Just Choose Already

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

It’s that time of year again. It’s the holidays and a time of giving and laughing and celebrating and feeling overwhelmed and being totally stressed out. These mixed feelings often happen all in the same day – heck, all in the same hour!!! So, what do we do about it? How can we take a breath and truly enjoy this magical time of the year when we feel like pulling our hair out?

Choose!

Yes, that’s right. You get a chance to choose. When you wake up in the morning, stop, look around and decide how you want to spend the day. Didn’t realize you had a choice? Well, think again. Every single morning, when you wake up, you decide how you want to spend that day. Will it be filled with wonder or weighed down with stress?

Now, we all know that we can’t control the circumstances that surround us. We can’t make that holiday gift suddenly appear once we realize that every single store, online or off, doesn’t have it in stock anymore. We can’t make the holiday dinner cook itself. But what we can do is realize that most of our holiday stress is not a life or death situation. And I guarantee that it will not the worst thing that ever happened to us. We will survive and I promise you that the sun will rise again tomorrow.

So, make no mistake about it, every single day of your life you get to choose – and you are the only one who can do it. Now, you’ve already heard this information a million times before so what are you going to do with it? Will you actually choose to have a glorious day? Personally, right now I’m choosing to meet a friend for dinner. All my emails and decorating and endless holiday shopping will just have to wait one more day. I will raise my wine glass to you, wishing you the choice of a stress-free season.

 

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Who Will Be at Your Table This Year?

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Thanksgiving is just two days away, and as I reflect on the past, I realize that the way I celebrate this holiday has changed over the years.

First, it was all about family. I can still remember the craziness of kids running around the house, my mother trying to get the food on the table while it was still hot and everyone bumping into each other as we tried to help in that tiny kitchen.

As I grew older, I couldn’t always travel home. That’s where my friends came in and they became my new family, all just as loving and sometimes a little more accepting.

Now, this year, I will be celebrating with my husband’s family, learning new traditions and trying to understand the inside jokes. New surroundings, new faces, yet we will still be surrounded by the familiar sharing of love and laughter.

Over the years I have come to realize that no matter who is sitting at the dining room table, this holiday is about being grateful for all that you have right in front of you, to creating new memories and being ready for whatever may come your way.

So, at this time of year, no matter where I may be celebrating, I am eternally grateful for the family and friends who have entered my life. Thankful for those who stayed and those who merely passed through. You are all a huge part of who I am today. And my hope is that I make others feel welcomed into my life, whether it’s a holiday or not.

So, to everyone who is reading this post and to all those you touch, I wish you a sincere Thanksgiving, a heartfelt Friendsgiving and a life filled with all the happiness your heart can hold.

 

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Take Your Luggage and Leave Your Baggage Behind

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Think about it: baggage has a very different meaning than luggage. When I say that someone comes with baggage, we think of something negative, like debt, bad habits and lousy relationships. However, when someone arrives with luggage, we think happy thoughts, like a vacation.

So right here, right now, I am reframing my baggage. Yes, that’s right. I’m taking my divorces, all my annoying habits and every past event I’d like to forget, and wrapping them up in beautiful designer Gucci luggage. You know why? Because I’ve decided to embrace all that baggage that I call my life. I’ve decided to look at it differently and realize that I would never be where I am today without the mess I’ve been through. All those past detours and hiccups in the road have brought me to where I am today. Because of all those challenges, I have become more patient, more compassionate and more accepting. And THAT is worth all the baggage you can pile up on my doorstep.

I will take my reframed designer luggage and venture out into the world to see what experiences are waiting for me. I will travel down the road of possibilities and hope to see you along the way, carrying your own special brand of designer luggage.

 

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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

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

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

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

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…

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

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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