Friday, December 19, 2014

A Season of Believing

For many people this is a magical time of year. A time for believing in miracles, seeing the best in people and being the kindest, warmest, most generous versions of ourselves. 

I love the songs that talk about the ability to be better selves than we normally are and the dream to keep that better self when the season ends. 

If our kindness
This day is just pretending
If we pretend long enough
Never giving up
It just might be who we are 

So tell me Christmas, are we kind
More this day than any other day
Or is it only, in our minds?
And must it leave when you have gone away?

Do you see better in yourself or others this time of year? Are you more thoughtful, more generous, more loving? 

Is your heart just a little more open? Do you consider dreams and possibilities you wouldn't the rest of the year? 

Before the season of wishes and dreams comes to an end, 
before we take a look back and reflect how things have gone or are going, set goals and resolutions and look forward to a brighter 2015 than 2014 was in some way.
For just a minute, surrender to a childhood version of yourself.

Without censoring yourself, or thinking about resources or reality or how far it is from here to there, what would you wish for in 2015? 

What would you dream? If there were no obstacles, no barriers, and absolutely ANYTHING was possible, what would you want? 


Friday, December 12, 2014

Thought Pirates

Have you ever suffered an attack by a thought pirate? 

You're going about your day, possibly even really concentrating on a task at hand, or a plan for a project. 

The Thought Pirate comes from out of nowhere! 

A completely random, possibly destructive thought not only enters your mind, but completely derails your mental course, driving you into uncharted waters, even a maelstrom.

I think we've all been victims of the Thought Pirates! 

The Thought Pirates come in several varieties: 

The Joker 

This pirate has no malevolent intent, simply to entertain. These Pirates attack with things like a random Michael Jackson song or an image you saw last week on Facebook of a baby opossum. The fastest way to defeat this Pirate variety is simply to acknowledge the entertainment value of the attack, take the momentary pause and then return to your previous course. 

The Distractor

This pirate has little malevolent intent, however a strong intent to divert your attention. These Pirates most often attack when you feel a slight urge to procrastinate from an unpleasant or tedious task. They may even use a stealthy attack method which seems like another, less unpleasant or tedious task such as a grocery or errand list.  The fastest way to defeat this Pirate variety is to recognize the intent and grab a notebook; jot down the errant thought and commit to return to it only when your current task is complete. 

The Disarmer

This is the most deadly Pirate and has completely malevolent intent. These Pirates attack with your worst fears and doubts. Much like Hollywood uses cgi to make a paper airplane look like a fully armed spaceship, these Pirates use trick lighting and special effects to make your fears and doubts seem real and worse, relevant to the task you are working to complete. Preparation is the best way to defeat these nasty Pirates. When you are setting out on a task that pushes you or is going to take you into difficult territory, arm your mental ship and staff some lookouts. Positive thoughts are great armor remind yourself what you are working to achieve and exactly how you will benefit, especially the feelings you will have as a result of achieving it. Give your lookout brief affirming statements as the call to arms. When these Pirates attack, repeat the short statements at the first sight, before they get into range to grapple your ship.

You can defeat the Thought Pirates!          

Monday, December 8, 2014

What does "Self-Care" mean to you?

We hear this term a lot. As women entrepreneurs and professionals, we have a pretty good idea of what this is supposed to be, right? But does it have a positive or a negative connotation to you?

I bet, for most of us, it's more negative than positive.

But why? And should it be that way? 

What exactly is negative about taking care of ourselves, so that we can be our best, to do all that we do for those around us. Whether that be friends, family, business associates, customers, or the world.

I love the analogy of the oxygen mask on the airplane. Put your own mask on first, before helping others. You can't be of use to those you care most about, if you are compromised.

But this term can mean any of at least a hundred things, if not more. I generally consider myself pretty good at this practice. I manage my stress levels pretty well, I take time to relax and do things that make me feel refreshed and ready to take on the world again.

But there are always things we can do better, right? 

When we think of "adding self-care to our routine" we often feel very overwhelmed. We feel like this is going to be one more item on our to-do list that isn't "necessary" or "high priority" and we portion that time for other things. 

I believe, that self-care is very necessary and very high priority. It is truly a way we need to nourish ourselves. We simply cannot do all of the things we want to do, need to do, are meant to do if we are not at our best.

And, I think that "adding self-care to our routine" is much like eating an elephant. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

So, start with making a list. What are things that constitute self-care to you? My definition: things that make you feel refreshed, refilled, renewed and ready to take on the world again. 


  • massage
  • manicure/pedicure
  • facial
  • bath
  • enjoying your favorite beverage on your deck or patio
  • exercise
  • clean eating
  • chat with your best girlfriend
  • a guilty pleasure movie or TV show possibly with popcorn
  • a glass of wine, possibly with your best girlfriend or a special someone
  • a great dessert or piece of amazing chocolate
  • walk outdoors
  • sauna
  • steam
  • makeover
  • retail therapy - a new great outfit or pair of shoes
  • time off - vacation or stay-cation
  • read a book
  • listen to music
  • sing out loud
  • dance to your favorite song
The list could go on and on and on. My best strategy for eating that elephant is pick 3, but no more than 5 things that make you feel refreshed, refilled, renewed and ready to take on the world again. 

1 "big" thing, something you aren't going to do every day or every week, but that would be a special treat and schedule that into your calendar no less than once per quarter (3 months) or as much as say once per month. (like a massage, pedicure, facial or vacation)

1 or 2 "medium or small" things, something you can do at least once a month, or as much as once a week. For me one of my top ones is lighting several candles in my family room and watching one of my favorite TV shows with the lights off and candles lit. 

1 or 2 "tiny" things, something you can do at least 3 times as week or as much as every day. Get a really great body lotion you can put on after every shower, pull out that skin care routine, and figure out how to do all of the steps, and DO THEM at least 3 times a week. 

If you try to schedule them all at once, you may feel overwhelmed again. So, once you have your list of 3, add 1 item per week to your schedule for the upcoming 3 month period. If you start with the "big" thing, and work your way to the "tiny" things, they will be much easier to "digest".

I would love to hear your lists. Share in the comments what your 3 items are and if you already have any of them scheduled on your calendar. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Serenity, Control, Focus and Choices


Most of us have heard these words in some form or another. Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. 

This motto has served me well now for many years, nearly 20 in fact, but very recently I had a significant struggle that was deeply affecting me. 

In my family, and among most people I know I am the joyful one, the positive one, the one that lets things go. But recently at my 9-5, my office (not the position or the company, just the physical location) closed and we have been relocated to a new location. The result of this is that my commute 2-3 days a week when I work in the office, increased from 15-20 minutes to 75-90 minutes. Each way. 

I have spent a lot of time being cranky and crabby and even drained and mentally exhausted over the past 2 weeks. Now, I grant you 2 weeks is not a lot of time, but for a person who is generally positive and joyful it has felt like a lifetime. 

Just yesterday, I was reciting this poem/prayer in my mind and berating the thoughts that this drive time, the traffic and the rude other drivers are all things I can't control, and I spent my energy trying to convince myself that I needed to find a way to accept them. 

Thankfully, I am a student of personal development. This morning, I grabbed one of my Anthony Robbins audio courses that I have completed before, but knew his energy and his words would be positive food for my mind during the 90 minute drive time. 

I was right. using that time to MY advantage, I regained control. 

THAT is the thing that was making me angry. I don't discount significance of the loss of 3 hours in my day, and the motivation that gives me to grow my entrepreneurial efforts so that I can retire from my 9-5 permanently. But my focus was going to the wrong place because of the loss of control. 

Whether you are a typical OCD type, or you have anyone in your life who has ever mentioned that you have control issues or are a control freak, we ALL have control issues. When we feel that someone or something outside of ourselves has taken control of us in some way, we fight it. We get angry. We get resentful. Most dangerously, we often become complacent. 

There are things in all of our lives that we cannot control. That is very true. What I noticed this week is that we still have choices. 

Even in a situation that is not of your making, even in the worst possible circumstance, you can choose what you focus on. 

And THAT will make all the difference! 

Today, rather than lamenting the control that has been taken from me, I focus on the choices I still have. I control my thoughts, I control my attitude, I control my influence. 

What choices would or could you make differently if you shifted your focus? 

Monday, December 1, 2014


Why is it, as women, that we are so uncomfortable with our reflection? I remember, whenever I encountered one of those horrible lighted magnifying makeup mirrors, even when I was younger and cuter, I reacted with an AH like I'd been spooked and a thought that I didn't need to see myself quite THAT close up. 

Who doesn't love to see those before and after photos where someone has gone through an amazing transformation?

We see those and find hope, inspiration and strength.

There is so much power and triumph in those before and after photos, yet we resist really looking at that "before" in the mirror.

Much more difficult to look at than our physical reflections is our internal reflections. I had a spectacular speaker at one of my events last year, Dr. Shannon Burke, and she spoke eloquently about how difficult we women find it to stay quiet and still, even though our most brilliant inspiration often comes from these very moments.

Every one of those amazing before and after photos exist because at some point, she made a decision to change that before. To stop being that before. But we can't make a decision to stop being the before if we refuse to look at it.

Now, I am not going to tell you to "step out of your comfort zone" because frankly, I think that phrase has been overused so much that it has completely lost its impact. 

Instead, let's beef up the fight in our fight or flight response and lean in to the fear. Put up your dukes and don't back down from the reflections in those quiet moments. 

We all have things, situations, parts of our lives that we tolerate. Things that maybe don't fit any longer or that we've just not been brave enough or inconvenienced enough to really examine and change. 

Lean in, face the fear and sit in the quiet reflection of you. Dare to look at those things in your life that you silently wish were different. 

Dare to imagine your "After". 

I would love to hear your reflections in the comments if you're brave enough to share...