3 Tips to Avoid Grown-up Holiday Meltdowns

This time of year is filled with opportunities to communicate. Family and friend gatherings, holiday parties and get-togethers will require a high level of communication. For some this is an excitedly anticipated time to catch up and reconnect. For others, this is a dreaded occasion where they are forced to play verbal and emotional chess with others. Every gathering runs the risk of someone getting hurt, mad, or having a complete meltdown over something. While we don’t have total control over how others communicate, we can take some steps to minimize holiday drama with our own communication skills.

  • Storytelling vs. Storylistening – We all know the “One-Upper.” You say you got a great deal on something, and they share how they got a better deal on a bigger something. Most of us know how to avoid being a One-Upper. However, a close cousin is the “Me-Too-er.” Someone shares a story about travel plans gone wrong, and before they’ve barely uttered their last word, Ms. Me-Too-er jumps in to share her own travel-plans-gone-wrong story. While her intent was to commiserate and participate in the conversation, she actually physically yanked the spotlight off someone and planted it firmly on herself. Storytellers are fun, but storylisteners are, too. If you have something to contribute, ensure the other person is done sharing their story before easing into your own. Remember, when it comes to being the person everyone wants to be around, instead of trying to be interesting, work on being interested.
  • Politics, Religion, Sex, and…Curiosity? – There are many topics that are live-wires right now. Politics is one of them. And that’s a BIG topic. Religion is dicey too. Even sex scandals are creeping beyond Hollywood and Washington and moving closer to our own communities. While I caution any who decide to talk about these fiery topics, there will no doubt be discussions around them. They are permeating our media now and everyone has an opinion. If you find yourself tempted to be sucked into this vortex, instead of sharing your opinion, why don’t you try being curious. Ask questions like, “what do you think the solution is?” or “if you were in charge, how would you handle it?” Be cautious that your tone is one of curiosity, not interrogation. Whether you agree or not (remember, you haven’t shared your own opinions – you’re being mysterious) thank the person for sharing their views and then work on steering the conversation in another direction. You can always get into a debate (or smackdown) after the holidays…
  • Be Aware of Your Own Sensitivities – We all have triggers…nagging little injustices that stay tucked in the back of our mind until a certain someone pulls them to the surface. They say what they always say, you flip out, and then try to explain yourself by saying they always make you feel a certain way. No one can MAKE you feel a certain way. You feel a certain way because you have some facts (FACT: Suzie tells you every year how “cute” your house is. FACT: Suzie frequently brags about her expensive home, cars, and luxury vacations) and you fill in any blanks between those facts with stories: Suzie is a self-righteous snob who just likes to belittle you in front of others. The authors of the book, Crucial Conversations, call these Victim and Villain stories. Neither of which is 100% accurate. Don’t take the bait your storytelling leaves you…vow to have a discussion with Suzie AFTER the gathering, and in the meantime, recognize your triggers, and do your best to let it go…for now.

Some of these are easier than others to pull off, but they are all likely to make a difference and keep the wine in our glass instead of in the face of our foe.

Alright, it’s your turn. Share a tip you have for keeping the drama out of a grown-up gathering. Post it in the comments section.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

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Five Love Languages – Quality Time

As more and more conversations centered around communication have surfaced, once a month I’ll be featuring one of Five Love Languages based on Gary Chapman’s book series. Each post will highlight a particular “language” and some suggestions on ways to meet that need for yourself and others.  In October, I shared Words of Affirmation. For November, we’re going to focus on good ol’ QT.

Before we get into that, let’s review:

These are the Five Languages:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Acts of Service
  • Gifts
  • Touch

We all have a primary “language” we speak and need to have communicated to us in order to feel loved in our personal relationships and appreciated in our workplace.  The key is finding out your own language, as well as those you have relationships with in your personal and professional life.  These discoveries will help you communicate and dramatically improve the relationships in your life.  Last month’s post talked about the Words of Affirmation lovers.  These language speakers want you to tell them they rock and why.  This month we will discuss Quality Time.  Remember, your primary and secondary languages may differ between your personal life and business life so view all the languages from two sets of perspectives.  If you’re ready to move on, let’s spend some QT together dissecting this language.

The quality aspect of Quality Time is founded on focused attention.  That means without distractions or other tasks being completed simultaneously.  (Are you listening social media surfers?)

Let’s start from a personal perspective.  The whole point to these language speakers is quality.  Just spending time together may not be enough.  A spouse may wonder, “we just spent six hours at the picnic with our friends and family and you say we haven’t spent quality time together”.  Ah Marone!  The definition of quality time lies in the hands of the one desiring it.  Your first clue is to listen to their complaints:  “you never watch TV with me”, “we never go out to dinner alone anymore”, “why don’t we take day trips together anymore”, “why are you always on that damn phone?”  You get the picture.  Take these not-so-subtle hints as a sign that this person needs a little QT with you.

From a professional perspective, it can be more difficult to determine when a co-worker speaks this language.  Supervisors should regularly set aside scheduled QT time with each direct report.  If you can trickle it down to other levels, great.  Some may be able to pull this off monthly, others only quarterly.  If possible, allow about 30 minutes with each individual.  You’ll start to see which ones need the full amount, and which ones don’t.  Adjust accordingly.  You should be actively listening while the other person is talking.  Remember, this is about Focused Attention.  Paying attention like this will also help you determine each person’s “language”. Even if you’re not a supervisor, a complaining co-worker saying “nobody cares around here”, or “if I could catch Beth’s ear for 2 seconds I could fix this whole problem”, or “nobody communicates anymore”, is likely to speak this language and can be helped following the same steps in casual conversation.  Ask how they’re doing, if they have any ideas or concerns on their mind.  If nothing comes up, just shoot the breeze with them.  Ask about their life outside of work, upcoming vacations, whatever, just make sure they feel they were listened to and valued for their contributions.

Quality Time can be a tough language to speak as we are all so pressed for time, but for those who really need it, providing it can prevent bigger issues down the line that you also wouldn’t have time for.  So get it in your calendar and stop putting it off.  There’s an awesome likelihood that you too will benefit from that quality time!

Is QT a language you’re fluent in?  Share some stories about how to successfully communicate in this language.  Stay tuned for next month’s post on Acts of Service.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

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(The Five Languages are based on “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman and “The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace” (co-written by Paul White))

Why Rest is Essential to Getting Work Done

It seems that suggesting more rest would be counterproductive to getting things done. There is so much work to be done, so many projects to complete. We have people who need us, things to do, and places to go. Who has time to rest??

Rest can take many forms, and on the outset, it may appear to be entirely unproductive (from a work perspective). “Rest” can include walking breaks, naps, and activities completely unrelated to work. In Alex Soojung-Kim Pang’s book, Rest he shares research and examples of how we can’t afford not to rest. I’ll share three key concepts that I found not only fascinating, but doable.

  • Walking – Exercise in any form, including walking, has been shown to reduce stress, increase productivity and energy, and up our creativity. Looking at it that way, these benefits would help us get things done, better. Think you’re too busy to sneak a walk into your day? Thomas Jefferson made walking a part of his daily routine. So did Charles Dickens. Are those examples too 1800’s for you? How about Rubik’s Cube creator, Ernö Rubik who solved the design challenge of his Cube during a walk1?
  • Naps – I love napping, and while I don’t take advantage of them nearly as often as I’d like, they have true benefits. The National Sleep Foundation says, “Naps boost alertness and improve motor performance, which is why you feel energized after taking one. The length of your nap determines the benefits. A 20-minute snooze—called a stage two nap—is ideal to enhance motor skills and attention, while an hour to 90 minutes of napping brings Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, which helps make new connections in the brain and can aid in solving creative problems.”2 Famous nappers include Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Thomas Edison, and Salvador Dalí (that last one is probably not as surprising).
  • Unplugging – Simply disconnecting from our work is not only beneficial to us psychologically, but similarly to walking and napping, it allows our brain to continue working on our behalf without the distraction of our conscious stream of thoughts. If you’ve ever done one of those “paint nights” where you are walked through the step-by-step process of painting a picture, you know the instructor often tells you to walk away from your painting and look at it from a distance. This perspective helps you “get out of the weeds” of your view. Or when you’re trying really, really hard to remember something, and someone advises that you not think about it at all and then it will come to you. Unplugging is like that. Shut off your phone, put away your calendar and notes, and just be. Do something unrelated to your to-do list; something fun or relaxing. While you may not realize it, your mind will continue doing some work for you behind the scenes.

Pang shares in his book that burnout “can lead to emotional exhaustion, a decline in performance, poorer decision-making, lower empathy, and higher rates of errors.”1 None of those are going to help us get our work accomplished. Instead they may sabotage precisely what it is we are trying to do.

Taking time to rest and play is not only good for you, but it will help you get your work done better and faster!

Tell me in the comments, what your favorite way to rest and recharge is.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, 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!)

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1 - Pang, A. S. (2017). Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less. London: Penguin Life.
2 - Health Benefits of Napping. (n.d.). Retrieved November 05, 2017, from https://sleep.org/articles/napping-health-benefits/


3 Tips to Being More Coachable

I can say pretty straight up that I don’t like being told what to do. Never have. I recognized this pretty early on. I’ve hung out with spite thanks to the times I’ve done the EXACT OPPOSITE of what it was suggested I do. “Independent Thinker, occasional Rogue” was how I liked to think of myself. But this attitude didn’t serve me well when someone was trying to coach me for my own good. Friends, co-workers, bosses. They all tried to help me because despite this flaw, for some reason, they found me otherwise quite likeable. In my early 20’s, I hung onto this like an honorable badge. I KNEW I was taking the hard way, but felt that was noble for some reason.

When I reached my 30’s, I began to realize the value of coaching. With each wall I hit, either personally, or professionally, I found that I could adjust something in myself which would then either lower the wall, or give me what I needed to climb over it. The secret to this: I started listening to what people were saying to coach me. When I really took the time to listen, I began to realize I had been hearing many of the same things from various people for YEARS. Yup…that’s the painful truth. In my case, I could give the impression that I was defiant, argumentative, or non-compliant. This doesn’t fare well in any relationship, personal or professional.

What gets tricky is you don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater (terrible idiom). While I didn’t want to be seen as defiant, argumentative, or non-compliant as a general rule, there were good qualities to be found within those as well. This is where good coaching comes in. There are plenty of people around us who truly want the best for us and can share some perspective that we can’t see. Here are the top 3 things you need to do to become more coachable:

  • Listen – Be willing to listen when someone takes the time to share how you may be perceived. It doesn’t mean their perception is everyone’s reality, but it is theirs and it may have some accuracy. This doesn’t always feel good. Accept that the criticism might sting, but if you trust the source as someone who is truly trying to help you, that should make it a little easier to bear. Try not to get defensive, or explain yourself. Just take it in and process it.
  • Try it on – Does that perception fit? Can you see where others COULD perceive you that way? Can you see the truth in it? Have you heard this same message before from others? Knowing that others may have that perception, determine if this is a perception you do or don’t want others to have of you, based on your goals and aspirations.
  • Adjust – How could you “turn it down” enough to improve the perception without eliminating the good parts? Here’s an example: I have a very playful personality. While it seems most appreciate this, there are some that find it downright annoying. I try to adjust this when I’m in mixed company. I don’t turn it all the way down, just a tad, but it’s something I need to remain conscious of. I don’t mind being seen as “playful,” but I don’t want to be seen as a “clown.” See the difference?

It’s not always easy to be coached, but it’s always beneficial. Seek out feedback from people you trust and respect. Not just the ones who will tell you how awesome you are (which you are), but also from those who will be honest about potential flaws. One thing to keep in mind is that we judge ourselves based on our INTENTIONS, however, we judge others based on their BEHAVIOR. That means people aren’t judging us on our intentions (they don’t even know what those are), they can only judge us by our behaviors (which they can clearly see).

Also, remember we may lead with different qualities depending on which role we are in. For example, I have different roles: mom, leader, friend, co-worker, business owner. I allow different qualities to lead in each of those roles. In my earlier example, I can allow my playfulness to be full-on when I’m in the mom & friend role, but need to turn it down in the leader role. You serve many roles as well, so bear that in mind for yourself.

Your turn to do some coaching. Which of the 3 tips have you found most useful, or what’s another tip you have to help us all to be more coachable? Share in the comments.

If you would like to see what a coaching relationship can do for you, let’s work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design. An Empowerment Session is the best place to start (and it’s FREE)! 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 to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Your neighbor needs help moving; Your co-worker asks if you can take on some of their project; the school needs more volunteers; your friend needs a babysitter. So many requests, so little time. When someone makes a request of us, it can be challenging to say, “no.” This often leads to decisions that don’t benefit us. We may agree to the request, but sacrifice our own needs or wants. If the request is made through email, we could ignore it altogether, but this doesn’t fair well for our reputation.

So how do we say “no” without feeling like a jerk? While not 100% guilt-proof, there are a few ways that we can decline a request without feeling as guilty about it.

Use Your Calendar – One of the easiest times to say “no” is when we have something else we’re committed to. For example, when you tell your friend in need of a babysitter that while you’d love to help, your niece’s recital is that night, you don’t feel so bad.  Yet, we tend to only put things in our calendar that are outside our normal routine. For example, if you go to the gym 3 nights a week, is that in your calendar? Probably not. Scheduling important-to-you tasks should be part of your calendar. While you may have some flexibility, like skipping the gym to help your neighbor move, and just making it up tomorrow, you may not always have that flexibility. For example, if it’s important to your family that you have quality Sunday morning time, this should be blocked off as “Unavailable” in your calendar. It’s much easier to say, “I’d love to, but my calendar is booked that day.” People tend to respect the fact that you have other commitments. You don’t have to get into the details of what those commitments are.

Offer an Alternative – A clear cut “no” is not always the best choice either. In the case of the friend looking for a sitter, you could say, “I can’t on Friday, but I could on Saturday, if that helps.” Or to the co-worker looking for you to take on some of their project, you could say, “I don’t think that will work, but I’m happy to cover your calls for the afternoon so you can have uninterrupted time to work on your project.” These are compromises that may be mutually beneficial.

How to Say It – Then there are the times you just have to say “no.” These are tougher because you’re not blaming your calendar and you don’t have a compromise to lighten the situation. This is common when someone is requesting our business services or products for free. So how do you say it? You can be direct and honest if you think that will help the situation, but more often than not, when someone needs you for something, it isn’t the best time to point out that they never seem to be available when you need help. Being vague can be the best way to decline, while staying polite, but firm. Here are some examples:

  • I’m sorry, I wish I could help, but I just won’t be able to make that work.
  • Thank you for thinking of me, but I can’t right now. Will you ask me again next time?
  • I’m sorry, I’m going to have to pass.
  • I have to decline now, but if something changes I’ll be sure to let you know.

Remember, when you say “yes” to one thing, you’re saying “no” to another. You need to stay in control of your life and activities. If you’re constantly at the mercy of requests and favors, it won’t be long before resentment starts keeping regular hours with you. And that’s not good for anyone!!

While it would be great to single-handedly fulfill every request that comes your way, that just isn’t possible. You have to keep a manageable balance between achieving your own goals and helping others to achieve theirs.

Your turn – what’s a method you use to say “no” without feeling guilty? Share in the comments section!

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, 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 

Five Love Languages – Starting with Words

Recently, I was having a conversation with someone struggling in a relationship, and I recommended they take a look at “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman.  I remembered reading the book myself gave me clarity around my own relationships (both personal and professional). “The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace” (co-written by Paul White) was another worthy read. I wrote about this several years ago, but thought it was a good time to re-share the topic. The books were both easy reads, and were practical, with quick, applicable stories.  If your time is limited or you’d prefer a more condensed version, these posts will get right to the heart of the books. I will share one “language” each month. After giving you a brief overview, I’ll get into the details of those who prefer the language called “Words of Affirmation.”

These are the Five Languages:

Words of Affirmation

Quality Time

Acts of Service



Each of us has a primary and secondary preference and these may differ between your personal and business lives. (For the free personal assessment, go to www.5lovelanguages.com/profile . For the professional version, there is a $15 charge, but can be found at www.mbainventory.com . Here is a brief description of each language:

Words of Affirmation:  Those that count this as their primary language require words to feel loved and appreciated.  These can be spoken or written.  We’ll learn more about this in a bit.

Quality Time:  For these types, one-on-one time together is important.  Acitve listening is key here! We’ll dive into details of this one next month.

Acts of Service:  These acts typically involve anything that could be counted as “thoughtful”.  While the specific act will vary, the gesture is what counts the most to these peeps.

Gifts:  As if this isn’t obvious.  This person prefers physical, tangible evidence of being loved and appreciated.  While expensive and materialistic items may qualify, these gift lovers often enjoy handmade gifts, flowers or other thoughtful expressions of love and appreciation.

Touch:  You know that “touchy-feely” person that always seems to hug, touch and show PDA virtually anywhere?  Yeah, this is probably their preferred form of loving communication.  While less likely (and some would caution, less appropriate) at work, these people can be identified as the high-fiving, fist bumping ones.

Figuring out another’s language can be tough, but once you do, there are an endless number of options to satisfy their need.  Each post will highlight a particular “language” and some suggestions on ways to meet that need for yourself and others.  This information is very beneficial in every relationship you have and it would behoove you to understand your own language and those you spend a lot of time with.  This week, let’s focus on Words of Affirmation.

For those who need Words of Affirmation, it’s obvious they need words, but it is equally important that they get sincerity!  They don’t want empty or generic compliments.  “Nice job today” will feed the need for about 5 seconds.  They want to know specifically what they did to please you.  If she cooked a rockin’ dinner, tell her what was so awesome about it and why it was appreciated by you.  If he spent the entire day tiling the bathroom floor, take the time to point out how awesome it looks.  If Suzie dealt with the “customer from hell” so the rest of you wouldn’t have to, tell her what this meant to you.  Also, those who feel loved and appreciated by this language want to be recognized for the personal characteristic that got it done or made it so worthy of mention.  Tell her how much her dedication to providing quality food to the family is admired.  Tell him how his sense of responsibility, like keeping the home in good condition, is one of his sexiest traits.  Let Suzie know that her patience in dealing with higher-maintenance people makes the rest of you envious and you’d like to know how on earth she does it without flipping shiz.

Keys to remember:  Be specific, be detailed, and be sincere.  This is not a “fake it til you make it” opportunity.  If you can’t be sincere, then be silent.

Now what:  If you can identify with this language, and believe it to be your primary or secondary language in either setting (personal or business), there are a few things you can do with that knowledge.  Let others know this is how you prefer to be loved and recognized.  Also, understand that those times when you feel neglected or slighted by someone may not be because they don’t love or appreciate you, but because they are speaking a different language.  If you suspect a loved one or co-worker prefers this language, get creative in ways to recognize them.  This can be spoken face-to-face or publicly acknowledged, or written in a thoughtful letter, card or email.  This is one of the quickest and easiest needs to meet once you’re aware.  So pay attention and share with words why you think someone is a ROCKSTAR!!  Next month, we’ll spend time on the “language” of Quality Time.

In the comments section, tell me if this sounds like it might be an important “language” to you or someone you know, and if so, some tips on how to really make it count!

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, 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 

7 Great Ways to Save Money Before the Holidays

I know, just thinking about the holidays can make you want to bury your head under the pillow! There are many reasons the holidays can stress us out, not least of which is money. Unless you are growing a money tree, it isn’t that easy to generate extra income quickly. This week, I’ll share some tips to help you start earning or saving a little moolah. If you start now, you’ll have 8 weeks to work on building a holiday slush fund.

Here are some of my favorite ways to generate or save some cash:

  • Facebook Marketplace – Selling items on Facebook Marketplace is super easy! You take a picture of your item, put in a brief description (sizes/measurements if necessary) state what town you’re in, and BOOM…you have posted an item for sale. People can search within a certain radius and you can arrange for pickup. I just sold a painting and an entertainment center this way. Tag Sales aren’t just for summertime anymore!
  • Facebook Groups – Find groups in and around your town. Just like the Marketplace above, you post the information and can chat with people about them. Also like Marketplace, you can buy or sell.
  • Thread UpThis website is an online consignment shop. I’ve found them very accurate in their descriptions and when you buy items they come in an adorable polka dot package. In addition to buying, you can send them items to sell. They get a cut of course, but it’s reasonable. If you choose to send clothes, they are very strict, so read up on the expected quality of submissions.
  • PoshmarkThis is my current fav. Just like with Thread Up, you can buy or sell your clothes, shoes, jewelry, handbags, and makeup. What makes them different is you post the picture, provide a description and post it yourself. They also get a cut, but the buyer pays shipping and they can credit your account or direct deposit the funds directly into your bank account.  When someone buys your item, all payments are handled through Poshmark who sends you a label to print out and put on the package you send out. This allows you to hold on to your own items and you determine the price and any reductions. Very Cool!!
  • Le ToteThis is a clothing rental sight. For a monthly fee, you can select a number of items to borrow for as long as you’d like. These tend to be new fashion looks. If you like them, keep them and you’ll get a discounted purchase price. It’s a fun way to try new looks. You can stop your subscription anytime. They have clothing and jewelry.
  • Rent the Runway Similar to LeTote, you can borrow a name brand item for a significantly reduced rental fee. This is great for weddings, or other special events where you may only wear the item for that occasion. It’s much cheaper than buying a new outfit, especially if designer names are important to you!
  • Shopify I haven’t tried this myself, but there’s a low monthly rate option if you have products or services that you’d like to sell. Worth looking into if you want to create an e-book, already have a physical inventory of products you make or sell, or have services to offer.

These are just a few options to sell your items or buy at discounted rates. There are plenty of consignment shops and Fall Fairs if you prefer to do this off-line, so work on doing what’s comfortable for you. All of the versions listed above are pretty easy to do, so don’t let the technology hold you back.

Alright, your turn! If you’ve used one of these methods, share your experience, or if you have one to add, please do in the comments section!

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, 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 

Who’s Paving Your Path?

I ask people all the time what their goals are – what they want out of life. Sometimes they have an answer, like, having more money, better relationships, more energy. Other times, they aren’t really clear on specifically what they want. They are “open” to the possibilities that life will offer. That was me in my earlier years and still creeps up if I’m not careful. I have all too often allowed others to pave my path, so to speak. If you are not clear on what you want out of life, or you aren’t taking specific action to attain that life, then you are likely allowing others to pave your path as well.

While we may need help lifting the stones in our life, at some point we have to lay out our own path. The sooner the better, but it’s never too late. This is much easier said than done, especially if we have been allowing others to do the heavy lifting for us. There is some important inner work that must be done in order to become the bricklayer of your own life.

First, you have to identify what you’re avoiding by allowing others to determine your path. Are you indecisive because you don’t want to be the “bad guy,” and make a decision that would disappoint others? Are you afraid of failure, so by allowing others to make decisions for you, if it doesn’t work out, it really wasn’t your fault? Is the hard work that would inevitably show up, keeping you from taking on the role of leader in your life? You have to get honest about why you relinquish this responsibility to others.

Next, you need clarity on what you really want. What’s been missing in your life? What would you really like to have in it? What do you want to experience or accomplish? Dare to dream big. This step can be much more difficult than it sounds if you’ve been determining what you want based on what others say you “should.” This is not a ten-minute project. Spend some time every day asking yourself these questions. Your answers may change over time, but keep exploring them.

Lastly, you need to take action. Baby steps are fine, but start taking back control of your path. This could simply be sharing your opinion more frequently, or challenging what you’ve always done or how you’ve always done it. If it doesn’t fit like you thought it would, you can always alter course. There is no rule against changing your mind. What would you like your next step to be? What’s something, perhaps even small, that you would like and to hell with what others think about it?

This is a long, challenging process, as I have personally experienced. But it is, oh so worth it! It took me a long time and a LOT of baby steps to start embracing a mind of my own and sharing it. I continue to work on this area of my life, but with each passing day I continue to feel more in control of the path I’m laying for myself. You deserve to experience that as well. There’s a beautiful (and scary at times) sense of responsibility that comes with owning your own future. I can screw up and make mistakes, but I learn from them and use that knowledge to work towards achieving the life I’m trying to build for myself. The flip side of that coin, is I also get to revel in the joy of successfully accomplishing my goals.

No matter where you are on this journey, I’m certain you have some words of wisdom to share. Which of the steps listed do you think is most important to the process of paving your own way? Do you have a strategy that worked for you in the past? Share your thoughts in the comments!

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, 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 

5 Steps to Confronting Your Flaws

We all have flaws that seem to be on repeat in our lives. Sometimes we aren’t initially aware of these, or they don’t significantly affect us until there is a life change of some sort, like a new job or new relationship, but it doesn’t usually take us long to recognize we have them. It’s what we do after this recognition that determines whether this will be an ongoing challenge, or a crack that we are able to mend over time.

We can be hard on ourselves, and overly self-critical, but despite this, we usually know where our biggest issues lie. Are you always running late? Do you procrastinate until the eleventh hour? Are you overly sensitive, or not sensitive enough? Is organization or time management an issue? Whatever your particular flaws are, it’s important that you confront the one that is most negatively impacting your life right now. Not entirely sure what they are? Ask! Your friends, family, boss, co-workers, clients or customers will leave you a breadcrumb trail of clues if you really don’t know. You just have to pay attention and listen. Once you know what you need to work on, here are five key steps to take on this challenge:

  • Don’t get wrapped up in the fact that you have a flaw – beating yourself up about it, isn’t going to help. You DON’T suck just because you have particular flaw…we ALL have them. You’re no worse for the ones you deal with.
  • Get real about how this flaw is impacting your life – You really have to be honest with yourself and get clear on exactly where this flaw is holding you back. Where does it exhibit itself in your personal life and relationships? How is it impacting you professionally? How could both areas of your life be better if you improved on it? Write these things down so you have a clear picture of what you’re up against.
  • Make a list of helpful resources – How could you get help in this area? List all the people, books, websites, organizations, trainings that you can come up with to address the problem. Do a Google search on “How to improve _______________” Insert your particular flaw and just see all the options that come up. Use different words to describe your challenge so that you have the broadest possible choices. If organization is your issue, try looking up project management tips, time management, etc.
  • Create daily action steps – No amount of research alone is going to change anything until you take action. If you get an idea or learn something, put it into practice to see if it helps. You may need to adjust over time, or try something different altogether, but you won’t know that until you act. Make a list of steps (a short list is best, at least in the beginning) that you stick to every day to make progress in the area you are focused on.
  • Reassess as needed – After a reasonable amount of time has passed, reflect on where you started and where you are now. You may not be a superstar in that area, but I bet you’ll see some progress. It’s important to take the time to celebrate where you’ve made improvements. This will give you the motivation you need to continue on. It can also help you determine if you need to change your approach slightly based on where you are now.

Flaws are a part of life, and while we shouldn’t strive for unattainable perfection, we should work towards improving those that are holding us back from a more productive, fulfilling, and joyful life. When identifying flaws, remember to focus on those you wish to work on. No single person should determine your areas of opportunity. Look for patterns where a particular flaw has exhibited itself multiple times or in multiple places. This is a better factor to consider rather than one individual.

You have most certainly made improvements in your life before. What worked for you? Was it one of the five listed above, or something else? Share in the comment’s section.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, 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 

Optimism is Great, but it Won’t Get Your Work Done

I’m an unapologetic optimist. I can find the bright side of just about anything, even a growing to-do list. But no matter how high I turn up my optimism, that isn’t going to get my work done. Sure, typically speaking, I can thrive under pressure. But that doesn’t mean I don’t take a few seconds to kick myself in the ass for waiting until the last minute. There’s a better way. And while I can bring optimism along with me, it’s realism I have to put behind the wheel.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the Stockdale Paradox. Named after Jim Stockdale, a United States military officer held captive for eight years during the Vietnam War. As he tells it, he never lost faith that he would survive his ordeal. Yes, he had optimism, as did many of his prison-mates. However, some of these fellow captives relied only on optimism. And as year after year of disappointment stacked on each other, they did not survive. Optimism offers great short-term benefits, but without the mutual acceptance of reality, it can burn out quickly. That’s where Stockdale differed. He was optimistic while remaining aware of his realities. The paradox is stated as:

You must retain faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties WHILE confronting the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.

So how can you apply this to your growing number of responsibilities? You have to stare those responsibilities square in the eye. What is your current reality? Do you have 4 projects that all require immediate attention? This may be at work, in your personal life, or some combination of both. What tasks have a fast-approaching deadline? Once you know what you’re up against, without the rose-colored glasses of optimism skewing your view, you can make a plan. Once you’ve done that, then go ahead and put those rose-colored glasses back on and get to work.

How did Admiral Stockdale do it? He worked with others. He devised a tap code to be used with his fellow captives. This communication was essential to them, if only to offer comfort and encouragement. Who, in your life, can serve this role for you? Surround yourself with people you can communicate with to help you get through the tough moments. They likely have some ideas on how you can forge ahead and meet your responsibilities. If you’re an A-type who has to do everything yourself, work on delegating even small tasks to others or asking for help. There are friends, family, and co-workers who would be happy to offer their support.

Facing our realities while trusting that we will overcome the challenges will give us the best chance of living the life we so desire. Would you like to learn more techniques about balancing your priorities and meeting your responsibilities without burning out? Then I invite you to sign up for Michael Hyatt’s FREE webinar, The 7 Deadly Sins of Productivity – The Hidden Habits Undermining Your Performance  (And How to Change Them). He will be holding several this week only. Click the link to find the day and time that would work best for you.

I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments, so let me know how well you balance optimism with realism.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, 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