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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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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Hey you go-gettin-son-of-a-gun!

Nothing stops you. You’re on a mission, a mission for change or advancement, or maybe it’s realignment with your dreams and desires. Nothing is going to stop you… If you can just figure out where to start.

Paralysis is a challenge we all face. We have a vision but we struggle to execute it. I’ve been there and it can be a long process, so let me offer a quick guide that I developed a few years ago.This guide has helped me quickly identify what I want, why I want it, and how to get there. 

Dive into the meat of your desires and chart your course of action by answering these ten questions. When you answer these questions, remember to dig deep. 

  1. What do you want? (The feeling you’re seeking: To feel love; to be happy; feeling of fulfillment)
  2. What does it look like? (How it translates into action: A new job; break up with that lousy partner; moving to a new community)
  3. Why do you want it? (What will it accomplish; how will it move you closer to achieving your desire? What will it mean for you?)
  4. How will you feel when you get it? (Accomplished, relief, free, happy)
  5. What’s holding you back? (These are typically emotional or resource-based: Money, time, support, fears, limiting beliefs)
  6. What are you tolerating? (List them all!! Is it someone, something, maybe even yourself?)
  7. What can you control? (Internal vs external – list only what you can control because these are the only areas you can effectuate change)
  8. What needs to change? (Identify what HAS to change to move forward, both short term and long term)
  9. What changes are you willing to make right now? (Incrementalism is key, so start with the easy stuff and work through the rest.)
  10. Who can you enlist for support? (Find at least one person who believes in you and your vision. Ask him/her to hold you accountable.)

The final step is take action

Don’t be a dud in a sky of fireworks. 

Much love. 


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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.