Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world my beautiful, vulnerable self!

Posts tagged ‘accomplishments’

Managing Distractions to Meet My Deadlines

Distractions Everywhere 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 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

Lining Up Your Ducks: Grabbing Opportunities as they Arise

Raising Awareness of the Opportunities Around Us

All too often we wander through life stuck inside our own minds. We struggle through problems and challenges, oblivious to the fact that solutions are sitting there, waiting for us to notice them. Most of the time, they wait patiently, like a dutiful child waits for an adult to invite them to speak. But when the Universe becomes tired of waiting, its impatience manifests in ways we can’t ignore.

Whether we make the connection between those irritants, both major and minor, and the problems we’re letting our mind wrestle with is entirely up to us.

Physical Challenges are Indications of Personal Challenges

Lately, I’ve had a frustrating time with a plumbing leak. First it was, then it wasn’t. It was here, then it was there. I lived with two holes in my slab, only to have the leak reappear in an entirely different place. At least the leak is now fixed and the holes are patched, all but the surprise hole in the wall I found when I was replacing the contents of the closet where the repair was made.

I spent a lot of time thinking about the issues with the plumbing in my house. I thought about the way I’d used excessive amounts of water and natural gas before becoming aware of the problem with my pipes. I realized that while my house was hemorrhaging natural resources, so was I, in my own way. But where were the leaks in my personal life? What resources (aside from the obvious one, money) was I hemorrhaging?

Recognizing When Plumbing Leaks Tell you to Look Within

While waiting for the leak to reappear and get fixed, I spent a lot of time meditating. I found it really tough to actually sit quietly and focus when I felt like my world was coming apart at the seams. Yet, I knew the only way to get things back in balance was to work through the frustrations calmly.

I began asking myself questions. How did the initial inaccurate locating of the leak apply to me personally? Where was I inaccurately locating my own dwindling or misused resources? While I was waiting for the leak to re-appear, I asked myself what I might be using to mask the real problem.

Not surprisingly, once I started asking myself the right questions about my personal life, the leak re-appeared, was accurately located, and repaired. I don’t see this as a coincidence.

When a new issue arose, the unmentioned hole in the wall, I asked even more questions.

How are other things affected when my attention is diverted? What am I still avoiding or neglecting?

Hidden outflow of resources

In the midst of hyper focusing on the leaks without and within, I completely missed another area where things were out of balance. My cat Toby suddenly lost a lot of weight and was refusing to eat more than a few bites. For better or worse, the vet I see now tends to look at worst case scenarios. Though the tests pointed to pancreatitis, she felt there was reason to test for lymphoma as well. Though an ultrasound revealed a couple of masses in Toby’s abdomen, the minimally invasive tests failed to turn up any cancerous cells. I’ve been treating the pancreatitis and am seeing a marked improvement in his appetite  and behavior in only a week. He’s even regained almost a pound of what he lost!

Yet again I was forced to recognize that working through everything with only my brain and emotions was a sure-fire road to failure. As long as I focused on how upset I was instead of how sick he was, we made no progress. As soon as I made it about him and his comfort, he started making more effort to eat, and I got the encouraging lab work back. We put him on appropriate medication for the pancreatitis, and now, he’s acting like his old cuddly, demanding self again. He has enough energy to eat solid food, and lets me know in no uncertain terms when it’s time to give him more of the deli turkey he’s taken a fancy to.

And boy, did everything else suffer while I wallowed! I didn’t dance, I didn’t talk to anyone, I didn’t write, and I didn’t do a single thing to help my business grow and thrive.

Pay Attention to Opportunities that Arise

Recognizing when your focus is misdirected is the first step towards recognizing the opportunities which have been right in front of you the entire time. How many did I miss while my focus was too narrow, too self-involved? How many do you miss when you forget to look at the whole forest and not just one sickly little tree?

Our lives ebb and flow in a constant, ever-changing cycle. We only truly recognize it when we look back and see how what appeared to be a disaster at the time turned out to be one of the best things ever. It brought a kaleidoscope of color into our black-and-white life. We found things within ourselves we’d never have found had we not been forcibly ejected from the comfortable rut we’d dug ourselves.

Whether it’s a job you’ve lost or a relationship that ended, they all lead us to where we are at this moment. A song by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band which was later re-recorded by Rascal Flatts epitomizes this idea. Our broken roads truly do lead us to where we are today.


Laws of Attraction Doesn’t Happen in a Vacuum

If you believe in the Laws of Attraction (and not everyone does), you are probably setting intentions and seeing yourself in better situations than you currently experience. You visualize like crazy, flip your attitude, and a dozen other tools you’ve learned from the books and videos, and perhaps a webinar or two. You might also have figured out that visualizing and positive thinking alone aren’t enough.

Laws of Attraction is not now, nor ever has been about sitting around on a lily pad visualizing a better life and expecting it to drop into your lap with no effort on your part. In order to attract the life you envision (or an even better one) you have to recognize what I like to call the stepping stones.

Each time you complete a step, an opportunity you’ve been given and acted upon, you’ll be given another. But you won’t even reach the first step in your journey unless you pay attention to the signals, opportunities, and even warnings you manifest when you set those intentions. You probably won’t achieve those dreams or have the opportunity to set new ones. You’ll sit in your hovel joining the ranks who write endless posts debunking the Laws of Attraction, The Secret, and others who insist the process works.

It’s pretty simple, really. You don’t learn to dance by sitting on a bar stool and you don’t improve your life by wishing it into existence alone.

Solve the Mysteries

What’s holding you back? What challenges are you facing in your outer life that point to issues within? What signs have you been ignoring? What steps aren’t you taking to manifest your dreams? Let your mind drift. Watch those thoughts and emotions float by without engaging. They’re there, certainly. But we needn’t allow ourselves to live a life of conditioned responses. Do you really want to react to things the way you did when you were 5? or 12? or heaven forbid, 16? Feelings we formed as children and teenagers will continue to arise unless we teach ourselves that what triggered the conditioned responses no longer carries the same emotional impact.

Look at the feelings when they arise without reacting. Put on your detective hat and trace them back to their origins. See how they no longer serve your best and highest purpose—and let them go!

Embrace Periods of Uncertainty.

What about those gut feelings? The ones we feel as physical discomfort or even pain. What do they mean? Try looking at what’s happening in your life to find the trigger. Did you have a fight with someone? Is your job in jeopardy? Bills piling up? Is someone close to you ill? Is something in need of repair?

Have you experienced any of this before? How did you feel? Most important, how did you deal with it? Did you come out OK in the end?

Know that you don’t have to have all of the answers. Sometimes, you have to let something play out without reacting, or more likely, over-reacting. Be OK with not knowing. The answer will come at the right time and no amount of pushing, prodding, or worrying will make it come any faster. Accept that the information you need may not be available yet. Remain open so you’ll be ready.

Taking time to Be

Many of us are conditioned to be, do, solve, and resolve. We think we have to come up with all of the answers; all the solutions. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Even the most isolated among us can’t possibly do or solve everything. Yet learning to receive is often one of the toughest lessons we ever have to learn. And yes, we have to learn it. It’s scary because we’ve told ourselves asking for help makes us vulnerable. Maybe we can even cite an instance where doing so kicked us in the pants. If we gave up on everything that knocked us down, we’d never learn anything new. If you take it back to the very basics, we’d still be depending on someone to feed us pre-digested food which we’d poop out into a diaper!

Life is about doing things that scare us. It’s about taking chances, and making mistakes. We take a chance every day when we get out of bed. We could fall. We could cut ourselves. All the calamities we risk just moving around our own homes could bring on a full-fledged panic attack—if we let them. But we don’t. We take chances. We put ourselves out there. We learn new things.

Sometimes, what we learn is how to let go. It’s OK to do nothing at times. Though it might be hard to sit back and wait, sometimes that’s exactly what you need to do. Give yourself permission to step back and wait. It is a better answer than trying to force things. Let things unfold naturally. Let someone offer to help, and take them up on it without dissolving into a quivering mass of fear over what you mistakenly perceive as vulnerability. Because what you’re really doing is giving someone a chance to fulfill a need in themselves to help someone else!

Challenges Come to Us For a Reason

To sum it all up, the challenges in our lives aren’t really challenges at all. They’re opportunities to move further along our path. Each one mastered brings us closer to one of our dreams. Sure, they may not seem like opportunities at the time. Sometimes, we just have to take what’s before us at face value, putting one foot in front of the other until we get past the bumps in our road.

Some are gentle and others are what I like to call “Universal Head Slaps”. They kick our butts and force us to put everything we have into learning the lesson. I believe those are truly the best ones because afterwards, we’re left with not only some new skills, but a tremendous feeling of accomplishment. Anyone who has been through a divorce or a death in the family knows the sense of pride that comes with weathering one of life’s tougher storms. You get to add another “I got through that!” to your list of outstanding accomplishments. You’re stronger and smarter for the experience. You’ll need those tools for the challenges and opportunities to come.

Whether You Call Then Challenges or Opportunities, Gratitude Makes Your Road Less Rocky

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the challenges which became opportunities to be stronger, smarter, and closer to my dreams.
  2. I am grateful for the times when the road was smooth and the times when it felt like I was herding cats.
  3. I am grateful for the people who are helping me learn the joys of receiving.
  4. I am grateful for the gift which allows me to communicate the lessons I’ve learned.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, challenges and opportunities, sharing, caring, compassion, vulnerability, strength, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

The Facebook Live on this topic can be found here.

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information.


Photo courtesy of Russellstreet via Flikr

August 2, 2015 Taking Stock

Looking Back on the Last 7 Months

I don’t know whether it’s the lazy, heat-filled days of summer or the nostalgic music of my high school and college days playing in the background, but today I was prompted to look back at all I’ve accomplished this year. I choose only to look at this year and not the entire time I’ve been pursuing a writing career, eschewing the security of a regular paycheck because it wasn’t until this year that I’ve really seen progress.

Certainly, I’ve still found myself wandering off track and trying to pursue the mighty buck instead of being true to my craft, but all in all, this year has been one of forward momentum. The list might not be a long one, but each accomplishment meant hours upon hours of my heart and soul poured out on a page, and more, ruthlessly edited, knowing that it won’t be the first time I cut the children of my imagination to pieces, only to reassemble them again in ways I hope will improve them and make them interesting to someone besides myself. So without further ado, here is what makes me feel that this year has been worthwhile:

  • Completed the first edit of Sasha’s Journey
  • Completed the first draft of A Dubious Gift
  • Completed the second edit of Sasha’s Journey’s first four chapters
  • Started a new short story, The Elemental Tree
  • Completed Gina Horkey’s 30 Day Freelance course.
  • Sold 6 blog posts to BlogMutt
  • Launched my web page on which I continue to make improvements as I learn new things.
  • Got my first blogging client
  • Read numerous books about writing and put some of what I’ve learned into practice (thank you, Mr. Bradbury and Mr. King to name just two).
  • Re-organized my office into a writer’s office instead of an accountant’s office, complete with white board, colored pens, magnets and 5 x 7 index cards.
  • Cleared a shelf for my books on writing.
  • Continue to improve on my daily routines and To Do list.
  • Worked with a local critique group both critiquing and being critiqued (put my children’s story, Frederick the Gentlemouse up for review) where I’ve learned a great deal both from critiquing the work of others and listening to what other members of the group have to say.

Though these things might only mean something to me and maybe another writer, they demonstrate that I’m moving in a positive direction towards my goal of being a writer and published author. Though I have more than my share of moments when I ask myself whether I’ve lost my mind and should really get out and find a real job again, those moments are less and less frequent. I’ve faced a lot of fears this year, allowed some to stop me dead in my tracks for awhile and managed others. I will continue to face down those fears and plenty of others which spring up along the way. But as long as I can take stock like this and see what I have accomplished, I know that everything is going to work out just fine.

Most of all, in one way or another, I write every single day (writers don’t really have weekends. They’re just another day to write). It might only be a blog post, though now, it’s often two; one for me and one for my client. I’ve learned that sometimes I need to write a post then walk away from it for a few hours before actually sending it out into the world. Other times, I’m just the pantser I’m so comfortable being and let the thing fly once I’ve checked for obvious typos and grammatical errors, of course! What I realized today after logging so many accomplishments, in fact, more than I realized when I started this post, is that I love the life I have. I love it when I’m creating like crazy. I love it when I’m editing, now that I’ve figured out the formula to make it work for me. I love it when I’m paying my bills at the beginning of the month. And I even love it through those moments of insecurity and dread. Why? Because it’s real. Because it’s mine. And most of all, because I truly am living the dream I set 5 decades ago.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the opportunity to check in with myself and find that I’m right on schedule.
2. I am grateful for friends and family who continue to believe in what I’ve chosen to do.
3. I am grateful for the healthy meals with which I stock my refrigerator and freezer (tonight’s take out Chinese notwithstanding)
4. I am grateful for the morning stretches my body has forced me to adopt. The 20 or 30 minutes I spend giving my body attention pays off in ways I didn’t even imagine.
5. I am grateful for abundance: accomplishments, joy, love, productivity, imagination, inspiration, friendship, kitty love, health, harmony, peace, prosperity and philanthropy.

Blessed Be

I’d appreciate your taking a moment to visit my Facebook pages at and . 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!

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: