The Emotional Side of Working from Home

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Flexibility / Loneliness / Comfort / Isolation / Independence / Disconnection

What do these words have in common?

Working from home, that’s what!

At first, it sounds like such a great idea, but if you are home day after day, it can become extremely lonely. By nature, we are social creatures and crave interaction with other human beings. We like sharing our successes with others, and asking for their help when we are stuck.

I believe that’s why coffeehouses are overflowing with people and co-working spaces are popping up all over the place. They are filled with individuals of all ages who gather together to work independently. There’s something about surrounding ourselves with commotion that assures us we are not alone.

Don’t get me wrong – there are days I really like working at home, especially with this crazy weather we’re having. I’m thrilled that I don’t have to drive in the snow and ice. But sitting alone in my home office every single day takes its toll on me.

So, what do you do? How do you know if working at home is right for you? First of all, if you have the luxury of making that decision, test it out and see what works for you. It took me some time to realize that I start to fade after lunch. So that’s when I pack up my laptop and head to the local library or coffeehouse. I actually decide the day before which one I will go to depending on my work load. If I need a quiet place to write a speech or proposal, it’s the library. Emails? That’s a coffeehouse project. Either way, I have the interaction I need that helps get me through the work day.

Just know that there is good and bad in everything. Working at an office or from home with have its ups and downs. The most important thing is loving what you do. Everything else will fall in place.

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That One Person

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There are people in our lives who have made all the difference in the world. Without their influence, we would not be where we are today. They are the ones who didn’t ASK if we needed help, they just showed up when no one else seemed to understand. They were the ones to grab our hand and guide us through the darkness. The sad part is, they may not even know of the impact they have made on our lives.

Last night I spoke to a group of teens on the topic of gratitude. As I talked to them about reaching out to say thank you to those who have helped them, it suddenly popped out of my mouth: “And they may not even be aware of the influence they have had on you. Please be sure to tell them.”

As I drove home, it made me think about those who have shaped my life. About those who fill my heart with so much gratitude that I have no words to express it. Funny, it’s not always the people you would expect. Sometimes, it’s those hiding in the shadows that can see your pain, feel your loneliness, and lead you to a safe place where you can finally breathe again.

Are you getting a picture in your head of someone who’s help was so profound that it literally changed your life? If so, reach out to them now. They probably have no idea of how something they said or did eased your confusion. Don’t wait another minute. In an email, text, card or better yet, face-to-face, tell them.

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When You Are Pulled in Different Directions

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There are times in our life when we all feel overworked, overwhelmed and pulled in different directions. Sometimes this can even happen on a daily basis. If you often find yourself in a tizzy, here’s something you can do to overcome that feeling of spinning out of control:

Pause     Breathe      Gather Your Thoughts

Yep, that’s it. Take time to consciously pause and physically take a breath. It gives you time to gather your thoughts and stops you from reacting emotionally. It helps you look at the situation a little more logically. We’ve all been faced with a challenge where we reacted in the moment and said or did something we wish we could take back. I’m telling you, this simple formula can help. The next time you find yourself feeling anxious or like you are about to regret what comes out of your mouth, Pause, Breathe and Gather your Thoughts.

I understand that this will be difficult when you face an intense moment, but with practice it becomes easier and easier. With practice, you actually begin to form a new habit that will help make your life a lot easier. Give it a try and see how it works for you.

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Finding Balance

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Have you ever been consumed by your thoughts? Maybe life unexpectedly threw you a curve ball and you suddenly found yourself in a situation that you just didn’t want to deal with. It could be a lost job, a health scare, or a relationship that ended.

Before you know it, you are questioning everything about your life and you feel like you’ve lost control. How do you get it back? How do you take control once again? There are times when you may feel like quitting everything – your job, your relationship, even your belief in yourself.

So, what’s the next logical thing to do? Come on, let’s be honest. For many of us, we try to fill that void; we try to mask that loss. We do whatever we can to dull the pain. Think about it: If you lose your job, you might try to fill that void by spending more time with your spouse. If your relationship goes south, you try to replace it with more work or exercise. And what if a good friendship just fizzles out – well, you can always spend more time with your significant other.

We’ve all tried to fill these voids in one way or another, but the bottom line is that it never works. Balance is the key word here. I know you’re heard it a million times, and there’s a good reason for that – it works! If we could just find the right amount of time and energy to allocate to all aspects of life, we can learn to quiet and control those voices in our head. Just know that it’s ok to feel lonely; it’s ok to face disappointment and loss. Balance in your life will help even out the those ups and downs. It helps restore the calm.

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One Day at a Time

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Bad habits are hard to break, no matter what your vice may be. Why? Because they can be so much fun. Think about it. Isn’t it easier to sit on the couch, watch your favorite show and devour a box of chocolates rather than get dressed, face the cold weather and drag yourself to the gym? Be honest.

Eventually, though, we all pay the price for those bad habits, whether it’s failing health or finding ourselves in another bad relationship. It’s time to take control; it’s time to bite the bullet and do what we need to do. And yes, we already know what that is.

It sounds simple but it’s not easy. It’s not easy because you are the only one who can do this. You can’t hire someone else to make this change for you. Forming a new habit is hard and it will take time. You certainly won’t see the results immediately so the best thing you can do is concentrate on today and today only. Force yourself not to fret about yesterday because that is over. There is nothing you can do about that. Every day remind yourself that if you falter, you will just start over again tomorrow. By encouraging yourself, you will make it a better day. And you know what? Pretty soon those days will add up to weeks, then months, and then years – and a new habit is formed. All by taking it one day at a time – that’s how I plan on doing it.

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It Starts Today

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

When will they stop? When will the voices stop screaming inside my head:

You’re not smart enough for that promotion

You’re not thin enough to get into those jeans

You’re not good enough to be happy

After some time, you tell yourself that you don’t care anymore, but you do care – I care! You ask yourself: “When are you going to be OK? When are you going to accept and love yourself for who you are?

I’ve been trying to lose five pounds for the last 30 years. Uh, maybe more like 15 pounds now. Every time I try to zip up those pants it’s a blatant reminder that my body is changing. And once again I beat myself up – And boy, am I really good at that.

So, I ask you again: When are you going to be ok?

TODAY!!!

That’s the answer. I’m going to be ok TODAY! I’ve wasted enough time worrying about things that don’t really matter and I’ve had enough. Would I like to change some things about myself? Absolutely. But I’ve also come to realize that I’m good just the way I am right now. That I am happy for all the dents and flaws I’ve earned over the years. So I declare, right now, that today is the day I begin to love myself the way I am. When will you begin?

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Oh What a Night…

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How do I even begin? What words can I use to describe what I am feeling right now?

You see, last Saturday was my birthday, and it was a BIG one. The day started out lovely, with lots of phone calls and texts from family and friends. They were all very sweet, but everyone had busy schedules and could not take the time to celebrate my special day with me. They all wished me well.

Then my husband said: “You have to be ready by 10:30 this morning.” I thought we were heading to one of the beautiful trails close-by, so I grabbed my tennis shoes.

Then suddenly, without notice, three of my friends walked in the door holding a huge balloon, crazy whimsical glasses, and big smiles. They drove all the way from Chicago – three hours away – just to see me. I let out a scream so loud I even scared myself.

Then one by one more people walked through the door. There were old friends and new friends and family and neighbors. They just kept coming. I later discovered that my husband had been planning this event for the last six months. I can’t believe everyone was able to keep it a secret.

It was a day I will never forget. I was surrounded by a love so thick you could feel it. I sincerely have never experienced anything like this. How did I get so lucky? How did I find such amazing friends and develop such deep bonds with my family? My only hope is that I can pay it forward and make others feel as loved and special as I feel right now.

A heartfelt thank you to my husband for making my life so rich and beautiful.

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Back to the 90’s?

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

As I was driving to meet a friend for lunch, I tuned into NPR radio for a little enlightenment. They were talking about the reboot of the TV sitcom Friends. It appears that Netflix paid nearly ½ billion dollars (yes, that’s billion with a B) for the streaming rights to Friends.

Why?

As the panel was trying to answer this same question, someone stated: The stories told are universal Young people today move away from home, form a new family with friends…and they’re still broke!

He then went on to say: And the show is nostalgic. We all want to go back to that person we were in the 90’s.

Really? I mean REALLY???

I didn’t even hesitate to shout my answer out loud: NO! No, I do not want to go back to the Nancy of the 90’s. Was life good back then? Sure. Did I have fun? Absolutely. But I have grown so much since then, forging new paths and becoming someone I never imagined possible. I would never give that up. Right now, today, I embrace my past and smile from all the lessons I learned along the way, both good and bad. I sincerely believe that everything I have done in my life has gotten me to where I am today, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Would you?

 

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Never Too Old!

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Have you ever heard the words: “Oh, you’re too old for that…” I’ve certainly heard it a LOT, especially when I was starting my own business as a professional speaker. So many friends and family members, all of them really trying to help me, thought I was crazy when I started this business in my 60’s. I realize that deep down they were truly trying to help, and in many cases, they were dealing with fears of their own.

I became my own worst enemy, though, when I began to doubt myself. That’s when I began to research other late bloomers and found some interesting stories. Did you know:

  • Laura Ingalls Wilder began writing her wildly successful Little House on the Prairie series when she was 65 years old.
  • John Glenn did a nine-day journey into space at age 77.
  • Colonel Sanders was 65 years old when he started Kentucky Fried Chicken.

So, now I’m a firm believer that you should always pursue your dreams and desires, no matter what your age is. That’s why I made this short video: Never Too Old.

Oh, and if you’re wondering about the photo, that’s me accomplishing my dream of being a professional speaker and not putting limits on myself. Of course, there are many reasons why we cannot accomplish certain things in life, but never, ever let the number of your age be one of them

 

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Where Am I and How Did I Get Here?

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

I have a terrible sense of direction. Seriously, if I tell you to turn left, without a doubt, you should turn right. North, south, east, west – I honestly have no clue.

People have always made fun of me because I never know where I am or how I got there, so now my new best friend is Alice – my navigation system. She usually gets me to where I want to go, but on occasion, even she gets lost. Today is one of those few times when she fails me. Somehow, I ended up about ten miles away from my destination.

I used to beat myself up over my lack of direction, but over the years I have learned to enjoy the detours along the way, both on the road and in my life.

When I was 21, I had my whole life mapped out. Did it turn out the way I planned? NO! But by enjoying the detours along the way, I have found treasures I never imagined possible.

One wise Amish Proverb says: “A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.”

By the way, because of today’s detour, this photo became my office for the afternoon. Yes, because I got lost and decided to enjoy the journey, and I ended up at Picnic Point in Madison, Wisconsin, so I sat down on a bench and wrote this blog.

So, you see, detours can be good – and lacking a sense of direction can be a real adventure. So now I try to just roll with it. You never know where it may lead you.

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