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Unleashing Our Tenacity

What is Tenacity, Really?

(Note: This post is written in conjunction with my May 11th Facebook Live which can be found by clicking the link.)

Recent events and my current lifestyle had convinced me I lacked a key component for success. That component is tenacity. defines tenacity as:


1.the quality of being tenacious, or of holding fast; persistence:
the amazing tenacity of rumors.

2.the quality of retaining something:
the tenacity of memory.

3. the quality or property of holding together firmly:
testing the tenacity of the old book’s binding.

As a result, I’ve been holding myself back from finishing projects or propelling my business to the next level. In short, I had succumbed to a mentality of lack and though I wasn’t consciously shooting myself in the foot, my internal beliefs were doing it for me. And the culprit was a program which was meant to build me up, not tear me down. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the writers of Winning the Game of Money did not intend to give me another limiting belief, but then, the majority of their members are a lot closer to their childhood years than I.

A Constant Internal Battle to Undermine Our Tenacity
One of the modules asks the listener to think of a time during their childhood when they were tenacious. I’m sure there were times I was, but holy crap! My childhood was decades ago! I’m hard-pressed to remember things that happened yesterday, much less 45 or 50 years ago! And yet, my mind latched onto the idea that I lacked tenacity like a drowning man clings to a buoyant object. My mind, it turns out, liked the idea of having an excuse for not succeeding.
The rest of me, however, wanted more. It took a while for that part of me to fight its way back to the top of the hill but ultimately, it did. The part of me that wants to succeed; wants to help other people succeed is one tenacious little beast. Once it achieved superiority over the many facets of my personality, it sent a veritable flood of instances where I was both tenacious and persistent in my pursuit of success. Certainly, none of those instances dated back to the less retrievable portions of my history known as “childhood”, but in my opinion, the memories were far stronger than any immature pursuits of a favored toy or some such thing.
My tenacity has tended to exert itself more in two distinct places: survival and the greater good. I realize the latter seems like personal aggrandizement, but hear me out.
Having the Tenacity to Pursue Something When the Odds Are Stacked Against You
There have been a few cases in my life when a person or corporation tried to take advantage of me or sweep my concerns under the table. Had I allowed them to succeed, I believe I would have given them permission to do so to another poor, unsuspecting soul. Thus, I spent over a year fighting with GM over an unfixable problem with my 1998 Chevy Malibu. My tenacity was fueled by a call between GM and the Better Business Bureau in which the GM representative claimed that to them, steering was not a safety issue. To add insult to injury, the BBB found in favor of GM! I can’t be blamed for finding the whole thing distinctly…well, stinky.
Needless to say, I took advantage of my right to appeal as well as my right to involve the General Manager for the dealerships in the area. I fought through the frustration, the bureaucracy, and the outright nastiness of the service manager at the dealership in my town, ultimately getting a check for all of my payments including interest, less a small amount of depreciation for the period of time before I noticed the problem. The service manager earned at least two severe reprimands from the GM given the distinct alteration in his behavior when he handed me the check. My hope is that he was either removed from the position entirely or learned to treat customers, and especially female customers with more attention to the “service” than the “manager” in his title.
Let Your Tenacity Shine
Large wins like this one aside, I realized it took tenacity to leave a bad marriage, raise my daughters alone, survive and thrive as my career took some interesting turns, and even complete my degree in accounting while working full-time and handling the ups and downs of child-rearing, both with my own kids and my ex’s. Did I make more than my share of mistakes in the process? Heck yes! If I put my mind to it, I can come up with at least a million things I did with my kids and his that I regret. But somehow they all survived my parental clumsiness and have grown into reasonably responsible and well-adjusted adults.
What I’m trying to say here is that tenacity doesn’t mean perfection. It means continuing to strive even when you feel ill-equipped for the job. Continuing to take another step forward, and another, and another even when the odds seem stacked in your favor. It’s believing when you have no reason to believe, and doing what’s necessary anyway.
More importantly, it’s something each and every one of us does day in and day out. We don’t have to be a J.K. Rowling who was destitute and suicidal before she exhibited her tenacity. Nor do we have to be tenacious only when something huge and important enters our lives. Sometimes it’s the little things like getting up every morning and making the bed. Or it could be making the effort to embark on a healthier set of habits. It’s all the things we do because we feel we should even though doing so is hard or frustrating, or fraught with failure after failure. Tenacity is what makes us see those things through until the failures become lessons which ultimately allow us to succeed, often more spectacularly than we imagined we could.
I think tenacity is a muscle which needs to be exercised. The small successes serve as encouragement for us to exercise more. So master a couple of small things, be it making the bed every morning, or getting up 30 minutes early to write your morning pages, or adding a healthier habit to your routine. Let go of the limiting beliefs telling you you can’t.
I Can
Though it took another couple of weeks, I think my turning point came the day I replaced the words “it’s too hard” and “I can’t do this” with two simple words: “I can”. Since then, whenever I feel frustrated or aimless or discouraged, I say “I can”, sometimes loudly, and sometimes just in my head. It’s become my mantra and fits every circumstance. It takes those pesky limiting beliefs and kicks them to the curb, then stomps them into oblivion.
I urge you to accept the strong voice inside you clamoring to be heard. Find your own mantra, your own version of “I can” and sprinkle it liberally throughout your day. I guarantee you’ll find yourself standing taller and smiling more. You’ll stop running from things because they require more effort. You’ll start seeing your failures as lessons and stepping stones; as necessary effort to achieve your heart’s desires.

Unending gratitude

My gratitudes today are:
  1. I am grateful for epiphanies.
  2. I am grateful I found my tenacity.
  3. I am grateful for the courage and determination I realize I’ve had all along.
  4. I’m grateful for the strength of my Presence and it’s unending ability to overcome my ego.
  5. I’m grateful for friends and family who encourage and uplift me every day.
  6. I’m grateful for abundance: friends, family, opportunities, tenacity, encouragement, love, kindness, compassion, acceptance, forgiveness, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

Getting Out of the Rut and Making the Life You Deserve

Seeing Changes and Knowing They’re Good

I’ve been in my current human form for the better part of 61 years yet I’m beginning to realize that for the much of that time, I was simply plodding from one day to the next, having little impact on the world around me and accomplishing little. I’d fallen into the societal trap of working at a job which offers a decent living, doing repetitive things, be it work, play or chores and errands.

I’d like to stay I began to wake up over the last 15 or 20 years, and that would certainly be true, but progress, up until the last 2 or 3 has been decidedly slow. Sure, I watched “The Secret” a few times, read “Laws of Attraction” in several of its forms and practiced positivity. I definitely made some improvements to myself but nothing of any real significance. That is, until I started taking a healing class on the recommendation of my massage therapist.

That class may not have launched my career as a healer, but it made me take some good, hard looks at myself and my life, and frankly, I wasn’t exactly pleased with the naked truth. My life was boring and predictable, uncreative and unremarkable. 4 months into the healing course, I decided to trust my gut for a change and quit my boring and soul-sucking 9-5 accounting job to launch my writing career.

Anyone who follows this blog pretty much knows how that’s been going. I’m certainly putting a lot of words on screen, but except for articles I publish on the website of the photographer I’ve begun working with, publication is still an unrequited dream. My inner critic is still stronger than I’d like despite the compliments I do get on some of my pieces. My ability to actually finish something longer than a blog post or article is still shaky at best. But I am making progress.

Yet, in my own way, I was still plodding along in a predictable and boring pattern. I get up, I exercise sometimes, I do my errands on the same day every week and dance on the same nights in the same place. In short, my brain and soul were itching to break out of this self-imposed rut.

Learning to Ride and Thrive with the Changes

A couple things happened over the last 4 months to get me moving again. First, I got tired of chronic pain and went in search of both a diagnosis and a solution. The nearly 3 months of physical therapy has not only given me no small amount of relief but has me exercising more regularly and moving much more freely.

Enter my photographer friend, Jesse. Towards the end of last year, she hired me to write some posts for her website. After attending a couple of events together, she realized she’d rather put her efforts into taking photographs and avoid having to write the accompanying story so she offered the job to me. It’s a perfect match as we both get to do what we love, plus we bring different administrative and marketing skills to the table, creating a very effective synergy.

Body issues also served to remind me that I’m not in the best of physical shape, but in a chicken or the egg kind of scenario, I figured that stressing out over money was a huge factor. After attending one of John Assaraf’s Brain-a-thons, I signed up for Winning the Game of Money and became part of a community of ambitious, supportive people.

It was a no-brainer for me when John offered an 11-day weight loss challenge. I lost a few pounds, improved my eating habits, starting eating more of the veggies from my weekly box and between the two programs, was feeling a whole lot better and more energetic. Better still was the improvement in my sleep and the drastic improvements in my pain levels, strength and flexibility. The icing on the cake was when I won one of the two subscriptions given out for the Winning the Game of Weight Loss program.

I am now starting week 11 of the WTGOM program and week 2 of WTGOWL (technically, I spent about 3 weeks on Level 1 because of the challenge). I’m learning to say “releasing fat” instead of “losing weight” because losing implies that you’ll eventually find it again. As most people who’ve spent years of their lives dieting know, it’s often an endless cycle of losing some and gaining more. I didn’t get to be 233 pounds at my highest by accident, I assure you. Thankfully, the last time I “lost weight” I actually did manage to keep some of it off, but I’m a long ways from my healthy place. The difference is, this time, I’m more confident about getting and staying there.

Finding Someone New and Exciting, and That Someone is Me

But this isn’t really a testimonial for John’s programs, but a picture of my own evolution. The last piece is the afore-mentioned friend and photographer, Jesse. She’s dragged me along, sometimes kicking and screaming on her own quest to work with Food Network. To my surprise, and to the especial surprise of my inner hermit, I’m having a blast. While she runs around with her camera photographing everything, I’m in amongst the people, talking, asking questions and generally having a great time. I don’t know how this happened as I’ve always thought of myself as a loner and someone who just doesn’t do well with people. Maybe on some levels that’s still true, but I know now that it doesn’t have to stay that way.

I’m learning that when people see someone with a notebook taking notes, they’re curious. When they find out you’re a writer/journalist, many are anxious to talk and share.

This weekend, we attended what was publicized as a beer event, but also featured about 20 food trucks. But these weren’t just any food trucks! Each and every one of them was owned and operated by chefs…not cooks, but chefs. One of them was a collaboration of 3 who had recently left the restaurant where they all worked. Their exit took the executive chef, chef de cuisine and pastry chef, and ultimately one of the cooks as well. You know it’s not about the money when three high level chefs turn their skills to running a food truck! They have a passion and a dream.

And that’s where I’m reminded I do too, and that I’m not going to realize them by sitting in my house day after day, maybe pounding away at this keyboard. I’m not going to find it going out on the same nights every week to the same place and seeing the same people who may or may not care whether I’m there or not, and it doesn’t really matter either way.

I’m going to find it by, for now, helping my friend chase her dream because in helping her, I’m giving myself a gift I didn’t even know I wanted or deserved. I’m gaining confidence, learning how to get people to talk about themselves, feeling the passion from those who do have the sense to follow what their heart wants. And I’m stretching those writing chops of mine into unknown directions where I just have to fake it ’til I make it. Except I realized tonight, I’m no longer faking it. I’m really loving the new directions, the places we’re going, the people I’m talking to. This is my new adventure, and the best part of it is that I really don’t know where it’s going to take me, and it doesn’t matter!

GOYA (Get off your Ass)

Though I wouldn’t recommend quitting your 9-5 job like I did, without a real plan or source of income, I’d definitely suggest you take a good, hard look at what you’re doing with your life and how it makes you feel. If you have settled into a life of sameness, make sure that’s what you really want, and if it isn’t, start by making small changes. Most important, find people who align with what you really want, and help them chase their dream until yours comes around and smacks you in the face.

My gratititudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for my friend, Jesse who drags me out of my comfort zone on a regular basis.
2. I am grateful to John and the NeuroGym team who are helping me improve my health, my outlook, my ambition, my drive and how I’m spending my time these days.
3. I am grateful to the friends and family who cheer me on, egg me on and kick my butt when I need it. Without the encouragement, I would still be existing instead of living.
4. I am grateful for my writing skills and my constant efforts to improve them; sometimes by studying, but more often by just exercising the muscle in a variety of ways.
5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, inspiration, motivation, community, peace, harmony, healthy, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

Caring is Sharing

Days One Through Three of #InfinitePossibilitiesProject

I was inspired to start the year off with Tut’s Infinite Possibilities Project, a 30 day plan to, as I see it, supercharge the manifestation of my dreams. As my own twist on the project, I’ve decided to share my journal entries periodically. Read: when they reach an appropriate length for a blog post. As today’s activity (which I could have continued forever, and will probably add to as the day goes on) caused me to reach that point, here is my first of, hopefully, many posts on the #InfinitePossibilitiesProject.

Day 1

For Day 1, we were asked to make a list of goals and prioritize it. Here is mine, subject to change and revision as the month unfolds.
January 1, 2016
1. Write regularly
2. Get published
3. Build relationships
4. Improve health practices
5. Be a mentor
6. Expand my business-gain steady clients

Day 2

For Day 2, we were asked to choose a one-word theme and explain what it meant to us. My theme is Expansion. What it means to me is that I will step further outside my comfort zone. I will create more, but also experience more; meet new people, perhaps travel to a place I’ve never been; attend a writers’ conference or two; write for niches I am not yet even considering and get up in front of a large group of people and talk.

Day 3

For Day 3, we were asked to get into the details and create a passionate sense of excitement. Here is where my imagination ran amok, which if you ask me is a very good thing.

January 3, 2015 Emotional details of my theme, Expansion

Sharing in the excitement of the successes of fellow writers and freelancers and having them share in mine.

Meeting with other writers, feeling the creative energy, the flow, the mass intelligence, the sharing of ideas, the criticisms and compliments.

Standing on the porch of my new home watching the waves crash on the shore far below me with one or several of the cats beside me, a fragrant cup of coffee in my hand. I breathe in the scents of ocean and of the trees and bushes growing around the house. Perhaps I wander over to one of the guest cottages to visit a fellow artist and bring them freshly baked muffins to enjoy with their own morning beverage of choice. We share our progress from the previous day, maybe walk around the property enjoying the sounds, the scents, the feel of nature around us.

Watching the numbers for my book sales rising, and feeling that sense of accomplishment even as new ideas are chasing themselves around in my subconscious. Accepting calls, emails and messages of congratulations while encouraging others in the groups I frequent to never give up on pursuing their dreams.

Standing before thousands of people on the TED stage, my talk well rehearsed, yet still glancing at cue cards to stave off my nervousness. When I start to speak, the nervousness falls away, chased off by the passion I feel for my topic and for the people who listen quietly and perhaps, react positively to what I’m saying. Receiving indications, perhaps only small, but no less valuable that my words have touched at least one person in a positive and helpful fashion.

Tucking my shirt into my slacks for the first time in years. Standing up tall and feeling the strength in my arms, shoulders, back and limbs, knowing that the efforts I’ve made to live a healthier life have had amazing results and have created a more youthful feel when everything moves smoothly and without effort or pain.

Going dancing at new and different places with confidence, joy and passion. Meeting new people and learning about their lives (a writer is always on the lookout for new material). Breaking free of old habits and seeing more of the world in general; maybe even traveling out of the country and using that passport!

I write the very last check to pay off the very last debt. My bank account is full and I finally get to write that $10,000 check to Cat House on the Kings. I set up a regular shipment of food or other necessities. I am able to pay cash for anything I want or need, but have learned from being in debt to live more simply. I have the house of my dreams, the ability to share it with friends, fruit trees and vegetable gardens both for my own use and to share with others. I’m providing employment for a dozen or so people and providing benefits and a living wage. Perhaps some live on the property.

I have a gorgeous chef’s kitchen where I may do my own thing or share it with my daughter or friends who love to cook or bake (Bea). I have gatherings frequently where either I or my guests and I make wonderful, tasty messes. And I have someone who cleans up after me.

Setting the Tone for the Month and Year Ahead

With each exercise, I feel my excitement for the year ahead growing even stronger than it was on New Year’s Eve. My passion is building and the possibilities are flowing almost faster than I can get them down. Above all, I want to share this project with anyone else with a mind to kick-start their year and amp up their goals. If you would like to do more than follow my journey, check out Tut’s Love Your Life in 30 Days

If you do decide to join me, I hope you’ll share your progress, not only on the Infinite Possibilities Project Facebook page, but with me in my comments. If you have a blog and choose to share there, please be sure to send me a link so I can follow you too!

My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful to be participating in the Infinite Possibilities Project.
2. I am grateful for all of the encouragement and support which has been placed in my path lately.
3. I am grateful for renewed momentum.
4. I am grateful for love, passion and creativity.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, support, encouragement, motivation, inspiration, friends both old and new, peace, philanthropy, harmony, hope and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

September 20, 2014 In the waning hours before the dark dawn of a new day.

Tonight’s title sounds a bit ominous, doesn’t it? But all I really mean is that I began tonight’s post at 11:57, just before my computer and WordPress will tell me that it is now tomorrow, despite the fact that it is dark as pitch outside, hardly what I would consider the dawn of a new day! As often happens, I sat down to write tonight’s post, my mind a blank as to what the topic would be or what might come from my fingers. But today has been a good day for writing and idea flow, so why should my blog be exempt from such fortuitous energy?

I finally sat myself down in front of the computer, a picture in my mind of the scene I wished to set, and lo and behold, the words flowed! (That was accidental poetry, I assure you. My poetic talents are the stuff of which literary nightmares are made which is why I stick with prose.) Suddenly, I found that ideas where coming so hard and fast, it was all I could do to keep up, much less put them in an order which resembled sensible. Even while I meditated, drove to my Saturday night dance spot, and sat chatting with friends, the ideas still flowed. Thank goodness for the notes function in my phone, else some of those ideas would now be lost in the ether. I’ve learned that if I want to save something that just pops into my head, I’d best jot it down somewhere before it is overtaken by 27 more random thoughts and ideas. Though for some reason, the ones which came when I was trying to meditate managed to stick with me until I once again sat before the computer and got them down. Persistent little devils they were!

At any rate, I believe I resolved my editorial issues with obsolescence, but will know more over the next couple of days. That isn’t to say that I won’t override opposition to my solution, if I feel strongly enough about it. Clearly, the things I’ve re-done, when met with criticism/opposition were not strong enough to justify my full and complete support of their continued existence. Such is the writer’s life. Constantly having to justify our logic in including this detail or that.

I’m also learning that the reader’s perspective, especially when that reader is critiquing my work, is definitely relevant. A reader who read very little as a child will have a very different perspective on things than I, who read as voraciously then as I do now, would. They may have little experience with the type of story I’m choosing to write, so I must take that into consideration when sifting through their critique and suggestions. Regardless of their perspective, I am sure to glean a few gems from what they have to say, and as such, am working hard to keep my mind and eyes open to be sure I don’t overlook anything which might be useful now or somewhere down the line.

To be sure, in just the last week, I have learned a great deal, including the realization that the seeming compliment about my editorial abilities was probably not a compliment at all, but the speaker’s attempt at humor because he was unimpressed with my contribution to the read and critique. Even when I’ve had several books published, there will always be those who are unimpressed with my work, and that is very much their right. It is also my right to refrain from taking what they say to heart, so we both leave happy.

For now, the biggest lesson I’m learning is to listen a lot, take a few notes and walk away a little wiser. Then, take what I’ve learned and try to implement what will make my own work better. At this point in my process, I do not expect rave reviews over what is clearly still a rough draft of the final product. What I do expect is honesty. If I let my feelings be hurt by someone who is notably unimpressed by my first serious efforts, I am not only following the wrong path, but I’m taking their words personally. The topic under discussion is the words I’ve put on paper, not me as a human being. And while I’m on the subject, what others think of me as a human being is really none of my business. They are entitled to their thoughts, no matter how unflattering they might be to me. I only have a problem if I start believing those unflattering thoughts!

One lesson I have learned very well is to look myself in the mirror several times a day and remind me how special and wonderful I am. I might, at times, also accompany my words with a “You’re looking especially good today!” despite the fact that I know full well that appearances are merely illusions. But as I immerse myself in the mindset of “Author”, why not also immerse myself in the mindset of “You look Mah-velous, Dahlink!”

There was a song in the play “The King and I” which has taken on new meaning for me lately. In the song, she sings “Whenever I feel afraid, I hold myself erect, and whistle a happy tune so no one will suspect I’m afraid.” It goes on to say “…the happiness in my tune convinces me that I’m not afraid.” That pretty much sums up my current attitude. I convince myself that I am an author or I’m worthy or any number of things, and before I know it, I have risen to the occasion. Not only that, as I, like a butterfly, emerge from the cocoon of disbelieving, I find that my energy is better, my posture improves and I just feel taller, lighter, stronger…all of the things which go along with the self-portrait I allowed myself to grow into.

Confidence is a funny thing. In order to have it, you have to be confident, but to be confident, you must have confidence in yourself. Rather a Catch-22 if you ask me. What is happening in your life at a particular moment might not be the best confidence booster, but the key, I believe, is not to focus on what is going on in the moment, but on what you expect to be going on in another moment or two. In other words, you create a reason to be confident and the confidence itself will follow.

Thus, I am confident in my ability to be a successful writer/author, and abracadabra, it is done! Try it yourself! You’ll be amazed at the results. All you really have to do is believe!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that I have learned to believe.
2. I am grateful for criticism as it teaches me about what I’m doing as well as more about myself as a person. It’s all in how we respond to suggestions for improvement, regardless of how they might be wrapped.
3. I am grateful for a wonderful night of dancing with my friends.
4. I am grateful that the words have begun to flow more readily, and that I realized I needed to take a couple of steps back to allow the blocks to clear.
5. I am grateful for abundance: inspiration, creativity, friendship, love, support, imagination, confidence, harmony, peace, health and prosperity.


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