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

Posts tagged ‘Linda Clay’

My Road Map is A Scatter Diagram

Defining a Road Map

Created with CanvaMy Mentor, Linda Clay is a big fan of plans and road maps for reaching your goals. Me, not so much. I’m more of a “set the intention and follow the breadcrumbs the Universe leaves me” kinda gal. Linda insists I really do have a plan, even if I can’t see it in all it’s map-y glory.

It occurred to me today I was looking at it wrong. Instead of trying to see the nice, neat little road leading from point A to point B, I have to look at the dots flung hither and yon and imagine a line connecting them together. It won’t be straight and it won’t head directly to my goal. My map has dozens of side trips and deviations to the original plan because that’s the way I think.

Looking at the Empty Spaces

I used to tease my daughter Heather about solving problem by going from A to Q. She tended to skip a lot of the steps in between because her mind processed them too quickly to mention. Such is the ADD mind, and mine works the same way. But by the same token, we may go off on tangents seemingly unrelated to our goal while we’re in that space between A and Q. People don’t typically see those either because, again, they happen pretty quickly.

But life, though it’s certainly a constant series of problems and equations to solve, isn’t a single one we can solve quickly, then get on with it. Instead, we may be juggling 6 or 7 things at once, and maybe more. While we’re solving one, another 8 are jumping on our backs like a bunch of hungry chimps, each certain it’s the one that should get our attention first.

The Disorderly Mind

To an outsider, or simply someone who requires order, it might look like I’m chasing my tail https://www.flickr.com/photos/jobber1/36197048070/in/photolist-X9BkiG-6zNVTx-9WcJ3G-dSakbx-dSammr-9TBa8u-6ezpVp-4BqdWY-VXtGBZ-rmenXX-qCVBCH-ebSPFY-on6uCz-7jht6-n98ro-VTXW6M-a1XWoX-aEZ3ZC-GAd7om-aETqXe-5YRvvk-dSfWbY-KEWxyD-7N2mv7-s8WVRA-97x2ND-9FZG7n-kv3uih-7dAKBM-Usjf3C-emcpAz-3EXMtA-U3SSPP-gQb96B-6QtXTY-o36uJj-iwvCcv-54dBjc-opbQb3-7NxyBo-7G7U6q-cS6eML-9FXQcH-ojrwjj-SUbPcQ-7MNAUc-Ee2qD-jZRnbY-a355px-cS691Nmost of the time. In truth, I’m gathering data and learning new things with every side trip and switch back I take. Connecting my dots would reveal, not a clean, direct route, but rather a spiral which leaves some things after one visit, but goes back to others time and time again because there’s more to be gained after learning a few more things on my journey.

We aren’t always ready for the lessons life gives us. For some it means plugging away in frustration until finally, something falls into place and it makes sense. My frustration level is very low. I’m more likely to walk away, but experience has shown me that’s often my best option. By walking away, I turn my attention to other things, maybe discovering key components in something entirely unrelated. I clear my head so when I return to the problem or lesson, I approach it with a clean perspective, and often see the solution clearly.

Games Which Stretch Our Minds

I’ve always enjoyed doing logic problems, not because they engaged the analytical part of my brain, but because in a weird way, they didn’t. You’re presented with information that doesn’t seem complete, in pieces and parts that require you to put them together without an actual framework. Looking at 3 of the clues, you might find information to check off a box or two the first time around. But each time you go through the clues, what you’ve checked off previously coalesces to clarify the picture.

My approach to life and especially my goals is a lot like a logic problem. I don’t have all the answers or knowledge I need to get there right now. I have to keep picking up skills and information, then circling back to put a few more pieces in place. Once I do, more clues are revealed or I’m directed to another source of information I need to absorb before I can continue.

Traversing an Unmarked Road of Opportunities

My guides don’t provide flashing neon signs telling me “you need this piece before you can assemble Process Q47H”. Instead, they toss out opportunities to learn something, or people who offer something I need. It’s up to me to decide whether I’m ready to assimilate what’s offered, or even willing to put forth the effort. I might even know the offer is a one-time deal and won’t come back again. That, too goes into my decision to pursue or pass.

I know if I miss one opportunity, it will either return in another form, or it’s something which might have actually confused me and taken me further off course. There are times I have, indeed chosen something that took me far away from my original path. That’s not always a bad thing either.

Each Person’s Road Map is a Series of Choices

At different points in our lives we make choices. We decide how we want our lives to look in X years. But things change. New options become available. Or old options lose their luster for one reason or another. The dreams I have today and the choices I’m making are seemingly light years away from the ones I had 20 or 30 years ago. Even the ones I had 5 years ago when I quit my accounting job are considerably different than the ones I have now (except the house overlooking the beach on a private peninsula. I still want that!).

Why? Because as I’ve pursued the original dream, I’ve learned a lot of things. Some of them are still pointing me in a reasonable facsimile of my chosen direction at the time, but many of them have expanded my horizons—showing me how much broader and more diverse my options are. I didn’t have the knowledge or the experience 5 years ago to see past my personal horizon. I was also locked in a pretty constricting comfort zone.

Growth Occurs When We Leave Our Comfort Zone

In the last couple of years, I’ve taken some giant leaps outside my former comfort zone. It’s https://www.flickr.com/photos/europeanspaceagency/31275407857/in/photolist-PDGD8X-bnbiQa-k7zt6d-6M2nn9-mAAwrU-k7wXWX-nhNH58-k7zDp9-k7xjWk-nJgXGP-nk9CP8-k7tAv4-nziGrM-6ez3RC-nxeRe7-k7zCqf-2fgYi1C-k7B7wo-c411jo-S3dRoP-k7zetH-aubYf9-5u7LHw-cDzxty-5u3mjF-efS9bW-9tURvV-MNVXL-dkbcr9-aMCP28-LFJ8h-HUeD1-87TPHZ-5u3o9k-4t8Czz-5u7Lnq-XBZhbM-Yz4KP7-dJTsqi-YfKzKY-5Xw9Tw-kYuVpf-9GbcYZ-7DuDAu-fkpUYM-zGvsDE-qxEs38-o6g4QL-pJaHTv-mmZ7Ucnow on the far-distant horizon behind me, and before me are endless possibilities. I certainly wouldn’t have considered ghostwriting as the piece to fill the gap between my memoir and novels, and making a living. But here I am, writing for other people and getting paid to do it. The crazy part is, I’m loving doing it! I get to combine my Empathic skills with my writing skills to get inside someone’s head and write as if I were them.

Sure, my insecurities stage a rave every time I take on a new client, but with each new piece they accept and often love, my confidence grows. It will never reach cocky as a little humility, nervousness, and work ethic drive me to offer my best product to each client. But maybe at some point the raves will become more of a line dance floor where common steps are given their own twist by the participants, and I’m more certain I’m at least doing the same dance.

Connecting my dots doesn’t have a single solution. I can connect them in a million different ways and ultimately reach my goal. But I spend less time connecting and more time experiencing because I know that goal will change a few dozen times as I draw closer, and by the time I do reach it, it will more likely be a way-station than a destination.

My Most Powerful Tool Will Always Be Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful to all the people who inspire me with ideas. My blogs are from real life; mine, yours, the world’s.
  2. I’m grateful for disruptive dreams that show me I’m embroiling myself in nonsense and fruitless meanderings at times.
  3. I’m grateful for a new day when irritations fade and perspectives are back in place.
  4. I’m grateful for the plethora of inspirational material available on Social Media. It’s thought-provoking, conversation-starting, or sometimes, what someone really needs to hear.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; opportunities, new clients to write for, inspiration, ideas that come simply by placing fingers to keys, friendship, motivation, support, encouragement, love, healing, joy, peace, harmony, health, 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

A Quiet Christmas, A Renewed Sense of Purpose

A Year in Review: Reiterating My Purpose

For the first time in years, I spent Christmas Eve and Day alone. I won’t go into all the reasons why except to say it was by choice as well as circumstance. The time alone gave me a chance to go inside, do some soul searching and gain some perspective.

Although I don’t always give myself credit, I did meet some of my goals this year. Others were extended into 2019 while I worked on my infrastructure. Not the physical so much as the mental, emotional, and spiritual.

I started working with coach Linda Clay on a regular basis after being one of the beta testers for her new program. The month-long beta test yielded such positive results I opted to continue, and came to a mutually beneficial arrangement to make it happen.

Successes Always Outweigh Setbacks

The end of the year brought a number of setbacks which at times left me unable or unwilling to accomplish much. Even my thrice weekly gym visits suffered a bit, at times becoming only twice. I actually see that as a win, if only because if I missed, it was only once a week, where in the past, it would probably have been the entire week. Clearly, it’s one habit I’ve cemented into my life and lifestyle, which is a huge leap forward in my opinion.

I’ve also managed to stay at least a week ahead with my blog posts, and am slowly working my way back to 2 or 3. My goal right now is to finish the last 8 posts for January no later than the 12th. And, despite setbacks and delays, I still plan to honor my latest goal of finishing the current edit of Life Torn Asunder by the end of January.

What Others See Pales Beside What Lies Beneath the Surface

My goals may not sound lofty to an outsider, but they’re only the tip of the iceberg of my plans Created with Canvafor January and getting them done sooner rather than later leaves more time to take care of all the things I’m working on with my coach, and to propel myself forward according to some pretty lofty plans and goals.

I’d like to spend at least 25% of my time ghostwriting and another 25% getting my books finished, investigating publishing options, taking the necessary steps to make those options a reality, and promoting before, during, and after publication. The promotion side, especially will find me stepping even further away from the comfort zone I’m losing sight of, even as we speak.

That comfort zone was a huge part of my Christmas revelations. Each step I take nowadays is scary, more because they’re all steps into uncharted territory for me. I know I’ll trip and fall many times along the way, but I also know I have tons of support now. My support comes from places I’ve come to expect and appreciate immensely, but it’s also been coming from new, unexpected, and no less appreciated directions as well.

I think the single biggest factor in my continued forward progress is knowing support will be there for me every step of the way. I may not see it at the moment, but it hasn’t failed me in longer than I can remember.

Allowing Our Cycles to Run Their Course

Sure, there are places where the odds were against me, and I lost someone or something I loved. I have to accept it, even if I have to go off to my hermit hole and sob a few sobs, shed a lot of tears, and continue a grieving process which will run as long as it needs to. Even those days are productive, if not as much as I’d like. I’ve written my share of articles or researched options for one of the many aspects of my life during those seemingly down times. Shutting myself away doesn’t mean I sit around doing nothing.

I got hooked on the Hallmark Christmas movies before Halloween, and watched more TV than is my wont for the next couple of months. But there comes a time when I reach TV burnout. Then I pick up a book, a notebook and pen, or put my fingers on the keyboard and create. One night even saw me in front of the TV with my laptop on a TV tray creating one of my January posts.

Creating New Healthy Habits

I promised myself I’d reinstate “cafe writing Fridays” after my Friday workouts. Sometimes I’ll go somewhere for lunch, others, a snack and some green tea (I’ve given up coffee, hopefully temporarily while I get my blood pressure under control). My plan is to drag my sweaty-from-the-gym body, my pink bag full of writing materials, and Judy Reeves’ “A Writer’s Book of Days” to every coffee shop, diner, and sandwich shop in town over the next few months. Weather permitting, I’ll also start making use of the numerous parks in town for a change in scenery.

For now, my cafe writing involves a writing prompt, but even there, I’m coming up with some interesting, gut level material, some of which will find it’s way into my memoir, and some into blogs. I’m learning it’s nearly as effective as my morning pages for bringing buried treasure from the depths of my subconscious.

Helping Others to Help Myself

I’ve also started a dialogue with another writer friend, and will start having regular meetups to https://www.flickr.com/photos/58972357@N05/5680789916/in/photolist-9DZwVJ-fgdGm6-a7SYcH-j5jSC4-bGN8dZ-aJn5JF-bExNVg-mSGMdi-ZHWqmm-7LMiyj-9TwjCJ-5AtELB-og1PZ9-4tVBpH-WTy2SC-EYkqoA-9Whomq-qMuq1D-GKUFur-aGDwDa-baLAor-cigULC-dD9LSa-7LFh2P-4LQn4r-fSLy1g-28pzedw-auCkkH-RfUzXE-ap1CA8-4wLABT-9GLXQH-dSP1Wa-7SfMF9-4eBRX6-MUhNVs-7MbCEk-obXLkM-9aGddR-Ns2VHy-jrsEXB-b1D8J-gch9Kk-ouhpzq-e2HHU1-9W9F11-xGa8K-23rp1Yb-am4k5G-ahouP7write or read each others’ work. My experience with organized writers’ groups has been both helpful and frustrating, so maybe starting one-on-one will get me headed back in the right direction, and writing more, procrastinating less. (Some would say I’m too hard on myself given I’m keeping 2-3 weeks ahead on blog posts, but I have higher aspirations for myself. Doesn’t everyone?)

Even now, as much as I share large chunks of myself here, on my website, and in my books, I know when I write, I’m still writing for myself rather than an audience. Perhaps I’m short-sighted if my goal is to grow my writing business, but I’ve learned oftentimes when I write for myself, other people relate better to what I’m saying.

Although I’m still tearing down some of the walls I spent 6 decades building, I believe I’ve sufficiently eradicated the masks and costuming I wore for nearly as long. I no longer feel the need to hide anything of myself. Others are free to accept or reject; agree or disagree; love or hate what I’m saying. I’m learning not to take it personally. Their reactions are as much their own as my writing is mine. Often, I learn from those responses anyway, and am driven to dig deeper to try to understand myself and some of the deep-seated feelings better.

Start With New Goals and Solidify Them With Gratitude

My Christmas musings were a start. They yielded, not a full conversation or set of goals, but launched the conversation I expect to continue throughout 2019, until I take another few days to look within, and to recognize what I’ve accomplished, the lessons I’ve learned, and the challenges I’ve overcome. Each day, each week, each month, each year, is a new opportunity to learn, grow, and achieve something great. Let’s make each and every moment count, because the future is not promised to any of us.

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the people in my life who keep me moving forward, keep me humble, and keep me from diving back into my comfort zone.
  2. I am grateful for my cats who have been there to comfort and keep me company through the tough times, the crazy times, and the celebratory times as well.
  3. I am grateful for my butt kickers, Heather, Linda, and Candy especially, who may not always see what’s going on, but force me to look and create things I’m proud of.
  4. I am grateful for the excitement in my heart and bones for the upcoming year, the projects I’ve begun, and the ones I’ve yet to start.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, inspiration, motivation, friendship, joy, health, prosperity, harmony, peace, challenges, lessons, and philanthropy.

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

Comfort Found in Daily Routines

Daily Routines Keep Us Grounded Amidst the Chaos

2018 has taken some uncomfortable, and even downright painful turns in the last couple of months of the year. Although we managed to have a wonderful after-Thanksgiving feast in November, and some love-filled dance nights in December, I’ve joined the many who are going to be happy to say good-bye to 2018. Too much was lost, some temporarily, and some devastatingly permanent.

Through it all, I’ve taken comfort in daily routines which, no matter what else is happening, are a manageable and controllable part of my days. Like everything else in life, we can do no more than take it one step, one minute at a time. Falling back on the familiar helps me get through some of the minutes which are harder than others.

Morning Pages: Routine for a Lifetime

My now 2+ year practice of writing morning pages has become more than just a routine. It is a lifeline inScrappy Doo a life which has, more often than not in recent days, been chaotic and outside any control I might want or need to exercise. Whether I rise with the alarm at 8 or let myself sleep in until 9 or 10, my first stop every morning is my desk where I pick up pen and paper and write for about 30 minutes.

Part of the routine is Dylan sitting beside me purring or flicking his tail across the page to let me know he needs attention. Sometimes Scrappy joins me, especially if I put a Ricola in my mouth; he seems to find menthol as addicting as catnip. The challenge is to write with a cat rubbing himself against my face in inebriated bliss. Regardless of the disruptions and interruptions, I finish those three pages daily (with the rare miss) without fail.

Doing What I Must So I Can Do As I Please

The rest of the non-negotiable morning duties include making the bed, feeding the cats, and putting in my contacts. After that, the day is mine to do with as scheduled, or occasionally, as I please.

The “as I please” part has been my practice for the last couple of weeks, leaving many of the scheduled tasks on my Trello boards undone. In years past, I’d be beating myself up over what I’ve left undone, fretting over making deadlines and meeting goals. But these days, I know my time is more flexible, and my ability to put in a few long days to make up for days I devoted to self-care has always been there when I needed to tap into the energy and focus.

Even when I worked for others, no matter what they threw at me, I met or beat my deadlines. For a long time, I failed to meet deadlines which only affected myself and my business. One day I realized I’m my most important client and, as such deserve to have my deadlines met or beaten as well.

Allowing for Flexibility

That isn’t to say life’s challenges don’t cause slippages, but as my mentor, Linda Clay tells me repeatedly, I can re-set the deadlines and forge ahead. Spending time beating myself up over those missed or extended deadlines serves no one, and keeps me from making and executing new plans.

Nearly a year ago, I planned to finish and publish “Life Torn Asunder”. Today, I’m looking at about 15 more chapters to re-write, and know it won’t be my final re-write. I also need to work on a synopsis and the rest of the information I need to pitch it to a publisher or agent. I know they won’t happen until they become a card on my Trello board.

For years, I had a written or Excel-based To-Do list. I’ve found it worked great for things like gym visits I was trying to establish as routines, but not so great for long-term projects like book re-writes and regular blog postings. I also learned having an event pop up on my phone reminding me to check the Trello boards daily helped keep me focused on the tasks I’ve committed to.

One thing I’ve learned about routines, be they daily, weekly, or monthly, is you need to allow for some flexibility. Like friendship, routines fall into three categories; a season, a reason, or a lifetime. There are only a few which fall into my “lifetime” category these days, though many only started within the last five years, and some just this year.

Routines for a Lifetime, a Reason, or a Season

Those include daily writing, making my bed, going to the gym three times a week, and writing regular blog posts. Even the last one keeps evolving. First it was once a week, then twice, now thrice. My goal is to add a similar routine for at least five clients a month so they can put their effort into building their business instead of creating content to attract clients for them to talk to. Again, this is where Linda comes in. We have weekly calls where she helps me find focus, kicks my butt, or helps me add items to my To-Do list. I also get to do some writing for her, and she’s someone I greatly admire both personally and professionally. Writing for her is the cherry on my hot fudge sundae.

My “reason” category includes things like the components for my book pitch, a long-delayed will, preparations for our after-Thanksgiving feast—the list goes on, and changes as my life expands.

“Season” is a little tougher as I enter tasks I expect to be ongoing, or perhaps, short-term, and their nature changes. Yet this is where a lot of my lessons are learned and experience gained. It might be a one-off client who needs documentation for a divorce, or someone who responded to one of my specials, and didn’t ask for anything beyond the initial tasks. Or maybe they did and became a long-term client. Either way, I’ve learned I don’t usually know whether a season task will become more, or will die on the vine until the task is completed. Sometimes they disappear for months, only to reappear when I least expect it.

Sowing Seeds to Grow New Routines

Through it all, I, like everyone else, sow seeds. Some I’ll nurture and help them grow into something to feed my soul, and hopefully a few others. Some will thrive in spite of any attention or neglect I pay them. Others will surprise me either with the fruit they bear, their tenacity, or their ability to entwine themselves into my life, creating new and exciting challenges and routines. A few will either die out or fail to sprout at all.

All of the scenarios are perfect in my mind. Not all the seeds we plant are meant to feed or inspire us. Some will even lie dormant for a long time, leading us to believe they’ve died out when in truth, they were simply waiting for their time in the sun. Those seeds are smarter than we are in that they know when it’s their time, and when it’s not.

I’m guilty of shiny object syndrome a great deal of the time (if you haven’t already figured that out while reading a post that meanders from topic to topic with no recognizable point) so I’m prone to tossing a lot of seeds into the ground just to see what they’ll do. For many, I’m less concerned about the outcome and more about the experiment I’m running. I’ll sit and watch people for the same reason. There’s a lot to be gained by watching and waiting, so long as you don’t spend your life solely in that mode.

Honoring Our Need for Times of Rest

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jfolsom/5931303869/in/photolist-a38tZP-dmn34H-a7FwQm-antZ2h-bwzwuR-5stPPH-6EsqoX-T4qUgL-4hmxbh-8MJPmb-fEFoSF-kCt71i-2ikr4t-8MF532-WNwMjy-8tMnKX-fEFoGg-fEXXd7-afuD1a-8MEuUF-95Mr5j-dySrRf-bfNhFR-9oSxoh-5WgF4Q-8MHZfC-7VroTL-9PiLGB-oaW3YQ-K4CQFx-8YSrLp-mSLwB-7VqeAh-5hfnTx-KfhXca-e3u44f-99b5UG-7BeZaD-8MHAVw-kAEoL3-6qZ9C6-5thpD3-ai9p7Z-9gCot5-o8bKtB-5W8sPu-85jA66-6PCR9M-bJ7tue-97oqD4Sue Monk Kidd wrote about the value of watching and waiting in her book “When the Heart Waits”. She compared herself to a caterpillar who has spun a cocoon. There’s no rushing the process of evolving from a caterpillar to a butterfly. Sometimes, we have to sit back and wait for things to line up properly, or rest after a long, concentrated push. Those waiting periods are as important, or more so than the periods of frenetic activity which often precedes them.

I realized this week I’d neglected my reading for quite some time. Not just books to expand my skills or knowledge, but those by writers whose story-telling skills I admire. After spending a day reading one of the Mercedes Lackey books I found at the $5 book store while seeking my daughter’s and son-in-law’s annual Christmas books, I realized I need to add reading time to my daily schedule. For me, reading for an hour is on the same level of importance as daily meditation. That too has fallen by the wayside a bit in recent weeks.

Routines Should Never Become Straight Jackets

I think the most important thing I’ve learned about regular routines we create and set is we must allow Created with Canvafor flexibility. We can’t beat ourselves up when our schedule goes sideways for a little while. Sometimes we have to step back and deal with what life is throwing at us, even if it means missing a few meditations, gym days, or even writing time. When we do, it gives us a chance to take a hard look at what we’ve deemed important to make sure it still is. It also gives us a chance to look at what we’ve forgotten about, and what needs to be added back into our life.

Most of all, it’s important to remember we are evolving beings. When we step back and look at our routines, we’ll find some are still valuable while others have outlived their usefulness. We’ve gained the lesson and need to let go to make space for something else. Those are the seeds which lay dormant for awhile until we were ready to let go of something, harvest the crop, and turn the soil again.

The short days and long nights of winter when the leaves have left the trees and the ground is resting is a good time to review our routines, turn our soil, and rest. It’s also a good time to go within and just listen without judgement, plan, or goal. You might be surprised by what comes up when you quiet your mind.

Gratitude: A Routine for a Lifetime

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the things I’m learning about myself from my friends.
  2. I am grateful for the time to quiet my mind, listen to my heart and gut, and find new directions.
  3. I am grateful for the variety in my days; some are quiet and introspective, some are productive, some, even chaotic. But overall, it’s balanced.
  4. I am grateful for balance, and the ability to recognize when I need more of one thing and less of another.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; friendship, connection, joy, vulnerability, authenticity, deep conversations, new connections, lessons, challenges, peace, harmony, health, 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 Ourselves Credit for Jobs Well Done

Re-defining Work in the Context of Our Entrepreneurial Jobs

In the last few years, my perception of work has changed dramatically. As an entrepreneur, we often work more hours than we would for a steady paycheck, yet often we don’t see it as working at all. There are days I’ll look back over what I’ve accomplished and tell myself Look, you actually worked 6 hours today! In reality, I may have worked far more, but don’t take into consideration things like social media self-promotion, or making connections as part of that work.

Blog posts are another matter, especially with my aggressive posting schedule. I count the time I spend creating and formatting posts as work hours these days. But what about coaching sessions, or my morning pages where so many of my blog ideas arise? I don’t even count that as part of starting my day. In fact, I’ll often tell myself now that my morning pages are done, I can start my day.

It seems I put morning pages into the same category as sleeping. But as a writer, sitting down to write really is starting my day, isn’t it? It doesn’t really matter if it’s a blog post, an article for a client, a writing prompt, or my morning pages. Writing is writing.

Where Are You Failing to Give Yourself Credit?

How many other entrepreneurs sell themselves short when it comes to acknowledging the time they spend building and maintaining their business? How many of the necessary tasks they do are relegated to that time known as “before I start my day”.

We tend to ignore the fact that running a business involves a thousand little details we don’t think about. We just do them.

  • Organizing our work load
  • Planning out our week
  • Accumulating necessary supplies
  • Making phone calls to gather information
  • Research
  • Bookkeeping
  • Coaching sessions
  • Maintaining our scheduling system, be it manual, Trello, or some other mechanized format
  • Promotion
  • Learning new skills
  • Keeping up with changes in our market

The list goes on, but all of these are necessary parts of building and maintaining our business, yet all too often, we don’t give ourselves the credit we deserve for making them all happen, and run seamlessly.

Recognizing How Much We’ve Accomplished

I’m often guilty of selling myself short, much to my coach, Linda Clay’s amusement. My latest was realizing I could answer ads on FlexJobs calling for 2-3 years of copywriting experience. Haven’t I been running my own blog and website for nearly 10 years? Haven’t I written articles for other people for at least 3-4 years now? So what if they were ghostwritten and I can’t legitimately claim authorship? I’ve done the writing, so I can claim the experience.

I know I’m not alone in overlooking the experience I’ve gained and the hours I’ve put in. We all have skills and talents we dismiss as unimportant or not valuable. Stay-at-home moms are probably the worst offenders.

Stay-At-Home Moms Have Serious Skills

Many of us know what it takes to maintain a household, take care of kids, and work a full-time job. But what about when you’re home with those kids 24/7? A full-time job gives us a break and allows us to justify a certain amount of slippage in our housewifely duties. A stay-at-home mom gets no breaks, no sick time, no vacation, and no excuses. If it doesn’t get done, it’s on her.

Whether it’s keeping track of the kids’ schedules and getting them to school, lessons, practices, and appointments on time, or keeping the weekly grocery bill within budget. It’s all on her. If something doesn’t get done, it stares her in the face like a gloating gremlin who thrives on her inadequacies. She goes to sleep at night with endless lists running through her brain, and wakes to those same lists, distorted and out of control.

She takes chaos and turns it into order while doing another load of laundry, cleaning up breakfast dishes, and packing her brood off to school. And let’s not even talk about school vacations.

Dividing Our Time Between Jobs

So when I think about doing the mom thing alone since my girls were four, working full-time, and running a part-time accounting business, I finally realize how many balls I kept in the air, and never gave myself credit for. It became such an ingrained habit, I do it still today.

The only kids still at home may be furry, but they require my attention too, even if it’s only feeding and cleaning up after them. When one is ill, I have to take extra time out of my day to administer medications, take them to vet appointments, pick up meds, and in some cases, coax them to eat. Like children, they also require attention, and if I don’t take a break during my work day to do so, they let me know in no uncertain terms it’s time to stop and focus on them. It’s really no different than trying to work with the sound of arguments which need breaking up, or an endless stream of “mom…mommy…MOM’s” interrupting my train of thought. It’s still kids who need my attention as much as my business does.

Needless to say, it’s a juggling act every day, no matter what we call our job. For most of us, the word is probably plural anyway.

Is it Work, or What?

I’ve gotten so bad about recognizing tasks as work-related I’ll actually tell myself it’s time to act like a real business-person, and work at least 8 hours a day. Even if writing isn’t like the drudgery of working for someone else, it’s still work for me. I have tasks I must complete to help promote my business, even if it’s only adding content to my own sites.

When did I get it into my head it’s only work if I hate doing it? When did business have to be a drudgery? And why would I decide to go into business for myself if that’s how I saw it?

Despite the struggles and disappointments of the last 5 years; despite the many things I’ve tried which haven’t yielded the expected results, my stress levels have dropped significantly since I left Corporate America. I suspect the same is true for most others who’ve done the same.

Living the Entrepreneurial Life

Sure, we work more hours than we did when we worked for someone else. Certainly, we take less time off, and typically work at least one day of the weekend. Yet we tell ourselves too often we’re not working enough.

How do we measure enough though? Is it dollars? Sales? Customers? Blog hits? Productivity? In a service-based business, the metrics aren’t as cut-and-dried as a product-based business, but either way, we discount so many tasks as non-work-related, when they really are.

When we’re at a social event and someone asks what we do, don’t we spend a little time talking about our business? We’re not trying to sell something, per se (or at least those of us who don’t like to be pushy about it aren’t), we’re answering the typical questions.

What do you do?

What do you write about?

Have you been published?

Do you have a website?

Promotion as Natural Social Behavior

And so on. In effect, we promote ourselves without reservation, because it’s general conversation. As someone who is self-employed, I find I naturally get more questions about what I do than someone who works for a bank or an engineering company. People are curious and frankly, I love talking about writing to a willing audience. Again, if I were working for someone else, I’d consider myself on the clock during these conversations. As an entrepreneur, I don’t.

The same is true of interactions on social media. Every time I post a tip, or get into a conversation with someone about something they wrote, or re-post one of my blogs, it’s adding value to my business.

It’s time we gave ourselves the credit we deserve, even if our sales numbers have yet to reflect our efforts. You can’t build a skyscraper without laying a firm foundation.

My Grateful Heart

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for recent epiphanies which build up my sense of self-worth.
  2. I am grateful for friends who are willing to share their stories with me.
  3. I am grateful for the kicks in the butt which are starting to make me see my own value, and the value of the tasks I perform.
  4. I am grateful for every minute more I get with my sweet girl, Munchkin. I know her days are numbered (barring a Christmas Miracle), and treasure the love she gives me now, and has given me for more than 12 years.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; friendship, love, joy, connection, inspiration, motivation, sharing, dancing, community, peace, harmony, health, 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.

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.

Self-Sabotage and Healthy Habits

Understanding Why We Self-Sabotage

I’m a procrastinator. The more my mind sees a task as disrupting my life, the more likely I’ll do everything in my power to avoid it.

Still, over the last couple of years, I’ve managed to temporarily shut my inner procrastinator down to set some incredible habits which are now non-negotiable:

  • Make the bed every morning
  • Go to the gym 3 times a week
  • Eat healthy meals (most of the time)
  • Write my morning pages every day
  • Clean the kitchen before I go to bed every night

To some, these might seem pretty easy. They’re things a “normal” person would do without thinking twice. But for me, they’ve taken time and tenacity to build into habits I am no longer willing to break, except on rare occasions, and usually with good reason.

Getting Past the Blocks to Completing My Memoir

My biggest obstacle these days is the rewrite of “Forgotten Victims”. I start each day with every intention of picking it back up again, but, until yesterday, hadn’t been able to bring myself to do it. I realize it’s merely another obstacle I must conquer, but to do so, I need to grab hold of the ladder and put my foot on the first rung.

Instead of just sitting my butt down, opening the file, and starting, I used the time, when not contemplating my navel or playing games on the computer to psychoanalyze myself and my lack of motivation.

Getting Out of Our Own Way Towards Setting New Habits

Every new habit we set out to establish was daunting at first. It’s easier to make excuses, or worse, analyze our reasons for avoiding the thing entirely than to dive in and do it.

Years ago, I had an employee who tried my patience excessively. Every time I’d ask her do something a little different from what she was used to, she’d spend two hours whining and complaining about what I was asking her to do, and making excuses for why she couldn’t. Eventually, she’d do what I asked, in about 1/10th of the time she’d spent complaining about it.

I see a little of her in myself when I do everything in my power to avoid something, whether it’s going to the gym (which nowadays I am excited about instead of dreading), cleaning house (I still hate it, but I hate walking barefoot across gritty floors more), marketing my business (still trying to figure that one out, but building relationships in the meantime), or working on one of my five (yes I really do have five going at once) writing projects.

Focusing on Our Accomplishments

So why is it I can conquer the menial, boring, passionless tasks, but when it comes to what I really love, my passion projects, I am continually mired in excuses and, let’s be honest, an Everest-sized mountain of self-doubt? With everything else, I learned long ago to look at what I have accomplished rather than what I have left to accomplish. Where am I losing sight of it with my writing which I truly love?

With that in mind, let’s take stock. What have I already accomplished writing-wise?

  • Consistently writing 3 blog posts a week
  • Completed several writing projects for clients
  • Wrote and revised over 103,000 words for “Sasha’s Journey”
  • Wrote over 90,000 words for “A Dubious Gift”
  • Wrote over 70,000 words for “Hannah’s Chair”
  • Wrote over 70,000 words for “Forgotten Victims”
  • Re-wrote an entirely new first chapter for “Forgotten Victims” which I LOVE!
  • Re-wrote 4 more chapters (as of 6/6/18) for “Forgotten Victims”
  • Wrote 4,500 words for “Frederick the Gentlemouse”

Not to mention what I wrote during my years as an Accountant

  • Wrote volumes of detailed desk instructions
  • Wrote procedures for an ISO 9001 project
  • Wrote Cost Volumes for government RFP’s (Requests for Proposal)
  • Wrote countless responses to management, government agencies, clients, and more

My mind is especially blown when I realize I recently started the 6th 200-page spiral notebook of Morning Pages, and have filled the better part of another with writing prompts. And let’s not forget more than 1,200 blog posts for my website and blog site.

Do More, Think Less

The point I’m making (more for myself than anyone else) is when I didn’t waste time making excuses or talking myself out of moving from the safe, boring place in which I was currently sitting, I did some amazing things. In fact, from the day I swore to my daughter I couldn’t possibly write 50,000 words in a month, and did it with words and time to spare, I have consistently overachieved—as long as I got out of my own way and didn’t over think it.

Therein lies a problem many of us face. We see, not the first step in a journey, but the entire mountain we believe we need to climb. We allow the part of us that hates change (and maybe exercise too!) to fill our heads with negative self-talk, excuses, and fear. And for what? So we can remain in the rut we know we hate forever? How dumb is that? Yet every one of us is an expert in self-sabotage.

That doesn’t mean many aren’t wildly successful. Just because you develop expertise in something doesn’t mean you have to pursue it. Sometimes, we need to learn everything about a particular topic or behavior pattern so we understand what’s needed to overcome it or conquer it.

It Isn’t Always Necessary to Know Why

A few days ago, I was talking to Linda Clay about my lack of motivation to finish “Forgotten Victims” and she started throwing out questions to help me figure out why I was self-sabotaging. When I finally picked it up and started re-reading so I could start re-writing, I realized something really important. The time I was spending trying to figure out why I wasn’t writing was keeping me from writing! (cue light bulbs, fireworks, and neon banners blazing across the sky)

I suddenly realized it isn’t always about understanding why you’re avoiding something. Trying to figure it out is adding to the list of avoidance measures you’re using. Sometimes you have to stop overthinking the reasons behind the problem and get back to the business of doing what you do best. In my case, remembering that I could be the most amazing writer on the planet, but if I never finish and publish anything, none of my lofty dreams will ever bear the fruit I seek.

Our minds will do just about anything to maintain our status quo. It’s safe. It’s known. It requires little effort. But it’s also boring as hell. Our amazing brains atrophy from disuse just as our muscles do when we do nothing but sit in front of the TV all day. We need to scramble those brain cells. Keep them moving and stretch them in new and different ways.

Between you and me, a healthy, challenged body is nothing without a healthy, challenged mind. Is it time to stop asking “why?” and start asking “why not?” Each of us has to answer that question ourselves, but if you’ve been stuck in a rut too long like I was, I can pretty much guarantee it’s time.

A Gratitude a Day…

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for a mind which, despite the odds, thrives on being challenged.
  2. I am grateful for new people and ideas which are coming into my world these days. Whether or not they ever know, they challenge me to strive to be the very best me I can.
  3. I am grateful for finally breaking the writing block that kept “Forgotten Victims” from becoming a reality.
  4. I am grateful for people who continually encourage me even when they don’t know exactly what it is they’re encouraging me to do. They know the what is less important than the why.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; perseverance, motivation, inspiration, encouragement, role models, support, entrepreneurs, friends, family, my cats who are there to encourage and sometimes distract me from myself, peace, harmony, love, happiness, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

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 specializes in creating content that helps 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

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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