Finding Balance

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

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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When Your Life Has Been Turned Upside Down

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Facing challenges is a part of everyone’s life. Some small, and others, not so small. How do you survive them? How do you let go when all you want is your old life back?

Well, a couple of years ago, I was interviewed by Dick Goldberg, a respected radio and television talk show host, for his podcast titled Overcoming Adversity. I was honored to share the 30-minute interview with Neil Mathweg, CEO of Realty Executives in Madison, WI. Why were Neil and I interviewed together? Because we had very similar stories. We both lost everything in the 2008 recession – and survived.  Although we took different paths, the outcome was the same. We both faced a deep darkness in our life and came out on the other side, reinvented and better than ever.

Along the way, we learned lessons about life and values and relationships and self-esteem. It’s very hard to talk about those dark days and the embarrassment we both felt.  So why do we do it?  Because both Neil and I want to help others who are going through challenges in their own life. We want to reach out and hope that something we say will make their recovery time shorter and their climb out of the darkness a little easier.

If you have just 30 minutes, please listen to our interview.  You will discover very helpful tips, either for yourself or a friend, that will help you overcome adversity, no matter where life may find you: http://www.dickgoldbergradio.com/overcoming-adversity/.

 

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I Ain’t No Quitter

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

National Quitters Day.  Have you heard of it? 

Apparently, it’s a day that has been set aside to recognize when most people abandon their New Year’s resolution.  Yes, they’ve actually done research to show that your motivation begins to waiver on the second Friday in January. This year it was January 12th.  So, all those goals you set, all those promises you made to yourself, are discarded.  Whether you vowed to exercise more, spend less money or take more time for yourself, you leave all that behind and fall back into your old habits.  It takes only two weeks to surrender to your old self.

Well, if you fall into the category of resolution quitter, all is not lost.  Let’s think about this in a different way:

What if we stop thinking of our resolutions as goals.  Instead, envision them as patterns that need to be tweaked.  What if we committed to 1%.  That’s it – only 1%, to being better every day.  That’s doable, isn’t it?   Not overwhelming at all.  Think about it.  Just 1% better at:

  • Losing that extra weight
  • Saving more money
  • Being kinder to our neighbor, our family, ourselves! 

I’m going to start my 1% tomorrow.  NO – I’m going to start RIGHT NOW.  Yes.  I envision a healthier lifestyle for myself.  I’m packing my bag for the gym tonight and won’t let excuses get in my way.  Yes, my 1% starts right now.  What about you?  Want to give it a try?

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Change is in the Air

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

A new season is upon us, there’s no denying it.  Just take a look around.  The falling leaves and the falling temperature are both sure signs that autumn has arrived.

As I breathe in the crisp air and enjoy the changing colors, I can’t help but think of how this season parallels my life.  

First of all, there is change, and that is something we cannot control.   Our only hope is to accept it and find a way to deal with it.  Some change is harder than others, and many times we are brought to our knees because we don’t know how we will survive it.  But it may help to remember that the longer nights, and the darkness, are always followed by light.  No matter how long the night may seem, it WILL come to an end.

So, keep your eyes open, enjoy your surroundings, and you may even discover some fun along the way.  With Fall also comes Halloween and candy (peanut butter cups for me, please) and stomping through the leaves.  When the time is right, you will be able to see the beauty –  even in the darkness. 

I love this Amish Proverb: A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

Here’s to embracing the many twist and turns that life has in store for us.

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I Just Need Possible

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

I just heard some fascinating news on the radio – YES, I still listen to the radio!

The announcer said that today, half way through January, 75% of New Year’s resolutions will be abandoned.  What?  75%?  It’s only two weeks into the New Year and the New You.  What would make someone give up so quickly?

Then, as I was pointing my finger towards others, I noticed that four of my fingers were pointing back at me.  How many times have I made the same resolutions year after year after year?  I began to wonder why they seemed so hard to keep, and I came up with these five ideas:

1.        Sometimes we get so excited and so ambitious and we make a LIST of resolutions.  No wonder we become overwhelmed and discouraged.  Try focusing on just ONE change.  I know a year seems like a long time to work on only one thing, but just think how amazing it would be if you actually got that one thing accomplished, finished, done with, and never again to be seen on another New Year’s resolution list – ever again.

2.       Be kind to yourself.  If you falter today, start again tomorrow.  Don’t beat yourself up or throw in the towel.  This change will take time, and as my mother always said: “You have more time than money.”

3.       Celebrate your success along the way.  That doesn’t mean a hot fudge sundae if your goal is to lose weight, but maybe it could be something like taking time for a bubble bath or sharing a glass of wine with a friend.

4.        Remember that you have a choice.  My weakness is chocolate so I’m always struggling with losing those extra pounds.  When I reach for that chocolate, I tell myself that I have a choice – I can eat that chocolate now or I can have a healthier body.  Which is more important?  If I’m honest, the chocolate does win out more often than I’d like to admit, but I’m working on that.  Knowing that I have a choice helps me to put things in perspective.

5.       Make your resolution a year long process, not just a one night statement.  Work at it every day until it becomes a habit.  I once heard someone say (and I paraphrase): I don’t need easy, I just need possible.  Make your resolution a promise to yourself that is possible.

Well, let me know how it goes.  Right now I’m going to make myself part of the 25% that have not given up on their resolutions.  I’m working on making mine possible.

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Making an Impact!

Professional Speaker-Positive Attitude-Personal Development

Our words, and our actions, can truly affect someone else – greater than we can ever imagine. They can actually change someone’s life, and we may never have any idea of the impact we have made.

For me, that person was my father. You see, I grew up on the south side of Chicago in a very small house.  In fact, we had two tiny bedrooms for six people, so it was a bit tight.  The outside of our home was equally as small, but my father had a green thumb and he could make anything grow.

We had flowers everywhere! Miraculously, somehow, my father had every square inch of dirt bursting with color.

There were bright yellow marigolds, flaming red geraniums, and deep purple rooster cones.

But the best, the very best, were the roses. My father had two beautiful rose bushes that grew up a trellis and leaned against our brick garage.  What a contrast!  The hard, cold brick framing the soft, delicate roses.

Every spring, when the first rose bloomed, my father would gently cut it off the vine and put it in a very plain ordinary glass. He put it in the middle of our kitchen table, and with his very best handwriting, he would scribble a note that said “For My Princess”.

That was me!!!

When I walked in the door, there it was, a rose as beautiful as anything I had ever seen, welcoming me home from school. I can’t begin to tell you how special it made me feel.

My father would repeat this same ceremony in the fall, with the last rose of the garden.

I received that first and last rose of the season from my father, with his precious note “For My Princess”, until I left for college.

My father passed away over 25 years ago. At his wake, I placed two roses on the pillow where his head rested – one for the first rose and one for the last rose in his garden.

Although the roses have stopped, that memory has stayed with me for a lifetime, without fading. Most importantly, it has helped me through some very difficult times.  Times when major changes in my life shook me to the core and changed my life forever.  Times when I just wanted to curl up and die because I felt worthless.

Then suddenly, without expecting it, I would see a rose. Maybe I walked through the fresh flower section of my local grocery store, or maybe I strolled past a neighborhood park.  Seeing those beautiful roses would open a floodgate of such loving memories.  Suddenly, I would find myself standing a little taller, lifting my head a little higher, and smiling.  And I realized, I can’t be worthless – after all, I am a princess.

I never told my father how he made me feel. He had no idea how, years later, those roses would still affect my life.  Heck, I don’t think I even realized it myself.  I would like to have a chance to tell him now if I could.  But since I can’t, the next best thing I can do is pass it on to you.

You never know what people will remember. So, now I try to take every opportunity to be kind, to open myself up, and to be vulnerable.  It doesn’t have to be big.  It could be as simple as saying “thanks for being my friend.”

Who has made an impact on your life? I’d love to hear your story.

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There’s Good and Bad in Everything

This past week-end I was going to take a “time-out”.  Yes, I was going to hit the refresh button for two full days and not feel guilty about it for one minute.  I was looking forward to relaxing, sleeping in, and just plain lounging around.

Saturday morning I am greeted by a very loud bird right outside my window at 6:00am.  Yes, 6:00 AM!!!!!!  He is so noisy and loud that he wakes me up.  UGH – how can I shut him up?  It’s driving me crazy.  Doesn’t he know this is my morning to sleep in???

I can’t go back to sleep and I’m annoyed and irritated.

That is – until I decide to flip the switch, change my mindset, or whatever you would like to call it.

I realize I can’t change his loud chirping, so I decide to embrace it.  Just like clockwork, he’s back Sunday morning at 6:00am sharp.  But this time I decide to really listen that that little rascal.  He’s not going away so I decide to “hear” him differently.

I’m amazed – this annoying noise has turned into a sweet song.  I guess you could even call it a love song.  I’m lying in bed, imagining him singing to attract the love of his life.

It’s actually very beautiful – and I decided this is a lovely way to wake up each morning.

What is irritating you right now?  What are some of the things you encounter every day that you just can’t change?  When you are faced with those annoying, “I can’t stand it anymore” situations, think about flipping the switch.  Find the good in the bad – then point your finger straight at it and say: “You can’t bother me anymore.”

If you have trouble finding the good, leave a comment.  Maybe I can help.

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