Live Deliberately

Living each day with deep intention.


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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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Wo(man) on a Mission

So, you’re on a mission… You set your sights on a goal, you get hyped about starting, and stoked to see your dreams become reality. And then life happens and you get distracted, and you wander off the path for a bit. How do pick back up and find the bread crumbs you left for yourself?

I know this all too well… here I go again… I’ve lost sight of my vision many times but I always find myself coming back to it. It happens, we all get distracted. Building a home and planning and preparation can be any easy excuse… But I won’t tolerate my own excuse(s).
How do we hold our vision? How do we stop ourselves from making or allowing excuses for losing our vision?

We enlist support in friends and colleagues. We rally our families and make sure they know what our vision is and the end game, and what it’s going to take to get there. We ask them to hold us accountable. 

How do we motivate and get back up off our tush? Shake off the shame from ditching your dreams (temporarily) and just start somewhere. Find the groove again, pick a point to start and just go. 

And lastly, stay on target! Don’t allow yourself to lose focus for too long, and persist. Because, why? Because you don’t want to look back and regret not chasing your dreams… 

[love]


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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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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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Finding Your Balance

 

I asked a friend to share a topic for me to blog about. I’m getting a little bit of writer’s block. Balance, was her response. Balancing family and personal life, specifically, but what I’m about to share is going to serve you in seeking balance in any areas of your life.

Ooooh, I love talking about balance. We all fall off the balance beam from time to time. It’s remembering to get back up that’s so important.

Maintaining balance is a struggle in our generation. With everything at our fingertips, we should be able to do it all… Get 7-8 hours of sleep per night, get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, eat healthy and nutrient rich meals, give 110% at the job, maintain a strong and healthy relationship with the significant other, provide a clean and healthy home for the family, help the kids navigate life, academia, and social networks, provide nutritious meals, keep up with friends and extended family, etc… And while some of us have help, it’s still a lot to keep up with while trying to maintain you sanity. 

But what if we don’t have to struggle to maintain the balance? What if there was a tool or guide that will help us to maintain the balance so that we can continue to replenish our spirit?

Maintaining balance is simple, once you lay the ground-work. There are easily four pillars to finding and maintaining the balance in your everyday life.

  1. Identify Personal Values. Most of us are not living from our values. We are simply going about life addressing things that demand our attention NOW and not prioritizing where our time is spent. Sit down right now and identify your top 5 values. You may have to start with a list of 10 and narrow them down to the top 5 (i.e. time for family, personal happiness, health and fitness, accountability at work, personal freedom). Your top 5 values could change many times during your lifetime. That’s perfectly normal. Live from your values.
  2. Simplify Your Life. Now sit back and take a look at how and where you spend your time. Are you spending time on things that do not align within your top 5 values? If so, refocus and prioritize what’s important right now. Are you participating in evening networking events when you could be at home with family, or at the gym with a fitness partner. Rearrange your schedule to focus on what’s important to you right now. It doesn’t mean you won’t make it to that networking event, or catch up on that TV show. Once you’ve staged your top 5 values as priorities, you’ll find that you’re you have time left to tackle some of the other things – like a good Archer binge watching session.
  3. Set Boundaries. Once you’ve identified your top 5 values, make them untouchable. That’s right… it’s time for a little accountability here. These are your values. These are values that you’ve identified as crucial to your happiness and balance. It is your personal responsibility to make time for them – for the sake of balance and harmony. Do not apologize or sacrifice, and for the love of all things sane, DO NOT FEEL GUILTY about focusing on what’s important to you. If you say you’re going to make a 7:30 PM yoga sesh, enlist the support of your partner to rally the troops, get dinner in the mouths of your littles or set an alarm to remind you when you need to get your butt out the door.
  4. Schedule Time for Self. Don’t forget to care for your basic needs. Do you need to take a minute when you first get home before tackling dinner or laundry? Find a place where you can go for some peace before tackling the evening. Hell, grab a glass of wine to accompany you. Shut your bedroom door and take your time getting our of musty work-day clothes. Take a small walk around the neighborhood or yard and get some fresh air. You can’t run on empty all day. Take time to re-energize.

If you feel like your balance is off, it might be because you’ve made time for yourself a last priority.

Remember, Self Care is Not Selfish. 

 


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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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Just say no. 

With so many demands and expectations placed on us, it’s necessary to carve out time for self and solitude. There is always something that needs to be done, people who demand your attention, and responsibilities you can’t avoid. It’s so important to do take time for self in order to recharge your batteries and avoid burnout. 

I have a mounting “to do” list of chores and people that demand my time but as a working single mom and a boyfriend who lives 30 minutes away, my time is almost entirely accounted for Sunday afternoon through Friday night. Sometimes we have to make tough decisions that require us to say no to people or events when we know it will induce burnout. And yes, people will get their feelings hurt or you might miss something but every day brings a different set of priorities, of which no one else will understand until they walk a day or week in your shoes. You should and must take time to care for self, do only what makes you happy, and recharge. 

Inevitably… You will feel guilty, but don’t beat yourself up too much. You can’t be your best self when your best self is tired and run ragged. 

When you are reaching your breaking point, just say no.