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

Posts tagged ‘success’

Self-love is the Fuel That Powers Your Motivation

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

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

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

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

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

Reading the Signs and Turning it Around

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

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

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

Seeing Immediate Results

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

Benefits of Learning to Receive

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

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

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

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

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

Loving Myself Enough to be Grateful

My gratitudes today are:

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

Love and Light

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. She specializes in finding and expressing your authentic self. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

 

Sheri's Turkey-Kale Chili

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

A healthy take on a comfort food classic which freezes well


Ingredients

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

Directions

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

    Enjoy!

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6 Steps to Kick Procrastination

Kicking Procrastination in the Butt

Now that my Thanksgiving dinner for an intimate group of 30 is over, my house feels remarkably empty with just me and my furry roomies. It would be easy to  allow the sudden silence and lack of activity to lull me into a soporific stupor, and at times, I’ve been tempted.

Drowsing my days away won’t, however, help me achieve my goals, hopes and dreams. Yet, there are a multitude of excuses whereby I might delay my efforts. What to do?

One of the marks of a procrastinator is our ability to be easily distracted by, well, almost anything. In my case, it might be chores, or administrative tasks or a book that falls on my head. So I set out this week to eliminate all possible culprits.

I sit here now with my bookkeeping chores complete, my bills for the month paid, all piles of laundry washed, folded and put away, and the remnants of Thanksgiving tucked away until next year. I also have a freezer so packed with food I can’t even find room for single servings of another pot of chili. (and I’m down to my last 2 containers, so I need to make room soon!)

The issue now is how I’ll avoid going off on still more tangents which inhibit forward progress on those aforementioned goals, hopes and dreams. So, how do we keep ourselves on track towards achieving our goals, hopes and dreams?

Step 1: To Do Lists

I am a great list maker, and for awhile, I’ll even stick to them. The key is to make them simple and actionable. Too many long-term projects on the list and you’ll get discouraged. When you get discouraged, the list will go out the window like so many other things you’ve tried and given up on before you had a chance to see if they’d actually work.

Step 2: Break it Down

If you’re like me, you have a tendency to set huge projects for yourself, then wonder why nothing ever gets done. I liken it to being a hoarder who wants to reform. You stand in the doorway of a room full of stuff and feel overwhelmed by the project before you even start.

I’ve learned through a great deal of trial and error that every project can be broken down into smaller, more manageable pieces. This way, you start seeing successes right away. By deciding how quickly you need to see results, you’ll know how much to break those projects down.

One of my biggest projects is to clean up my garage. Somehow, things always get tossed in there when I don’t know what else to do with them, and soon, everything is falling off shelves and onto the floor where it gets tripped on, stomped on and otherwise scattered around. Recently, while looking for my staple gun (which sadly, I still haven’t located) I faced down the mess which had accumulated in front of my tool box. In about 15 minutes, I had cleared the clutter, re-organized the bottom shelf where I keep the power tools, and swept up the crud which had been coating the floor for years. Yes, I did say years!

The best part is, the space in front of my storage room is now completely clean and clear, making it easier to get in and get to what I need (like, for example, the boxes of wrapping paper and paraphernalia necessary to make beautiful Christmas packages for my kids). I can even accomplish it without aggravating myself with false promises to someday clean up the mess. Why? Because the mess is gone!

Step 3: Set Goals

We all need something to strive for. Just like the hopes, dreams, and goals we have, there is a feeling of accomplishment when we achieve the simplest things; clear the clutter from the dresser, dump the cat food into the bin and put the bag in the recycle barrel, wash the load of towels that’s been accumulating in the garage. Get the picture? It isn’t about getting the whole house clean or all the laundry done. It’s about getting something done. If you’ve made some progress with Step 2, you already have the hang of breaking those goals down into manageable pieces. Here are some examples of small daily goals I set myself. I’ve found they make it easier to set and achieve the larger ones which might span a week, a month or even longer.

  • Wash the dishes
  • Scoop sandboxes
  • Make the bed

And here’s an example of how I break down the larger chores:

  • Wash clothes
  • Fold/hang up clothes
  • Put away clothes

Do you see how you can give yourself credit for each step, and while you’re at it, get something off your list? Not only that, you’re not giving yourself time to stare at the pile of clean laundry for days before you just use it up by wearing it every day. I don’t know about you, but the sight of a laundry basket full of clothes in the middle of my room is a constant reminder of the many things I have to do but haven’t. It’s also a cat magnet in my house, and it’s hard enough to leave the house with minimal fur on my clothing when they’re put away in their proper place!

Step 4: Congratulate Yourself

This may sound silly, but we all need an attaboy now and then. Why not give it to yourself when you check something off your list? Over the last couple of years, I’ve slowly managed, in spite of the ADD which has me starting something, only to go into another room with an item to be put away and start something else, to clear a number of spaces in my home. Many of these spaces are part of larger projects, but the clean spots inspire me. They not only let me know that I am capable of clearing a space, but show me how pleasant it can be to have those clear spaces.

Step 5: Make it Fun

The best way I’ve found to make myself get things done is to turn work into play. It might be something as simple as music in the background or dancing with the vacuum. Or maybe you turn a project into a game, or a competition with yourself (How fast can I…? How many…can I in…minutes?). Think “Whistle While You Work” from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Step 6: Reward Yourself

I know you’re thinking you don’t deserve a reward for doing things you should do anyway, but nothing could be further from the truth! Just because you should do them doesn’t always mean you do them willingly, much less, cheerfully. So why not give yourself a treat? (Having spent years fighting my weight, I don’t recommend an edible one unless you’re one of the lucky few who burn off everything you eat!) Here are a few examples of my treats of choice:

  • A couple of hours of reading for pleasure
  • Watching/going to a movie
  • A visit to my local bookstore
  • A foot massage

For you, it might be a hike or a run, a walk on the beach, a nap, a long bath. Use your imagination, and make it something you’ll truly enjoy. Give yourself small rewards for getting one or several of the small things done, but make the reward really special when you get a large task (that you’ve broken down into several smaller ones, of course) completed.

No Excuses. Make that Dream Happen.

Now that you’ve managed the stuff you have to do, you’ll find you not only have more time, but more energy to go after those things you really want. You’ve also acquired a few skills which will make achieving them easier and maybe more fun as well. Use the time and the skills to map out that dream you have of building a business or writing a book or showing your art. It doesn’t matter what it is. What matters is it’s something which makes your heart sing with joy. It’s something you don’t have to do. It’s something you want to do but have put off because you don’t think you have time.

By simplifying your life, by making it more fun, you’ve suddenly found hours you didn’t even know you had! I wish you many dreams-come-true.

Don’t Forget the Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the lessons I learn and the words with which to share them.
  2. I am grateful for the things I’ve accomplished by simply following the rules I found for myself.
  3. I am grateful for making my dreams come true.
  4. I am grateful for keeping it simple
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, dreams, goals, hopes, friendship, success, writing, published work, readers, followers, clients, 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!

Photo courtesy of Orin Zebest via Flickr

3 Years: Taking Stock

Looking Back: What I Planned vs. Where I Actually Am

In less than a week it will be 3 years since I quit my accounting job to be a writer. Though I’ve earned a bit of money, it hasn’t been nearly enough to stop my financial resources from bleeding out at a frightening rate. And most of the earnings have been made by doing what I left; accounting work.

So what went wrong?

For starters, I’ve let fear coupled with laziness and overlaid with procrastination halt my progress. Though I’ve started several projects,, both in writing and self-improvement, my follow-through is lacking. I have 3 unfinished novels, the self-help/memoir I began in 2009 awaiting completion and the children’s book I started 25 years ago, also begging for attention. I’ve published one short story on a blog hop. And that’s it. That’s all I have to show for 3 years of supposed writing efforts. The trouble is, too much of that 3 years has been spent doing anything but writing or pitching or preparing to publish.

Facing Some Difficult Choices

So where do I go from here? I realized this morning that I have but a few months left before I either have to start selling my stock, or get a real job again, which will be challenging simply because I’ve aged another 3 years and am, for the most part, an undesirable new employee in an environment full of new graduates and fresh ideas.

I’m forced to take a good, hard look at myself, my motivation, and the likelihood I’ll actually achieve those lofty goals I set when I was 10.

Can I achieve those goals? I’d have to say yes.

Do I have what it takes to actually go after them so I can achieve them? On this one, I’m uncertain.

Am I willing to give them up right now? This one gets a definite no. I am not ready to give up, but I’m going to have to commit to acting like a writer each and every day. I have to commit to writing that outline, to perfecting that pitch, to throwing my work under the bus wheels of my critique group, and really listen to what they have to say. Most of all, I have to accept the fact that there will be rejections, and thicken my skin some more.

Keeping it all in Perspective

Nothing I hear or see is personal. I know that on a conscious level, but will future rejections, or worse, being ignored, shake or even shatter my resolve?

Only if I allow it, I know that. But what makes me believe I’m strong enough to keep from being overcome? What makes me think I’m strong enough, when an entire nation was just overrun by greed, bigotry, corruption, and hate?

Do I even still believe I deserve to succeed?

I’ve been telling myself for awhile that there’s enough to go around; enough for everyone. And yet, publishers reject at least 99 out of 100 manuscripts. They probably don’t even read thousands more. I’m having huge doubts about being able to stand out from the crowd these days. I’m allowing myself to give up before I’ve even tried because I’m feeling average; ordinary; unremarkable.

Time to Sink or Swim, Fish or Cut Bait

3 years is a long time to tread water, and at the rate I’m going, it won’t be long before I start to sink. Yet, I know I’m the only one who can truly prevent that, either by becoming a stronger swimmer or by building a boat.

Boards are my words, the tools, my imagination and persistence. Both have been at a low ebb lately. In fact, for the entire month of November, I wrote very little. For the first time, I started NaNo and failed to follow through after the first couple of days, the first couple of thousand words.

Friends: My Lighthouse in the Storm

I’m questioning whether sticking with my critique group is in my best interests, when in reality, I’m doubting my value to the group far more. light-of-love-and-joy

In my moment of deep despair, a friend sent me a Facebook message which couldn’t have come at a better time. It only proves something I often forget. Love and inspiration will always be there for me when I need it most. I simply have to open my heart and my mind and accept the gifts.

I see that encouragement like this which always comes at the right time is what has kept me going for the last 3 years. If I give up, not only do I let myself down, but also so many who have offered love, support, and encouragement while I’ve struggled to find my path. Maybe, just maybe, I’ve changed directions once too often already, but I still have time to get myself back on track. I still have time and resources to keep from failing myself.

Starting Over: A Little Wiser and a Whole Lot Humbler

So today, I start outlining Forgotten Victims so I’ll have an outline ready when I narrow down my prospective publishers. Today, I start to organize the years of random thoughts and feelings, the advice I give others who’ve lost a family member to suicide.

Today is my new beginning.

Above All, Remembering to be Grateful

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for friends who know just when to encourage and just when to kick my butt.
  2. I am grateful for my writing which never fails to help me sort things out.
  3. I am grateful for the last 3 years. I’ve found myself, lost myself and found myself again, but have learned that I still have a lot to discover.
  4. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my struggles and help others with theirs.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, inspiration, motivation, self-sufficiency, opportunity, hope, dreams, faith, peace, harmony, philanthropy, success, 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!

Photo credit: Dawn Huczek via Flickr

November 23, 2014 My poor blog is withering from neglect. #shericonaway

My name is Sheri and it’s been four days since I’ve blogged.

What can I say? It’s been a crazy week. My daughter arrived on Thursday night, I got my new iPhone on Friday, only to fight with it for several hours before realizing I’d gotten an 8GB phone which barely holds the operating system and the apps. Spent most of Saturday fussing with AT&T (who ultimately proved to be quite accommodating) and getting a different phone. To top it off, the winds knocked the power out for several hours today, but as we’d planned to go see MockingJay anyway, it worked out ok. Oh, and of course, the power outage meant another call to AT&T to get my TV back online.

The joys of technology. But tonight, all is right with my world. The electronics are functioning, my desk is covered in cats, I’m on the downhill side of the novel writing challenge, and it’s not even midnight!

What better time to renew my relationship with my poor, neglected blog? Also neglected temporarily due to phone issues and other minor calamities, was my gym routine. I only got in two workouts this week and no pilates, but will rectify that in the next few days. I’m ready to get back to healthy eating and sufficient exercise!

Funny how missing parts of a routine that makes you feel so good really puts a hitch in your gitalong. I feel slow and logey right now because I’ve eaten too much starch and not enough veggies. The only saving grace is that I’m consuming vast quantities of water in the process, and have been doing very little snacking between meals. Focus on the positives, right?

I’ve gotten into several conversations lately about the pros and cons of recognizing the darkness in our lives. The pervading opinion seems to be that we need to embrace the darkness of our souls as well as the light because the darkness is what brings us balance and provides us with the lessons to actually strive for the light. There are also elements in the darkness without which the light would simply have no meaning. No matter how hard we try, we simply cannot remain positive every minute of every day. We are offered challenges which drag us down, but as with my recent experience with AT & T, it isn’t so much the challenge as how we handle it.

Once again, I discovered that if I continue to treat people kindly and respectfully no matter how irritated I am, things will eventually turn in my favor. In this case, I came out with everything I wanted and maybe even a little more. At the point where I was becoming more frustrated, I took a mental step back, told myself to relax and that everything would work out fine. It was only a few minutes later that the manager offered me a solution I had not expected, but for which I am very grateful.

So as I continue to work on avoiding getting stressed out over the current level of my income, I have built a little reminder into my brain. When I start getting wound up in the “don’t haves” I remind myself that I truly do have everything I need and that anything which contradicts that is merely a temporary illusion. The opportunity I seek is just around the corner. I simply need to keep my faith high and strong, and continue to work towards my goals.

The point where things seem darkest is the point at which our faith in ourselves and our own propensity for success becomes an incredibly powerful force.

It’s as if we are being tested, in the manner of Job, to see if we can hold our course no matter what our senses might be telling us. But unlike Job, we aren’t going to get slammed against the rocks time and time again. Our faith and our confidence in ourselves will reap positive results, and will do so each and every time!

As human beings, one of our worst failings is a desire for instant gratification. We give up too quickly if we don’t see the desired results almost instantaneously. That is a lesson I needed to learn and have, as a result, trained myself to focus on the small gains. The small gains do happen relatively quickly, but here’s the real secret. The small gains also begin to add up quickly until you look back for a second and realize just how far you’ve come without even realizing it.

And so, I will continue to hold that faith that my goals, wishes and dreams are, even now, coming true in a host of small ways which, before I realize it, will be the next big thing.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful to be getting a whole week with my daughter and grand puppy.
2. I am grateful for all of the small victories.
3. I am grateful for the opportunity to get back to my healthy habits.
4. I am grateful for the family and friends who will share our Thanksgiving, both directly and indirectly.
5. I am grateful for the amazing things I’ve learned, accomplished and received this year.
6. I am grateful for abundance: blessings, gratitude, friendship, accomplishments, inspiration, perseverance, harmony, happiness, joy, love, peace and prosperity.

Namaste

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