Mid Week Reflection: Your Day is Coming!

This is one of my favorite quotes.  The reason why I love this quote so much is that it shows that there is always hope – there is always a better day on the horizon.  This quote speaks to me on a couple of levels.  One level is the thought that there is always something positive on the horizon.  I am pretty sure that the caterpillar thought that his lot in life was to just always crawl around at this slow, slothful pace while everything was bustling all around him.  But one day he turns into a butterfly!  The sky is now the limit and he is free to go anywhere he please at whatever pace he chooses. The second level that this quote speaks to me concerns the notion of shedding the old you for a new you.  We all have had our caterpillar moments. Feeling low, desiring to do more, watching the world bustle around us while we slowly move along trying to figure everything out.  But then one day, you become a butterfly.  Just as the butterfly is not a new creature but a different version of the caterpillar; you are not a new person, but a different version of yourself.   This quote gives me great hope that, when things look dark or bleak or when life seems to be almost unbearable, there is always hope.  What has you down today?  Are you feeling that there is no hope? Just hold on, your day is coming.

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Mid Week Reflection: Feelings Are Not Facts

Feelings are defined as an emotional state or reaction.  They can describe how you may be feeling at a certain time but they do not always have to dictate your reality.  We sometimes struggle with our emotions being confused as facts.  For example, feeling a little down that you did not get selected for a position at work does not translate to you being an employee whose work is not valued.  Feeling like a failure for not being successful at a new diet does not make you a failure.  You have to be careful not to let your feelings take hold in your spirit to the point where you begin to really believe what you are thinking. Beware of allowing your feelings to determine how you see yourself and the way you begin think about yourself and your worth. Separating feelings from facts is vital to our self-esteem and our overall outlook on life. We have to practice positive self-talk to convince ourselves that the negative thoughts and feelings that we have taken as fact are not true. This has to be done on a daily basis to ensure that you do not succumb to feelings which can often be misleading. What feelings have you taken as facts lately? What positive self-talk will you utilize to prevent yourself from accepting those feelings as facts?

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Mid Week Reflection: Think Positive Thoughts

Have you ever had a great idea and talked yourself out of going for it?  The negative thoughts of doubt and uncertainty are louder than the positive thoughts that would encourage you to keep striving for your goal.  For some reason, it is easier for some of us to listen to the discouraging thoughts and not to the thoughts that tell us that we can achieve our goal or dream. Controlling our thoughts is not easy but it is necessary to keep ourselves encouraged so that we can continue to move forward with achieving our goals.  Just as we watch the words that come out of our mouth, we must watch the thoughts that we allow to take hold in our minds. We must begin to push back against our negative thoughts.  We have to learn to challenge these thoughts.  If you begin to have thoughts that you are not strong enough to reach your goal, you counter it with the thought that you are strong and that you will reach your goal.  If you begin to have thoughts that you are not worthy enough to even dream as big as you dare to dream, counter it with the thought that you are as good and as talented as those who are already where you want to be.  I challenge you to counter those thoughts that bring you down into positive thoughts.  When you begin to think more positive thoughts will you begin to see more positive results.  What thoughts will you challenge today?

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Mid Week Reflection: Focus on the Things You Desire

There is always the possibility that something could go wrong.  You can finally start that business you have been dreaming of but be fearful that it will not take off as you want.  You can have your eye on a certain position at work but be fearful that someone else is selected for that position.  I am not here to tell you that bad things do not happen – we all know that is not true.  What I am here to tell you is that focusing on our desired positive outcome is more productive than focusing on our fears on the things that could go wrong.  Focusing on the things that can go right will keep you moving toward your goal.  Focusing on the things you fear is more likely to get you to a place where you begin to doubt your goals.  And if there is enough doubt, you will lose your motivation to even try to reach your goals.  Losing motivation will cause you to become stagnant.  To be successful, you must focus on the positive and only the positive.  What will you do to change your mindset to only focus on the things you desire?

Procrastination: What are You Waiting For? – Part 3: Perfectionism

This can look a lot of different ways.  It can be you saying that everything needs to be perfect before you even began to work towards your goal.  This thinking makes you think that everything has to be perfectly aligned for you to begin working on your goal.  Or this thinking can make you feel that everything has to be perfect once you reach your goal. 

This type of thinking makes it hard for you to start your goal of, say, writing a book because you are unsure if you will complete the book.  Or even if you complete the book, what if nobody likes it?  What if you cannot get it published?   What if there is pressure to complete a second book?  You get the picture.  Perfectionism will keep you stuck because the perfect scenario that you have created in your head may never happen.  And there is no way you can predict how things will turn out once you begin. 

The key to getting past this type of procrastination is to change your mindset.  Just like with the fear of failure, this will not come easy at first but it can be done.  For starters, you must begin to believe that everything will work out for you.  If you never believe that things will end positively, then you will never begin.  Also, you must understand that everything will very rarely align perfectly.  And if it does, it is very unlikely that it is going to stay that way.  You must keep moving forward, even when things are not lining up the way you feel that they should. 

This was a challenge for me as I began this blog.  Understanding the commitment that it would take to start and sustain a blog, I felt like everything had to be in place in my life before I got started.  I felt this way for several months until I finally realized that I would never get started if I waited until the perfect time.  So I just started.  And I have continued even when circumstances made it difficult to continue.  Understanding that there may be setbacks along the way is key to realizing that not many things will be or remain perfect.  But you must keep moving forward – even if you are moving forward slowly. 

Overcoming the Fear of Success

We all set goals for ourselves. We talk about them, we tell others about them, we start taking steps to achieve our goals, and then something happens. Right when we are at the point of reaching that goal, we don’t. Why is that? We can point to a lot of things that may not have gone as planned or may not have fallen into place just like we wanted it to. But how much of that did we do to ourselves?

Oxford dictionary defines sabotage as “to deliberately destroy, damage, or obstruct (something)”.  If we are to use that definition, logic tells us that self-sabotage is the act of destroying, damaging, or obstructing ourselves. So what does this look like in real life?

  • Canceling an interview for a job that you are more than qualified for
  • Talking yourself out of pursuing a great opportunity
  • Giving up on a diet that you were beginning to see progress with
  • Accidentally (or not) missing a critical deadline

You often hear about the fear of failure but I believe that very often people have a fear of success. It sounds strange because no one readily admits that they do not want to be successful, yet they make decisions that block themselves from the success that they say they want. The following are a few reasons why people have a fear of success in some remedies that can help you.

Fear of Failure 

The easiest way to not have to maintain a goal is to ensure that you do not reach it in the first place.  You diet and get to your ideal weight but who wants to hear what everyone has to say if you gain all of your weight back? Or you may talk about this great promotion you want but do you want to explain to everyone why you did not get the job that you felt so confident about? The fear of failure contributes to the fear of success because you talk yourself out of starting a goal so you don’t have to deal with the disappointment if you do not achieve this goal.

Remedy: Push through the fear. It sounds simple but it is challenging.  Think of all of the good that can come from you achieving your goal. Even if you fall short, you tried and that is a step that many wish they dared to take. The fear of failure is full of what-ifs.  Challenge your what-ifs.  I had to challenge a lot of what-ifs when I started this blog.  I would think what if a lot of people don’t like the blog?  But I had to tell myself, but what if they do?  I would think what if nobody cares what I have to say with if what I have to say?  But then I would think that this could be just the point of view that somebody needs to hear? Everyone gets apprehensive but the key is to push through this apprehension to get to your goal.

Being stuck in your comfort zone

Your comfort zone is your safe space where everything is predictable. You can always be certain of how things are going to go and how certain people will behave. Even when you know that this comfort zone is not going to get you to your goals and desires, you stay there.  It is not fulfilling, but you know what to expect. Dreams die in the comfort zone because you are not willing to step outside of it and do something different. Getting something you have never had requires doing something that you have never done.

Remedy:  Make the conscious decision to do what makes you uncomfortable.   For example, one of my comfort zones was to respond to online conversations but not to necessarily initiate conversations. Starting this blog and my Facebook page has made it to where I am starting to initiate conversations. Even now it still feels unnatural, but I do it anyway. To achieve any level of success, you must do something that feels unnatural.  This is a sign of personal growth.  Personal growth often requires you to do those things that feel unnatural but is necessary for success.

Negative Self-Talk

You can say and think so many negative things to yourself that you begin to believe these negative thoughts. If you are already believing that you are not worthy or that you are not as good as the next person or that you will never be able to reach your goal, then you will never even attempt to try or your attempt will be halfhearted.  In essence, you are defeating yourself mentally before you even begin your quest to reach your goal. Oftentimes what we think of ourselves becomes a reality and we end up settling where we are when we have the potential to be so much more.

Remedy:  Realizing that feelings are not facts is the first step in combating negative self-talk. I make this very point in one of my previous posts that you can read here.  Realizing that the way you feel about yourself becomes your reality, the best thing you can do is to speak positivity into your life. Tell yourself you are as qualified as the next person despite what you feel. Tell yourself that you can reach and maintain the goals that you have set for yourself despite what you feel. Is this as easy as it sounds? No. But you have to get in the habit of challenging your thoughts especially when they have the potential to stunt your personal growth.

The fear of success can stop you from growing if you allow it to.  Becoming conscious of and overcoming these things will help you on your path to personal growth.  Have you ever had to contend with any of these things?  What helped get you over your fear of success?

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Enjoy the Journey of Life: Living in the Present

It seems as if we are always in a rush. We are in a rush to get out of the door in the mornings. We are in a rush to get our children to school and to their extra-curricular activities. We are in a rush to get to work and then we are in a rush to get back home. And when we are not rushing from here to there, we have our faces in our cell phones either on social media or texting away. I am guilty of this and many of you probably are also.

It has only been very recently that I have come to the realization that my thoughts are often on my past or future but not often on the present moment. There is a lot of joy to be had and lessons to be learned in the present moment. Here are a few ways to stay in the moment and enjoy the journey of life.

Making Peace with Your Past

It is hard to live in the present moment when you are constantly looking behind you.  Past hurts, regrets, what ifs, and bad choices can rob you of the joy of living in the moment. It is critical that you make peace with your past so that you can move forward. What does make peace with your past look like? It looks different for different people. For me, it is realizing that I should not feel bad for not pursuing my dreams earlier when the reality is that, when I was younger, I was living in survival mode.  I would count it victory just to wake up every morning and provide for my children. For someone else, making peace may mean letting go of grudges that may be holding them back or refraining from replaying painful moments over in their mind. These things keep you with one foot in the past, unable to completely move forward with what is going on today. Your past experiences, whether good or bad, helped shape you into the person you are today. You cannot always erase memories, but you can make the conscious decision to not allow past experiences to hold you hostage.  Some experiences or memories may be so painful that you may need the help of a therapist to assist you in moving past them. Do whatever needs to be done to move forward so that you can enjoy the journey of life.

Know your Destination but Enjoy the Process

It is always important to know what your goal is so that you will know when you have reached it. Sounds obvious, right? But how often do we stay so focused on our goal that we don’t appreciate the lessons of small things that could have may reaching our goal even sweeter? What if your dream was starting a family business? The celebration may come after the dream is a reality, when all the blood, sweat, and tears have paid off.  But in the process of reaching your goal, did you enjoy those moments with your family that could have brought you closer together? Did you slow down and cherish the moments of talking about the dream of the business over a family meal?

As my daughter is starting to research and narrow down her college choices, the goal is to choose the college that is the best fit for her.  I am having to constantly remind myself not to rush through the process. I want to enjoy every moment. When we are going through college brochures we are laughing and talking. When we are looking at the different amenities the colleges offer, I’m telling her stories from my college days in the late 90’s. Some stories have her laughing, while some have her rolling her eyes But the bottom line is that we are enjoying the process. And the small moments will continue as we start our college tours this spring. Remember to slow down and enjoy the process as you work towards your goals.

Discover What You Can Offer Others

Everybody has a story to tell. Most people’s story can serve as a lesson to others. I have learned many lessons in my lifetime that can help people, but the lesson was always realized in hindsight. Taking your time through life will allow you to recognize the lessons, good or bad, in what you are going through. Life is a series of lessons for yourself as well as lessons that you can share with others. I can think of a couple of instances where I was able to share my experience with someone else and prevent them from experiencing hardships that I have endured. Now when I am going through a tough time, I try to find the lesson as I figure my way out of whatever the issue is. Sometimes the lesson is to take care of my health before I end up in the hospital. Other times, the lesson is not everyone or every issue is worthy of my time and energy.  Being able to get the lesson in real time can put you in a better position to cope in the present and help others benefit from the lesson and avoid the hardships.

In our fast-paced society, slowing down is a challenge. I must consciously tell myself to slow down because I tend to do everything fast. I talk fast. I eat fast. I drive fast.  You get the picture.  There are moments when I wish I had slowed down and really relished the moment. And then there are times when I wish I had slowed down long enough to get the lesson in the moment instead of realizing the lesson later.  I am getting better at this, but I am by no means there yet. It takes time and conscious effort but learning to enjoy the journey of life is a practice we should all strive for.

Do you feel like you are enjoying the journey of life? If so, share some things that you do to ensure that you are living in the moment.