Live Deliberately

Living each day with deep intention.

Leave a comment

Happiness is a Moving Target

If you’re an introspective person, at some point in life you’ve asked yourself the question, What do I want?

What do you want out of life? For over a decade, when asked what I want out of life, my answer has always been “happiness” and inevitably there’s a follow up question about what happiness looks like to me or what will bring about happiness for me. This has lead me to modify my answer over the years to be, happiness… whatever that looks like. Kind of like saying, “whatever’s in my cards…”

Not many of us can truly articulate what will bring about happiness and for each individual, that answer is different. Quite often, we don’t really know what will bring about our own happiness. We merely guess towards objects or goals that are ultimately attainable such as a clean house, a better paying job, or a boat. But what happens when you’ve obtained that goal or item?

What I’ve come to learn is that I am not really seeking happiness… I am searching for joy.

Joy is the feeling of jubilation, a sense of renewed energy, and a feeling of safety and security (emotionally, physically, financially).  Joy comes from moments of happiness like celebrations, good news, or acts of love and kindness.

I’ve modified my answer to truly express what feeling I want to aim for each day because happiness itself can be a moving target from day-to-day. What might bring about happiness today (like tackling something heavy on your to-do list, getting a pedicure, or buying that gadget) may not promise you happiness tomorrow. It’s like the dream job that you’ve been chasing… once you obtain the job and assume the role, you are forced to then redefine happiness by whatever that next level of achievement will be. 

And while joy can fade in and out as you do your dance with life, your target will always remain the same… a feeling of pure and overwhelming jubilation.

~ always in search of joy ~


Leave a comment

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!


Leave a comment

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!  ❤

Leave a comment

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. ❤


Leave a comment

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.)

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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.