Live Deliberately

Living each day with deep intention.


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The Leap

This time last year, I was doing one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. I left a stable government job in a management position providing me a high salary, paid time off, and health insurance to realize a life-long dream of starting a consulting firm. It was one of the most free-ing but frightening things I’ve ever experienced. I felt a rainbow of emotions over the weeks leading up to handing in my resignation and the weeks following my actual departure… feelings of uncertainty and joy, worry and excitement, relief and possibility.

In the beginning, it took an unspeakable amount of courage and vulnerability on my part and the unwavering support on behalf of my loved-ones to keep me from getting “cold feet.”  It would take faith in myself, sacrifice, a few learning curves, mentorship from a brilliant-minded colleague, friends and family talking me down from my own fears, some late nights in the office, and some moments of sheer pride and joy.

Not everyone could understand my decision, and I think that’s quite normal, but we all have moments when you just know what you need to do, like a gut-instinct that you’re cut out for something greater or different. That moment for me was an almost constant nagging feeling during the last six months of 2016. I found myself in situations where the longing to make the leap tugged harder on my heart. I was presented with scenarios that filled me up with a sense of fulfillment at the mere thought. I was put in unfortunate positions that made me question my current role, my actual impact to the community that I served and the lack of ability to get anything done due to the proverbial government “red tape.”

It has been my experience that such a huge life-transition comes with a lot of highs and lows, and requires certain life skills, such as the ability to allow time for introspection, exercizing emotional intelligence, and creating professional boundaries. I suffered some blow-back from delivering the news of leaving for another opportunity, which made it all the more difficult because I am the type of person who takes on the responsibility of another person’s feelings. Not everyone was happy for me and, in fact, some made my last few weeks quite unbearable. There were moments when I didn’t feel safe in sharing my plans going forward. Unfortunately, delivering the news would lead to my final weeks being some of the most stressful and heart-wrenching moments in my career. I felt an obligation to my staff, my clients and their projects… and in some way, I felt a sense of guilt as though I was giving up on everything I worked hard for. I later learned that my leaving felt like a betrayal, which was not my intention. It took time to come to the realization that it was not my responsibility to carry their burden, because staying meant a betrayal to myself and my own dreams.

The month of January 2018 marks one year since I decided to finally make the leap, eventually handing in my resignation, and transitioning from public-sector (everything I’ve know in the last 15 years of my working life) to private-sector. I can’t say it has all been unicorns and rainbows but it has been fulfilling, exciting, freeing, and much more relaxing that I thought it would be. I’m only one year in, and while I spent my first year building up my business, identifying who I am as a brand and what I can offer my clients, these next few years will be focused on creating more opportunity to generate more joy, income, and quality of life while my girls are still young.

Is there something that you’ve been wanting to do, but you haven’t had the courage to take the leap? I want to hear from you in the comment section below!

xo

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The Power of Expectation

Expectations have such a hold on each one of us. Marveling at its possibilities with wide eyes and lusting after what could be, you become hooked and drawn into believing it’s whispers that “this is reality.” It’s so right, so perfect. 

And WOMP! Expectations have a way of letting you down, crashing in disappointment, possibilities unraveling before your own eyes. Feelings of emptiness where the hope for what could have been once live. You think, “how could this be?” And maybe you throw yourself an adult tantrum (yes, it’s a real thing) at not getting your way. The vision was so clear and so seemingly real and possible. 

Behold… the power of expectation. 

Let go of what should be and embrace what is, each day and each moment. 

Set yourself free. 


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Create Your Own Personal Freedom

If you ask someone what number one thing they want in life, they’ll say something along the lines of happiness or joy – or if they’re like most, they’ll say they want XYZ – but only because XYZ will make them happy. We all starve for happiness, for that feeling contentment and satisfaction. But to each of us, happiness and joy looks different depending where we are in life. For me, happiness and joy show up as small spurts of personal freedom.

Personal freedom like those little moments when you don’t feel rushed to be anywhere. Personal freedom allows you to come and go at your own pace. It’s the freedom of working during your peak productivity levels and not during someone else’s. It’s the freedom of sleeping until 7:30 – 8:00 AM and waking refreshed and ready to tackle the day. It’s the luxury of taking a break when you need to recharge or refocus, or the ability to stop and chat with someone unhurried and unfiltered because you can be where you are and who you are whenever you want.

I long for moments like that. I think most of us long for moments like that. Here’s the best part… it’s possible. I invite all of you to make room for little moments of personal freedom in your daily routine. Here’s how:

Personal freedom is different for everyone. Personal freedom is defined by the individual. So, ask yourself What am I seeking freedom from? Is it time constraints, the need for more money, or is it the quest for personal space? For me, it’s freedom from the mundane, or the boring old routine that no longer aligns with my values and dreams.

Next, identify What do you want to do with that extra time? Do you simply need more time to think, or space for peace and quiet? Or maybe you want to tackle the daunting to-do list… even if it’s five minutes at a time. Do you need time to reconnect with self through meditation, or connect with others? Do you need fresh air, a few extra minutes with your kids, time for a healthy snack, read a chapter of your book, or plain ol’ sleep!

Now that the easy part is out of the way, let’s address the meat of the issue: How do you make space for personal freedom? Are there increments of time you spend wastefully? It doesn’t have to be half hour increments, either. Are you spending 10-15 minutes a few times a day on social media? Are there household chores that you can delegate will teach responsibility to your older children, thereby freeing up time for you? Is there a longer route home that will allow you to squeeze in more time for peace and quiet or finish that podcast? Do you spend 30 minutes washing dishes when you have a dishwasher? (Trust me, the few extra bucks on your bill is worth your sanity.) Can you turn a chore, like walking the dog, into time for fresh air or a moment for contemplation? I encourage you to dig deep into your daily habits and find a few minutes here and there.

[Side bar: I know there are those of us who work jobs that don’t allow much flexibility. Try turning your work space into a sanctuary. Make it more like home by bringing in something warm for those days where your bones are so cold that you can’t function, or your favorite tea, coffee, or treat to give you something to look forward to. Play music that helps you relax and tune out other office chatter. Buy a yoga ball to sit on rather than a chair if you’re feeling a little sluggish.]

The most difficult part is to follow through. Whatever you do, if you’re clearing space in your day for personal moments of freedom, you must intend to use that time for those things that will lift you up and bring you joy and happiness.

I challenge you to make space for personal freedom.

Peace, love, and freedom.


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The Freelance Lifestyle

It’s hard to believe that only in the last 100 years we started to go to a place of employment to work a “job” that is defined by a very specific list of duties and responsibilities. The notion that one job description can wholly summarize our capabilities – or that any job is one size fits all – is ridiculous.

Long gone are the days where we are the master of our unique trades, individualized work schedules, and wild-hearted future… or is it? There is a clear and undeniable occupational revolution taking place. We long for careers that bring us fulfillment and joy. We yearn to get back in touch with ourselves, our desires, and our unique talents. We are holding ourselves responsible for creating a life we love and a future that excites us – and the right to forge our own path on our own time.

In the recent five years, I’ve noticed a resurgence of what I view as the “Creative Era”… an era that welcomes and encourages digging deep and uncovering creative talents, and nurturing and utilizing those talents to build a future. We are returning to an era where trades are highly regarded, vocational schools are acceptable, and working with your hands is a viable and valuable occupation. There’s something to be admired about someone who can create a piece of art, a delectable desert, a well-landscaped yard, or a masterfully crafted piece of literature. Trades take time, patience, and dedication.. and let’s not forget fortitude. And while the pay is not that of a doctor or a lawyer, neither are the hours. Flexibility in expression and time are important to creatives. Work and play become synonymous.

Here’s another sigh of relief… Your occupation is not meant to follow you throughout your entire life or wholly define you. We are not meant to remain forever in one career, niche or industry. As we grow and expand, personally and professionally, so does our resume. This portfolio we build begins to wind down varying paths, picking up different skills and experiences along the way.

Think about your career path. What brought you to where you are now. What did you want to be when you were a kid? Did you change paths? I’d love to hear your thoughts.