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

Posts tagged ‘passion’

Painting Goals in Broad Strokes

Synchronicity and Broad Strokes

I subscribe to “Messages from the Universe” which sends an email every weekday full of encouragement and positivity. Quite often, those messages go straight to my heart. The one for April 26th, is especially appropriate for me:

Expecting “end results” – such as wealth and abundance, health and harmony, friends and laughter – in broad brushstrokes, is part of the secret formula for manifesting the life of your dreams.

Expecting your path to follow a certain route – such as writing a bestseller to accumulate wealth, having a particular someone fall in love with you, or insisting upon this idea, that diet, or the other invention to be your deliverance – is just plain messing with the cursed hows and severely limits my options.

He would have to mention “writing a bestseller”, ensuring he had my attention on this one. As several friends share the messages from time to time, I know this is the same message everyone gets, but boy, did it hit home for me!

As often happens, when I get a particularly pointed message from the Universe, it’s repeated several times to ensure I’m paying attention and ready to act on what I’m hearing. I’m getting a similar message from the #HeartfeltAcademy suggesting I set goals and break them into smaller pieces which can be managed daily, weekly, monthly, or even quarterly.

Find a Goal and Break it Down

Of course, the hard part is not only picking one goal, but being realistic about what I can accomplish in smaller segments of time. For example, I’ve tried setting goals to re-write a chapter or two a week, but with other tasks I took on in the meantime, allowed that goal to slip away, not just for a few days, but for months on end.

I’m realizing though we need to pick one goal at a time to focus on, the rest of our life doesn’t come to a standstill while we’re doing it. In order to make those small steps work, we have to be conscious of the other commitments we’ve already made to ourselves; the other goals we are accomplishing every day.

I’ve established goals for my morning pages and gym visits which are now pretty much engraved in stone. Creating another daily activity involves more than just deciding to do it. It means managing my time more efficiently so I can add one more thing to my day or week. Admittedly, I sometimes get frustrated with it all and end up accomplishing nothing except what I was already doing anyway.

Focus on Accomplishments

Instead of beating myself up about it, I’ve learned to take a step back and look at the whole picture. I’ve done my morning pages every day. I’ve gone to the gym 3 times a week for the last couple of months (except the day I came home from the cruise, but as I got over 50,000 steps in 3 days, and the day I missed was leg day, I decided to be OK with a missed day). I also surprised myself by getting up earlier for the last few days as if in preparation for an increase in daily activity and expectations.

Sometimes we have to give our minds and bodies a little time to catch up with our new goals and plans. If we were only doing actual work for 4 hours a day, jumping into an 8-hour day (unless you have to drag yourself into someone else’s office to do so) is extremely difficult, at least on a regular basis. I know my mind is trying to adapt to the idea by getting bored more easily with hitting the snooze, forcing me to  get up after only swatting the obnoxious contraption one or two times instead of my usual five or six.

Also, the rest of the team doesn’t start making adjustments until and unless we prove we’re fully committed to the new demands on our time. My own system decided I was finally ready when I started committing to the homework assignments in the afore-mentioned #HeartfeltAcademy.

Commit First, Ask Questions Later

And yet, I haven’t clearly defined what those new commitments will be. It seems the act of committing to making a change is all it takes for the shift to start happening. Sometimes, taking small steps like choosing healthier food options, or increasing the amount of exercise you get, or even something as simple as setting your alarm can trigger positive changes.

The broad brush strokes we paint pick up on the modifications we make to our normal routine. They recognize our mental shifts even if we haven’t gotten up to speed yet. Which is exactly my point when I suggest setting goals as broadly as possible. The less we get stuck in the details, or as a former colleague put it, the weeds, the more opportunities the Universe has to bring us exactly what we need when we need it.

Of course, simply setting a goal is only the beginning. I’ve spent countless hours writing out what my future world will look like including sights, sounds, smells and tactile sensations. I’ve included little nuances that mean something only to me. I’ve written them longhand and read them out loud to myself and whichever felines choose to grace my desk and pretend to listen. Why? Because our goals begin to manifest from the passion we invest into the reality we envision.

Using the Laws of Attraction

As a firm believer in the Laws of Attraction, I see it as a simple but powerful formula.

Vision + Passion + Action = Manifestation

In other words, you have to have a vision you can see, hear, feel, taste and touch which gets you excited just thinking, writing, or talking about it. The more you picture the life of your dreams, the more excited you get. That excitement attracts opportunities you might not even recognize as stepping stones to your ultimate goal. Regardless, you have to act on the opportunities which come your way, even if they seem, at times, to take you in a different direction.

Thinking about it, I probably should have included “trust” in the equation. You have to trust that the opportunities you’re given are going to take you in the right direction, albeit in a more circuitous manner than you’d have chosen if left to your own devices. But the circuitous path is there for a reason. In part, there are aspects which will hone skills you aren’t yet aware you’ll need. You may also find connections to like-minded people you might have missed had you stayed on a straight and narrow road.

Choosing Our Opportunities Wisely

In my case, I looked at a lot of opportunities for coaching and mentoring, and had actually narrowed my choices down to less than a handful. When an opportunity came to join a community which brought together a number of skills and services along with coaching, I realized it was exactly what I was waiting for, and without thought or analysis, jumped on it immediately. I know some of the changes I’m experiencing now are a direct result of that decision.

Since the life of our dreams is typically a moving target (who knows what we can have until we manifest some of what we think we want?) the process has to evolve as well. We may find we are part way to what we’d been envisioning and find something more exciting and fulfilling to aspire to. That’s perfectly fine, and in fact, it’s more than fine. It’s amazing!

Sometimes We Have to Get Out of Our Own Way

We’re only able to envision things slightly outside our own experience. When we expand our horizons, our visions expand as well.  Right now I may see myself living on a private peninsula overlooking the Pacific Ocean with my cats, a small rescue operation, groves of fruit trees, and cabins for my artist friends to use when they need a creative retreat. Who’s to say that vision won’t change when I see what else is available? For now, I see myself drinking my morning coffee on the west-facing porch with a cat or three at my side and my morning pages in my lap.

There’s a chef’s kitchen where I can either cook up messes with my daughter and son-in-law, or bring someone in to cook and clean for me. Of course, there’s a two-story library with a spiral staircase, loads of comfortable, well-lit seating, and at least a couple of shelves dedicated to my own published work. I even see myself standing on the staircase toasting a fellow author who got a plum of a book, or even movie deal.

I see it. I believe it. I feel the joy of having it all come true. And yet, there’s also a spark of unknown excitement for what I don’t even see coming yet. That spark keeps my passion alive even when things seem bleak, and I’m ready to throw in the towel and go back to doing something I hate, but which I know will pay the bills. That passion has me accepting new challenges and connecting with people when my introverted self would rather hide. And it has me sitting down at the computer, pounding out another 1500 words or so when, all too often, I didn’t have a thought in my head about what I wanted to write when I sat down in the chair and placed my fingers on the keys.

When our goals are fueled by passion, and we don’t sweat the small stuff, we move forward in spite of ourselves. We can’t stop the forward momentum without hurting ourselves in the process. And frankly, why would we want to?

Throwing in a Little Gratitude to Grease the Wheels

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the friends who have become family.
  2. I am grateful for dancing as it keeps me moving, brings me joy, and attracts all the best people.
  3. I am grateful for my writing. It inspires me, teaches me, and is my greatest commitment to myself.
  4. I am grateful for my cats who love me no matter what, keep me from spending too much time alone, and remind me to take frequent breaks, if only to give them attention or fill their food bowl.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; energy, love, joy, dancing, friendship, exuberance, silliness, supportive people when I need them, opportunities to give support, expanded horizons, peace, health, 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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Fears: They Can Cripple or Inspire

Even Dreamers Have Fears

Whether it’s fear of a living thing; spiders, snakes, dogs, bears, fear of something physical; heights, crowds, flying, germs, or something intangible; success, failure, ridicule, exposure. We all have something which stands in the way of doing anything we want to do or being anything we want to be.

The major difference between those who go on to achieve their dreams and those who don’t isn’t lack of fear. It’s learning how to overcome or manage them. But it’s also learning how to use them to our advantage. In fact, learning to listen to our fears can sometimes save our lives.

We accumulate our fears in many ways. Some may be taught to us by our parents. Others may be the result of a frightening experience. Still others come when we make an effort to do something different and we are somehow shamed or humiliated for our trouble. Some may even have no discernible basis, yet they’re no less real than all the others.

Managing Our Fears

I’ve learned to ask myself questions whenever I encounter a roadblock in my life. The first is Am I stuck because I’m afraid of something?

But fears can be tricky little devils. Quite often, thee first time or two I ask the question, I’ll get an immediate denial. But if I keep asking, the denial grows weaker, more hesitant.

Our minds are conditioned to be resistant to change but this resistance isn’t as strong as we might believe. If we keep questioning and prodding, the affinity for sameness will falter. When it does, we need to ask the next question, What am I really afraid of?

Don’t expect the answer to come readily though. The protective instinct still has a few tricks up its sleeve. We might get a vague or generally unhelpful answer. The truth when we finally get to it might actually be a confusing conglomeration of fears which over time have coalesced into one massive excuse for maintaining the status quo.

How Our Fears Keep Us Stuck

But “status quo” or “comfort zone” are just fancy ways to say “rut”. I for one have gone out of my way to move on when I’ve found myself in a rut, regardless of whether the condition is due to outside influences or of my own making.

As might be expected, those of my own making are far more difficult to break free of. The mental resistance to coughing up the real reasons and fears which keep me in the self-made rut is often the work of a master brick-layer. Chipping away years of masonry quality excuses is a major challenge all by itself. But the mind has another weapon at its disposal. That weapon is pain.

Built into those solid stone walls filled with our experiences is all the pain, both real and imagined that we accumulated with those experiences.. When we demolish one of the layers, the pain is released and sometimes even relived. If we take a step back and observe without entangling our emotions, the pain doesn’t last. Doing so, however, requires a conscious effort we don’t always employ during the demolition process. More often, we attack the walls, yanking down bricks and flinging them, willy-nilly, behind us.

Stopping the Pattern of Pain

Far too frequently, part of the lesson we were meant to learn was short-circuited by the pain so we actually have to experience the lesson and the pain again. Only then can we release the pain and the fear it hid within its prickly womb.

So, what is strong enough to make us relive the pain and release the fear?

For me, it’s passion. It’s dreams so vivid I can feel the excitement and replace the fear-based pain with success-based euphoria. I imagine myself with those dreams already fulfilled—where I’m living my passion. I feel the energy of the places I visit and live, the people who are part of my life, the things I’ve accomplished to make at least part of the world a little better. It all becomes as real as my excitement and joy over living my dreams.

Making Sure We’re Headed in the Right Direction

But imagination can take us in the other direction as well. I wrote this post out long hand a few days ago, so I had to search through the collection of notebooks which litter my office, my purse, and random surfaces throughout my house to find what I’d written. In the process, I came across a story I wrote some time ago, detailing a worst-case scenario where I had never succeeded. I’d become so destitute I’d sold my furniture and books, but was still unable to come up with the money for vet bills to save my beloved cats. I won’t take you down the miserable path I’d detailed on 9 pages of college-ruled paper, but the picture I painted was the antithesis of my dreams. It was a picture of a woman alone, friendless and destitute who lived on only for the sake of the 3 remaining cats.

By the time I finished reading what I’d written, tears filled my eyes. But I also faced a harsh reality. I have a choice. I can face my fears, do some really uncomfortable things and manifest my dreams, or I can continue to refuse to do what’s necessary, hope for the best and, if not be quite as pathetic as the story in my dream, still find myself paring my life way back and having to make some tough decisions where future expenditures are concerned.

Keeping Our Choices Real

Life is always about choices, and how we deal with our fears is one of the biggest because it can mean the difference between living our dreams or our worst nightmares. Does anyone truly wish to live their nightmares? Yet many don’t realize they do so because of their own choices.

I don’t know about you, but I have some fears I need to drop kick into oblivion. I don’t know quite how I’ll do it, but I know I’m asking for help, which is something I don’t normally do. Sometimes, the first fear you have to conquer is the fear of being a burden.

Start by Being Grateful

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful for the things I find that remind me or shake me out of my complacency.
  2. I am grateful for choices.
  3. I am grateful for my friends and family who wouldn’t abandon me as my imagination sometimes believes.
  4. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned and those I’m still learning.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; lessons, friends, love, joy, dreams, fears conquered, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

The accompanying Facebook Live can be found here.

 

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

Committing to Yourself

An Aha Moment

While doing my second workout of the week, it hit me like a ton of bricks. For the first time, I was making a commitment to myself and accepting no excuses. The first time ever! Up to this point, I’ve been what John Assaraf would call “interested” but not “committed”. In other words, I was unwilling to do whatever it took to achieve my goals including accepting no excuses! And yet, when I speak with people who are so incredibly driven, so “on” all the time, I know that’s not me. Which makes me wonder, do we commit in different ways depending on our personality and experience? Am I less committed than someone else because I insist on making time for recreation? (and don’t confuse visits to the gym with recreation unless that truly is where you engage in social activities).

I’ll explore that further as this post progresses, but for now, let’s move on.

What Determines How and When We Commit to Ourselves?

The first question I had to ask was Why did it take me so long to make a commitment to my own well-being?

The obvious answer is I wasn’t ready. I spent many years with more commitments than I could handle just to stay solvent and reasonably healthy. As a single parent working one full-time job with a bit of work from my own business on the side, there were years when I couldn’t even find time for recreation, much less find the energy to laser focus on what I wanted to be when I grew up. Making ends meet or at least minimizing the gap between income and outflow was all I could manage.

Sure, there are people like JK Rowlings who managed to do it all and more, and I have the utmost respect for women who raised their kids alone like I did and managed to build a thriving business of some kind. I can’t even imagine the sacrifices they made in order to do so. But that was their path, and they figured it out much earlier than I have.

Determining Our Worth

The reality of the time, effort and sacrifice required to hack out your own path can be overwhelming at best. Often it’s easier to just choose the path of least resistance.

Maybe that’s why many of us find it easier simply to work for someone else all our lives, collecting a paycheck rather than building our own business. Working for someone else, we’re never fully committed, balls to the wall, all in, firing on all eight cylinders. We simply do what must to earn our paycheck (some less than others). Only on occasion are we fully committed to the job, giving it our all. Typically it’s in response to some sort of surge in the workload, a business change, or a special project. When it’s over we go back to our normal patterns, giving just as much as we need to. Often, we measure the amount of commitment we give our job by the monetary compensation we receive. In our minds, consciously or not, we determine how valuable we are and what an hour of our time is truly worth.

How often do you see co-workers who give less than an hour’s work for an hour’s pay? How often have you done so yourself? I’m willing to bet that either consciously or unconsciously, it’s the result of feeling under compensated. It doesn’t matter whether the market agrees or not. Your own perception drives your effort.

What Price, Commitment? Are We Worth the Sacrifice?

Yet the people who founded the company you work for, whether the company is large or small today had a vision. They focused their efforts to achieve that vision because they were committed to it.

I’m learning it’s a laser focused commitment which causes our dreams to manifest (with thanks to John Assaraf for the term). Until we are truly ready to focus ourselves…our entire selves on what makes our heart sing, our song will be half-hearted at best and more often than not, discordant.

Our focus really starts when we commit to seemingly unrelated things: our health and wellness, de-cluttering our space, helping others. We have to find our balance first because once we start moving towards our dreams and the momentum gets going we won’t have time to set any more habits. What’s already in place has to set a firm foundation from which we launch ourselves into the stratosphere.

Determining Our Willingness to Commit in Our Own Time and Manner

It frustrates me that it took so long to figure this out. It frustrates me even more to think I believed for so long that to get ahead you had to be a workaholic, giving up anything and everything non-business related.  As I see it now, nothing could be further from the truth! Without balance, no matter how committed you might be to your vision, you will burn out. How the burn-out manifests is unique to you, but it will happen.

I realize I’ve answered my own question. I’ve been gathering the bricks with which to build my foundation all this time. I didn’t know it any more than I knew what dream I’d pursue or how the pieces would fit together. I just needed to stay a course I didn’t know existed until now. Will it be my final direction? Probably not. Instead it will open my mind to new possibilities I might not even see until I travel a few more miles down this road.

The bricks in my storehouse are different from those other people gather. My foundation and it’s composition are unique to me. In my case, it’s a home of my own with a herd of cats. It’s a stocked freezer so I won’t need to do a lot of cooking or meal planning for awhile. It’s three unfinished novels, a children’s book, and a memoir. And it’s a driving need to learn new things. What I lacked up to now was tenacity.

One Direction or Many? It’s Up to You!

I started novels and never finished fine-tuning them. I started several courses, dozens of books, and various avenues for my business, but never let them come to term. Some died on the vine because I knew they were the wrong direction for me. Others fell by the wayside because I just wasn’t ready to put in the necessary effort. In short, I lacked that laser focus because I hadn’t figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up. Or more importantly, I thought I had to choose only one thing. Balderdash and poppycock! Where does it say we can only have one passion, one direction, one item in our career toy box?

You don’t eat one potato chip or one piece of popcorn. Why do only one thing? For someone like me, doing only one thing forever more is equivalent to putting me in a straight jacket and locking me in a padded room. I’d go bat-shit crazy in a matter of days. (Anyone who reads my posts on a regular basis knows I can’t even stay on a single subject, much less a single task for the space of 1000 words!) I actually crave the variety of writing for awhile, then doing something more analytical like accounting or editing. It keeps my brain sharp, and at my advanced age a sharp brain is a happy brain. (removing tongue from cheek now)

My Commitment Looks Different From Yours. So What?

In short, what looks like commitment to some people, looks completely different for me. I am not up at the crack of dawn getting my workout in so I can be all business by 7 AM. My day starts around 8:30 with visits to the gym coming anywhere from mid-morning to mid-afternoon. I do have a single day during the week when I run all of my errands and get in one of my thrice weekly workouts. I do dance at least three nights a week.

But I can also be found writing or doing client work into the wee hours of the morning because that’s when my mind functions best.

You also won’t find me doing a lot of face-to-face networking, at least not in an official capacity. Networking groups have never worked well for me. I don’t have the killer instinct so many of the members have. They are there to sell, and use all sorts of techniques to do so. I’d rather persuade gently. Here’s what I can offer. What are your pain points? I would love the chance to help you thrive by taking the things you hate to do off your plate. I simply function best by phone or Skype. Don’t ask me to get all gussied up to listen to everyone’s elevator speech. My ADD will send me screaming from the room in short order.

Does that mean I can’t laser focus on a few things I do well, or would love to learn to do well? Not at all. It means I just need to find ways to communicate and find people who need my services in ways unique to me. It’s taken me this long to figure out what I love to do and that it has to be a variety of things rather than a single skill. From here, I will commit to improving myself.

Committing to Mind, Body, Spirit, and Passion

My commitment will continue to include physical improvements like food choices, gym visits, and other physical activities. It will also include mental activities like learning more about writing, publishing, editing, and anything else writing related. But the learning won’t stop there. I’ve discovered a love for a few other areas and am compiling the resources to improve my skills there as well. Finding a few people to practice those skills on at a nominal fee will be the next focus; the next commitment.

Just putting all this down is incredibly energizing, and it even fulfills one of my commitments; to write at least three blog posts a week! That’s the easy part as ideas have been flowing so rapidly since I started going to the gym three times a week. Further proof that commitment to physical well-being supports mental commitments well.

What Do Your Commitments Look Like?

Are you fully committed to yourself? What was your turning point? What inspires you to be the very best you possible? How do you balance work, home, body, mind and spirit? I’d love to hear about what drives you, and what makes you want to scream with frustration.

It All Begins and Ends With Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful I found my bliss.
  2. I am grateful I finally learned my own particular version of laser focused commitment to self.
  3. I am grateful for examples of commitment even if they are different from mine.
  4. I am grateful for opportunities to practice the skills I want to excel at.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; opportunities, encouragement, lessons, challenges, tenacity, free-flowing ideas, friends, balance, life, love, joy, happiness, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

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