Live Deliberately

Living each day with deep intention.


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Who am I, if not this?

For those of you who have found yourselves changing careers or taking a new path in life – such as myself – you might be feeling a bit off. You may be feeling like several layers of your identity have been stripped away. This is completely normal, and in some way, it is true. You must let go of that which no longer serves you and forge ahead. You are stripping away the layers that no longer align with who you are, and while it might be sad to say goodbye to that which is familiar, it’s an important and necessary step forward.

Whether you are starting a new job, taking on the stay-at-home-parent role, or retiring, this change can be unfamiliar and, frankly, a little scary. I encourage you to embrace this new change of course and enjoy the ride. In some ways, it feels like an identity-crisis and you find yourself asking, “Who am I, if not this?” You are exactly who you are. Your values have not shifted, but you might be attempting to better align your values with your life purpose. I applaud you. It takes courage to make a bold change. Stay the course.

Even if you’ve found your way, and you’ve already forged ahead (Go you!) but you find yourself hitting a bump in the road or experiencing a lull, remember what John c. Maxwell says about the power of pause, “Understand what this experience is trying to teach you and change course if necessary.” What is this moment teaching you?

If you’re on a path, like me, and you’ve left stability and the mundane for uncertainty and joy, but suddenly-worrisome moments hit you like a brick from ten-stories high, remember that you are in control here. You are creating change, and while it is scary, it is empowering. Recall the motivator behind this transformation… was it to pursue passion or make time for family or self? Maybe it’s as simple as you’ve put in your time and now you’re done and ready to move on. Whatever it is, you’re in the driver’s seat and you’re in control of your destiny, your thoughts, your outcome, and your emotions about all of it.

Knowing this, how will you now proceed?

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

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Don’t Delay Your Happiness

I want to talk about procrastination this morning. I’ve found myself in a bit of a slump, putting off chores, not feeling excited about a particular work project, and delaying exciting new endeavors that could bolster my career and future.

When I delve into why I’ve been procrastinating, I come up with a number of reasons to include how time consuming this new endeavor would be; how I’d have to give up doing something more enjoyable (not everything worth having is enjoyable and rewarding at first); having distractions from my girls since school is out for the summer; the idea of not knowing where to start, and the un-worthiness chatter: Who am I to take on something like this? 

Before I go on, I want to point out one thing… the simple definition of procrastination.

Procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing something. 

The act of delaying or postponing something… WOW, that landed hard with me, considering what I was delaying or postponing: joy, happiness, success, fulfillment 

I realized, in that moment, that I had to get back on track. I had to focus and figure out how to get passed the slump. I had to find the drive to accomplish what I originally intended. I had to recall why I wanted to begin this new chapter in the first place. What was my motivation? I would need to determine what short-term compromises I would need to make in order to achieve my long-term gains. It was time to get comfortable knowing that it would take some long days and I might have to decide between fun (short-term satisfaction) and future (delayed gratification).

This would require me to prioritize all projects (household, work, and otherwise), and dedicate time to focus on what’s most important (THINK: return on investment) without any distractions, both internally and externally.

This dialogue in my head started to spark excitement again. Recalling my why gave me a nice kick-in-the-rear.

Have you been putting off something that you know is important; something that will increase your happiness, finances, success, career, or otherwise? Go through the steps: 1) identify what’s  been stopping you/what excuses or limiting beliefs have been holding you back, 2) recall your motivation and the long-term gains, 3) make it a priority, 4) schedule it in – whether you need to schedule time in your calendar or set daily reminds.

Whether your delay is caused simply by inaction or maybe because of indecision… No more excuses. Get crackin’.

I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious decision.” – Henry David Thoreau

 


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Take Agency in Your Life

Agency: (noun) – The office or function of an agent; the capacity or state of acting in a position of power; a person or thing through which power is exerted or an end is acheived; ambassador; “a contract of agency.”

I am overwhelmingly happy to discover that more and more of my peers are starting to manifest their dreams, taking control in their lives and over their circumstances. I love to see friends and colleagues forging their own paths towards happiness and finding their power to make dreams a reality. Nothing pleases me more than when I see someone finding agency in their own life.

It’s all too easy to feel like we are a small pebble in a wide and fast-moving river; to feel like we don’t have control or that control belongs to some other force. It’s easy to feel oppressed in the world, or feel subordinate to an employer or colleagues. It’s easy to find ourselves cowering to, or just accepting what is in our personal lives. Everyday we find outselves subject to someone else’s decisions or overall vision – and feel that we are merely a small pixel in the “bigger picture.” So, how can we take agency in our own lives? 

You have to step up, and step into the role. You have to take (and accept) full responsibility for your life, actions, and circumstances. This is where the real power lies. You are responsible for manifesting your own happiness and well-being. If you know this and you accept this role, you can expect your life to unfold the way in which you would have it. Don’t hand off your agency to someone else, don’t shop it out, don’t give it away, don’t let someone borrow it for a day, and don’t expect someone to step into the role and manifest your dreams. Take agency. Own it. Be proud of it.

Don’t just be here in your life. Be HEREMake a bold choice to be present in your life, be firm in your decisions, accept responsibility for the outcomes, celebrate your wins, and own your faults. No one else can claim this power.

Be the No. 1 Ambassador of your life. Speak up for and act on behalf of you.

Much love. ❤


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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 ~


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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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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. ❤