Five Days to a Better You

While the title may sound like it, this isn’t a diet plan. So how could you be a better version of yourself in just five days, you may be wondering. By spending more time with the most fascinating, wonderful person in the world – YOU. Life gets us so distracted from ourselves. I know, that probably sounds a little crazy, but that’s exactly what happens. We get so busy focusing on others, and getting our to-do list checked off, that we forget to spend important time with ourselves. Our thoughts, our feelings, where our life is now, where we’d like it to be…things like that. Alright, alright, so what does this have to do with five days?? I’ll tell you. Shortly. First, let me describe these ideal five days for you.  If I were to plan an itinerary for you to spend time with yourself, this is what it would look like.

Day One – Owning the Fact that You’re Worthy of Love

This would be your first stop. To believe that you are actually worthy of love and happiness and good things. I’d ask you to think about your early experiences and to self-assess where your self-esteem is at. Do you feel good about yourself? Confident? I’d share interesting stories about why self-esteem is so important and where it starts and how you can improve yours. I’d strongly encourage you to think about what makes you special and wonderful. In fact, I’d require you to! Then I’d let you relax and just think about your awesomeness.

Day Two – Quieting Your Inner Critic

The next stop on your imaginary vacation with yourself would include a stop at Corporation You. This corporation includes all the “employees” who run your life, make your decisions, and help you decipher right from wrong. Kind of like your own internal Charlie & The Chocolate Factory tour. You’ve GOT the Golden Ticket! The only problem is your inner critic is being a real buzz kill. I would provide you with tips and techniques to quiet this little bugger. I would help you to keep your mistakes in perspective and not blow them out of proportion. I’d even share a video that would make you think and reflect. Then I’d give you the keys to unlock your own Personal Bragging Rights party.

Day Three – Forgiveness

On this day you’d spend time forgiving yourself for anything crappy you’ve ever done. I’d let you swim in the pool of guilt for only about 5 seconds, before dragging you over to the hot tub to relax and release all that regret. I’d probably share a personal story about a load of guilt I carried around for YEARS! Before I let you go on with your day, I’d force you to turn that frown upside down and share the lessons you gained from mistakes that are still haunting you.

Day Four – Comparing Yourself to Others

You knew this would have to be an excursion! This nasty little habit of comparing ourselves to others is a total mind game that we play on ourselves. I would make you take off those comparative glasses and replace them with some beauties that only allow you to see…well…you. I suspect I could find a real eye-opening video to share, too. I’d let you back into the deep end of the Pool of You where you could swim in all the things that make you so wonderful!

Day Five – Toxic Relationships

While you’d still be floating from all the goodness of you, I’d talk about how to handle those in your life that may be…ummm…well let’s just say it: Toxic. These fun-suckers could blow your five-day joy jam if you let them. So, I’d prepare you to deal with these. Sometimes these wolves in sheep’s clothing can be a little hard to spot, but I’d give you all the clues to see them for what they are. This is still a trip with yourself, so before I’d let you get back to whatever it is you do all day, I’d have you self-assess to be sure you aren’t contributing any bad juju to your relationships.

If only, right? Could you imagine how much it would cost to have a five-day trip like this?? Thousands maybe. Tens of thousands even.

Hold up Lovely Reader! What if I told you that you could take this trip for FREE??? Oh yeah, and what if I told you, you wouldn’t even have to take any vacation time to do it? And what if I told you that this little trip would only take up about 15 minutes of each day, but give you the rewards All. Day. Long.

How?  Ha! Ha! I’m so glad you asked!! Here’s how: By enrolling in my FREE All About You – Rebuilding a Relationship with Yourself online course! Yes, I said FREE! No gimmicks, no tricks, no fine print. It’s free. And, it’s not just a 5-day trip…it’s a 14-day trip! 2 glorious weeks of…All About You!!

There is zero risk. No one can see your stuff, you get to watch or listen to awesome content for about 15-minutes each day WHEN IT’S CONVENIENT FOR YOU! Anytime. Is 7am your time – great! 3pm? Perfect! 2am (in your underpants)? That works, too!

You get fun and free exercises to download each day, cool stories, but most importantly, a better you each day you do the inner work.

The website is user friendly – nothing fancy to worry about and help is available if you need it. Plus, you can interact with me through your comments anytime.

What are you waiting for? Sign up at http://authentic-life.thinkific.com/courses/all-about-you-rebuilding-a-relationship-with-yourself

Have questions about the course and how it works? Pop ‘em in the comments section or email me at April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com and I’ll get right back to ya!

You deserve this, so click HERE and hop on board. Your intro video is waiting for you and the official modules kick off tomorrow, July 10th!!

I hope to see you there!!

The Slippery Slope of Self-Esteem

Self-Esteem is a person’s overall sense of self-worth or personal value1. But think about when you know someone has low self-esteem. What are you likely to start doing? “Oh, Karen, you look AMAZING in that dress” or “Jeff, I can always count on you to fix the things I break.” We lay on the compliments. If only they could see what we see, they’d have a perfectly healthy self-esteem, or so we think. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.

In order for self-esteem to be healthy, we have to believe it for ourselves. Trouble is, we often go looking elsewhere for it, which only perpetuates the problem. We may try to fit in, look all put together, and just generally be accepted. But even when we are, we find ourselves suffering from Imposter Syndrome and feeling like a fraud. This is the price of looking outside of ourselves for a positive self-esteem.

So, what’s the solution? We have to dig deep and recognize our own worth. It’s an “inside job.” This means we have to get better at fostering a healthy relationship with ourselves. This starts by accepting who you are right now. Not who you’re trying to be, but who you actually are today – flaws and all.

The benefits to having a healthy self-esteem are many. When we recognize our own self-worth, failures don’t knock us down. Sure, they don’t feel very good, but they don’t impact our sense of worth and value. They don’t change who we are. When we don’t rely on approval and validation by others, we can take risks, be open, and accept ourselves and others. We are also more forgiving and resilient.

You may be wondering exactly what to do to improve your self-esteem. I can tell you that there is no quick fix for this. Improving your self-esteem and building a better relationship with yourself takes work and on-going practice. But, I also have a great way for you to get started. I will be launching an online course next week. This free 14-day course will give you tools and techniques to get better acquainted with your awesomeness. The course will help you combat the challenges that get in the way of a healthy self-esteem, like quieting your inner critic, toxic relationships, dealing with criticism, your everyday habits, and more. You’ll get video and audio recordings, motivational quotes, downloadable PDF’s for reflection and journaling, daily micro-goal setting, and mantras for each day’s theme. Each day will have a maximum of 30-minutes of content because, well, you’re busy.

Click the image to join my mailing list and get all the FREE course details (plus a free e-book)!

If you would like to sign up for the course, which starts July 10th, click here to get on my mailing list and I’ll send you all the details (plus a free e-book).

 

Invest some time in yourself, you’re worth it. It costs you nothing and takes less than 30 minutes a day. It will be a wonderful two weeks!! Plus, you’ll have access to all the modules for the life of the course. You’ll be able to go back and re-do any and all of them as often as you’d like. Click the course image above to get on my mailing list (and don’t worry, I’m anti-spam and will never share your info)!

Do you have a tip or technique that boosts self-esteem? Do you have questions about the course? Enter them in the comments section – I always respond!

 

1 – Cherry, K. (2016, August 31). How Do Psychologists Define Self-Esteem? Retrieved July 01, 2017, from https://www.verywell.com/what-is-self-esteem-2795868

 

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for improving your self-esteem, and you don’t think the course is right for you (even though it’s FREE) 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 

 

 

Shake Up Your Routine

Last week I was vacationing in my happy place (Ogunquit, Maine), and stepping outside my daily routine really reminded me of how much I needed to step outside my daily routine. I asked my 24-year-old son what he thought I should write about this week, and this was the topic he immediately recommended. Looks like I wasn’t the only one who needed a break from reality.

We are all busy, busy people. Running from one thing to the next. Days blur into each other, and weeks begin to look the same. Sadly, our weekends often do as well. So much work to do before the fun can begin. In a flash, we realize an entire month has flashed before our eyes. We can dig ourselves into a rut without even realizing it. The best way to counter this is to shake up our routine.

Doing something different activates different areas of your brain, namely the hippocampus which helps us improve our memory. When you do this, you widen your perspective, consider new ideas, and let the overworked areas relax for a bit – just like in a gym workout. If you have the luxury of vacation time, please don’t pass it up. Take the time to step away from your reality. Even if this is a staycation, don’t get wrapped up in a week-long honey-do list. Do something different. This year on vacation, I changed my typical vacation routine and skipped the wine (and all alcohol for that matter), and opted to not sleep in. I awoke every morning to meditate, eat a light breakfast, and take a lengthy walk. Making these changes to my usual vacation activities made me enjoy this vacation differently than previous ones. I gained a new perspective, and you can, too.

If you’re a reader consider doing something unrelated to reading, or at the very least a different genre. If you have spent too much time indoors, get yourself outside. Visit a new town, hangout with a different group of people, eat a different type of food, the possibilities are endless. But doing this simple shake up can revive and refresh you, and give you a new sense of wonder and excitement.

Not sure if you’re in a rut? Ask yourself when you last felt wonder and excitement. Ask yourself the last time you tried something new and different. Ask yourself the last time you felt refreshed and revived. If it seems forever ago, start making a list of things you could do. Your health and well-being (and even your relationships) depend on it.

Okay, short and sweet this week! Now I’d like to hear from you. What’s something new and different you’d recommend others try or is on your bucket list? Share in the comments.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for keeping you out of a rut, 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 to Make Every Day a Great Day

As an unapologetic optimist, I generally have a really positive attitude starting each day. But recently, I’ve had a few First-World worries, so I have had to be more focused on good thoughts. When we are in this place of worry or frustration, it’s very easy to start noticing all the things around us that seem to be falling apart, or not working right. If we aren’t careful, we will step right into the shoes of Victim. This powerless place is no good, so I decided to take action to flip the script in my mind and set myself up for good thoughts and good outcomes.

Several days ago, I decided to challenge myself. As I got in my car to start my commute to work, I decided to watch for good things, tiny miracles, that would remind me how much goodness surrounds me. Well the Universe did not disappoint. With this “eye for good,” I noticed all sorts of wonderful things. The green traffic lights I seemed to keep getting, the unusually light traffic on my hour-plus commute, the pretty scenery on my route, the friendly wave and smile I got for letting another driver out in front of me. This continued throughout the day. Whenever I looked for goodness, as if it were hiding somewhere and I just needed to find it, it showed up. The temperature was just right for my daily walk, the leftovers I forgot about that meant I was off the hook for making dinner, the nice message I received from a student, and more. I just kept finding these treasures. Who knew that such an easy exercise would produce such glorious results??

Not long after, a classmate shared a routine she has with her young son every day. When she picks him up from school, or when they are eating dinner, they each share the best thing that happened to them that day. Simple, right? There is so much negativity in our world right now, and yet this simple act helps her and her young son to focus on the ability to always find something good. What a good practice to introduce into our day.

Lastly, what I realized in using these techniques is that by practicing them, I became more grateful and thankful. I lost count how many times I thought, “Thank you, God.” I started noticing more opportunities to be thankful. I started reflecting on how many things I have to be grateful for. And, as I’m sure you can imagine, I started worrying a lot less about those First World problems. I began to trust again that I would control what I could control, and God would take care of the rest. That’s a very freeing feeling.

Making every day a great day is not about the external events, but about our internal attitude.  This is true in all areas of our life – Career, business, relationships, and parenting. When we are on the lookout for good things, we will find them. Equally as true is when we are on the lookout for bad things. We’ll find those, too. They both exist, good and bad, but wouldn’t you rather seek out the good?

I’d love to hear from you! What’s something good that you’ve noticed today? Share in the comments.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for looking for the good to achieve the life 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 

5 Ways to Learn More About Yourself

All learning is important, but there is one topic that is truly more important than any other – you. Self-reflection and self-study are some of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. We often don’t realize how much we impact our experiences. Our perspectives, values, hang-ups, and insecurities greatly influence our circumstances. Being clear on our strengths and our “baggage” puts us on a path to improving our lives. When we shift the focus off external factors outside of our control (like other people), and put it on ourselves, we take back the wheel.

If you’re with me this far, you may be wondering HOW you can do this. Here are 5 ways to learn more about yourself:

  • Meditate – Even spending just 5 minutes a day observing your thoughts can provide wonderful benefits. This doesn’t have to be sitting cross-legged in a quiet corner of the house (assuming you even HAVE a quiet corner in the house!). It can be a solo car ride with nothing but your thoughts along for the ride. Observing your thoughts can reveal if you jump to worst case scenarios or take a more optimistic approach to your circumstances. It can also highlight how you speak to yourself. Are you kind and loving, or harsh and judgmental with yourself?
  • Listen for Repeat Messages – Do you keep hearing the same thing from different people? Have you been told multiple times that “you just don’t listen”? When we initially receive negative feedback, our knee-jerk reaction is often to defend ourselves. Then we stew about the entire situation, or what a jerk the other person is. The problem is, when focused on these externals, we are missing the lesson. Pay attention to these patterns and be willing to explore the possibility that there may be truth to it. Consider how your life would improve if you could improve on this.
  • Ask if the Shoe Fits – When listening to a story about another person or some hypothetical scenario, ask yourself if you do that. For example, if someone is talking about their friend and saying how she only cares about herself and never asks about anyone else, ask yourself if that “shoe” fits for you. Is that something you could be regularly guilty of? Think back to your last few conversations with others. Did you only talk about yourself and not share the conversation time?
  • Get Clear on Your Values – What are the most important “things” in your life? Your family, friends, pets, car, Saturday yoga classes, house, Coach purse collection? Make a list and then ask yourself why they are important to you. When you know what you value, it brings you closer to your deeper values. For example, the reason your family is important to you may lead to how much you value loyalty, love or acceptance. Your Coach purse collection may lead you to see how much you value self-love and treating yourself to things that make you feel good, (although it could just as easily lead you to seeing how much you value what others think of you). Either way, get to the bottom of your values and make sure that’s who you want to be.
  • Journal – When you write about your thoughts and feelings, you tend to get some questions and answers you weren’t expecting. One of the benefits of writing is that it takes those thoughts out of your head where they just continue to circle. This frees up space for your mind to come up with solutions, suggestions, and even revelations. Often, when we see our thoughts in print, it helps us to put them in a different perspective than when they are just floating around in our head.

What’s important in our self-studies is choosing what is right for us. If you are perceived as tough-minded and that’s how you WANT to be perceived, don’t change. Even if some of your feedback is negative, you’ve got to be YOU. Living a life by design is about awareness and choice. If your naughty sense of humor is important to you and isn’t holding you back from the life you want to live, change nothing. The point is to be aware of who you are so you can continue to evolve into who you want to be.

Your turn! Share in the comments section how you study, reflect, and learn about yourself.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for using self-reflection and awareness to achieve the life 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 

The Power of Your Energy

We are often entirely unaware of how we contribute to every experience in our lives. We bring an energy or vibe to every situation. If it’s positive energy, we’re more likely to have a positive experience; if it’s negative energy, we’re more likely to have a negative experience. It’s easy to forget this, though, when the situation is not one we look forward to, like going to the dentist, the auto repair shop, or the department of motor vehicle.

The other day I had to go to the DMV. Rough, right? As I was walking in, I was determined to be cheerful and pleasant, no matter how long the line was. Upon entering the building, the energy in the room was palpable. I felt like I hit an energetic wall. The line was about 15-20 people deep and this was just to get a ticket to wait some more. I overheard one employee say it was going to be about a three hour wait. Whatev, that’s how it goes. Unfortunate, but it wasn’t going to dim my energy. I was focused on adding positive energy to this place. That’s not how the lady behind me felt, however. From the moment she walked in with her friend, it was a string of negative commentary.   On and on she went about how stupid it was to wait in line to get a number only to wait some more, the insanity of having to wait so long, and how impossible it would be for her to come back tomorrow.

People like that are Energy Sucks. They suck all the good energy out of a space and replace it with negative energy. That’s what was happening to me. I kept trying to send love her way, and be patient and understanding, but as time went on, I started having negative thoughts and emotions. Energy Sucks are usually clueless about how they are impacting their own situations, let alone those around them. The stronger energy usually wins, and strength is determined largely by action. Her active narrative was overpowering my quiet inner dialogue as I lost patience with her.

There is a phenomenon called the Maharishi Effect. The story goes that in 1960, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi predicted that just 1% of a population practicing transcendental meditation would create measurable improvements to the quality of life for an entire population. The Maharishi University of Management shared, “this was put to the test under the careful scrutiny of a distinguished review board in 1993 in Washington, D.C. The maximum decrease in violent crimes was 23.3%. The statistical probability that this result could reflect chance variation in crime levels was less than 2 in 1 billion.”

Now if you want to start practicing transcendental meditation, that’s great, but my point is I don’t think that’s the only way. I think if more people in that DMV building projected positive energy, it would be a better experience for everyone. It could also have the power to turn around the Energy Sucks. And that’s where I dropped the ball. It wasn’t long before I began rolling my eyes and sighing about the Negative Nellie behind me in the DMV line. That meant I was now adding my negative energy to the room. I had an opportunity to turn around and try to chat up that lady. Turn it into a joke and get her to laugh about it and talk about something else, something positive. But I didn’t. I gave into the negative energy. I wish I hadn’t.

Think about how you contribute to your situations and how you could improve them by bringing more positivity to them. I’d love to hear your story. In the comments section, share a time your energy influenced a situation – positively or negatively.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for using your positive energy to create a Life by 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 Ways to be Kinder to Our Future Self

I have to admit, I’m not always kind to my future self. I have such high expectations of the future me, but if I’m not careful, I will set her up to fail. As much as I value being present in the now and seizing the moment, one thing is certain: we tend to cut our current self a break and just expect that our future self will pick up the slack. This is true with diet, exercise, finances, work, and more. If you’ve ever skipped that workout, stopped the 401k contribution, eaten that donut, or bought that item just outside your budget, while comforting yourself with the idea that your future self would be better, than you know exactly what I’m talking about.

This reminds me of a common issue in retail. The evening shift employees would often say, if the morning team would just do their part, we wouldn’t have to work so hard to get everything done before closing, while the day shift employees would say the same about the evening crew.  I imagine my future self saying this. In fact, it’s happened. The me that started dieting would often ask, “why didn’t you start this sooner or skip all that crap food in the first place?” Those with college-bound kids often experience something similar. Those 50 and older do too, when they see the balance in their retirement accounts. Their future self is much closer, and they can see the difficulties that await them.

So how can we be kinder to our future self while still living in the moment? Here are 5 ways:

  1. Be clear on what you want your future self to look like – This is less about goals and more about vision. This will also change, so consider the future versions of yourself in 5 year increments. Break down what you want for the future you 5 years from now, 10 years from now, and so on. Your needs will change, so you want to take those into consideration.
  2. Come up with a plan – Once you know what you want for your future self, you can create a plan that supports this vision every day. If you want to pay off your $3000 credit card bill so that the future you can start saving for a new car, make a list of all the little things you could do to support this every day. Even if you don’t accomplish all of them, you will still feel like you made some progress (which makes the current you feel good).
  3. Create space to live in the present – This means giving yourself some sort of allowance to enjoy the now. If that means eating a donut, skipping a workout or buying a treat, that’s fine, but be very clear about the rules. Be specific about how often, how much, how many, etc. Then stick to your own rules.
  4. React to procrastination – I know procrastination by its very nature is NOT reacting. If you find yourself procrastinating your diet and putting it off until Monday (again), it’s likely you’re feeling overwhelmed and that’s why you’re procrastinating. This is a sure sign that either your plan is too aggressive or you are focused on too much at once. Take small steps towards accomplishing what you need to and alter your plan if necessary.
  5. Write yourself a note from your future self – I know this sounds a little woo-woo, but this can be a great technique. Imagine you are now your future self and you are enjoying the life you had hoped for. As the future version of yourself, write a thank you note acknowledging the work, sacrifice, and challenges that the current you did. Be very specific. You can say something like, “Dear Current Self, thank you for working those extra shifts even when it meant missing out on some fun activities like the annual family picnic. Because of your sacrifices over those six months, I now don’t have to worry about bill collectors calling and stressing me out. I just wanted you to know your efforts paid off.” Then re-read this note whenever you need a little motivation to push through a tough moment.

It’s important to enjoy the moment now, but it’s also really helpful to not slack off and leave all the hard work up to our future selves.

In the comments section, share one thing you can do today that will support your future self.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for the Future 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 

Are Your Goals TOO Specific?

My long-time readers know I love all things goal-oriented. But sometimes too much of a “good thing,” is not so good after all. Goals are important. We have to know what we’re striving for. However, we have to be careful that we don’t box ourselves in. If we have too much criteria in our goals, we may be setting ourselves up for disappointment.

One of the most important aspects of goal setting is having a compelling, emotional, heartfelt reason behind every goal. You must know why that goal is important to you. This step is often skipped and attention is given to other details. This is a problem because when we get so mired in the details without the emotional attachment, we start trying to control things that, quite possibly, aren’t helping us to achieve our goal and instead turn us into hamsters on a wheel.

Here’s an example: Laura wants to be in a loving, romantic relationship. She’s tired of being alone and lonely. She’s on the search for a husband who is physically fit, financially well off, likes to vacation in warm places, and enjoys reading and live music. None of that is unreasonable, right? Here’s the problem. At its essence, Laura’s goal is to be in a loving, romantic relationship. However, she has lost sight of this and instead has focused her attention on details that may not get her to her goal. Her criteria is so narrow, she may be missing out on the love of her life because he’s missing some of the qualities she’s looking for. We all have non-negotiables, and I’m not recommending we change that, but it’s important to stay focused on what’s really important.

Whether your goal is to get healthier, become more financially secure, climb the corporate ladder, or any other number of possibilities, it’s important to not get overly tangled in the “how.” Sometimes achieving our goals is not a straight and direct path. In fact, it usually isn’t. Be willing to ride some of the twists and turns that could ultimately lead you to your goal.

I know countless leaders who thought they knew what path they wanted to take, but ended up being offered other opportunities that they reluctantly accepted, only to later discover was the path that led them to their (often unknown at the time) dream job. I recently read a story about a college dropout who had no idea what to do with his life. Someone observed him working well with a group of challenged individuals and suggested that might be a great career path for him to consider.  He did, and now ten years on the job, he has climbed the ranks and loves what he does. He admits he never would have seen himself in that role if he wasn’t willing to explore and try new things.

So, no matter what your goal is, be open to the many ways you could achieve it. Life is full of surprises and we miss out on them when we are overly focused on trying to control every minute detail.

If you need to work on your goals and want to live a life by 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 (Like this week’s Goal Checkup PDF), SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

Being Strong

Mother’s Day 2016

Today is Mother’s Day. That’s a special day every year, of course. But for me, this day holds something more.

Today marks one year since losing my mother. This year has had so many bright moments and successes, and yet, it’s been incredibly difficult to fully enjoy those, while being only too aware that my mom wasn’t here to enjoy them with me. There have been countless moments of tears and sadness mixed with memories that I cherish so very much. This week I have chosen to write about being strong. If you have ever struggled with being strong or feel you’ve failed in this, please read on.

I think about when someone posts something on Facebook about a challenge they are facing, or a loved one they are concerned about, and almost without fail, someone will write, “Be strong.” I have always wondered what that meant. Does it imply that the person should keep a “stiff upper lip” and forge ahead? Does it mean they should keep their emotions in check and not “break down?” I don’t think so. I think when someone says, “be strong,” they mean, “have faith.” That makes more sense to me. But more on this later.

About two months after my mom passed, we had a graduation party for my daughter. As a family member was leaving, she recalled a conversation she had recently had with another family member and shared with me for several minutes how amazed and impressed they both were with…how strong my sister was throughout the wake and funeral for my mom. They just couldn’t get over how composed she was and how well she kept herself together. They were very impressed with her. I listened to this for several minutes trying to figure out why she was telling me this. I’m not really sure if I even responded. I just knew I felt incredibly wounded by the conversation.

I felt wounded, not because my sister was strong, but because I felt I was being admonished for seeming not to be. Sure, I let my emotions show. I cried when I felt like crying. I could barely carry on a phone conversation with others without sniffling through most of it. I hugged my kids a lot, as they were heavily grieving the loss of a grandmother who was part of their every accomplishment since their birth. I was quiet, and lived inside my head and heart a lot during this time. But I never lost faith. I saw the blessings that existed, even in this time of losing and missing her. I was grateful for what I had and cried as much out of gratitude as I did out of sadness. Despite all of this, I did what needed to be done, I didn’t hide my face in my hands and leave the details and tough tasks up to others.

Here’s my point – Once I was done hyper-analyzing that entire conversation, which included periods of time where I questioned if I should have been stronger, I realized something: Strength is on the inside.

Strength is not measured by the number of tears NOT shed, but by the level of pain experienced while continuing on.

Strength is not measured by how well someone can hide their pain, but by how well they don’t let their pain steal their goodness.

If you have ever felt you were not strong because you showed emotion or had to force yourself to show up, please reframe that. If someone tells you to “be strong,” take that to mean that they are encouraging you to do your best, whatever that looks like, and to have faith that you will be okay. Take that to mean they want you to know they have faith that the pain or worry you are experiencing now will subside and will not change the beautiful parts of you.

Know you are stronger than you give yourself credit for. My mom never gave herself enough credit for the strength she did possess. She loved, and laughed; she was flawed, and imperfect; and she was strong. If you know a mom, or anyone else that needs to reframe their idea of “being strong,” do them a favor and share this post with them.

Please comment “I’m Strong” in the comments section.

 

If you need help finding more of your strength and leveraging it, 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 

The #1 Thing You Must Do to Manage Your Time

One of the leading personal challenges people face is time management. A recent survey I did put this in the top 5 list. We manage our time based on what’s important to us. We are all given the same 24 hours in a day – It’s the one fair disbursement in life. It doesn’t matter how much money you have or don’t have, no one can buy or steal even one more hour in the day.  So why then, do some people seem able to accomplish everything on their to-do list, and others can’t hardly get anything done?

Hopefully you read last week’s post on motivation. If so, you’ll recall that we are motivated by our emotions. One in particular, fear of pain, is an example. We will go to great lengths to avoid pain, but don’t seem as motivated to achieve joy. Such is the human experience. This is an important tidbit when it comes to time management though. We show up to work because of the pain we’d experience if we didn’t. Dirty looks from co-workers, a stern talking-to from the boss, job loss and loss of income are just a few of the “pains” we are trying to avoid.

All told, however, we can be motivated by things that bring us joy.  Take the latest episode of Dancing with the Stars. That was one of the most widely watched TV programs. Those viewers were likely not watching because they were trying to avoid pain. They were likely watching to gain some pleasure.

There is a common thread in both examples – showing up to work and watching a TV show. For most of us, both of those things happen at certain times. If you have to be to work at 8am, you get to work at 8am. If your show starts at 8pm, you show up to watch the show at 8pm.  If someone tries to stop you from either endeavor, say a chatty neighbor, you will probably say (or just think), “I’m going to be late!” and do your best to move them along.

Assuming you already know what it is you want to spend your time on, there is one crucial thing you MUST do to better manage your time – schedule what’s important to you. That’s it. Doing that one thing will make you more productive and more in control of managing your time. I’ll use myself as an example here. In addition to a full-time job, I have my coaching practice, and I’m attending school to complete my degree. With all of these responsibilities I have not had the time to exercise. I have repeatedly told myself (and anyone that would listen) that I just don’t have time for it. As the pounds started to add up, I said as soon as I was done in July, I could get back to a healthy routine. I just didn’t have one moment to spare. And I didn’t…until the “pain” became unbearable. I didn’t like the number on the scale, how I looked or how I felt. Guess who found some time to plan meals for healthier eating and to take time each day for some exercise? Yup, that would be me.

I knew I had to make this a priority in my life, so I began scheduling time to prepare meals one day each week. Seriously, I blocked out a chunk of time each Sunday that was non-negotiable. I began walking at the same times each day to get some physical exercise into my day, and I began tracking my food consumption at every meal. Having these scheduled activities are the only reason I’ve seen success. Authors who are writing books schedule time each day to write; Runners schedule time to run. And the list goes on. Don’t rely on the chance that you’ll have time left over at the end of your day – you likely won’t. And even if you do, are you even going to feel like doing what you need to do then? Probably not.

Now tell me, what one task will you benefit from scheduling into your day? Share in the comments.

If you would like to partner up and create a plan that will have you doing what’s truly important to you, and FINALLY living a life by 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