When A Whisper Becomes a Roar!

Recently,  I was speaking to  aspiring group of college students.  The topic was finding your IT or what I like to call your intuitive talent.  You know what that is, don’t you? It’s that voice you hear, the tug in your stomach or the tingling feeling you get whenever you do what feels right. That is probaby your IT-calling.  Your inner voice is telling you what you already know, but fear to start. It is the voice of reason that can help navigate us through our daily paths if we follow its leading.

So when that whisper in our heads becomes an actual roar, why do so many of us ignore or second-guess what we hear? If you are someone who has done this  then remember this: Trust yourself.   You are smarter than you give yourself credit for, and that’s is why it is important not to ignore our gut instincts.

For some, they have not experienced a gut feeling or inner voice. Not everyone is in tune with their inner voice and may need a little coachinng to bring out his or her IT.  If this describes you then start by making a list of what brings you happiness.  What experiences have you had that bring you a sense of joy? What activities have you done that leave you feeling happy ? It doesn’t matter how long or how short it is, only that you have take time to identify them.

Work on Your Now by taking time to think if the things that bring you joy are really a part of who you are, or are they a part your purpose and where you really want to go in and with your life.

Amputated by Fear and Doubt

 

Most of us already know that the word amputated means to be cut-off or removed. We typically think of a limb being lost or surgically removed when we hear the word. But, how many of us are cutting ourselves off from our destiny? HUH?  That’s correct. You may have never thought of using the word in that context. Me either, until I heard the question asked in a sermon one Sunday.

I had to ask myself: Am I being amputated by fear or doubt? YES, I answered back. I then asked myself: WHY?

Fear and doubt can be so paralyzing. We don’t come into the world with these types of feelings though. Have you ever watched a toddler get ready to jump from the top of a staircase “before” someone grabs him? The toddler doesn’t know fear, but learns about it very quickly as they grow up hearing “no” and “stop.” Eventually after a child hears that enough they learn fast about  the consequences associated with having that free will or feeling of being invincible.

Sometimes I think we adults need to get back to child-like “thinking” when we didn’t know fear and we felt that the world was ours and we had no inhibitions. I remember back when my oldest daughter was a baby and her pediatrician suggested to me that I come down to her size sometimes. “Just crawl around and look up and see how she sees the world. You will be amazed how things look so differently,” he said. I did it and he was right! Things looked very different when you look at the world from a child’s eyes. Everything is so big and enticing. You want to take it all in and you’re not afraid to try.

WOYN TIP: So, start today by working on your now today  by not being amputated by fear and doubt. If you have to, don’t get so caught up in “thinking” like an adult. Free your mind and move forward like a toddler. Be free and excited with anticipation and curiosity. In other words, jump down those stairs! — Of course, I don’t mean literally! :-)

 

Tweaking to Your Demise

I just finished a conversation with an artist. He is very talented. He makes beautiful jewelry and creates music.  The problem is no one knows he exists outside his network.  When I asked him what he was doing to promote his craft, he said, “Well, I’m still tweaking it and then I will get it out there.”  This immediately reminded me of the Tootsie Roll Pop commercial that I used to watch when I was child.  Do any of you remember this? ”  How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll of a Tootsie Pop?”  In other words, how long do you have to keep after something until you ultimately reach your goal?  The answer varies.

First, nothing is ever going to be perfect. — There is no perfect human so how can something that we are creating ever be perfect, if we aren’t? Second,  you can tweak and tweak until the cows come home, but if no one ever knows anything about you, it doesn’t matter how many tweaks you do. Your product or service will never get out. It will just be in forever Tweakland! Yes, I just made up a word .

So, the question is this: Are  you tweaking to your demise? What is really holding you back from doing what you need to in order to get the job done?  Is your tweaking a disguised  form  of  procrastination, fear of failure or fear of success?

To tweak means to make a minor adjustment to something.  The key word is minor.  So with that in mind, if you  keep making a whole lot of tweaks,  you can no longer call it a TWEAK.  You now have to call it an EXCUSE.  Ask yourself which one you are doing — really.

 

Don’t Shrink to Fit

All of us are at different stages in life.  For me, I’m a wife and a mother of two  daughters  (ages 21 and 17) and a fifteen year old son.  I’m also in the midst of marketing my two of my books, Destination D and Working on Your Now.  I juggle. I struggle. I don’t always  get things done when I want to, but I do get  them completed in due time.

On many occasions I’ve tried to be a better time manager, a multi faceted Task Master; Super Mommy; Wife Extraordinaire; Entrepreneur of the Year;  and now I’m shooting for  Best Selling Author.  In other words, I’ve tried my hand at many things. Some of my attempts have been successful; others are still a work in progress.

But, out of all of the things I have done, the one thing  I refuse to do is “Shrink to Fit.”  I’m not a t-shirt.  I’m a human being who has experienced many great successes as well as failures. Life lessons have taught me not to minimize my accomplishments nor to  downsize myself into ” fitting” into what other people are comfortable with  seeing me do.

Have you experienced the feeling of wanting to “shrink” in order to” fit”? — DON’T YOU DARE DO IT! You have more value than that. Know it and own it! If anything, turn that label around and change it to: I Don’t shrink to fit.

WOYN TIP: Know your value. Value yourself and don’t try to fit in where you are not comfortable.  If you shrink in order to fit,  you will decrease your value and will not be a good fit for yourself or anyone else.

Working On Your Now vs. Working On Your Later

How many of you know what working on your now means? If you said that it means following your passion and executing on it today instead of tomorrow you are right! Anyone can have a passion, but it’s what you do with it that is so important.

Many people “think” about all the things they wish they could do, but never take the time to actually step out on faith and do it. Others “intend” to get started, but for some reason their gears never shift from neutral to drive.

What’s holding you back? Is it fear or are you  just  making one excuse after another? Whatever it is — confront it, acknowledge it and figure out how you can move forward with executing on your passion. Once you do this, you will be so glad that you have begun your long awaited journey of working on your now instead of working on your later!

WOYN TIP: Tomorrow is not promised.   Get started with your Now today!

Be Diligent and Stay the Course

Being diligent isn’t easy.  You’ve got to stay the course, remain focused and minimize any distraction that will prohibit you from accomplishing your goal(s).  You have to persevere and remain confident that your diligence will provide you with your end result. Think about this: If you were persistent in your diligence every day in working toward your goal, how much closer would you be toward fulfilling your purpose?

Each of us have the same amount of time in a day. But, it’s what we do with our time that sets us apart from those who accomplish their goals vs. those who never do. Each day we need to make a conscious effort to set aside time to do what we need to do for ourselves.  It’s no different than making the time to eat, drink, drive, go to work, sleep (you get the point). In other words, being diligent has to be imbedded in our everyday lives. Being diligent needs to become a habit.  It needs to be on our calendars, locked in our cellphone reminders or spoken out loud to ourselves everyday.

Be Diligent and stay the course. Plan your time to include what is important to you. Step out and do something bold that you have been thinking about doing, but have never made the time to plan it.  What is keeping you from being diligent? Is it really time or is it something else — like fear  self-doubt, or failure?

Some of the greatest success stories have come about because people were diligent and believed in themselves when no one else would.  You’ve heard of J.K Rowling, Michael Jordan, Bill Gates? Read 50 Famous Successful People in Business and Life who Failed at First. The one thing they all had in common? You guessed it. Diligence!

WOYN TIP:  Whether it’s a few minutes or a few hours, do what you need to do in order  take the time — no, I mean MAKE the time to be diligent in your efforts of getting what you want and deserve.

When Your Best is Still Not Good Enough

The Test

We can probably relate to this either through our own life experiences or through someone else. For example, do you remember the time when you studied and prepared for an exam or test for weeks or maybe even months in advance? On the day of the test you felt confident and prepared. But, when the test came back, the grade was not what you expected. In fact, you felt like you might have done better if you hadn’t studied at all!

Waiting to see if we passed or failed

And what about that recent job interview? The one that you have been called in for the second, third, or fourth round. You know you have to be shoe-in for the job, right? Why else would they keep asking you to come back so many times?

Surprise! Two weeks go by and you have to call them to find out why you haven’t heard anything. And by the way, they tell you that the company decided to go with another candidate. However, you were impressive though and it was a tough decision to make, but they opted for the other candidate. Sound familiar?
What do you do when your best is still not good enough?
Well, let me start off by saying that here is what you DON’T DO…

Step I

YOU DON’T
Beat up on yourself – this is the time to be more confident than ever. Hmmm…regarding that not so great grade on your test. Hey, perhaps you studied long and hard, but you didn’t study strategically. Maybe, the next time you will study with a group. Learn from other people’s strategies. You know the expression: Two heads are better than one.

If there is something that you didn’t quite understand, check with the professor or teacher. Do you have clear notes? –-Meaning although you wrote them, do they make sense to you?

Check to see if there are previous tests that you can look at so that you can get a feel of what to expect when you take the test. Sometimes we can “over” study. The questions maybe a lot easier than you think. Try to simplify your studying. Break it up into bite size pieces and chew on the information very slowly.

Step II

YOU DON’T
Start focusing on everything that you might have done wrong in the interview. Do Not — I repeat– Do Not sabotage yourself. Focus on the positive and what got you to the final rounds of interviews in the first place. It was your personality, your thoughtful answers, and what you could bring to the organization.

Take those same positive attributes and keep on networking. Yes, for some, it’s difficult to pick yourself up and start over again. But, nothing great is easily won. Decide if you are a winner or a loser. If you are a winner, decide on the best way to gain the advantage so you can win the next round of interviews and get that job!
Something else to consider
Also, perhaps you are going after the wrong type of job. Sometimes we go after things because we feel like we really need a job even though it may not be the best fit. Consider yourself fortunate if you didn’t get the job that you really didn’t want anyway. A bad fit will have you leaving the job soon (or getting fired) and you will be back out there looking again.

So, just take out the time to figure out what it is that you really want. Sometimes opportunities are right in front of us, but we are so busy chasing moving targets that we miss them. Of course, if you consider yourself a loser…well, you will do nothing and remain in the same situation until you decide that you are tired of it. Let’s hope that‘s NOT the case, though.

WOYN TIP: When your best is still not good enough, ask yourself this: Is your best good enough for you? If your answer is yes, you are on the right track. Believe in your abilities and don’t get caught up in what is your best is for someone else. In the end, you have to be the best for you. But, on the other hand, if your answer is no — ask yourself what it will take to turn that no into a yes. Search within yourself and find out what “good enough” looks like for you and start working toward it.

Hang On to Your Oxygen!

LIFE.  As grown ups, if we knew what we know now when we were between the ages of  18  and 19, imagine all of the over whelming stress that could have been avoided in the never ending journey we call LIFE.

If you have children this age, or have been one to give advice to a budding adult, you probably have tried countless of  times to tell them how to  avoid the pitfalls that you have already experienced.  If they listened, you are to be commended for accomplishing a feat that many parents, mentors and advisors still struggle to figure out.  But if I could offer one piece advice for them it would be:  Take Care of Yourself!

With all of the pressures that young people have these days, it’s a wonder that they take time to reflect upon the number one thing that needs to remain a priority throughout their left time.  As adults we also need to take heed to understanding that our number one priority needs to be to take care of ourselves.  If we don’t do this, what good are we to anyone else?

If you’ve ever been on an airplane, you know the first rule of thumb: When a plane loses oxgen and the masks fall out of the ceiling, you must grab the oxgen mask and put it on yourself first! Once you do this, you can help the others around you. If you lose your oxygen, you can’t help anyone else with theirs, can you?

Have you ever lost your oxygen? How did it make you feel? Where you deflated, weakened and experienced an overwhelming loss of will power?

If you want to stay well, you have to make a decision to do so. According to Oprah, “Being well is a decision. Living well is bonus.” I’d have to agree.  We have to see ourselves staying well, not only in our physical being, but in our minds and spirits as well . Wellness comes from the inside out.  If your mind and spirit is disconnected, it cannot connect with your body. Everything works together holistically as one.

Figure out what will make you whole. What will make you breathe? It’s important to know what will nourish your soul, body, and spirit.  In the end you don’t want to deplete your oxygen. Life is meant to be lived. You want to breathe easily and flourish.   Remember, you’ve got grab your oxygen mask first! So do it!

 

 

 

 

Delete! Delete! Delete!

Wouldn’t it be great if all we had to do was hit a delete button and start over again whenever we made a mistake in our life?  Some of our lives would be a lot easier if we could just erase the errors of our ways, right?

Well, unlike the delete button that is accessible in our everyday technology — life is just not like that.  Once  we’ve said something we wish we hadn’t or posted something that we wish we could took back, it’s too late.  There is no delete button on our mouth, or on our actions. That’s the bad news.

However, the good news is  that we do have the power to delete one thing: a negative mindset. Like a computer, we can reprogram our own personal software.  Every negative experience you’ve encountered can be wiped out just like a computer virus if you delete the thoughts that keep you from going in the direction that you need to go.

  • Delete the can’t do attitude and replace it with I can.
  • Delete the blame for what you don’t have and be grateful for what you do have.
  • Delete the failures in your life and replace them with the opportunities that are to come.

You can always dwell and  linger in worry, doubt and mistrust. You can live in the past on things that did not go your way. You can continue to blame your circumstances or even others on why you are not where you want to be. Or you can hit the delete button and just start anew.  Refresh your mind and spirit.  Start to think differently about yourself and others will share your energy.  You will be amazed at how you can draw in people who will want to help you. When you delete your negative energy you will drive positive attributes toward you.

WOYN Tip: Try it. Delete Delete Delete.

Fashion, Femininity and Self-Power

I still remember the award ceremony back in kindergarten. I remember it vividly not just because I was receiving an award, but because of my excitement over my outfit. At six years old, I was totally in my element with the ensemble I had on: Red maxi dress, metallic belt, wood and leather wedge sandals complete with a long beaded necklace!

I have always loved books and fashion, and not necessarily in that order! I was the kid who’d always look for opportunities to dress up and the one who did well academically (aka a nerd). Given the fact that majority of my education was in convent schools, occasions to dress up were few and far between. Besides, I was a good student – not the one to displease teachers (or the good hearted, but strict catholic nuns who ran the school and enforced a strict dress code. Boy, do I remember that gray uniform and those hair and nail checks before entering the classroom!), I was okay with following the rules and blending in.

From grade school to American corporate world, it was a similar journey when it came to fashion, barring some “freedom of expression” in engineering school. Corporate America, especially in the technology arena, has historically been male centric and not exactly the place to display your femininity. Generally speaking, you were more likely to be taken seriously when wearing a pantsuit vs. a feminine dress with high heels. In fact, female managers and executives were (and still are) tapped on the shoulder and told to “dress in a less feminine way”. Between the safety net of blending in and the body image issues over the years after having kids, I was okay with hiding behind baggy pants, jackets and loose dresses – breaking the pattern once in a while by wearing something that I actually liked. That six year old kindergartner was long forgotten.

This started changing a few years ago – call it getting old, coming into my own or just plain old “I don’t given a d**n about what others think, I’m going to do what I think is right” – and my dressing style started to change to reflect how I truly felt. In fact, it continues to evolve as I get older. There are more dresses, more colors and certainly more high heels in the picture -and I’ve never felt better!

I feel that clothes give me power and that makeup is like war paint – for a lot of women, dressing up is not about being more attractive for men (guys, please don’t flatter yourselves!), or other women, for that matter. It’s about feeling good and feeling powerful by expressing oneself fully. You get ready in the morning and are ready to play your best game. And what do you do with those men who think less of you and other women who feel jealous or even threatened when you look your best? Well, you ignore them – you let your actions and performance speak for you, and eventually, people respect you for who you are. As for the ones who don’t, well, they weren’t worth it to begin with.

Thankfully, the role models for career women are changing – from first lady Michelle Obama to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, more and more successful women are not shy about looking feminine. This is great for younger women. And when I see my daughter (who shares my love for fashion, is a star at her high school and is often my fashion counselor) channeling her fashion diva and exuding self-confidence, I feel excited for this next generation of women – movers and shakers, and owning their femininity.

And what about blending in, hiding the extra pounds behind baggy clothes or pleasing others? As I’ve learned over the years, hiding my individuality and pleasing others at the cost of my own happiness never served anyone in the long run. So when I go buy that pair of sandals or dress up for an event, I don’t feel shallow or self-conscious anymore. I feel free and strong, knowing that I am honoring that six-year old kindergartner. Yes, that six year old, who believed in self-expression and self-power without even knowing those words. Who knew fashion and spirituality would be tied together?!