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

Posts tagged ‘Blog posts’

Finally Putting Myself First

Who’s Looking Out For Me?

For most of my life, I was convinced it was my responsibility to please other people. Whether it was parents and teachers when I was younger, bosses and boyfriends as I moved into my 20’s, children, friends, and co-workers as my 30’s and 40’s slipped by—not once during those decades did I pause for a moment to ask:

Who’s looking out for me?

The harsh reality was, no one. Everyone had expectations, and I suppose they all assumed I took care of my own. And yet, I didn’t. I ate poorly, slept badly, gave up dancing to schlep my daughters to practices and events while they were in high school, worked long hours for thankless, self-serving bosses. The only things I got out of it were a marginally decent paycheck, and a lot of extra pounds.

Don’t get me wrong. The time and effort I spent on my daughters was a labor of love. It wasn’t their job to take care of me, though as they grew older, Heather, at least made an effort at times, when her own life wasn’t overwhelming her. And she was definitely the driving force behind me getting back to doing one thing I’ve always loved; writing.

Forgetting to Put My Own Health and Welfare First

But I always put things like healthy eating, regular exercise, and me time on hold until I had less on my plate. Of course the day didn’t come until long after Heather moved out. I didn’t give myself permission to put myself first until all other responsibilities; kids, job, friends; were no longer a factor.

That’s when I started paying more attention to what I needed. I put myself on a gym schedule, increased the number of blog posts I wrote, finished the first draft of my memoir, and so much more.

I discovered the more I gained control of my own wants and needs, the more able I was to organize something else. My house grew less cluttered. My health improved, and when I was faced with revisiting my diet or taking blood pressure medication, the answer was obvious. I increased my weekly blog posting to three and my pre-scheduling to at least two weeks. And I added thrice-weekly posts to Medium.com as well.

Falling into Old Habits

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-8w9YqrStill, it wasn’t long before I began doing things for other people, even when it conflicted with my own needs. Nothing major really, but enough to bring my migraines back more frequently. It took me awhile to realize where my problem lay, but when I did, I took a giant step back.

I looked at how little I’d been getting done aside from what I’d already put in place. Nothing new had been added in months, and I was spending too much time either parked in front of the TV or playing computer games. I was wasting my best writing time, late nights, on mindlessness. And it had to stop!

I looked around myself at all the projects I wanted done but couldn’t bring myself to start. I tried to ignore the preparations I’d made to re-write my memoir after getting the editor’s notes. I cringed at my failed attempts to write regular articles for Elephant Journal.

Re-Committing to Me

It all came down to one monkey I thought I’d gotten off my back. Once again, I https://www.flickr.com/photos/prestonrhea/5236270625/in/photolist-8YHfQ2-4X1dP6-P58XGS-dmtrwi-2pMKC-nC1YD-QxGsf-q4rWqa-8HeDZc-o8pVg-8mXR4g-o7nP7c-8jQqTQ-bPxsQc-dJusGN-78jLU7-98LY1P-dYGYNq-cgtYSu-cgu1F7-7rMJ9R-6z6KQA-6VuMG-6Jfxqk-4bbwMg-dmtxds-9Rf6xQ-v8gDMa-9PqETD-4MsUzv-ptUKap-a2BfLR-4UtU1B-4UtSun-5dBS8k-7eGxtr-7nUbqa-7nUbW8-fBZ3S4-5M1h3P-8DYirc-8E2uBh-6r2V98-7oFgff-7oBon2-7oBpbn-7oBoG6-7oFfRo-vPhUL-jk3BYpwas failing myself. I was blowing off all the commitments I’d made to move my life and business forward. I’d allowed myself to become discouraged by a combination of other peoples’ opinions and my own lack of progress.

So many times in the last few years I’ve recognized a need to take a few steps back and take stock. To look at where I am now, where I’ve been, and where I still want to go. Part of the solution is to re-set intentions. Part is to use my time more wisely. But most of it is to rekindle the flame inside me that burns away feelings of unworthiness, inability, fear, and ineptitude. In recent months, I’d allowed that flame to burn low, if not go out.

I’ve filled my weeks with more dance nights. But my alone time has been an endless chain of ennui. I’ve convinced myself I’m doing well to stick to the schedule I’ve made for writing blog posts, but have written nothing for others in the last month. I’ve made no effort to work on any of my larger projects, or even set myself a schedule for completing them.

Filling My Time With Uselessness

When I sit down at my computer at night, I open a game or social media instead of a document. Even my passion for reading has gone unfulfilled.

Sure, I write my morning pages every day, but most days, they’re filled with comments about the cats or other meaningless drivel. I’ve lost sight of their true purpose; to dredge up my innermost thoughts and drag out what’s truly bothering me and keeping me from moving forward. I’ve even seen only an occasional blog idea rather than the many I used to get from a single day’s writing. My dreams are vivid, but by the time I hit snooze a few times, they and whatever message they might have held disappears and never makes it to my morning pages.

But the real problem still comes down to one thing. I’ve stopped honoring commitments to myself. I haven’t really replaced them with anything substantial. Occasionally, I’m an ear for a friend, but even that’s become infrequent of late. Mostly, I’m simply avoiding.

Recognizing My Avoidance Behavior

https://www.flickr.com/photos/158790927@N08/25811269728/in/photolist-FjRveS-9bdN4K-dKT3m8-anLPS8-G2jGGP-666Dfo-9m3HTB-2ybGf6-9iiWLY-25XfULY-7a6uQa-U9eETw-7DiPVT-p9S65F-e2GNW6-vQhq-4X1zBQ-21j28Rw-aThcrK-RtCD8e-JQymgD-4tNbf5-pHEbRM-6Spn3F-q6BKxR-dFUcvG-pRv5H1-a83xB-3BDEC4-51zVdg-qDXFZQ-ZxzHMW-5QUcWa-sRkDaA-nwfiJe-D2A2dy-6mzNAb-51EaCE-dH2iC3-51zW7R-qy8Bsg-2fiQNc-4rnFvK-cGPQZG-jKU2zx-rpgXY4-oUjEqW-6AiPdn-8GTCLG-9VrnVKAvoiding what, you ask? First and foremost, finishing my memoir and figuring out how and where I’ll publish it. After that, it’s doing things to improve my physical environment like sanding the walls in the bathroom and applying the paint I bought months ago, or digging up weeds in the yard I thought about doing while we had rain and the ground was soft. Now it’s summer and the days are hotter, giving me more excuses to put that project on hold yet again.

I’m also avoiding working through a course which will help me create a client funnel, and thus, more business. I’m making excuses, most of which are pure garbage. I tell myself I don’t know where to find people who need a ghostwriter or even an accountant. But have I put forth the effort to learn where they hang out? Barely.

I’ve also talked about trading more blog posts for coaching sessions, but have yet to offer up a schedule I promised a couple of weeks ago.

Taking Positive Steps

Now I could keep beating myself up for letting myself down, but frankly, that would simply extend this already interminably dull and unproductive cycle. Instead, I write about it here, taking credit and responsibility for what I’ve done and where I am so I can come to terms with it and move on.

The funny thing is, if someone let me down like this, I’d address the issue and try to find a solution. I wouldn’t let it drag on forever. I’d send a follow up email or text and open a dialogue. It’s really no different with myself except the dialogue is done with pen and paper, or fingers and keyboard instead of voices or emails.

In a way, I’ve already done most of the work by writing this post. I’ve pulled out the issues, and if I don’t fully understand the causes behind my latest round of self-sabotage, I’ve at least acknowledged it’s happening, and that I’m aware of it. Like any kind of obsession or addiction, the first step is admitting it’s a problem. In the coming weeks and months, I can work on the solution. I can acknowledge all the things I do to avoid the commitments to myself, and I can offer convincing arguments against any value in avoidance.

Using My Writing to Set Myself Right

The solutions are always in my writing even when writing is the problem. In fact, when writing is the problem, sitting down and writing are my best direction out of the pit I’ve likely crawled into while avoiding writing. Funny how that works.

Some might say I set my personal expectations high, but in reality, they’re fairly low. Write my morning pages every day. Easy. Write at least a few words or a blog post daily. A little tougher, but not outlandish. Keep my personal space clean. A bit harder with my piglets of cats who simply cannot be trained to clean up after themselves, but still do-able.

As for the bigger projects like the bathroom and the yard, I’m confident when I clear the blocks around my writing and business building, those projects will be my reward for a job well done.

Above all, I think I need a reminder for those times when I forget my most important commitment is me.

Identifying the Many Things I Have to be Grateful For

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for little things that remind me to take better care of myself and my own needs.
  2. I am grateful for the gift of writing which always gets me back on track provided I remember to use it.
  3. I am grateful for my daughter Heather who single-handedly got me back to writing regularly, even if sometimes it was kicking and screaming.
  4. I am grateful for all the people who continue to read, support, and encourage my writing.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, joy, writing, friendship, inspiration, motivation, ladders out of the abyss, 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

Giving Our Dreams a Kick in the Pants

Dreams That Come to Us by Day

You can find the Facebook Live where I talk about Dreams by clicking the link.

Dreams are funny things. When they come at night, they’re often gone by morning. When we do remember a bit or two, the rest evades us the harder we try to capture the essence.

Even our waking dreams; the ones we imagine intentionally, can be equally resistant to capture and implementation. Sometimes we just need patience, but for others, we might need a little help. It might be that those dreams have too many components to implement all at once. Or it might be that we need to clarify what it is we actually want so we can focus in on the steps required to achieve it.

We could simply run them by our family and friends, but I’ve found they’re often too close to us and too engaged in what makes our heart sing. There are times we just need an outsider who asks us the right questions; the difficult questions that make us figure out for ourselves where we need our focus to be…at least for the time being. I finally realized after drifting aimlessly for the last 3 years (assuming finishing 3 Nano’s and having 5 pieces and an active blog is aimless) that I needed help whittling down the veritable cacophony of ideas into one or two workable tasks.

Helping Corner Our Dreams Instead of Fruitlessly Chasing Them

The decision made, I took advantage of a couple of sample sessions, keeping my senses alert for someone who resonated with me. That’s not to say each wasn’t helpful in their own way, but like any therapy, there was a certain something, a click if you will I needed to feel in order to put my dollars down and embark on a journey with a virtual stranger.

I admit, it was a little scary, opening my private hopes and dreams to someone I knew little or nothing about. Frankly, the monetary consideration was the least of my concerns. What if they told me my dreams were all wet and I needed to go back to the drawing board. Or worse, what if my dreams of being a writer were of the pipe variety and could never come to pass.

Fortunately, as of this writing, the coach I found realizes writing is my true passion and is working with me to make at least a part of my long-term dreams a reality. That isn’t to say I’m being relieved of the frustration I’ve been experiencing lately. Nor does it mean I can sit back and wait for someone to discover me. (trust me, that only happens in the movies). It means we’re trying different things to see what might get things rolling business-wise so I can ultimately give myself permission to continue writing the things which are long-term projects, not a steady source of income.

Re-writing My Money Story

For awhile, I hated the idea of having to charge people for my services, but let’s be realistic. The bills need to be paid if I want a roof over my head, power for the internet connection, the internet connection itself, and food for my furry roommates. In my eyes, those roomies are all incredibly adorable (and Dylan is great at keeping me at my desk scratching his belly, er, working for hours at a time) but lack the earning capacity of Grumpy Cat and others. Or maybe I just haven’t learned to market their cuteness as effectively.

At any rate, I’m learning there’s no shame in writing for money. I may not be ready or willing to write sales pitches, but there are many ways to put words to screen for compensation without sacrificing my integrity.

Learning to Attract Rather Than Repel Potential Clients

I’ve learned some tough lessons along the way. No matter how much I might love a person’s content, they are often unwilling to entertain the idea that their editing sucks rocks, no matter how politely I might word it. They are often unconvinced that people get the twitches when their copy is filled with grammatical and spelling errors galore. And maybe they’re right. Maybe my sensitivity to those errors puts me in the minority. But I have to admit that I will stop reading even the most useful information if I find too many errors. I can’t help myself. It’s my version of fingernails on the blackboard.

One of the biggest things a coach can help me with is wording things to attract rather than repel potential clients. She can teach me the words to use which will inspire entrepreneurs to take a chance on a content writer, but not just any content writer, this content writer!

Choosing Your Marketing Plan With Care

I’ve seen a plethora of marketing techniques which turn me off, and strive to avoid using them. But I’m also learning that what I might consider badgering is simply an offer to someone else. What I might consider being helpful is considered offensive or insulting to someone else.

Then there’s the matter of what a friend told me recently. She said I need to “think like a Millenial”.  In other words, drop the need to sound professional because Millenials are “…the meat and bones of the market.” Great!

Becoming Fluent in “Millenial”

Of course, learning to speak the language isn’t a bad thing as far as my writing is concerned. The more realistic I can make my characters, the better. Some of you might remember the challenges I voiced a while back about “teen speak”. It appears there’s also a “Millenial speak” which I’ve yet to learn, much less master.

Step One: Admit You Need Help

This leads me in my typical roundabout fashion to the need to invest in a coach or coaches. Currently, I’m working on just getting my business out to the content-buying public. I’ve put aside my efforts to market a laundry list of skills in favor of one, single item; blog posts.

Even so, I am learning to be both persistent and patient, two skills I have a tendency to replace with procrastination and scatteredness. But if this old dog can hire a business coach or three, she can learn some new tricks too. I just need to keep reminding myself to recognize the small wins along the way.

Where Have You Taken Advantage of Coaching?

Over to you now. Here’s your chance to share your own experiences and help the rest of us at the same time! Have you taken advantage of a coach of some kind to help move your dreams and skill sets forward? I’m learning coaches come in many different varieties, inspiring us physically, mentally, and emotionally. A different perspective can help us get out of a rut or move us forward faster than we’ve been able to do on our own. You just have to find the right fit.

Remembering to Take Time Out for Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned and those still to come.
  2. I am grateful for a mind that’s being compelled to open wider and wider.
  3. I am grateful for both the help and opportunities which come into my life when they’re needed.
  4. I am grateful for the examples and suggestions my friends, family and new acquaintances offer.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, expertise, sharing, caring, opportunities, new connections, old connections, life, joy, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Blessed Be

 

 

A Dearth of Posts

This week has been a busy one. I took on a Virtual Assistant course in hopes of learning how to better market the skills I developed from the many years of office work, from basic grunt to manager. 23 lessons in, I’ve reached a similar crossroads to the one at which I found myself when going through the Freelance course. To wit, who in the heck should I be pitching to? Who is my market? I know how to find them, if I could only figure out who they are.

The prize at the end of this course, should I get it right, and aside from food, shelter and cat food is Line Dance Cruise #4. Unlike last year, I will no longer allow myself to go into debt for the cruise. The Cruise is in late February which gives me less than 3 months to generate a steady income stream. An aggressive goal, I know, but one I feel can be reached if I apply myself.

So if you see fewer blog posts it’s because my attention is split between growing my business and finishing the latest revision of Sasha’s Journey. (209 pages done, 154 to go and 14 days to get there. That’s only 11 pages a day! Easy peasy! The next chapter consumes 5 of tomorrow’s 11 all by itself!)

Feel free to leave me a comment even if you have to use an older post. I respond to all except spam.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for goals.
2. I am grateful for friendship.
3. I am grateful for dancing.
4. I am grateful for my minor obsessions. They make great stories if nothing else.
5. I am grateful for abundance; clients, work, successful marketing plans, incentives, innovation, motivation, love, friends, kitty cuddles, energy, hope, peace, harmony, prosperity and philanthropy.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and https://www.facebook.com/HLWTAccounting . Please also drop by my website, http://www.shericonaway.com 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!

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