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Archive for the ‘#amwriting’ Category

Cultural Diversity Has Become Cultural Disparity

Misjudging On What We See

https://www.flickr.com/photos/rbh/4549085259/in/photolist-TBE2Nw-p4EDEt-TtPDPz-T6fYRE-WessCa-5aopSw-7VZfyt-ihp3jf-ekkzYU-dmX7yH-9XZhkA-5aooT5-TdHezm-b2Jtm4-ekkCk7-e2akL2-ekeVB6-k52jg-W218xN-5ahpwJ-9WoYHJ-d8ZSaC-9WVckM-dmX7a8-5a2rPt-bAkTRr-5aoogS-eQjvsU-fKHzgW-VeN9y3-5aimQk-5fy8qh-e2aadv-5anCeQ-ekkB5Q-W9ExL4-9mo7Zz-VZfQY7-fKraHx-aFayE2-ekkDFA-Sn7nK9-55Kh4v-ekeSRt-bk1R1Y-9DZ7ZJ-dmX9XU-RZ7W4o-chvcYj-qwtAJXThere have been quite a few conversations about how we judge people by the way they look. It might be a style of dress, hairstyle, tattoos, piercings, or skin color. In the end, it comes down to attributing certain negative characteristics to anyone who looks like someone you’ve decided is mean, scary, or dangerous.

Sometimes, it stems from a bad experience. When I was in elementary school, a neighbor girl who happened to be Hispanic used to knock me down and bash my head on the sidewalk. Had I had different, less accepting parents, I might have developed a hatred and distrust of anyone who looked Hispanic. Thankfully, my parents had a diverse group of friends when we lived in the Valley so I never attributed one person’s behavior to an entire culture.

More often these days, it stems from what we hear, the area we live in, or a combination of factors. Too many people rely on the media to determine how they think and believe these days, causing everyone to hate each other for some unspecified reason, or no reason at all.

Negative Impacts of Forced Diversity Training

Businesses are forced to teach cultural diversity in the workplace. Yet the way https://www.flickr.com/photos/armenws/5837909811/in/photolist-9TSPcr-C3VGX-24FwY6-26x1rb6-5itLut-dhFGeP-pFWFZK-abNp5y-adf5z-hL7FHE-dhFHhY-dhFvph-dauvud-dhFwgW-dhFqWQ-dhFtAn-abeFZP-dhFDeu-dhFuoZ-dhFqbq-adhZR-abKzAD-adf81-abKx9R-bpTzDn-QVxKyY-abKyYK-9gERc8-anUgst-abeFCX-bzS7hf-abeGb2-2cYSbck-8GpCMm-abNm6Y-21Uy4Gb-4NKgmb-abNkTs-begshM-hRcioi-daKq9G-aUymi2-ZRYKoW-9tsYBM-abeFsx-bNLL6K-F2o45H-6MFFvx-9SsLVR-ZAWXwithey go about it often makes things worse instead of better. Someone along the way decided cultural diversity training meant teaching white people to treat everyone else with more sensitivity and respect, instead of making it applicable to all. Rather than bringing everyone closer together, it’s widened the gap into a chasm, and made the disparity even more noticeable and impossible to breach.

In her Red Table Talks, Jada Pinkett Smith talks a lot about the disparities between whites and blacks. But she doesn’t slap the blame on one side of the table. Instead, she admits there are generations-old prejudices on both sides,  and that the solution requires both sides to release those prejudices and come together with open minds.

In one episode in particular (though not her only one on the subject), “The Racial Divide: Women of Color and White Women”, three generations of black women discuss their own ingrained prejudices. Those biases, often instilled since birth stand in the way of meeting white women halfway to try and resolve conflicts which were once based on traumatic experiences, but generalized to include all who looked a certain way. Two white women join the conversation, with an emphasis on “conversation”.

Replacing Conflict With Conversation

In order to truly embrace the diversity of our cultures, we need more conversations. We need more coming together, not because it’s dictated by a government or other entity, but because we truly want to understand each others’ beliefs and pain points. But more, because we want to bridge the gaps those beliefs and pain points have generated through the passing of prejudices from generation to generation.

We need to stop the knee-jerk tendency to blame some artificially designated group for our problems, society’s problems, or anyone else who thinks they need a scapegoat. Assigning scapegoats solves nothing, but it sure does create a lot more hate, anger, and chaos.

The question becomes, do we truly want to solve the problems we see and rant about, or is ranting our real purpose? As human beings, do we simply require something to complain about? Can we not be happy when we work in concert with other humans? With nature? Is drama our state of balance?

Taking the Time to Analyze the Cause in the Conflict

I can’t speak for everyone else. I only know it doesn’t work for me. I’m not at https://www.flickr.com/photos/60740813@N04/34504735502/in/photolist-Uz4MJN-7H8hqz-r2covS-8wbGLH-8wcEVv-8weaum-8wcFMc-r2c6ww-r2iYrg-qmL3eU-8w9Dpr-r2jtjr-riJFWH-8wcT7A-8wcK8r-8wbRuV-8wcj84-8wanQx-8waPPT-8w9c4V-8w97ek-r2j3iV-riCAji-8w8skp-r2cTQq-8wfuwo-8waMUv-8wfDJJ-8wdgXY-qZq9cM-8wd2u3-8wfVzw-8wbq15-8w8bJP-8w9Wdc-8wcQdR-riF3r5-riJvW2-8wbTSq-r2cNH1-8wc6wN-r2d6wG-8wcM6o-r2jiHn-8wdexo-riJBiz-8bQ1eC-8wfeYo-riJJHV-8w9Yqrease when I’m in conflict with others. I experience discomfort when I’m out of sorts with someone in my own social circle, much less a large chunk of society. Yet I haven’t figured out how to get back in balance. There are too many conflicting factions, all demanding I take their side, and speak out in the same manner they do.

Sorry folks. I was given a brain so I could think, reflect, research, and form my own opinions just like everyone else was. I refuse to allow anyone to take that choice; that ability away from me. Those who need blanket agreement from their associates are not going to find me a good fit. I think for myself and act as I see fit.

Learning to Replace Hurt and Anger With Forgiveness

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERADo I make mistakes? Of course I do. And I try to own up to them insofar as the other party or parties is willing to accept my apology and move on. Again, it’s not always the case. Some people hold onto a negative experience and will judge me as lacking forever more. I’ve done the same myself until I find a way to forgive myself and the other party. We’re all human, which means, we aren’t perfect. All we can do is try.

I hurt a friend’s feelings a few days ago. Not intentionally. More out of clumsiness, and forgetting to recognize she’s a bit raw right now. In hindsight, I realize I was heavy-handed with my teasing because I was hurting too. But I told myself I was stupid for feeling hurt instead of honoring my own feelings, and tried to move on. Without thinking, I took it out on her, partly because she was an innocent party to why I was hurt. So I’m worrying that she’ll think less of me for my clumsiness, though I know she’s one of the most forgiving (almost to a fault) people I have the good fortune to call “friend”.

Avoiding the Pitfalls When We Ass-U-me

My point here is we tend to make assumptions, most of them false when we’re not acknowledged or answered. It happens often enough between friends, so take the number of instances and multiply it by 50 billion or so. That will give you a conservative idea of how many misunderstandings and misconceptions happen every day in our nation, much less, our world.

We seem to have lost the ability to create a safe environment where we can say “I’m hurt and upset by…” or “I don’t feel comfortable with…” or simply “Can you help me understand why…”

Until we can feel comfortable being honest about all the ingrained beliefs—all the baggage we’re carrying around, whether experienced or inherited, we’ll continue to see a seemingly insurmountable disparity between cultures; between generations; between genders; between everything else we use to build walls that separate us. We have to start by removing a few of our own bricks first.

Keeping the Lines of Communication Open

Are there more disconnects than connections in your life? Are you overwhelmed just trying to keep up with the day-to-day? Would you like to take a task or two off your plate? Maybe it’s content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life and give your business space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

Remembering How Much We Have to be Grateful For

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the ability to see what needs to change, and that I can only start with myself.
  2. I am grateful for the things I’ve seen, the places I’ve gone, and the people I’ve met along the way.
  3. I am grateful I’m starting to learn to listen more and talk less, though it’s an ongoing process, and I need lots of reminders.
  4. I am grateful for the mistakes I’ve made. They help me learn to do better next time.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, lessons, challenges, vocabulary, mistakes, life, inspiration, motivation, crazy dreams, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

Healing Our Anger: Hurting Others Isn’t the Solution

An Uncomfortable Walk Down Memory Lane

https://www.flickr.com/photos/hunky_punk/11123678116/in/photolist-hWXKXJ-bHomCi-brw9M6-75egof-72NYQx-4JuLr7-33JWWw-jk6B3G-pnN4h8-k1nyJg-GJoSmS-5rHHCd-7cZW4U-7xzS38-CwzBDm-eXj12u-ReySpF-XRcj38-YgMmPR-aWahxP-aGx4za-24eBDCd-bCWhDp-7xzRWp-pnxQ7d-7aXGh3-75MxFi-27yzyxF-9kk3k4-6zKq5L-rUoGZt-gJVVbN-cYedPm-4gUL7N-2aQHb4T-6DucqY-bb8PRX-WsMWaM-67dgcB-2dRzmBW-69e2pi-zmc5jK-hBXNWR-ovjuK-dXGFsj-8yM2W5-ay5R5w-hjWQqE-gf7icd-fy2vCPI happened to be in the neighborhood, so I took a walk past the house I lived in from the time I was 12 until I was 18, and left to spend most of the year in the college dorms (I actually moved into an apartment when I was 20, but I didn’t consider the house my home after leaving for college, even though most of my stuff was there for a couple more years).

I stood in front of the house, noting how big all the landscaping had gotten. Yucca (one of my mom’s favorites), now towering over the 6-foot walls, and the small patch of grass still ruthlessly manicured around the planter. Through the huge iron gate one of the later owners installed across the archway in the front wall, I allowed memories to flow while noticing changes. The most obvious was a second story added over the master bedroom. The original floor plan had a kind of half second story with a balcony overlooking the family room. In our version, it had 3 bedrooms and a bathroom with on oddly slanted roof which wasn’t good for much, but was a good place for our cats’ sandbox.

Walls and Gates: A Sign of Our Tumultuous Times

That gate made it clear it was no longer my parents’ house, but it also made me sad. The need for such a structure is truly a sign of the times. Friends who live near there report an increasing rash of robberies. People are coming from outside the area to burglarize the homes of people they assume are wealthy.

In truth, some people live in homes that were purchased for 30 or 40 thousand in the late 60’s and early 70’s, but are now valued (at least according to Zillow) from the 900 thousands to over a million. Small wonder those living in apartments and worse consider the residents rich and worth driving for miles to steal from.

It made me sad to realize how many people have become so angry they’re willing to drive for miles and risk arrest to take what they believe they’re entitled to, but can’t see ever having the means to acquire. And it’s not just theft. It’s the words spoken, injuries inflicted, and even murders. For what? The American Dream which has been folded, spindled, and mutilated until only the rare few get to experience it?

What’s Happened to the American Dream?

Or is it simply that we’ve lost sight of what the American Dream really is? It’s not stuff. It’s not where you live. It’s the freedoms we still have and the choices some of us still see we have, while far too many others don’t.

Maybe I’m naive, but I think when people believe they have no way to improve their lives no matter how hard they try, they’re going to get discouraged. When they see their children going without, or even getting shot at in the streets outside their homes, they get angry.

That anger infests their lives, and combines with desperation to create a “nothing-to-lose” attitude. They take risks because they see no other way out of the hell-hole they live in.

Fueled by Anger, Frustration, and Discouragement

https://www.flickr.com/photos/armenws/5837909811/in/photolist-9TSPcr-C3VGX-24FwY6-26x1rb6-5itLut-dhFGeP-pFWFZK-abNp5y-adf5z-hL7FHE-dhFHhY-dhFvph-dauvud-dhFwgW-dhFqWQ-dhFtAn-abeFZP-dhFDeu-dhFuoZ-dhFqbq-adhZR-abKzAD-adf81-abKx9R-bpTzDn-QVxKyY-abKyYK-9gERc8-anUgst-abeFCX-bzS7hf-abeGb2-2cYSbck-8GpCMm-abNm6Y-21Uy4Gb-4NKgmb-abNkTs-begshM-hRcioi-daKq9G-aUymi2-ZRYKoW-9tsYBM-abeFsx-bNLL6K-F2o45H-6MFFvx-9SsLVR-ZAWXwiThings I took for granted; a nice home, regular meals, new clothes, books, a car to use when I learned to drive; compared to those who are struggling from paycheck to paycheck just to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. I was and still am wealthy beyond anything they know. Kids watch their parents work long hours, never getting ahead. They see the defeat in their eyes. In their position, I suspect I’d get angry too, and feel like I had nothing to lose by taking what I want from those to whom it seems to come easily.

People are acting out their own pain with every act they perform. When it affects someone else personally, their own pain is triggered. It might not be poverty and defeat, but it is their own pain, and can be set off by just about anything because it starts in our minds.

When you add all the hate being spewed on the nightly news, social media, and even social circles, the stew of humanity grows more and more toxic.

When Did We Stop Trying to Get Along?

I talked to an acquaintance this weekend who sought to avoid a mutual acquaintance because of the political views she aired on Facebook. (they ultimately had a very civil conversation, by the way). Is this what we’ve come down to? Hating each other for the views we share?

I got called out recently because I said I was unfollowing people already who were posting political bashes. Someone accused me of dumping friends for small slights. I tried to explain I simply chose to stop seeing their posts on my news feed, but had no intention of removing them from my friends list. My words fell on deaf ears. The man chose to read what he wanted to see. He wanted to be angry with me no matter what. I’m not sure why I tried to reason with him, knowing he’d stopped listening after letting his feelings be known.

Putting Up Walls to Keep Us Safe

In the 1960’s I walked 2 miles across the San Fernando Valley to school alone every morning. It never even occurred to my mom I could be in danger—back then I wasn’t. No one ever approached me on the long walk down city streets. I felt perfectly safe, and actually enjoyed the time alone to think my thoughts and dream my dreams.

In the last 30 years or more, no parent in their right mind would allow their child to walk that far alone. We know it’s not safe; that too many outcasts, weirdos, and just plain angry people prey on other peoples’ children.

The ugly wrought iron gate on my parents’ old house is a sign of the times. People who “have” put up walls, barriers, and fences to keep out those who “have not”, but are willing to risk prison to have some of it. We’re too busy being angry about this cause or that to try to understand why others are angry too.

We’re too angry and misguided by the constant barrage of propaganda to care enough to sit down with each other and try to understand—more, to try to get to the truth buried in the bullshit.

Finding Reasons to Be Grateful In Spite of it All

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for reminders to be more open-minded and compassionate.
  2. I’m grateful for the ability to see how much I have instead of how much I don’t.
  3. I’m grateful for a house with no big, ugly gate.
  4. I’m grateful for the walls I’ve taken down over the last decade or so.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, compassion, fact-checking, opportunities, inspiration, friendship, connection, dancing, joy, peace, health, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Need Help Pursuing Your Own Dream?

Are you frustrated and discouraged trying to do everything yourself? Would you like to take a task or two off your plate? Maybe it’s content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life and give your business space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

Turning Irritation Into Productivity

Taking “Do Not Disturb” to New Lengths

I have an irrational aversion to people I don’t know parking in front of my house. It could be a neighbor, one of their friends, or someone pulling over to send a text or check an address. It doesn’t matter. I see their car in front of my house and have to physically restrain myself from running outside and telling them to park elsewhere.

Perhaps it stems from the first few years I lived in this house. We had a neighbor around the corner who was dealing drugs. His customers would often park in front of my house and run around the corner to make their purchases. But he’s been gone for at least 20 years, and still, park an unfamiliar car in front of my house and my ire escalates.

I realize the street in front of my house is public property. I know I have no legal right to ask people to leave. Still, I wish they’d find somewhere else to park and not avail themselves of the shade my big, beautiful tree provides.

Releasing Irritation For More Productive Pursuits

As I try to follow the teachings of Eckhart Tolle and stay in the moment, it’s easier to let the irritation slip away, but I’ve yet to master it completely. Like a two-year-old with a prized toy, the space in front of my house is mine. In my selfish mind, I’ve lived here long enough; paid enough taxes to maintain the roadway that I feel I’ve earned the right to be a little selfish. Yet I also see myself turning into the cranky old woman everyone secretly mocks because she yells at all the kids going by and watches from her window to see what the neighbors are doing.

My saving grace is my writing. I typically have more than enough projects for myself and others to keep me busy and reasonably oblivious to the goings-on in the neighborhood. I also don’t know most of the neighbors well, if at all. In fact, I find myself taking a page out of my newest neighbors’ book and remain detached from all but my two oldest neighbors. Maybe it’s not the friendliest existence, but I never claimed to be the Welcome Wagon. Nonetheless, I did try, albeit fruitlessly to welcome the neighbors when they moved in maybe a year ago. I’d been friendly with 4 of the previous 6 residents of the house in the 30 or so years I’ve lived here.

Like me, they chose to isolate from the neighbors, and being a hermit myself, who was I to argue? I’m happy to watch out for the elderly woman across the street, and the octogenarian couple next door. They rarely ask for much, and I’m grateful I can be there for them if they do. But having a far more distant relationship with the other neighbors suits my hermit heart fine.

Isolated Doesn’t Mean Lonely

Created with CanvaOne might ask if my existence is lonely; an island in a suburban sea of souls. There was a time it was, especially the first couple of years after I left Corporate America behind. But as regular habits improved and I left the house 3 times a week to go to the gym, had a regular errand day, and saw friends for dancing, movies, lunches, and game nights, being lonely left my schedule entirely.

I may still spend a lot of time alone (and frankly, it’s difficult to write and carry on a conversation at the same time), I do so when and because it’s what I want. It’s only loneliness when you want for company and can’t find it. Heck, there are times I make it clear I want to be alone while out in public. When I’m at the gym, or in a jury room, I put earbuds in my ears, making it clear I’m there to get something done, and not to be the social butterfly my friends are for me.

We all have our functions in life. Some of us carry the conversation or bring people together. In that regard, I’m a follower. That isn’t to say I’m not a leader at times, else I’d have never been able to run away from the real world to be a writer. There’s a lot of leadership in re-creating yourself into something completely different, then actually earning money doing it. Of course, at times there’s also a lot of blind stubbornness too.

Stubborn Enough to Keep Doing What I Love

I thank goodness for the stubbornness that always drove my parents nuts. Without it, I’d have given up https://www.flickr.com/photos/carbonnyc/6144729060/in/photolist-3sXiiN-79cUTk-6VaBVG-GUsXeK-qnCm5H-d5XpoC-5Tvsgb-7x7Jhw-amZkSu-pXsfKM-5TopvB-5MF2XZ-dnqeiB-9C31Yv-28ku7Rg-9m5Cts-omGCDC-5T4qn7-e2xNUC-mfCeZT-6RVoAh-a3P2f7-urpka-nKtZgr-8LFLux-dsSyjE-9AzNx5-W4TpQJ-xXPgS-brRoHe-9T2kCn-edcZ3H-a4dWNc-2Frv8v-sBJeM-5MGjKv-5cGQ25-gMdeqC-bzzgF5-4zDj55-4Uaf26-91q2wz-GPmaw-6uvJCp-7viqdV-7YKDTv-6T4oiL-7g2xCc-MKA7BD-gg9bcdlong before I’d used up a lot of financial resources. But that stubbornness told me I was going to make a go of being a writer, come hell or high water, and I have to say, the water has gotten pretty high at times.

Instead of allowing myself to drift with the current, I’ve continued to reinvent myself until I found something that began to work. I learned a lot of things along the way.

  • What I love to do
  • What I hate to do
  • What I’ll tolerate doing until I can outsource it
  • What I do well
  • What I don’t do well
  • How to write better and faster
  • How to help others with my writing

Committing to Myself

Created with CanvaI took a few courses and dropped most of them. I talked to coaches, but only hired one after several years of muddling along by myself. I learned to set myself deadlines, and to treat commitments to myself as at least as important as the ones I made for others. I set schedules for myself:

  • For gym visits
  • For self-care
  • For posting to my blog (and later refined that even further)
  • For dancing more often
  • For expanding my social life

That last is more important than it sounds since I learned that outright selling isn’t my thing. I have a hard time promoting myself. What I can do, and which helps my writing immensely is to listen to other peoples’ stories. I’m still working on listening more and talking less so I get more of their story and less of my interpretation. It’s one of the skills I’m learning to hone as it makes me a better writer and ghostwriter.

More than once in even the last 24 hours, I’ve stopped myself from interjecting. I read recently we listen to respond rather than listening to understand. I’m working on shifting the practice in myself. There are so many interesting stories out there waiting to be told, and 99.9% of them aren’t mine.

Part of learning to listen to understand is tied directly into living in the moment and disallowing any petty irritants. It’s still a work in progress, but isn’t that what makes life interesting?

Need Help Getting Organized?

Are you struggling to keep all of your entrepreneurial balls in the air? Is lack of time getting in the way of committing to yourself? Would you like to take a task or two off your plate? Maybe it’s content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life and give your business space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

Making Time for Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I’ve taught myself to respond to the alarm clock, no matter how early I have to set it.
  2. I’m grateful for earbuds and Pandora so I can create an island of serenity in a crowded place and get some work done,.
  3. I’m grateful for a general understanding that earbuds mean “please don’t try to engage me in conversation”. I might seem antisocial to some, but like everything else, there’s a time and a place.
  4. I’m grateful for inspiration which doesn’t let me down as long as I put fingers on the keys or pen to paper on a regular basis.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; quiet places, solitude, friendship, commitment, collaboration, opportunities, joy, love, peace, harmony, health, comfortable clothes, beautiful days, friendly people in difficult situations, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

Some of Us Are the Belle of the Ball, The Rest, Wallpaper

Still Wallpaper After All These Years

Created with CanvaEven though I have several decades under my belt, some things don’t seem to change. Men buzz around one beautiful flower, and completely miss the fact that there’s an entire garden to choose from. Maybe what attracts them has morphed a little, but they all still seem to want the same thing.

What they want, though seems to continue to baffle. It’s not necessarily the most beautiful, the one with the nicest car, the cutest clothes, or the perkiest chest. There’s something less obvious; less apparent which seems to have them flocking to the same women while the rest of us watch in bewilderment as one man after another is rejected. Only one can win the prize, and only if she’s willing and equally attracted.

Don’t get me wrong. I get that men, like women would rather not settle. They want what they want (or think they want) and the rest are, to them, second-best. The sad part is, (at least from where I sit) while they’re busy chasing that one perfect bud, they might be missing out on the one who would be a better fit if they simply took the time to get to know her.

To Stand Out, You Have to Be Outgoing

The one constant I do see is the outgoing, extroverted women (or the ones Created in Canvawho know how to feign extroversion) seem to be the ones attracting all the bees. The quieter ones who open up only once they’ve developed a level of trust are left alone. I suppose we’re not worth the effort it takes to get to know us. Getting past the hard outer shell many of us have developed after years of disappointing relationships takes a willingness to be patient and keep things casual for awhile.

A friend of mine says you have to “open the door” so to speak. What she means is you have to decide within yourself you’re ready to let someone get close. She believes that’s what attracts men to you. I thought I’d opened that door, but clearly, I’m doing something wrong because I can still stand in a group of women and watch all but me get asked to dance.

Don’t get me wrong. I do get my share of dancing in. I’m not a complete wallflower these days, thank goodness. But I’m never approached by anyone who doesn’t already know me like the highly sought-after women are. Even in our social circle, I’m rarely the partner of choice with the single men who are at least close to my age.

What Makes the Belle’s Stand Out?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jdigger/2593695245/in/photolist-4Xcnex-89c1Mi-6PhxAF-8k5tGb-eZv9F8-6Q9Cip-fvznVr-oS59Fx-p9xxvo-4XcoL2-YhazSs-eckQaU-6XR6Bq-c8srGY-c8sUpj-6NQ6uW-bHaZTZ-H63a9w-6NQ51E-RtAqRc-dqX6UE-H8mpPK-6NQ9Zs-am2782-bE6WWP-apHbbx-H6Hx9k-a5UVV9-oGpJfQ-4UukVQ-8CDidz-9ejRx8-dxcYpa-6aSmuG-Bc74B6-bs3pqK-TH3XaS-9TasQW-8krUQj-76xarF-6SKwpB-6aNcgX-tnZnJ-dxd8rF-5pMmja-8mMxEt-fpF95K-o4YT5J-o56aFP-ZZev1TI hear similar laments from other women, so don’t think it’s just me. At this point, there are several factors which could be contributors, not only for me but for some of my friends:

  • Quieter
  • What we wear (comfortable vs. sexy or cute)
  • Excess weight
  • Too old (guys seem to gravitate towards younger women for the most part)
  • Shyer (Less likely to initiate a conversation or eye contact)
  • Less engaged (I, for one tend to drift off into my own head)
  • Less energy

Whether it’s a combination of these factors and others I have yet to recognize, or a single one, I’m not sure. In all fairness, I don’t see anyone I’m immediately attracted to either, though there are a couple I find attractive without knowing much about them. But it’s more of a passing thought if I see them around rather than a deep desire to get to know them better.

Committed vs. Interested

Maybe that blase attitude is really at the crux of the matter. Women who want to have a relationship simply act more interested in the process. Once eye contact is made, they have a way of making each person they talk to, male or female feel special in their own way. Though I’ve been the recipient, I’ve never mastered that particular social skill.

I’m learning a lot about building relationships from a business group I’m in, and I believe it’s helped me make headway in my social circle as well. Still and all, I’m starting from a disadvantageous position so I have a lot of catching up to do. As I draw closer to the middle of my 60’s, the options get lighter. In the end, I try to console myself by saying how accustomed I’ve grown to being alone.

But do we really? No matter how many years we chase a career, raise kids, follow a passion, or for some, live the life of a free spirit, when we close the door at night, there will always be times we wish we didn’t have to close out the entire world. I believe most, if not all of us who are single wish at some point there was someone else on our side of the door who’s looking forward to our time alone together.

Meeting the Right People in All the Wrong Places

https://www.flickr.com/photos/okfde/22290705021/in/photolist-zXKG1n-7eDmmQ-dxSTv-XJqQxC-36o7HP-ZLE8Ee-8EvfP6-b9LqR-7RWy3X-Ccanw-aQXebZ-b9ArD-HesSL-kqkjjX-4jNqxt-25Lcjuo-baU2C-7RWzFH-7RZPfJ-bEWeSi-7RZSiU-7RZMPY-kqkYsP-7RWyjv-mtriq-7RZNDd-aJcMBv-85TM3j-jgMYXB-qn2qTU-9PHTDC-v43fV-asGMVF-ohZjgx-cAtKLJ-4ieTRA-E4gQEV-dtHadk-dojJaJ-pUP9c1-7RZLRW-7RZU9j-7RZQKL-7RWEBp-7RZLdS-dnbXL-7RZSNs-7RZSRq-7RZNsU-7RZLvJI talk to one of my “Belle” friends a lot. She says I need to be more open to meeting people in off-the-wall places like elevators and jury duty; places others seem to meet. But I don’t feel I’m at my best in a crowd of people, or when I’m sweaty and wearing baggy clothes at the gym. I find it difficult to connect when I go somewhere for a purpose, or have to be somewhere I consider unpleasant. Instead, I’ll put headphones in my ear and hide out behind a book or a laptop. It’s my way of making the uncomfortable bearable.

My introverted self has compartmentalized my activities into “social” and “necessary”. Somehow, I’ve failed to build a bridge between the two. I’m not unaware the old men cranking away on the cardio machines are checking out everyone who walks by. A couple have tried to start conversations, or smiled and said hello, but that’s as far as it goes. I’m there to get my exercise in and go back home to work. And frankly, I have no delusions their friendliness is nothing more than that I’m there often enough to be a familiar face.

Not All Introverts Travel Alone

I know other introverts find someone who fits them. I can’t figure out how they manage it, but clearly they do or there would be a lot more people drifting around alone. My only guess is they grew more tired of being alone than I have, and took a giant step outside their comfort zone, socially. They learned to approach men they didn’t know while being friendly and open. Maybe they used the dating sites or something to help get themselves over the hump. The discovered something I’ve been unable to figure out. Which means there’s still hope for me and the rest of the women who feel like wallpaper.

Eventually, we’ll all stand out to someone!

Can I Help You?

Are you struggling to keep all of your entrepreneurial balls in the air? To stand out from the crowd? Would you like to take a task or two off your plate? Maybe it’s content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life and give your business space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

Grateful for Every Kind of Friendship

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful my social circle has expanded, even if intimacy isn’t a factor right now.
  2. I’m grateful for friends who share their ups and downs. Even the ones who seem to have the best lives have their own stumbles and insecurities.
  3. I’m grateful for the strength I’ve developed while navigating my road alone. So much of that strength is in the relationships I’ve formed in the last couple of years.
  4. I’m grateful for the questions I ask. I don’t always admit I’m missing something until I take a good, hard look at the situation and how I do or don’t fit.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, dancing, joy, connections, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

Insecurity May Lie Dormant But Never Dies

The Scared Little Girl Who Lurks Inside

https://www.flickr.com/photos/60740813@N04/34504735502/in/photolist-Uz4MJN-7H8hqz-r2covS-8wbGLH-8wcEVv-8weaum-8wcFMc-r2c6ww-r2iYrg-qmL3eU-8w9Dpr-r2jtjr-riJFWH-8wcT7A-8wcK8r-8wbRuV-8wcj84-8wanQx-8waPPT-8w9c4V-8w97ek-r2j3iV-riCAji-8w8skp-r2cTQq-8wfuwo-8waMUv-8wfDJJ-8wdgXY-qZq9cM-8wd2u3-8wfVzw-8wbq15-8w8bJP-8w9Wdc-8wcQdR-riF3r5-riJvW2-8wbTSq-r2cNH1-8wc6wN-r2d6wG-8wcM6o-r2jiHn-8wdexo-riJBiz-8bQ1eC-8wfeYo-riJJHV-8w9YqrAfter having a disturbing and bizarre dream, I remembered someone saying that the really bizarre and disturbing ones carry a message, but not what we’d think. The more disturbing and bizarre they are, the more they’re simply trying to get our attention. After spending 30 or 40 minutes writing out what I remembered of the dream, I found the underlying message. The message itself was uncomfortable and disturbing.

For all the work I’ve done on myself, the scared, insecure little girl is still alive and well. I still believe people don’t notice when I’m not around, and that I have no one to turn to if I’m feeling really disturbed or distressed.

Talking to a couple of girlfriends later that night, I realized I’m not alone on many levels. First, because I have people who understand and are there for me, but second, because they too feel insecure and alone a lot of the time.

Self-Protection on Overdrive

This feeling of alone-ness wasn’t the biggest revelation, however. As I looked at myself, my friends, and what we have and haven’t shared, I realized there are still large parts of me I share with no one. Whether it’s fear of being judged (something I learned I share with my friends), fear of letting more of my broken parts see the light of day, or fear of losing my ability to, at least occasionally wear a strong facade, I’m stuck in some of the same old patterns.

On a conscious level, I know until I’m willing to accept and acknowledge those parts I continue to keep hidden, I am, in some ways no closer to healing than I was 10 years ago. Sure, I’ve made progress, but there are parts of me still unwilling to let go. There are pieces of my heart still encased in bubble wrap to hold all the broken parts together.

The Long, Winding Healing Journey

Created with CanvaHealing means carefully unwrapping those parts, laying them out so I can see where the broken edges fit together, then fitting the pieces back together like an intricate jigsaw puzzle. Once the edges are matched, I need to glue them back together, not with adhesive or even gold like the Japanese kintsugi, but with love and understanding. I have to share my brokenness with the people who love me so they can help me put the broken parts back together stronger and more resilient.

I realize now I’ve opened up about some things, but most are experiences I’ve had, not my deepest, darkest feelings. Those continue to hide in the depths of my mind and heart, mired in darkness, afraid of coming into the light. They blink and squint if I so much as allow a single beam into their sacred space.

Overcoming My Own Resistance

Like my mind resisting change, those broken bits and pieces resist being put back together. https://www.flickr.com/photos/gastaum/14490581818/in/photolist-o5u28y-YfsirJ-k8x7MM-bxbe69-W1rTYx-arWoEp-9hSaAd-ahFY4U-dUPFnv-cbTML-9dRrhQ-nNcDz4-W1scJn-6Q5kQB-aPHuVt-dF2PfA-qsan3a-9Q3GD-7puXf-ca3kUb-8Qnh5S-7EPcJ1-9RZQ7L-2jv27s-3ytNAS-4Ax3Vm-7P6ms6-fLeJCZ-9eA4z4-dUzmHi-dJ2ajE-4s4eeJ-9ZWATV-4Ax3K3-6459Qr-r7YPq9-7ZBske-3ypqPa-7yi435-9uRzwZ-kdLtng-2c5brCn-HLfJSP-qTk7jd-oSdAwv-pNeYXi-3fqAZV-5btNtn-72Kth6-V4V7jqThey know the process will mean they have to grow and adapt because the reassembly won’t be the same as their original construction. In fact, I may find a way to put them together into a different structure entirely; one which utilizes parts from all.

Isn’t that really what our lives entail? We break apart and put ourselves back together, but never in the same way. New experiences become part of our new structure making it stronger, but also changing it forever. Once reassembled, there’s no going back to the old ways, because who we were no longer exists. We’ve taken life’s experiences and woven them into the fabric of our lives indelibly.

By hiding all the times I shattered into a million pieces inside myself I don’t allow the rebuilding. I don’t allow myself to be stronger for my experiences. I fail to grow and evolve.

A Reminder I Still Need to Get Out of My Own Way

https://www.flickr.com/photos/nhoulihan/4038592452/in/photolist-79SQQm-TfUffd-pgu9hJ-qfYXYE-pDVWDB-6UQgZM-KFog6C-TFYhqd-29TMHM-fP6i28-j73ZT5-atsnGd-C4HxXs-5eRdT5-YoKVff-24PBcMS-28G1ckh-AqrzL-haocsM-o1RCfj-4iigfF-6hbQxG-TCfZem-qVx4n8-U63bC7-dCTxQg-amkKyF-eiY1qF-Ct5hqm-hSGXpV-BcaCh-8c2bVB-27RWaS2-eQjYy1-cJWTgw-ehKQWJ-AJSt63-ay4RXc-cxa1zW-UFe9Vq-aC3EP1-pkL1fr-ehKSrs-qxMMJj-bvMGyV-VG1fkR-ay4Sgv-aDNaMx-aE1tNY-h7171rI might believe I’ve come a long way, and in fact, I have. But I’ve put giant boulders in the way to prevent progress in certain directions. Thus, I’m rebuilding on shaky ground once again, because I’m leaving too many crumbling parts in my foundation.

My disturbing and bizarre dream was a pointed reminder I can’t ignore all those piles of broken pieces. I need to incorporate them into the newest version of me I’m building. Leaving them out means returning to ground zero again and again until I figure out how to weave them into the fabric of my life, not as failures, but as lessons.

The voice of the frightened little girl inside me is growing louder and more insistent. Opportunities to open up, bring those pieces into the light, and join them to the pieces I’ve acquired through life lessons are here. They become more obvious and accessible every day. But until I bring those broken pieces into the light, I can’t fully avail myself of those opportunities. I can’t complete the assembly without those pieces as well.

Creating a Mosaic of My Life

Like you, I’m a mosaic; a combination of pieces accumulated over the years from each time I created with Canvabroke, but also, each time something or someone came along and offered me some of the missing pieces to help strengthen my structure. How many times did I turn away and fold further into myself, refusing the help, ignoring someone else’s need to help me grow? How many times did I fail to see my broken parts fit exactly into someone else’s?

Talking to my friends, we admit to holding back parts of ourselves we’re not ready to share. Yet do I; do they really know what those parts are any more? They’ve been buried so long, I suspect were we to pull out all of our parts and lay them on the table, we’d find we could put them together in just about any manner, taking pieces from each other and fitting them into our own mosaic. The result would not only be stronger, but more beautiful for all the different shades and facets we bring together.

Creating a Safe Space Together

https://www.flickr.com/photos/philleara/7246573430/in/photolist-c3mzPd-djJiUe-oajKtQ-djJjmv-djJjLR-oapGkZ-djJjb9-djJj5F-cntb2u-7Y2xWm-cntayf-c3mLB3-n329S-7XYhYD-cntbhs-TCrSUz-gg7DZE-gg7XMV-6Ak5ks-9a2C7g-djJjz6-cntb85-rCKS6-cntag1-azBhou-3oXQYc-cnta8q-cntaL7-ocbPjv-oa7hn8-fJm576-baRPgp-7Y2xp7-8ommnm-bA1QHR-cnt9j1-dmywKj-7Y2x7b-4vwAew-aAPJwq-oa7iJB-cnt9xu-2FtNgi-gunWiW-hLgWLK-e4kv6P-2FtPvB-9GPQLh-4vsuDF-baRMyvPerhaps that’s the answer. Instead of trying to force ourselves to open the box where we store all our missteps, our broken dreams, our losses, and our fears, we need to open them in the safety and comfort of friendship where everyone shares pieces, and we create one giant piece of art which is better able to withstand life’s earthquakes and mudslides.

We learn different lessons as we travel through life. What I know well, someone else needs support and guidance. Where I feel weak and unable to withstand the gentlest breeze, someone else has mastered and can help me become stronger.

Years of trying to manage everything alone has certainly left its mark on me. It’s left a similar mark on many of my friends. We’ve all learned we’re stronger together, but are still learning how to maneuver the “together” part without needing to pull back into our shells, afraid of being let down or broken once again. Until I do; until we do, we’ll continue fumbling in the dark in some areas, never quite seeing that the path in front of us is smoother than we believe.

Need Help Putting it All Together?

Are you struggling to keep all of your entrepreneurial balls in the air? Would you like to take a task or two off your plate? Maybe it’s content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life and give your business space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

Grateful for Who I Was, Who I Am, and Who I Can Become

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for friends who understand I’m still struggling in some ways.
  2. I am grateful for disturbing and bizarre dreams which make me take a good hard look at what I’m doing with my life.
  3. I am grateful for friends who aren’t afraid to share some of their broken parts with me.
  4. I am grateful for days alone when I can sink into introspection. They make me face the world outside with more confidence, not so much in my abilities alone, but in the knowledge that I’m not alone at all.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, imperfections, community, joy, dancing kitty love, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

Out of the Picture: A Retrospective

Still Taking Myself Out of the Picture

Every time we get together, we do a group picture, as if to remind us that, although our building is gone, our hearts remain connected. All too often these days, I’m not in the picture, even those times when I’m there.

Maybe I was in the bathroom, or outside trying to pull it together because I was having a rough time. Maybe I didn’t go at all because funds and circumstances didn’t permit. Even if I was fine with not being there, seeing the group pictures where I’m missing hurts.

Yet there are plenty of times I’m there, sometimes right in the middle, my red curls standing out amidst the browns, blonds, and subtler shades. I paste a smile on my face and my eyes close to small slits when the person wielding the camera says “say cheese”. When I’m overly visible, I try not to critique; to notice how much heavier I am than the women who surround me, or that my clothes aren’t as carefully pressed and attractive. I try to ignore how thrown together I look, despite the time I took fixing my hair and putting on makeup.

Trying to Fit in When It’s No Longer Necessary

As often as not, I’ll hide in the back, my face partially covered by someone’s head, my body https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffsand/3871415191/in/photolist-pcGBET-kFToD-6qGVED-qNy62T-68V6FA-in6U7u-in73Zi-in67pq-2X39ED-in5RhJ-in62bm-6U71RM-qNCNQf-6VFXCi-p5tBS9-oZtmEp-7aBWmV-pmWp5N-in7Paa-qNys8v-in78S4-in6ZkK-in66L2-in5VK1-pcDpbn-qxEYaihidden so my natural unkemptness is less obvious. But I wonder, why don’t I take more care? Why don’t I pull out an iron or wear something more flattering? Sure, I’m dancing, and I sweat a lot. I tend to wear clothes that are lighter, cooler, and not always classy. I stopped wearing boots because they made my toes hurt, so my clunky dance sneakers at the end of long, slender legs look like Mickey Mouse feet. Is it any wonder I so often take myself out of the picture?

The pictures tell a different story than the hard fought confidence I try to exude. They deny the progress I’ve made, though the mere fact I’m in some of them is a giant stride. The 20 or so pounds I’ve managed to keep off aren’t obvious from the photographs, but when I stop being critical, I know.

What also doesn’t show is that when I’m missing these days, I’m also missed. That’s something I didn’t have until maybe the last couple of years. Until then, I’d have to be gone for weeks before my absence would be noticed, if it was noticed at all. Now, it’s often a matter of minutes, even while I’m telling myself I’ve managed to slip away without making a ripple.

Why Do We Try to Blend In?

I may still have some of the barriers up; excess weight, untidy appearance; but I’ve lowered others, allowing people to get closer and see the real me. When I’m missing from the picture or the gathering, people not only notice, but let me know I was missed. It’s crazy how good that feels to a woman who spent a large portion of her life trying to be wallpaper.

Which begs the question, why would anyone want to blend in with the walls and go unnoticed. To answer that, I’d have to go back to my childhood when I didn’t know how to embrace and love my differences. Back then, my mother nagged at me about my weight and my acne-ridden skin. The neighborhood kids found ammunition in my glasses and zits, and eventually, the steel bands forcing my teeth into a more aesthetically pleasing symmetry. Nothing was out-of-bounds for kids who were, in retrospect, trying to draw attention away from their own flaws.

Embrace Your Unique, Quirky Self

I grew up believing I needed to fit in, yet having no idea how to go about it. I didn’t know then my own personal style was all I needed, and that fitting in was, and still is highly overrated. Someone wiser than me said if we are simply ourselves, we’ll attract the people who accept and love us as we are.

But more teenage tears are shed from being excluded. More angst is formed from being marked as “different”. Many of us carry that into our adult lives where we continue trying to force ourselves into an uncomfortable, ill-fitting mold. We never quite manage to conform, but however much we do is itchy and uncomfortable, often leading to irritability and further self-abuse, because where are we going to direct that irritability but towards ourselves? We’re the ones failing to measure up, right?

Finding Myself When I Stopped Trying to Conform

In my 20’s and 30’s, I dressed the part, and tried my hardest to avoid conflict and https://www.flickr.com/photos/125303894@N06/14365669046/in/photolist-nTrNV5-2f5PCUZ-28knBCQ-bSRpwg-hSnPyx-otGuDp-azqvRQ-D2QXQh-YVh4U5-8ZJcE3-26bTzFo-eeaBEi-occovQ-9i7bQ5-23CJvTx-rhV1XQ-26LZPM6-nrsG7K-bmnvub-8rRn4C-MZDGbT-HuqYEh-27342hV-HrkwAE-ehfTPF-2734sEP-LgusiG-272GRGH-25DqddG-25Dqn1m-Y2VH7U-LXKfra-LguvaJ-25Dqnoq-25DJuL5-2f1ci9J-25DqbXL-28povan-Lm2wcx-HkMrNJ-2dYUsVs-oaeobo-ZR9qTn-rtFBMa-24ZPYXp-R78K1f-Dymseq-24W5BDs-23CJCE8-21DkYfLconfrontation, but all too often, it found me anyway. I’d come home from work,  immediately strip off the trappings of conformity, and sigh as I sank into the soft comfort of t-shirts, sweats and bare feet.

By my 50’s, I gave up trying to fit in and accept my isolation. I was still taking jobs which fit my skill set but not my mindset. It took a few more years for me to see I didn’t fit into Corporate America at all. Still, when I finally saw it, I threw away the baby with the bath water, so to speak, and lost my work ethic and ability to manage a schedule for awhile.

Now I’m slowly climbing back up; re-engaging old skills like setting deadlines and keeping commitments, not to anyone else, but to myself. I’ve never had a problem honoring those I make to others, so my clients haven’t suffered during this period of rebirth. Instead, I’ve had to learn I’m as important (if not more so) than my clients, and to treat myself accordingly. In other words, I am responsible for keeping myself in the picture.

Pouring from a Full Vessel

https://www.flickr.com/photos/blueyeda73/462237282/in/photolist-ERQi6-4QJhoE-dze2go-72vcw-Ewfmrv-z5pHh7-yNMLkm-z7eorD-5m8ZsL-eLzyW-4zDPn4-oaHUt5-sixfS-GR63j-BQbZtq-GmyPM-AUZ1vW-AUYQqq-dEZ72-wr2n7s-djYJn3It still surprises me to see how much my clients benefit when I’m taking care of myself first. Their work gets done more quickly and with even greater attention to detail. I see things I might have missed if I was still glossing over my own needs and requirements. It really is true you can’t pour from an empty vessel. If you don’t take care of yourself, everyone suffers, even if it’s not readily apparent.

Part of doing a better job for clients is improving and expanding my own skill set. As I commit to getting up earlier, I start my work day sooner, allowing for an hour or so of self-development before I start on tasks for clients (including myself). That may mean doing some reading to tap into areas of my expertise I’ve yet to mine, or working through a course which will help me hone in on who I really want to serve. Sometimes, it’s an hour with my coach, or following up on tasks I’ve been set.

Whatever I use that extra hour for, it benefits all my clients as well, both present and future. Keeping myself in the picture instead of sneaking away or hiding in the back means I’ll be ready when opportunities arise or the scenery changes. In the past, I would have tried harder to fit in. Now, I know I was meant to stand out.

Still Trying to Fit in? I Can Help!

Where are you fitting in when you should be standing out? What masks do you shed when you’re back in the safety of your home? If you’d like help breaking free of the masks and letting your real self shine, I invite you to join my Facebook group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward.

Are you struggling to keep all of your entrepreneurial balls in the air? Would you like to take a task or two off your plate? Maybe it’s content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life and give your business space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

A Gratitude a Day…

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for reminders about how far I’ve come.
  2. I am grateful for friends who don’t allow me to go missing for long.
  3. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned, especially when it comes to honoring commitments to myself.
  4. I am grateful for leaps of faith when I may not have landed perfectly or unscathed, but I landed exactly where I was supposed to; where I stopped trying to fit a mold that wasn’t me.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; friendship, opportunities, manifestations, inspiration, joy, dancing, health, peace, harmony, happiness, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

Abut the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

Managing Distractions to Meet My Deadlines

Distractions Everywhere

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jobber1/36197048070/in/photolist-X9BkiG-6zNVTx-9WcJ3G-dSakbx-dSammr-9TBa8u-6ezpVp-4BqdWY-VXtGBZ-rmenXX-qCVBCH-ebSPFY-on6uCz-7jht6-n98ro-VTXW6M-a1XWoX-aEZ3ZC-GAd7om-aETqXe-5YRvvk-dSfWbY-KEWxyD-7N2mv7-s8WVRA-97x2ND-9FZG7n-kv3uih-7dAKBM-Usjf3C-emcpAz-3EXMtA-U3SSPP-gQb96B-6QtXTY-o36uJj-iwvCcv-54dBjc-opbQb3-7NxyBo-7G7U6q-cS6eML-9FXQcH-ojrwjj-SUbPcQ-7MNAUc-Ee2qD-jZRnbY-a355px-cS691NOne of the biggest issues I’ve had most of my life with getting things done is the ease with which I’m distracted. By the time my daughters were 5 or 6 and I was told they both had mild ADD/ADHD, I realized I probably shared their characteristics, no matter what name or label might be put on it. Like so many other things deemed “mental health issues” (think autism, bi-polar, etc.) there’s been a lot of name-changing over the last 60-odd years.

Schizophrenia has become several newly named things including bi-polar disorder. Autism has been broken out various groupings, and maybe un-grouped by now, probably depending who’s in charge of psychological designations this week.

Regardless, of what label you might give it, (or not which is my preference) my propensity for distraction is shared by many, including my kids.

Finding Order in Chaos

Take today for instance. I tagged along to my daughter’s Girl Scout meeting so they wouldn’t have to go all the way home to get me for our dinner date afterwards. I set up my laptop in an adjacent room and started the usual folderol associated with connecting to a new network, getting my poor, tired beast (the laptop, not me) to respond, and getting connected to Slack, where one of my clients prefers to communicate.

Frustration ensued when Outlook proved cantankerous. I kept getting the dreaded “not responding” message and had to shut it down a couple of times. Then the laptop screen went dark (a recent development) and I had to shut the whole bloody thing down.

When I finally got the email program functioning marginally well, I couldn’t find the message from Slack which helped me find my accounts. It showed up on my phone, but didn’t allow me to do the confirmation nonsense, but was nowhere to be found on my laptop—until it dawned on me I was searching for it in the wrong email account (I have 5 on Outlook plus my gmail account).

At long last, I had Slack set up, had checked transactions on my investment account, and started typing gibberish in a blog post until inspiration struck. Meanwhile, the meeting had started, childish voices jabbering excitedly as my daughter and son-in-law efficiently wrangled their little herd of cats and got them started on today’s project. With a Disney movie playing in the background (I suspect a few who share my attention issues in the troop) my stage was set for creativity.

Compartmentalizing the Distractions

Surprisingly, it is the perfect setting for one like me whose mind jumps from rock to rock in a rushing stream of consciousness. With my laptop set up in front of a window which overlooks a stand of trees and what looks like clumps of lavender, my mind actually has enough to keep it busy while staying on task and writing the second-to-last blog post for April—right on schedule.

I got tired of trying to calculate when a post was due if I wanted to stay at least 2 weeks ahead, so I finally put due dates on the Trello cards for each publishing day. According to the one for this post, I’m supposed to have it written, formatted, and scheduled by midnight tonight. No problem!

I’d actually gotten almost 3 weeks ahead instead of the 2 I require, but last week, and some major distractions have me, once again, scrambling to meet my self-imposed deadlines.

Getting Myself Unstuck

The problem was a post I was working on for a client. It wasn’t coming together as I’d have liked. Unfortunately, it affected everything I tried to do afterwards, including posts for another client and myself. Finally, at the end of my rope of frustration, I picked up pad, pen, and my ever-present water bottle and relocated to my front porch.

I wrote this and that (it didn’t have to make sense or be the Great American Novel) for an hour or so as the sun sank behind the trees and the chirping birds slipped away to their nighttime retreats. Every so often, one of my “barn cats” would wander over to ask for a little attention,. Sometimes I paused in my scribbling to oblige, other times, I multi-tasked. (believe it or not, there were thoughts I wanted to complete in the 4 or 5 pages I scribbled while enjoying the rare quiet in my neighborhood as darkness fell).

By the time I finished and went back inside, I was not only able to finish the article for the first client, but start one for a second. The only thing that slipped as the week came to a close was my personal schedule for posts. Unfortunately, that meant my newly created plan to post on Elephant Journal every Monday fell by the wayside this week.

A Toolbox Full of Solutions

https://www.flickr.com/photos/furryscalyman/312210315/in/photolist-tAaft-921XA5-2dUHEF7-8jWF2z-7MpAyj-2dJsh4y-5Dtau2-921XjA-W2GHut-6UApas-27pGKes-vuyam-2drABRM-7cz3ND-ak497z-tYrxV-c87vNQ-diJwkM-axJrV5-T1Frpx-zbmrZ-7z6BZD-xAX83-ckgEMd-ceZsKL-9DMnUG-aA2JWc-HXLis-ayMvXQ-SGgMP3-ayirbp-9Uqh8D-e4N92o-8o72yP-ceZ3mw-9juJ6s-ceZs25-9yvLJc-v5iES-kmAMp-fY9QYF-7zkrHK-a6aYf6-to87w4-agbmfC-2dwSjZD-7zphBJ-8fW59J-23aden8-SJfVnxYou might think having to deal with distractions, blocks, and the rest of what life likes to throw in our paths would get to me after awhile. But as I learned when my daughters were young to put a little coffee in their milk so they wouldn’t bound off the walls as badly in the hours they were forced to sit in a classroom, I know my own blocks and distractions are manageable.

It might be writing on the porch or patio. It might be a walk. Or I might need to take my hot pink writing bag and find a relatively quiet coffee shop or cafe where I can scribble for a little while about everything and nothing.

Sometimes I get inspired after a night of dancing in the 2 or 3 hours it takes me to unwind. Other times, the words flow right after I feed the cats and jump into my day. The one thing I’ve learned though is, with the exception of my morning pages, I can’t put my writing on a strict schedule.

Each Week is Different

One week, I’m on a tear and might knock out 5 blog posts and a couple of chapters of whatever I’m working on. The next, if I get one post written, I’m doing well. No matter what kind of week I’m having, the one commonality is never beating myself up for the quantity of productivity or lack thereof.

I know eventually it all evens out, and to be honest, with a little perseverance and a respect for my own cycles, the productive weeks outweigh the slack ones. I’m able to manage both my clients and my personal requirements on time or early, just as I did when I was working in Corporate America. The difference is, I feel a far greater sense of accomplishment these days because whatever I put out, even if no one but my client ever knows I wrote it, is the result of my skills, my talents, and my ability to set deadlines and commit to them every single time. It only took me about 4 years to figure out how to honor those commitments to myself.

Need Help Managing Your Distractions?

Are you struggling to keep all of your entrepreneurial balls in the air? Would you like to take a task or two off your plate? Maybe it’s content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life and give your business space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

 

When All Else Fails, Gratitude Overcomes All

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for lessons learned, no matter how long it took me to get there.
  2. I am grateful for increased productivity and respect for commitments I make to myself.
  3. I am grateful for the ability to be creative despite 12 chattering girls,, a Disney movie, and recalcitrant laptops.
  4. I am grateful for all the new and exciting opportunities coming my way.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, family, friendships, dancing, inspiration, motivation, commitments, relationships, expanding worlds, vivid dreams, opportunities, and all the people in my world who help me be my very best me.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

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