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

Posts tagged ‘gratitude’

Self-love is the Fuel That Powers Your Motivation

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pictoquotes/26362491806/in/photolist-857d63-7jecuc-4EKXjp-d1fXnd-dGxXva-CWZ3qm-pEtDtE-3LiJjP-UaGqaP-U4nkQR-pRhHt6-bGpmxT-cYxRaG-9o9aCf-ebCGqX-5i8fuy-84yuGJ-etwRi8-FFKb5u-4G5gCd-awsadF-9pfapc-hsE8Ey-qQun96-5JpNWp-HP9Nyr-BGZwA9-6Ls9DX-TsKYM9-hxME-SsNQJ8-6tki6x-xyvfhG-GayEmN-ytRii1-s5DRhg-ndkt2wFor the last couple of months I’ve gotten off track. I lost sight of what matters and started mistreating myself. It wasn’t anything overt like putting myself in danger. Instead it was more subtle. Missed gym workouts. Unhealthy food. Not enough movement. It all added up to one thing: forgetting to remind myself how much I love both the person I am now and the person I’ve yet to become.

Self-love is one of the most powerful motivators I know. Without it, we’re content to plod along being mediocre instead of celebrating our amazingness. But it needs to be nurtured or like an unwatered flower, it shrivels and dies.

I know I’m not nurturing mine when I consistently put unhealthy food in my mouth, eat when I’m not really hungry, play too many computer games and watch too much TV. It doesn’t matter that I still look myself in the mirror most days and tell myself how much I love me, and how beautiful I am. When the actions don’t support the words, that inner child who wants so much to be loved for herself starts to shrivel and crawl back into her shell.

I saw it happening. The numbers on the scale creeping up. The writing getting neglected. The housework being ignored. Old aches returning from too much sitting. The ill effects of lack of love show themselves quickly, and add up to one big, ugly mess of frustration, anxiety, and gloom. The trouble is, once you start back-sliding, turning things around may not be such an easy thing, though it is certainly worth the effort.

Reading the Signs and Turning it Around

I started by filling my refrigerator with healthy fruits and vegetables, and making another pot of my turkey/kale chili for the freezer. (I’ll post the recipe at the end in case you’re interested). I made a point of getting to the gym at least once each week (better than none, and it is a start) with a plan to get back to my usual 3 times. Most of all, I started asking myself if I was really hungry before opening the refrigerator, and even once I had the door open.

I won’t say I’ve done perfectly this week. I did succumb to a burger and onion rings on errand day, and regretted it soon after. The burger was more bun than meat and the onion rings were overdone; the Universe’s way of telling me I was eating crap and should know better. I didn’t get to the gym on Monday as planned.

On the other hand, I’ve spent a lot more time working on either my writing or client work all week. I danced much later than usual last night after thinking earlier in the evening that I’d cut out early. I even danced through my right knee starting to complain, and by the time I got home, I was pain-free.

Seeing Immediate Results

My accomplishments this week are a true testament to the return of my self-love. After some false starts and a bit of irritation, I realized my friend and favorite butt-kicker, Candy was actually assuming the role of coach, something I needed desperately, but have not been able to justify going further into debt to hire (though Michelle Evans is making inroads into that resolve. She is the perfect combination of spirituality, energy work, and inspiration I think I need right now). She pushed and prodded until I came up with a pretty decent sounding Vision statement. Once she drags the Mission statement out of me as well, they will be added to my website. I just need to figure out where best to showcase them. (though a recent foray into the world of Divi and the realization that it’s not as scary as it seemed may give me a better idea of how, if not where).

Benefits of Learning to Receive

Self-love leads to some interesting revelations. One of the biggest ones is that learning to receive moves you farther along the self-love continuum. Refusing help from others not only denies them the pleasure of giving, but tells the Universe loud and clear I don’t love myself enough to be successful.

Does this sound counter-intuitive? It was for me for a long time. I thought success meant slogging through all of life’s perils and pitfalls by myself so when I reached the top of the mountain, I could say I did it all myself! So there! Boy, is that a load of crap! In the first place, victory and success are hollow if you’re standing all alone at the top of the mountain. In the second, having people who are there to lend a hand or their expertise when the going gets rough or you reach a place where your lack of tools will make the job infinitely more difficult are tremendous assets. You simply get further and faster with a team than alone.

When Helen Reddy sang “I am strong, I am invincible, I am Woman!” she said nothing about doing it alone. In fact, the first two lines speak volumes: “I am woman, hear me roar in numbers too big to ignore…” Sure, one person alone can make a difference. Look at Mother Teresa. But when we allow others to help, we can make an impact of incalculable magnitude because our success causes a ripple effect. The act of allowing others to help us achieve our goals lifts them up and helps them achieve some of theirs. Tell me you don’t feel better about yourself and able to push through some of your own challenges when you’ve helped another person get past one of their difficulties? Helping someone else is an amazingly uplifting experience.

Pretty soon, that focus on receiving as well as giving creates a synergy bringing joy and success to everyone it touches. In a roundabout but very real way, learning to love ourselves enough to receive help from other people strengthens humanity as a whole. It took me a long time, more than half a lifetime to figure out such a simple concept. In my defense, I come from a family of fiercely independent people. Going it alone and achieving success is highly valued. Asking for help is not only frowned upon but discouraged as being burdensome. I had to overcome an overwhelming amount of conditioning in order to get out of that destructive loop. Thankfully, I have some amazing friends, including my daughter who were willing to knock me around a bit until I saw the light.

I’m still learning to ask for help. I try to go it alone more often than not, but each time I reach out and get a positive response, it gets a little easier. And like the Grinch, my heart grows 3 sizes when I do.

Loving Myself Enough to be Grateful

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful to my friends who’ve taught me the value of receiving.
  2. I am grateful for a highly productive week.
  3. I am grateful for the people I’ve met just be stepping out of my comfort zone.
  4. I am grateful for being able to step back and regroup when someone says or does something that makes me feel bad about myself and the choices I’ve made. I know I’m not perfect, and I know I don’t live up to someone else’s standards, but that’s not what I’m here to do.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; helpful friends, guidance when I open my heart and mind and listen, self-love, improving health habits, healthy kitties, excessive dancing, productivity, clarity, resolve, new clients, joy, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

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. She specializes in finding and expressing your authentic self. 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

 

Sheri's Turkey-Kale Chili

  • Servings: 16 2-cup servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A healthy take on a comfort food classic which freezes well


Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons garlic olive oil for cooking
  • 2 large brown onions finely chopped
  • 6 pounds ground turkey
  • 4 Tablespoons chopped garlic or 1 large bulb
  • 6-8 cups finely chopped kale
  • 5-6 medium jalapenos (use less or omit for a milder chili)
  • 2 15-ounce cans fire roasted tomatoes with chilis
  • 5 15-ounce cans tomato sauce
  • 6 Tablespoons Ancho chili powder
  • 3 Tablespoons Chipotle chili powder
  • 3 Tablespoons Cumin
  • 2 1/2 to 3 Tablespoons Oregano
  • 2 teaspoons Cayenne
  • 2 Tablespoons Paprika
  • 3 teaspoons Habanero sauce (less for a milder chili)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2-3 cups black beans (or whatever kind of beans you like. Can also be omitted)

Directions

  1. Heat oil in large pot
  2. Add chopped onion, garlic, kale and jalapenos. Cook until the onions start to turn clear.
  3. Add turkey. Cook until brown and crumbly.
  4. Add tomato sauce, tomatoes, spices, beans, and habanero sauce. Stir well.
  5. Simmer on low heat for at least an hour stirring frequently.
  6. Chili is done when the spices have been absorbed (if it tastes a little gritty, cook longer)
  7. I freeze what I don’t eat the first night in 2-cup servings, but choose the serving size that works for you.

    Enjoy!

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Choosing Your Lessons and Teachers With Care

Is Money the Only Object?

I come into contact with a lot of coaches these days. Many of them are true artists at their craft and need no justifications to do their job and do it well. But there are others who write long, impassioned Facebook posts about how they justify raising their rates, even, in one case tripling them because, in their words, they only want to work with people who are “…willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.” Unfortunately, these words conjure up a long-ago visit to an EST event where non-members were herded into a separate room after getting a taste of what they could expect from membership in this exclusive cross-section of society. A man stood before us speaking as convincingly as he could, saying that the program was worth anything we had to do to come up with the $200 fee (a lot of money for a college student in the early ’70’s). He lost me when he said “sell your car or your stereo or whatever you have to because you really have to be part of this.”

When anyone tells me I have to be willing to do whatever it takes to buy their program or services I am, as a result of the EST experience extremely dubious. Why? Because the mere fact that they are pushing their services and associated high price tag in this manner tells me it’s all about the money and not about what’s best for me. They are loyal to one thing only; the pursuit of the mighty buck.

Even worse are the ones who tell me to listen to them and do what they say without argument. Excuse me? You’re telling me to simply trust you and your advice because you say so? Without proof of its efficacy for anyone else, much less, me specifically? This approach usually leads to my distrust of anything else that ever comes out of their mouth. I’m a born skeptic and a critical thinker. The combination doesn’t do well with autocracy on any level. In fact, I’m more likely to poke fun at its use, poking crater-sized holes in any argument launched on those terms.

Setting the Right Parameters

I know I need to hire a coach or probably several to help me ascend beyond my current limitations. I also know that I have my own priorities, and nothing anyone else can tell me will change them until I’m ready to change them myself. When the time comes, the coaches I choose will be those who are in it for the satisfaction of helping others achieve their goals and release their blocks first. That those services come with a higher price tag is simply a testament to their success with others like me and a finite number of hours with which to work with their clients.

As an Empath, it’s hard (though not impossible) to convince me of a compassionate and loyal heart where none exists. That being said, there will be times, and have been in the past when I seek expertise from someone who, for all intents and purposes is truly in it for the money; who couldn’t care less whether I succeed or fail aside from how it might impact their own credibility. Yet they have achieved amazing success with their own lives, and have learned a thing or two about how it’s done. I don’t expect every expert I consult to have my best interests at heart. It’s up to me to weigh the pros and cons of doing business with them and decide whether I can tune out what doesn’t resonate to benefit from what does. It is not a perfect world, and sometimes, our most useful and long-lasting lessons come directly from our interaction with the imperfections. They often speak to an imperfection in ourselves which needs to be addressed and molded into something better.

Other times, as I’ve told my daughter many times, I learn as much about what not to do from people as I do what to do and why. Closing your mind to anyone who is not on the same wave-length cuts out at least 50% of the opportunities you have to learn and grow. I’m not willing to slow my own progress just because I don’t adore all of the teachers with whom I’m presented. They key is twofold: recognizing the opportunities and understanding where an emotional attachment is necessary and where it is not. Only then can we be open to learning and growing on all levels instead of living in perpetual myopia.

Gratitude. It Brings Us Exactly What We Need.

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the epiphanies which came to my more open mind yesterday.
  2. I am grateful to be able to release old paradigms which long-ago stopped serving any real purpose.
  3. I am grateful to friends who are helping me see myself differently.
  4. I am grateful for the people who are being put in my path right now as teachers, guides, and new friends.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; lessons, love, challenges, harmony, peace, kindness, compassion, courage, beauty, friendship, honesty, loyalty, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Check out Wells Baum’s interpretation of today’s Daily Prompt.

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. She specializes in finding and expressing your authentic self. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also check out her Facebook page at Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author.

Succumbing to Success

Avoiding the Easy Way Out

How many times throughout our lives do we decide the road is too hard and succumb to defeat? How often do we take the easy way out, or stop mere centimeters shy of a breakthrough because we believe we’re too tired to go on?

Are we creatures of self-sabotage? Do we really want to keep stumbling through life with nothing to show for it? Are we afraid of succeeding because it means we’ll have to show up and keep doing what we do most excellently?

Not to discount them, but I’m not talking about the times in our lives when we have no choice, but must go on whether we like it or not. For years, I stumbled along because I had kids to feed. That was a motivating factor and kept me in a long stream of soul-sucking, dead-end jobs so I could be close enough to home to get to my kids quickly if need be. No, I’m talking about those dreams you have and plans you’ve made yet so quickly discarded. I’m asking why you gave up on them so easily.

Letting Self-Sabotage Steal Our Future

Self-sabotage is a well-known concept for me. I look back and boggle at the number of times I came through for other people, yet when it came to committing to something for myself, I often fell short. The answer to the dilemma is rooted where most things are, in my childhood. My own mixed bag of experiences and resulting emotions created one, gigantic roadblock: I didn’t deserve success. I would always be a disappointment to myself, to my family and to anyone else who cared too much about what happened to me.

If you’re not screaming in outrage by now, you had the great good fortune of skipping this part of the life lesson. You are one of the fortunate ones. But I know I’m anything but alone in these feelings. If nothing else, people spend thousands upon thousands of dollars every year on self-help books, therapists, coaches, and programs to get past this most debilitating of blocks. Learning how not to succumb to those deeply ingrained lessons is a multi-billion dollar business, and one that has touched most of us in one way or another.

Finding Help from Without and Within

Consciousness On the RiseThough I’ve pumped my share of cash into the industry, my best and most consistent therapist is my writing. I may get a not-so-gentle nudge from the outside now and then, but when I do, I go back to the keyboard (my version of drawing board) and pound away until I develop some sort of plan or clear more of the debris so I can, once again move forward.

Today is no different. I discovered at least one of the places where I’d learned to give up on myself and I began taking steps to be more caring to the one person who will always be there for me, no matter what. Part of that is realizing when I cannot do it alone. Part of that is being willing to not only ask for help but to receive it as well.

An interesting thing about asking for help is that plenty of people are willing to give it. But if you keep rejecting it and throwing it back in their faces, they’ll take their efforts to someone who allows them to actually help and leave you to your own dysfunctional devices. Before you chase off the willing and put a bad taste in their mouths along the way, make sure before you ask for help that you’re willing to receive what’s given without qualification and without rejecting it out of hand when it’s not exactly what you think you need. Chances are, whatever you think you need is dead wrong anyway. Give those who offer the opportunity to prove you wrong and offer something better.

Are You an Island or a Community?

None of us achieves the success we want and deserve in isolation. Somewhere along the way, there are people who give us a leg up when the walls seem too high, support us when we are ready to give up, and encourage us when we lose sight of our amazing gifts. Allowing ourselves to accept their help, but even more, believing in ourselves enough that we know in our hearts we deserve that help makes the difference between a mediocre mouse and an amazing lion. Since my 3 outside cats bring me vanquished rodents on a regular basis, I can assure you, I’d rather be the lion.

What will you do today to allow others to help your inner lion roar?

Gratitude is the Cornerstone of the Laws of Attraction

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the people who come into my life to teach me to be remarkable, and to teach me I deserve to shine my light.
  2. I am grateful for the tough lessons and the giant leaps outside my comfort zone. It’s a beautiful world out there!
  3. I am grateful for the guided meditation I listened to today, and will continue to listen to daily. Those 8 minutes have already opened my heart to new possibilities.
  4. I am grateful for my new resolve and confidence that I’m still on the right path. The bright white light that signaled the end of today’s meditation was exactly the message I needed.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; friendships, love, caring, kindness, compassion, passion, inspiration, motivation, confidence, supportiveness, giving and receiving, potentiality, positivity, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Check it another post using today’s prompt from A Ray of Sunshine

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. She specializes in finding and expressing your authentic self. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information.

Don’t Seek to Tame Your Wild, Wonderful Beast Within

Wild Women Rock!

In my far-distant, misbegotten youth, I was tame, or so it seemed to me (my mother would vehemently disagree). I tried to follow the rules, tried to get along. But I was always the proverbial square peg in a round hole. My wild, unruly curls are truly a symbol of the girl/woman who lurks within. This is not someone to be tamed into conforming, though heaven knows I’ve tried with blow dryer, flat-iron and any manner of hair products. What’s true on the outside, is even more true on the inside.

Ultimately, I learned I was not meant to be tamed. I was not meant to be a silent watcher as life rumbled by in all its messy glory. Yet, I was also not meant to be sucked in by irrational drama; drama for the sake of drama. Or what my friend Ralph would call gratuitous drama. My spot on what appears to some to be the sidelines has its own reasons and purpose.

Words attributed to the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt and Marilyn Monroe, but actually coined by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich speak directly to my thoughts on this matter:

Well behaved women seldom make history.

Making the Wrong Things Right

Hard as I’ve tried, I’ve always managed to say the wrong thing or react the wrong way to someone somewhere. I don’t usually mean to wound with my words (though admittedly there have been a few times I did), but all too often, my intent is misunderstood, perhaps intentionally at times.

It took me many decades of my life to learn two very important lessons:

  1. It is not my job to please everyone.
  2. How people react to my words or actions is not my responsibility.

Unfortunately, I had to step away from the world to a large extent in order to truly begin to accept the truth of these two statements.

In a corporate environment, there’s a constant battle  to ensure your words are not misinterpreted, and for me, that was a veritable minefield. I found that no matter what I said or how I said it, someone would find a way to take offense, especially if it furthered their own aspirations. No matter how small a company is, there will always be someone who seeks to get ahead by stepping on others. Needless to say, I do not thrive in that environment. Instead, I get burned a couple of times, then, like a turtle, I retreat into my shell, doing what I need to in order to survive, and savoring the connections I might make with one or two people.

Embracing My Rawness

When I first started this blog, I sought to tame the words which appeared on the screen. I didn’t want to write anything which might make someone uncomfortable. But a few years ago, my sister and some of her friends started writing horrible comments which somehow got past the controls I’d set up which required all comments to be moderated. I learned that even in my own space, my own blog, people would find a way to be offended.

I finally realized that by creating my own space, either here or on social media meant I could tell those people “If you don’t like what you see, don’t look!” Granted, I’m limited a bit by rules put in place by the various social media platforms, though I’ve yet to overstep in that arena. In certain things, I’m simply tamer than, say, the average Millennial.

I Don’t Write for Sissies…or for Haters

The longer I write for public consumption, the less willing I become to sugar coat what I say, or dumb down my word choices. I may still appear tame to younger readers, or to the more adventurous among you, but just as I wear my curls proudly, I wear my authenticity the same way.

Back in the BBS days before the Internet took over, we used to say “attack the post, not the poster”. I think this holds true even more today as the pages of Social Media are deluged with hate-filled diatribes. I’m a strong supporter of freedom of speech, but that does NOT mean freedom to be abusive, hateful, or evil. A few people have met Mr. Block and Delete on Facebook because they saw fit to attack me and my beliefs instead of just expressing their disagreement with something I posted or shared.

You could call this discrimination on my part, and maybe it is. I’m all for a spirited discussion provided it doesn’t get personal. One of my favorite people in the world has very strong opinions on some things I don’t agree with. We’re still good friends because we respect each other and in fact, value our differences. We also NEVER make disparaging remarks about each other. Our points of disagreement may not always be entirely polite, but we do our best to stick to the topic without impugning each other’s character. It’s more about respect than seeking agreement. If you ask me, having friends who always agree on everything would be dreadfully boring. I like people who, through their words and actions, teach me something new.

Creating a Haven for the Wild and Untamed

The moral of this story is, if you’re looking for tame, fluffy, sugar-coated blather, you’ve come to the wrong place. I embrace my inner rawness and allow it free rein to appear on the pages which bear my name. I may not always be pretty, but I’ll always be authentic. Are you brave enough to expose yourself to the almost certain criticism of those who disagree? It’s often a rough path, but for me, it’s proving infinitely rewarding.

Sharing the Gratitude Which Inspires and Guides Me

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I’ve begun to reveal my authentic self.
  2. I’m grateful I’ve begun to learn to be compassionate.
  3. I’m grateful for the pain which tells me a lesson is really important.
  4. I’m grateful for friends who are strong enough to disagree with me without feeling threatened or threatening.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance: love, friendship, inspiration, motivation, aggravation, pain, lessons, challenges, instability, health, peace, hope, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Community Pool Link

This is my second day of posts inspired by writing prompts in WordPress’s Community Pool. Today is brought to you by #tame. Here’s A Ray of Sunshine’s take on today’s theme.

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. She specializes in finding and expressing your authentic self. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information.

Tame

Take Time to Breathe Through Your Challenges

Just Breathe

https://www.flickr.com/photos/philipglevy/9462509263/in/photolist-fqaQkr-6B62hk-9jZwX5-4FH1En-54uCWa-a3Ns41-6BanmN-6DM4U9-5u49NP-6v9Puu-6DGTwD-4FMcCG-doJVpC-3ervgn-4FMcmC-pb1bmR-6v9McG-6DM5Wm-a71Zuu-5i6sb2-6B9Lkj-4FH1v4-gQpcex-jZKZ5o-6v9NNf-6B5zw6-89YYg5-6v9Xbb-6MPVRc-6v9Wow-6v5Gyk-aPQjfH-6v9QjU-6v5PF8-6v9VcG-cu2a4-DUvgxx-6v9YGJ-5oAaDQ-8ipJ7z-5VgzB9-6B9AVJ-5KTyGH-5Vce46-Uwsk9p-6vNzky-6v5FCV-6B5rgp-6v9UFb-6v9LjqLet’s face it. For life to be any kind of interesting, there are going to be periods when you feel like you’re riding the roller coaster from hell. While the wild ride might be fun and exciting for a while, there comes a point when you’re grateful to have reached the end. There comes a time when being in a semi-comatose state is not only a relief but necessary. We all need time to let our minds, bodies, and spirits recover from an overdose of the insanity life loves to throw into our paths. We need to allow ourselves time to just breathe.

This week has really run the gamut for me, and there are still a few more days left! From plumbing issues which just don’t want to be easily resolved to meeting with new clients, to throwing myself into new experiences, the week has definitely been an E ticket ride. The ups and downs I’m experiencing remind me, like a bucket of ice water to the face that life is truly about balance.

We are mired in frustration and soothed by ease. We hit all the red lights, then a path opens up just for us. We feel like money flows only one direction—away. Then suddenly, those interviews we had or proposals we submitted begin bearing fruit—often with the intensity of a California mud slide. When they do, we realize just how important those times we spent semi-comatose really were. We’re ready for the challenges and embrace them wholeheartedly.

Make the Most of the Down Time

Yet the biggest challenge for me is to use the down time wisely. Though I need to catch up on reading or finish a course I started, it’s easy to slip into sloth-like habits; spending too much time on social media, watching TV, playing computer games, or just napping endlessly. I recently discovered something most of you probably already know. Sloth attracts more sloth.

While I was farting around accomplishing nothing, opportunities eluded me. But when I changed my course, began participating actively in entrepreneurial groups, or supporting other entrepreneurs, focused my reading (and my meditations) on self-improvement, and limited the time sucking activities, abundance began to flow like the leaking hot water line under my house.

Messages in Bottles or Leaky Pipes

I also realized something rather profound. The leaking pipe and the destruction required to fix the problem were a direct reflection of the path my life was taking. The foundation I’d laid was weakening and even breaking. It needed to be torn up in places and rebuilt differently. My efforts were flowing uselessly (and expensively) into the ground, wasted and misguided. I needed to do some serious soul-searching to redirect my efforts and locate the places in my foundation which no longer served my best interests. Even the ground on which I stood was no longer the safe, stable place I’d come to take for granted.

Yet, I’m reminded by people like Linda Clay that, like the song says “there’s a time for every purpose”. The times I spend mimicking a sloth aren’t as unproductive as I think. Yet, knowing when to move away from those times is also key. Just like a dead-end job can become a rut, so can dead-end slothing. Recognizing things like plumbing leaks and excess water usage are essential in determining when we need to do what is taught in the Neurogym courses, and GOYA (get off your ass)! Ignoring the signs and symptoms will result in hemorrhaging our resources, be it money, energy, water, or even life-giving blood.

Turning Messages into Productive Actions

By now you might be asking how to recognize the signs. How can simple things like a plumbing leak or constant delays mean more than they seem at face value? For me, it comes down to a process I’ve developed in the usual manner, through trial and error. I’ve learned to apply it to any and all seeming problems which arise in my life, my home, and my overall environment. I apply those steps as follows:

  1. Step back from the problem.
  2. Depersonalize it while remaining open to possible solutions.
  3. Ask myself how it might apply to the situations currently active in my life, be they personal, business, or something else.
  4. Meditate on question 3, allowing answers to flow rather than be forced into existence.
  5. Take the necessary steps to resolve the obvious problem (especially with interpersonal issues, this isn’t always clear).
  6. Take action on signals I receive about seemingly unrelated parts of my life.
  7. Repeat steps 3 through 6 as often as necessary until I feel that my life is flowing freely and smoothly again.

I won’t say this is a fool-proof system as the control freak in me invariably decides things are moving too slowly and seeks to intervene, more often than not exacerbating the problem rather than helping. What I will say is that the more I practice the process, the more I fine-tune it. The more I fine-tune it, the easier it becomes to let go and avoid trying to control the solution.

Going with the Flow

Even now, as I sit here waiting for the leak detection company to re-do their work because the spot where they said the leak was located turned out to be a perfectly solid piece of pipe, I’m opening myself to other areas in my life where this situation is reflected. Where else did I think I’d found the problem only to discover I hadn’t. Where else am I experiencing delays? Where else am I allowing myself to be frustrated because I’m not controlling the situation?

It all comes down to one thing, really. I need to get out of my own way. Give myself permission to stop and smell the coffee. Maybe even find a way to get those two red chairs I saw at Lowe’s home so I have a cozy spot on what I jokingly call my veranda. Invite a friend over to share a bottle of wine and watch the world go by from my front porch looking out.

We spend a lot of time rushing from here to there, blowing through a to-do list that would freeze the heart of the most Type A CEO. Yet in most cases, we’re not really changing the world. We’re simply anesthetizing ourselves to the effects of everyone else rushing around like they have to accomplish so much every week. In reality, less is truly more. We really need less moments which leave us breathless and more that take our breath away.

Let Your Gratitude Go Wild

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for setbacks and challenges that force me to slow down, look around, and reassess.
  2. I am grateful for opportunities to look at my life from different angles.
  3. I am grateful for my sloth-y times. I’m never really doing nothing, or acting without purpose. It only seems like it.
  4. I am grateful for new opportunities which arise when I finally figure out how to get out of my own way.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, inspiration, motivation, aha moments, joys both great and small, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

You can find the associated Facebook Live Podcast here.

 

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, 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!

 

Photo courtesy of philipglevy via Flikr

Coaching is a Dance: Sometimes You Lead and Sometimes You Follow

Helping Others Starts With Intention

As I spend more time in entrepreneurial groups, I come in contact with a lot of people who are both selling something and have a desire to help others. Many offer unsolicited advice or a few helpful hints, and I appreciate the time they take to do so. But a couple of days ago, I received a private message in response to a comment I’d made on someone’s post, and the resulting conversation (which admittedly, I should have ended sooner) left me feeling angry and even a bit soiled for the encounter. I thought about revisiting the transcript of the conversation if  for no other reason, to understand what I might have done differently to keep it from becoming combative and from activating my defense mechanisms. I actually did the smart thing this time, and distanced myself from the whole thing for a couple of days.

With new perspective, I realize that while his technique was, for me, offensive, it might have been the voice of my conscience asking, no, demanding to be heard. He didn’t ask any questions I haven’t been asking myself. I simply took it badly coming from a complete stranger who seemed to be sticking his nose in where it didn’t belong. It especially irked me when he told me I wasn’t a good fit for him as a client. It didn’t matter that I’d already concluded he wasn’t a good fit for me as a coach. To have him dismiss me like that…well, it HURT!

The Good, Bad, and Ugly Side of Coaches

In a world where coaching of all sorts has become a huge part of our economy, there seems to be an influx of people showing up daily on social media who are promoting talents and abilities which are hard to prove unless they already have a plethora of clients with proven results. That’s when I wonder why they’re pounding the virtual pavement looking for more?

In some cases, they have a genuine interest in helping people, and are looking for someone unlike their bread and butter clients to satisfy that desire in themselves. In that case, I wouldn’t expect them to be dismissive or cruel if a person they chose wasn’t receptive to the gift they were offering. Others are using a technique I’m seeing more and more, and liking less and less. It involves tearing someone down and pointing out their failings, then offering to swoop in like a fairy godmother and fix what’s broken—for a “small” fee, of course.

Don’t get me wrong. Everyone deserves to support themselves in the style they have envisioned. I simply take issue with doing it at the expense of someone else’s self-esteem. There are better ways to share your services without being abusive about it.

What Qualifies a Coach?

At any rate, the coaching profession has many faces. Each of those faces has different levels of expertise, and certainly, just getting through life with sanity intact is a powerful qualification. Some may have recognizable letters after their name; MFT, PhD, M.D. and more. Others have gone through some kind of certification program offered by yet another coach in their field. I tend to be more receptive to the ones who got at least part of their expertise from the ever-popular school of hard knocks. I find it easier to find value in the words and advice of someone who has actually been down in the trenches where I am now. Someone who has figured out how to climb out and turn all of the lessons they learned into stepping stones to something better.

I guess that’s why, for the most part I’m resistant to having a 30-something tell me they know how to fix my life. There are certainly exceptions, as I know a couple of 30-somethings who have been dealt more crap in their short lifetimes than I’ve seen in mine and that of 3 or 4 of my friends. From those lessons, they, like their older counterparts learned there’s a time to push and a time to step back and let the magic unfold in its own time and fashion.

The very best in the coaching community never stop learning themselves. They’ve discovered a secret I learned as a parent. Sometimes the best teacher of all is the student, be it your child, a person you’re working with, or just someone in the world at large. They know when to be the teacher and when to go with the flow when a role reversal occurs in the natural course of things.

The Road to Coaching Isn’t My Road

All this being said, I don’t see myself in the role of a coach, at least not officially. I think we all assume that role on occasion, even if the only task we have is to give encouragement and feedback. Many times, I’m on the sidelines cheering others to victory and that is one function of a coach. Other times, I’m asking questions or even kicking a little butt to help someone I know get past their own roadblocks. Both roles are ultimately rewarding and I learn a little more about myself at the same time.

My final thought on this subject which, much to my amazement I’ve managed to pursue without major topic changes is that coaches are no different than any other relationship we engage in. The people involved have to be a good fit. There has to be a connection. Many times it isn’t something obvious though in my case, I know I connect best with people who are either empathic or highly sensitive. Some people really respond well to a coach who will beat them over the head with their shortfalls and browbeat them into fixing what’s not working. Others need a kinder, gentler approach. But whatever works for you, it has to get you to the point where you leave your comfort zone behind you and go through some pain to break fear of all that holds you back. Fear grips us with angry tentacles and doesn’t release us willingly. Breaking the suction will lead a few bruises, but recognizing it’s for the best and continuing to wrest control of our lives from those fears comes with phenomenal rewards. But only if you’re willing to do the work and most of all, ask for help when you need it.

Finding Gratitude in Everything

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for experiences which make me step back from myself and see how I’m halting my own progress.
  2. I am grateful for the people who have come into my life at various places to show me better ways to be me.
  3. I am grateful for the mistakes I make as it means I’m making an effort to do more, be better.
  4. I am grateful for my writing which is an outlet for everything I think, see, and feel.
  5. I am grateful for infinite abundance; friendship, optimism, friendship, clarity, inspiration, motivation, dreams, goals, intentions, love, joy, philanthropy, peace, harmony, health, and prosperity.

Love and Light

You can find the link to my Facebook Live on Coaching here.

 

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, 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!

Re-kindling Self-love With Committment

Committing to Me

The Facebook Live associated with this post can be found here.

Last night I talked about how I struggle with making and keeping commitments to myself. One of the things I have found over the last few months is that making a commitment to do anything is only half the process. The other half is coming up with a plan. In the case of my workouts, it meant setting specific days. When I deviate from those specific days, I’m not as likely to get all of my weekly workouts in.

At risk right now is the business I’ve been trying to develop for the last three years, or more specifically, my writing career. I know I haven’t been committed or I’d have actually finished and published something by now. But I also know that doing it just for the money sucks all of the energy out of me.

Help When I Need It

I had a conversation at the beginning of the week where this very concept came up. The person I was talking to suggested that regardless of my fears and concerns right now, I need to take money out of the equation. Instead of pitching ideas for stories I’d like to write for compensation, he proposed I write the article first, then pitch it to someone and be willing to let it be published, compensation or no.

Since then, I’ve created a business plan, but not in the normal sense. This one simply commits to a certain number of hours per day spent writing, reading and researching, and querying (I’m trying to use a word other than pitching because of the negative feelings I have around the word).

Part of my research today was to compile a list of places I might present my work. I even took compensation out of the equation and included sites which, though they might not pay me for my initial offerings, would give me visibility. In this day and age, getting found is critical. With so many writers, entrepreneurs, and virtual businesses out there, we each need to find a way to stand out from the crowd, and high traffic sites is one way to do it.

Boomers vs. Millennials

I’m also working on an article about Baby Boomers and Millennials. When I started it, my focus was on how Millennials will change the face of business in the next decade or so, but as I read articles from different points of view, I learned a lot about not only what drives Millennials and why, but how different the relationship between the two generations is from the one I had with my parents.

For instance, my circle of friends includes people from their 20’s to their 80’s. We interact on equal footing for the most part. I can’t even imagine my parents having the kind of relationship I have with people my daughter’s age. Even as adults, we were always just kids to them.

I’m not saying we do all the same things or hang out together regularly, but we share ideas and opinions, challenges with our businesses, and we support each other’s activities. I’m also not saying that the age-defying outlook my friends and I enjoy is applicable to all Baby Boomers or Millennials. But the fact it exists at all is for me, compelling.

Finding Common Ground

I’m not blind to the fact that there are some from both generations who blame the other for their woes. I guess that will always be the case when the subjects of jobs and social security come up. I realized, though that one of the best ways to work our way through the quagmire of misinformation and fake news really lies in our ability to cooperate inter-generationally. Our being at odds serves someone else’s purpose—someone who does not have any of our best interests at heart.

Choosing to emphasize our similarities and downplay our differences seems like a pretty good idea to me. I’ve never been a fan of placing blame anyway. I saw enough of it in the workplace, and it’s only real purpose is destructive. Far better to take the position that we agree something is broken and between us we can come up with the best way to fix it.

Learning From Each Other

Frankly, we can learn a lot from a generation which grew up with cell phones, instant messaging, and social media. One of my biggest pet peeves has always been communication, or lack thereof. In some cases, there might be a bit of over sharing, but for the most part, it’s more of an asset than a liability. Millennials are accustomed to getting immediate answers. By getting those immediate answers, they get things done faster too. Good news since instant gratification with communication has created a culture that’s used to constant stimulation and when that stimulation wanes, boredom sets in. To be honest, I relate to this myself, but my career path led me to embrace technology early on. Anything to get away from the drudgery of writing everything down in big, dusty ledgers, totaling up dozens of columns on countless pages with nothing more than a calculator, then moving all of the figures to the proper accounts. All-in-all a painstaking process which spreadsheets and accounting programs rendered obsolete. Others might have complained as they didn’t like the changes, but I was overjoyed.

More to Come

But I’ll leave the results of my research on the topic for another day. What started with a single article is escalating out of control as it is, but believe it or not, that’s a good thing. I can write on the subject from a number of different angles which gives me yet another niche. Not bad for my first day’s work with a plan!

Was I ready to take this step 6 months ago? Probably not. I needed to gain more clarity on what I truly wanted, and that has occurred in the last few weeks. Will I get it in gear before the next 5 months races by? I can only hope and put the work in. The rest is just going to have to resolve itself as my plan and its potential unfold. Stay tuned!

Remembering to Be Grateful

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful for epiphanies which move me forward on m path.
  2. I am grateful for the tenacity which, though little used lately is still there when I call upon it.
  3. I am grateful for the support and advice of my friends. They help me find clarity and the courage to continue moving forward.
  4. I am grateful for my writing. When I’m lost and confused, it helps me sort things out.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; lessons, resources, friendship, love, joy, dancing, inspiration, kicks in the butt, encouragement, support, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, 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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