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

Posts tagged ‘#HeartfeltMovement’

Trusting Our Processes, Trusting Ourselves

Trusting Begins With Turning Off the “Can’ts”

I recently embarked upon a 30-day marketing challenge created and mentored by Jessa Hargrove in her #Heartfelt Business Village on Facebook. Why? Because I finally reached the point where I was tired of telling myself the enormous lie, “I’m not good at marketing”. I realized it isn’t so much I’m not inherently good at it. I simply need to develop the tools and learn the process. Little did I know, the learning process would kick me out of my safe little nest of oblivion with no excuses or remorse on part of the wearers of the boot planted none-too-gently in my butt.

Jessa already has me doing things I swore to the mountaintops I’d never do: starting a Facebook group (you can find it at Putting Your Whole Heart Forward). Creating a 3-day boot camp which I’ll present through Facebook Live. But even more, getting super serious about what I truly want to do, and how I’m getting there. The crazy thing is, I’m not going there kicking and screaming!

Reaching Our Potential isn’t a Smooth, Easy Road

Sure, I had a meltdown the day the assignment to create a group was published. But as often happens, I sat down to meditate, and the perfect idea came to me, full-blown and ready to launch. Thankfully my mentor and friend Linda Clay (who also introduced me to Jessa), of #Heartfelt Business Making was there to listen to me rant out what was really bothering me; the fear and the challenge of actually keeping people engaged and interested, before the fog cleared and I was able to see how much I could do for others with a well-run group to support my purpose and USP, #MakeVulnerableBeautiful.

Every single one of us has enormous potential. What differentiates us from the Ruth Ginsbergs, Bill Gates’, Steve Jobs’, and my personal favorite, J.K. Rowlings versus the average shmos slogging through life with their dreams stuffed securely in a shoebox under their beds is whether or not we trust in ourselves enough to shut the dissenting voices down and just go for it.

Trusting Ourselves to Get Up When Leaps Become Falls

Making our dreams happen takes an enormous leap of faith, a huge amount of trust that we can and will pick ourselves up when (not if) we fall. We have to trust the failures are nothing more than a lesson in what doesn’t work, and doesn’t mean we have failed; just that the process we were using wasn’t up to the challenge and needs to be re-worked.

Sure, not everything has to be trial-and-error. We have a certain amount of road before us that’s been paved by others who did the trial-and-error process for us. It’s when we leave the paved road and embark on our own unique path that our stumbles may become more frequent; trust in ourselves is tested more harshly. It’s when we have to tighten the straps on our backpack or parachute, raise our head high, and most of all, shove those pesky fears into the afore-mentioned shoe box so they won’t hinder our progress.

The Best and Brightest Get Nowhere Without Guts and Persistence

There isn’t a single person out there who’s made a real success of their lives (and by that, I mean doing something which helps others rather than simply fattening their bank account) who hasn’t had their share of failures. Some of those failures have been not only spectacular but available for public consumption. Yet they got past those failures and the associated embarrassment, took the lesson, left the pain, and came out on the other side better for the experience in so many ways.

That’s what I’m looking at now. I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’ve even given up on myself at times. More importantly, I’ve learned. I’ve learned I was always there for others but never for myself. I’ve learned to take the business ethics and commitment I gave to a long series of uncaring bosses and corporations and use it for myself and the causes and purposes I now have to pursue.

Trusting Our Dreams Are Attainable

If I’ve left the comfort and security of a regular paycheck behind to flounder for a few years on my own, I now trust it’s part of the process I needed to experience to discover what’s truly important to me. I needed to learn how far I would actually go to realize those dreams, and how unwilling I was to let them go. They might have  moldered in a closet someplace for a few years until I got tired of moving them around while looking for something else; a purpose, maybe. Eventually I had to pull them out, look at them, try them on to see if they still fit, determine where alterations were needed, and get on with it.

The funny thing about our deepest most heartfelt dreams is they never truly go away. They haunt us in dreams, or perhaps nightmares. They pop up in a memory. We get signs from the Universe it’s time to wake up and pay attention. The more we see them around, the harder it gets to ignore them, and we either take action or go quietly mad. I’ve done both, and believe me, action beats madness (except the creative, actionable kind) hands down.

Accepting Help, Knowing the Delivery System Can Be Brutal at Times

But hang on when you do start paying attention, as the Universe gets rather wicked when it finally has your attention. The Universal head slaps come hard and fast, and trust me on this, you don’t ignore or forget a virtual sledgehammer to the side of your head. At times, you may even feel like you’ll be flung into the air without a net or parachute without time to prepare or try to hold on.

These days, my sledgehammers have names. Linda Clay. Jessa Hargrove. Not to mention my daughter and a few of the friends who’ve been around to watch this process unfold, and who are kind enough to keep their “I told you so’s” to themselves, but believe me, I can hear you thinking them (and you know who you are!).

The people who support us in getting past the fears, excuses, and wallowing aren’t necessarily gentle, because it’s not what we need. They support us like steel girders encased in concrete, but they don’t let us get away with anything which thwarts our forward progress; our achievement of those dreams that have our eyes blazing with an internal fire, intense as the sun, and equally unquenchable. They know, often from experience the journey isn’t for the weak of heart, so gentleness won’t give us the strength we need to walk through our own personal fires and emerge relatively unscathed on the other side, tough as tempered steel.

Dream Fulfillment is Only the Beginning

When we do reach the other side we know one journey may have ended, but somewhere along the way, another one began, and we won’t have time to rest or reflect before we have to pick up our newly stocked virtual backpack and take up the next challenge. It’s a funny thing about dreams. As soon as we get close, we add more pieces; they become more grandiose. Once we take the first major steps, we don’t really want the journey to end, so we keep adding destinations. Why not? Life should be an adventure. We were not born to sit back and watch it pass us by on the screens of our TV’s or computers.

For me, the dream began with the desire to be a writer. My genre was the broad field of Fantasy. Since I stopped denying my dream, I’ve finished the first draft of a memoir I couldn’t not write. I’ve drafted 3 fantasy novels and revised one so far. And I’ve resurrected a children’s story I wrote for my daughters 26 years ago.

I’ve learned writing is only part of my dream, and even that is only for now. I want to make a difference in the world and eventually get my introverted self up onto a stage and share what I learned while writing that memoir. Let’s be clear. I want to change the world. Don’t you?

Fueling the Dreams With Copious Helpings of Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the encouragers, the mentors, the butt-kickers, and those who have always been there for me, even when my eyes were tightly shut.
  2. I am grateful for the flow of ideas which come simply by writing 3 pages longhand every morning, aka my Morning Pages.
  3. I am grateful for the people who are coming forward to support me in the latest iteration of my journey. I’m humbled, and honored to have them joining my journey.
  4. I am grateful for the friendships which are blossoming now that I’ve left the cold, dubious sanctuary of my own space and time. In some ways, I wish I’d known the value of a community sooner, and in others, I realize I appreciate it more for having lived differently for so long.
  5. I am grateful for abundance: love, friendship, encouragement, mentors, family, dancing, joy, writing, sharing, purpose, baby steps, giant leaps of faith, influencers, living well, peace, health, 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.

Embracing Our Ability To Give and Recieve the No’s

Collecting the No’s Along with the Yes’s

I saw a post today from someone who received a “no” to a recent pitch. She explained it isn’t as much a rejection as an affirmation she’s showing up and as such, is a cause for celebration. If you don’t show up, the answer is always no, but if you do, eventually, there will be yes’s mixed in with those no’s and frankly, you can’t possibly accommodate all the feelers you put out there, all the offers you make and the pitches you send. You have to expect some rejections and even embrace them as they give you more time to handle the ones who accept your offer or seek out your services.

Thinking about it, I felt the same way about rejections I received for article writing pitches. Although I was a bit disheartened at the time, I was also proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone and trying. Not only that, the no’s we receive are confirmation someone actually paid attention. How many times do we send out queries, offers, or pitches, only to find they get lost in the void. Nobody responds to our initial pitch, and even follow-up emails and calls go unanswered. I’d much rather have a good, solid no than find myself pitched into the black hole of not-worthy-of-a-responsedom.

Each of us is Selling Something

Years ago I was in between jobs and part of a local group of professionals who were associated with the EDD (California Employment Development Department) and supported each other in their job searches with resources, community outreach programs and presentations by members and guests. One of the first things they asked was “who here is a salesperson”. Only a few hands went up, as the speaker expected. He then went on to explain we are all salespeople. In one way or another, we are selling ourselves. As salespeople, rejection is part of the game. If we aren’t receiving our fair share of rejections, we’re not engaging enough. I was going to say, “making enough offers” but realized it goes counter to what I not only believe, but try to live by: sales is all about building relationships.

The most effective salespeople I’ve ever encountered were those who spent time getting to know people without worrying about whether or not a person was a likely candidate for the product or service they sold. They showed genuine interest in everyone else’s businesses and stories, offering their own only if prompted to do so. Though I’m still learning, this is the kind of person I aspire to be.

Learning from the Best in the Business

Fortunately, I am seeing plenty of fantastic examples lately. In particular, Kevin Huhn, an absolute master of media and exposure who I met on an online meetup recently. Everyone was invited to talk about what they do, and he was incredibly supportive of each of our monologues. It wasn’t until well into the call I realized he hadn’t shared what he did, so I asked the question. He was so humble when speaking about his journey and the wealth of skills and talents he uses to help launch his clients into the spotlight. Yet, it’s only part of what his business provides. I had to actually visit his website to understand the magnitude and scope of what he and his company provide. He’s the omni-dimensional entrepreneur we’d all like to be.

One thing I’m learning by hanging out with a lot of successful entrepreneurs is we all have valuable experience and skills. Yet many of us aren’t even clear about what we know or how we can help others. Once we’re clear (or at least have more than an inkling) of our own sphere of excellence, the trick is to let people know what we can do without making them feel like we’re only seeing them as a potential revenue source. Combine that with a natural reticence to talk about ourselves, and at times it seems like an insurmountable mountain.

Learning from the experts is always an option (provided you can afford their price tag). Yet as Linda Clay of #HeartfeltEmpowerment recently pointed out it’s easy to get lost in the white noise of so many offers and opinions. Finding the right coach is a lot like finding the right therapist. First, you must have at least some idea of what you need help with. Then you need to find someone who can help you without trying to fix you; someone who has at least a little experience with the challenges you face and the obstacles to your success.

Finding the Right Fit

I’ve met many who seem to understand and offer excellent advice, but advice is only as good as our ability to act on it and make it part of our regular routine. All too often, the services I’ve purchased have been little more than money down the drain, not because the service provider wasn’t great at what they did, but because it wasn’t the right fit for me. The first thing I needed to learn was not how to do one thing or another, but that I wasn’t broken and didn’t need to be fixed.

Because we lack a certain skill or vision, many of us see it as a flaw or lack within ourselves. Nothing is further from the truth. There’s a lot to be said for the old saying “jack of all trades, master of none”. We can’t possibly master all facets of running a business plus our unique abilities and talents in a single lifetime. Instead, we need to know when to reach out and ask for help, and try to do so in an orderly fashion.

Figuring Out What Answers We Need So We’ll Know Which Questions To Ask

It’s not always an easy task when your mind jumps from idea to idea as mine tends to do. (big surprise, I know). One day, I think I need help with marketing, the next, a business plan, and who knows what I’ll feel I’m lacking by next Tuesday. The reality smacked me in the head with this week’s yet-to-be-completed homework assignment for #HeartfeltEmpowerment. I have to look first at my ultimate goal, than break it down into smaller pieces. Only then will I be able to see not only all the things I need help with, but the order in which I need to address them.

For someone who spent over 3 decades playing with numbers, spreadsheets, and contracts, it took me an inordinate amount of time to understand one simple fact; I was dealing with businesses that were already well established and had the things I don’t know already tried, tweaked, and regularly reviewed by upper management. In order to get my own balloon off the ground, I need to go through the same process, albeit on a smaller, more personal scale!

Giving and Receiving Our Share of No’s

I’ve taken the long way around, but here’s what else I’ve learned. I will continue to get offers and suggestions as to what I need to do first, how I need to determine my ideal client, branding, marketing, and a bazillion other aspects of the business I am building from the ground up, by and for myself. I need to learn when and where to focus my attention, and when it is in my best interests to offer a polite “no thank you”, or “I’ll consider your offer at a later time when I’m in a better position to fit it into my overall business plan”. Because, just as no’s are good for me and are an indication that I’m showing up, stepping out, and accepting that I’m not a good fit for everyone, so, too are the offerers  who approach me. They know a no from me isn’t personal, but simply a part of their own journey to find those who will benefit most from their expertise.

Showing My Gratitude for Lessons Learned and Lessons Still to Come

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for all of the amazing people who generously share some of their expertise so I can figure out what it is I need first.
  2. I am grateful for the #HeartfeltMovement whose members are willing to work with me, nay, pay it forward for me and so many others knowing we will do the same when we are able.
  3. I am grateful for the people who have listened to me without judgement for the last few years as I stumble and fall on my face over and over, trying to figure out the business of being in a new and different business.
  4. I am grateful for my own resilience and refusal to give up on a dream I risked everything to follow.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, amazing and talented people, generosity, brilliance, encouragement, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for ghostwriting to help your business grow and thrive. Her specialties are finding and expressing your unique and genuine 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

Overwhelming Ourselves into Inaction

Life Can Be Overwhelming: Get Over It!

Oftentimes, the goals we set for ourselves are filled to the brim with all our hopes and dreams. This leads to goals as big as Mount Olympus, and often leaves us staring in open-mouthed awe. But open-mouthed awe doesn’t help us climb the mountain. In fact, quite the opposite, it leaves us standing in one place, unable to move, overwhelmed by the enormity of it all.

While we stand there staring, we lose sight of the fact that our goal is climbing the mountain. Climbing the mountain before us, or anything else we might imagine starts with a single step, a tiny action, and a plan.

Yet not all of us get stuck in the same part of the process. For some, taking the first step is their sticking point. For others, it’s the idea of creating a plan. We lose sight of the fact we don’t need to plan every single tiny step. In fact, that would inhibit the process even further as things happen along the way we can’t possibly plan for, and which will often alter our trajectory.

Breaking a Goal Into Manageable Pieces

I like to think of the plan as an outline where you hit the high points, but leave the details open. Those high points are your mountains, but the details in between are your stepping stones, and you can’t always plan where the next one will be. The real trick is to be alert for choices we’re given along the way; should we take the easy, already beaten path, or try our luck with one that’s overgrown and will require a little more effort? Do we always stick to the straight and narrow, or take a chance on the one that meanders its way through mountains and valleys, fording streams and climbing over boulders?

Your mind shifts, the world changes, and sometimes even the next milestone in your plan is moved, pushed back, or even changed entirely.

I believe that’s where so many of us get hung up. We believe even those milestones have to be engraved in…well…stone. Nothing could be further from the truth. They’re more like place markers giving you a direction to reach towards. How you get there will rarely be a straight shot, nor would you continue to hold onto the excitement of the journey if it were. A winding road with surprises appearing around each bend is not only more interesting, but leads to discoveries you hadn’t considered when you first drafted the plan. Better still, it challenges us and forces adaptation and learning of new skills which will be of use to us further down the road.

Detours Can Be A More Direct Route

As a child, my two favorite things were reading and making up stories. Along the way, I got involved in many things; dance, technical theater, accounting, even a little mentoring. I got married, finished college, became a parent, got divorced… My point is, life changes and plans fall through.

Do we sit down on the ground and bawl our eyes out about how mean the world is for knocking over our sand castle? Do we insist the road we were on was the best and only one for us? Not if we want to accomplish anything.

The world can seem like a bully, knocking down our block houses, rolling over our dreams like an endless tidal wave. Yet what happens isn’t personal. It’s simply a way to not only make us stronger, but more flexible. When one plan falls through, we need to figure out how to make another one out of the bits and pieces which remain. We need to learn how to build on a more solid foundation and to make what we build resilient enough to accept a bit of thrashing around; even some out and out abuse, and emerge from the chaos ready for the next wave of challenges.

Dealing With the Overwhelm an Moving On

We all get overwhelmed from time to time. Sitting down and having a good cry isn’t always the wrong answer. Sometimes, you need to let go of some crap before figuring out what your next step will be. The tough part is letting it go without trying to hold onto a couple of pieces you think you might need, or are emotionally attached to. Those things will weigh you down as you begin to rebuild from your new perspective. The purpose they were meant to serve is in the past. It’s time to set them down for someone else to find and use to move themselves forward, as you are doing now.

Many coaches these days tell us to come up with our “Big Why”. They’ll ask us questions, drilling down into the depths of our psyche to pull out our real reason for wanting this goal or that one. I’m finding it isn’t always easy to determine what my own “Big Why” is, and in fact, trying to figure it out was keeping me from setting a couple of goals and moving forward.

Making Life’s Imperfections Work in Your Favor

Sometimes, part of your plan won’t come to you. No matter how hard you try, you can’t figure it out. Whether it’s your ultimate goal or an interim one, they’re not always apparent when you set out. Sometimes, because I need to has to be enough for the moment. We don’t always know, nor can we put into words what drives us forward and makes us keep striving for something, especially when everything we try falls apart like one of my earthquake cakes. That’s OK.

Work with what you know. Focus on a goal you know you can attain, even if it’s only going to take you through the next three days. It simply means you don’t have enough information. You don’t even know what you don’t know. Standing in one place, contemplating your navel isn’t going to change that. Moving around will. Something or someone you meet along the way will trigger a question, or drag a memory out of your subconscious that gives you a clue, inspires you to keep moving. If nothing else, the process of moving will invariably shake loose a few cobwebs and clear your head, making it easier to recognize a clue before it smacks you in the head.

Sometimes You’re the Windshield and Sometimes You’re the Bug

I’ve been on all sides of this equation. I’ve had goals, like completing my accounting degree, which I achieved. I’ve had others, like making a living as a writer, which are still gathering steam. I’ve tripped and fallen on my face dozens of times. I’ve gone down countless dead-end roads. I’ve also slogged through swamps and dragged myself that one more step up my latest mountain, assuring myself I’d be glad I did in the end. And I always was.

What keeps me going isn’t a solid goal. It’s an image of the life I want to be living, the home, the people, the grove of fruit trees I can use to help feed the hungry in my community, the cats I’ll help save from euthanization or worse. But I succumb to overwhelm too.

Forgotten Victims, or Whatever it’s Called in the End

My biggest goal is to get my memoir about family suicide published and promoted on a broad scale. Yet since the writers’ conference in February, I’ve re-written 1 1/2 chapters; none of them in the last 2 months. Why? Because I’m overwhelmed by the magnitude of re-writing what took me 9 years to create. I’ve even managed to mire myself in how much I dislike the current title!

I’ve re-thought my defining moment. I created a timeline of significant events. Yet my mind runs in circles, trying to decide whether to print the whole thing out on index cards so I can re-arrange them like puzzle pieces or sit down and work with what I currently have to re-shape the existing chapters first. Stuck in a mire of indecision, I’m doing exactly what I’m telling you not to do; I’m wallowing in my own misery and frustration and failing to move forward.

Making Your Own Small Successes

Sure, I’m now putting out 3 blog posts a week. I’ve joined the #HeartfeltAcademy to move my visions for my work and business forward. Most of all, I’ve realized I can break my re-writing project into even smaller, practically bite-sized pieces. I can spend an hour a day on it without reaching that point in every writer’s life where I want to set fire to the whole project and run away screaming “I suck at this! What ever made me think I could be a successful writer?”

Instead, I listen to my coach who is telling me to break it into smaller pieces. I step back and set a couple of shorter-term goals. Most of all, I make time in my day to act on those smaller pieces knowing when I can put a check mark next to today, I’ll feel absolutely fabulous about the small step I’ve taken toward achieving one of my many goals!

Gratitude is Always the Answer

Above all, I am grateful for every step I take, every stumble, every Universal head slap, and every bit of encouragement and praise I receive. I’ve even learned how to accept a compliment without qualification or underlying belief it’s undeserved.

  1. I am grateful to Linda Clay, Jessa Hargrove and the entire #HeartfeltMovement for helping me get out of my own way, recognize my qualities, learn to overcome my weaknesses, and ask for help from the amazing women who are joining the groups every day.
  2. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned and the times I’ve fallen and picked myself up again. May I always pick myself up after each fall, and recognize what I’ve learned in the process.
  3. I am grateful for my daughter Heather who inspires me every single day. She may have spent the better part of 13 years at various community colleges, but she found her way back to her original dream, and will be graduating from the last community college with 2 AS Degrees before going on to SDSU in the Fall. She shows me every day how to keep putting one foot in front of the other, regardless of any obstacle. There isn’t anything we can’t overcome if we stay focused on our goals.
  4. I am grateful for friends who have become family and who are so incredibly encouraging. They may not know how much or how often their words have helped me keep reaching for my dream of being a real writer, but I wouldn’t have come this far without them.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; friendship, determination, motivation, inspiration, encouragement, love, joy, energy, kitty love, sunshine, rain, hope, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for ghostwriting to help your business grow and thrive. Her specialties are 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

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