Live Deliberately

Living each day with deep intention.


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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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Are you an over-sharer?

Hey, over-sharer! Yes, I’m talking to you. You’re an over-sharer, and so am I. Over-sharing is a learned behavior that’s snow-balled over time, with the increased use of social media platforms and the ever-increasing need to impress.

Let’s talk about sharing privileged and personal information, what it means, and how to reel it in. Let’s first define what over-sharing is. To over-share is to reveal an inappropriate amount of detail about one’s personal life. Key word here is personal

We all have someone in our lives – or it may be ourselves – that shares a little too much information. You’re walking down the street and you run into Sally. You ask her how she is doing and she unravels a lengthy, grueling story about her entire 2016 so far. And maybe you care to hear it because Sally is a dear friend, but you’re caught off guard with the verbal vomit that comes spewing out – and you were totally unprepared to be there for her emotionally or physically (timing is important). Maybe Sally’s just an acquaintance and you were not expecting for her to open up so freely.

Listen up, the story of our lives is privileged information to be shared with only those who are deserving. Sharing your story (whether exciting or scary news) with the wrong person can lead to private information getting into the wrong ears, or misinformation about you.. ring, ring… hello, remember the game of telephone?! Over-sharing is not only happening in our personal encounters with others, it’s also taking place on social media platforms every day – some use it as a means for managing others’ impressions of us. Do we really need to know every time you check into the gym? 

We must discern who we deeply open up to and what information to share. Next time you hear yourself begin to chatter about all the details of your life to an acquaintance, reel it back in and consider who’s standing in front of you. This is your chance to exercise a little self-regulation.

Even more, if your sharing information about someone else, we must honor that person and show respect for their privacy. Exercising restraint with someone else’s personal information can save friendships and keep you from looking like Ms. Gossip Queen (or Mr. Gossip Queen – I know some men who like a good gossip more than any woman I’ve ever met!) Over-sharing someone else’s personal information, or straight-up gossiping, will cause a person to refrain from befriending you.

So, what does it mean when someone over-shares? Generally, we can ascertain that over-sharers need to be heard. They long for connection, for sympathy, a moment to vent and let go of all that they’ve been holding onto (emotional stress). Over-sharers have a very admirable quality…  they’re trusting, although at times too trusting with the wrong people. Over-sharers are courageous in that they’re unafraid to be vulnerable and to truly be seen.

And while we all overshare a time or two (guilty!), it’s important to remember that we are not defined or limited by our stories and our experiences. These experiences are opportunities for growth!

Information about you is a gift, and to truly know you is a privilegeBy all means, forge connection with others, but do so with reverence.

xo


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Buy Stock in Yourself

In my previous blog Just Say No, I briefly discuss the need for saying “no” to people and events when you are near burn-out. Practicing this habit is crucial for your sanity, but also controversial. In a world where everyone thinks that the universe literally revolves around them, it’s increasingly difficult for people to understand that you just cannot, physically and emotionally, commit yourself to everyone and everything, all the time. What’s worse, the majority has learned to manipulate and guilt you into believing that you should feel badly about putting yourself and your needs above others and their needs. Only you know what’s best for yourself. Follow your gut… if you are about to lose your proverbial shit, just say no… or better yet, set a foundation that prevents any unreasonable expectations of you.

Start by identify tolerations. What are you putting up with? Is there someone or something you are dealing with, tip-toeing around, or try to appease? Stop. Relieve yourself from the burden of having to please everyone, all of the time. You get to decide what you are willing to tolerate. Make good choices from the beginning.

Once you have done that, set standards for who or what you allow mild tolerations. Be courageous in your pursuit to set a standard for yourself, your life, and how you are treated by yourself and others. And yes, I said yourselfDon’t forget to set standards for how you treat yourself. Don’t beat yourself up or have unkind thoughts or feelings. 

Be brave and allow yourself to be real with others. Speak your truth and set boundaries. Never make excuses for why you cannot accommodate someone or be somewhere. Be open and communicate your needs. You are equally important. Set boundaries to protect the foundation you are about to set for yourself and your life. If it doesn’t feel right, if it’s not in line with what you believe, or if you are simply too exhausted to commit, just say no. Remember, this is your life. No one else can live it for you. Choose to live it how you wish – and don’t feel guilty for setting boundaries!

When you’ve reached the point of saying no to someone or an event due to exhaustion or burn out, it’s clearly time to address personal needs. What actions can you take to recharge? More sleep? Quiet time? Time with someone who lifts you up? Time for play? A vacation? Do it. All of it. If your personal needs are not met, the toxicity will leech into every aspect of your life, both personally and professionally.

And finally, once you’ve had time to care for self, take action toward personal growth. What did you learn? What worked for you? Did you catch the burnout before it became toxic in other areas of your life? If not, how can you recognize it sooner?

You are important. It’s not selfish to make time for self-care.

Lots of love.


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Courage is NOT the absence of fear…

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela

I would like to honor my niece by celebrating and acknowledging her courageousness in battling cancer. In doing so, I am dedicating today’s blog to her by address what it means to be courageous.

Let’s talk about this greatly, underused trait, COURAGE. (Yes, I put that word in caps and I made it bold.) To have courage, one must be bold. Courage calls on our integrity to defeat fear… to stare intimidation in the face and say, “nuh-uh, you’re not getting the best of me.”

Courage by its definition is the ability and willingness to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation.

Every single one of us has fears. Fears come in all forms and in various degrees. I fear things like failure and roller coasters. Some fear love… or death. But let’s address something more tangible…like every day fears.

An every day fear is a fear of asking for a raise, telling someone you no longer love them, or quitting your stable job to chase your dream job. Or, in the instance of my niece, an everyday fear may be waking up and knowing you have to go sit through chemo. A fear can be a constant reality and live in you for days, weeks, months at a time.

Fear is being uncomfortable with the unknown… fearing the uncertain. But imagine what would happen if we were to get comfortable with uncertainty and understand that to be bold and press on builds character… that facing fear, intimidation, and uncertainty builds our strength and breaks down the barriers to courage. How might life be like for you if you had the courage to go after your dreams, to say how you feel, or to take that next step?

How would it feel to step up, knock fear on its toosh, and blaze a trail of courage…. ? For me, I would feel bold and brave. Accomplished even. And who knows, maybe I’ll get the end result I was seeking… which always, ultimately, means happiness.

Fears are a constant. Once you address one, another will rear its head. At some point, we must learn how to deal with it. So, I’ll leave you with this…

“Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway.” – John Wayne

Saddle up.

P.S. Congratulations, Zoe!

Zoe