Live Deliberately

Living each day with deep intention.


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Comfort is the Enemy of Progress

Last night I went to see The Greatest Showman in theaters with some friends. First of all, let me just say this was an incredible movie! Whether the character was a true depiction of the actual man or not, P.T. Barnum is an individual that doesn’t give up on his dreams, no matter what unfortunate circumstances arose. He believed in his dreams, and in something bigger than himself. He didn’t give up on his pursuit despite what was considered unfavorable or unpopular. He believed in others even when they didn’t believe in themselves. He saw the bigger picture. And… he knew that what he needed to do in order to see his dreams through would require him to think outside the box and step outside of his comfort zone. After the movie, a quote from P.T. Barnum lingered on my mind, “Comfort is the enemy of progress.”

Stepping out of our comfort zone requires us to step outside of ourselves. If we are going to strive for progress, whether professionally or personally, we have to get comfortable with the idea of being uncomfortable. This isn’t easy for everyone. For someone like me, who is self-prescribed introvert, this can be difficult. Stepping out of our comfort zone requires extra effort, energy, and sometimes forced experiences. It requires us to set aside our fear and be vulnerable. We have to be willing to try something new, different, difficult, or even something that’s never been done before. We have to put ourselves out there – trusting in ourselves and trusting others with our most vulnerable self. It’s a frightening thought. What if we get it wrong? What if we look silly? Will it be worth it in the end? Will I stand alone? What if I fail? Oh but, what if I succeed and evolve? 

That feeling of fear reminds you that you’re still alive. The worry of not knowing what to do when you get there reminds you that you have more room to grow and learn. The frightening feeling of being exposed and vulnerable reminds you that you’re not alone and that you’re human. What’s more exciting than knowing you haven’t quite reached your full potential…. that this great state you already exist in is only just the tip of the iceberg… and that even as magnificent as you are right now, it is only a glimpse of the incredible potential still within you?

What are some things you have been avoiding because it’s outside of your comfort zone? What has fear kept your from pursuing? I’d love to hear from you, so leave a message below in the comments!

xo

 

 

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Resolve to Dissolve

It’s New Year’s Eve and many of you are reflecting on the past year and contemplating how 2018 will serve you. I find myself here at the end of every year. I can’t say that I am happy to rid myself of 2017 because it was a great year for me. A lot of productive and necessary changes took place for me in 2017. Quite of bit of opportunity showed up for me in 2017. I showed up for me in 2017. And while this year has been transformative, I am very much excited to take on 2018 and yes, I have a list of goals/resolutions.

I never understood people who minimize New Year’s Eve resolutions. Resolutions, or as I prefer to call them: goals, are a guide post for happiness. When we create a list of resolutions, we are putting out into the world our hopes and dreams for the coming year. Whether small or gigantic proportions, each goal leads you somewhere productive or serves as a force of motivation for change in your life that will ultimately bring you joy. So, what’s not to love?

I love to nerd out about my goals. I make a short list of my top five, and usually they’re vague. Under each one, I describe how I will achieve it… action items, if you will. This is what works for me. Mapping it out and visually seeing the plan in front of me helps me get there quickly and on the straight and narrow. Instead of writing things I no longer want to do, I focus on what I want. I stay focused on the positive.

If you’re someone who scrunches up your face at the word resolution, I wonder if it brings up memories of failure, fear, pressure, or expectations. Resolutions can be intimidating if you allow them to be – but how about this: If for one year, you make ONE resolution.

Resolve to dissolve all things in 2018 that no longer serve you.

Plain and simple. Ditch everything in your life that no longer serves you. Negative thoughts. Poor excuses for friends. The clutter in your home (or maybe in your head). Dissolve what you think you are suppose to be. Expectations that others have of you that don’t line up with your own personal expectations or ideologies. Just dissolve all of the negative and see how you show up for you. 

If you have resolutions, I would love to hear them! If you decide for now that you’ll only “resolve to dissolve,” then I commend you for being brave. Put your resolutions out into the universe by leaving them in the comments below!

Cheers to you, and to a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!  ❤


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Name-Calling, the Act of Shaming, and Manipulation

You know I like to talk about the controversial topics, and why not? It’s good for us to think deeper, dig deeper, and try to understand one another better and what makes us all TICK. So, here we go again! What is with people who choose to tear a person down, rather than build them up? Is there any excuse for name calling? Why do some people think it’s okay and what’s their reason for doing so?

I woke up with these thoughts this morning. I guess you can say, I had a dream about my own past. I’m not saying that I haven’t done my fair share of name calling and tearing people down during my young adult years… but when I look back, I quickly realize why I thought it was acceptable behavior. Lying in bed this morning, contemplating about this topic and why I woke up with it on my mind… I quickly recalled three separate occasions in which I was verbally labeled a derogatory term or shamed for simply being the person that I am.

On three separate occasions, by one single person and by someone I should look up to, I was called a bitch, insecure, and selfish. None of these things built me up, none of them were productive, and they certainly didn’t motivate me. Looking back, I realize that at one point in time I actually believed those words to true. Collectively, we know better. We are better than this. It seems like such a remedial topic but the reality is, this happens more often than we realize… and we let it happen! So, why do people tear others down or call them by some derogatory name?

I would think insecurities or self-worth is probably top of the list of reasons why people do it. Jealousy can be a factor as people see in others what they wish they had the courage to be or do, and it makes them resentful. Shaming is the second biggest reason I believe people behave this way. Shaming is never acceptable. Shaming is one of the biggest ways that manipulators tear people down, and their victims often have no idea what’s actually taking place. We’ve all heard someone passive-aggressively shame another parent for their parenting style, or a boss using polite techniques to degrade an employee for a mistake or bad judgement call, and we have even heard a parent shame their child in language that sounds pretty standard when first uttered, but when you stop to truly hear it… “you should know better” which I’ve even caught myself saying… implies that the child is a disappointment and the parent is ashamed of them.

Why is this such a hot topic for me? I think it breeds resentment in the receiver. As the receiver, we don’t realize why the comments bother us… but perhaps it’s the act of shaming, or the passive-agressive truths covered in rose petals, maybe it’s because we all recognize a form of manipulation and we inherently do not like being manipulated. When we name call or shame our peers, friends, colleagues, employees, or children, we are setting the precedence that this behavior is acceptable, particularly to children who are watching and mimicking our every action. They grow up believing that it’s okay to call your friend a derogatory term, or shame your lover for their preferences, or manipulate your peers through both name calling and shaming into agreeing with or seeing your point of view.

So, let’s not tear each other down with mind games such as name calling, shaming, or manipulation. Let’s accept one another as individuals. Let’s be respectful to one another. Let’s show our children how to be tolerant, kind, and human.

As an adult, I realize that these are all words, as hurtful as they can be, but they do not shape us and they should never be taken for truth, which is why no one should ever waste their breath uttering such unproductive and negative things. I am not a bitch… although, I can be if you back me into a corner. I am not insecure… however, I can be very shy and I am a bit of an introvert. I am not selfish… I give what I can, but I also remember that I, too, am a priority.

Much love. ❤

 


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Are you in the arena, or the stands?

When we decide to make some major quality of life changes, there will always be those individuals that don’t understand our motives, and even worse – criticize what they don’t understand. Here’s the thing: unless these critics are down in the arena with us, they can’t possible comprehend or appreciate the what and why of our strategy. Criticism holds no weight from the stands.

I’ve recently decided to make some hefty quality of life changes, starting with my place of employment. When you reach a point of little-to-no fulfillment, and can’t seem to find the joy in what you do, or begin to see people or places as toxic environments – then it’s time to think about making a change.

That’s where I found myself. I knew something had to change, yet I stuck around for about six months longer than I should have. I felt the desire to break free from the toxic and unfulfilling work environment, and to find a more meaningful direction. I didn’t need to change my career path, I just needed to shifted my focus… I needed to narrow-in on exactly what drew me to the profession in the first place. The people. The community. The relationship between the two.

So, I took the dive. Thanks to all of those who were in the arena with me. They got it. They understood my passion, and my drive. They had an appreciation for what I wanted to accomplish, and they stood behind me 110%. The support and encouragement that I received from those in the arena with me – setting out to achieve the same fulfillment and happiness that I sought – held more weight than those of the critics in the stands, who just couldn’t see my vision.

In addition to a more rewarding career, I wanted more quality time with my daughter, flexibility in my schedule, and time to focus on my health, which was taking a very sharp decline and fast. I’m only one month in and there are still some adjustments to be made, and still some fine-tuning to be done – but overall, I find myself in a more consistent and jovial mood. I’ve been able to focus on what’s important in life, and make my career align with my values. Even better, I have more control over my health and stress-levels.

So, stay in that arena, find your teammates, fuel one another and go for the goal. Pay no mind to the critics in the stands for they’re not on the field with you; they have no stake in the game.

(Helpful reminder: Judgement is just a mirror through which people see their own insecurities reflected back at them. When you find someone judging you, it might help to remember that they’re may be feeling insecure about the qualities they may lack, such as the courage to pursue the unknown.)


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Drop the Ball

To all of my superwomen (and men alike), you do not need permission to drop the ball once in a while. I don’t mean letting things go by the wayside day-in and day-out, nor do I mean letting a deadline at work pass you by. I am referring to good ol’ constructive, kick-back and unwind and cut yourself some slack once in a while. 

I dropped the ball tonight, and I’m not feeling an ounce of guilt about it. I needed to drop the ball – no, I needed to PUNT the ball. I yearned for a break. So, Summer didn’t get her “school-mandated 15-30 minutes of reading” tonight, and I refused to touch the kitchen after dinner. (Thank you, Adam, for picking up the ball and running with it!).  

Warriors, life’s too short to be on top of the world all of the time. Let go of the unrealistic expectations of doing it all, and by all means, enlist support where you can. 
So, I dare you… drop the ball. 💕 Let the dishes pile for one night, leave the laundry in the basket, and focus on you – and whatever it is your soul needs right now whether it’s a book, movie, or family-time. 

Much love. 


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Be still with this…

“The scars are there because the wounds have healed.” – John O’Leary
The end of 2016 was difficult for me. While many exciting things happened, many heartbreakingly sad things bubbled up. I’ve been forced to revisit past memories, some self-inflicted and others not. Memories that I care not to remember and serve no purpose, yet somehow I feel more whole and complete recalling them, sitting with them, and making my peace with them. Those who know me understand that the many paths to where I find myself today have been very bumpy and yet, I find myself in a stronger place in life with myself, my peers, and in my circumstances. I feel fortunate for my friendships and my successes and failures, all of which have molded the person that I am. And so, while I am still recalling painful memories from my past – a past that I am choosing to forgive and growing from – I am thankful for the quote that I heard today, because it reminds me that what doesn’t break us, makes us stronger. 
I had to share the quote with you because it might resonate with you as it did for me.  

“The scars are there because the wounds have healed.” – John O’Leary


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Are you assigning too much value to what “others think?”

I’ve had the same question from a friend of mine. “How can I … and not care what my friends think?” 

I get it. We all – at some level – care what people think. That’s a reality we must face. We are going to care and what people think is going to eat away at the core of us. 

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what someone else thinks about you, your life, the way you’re living, who you’re dating, of any of that. At the end of the day, all that really matters is how you feel about it. 

Does it make you happy? Does it make your soul shine? Are you pleased with your decisions? Do you have personal regrets? Does it fulfill you? Does it address your needs?

We can’t get caught up in what we think other people feel is best for us. No one else knows what is best for you, except you. 

I know… This concept sounds too simple. It’s a struggle. I know many people who suffer from “put too much emphasis on what other’s think-itis.” No one decision or choice is good for all of us. It’s not a one-size-fits-all. 

All that matter is that you feel joy, fulfillment, contentment, feelings of completeness, and you’re filling your cup little by little every day until your cup overflows… And then you fill another person’s cup. 

Live your life as you see it. Live up to your own standards. Make your dreams a reality, not someone else’s dreams. 

Much love.