A Time of Reflection

I was reading yet another email after reading another blog post about someone hitting burnout the other day, and the news has shared that tragically several people connected to mass shootings have committed suicide in recent days. As equipped as I think we may be for all that life throws at us each day, the reality is we sometimes don’t realize how much we’re taking on, don’t ask for the help we need, don’t take time to deal with the overwhelm we’re feeling, and/or don’t realize how serious things have gotten. And then we hit that breaking point, unfortunately sometimes of no return.

Most people have developed coping mechanisms that help them deal with typical daily stresses (a fight with a friend or significant other, deadlines at work, children’s tantrums etc.), but as we know especially from the men and women who have been in the military, there’s no coping with some things, some things we’re just not equipped to deal with normally and that’s when we can get into trouble.

Part of the reason I think we struggle with coping and hit burnout is because instead of taking a step back we pile on the activities, work, people and things. Maybe we think we do it because it means we won’t be able to think about how we really feel or what’s really going on, and that may work for the short term, but it rarely does anything about the actual situation or how you feel.

You may not know it, but we’re in the middle of the spiritual season called Lent which leads to the celebration of Easter. Lent is a time of reflection, for people to get right with themselves and with God. Anytime is a great time to get right with God, but today I’d encourage you to spend some time on self reflection, really considering where your life is at and what you need most. Asking for help and knowing when you need to take a break (and taking one) actually show how strong you are, not how weak.  A little reflection and taking a time-out today can positively shape your future if you let it.  I’d encourage you to make it a regular practice as well since life shows no plans of slowing down or becoming a cake walk anytime soon.

A Strong Foundation?

Something that I’m a big believer in is the concept of foundation. In so many situations there has to be a firm foundation before other steps can be taken. Yes, sometimes there are ways around it, but often to get the full and best experience, that only happens when there’s a firm foundation in place and consistently cared for. I believe that we have different foundations in many areas of our lives, including our family, our children, our partner, our work/career/business, our community and even in how we are with ourselves.

Let’s start with what might be the most important foundation: that of your personal foundation. This foundation has to do with how you see yourself, if you believe in yourself, how you treat yourself and if you respect yourself. You may be cringing as you think about your personal foundation, because too often it’s the one that we let slide because we’ve got so much going on in our lives that it seems like we’re the last thing that should be taken care of. But, as is true for so many situations, if you’re not taking care of yourself and making sure that your foundation is strong, it will end up affecting the foundations in the other areas of your life, and the other people who depend on you.

It’s important to take care of the foundations you have, because the foundations are what you build and grow from and what gives you the strength and guidance to navigate and survive challenges. The business foundation you have helps you decide if/when a person isn’t a good fit anymore or an idea shouldn’t be implemented because it’s not in line with your mission/vision/purpose. The relationship foundation you have with your partner means that you’ve established the common ground that you both connect through and identify with, and that you rarely have serious fights. The foundation you have with your kids should be one of mutual love, of your support of them, and of their respect for you as their parent.

The foundation is what everything else is built on, it establishes a starting point and a point to which you can return, it is a reference point when the going gets tough and it should give you a sense of peace even when what you’re building isn’t so stable. How is your foundation today?

“The foundation stones for a balanced success are honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty.” Zig Ziglar

Your Happiness Perspective

One of the greatest challenges we all face is seeing our own value. Some of us do a lot of boasting and act all self-important, but all too often we’re unaware of exactly how awesome we are. It’s partly because we are with ourselves all the time and we just get used to who we are. It’s also because we get told by others how capable or incapable we are, and if we hear it often enough we start to believe it, whether it’s true or not. A third, and unfortunately too often true, reason would be that we simply aren’t aware of how much potential we have. It’s all too easy to just get wrapped up in life the way it is and not think about changing things. Life is complicated and challenging enough without bringing in more changes than we already have to deal with.

But it’s exactly when we choose not to pursue our potential that we choose to make our lives miserable, or at least a shadow of what it could be. I can do tons of things for you but ultimately it’s up to you to choose the things that will satisfy you, make you happy and fulfill you. I can’t force you to be happy or satisfied with life, that can only be decided and felt by you. I may get satisfaction from helping you or completing a job for you, but I can’t make you experience the same thing. So what does that mean? It really means that we have to be comfortable with ourselves enough to accept who we really are and what we need from life. It means accepting in all brutal honesty who we are, warts and all.

Perspective is a funny thing; the world looks much different when you sit on the floor, stand, or fly through the sky. Not sure? Just a simple exercise of walking through a park or your yard and then sitting on the ground can show you exactly what I mean.  Sitting the world looks much bigger than it does when you stand. But, just like optical illusions, the world isn’t really any bigger when you’re sitting, standing or flying, it’s all the same size, it just seems different because you’ve got a different perspective on it.

So if you’re feeling lost this week, ask someone else what they see as your potential. I honestly believe that we’re all world changers deep inside, some of us are just waiting to be released, or unleashed, on the world. If you can’t see your own potential initially that’s OK, don’t be afraid to reach out to a coach or someone who can give you a positive perspective (don’t bother chatting with those who don’t like you, they’ll just convince you that you don’t have potential to find). It’s not a bad thing to ask for help if you can’t see your own value.

“A man cannot be made comfortable without his own approval.” Barbara Walters

You Can Make A Difference

Even as young kids we were aware that there were rich people and people who were not as rich, items that were really big and awesome and others that weren’t so great, and foods that were special treats and others we could have anytime even if we didn’t really like them.  You may not have really fancy tastes, or you may have all the money in the world to buy any treats you want.   You may be happy with the most luxurious hotel suite, or you may be happier with a simple cabin in the woods.  We each have different tastes and preferences, which is why we’re each so special.  So today I want to talk about this struggle we have with our differences.

1-the lie of good and bad.  In most cases it’s not a case of good versus bad, just a case of different.  My cup of coffee may be a lot less expensive than yours, but that doesn’t make it either good or bad.  I may have a preference for long walks in the park and you may enjoy a night at the bowling alley, neither are good or bad. You may like dogs and I may like cats, but neither are good or bad. Just because we like different things, even two similar things that are different because of location or price, doesn’t make them good or bad.

2-the challenge of price.  Just because it’s more expensive some people will automatically determine that something is better than another, or because it’s cheaper it’s not as good.  We do use money as a determining factor in making choices, often because it’s easier, and in many cases we have learned that expensive things can be better made or larger or look a certain way.

3-just because we’re rich or poor doesn’t mean we can’t improve.  Money does bring a lot of opportunities with it to the table, there’s no denying that it makes many things easier.  But just because we’re poor doesn’t mean that we can’t become rich, and just because we’re rich doesn’t mean we have or know everything.  Money or size should not be our determining factor as to what’s real or important or valuable in the world.  You’re not more important or better because you do or don’t have lots of money.

So where does that leave us?  It leaves us with the choice to be willing to work at our lives where we are.  We’ve each been given a position, one that we can always improve, but one that we can make great differences in without moving up the financial or social ladder.  Our willingness to see our lives as insignificant or too important and ignore what goes on around us is a mistake.  When we choose to make a difference where we are and as who we are we’re able to actually do good things, instead of waiting for a better time.

“Regard it as just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral.”  Frank Lloyd Wright

2014: The Year of You

This week with this new year, I hope you made an important decision: the decision to stand up for yourself.  We’re all very busy in our day to day lives, each of us have many responsibilities, obligations and people relying on us.  But you know who the most important person is that’s relying on you, right?


If you’re not taking care of yourself and making decisions that support you, you can’t fulfill your responsibilities, obligations or help those relying on you.  If you’re struggling to finish all your work, take a break!  If you’re going through a divorce, the most important person you should be caring for is YOU!  If you’re not making yourself, and your health, a priority, your priorities are wrong.

I’ll say it again: if you’re dead because you didn’t care for yourself, you can’t help anyone or make a difference in the world.

So while it is essential that you make sure you’re not being selfish, insensitive, lazy or irresponsible, you do need to make sure that you take time each day to sit and relax, to eat good and healthy food (most of the time), to get some exercise, to play with your kids and be a parent, and to know when to take a break from your work.  Know when you need a break and take one!

When was the last time you took 5 minutes for yourself, postponed a meeting a few hours so you could drop your kids off at school, or set in stone a date night for each month with your partner? How about the last time you said “no” to someone?  Do one thing each day this week to care for yourself, and put yourself as a high priority in your life in 2014.

Magical Disney Wisdom

If you’ve got kids, or if you were a kid once, you’ve heard of Disney.  From movies to cruises, the Disney name seems to be everywhere.  Since yesterday was creator Walt Disney’s birthday I thought I would share some Disney movie wisdom with you.

“The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.” The Emperor of China, Mulan

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” Christopher Robin, Winnie The Pooh

“Always let your conscience be your guide.” Pinocchio, Pinocchio

“Oh yes, the past can hurt. But from the way I see it, you can either run from it, or… learn from it.” Rafiki, Lion King

“You’re mad, bonkers, off your head! But I’ll tell you a secret: all the best people are.” Alice Kingsley, Alice in Wonder Land

“Even miracles take a little time.” Fairy Godmother, Cinderella

“I am on my way, I can go the distance. I don’t care how far, somehow I’ll be strong. I know every mile, will be worth my while. I will go most anywhere to find where I belong.” Hercules, Hercules

“You think the only people who are people, are the people who look and think like you. But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger, you’ll learn things you never knew you never knew.” Pocahontas, Pocahontas

“Take it from an old spectator. Life’s not a spectator sport. If watchin’ is all you’re gonna do, then you’re gonna watch your life go by without ya.” Laverne, The Hunchback of Notre Dame

“All it takes is faith and trust.” Peter Pan, Peter Pan

What wise lessons have you learned from Disney movies?

The Core of Commitment

This month we’ve been talking about commitment.  We’ve talked about commitment igniting action, commitment to your business and life,  some things you can be committed to, and being committed to who you are.  When it comes down to what commitment is, commitment is all about people.  Behind each and every commitment are people.

‘Of course there are!’  I can hear you saying.  Let’s get some perspective for a minute.  You can talk about politics and say it’s all about the money.  You can look at a painting and only see paint and brush strokes.  You can look at your dinner and only see food.  You can be in a business and make decisions based on strategic advantages.

But when you make a decision, a commitment, it becomes about you, the person.  It’s about your beliefs and views, your hopes, dreams, knowledge, and the people in your life.  It becomes personal.

What I don’t think we realize, or admit, is that when you make a commitment, when I make a commitment, it affects more people than just us.  One’s commitment to junk food means more expensive healthy food.   One’s commitment to throwing out everything affects their green neighbor.  A politician’s commitment to big businesses affects common citizens.  One’s commitment to poor parenting affects their child’s life.  Now, I’m not criticizing every commitment here, I’m just pointing out that any and all commitments you make have an affect on someone else.

This week before you make a commitment or decision I encourage you to stop and think about who will be affected by your commitment.  You’re never alone in your commitments.  If you’ve got some practical examples you’d like to share, I’d love to hear them below.

Family Mental Health

What great, and empowering, things have you done this month?  May is almost over, we’ve just got a few brief days left to celebrate Memorial Day (link), and to make sure we’ve supported our mental health.  We would be leaving a major point out if we closed out May without talking about mental health, families and relationships.  Are you supported by your family?  Do you have a healthy relationship or are you constantly giving and not receiving?  Let’s talk about 3 points for each of us to follow to get started having healthier relationships at home.

Schedule: I’m a big fan of communicating schedules, plans and opportunities.  First though, you have to have a plan and schedule for yourself!  Do you actually take the time to write down your schedule, when you’ll be working/have commitments, when you’ll be with the kids, and when you’ll be with your partner?  Don’t let those things slide or be put to the side, actually plan those times into your schedule so you know that you’re not letting a relationship take second place all the time.  By sharing your schedule with the other members of the family, you all have the opportunity to communicate about your personal needs and to make sure that everyone has input in what happens day to day with the family.

Support: Believe it or not family is supposed to be where you feel the most supported, loved and cared for.  If this isn’t the case, you and the other members of the family have a lot of work to do!  It’s essential to create a supportive, nurturing, loving, caring environment for your kids to grow up in and a safe, open, intimate, growing relationship with your partner.  If you all aren’t working together to support each other, it will be next to impossible to create a mentally healthy environment that supports your happiness, satisfaction and ability to do great things in the world.

Specific: Yes, you must be specific.  Tell your partner what you want, tell your kids how much you love them, ask your kids to do specific tasks or not to do specific things, and be specific when you need those 10 minutes of you time so you don’t have a breakdown.  Encourage your kids to be specific with you and tell you what they need from you, what makes them feel healthy and learn what you can do specifically to be a better mom or dad.  The same goes for your partner, ask them what you can do to specifically grow your relationship, and support them, and make sure to listen and take action based on what they say.

This weekend set aside time to begin the conversation about how you can all help each other feel stronger and be healthier mentally. If you’ve already discussed being supportive, what is one thing you know you should be doing for your family but aren’t? Try doing that this weekend and see what a difference it makes.

Organizing for Mental Health

How are you feeling today?  Stressed?  May is Mental Health Month, and as a home organizer I love helping people relieve some of the pressure that they feel because they’re stressed or depressed by their environment. Let’s talk about some things that you can do to relieve some of the stress in your life by getting organized.

Keep it simple: It’s easy to keep gathering things, letting cleaning or organizing slide and doing things in the way that you’ve always done them.  But the truth is that the more simple things are for you, the easier it will be to keep up.  I don’t mean that you have to give up stuff or stop doing stuff and live in a little cabin in the woods, what I mean is that if you’re still spending all day on Twitter for business, look for recipes each day for dinner, and have things stored in impractical and wasteful places, you definitely need to make things simpler and easier for yourself.  If you haven’t taken the time to simplify your life, I encourage you to set aside some time this week and make a list of things you want to be simpler in your life, and then start on them one by one.

Make a schedule:  Everyone talks about wanting to be free and having the time to do all these amazing things that they never have time for.  Do you know why they don’t have time?  Because they haven’t scheduled their time well.  They haven’t planned the necessary chores, activities, relationship building time, work/career and rest into their life.  By taking the time to plan your day, your week and your month, you’ll not only save yourself a lot of headaches, but you’ll also be able to schedule in time for your partner, kids, clients, and yourself.  I haven’t found a perfect scheduler, calendar or program that does all I want it to, so I write my schedule in 2 different ways-a daily/weekly schedule, and a monthly one.  And yes, I do write it by hand.

Get support: The only way that you’ll be able to get organized and be mentally strong is if you have help.  You can’t do it alone, you’ve got to communicate your schedule with your partner, coworkers, boss, friends and kids.  You also may want to hire someone to clean your house, go grocery shopping or do some of the simpler tasks in your business that don’t need your personal attention.  Also, don’t be afraid to get some help from an organizer, counselor or coach to get you started on mental and physical organization and health.

What will you do this week to have a simpler, planned, supported life?  If it’s just one action, what will that action be?

What’s Your Difference?

What do you spend your free time thinking about?  Lately I’ve been thinking about how I contribute to the world, what the impact of my life is on the future.

Have a plan to daily contribute at least once.  You can do this by putting $1 in the hand of a homeless person. You can hold the door for someone. You can share a good idea for free with someone online.  You can pick up a piece of trash so it goes in the garbage not an animal or hurts the earth.

Have a plan to monthly contribute in a bigger way.  Donate time or money to an organization that helps others.  Have a monthly newsletter with free inspiration and tips you send out to encourage others.  Offer to help your elderly neighbor with something.  Spend time with those you love and are important to you.

Have a yearly plan to contribute.  Sponsor a child, organization or support them with your time.

Have a life plan to contribute.  What are you doing as a person?  What will you be remembered for after you die?  Will you even be remembered?  Will what you’ve done in life matter?  I encourage you to make sure that you do have a positive impact on the world, whether it’s by sharing the message of someone else, contributing to the future of someone or making the world a better place through your own inspiration or innovation.

These thoughts are part of one of my Path Plan Track courses, “10 Daily Habits”.   Click here and scroll down about 2/3 of the page to learn more about my “10 Daily Habits” course and other courses and programs I offer.

Share your thoughts on contribution below!