs – quite possibly for the first time in years.

So how does a People Pleaser move closer to living authentically? Here are 4 ways to transition from pleasing others to living your truth:

  1. Get Comfortable With “No” – You are one person. You are NEVER going to make everyone happy and there are times you are going to have to say, “I’m so sorry, I wish I could help, but I can’t.” You can always offer an alternative that works for you, like: “I can’t attend the benefit, but I promise to spread the word and promote it to others who I think would love to go.”
  2. Be Understanding – It doesn’t make you a bad person for expressing your needs and stepping into an authentic version of yourself. Likewise, it doesn’t make other people bad for not understanding why you’ve changed. They may need time to get used to the “new” you or you may discover you no longer fit in each other’s lives. Either way, be kind and try to understand where they’re coming from.
  3. Seek Satisfaction from Within – People Pleasers get a lot of encouragement and positive feedback from others for all the good they do. However, when living authentically, you have to validate yourself. People Pleasers need external validation; Authentics don’t.
  4. Baby Steps – One of the biggest challenges for those watching someone switch from a People Pleaser to an authentic is the extreme change that happens over a short period of time. For some, this is the only way for them – they have to dive right into their new persona. For the rest of us, I recommend baby steps for two reasons. First, baby steps make it easier for others to adjust to our changes. Second, they make it easier for us to “try things on.” When you are seeking authenticity, you may not even know what you want or like. So you may need to try ideas on and see if they fit. For example, since my teens, I’ve always been some shade of blonde, but a few years ago I decided to “try on” what I believed to be a more authentic color for me – my natural color when I was 3 years old, which was more of an auburn. I tried the look for many months before realizing, it wasn’t me.
  5. True to You, First – You can still take care of people and try to make them happy, but when living authentically, that’s secondary. I don’t mean this in a selfish, hedonistic way. I mean you have to stay true to your core beliefs and values first. Then, if helping someone out doesn’t conflict with that, then have at it.

Living authentically, particularly for People Pleasers is HARD. As you can see from above, you can’t really be both. However, when you step into your true YOU, you will start surrounding yourself with people who love this version of you. These people won’t ask you to sacrifice who you are or what’s important to you. When these people ask you for something, you will be more likely to give it from a place of joy rather than from a place of obligation, guilt, or expectation.

Some days you will take two steps forward, and other days you will take three steps back. Living authentically is a process, not a destination. Be kind to yourself.

Does this resonate with you? What has been or is the most difficult aspect of being authentic for you? Share in the comments section.

If you would like to really get to work on becoming your most authentic self, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

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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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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!)

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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!

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 

11 Tips to Making 2017 Great

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

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

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

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

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

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

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email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

Holiday Reflection Activity

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

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

PAST – Think of the past 12 months

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

PRESENT

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

FUTURE – Think of the next 12 months

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

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

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

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!!

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The Key to Personal Development and Achieving Your Goals

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

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

Communication with Yourself

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

Communication with Others

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

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

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

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5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Retail Workers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Worst Career Advice That Just Won’t Die

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com