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Category Archives: Motivational

Catch and Release

Was just sitting and thinking about all I am grateful for and one odd thought that crossed my mind is that I truly appreciate now recognizing the messages—the unhealthy messages—that repeat in my mind and likely have for a long time. I know it seems like an odd thing to note, but it is really a great thing when you come to place of living consciously aware of the tendency of your mind to interpret situations, interactions, etc. to mean the same thing over and over, or to reinforce a message that you’ve likely held since childhood.

Some messages that repeat for people are: “I am not enough,” “I am not good enough,” “I am in this by myself,” “No one will ever love me,” “It will never get better,’ and even “I am just like my ______.” In a time, when positive affirmations are so prevalent, one can only imagine what repeating negative phrases such as these can do to shift the trajectory of ones life.

A few months ago, I came to the realization that one of my “messages” is “I am not enough” (and the other version “I am not doing enough”). It stung when I realized how many areas I repeat this horrible phrase, but it was such a gift to my life to see it and now make a conscious decision to acknowledge it and dismiss it as not true.

CATCHNRELEASE

A lot of times we think that ignoring the negative is the way to stay positive, but the truth is that while we are ignoring it, our mind is often storing and embedding the message deep within us and it will come wafting up in so many situations. One of the best things we can do for ourselves is to acknowledge the negative message—the horrible phrase that our “inner critic” says about us that makes us feel bad about ourselves when we make a mistake, someone blames us for something, or things just don’t turn out as we planned. The more that we become keen to catch those thoughts, the sooner we can overcome them.

Now, when I find myself feeling bad about something (usually an interaction with someone else that didn’t go as planned), I think to myself, “Oh, that’s just another “I am not enough, which I know is not true. I’m awesome!” and I let it go.

So today, as I created my list of gratitude, I find myself grateful for the ability to catch my negative messages and release them. So that is my my advice to you. Begin to catch and release the irritating, self-defeating messages of your inner critic and release them knowing that they are no longer your truths.

 

>> Positive affirmations are an amazingly powerful way to retrain our minds to believe good and empowering truths. These mugs can be personalized with your own affirmations for no additional charge. Visit http://bit.ly/affirmationmugs to view the whole collection!

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The Sweet Spot

Special thanks to Getty Images & awesome photographer Colin Cooke for use of this image.

I am the last person on earth who would ever do a post on watermelon. Honestly, the history alone makes it difficult for me to even eat it in public. However, it is the best fruit for describing what I am calling, “rinsing the sweetness out of life.”

A very dear loved one of mine has done this thing, that I personally think is really odd, but to each his/her/it’s own (whatever the phrase is, lol). I’ve known her since childhood and every single time she eats watermelon, she stands at the kitchen sink and holds each slice under the cold running water.  I have watched her standing there for what seemed to be at least a half hour, rinsing piece after piece before eating them. The whole time shaking my head, looking on with utter disbelief. In my opinion, watermelon’s sweetness is its gift, but for her, it’s just “too sweet.”

This morning, I had a huge epiphany. I’ve come to realize that in some aspects, particularly in regard to my career path, this is exactly what I’ve done with my life. I have been gifted with the most amazing creative abilities—most of which I don’t use because I’ve felt they are too sweet for me. I have watered myself down, with limiting beliefs like that’s something other people do. People who are more talented than me, more passionate than me, more confident than me, or simply born into a different environment than mine are the only ones who can pursue something like that. I could never be a fashion designer. I could never make and sell my own jewelry. Who would ever take me seriously as a songwriter? and so on.

You know, this morning I woke up early with a vision of the most outstanding shoe design. It was for a bridal shoe that has the most amazing button closures going down the back—a high stiletto that would make the average shoe fiend go bananas, and what was my first thought? You’re never gonna make that. What’s the point of getting up to sketch it. So many times—more than I could ever count—I have listened to that voice, which I call my inner critic. She has been standing at the “sink” probably all my life, trying to rinse all the sweetness out. Without even realizing it, I have been sitting by watching her do it. But now that I am aware of it, I won’t let any more sweetness go down the drain… 

So my question to you is, what is your sweet spot? What area of your life are you ignoring because it just doesn’t fit with who your sweet thief says you are? An ever better question is how long are you going to stand by and be robbed of your sweetness? Take a step today and share your hidden sweetness below. I’d love to hear about it. (Just FYI, I nearly didn’t get up to type this blog. The sweet thief strikes again.) 

 

Check out my promo video for my children’s book below. Thank you for your support!

 
 

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Scared Great

“Always do what you are afraid to do.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have spent most of my life paralyzed by fear, making choices based on what others would think, what I felt I was expected to do, and what I believed I could do perfectly. I rarely challenged myself to go outside of my “box” for fear of failure, criticism, rejection, … you name it. Well, yesterday, as I read my Facebook friend’s status, I realized her month of gratitude had come to a close. For the entire month of November, she posted a status each day of something she was grateful for. I thought it was an awesome idea and a real challenge. I mean, it’s a lot easier to gripe via Facebook than to be positive and find thirty things that you’re happy about, much less to commit to doing it publicly. So I thought to myself, “Hmmm… I wonder what can I commit to for a month.” Then I heard, “do it afraid.” The words of my dear friend—and fellow blogger—Danielle Navonne, rushed back to me from our conversation earlier that night. We had talked about how fear was keeping me from making major advances regarding my new children’s book. So, I decided last night that I will commit to facing my fears every day for one month.

For the entire month of December, I will push myself to do one thing each day that freaks me out, totally terrifies me, and pushes me forward, exposing the greatness within me. I am going to “scare myself great!”

Why don’t you join me? For the entire month of December, do something each day that you’ve been putting off because of fear—something that you know you should be doing, or have wanted to do, that will push you forward (not backwards ;)). This month just started so just do two things today, that terrify you and you’ll be caught up. 😉 Whether it is to join a meetup group for songwriters, sign up for that half marathon, finally say “hi” to the cute chick in your building, or pass out flyers to strangers for your upcoming book signing, do it.

I learned yesterday, as I walked up on strangers handing them flyers, that the stories we tell ourselves about what is going to happen when we put ourselves “out there” are typically far worse than what actually happens. The gas station attendant didn’t yell, “GET OUT OF HERE! NO SOLICITING!” and throw my flyers on the ground. She actually said, “Good for you! I’m glad to help. Put your flyers here on the counter, where people can see them.” Surprisingly, most people were very happy for me. I’m glad I overcame myself and did it.

Publicly outing myself about this on my blog was my challenge for today, although, I may do a few more terrifying things before I go to bed. (It’s a little addictive once you get going.) I think this will be great for you as it is already paying off for me. So, what will be your terrifying thing, today? Tell me below, how will you scare yourself great?

 

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Just Do It!

Last month I challenged myself to spend all of December scaring myself into my greatness. In short, I made a conscious decision to do things that I normally would avoid because they were “too scary” or just “not me.” So last month I took my introverted self to a huge natural hair event (organized by Rachel O.), the following weekend I hosted my first book signing for my new children’s book (I’m Proud to Be Natural Me!™), and my scariest undertaking of all… drumroll please…. I registered for Fear Experiment 4!

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What is Fear Experiment 4?

FE4 is an amazing opportunity for people like myself to face our fears in an environment of support and … mutual terror. I, for example, am completely terrified of doing anything that I am not great at. I’m a bit of a perfectionist. So every time I find a typo in my blog (I know you’ve already found some), I fight the urge to crawl under a rock and never blog again. I like to be prepared, rehearsed, and virtually incapable of failure at all times so what better class to sign up for than improv? Yeah, I signed up for IE3, which means that on Friday, April 5th, at 8pm, I will be on stage at the Park West intentionally making a fool of myself, in front of seven hundred plus people! I am so excited and completely terrified at the same time that I can hardly wait for Thursday’s rehearsal. I’m looking forward to sharing this awesome experience with 17 of the most amazing people who, like me, dared to scare themselves great.

Fear Experiment 4 - Improv

IE3 – 17 of the most courageous people on Earth!

So, enough about me. What are you going to do to scare yourself into your greatness? What decision will you make today that will push you a little bit closer to your goals? How can you challenge yourself to do the thing that you’ve been telling yourself for years is “too scary” or just not you? I had a dream the other day where I told someone “every decision you make either brings you closer to your dreams or farther away from them.” Stop wasting time thinking of every reason (or excuse) for not doing something challenging. Just do it. My thirty-day journey in December helped me realize that scaring myself great is the way I want to live my life. I decided a few weeks ago that I was going to guide my 2013 by Nike’s signature phrase, “Just do it.” Being afraid is not an excuse anymore. I hesitate each time I tell a new person about my children’s book, and quite frankly, I am terrified about getting up on that stage April 5th. But I am more afraid of living a life that is less than what I want for myself and my family. So the next time a great opportunity comes your way, don’t talk yourself out of it. If it’s going to move you forward, JUST DO IT!

If you’d like to come out and support us in April at the Park West in Chicago. Click the link below for more details! I’d love your support. Maybe it’ll inspire you.

*** TICKETS TO FEAR EXPERIMENT 4 ON SALE NOW! Click here for tickets and information.***

************* UPDATE *************

The show was beyond awesome! We received a standing ovation. The experience shook me so far out of my fears I can barely recognize the person I was before. It has been tremendous for me socially and in networking. Find away to shake off what’s inhibiting to you.

We now join the list of greats who've performed at the Park West!

We now join the list of greats who’ve performed at the Park West!

(Hint: if it doesn’t feel REALLY uncomfortable, it probably won’t do the trick.)

Oh, and we got a standing ovation. :)

Nothing like a standing ovation from 700 people.

Read my previous post “Scared Great” to hear the full story.

 
 

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You Can Do It!

You Can Do It!

I stood staring off into the distance, smiling like a fool, as I waited for the washing machine to fill. I was in a daze, reminiscing about this amazing little boy I met, whose determination has forever changed my life. 

Imagine for a second, the most adorable little boy, standing at a child-size sink, stretching with all his might to reach the cold water handle. He barely meets you at your waist—although he is four years old—and is now standing on his tip toes determined to turn the water off by himself.

This may not sound as remarkable in print as it was in person, but Hector has a medical condition that has stunted his growth and his fingers cannot bend. Can you imagine the determination of this little boy that he never asked for help, although it took him at least a minute and a half to do what takes most of us less than 2 seconds? I was standing within a foot of him the whole time and he never once looked back at me in hopes that I’d intervene. He remained focused on his goal, never quit stretching his whole body to get that extra eighth of an inch he needed to do it by himself. I fought the urge to help him because I knew that if I showed that I did not have confidence in him, he would lose confidence in himself. I stood by and waited for him to ask for help. He never did. When it seemed he could not possibly reach it, he repositioned himself and somehow managed to stretch that extra eighth of an inch, and his fingers touched that handle! When the last drip of water fell from the faucet and his feet were back on the floor, I didn’t know whether to cheer or cry. I was so proud of him, so inspired by him, and so glad that I did not help him.

I learned two valuable lessons in that moment. The first is that we can accomplish amazing things—things that seem so far outside our reach—if we don’t stop believing. The second, is that in times when we are struggling with a challenge, wondering why God won’t intervene, He is often standing close by proudly mouthing the words, “You can do it.”

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2012 in Epiphanies, Inspirational, Motivational

 

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Always Expect More

Last night, as we were heading to bed, my little one said to me, “I’ve got fifteen dollars.” I smiled, knowing that the pennies, nickles, and dimes in her coffee can probably did not equal fifteen dollars, then replied, “No. You’re gonna get three million dollars.”

So let’s fast forward to today—a few minutes ago, actually. I was sitting at my computer typing a blog that once again sounded great in my mind (but was just awful onscreen), while listening to the encouraging stories of teenaged entrepreneurs on the tv show Biz Kids. My daughter was sitting on the floor behind me going through one of my purses. She was fully entertained because I had smaller handbags inside the big purse she was investigating. After a while, she discovered some change in one of the pockets and began saying, “Fifteen dollars, fifty-six….” I thought it was adorable. I smiled at her and continued typing away at the computer. Then, she began to bring me various items she discovered and place them on the table before me. “Here, Momma”—she placed an old Mary Kay make-up sample in front of me—”fifteen dollars.” Then she ran back to find something else. She came again, shoved an old receipt at me, “fifteen dollars,” then ran away. Finally, she came back and handed me an envelope, “fifteen dollars,” she said, and ran off, again. I flipped it over, wondering if this time she really had discovered some money. I quickly opened it to see what was inside. To my surprise, it contained three million dollars!

Million Dollar Bill

Let me explain. A few years ago, I was watching The Secret—a video about utilizing the Law of Attraction to create a better life—and doing various things to apply its principles. In an attempt to keep reminding myself that resources could come to me unexpectedly, I copied and printed several fake million dollar bills, put them in envelopes, and mailed them to myself. The envelope my daughter found was one of these, and it ironically contained three million dollars, the exact amount I told her last night that she would receive!

Now, I don’t know how deeply you feel me on this—and, no, the money is not real—but, to me the message is clear that there is some kind of power in our words, especially when we believe. When I told her last night that she would receive that money, I meant it. I expect great things to come from her in her future so I believe that one day millions will be minor money to her. I didn’t, however, expect it to “happen” so soon! 🙂 Of course, when this happened I had to tell somebody who I knew would “feel me “on how powerful (and weird) this all was. So I instantly called my dear friend, and fellow blogger, Danielle Navonne. As I was telling her this amazing story, I noticed that there was something written on the inside of the envelope, and I will leave you with this powerful thought,

"Always expect more."

"Always expect more."

 

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Better Than the Lottery

Better Than the Lottery

About two months ago, I had a major epiphany while doing one of my typical late nights at the computer. Usually, I’m up working on new designs for my t-shirts or coffee mugs, or I’m sitting on Facebook liking people’s status updates. But this night, was different. I was just up for no good reason. Then, it happened. Suddenly, I remembered that I had a pocket full of game tickets! While I was in line at the grocery store earlier that night, a lady in front of me asked if I was playing the store’s sweepstakes, and when I said, “yes” she handed me ten game tickets! How did I forget those ten little pieces of possibility were still sitting in my coat pocket, waiting to be opened? 

So, not wanting to wake my little one, I tiptoed over to my coat and quietly sifted through my pockets to find those extra game tickets. When I found them, I pulled out my game board and sat down to see if I had any matches. One by one, I kept matching game tickets on my board. I was having so much fun! (Yes, for a stay-at-home mom, this counts as fun.) Then, I realized that I was one game ticket away from winning the $100 Gift Card Prize! I got excited. I flipped my board over and saw that I was just two tickets away from a $50,000 car of my choice! I looked at the clock, 2:45 am, looked over at my bed and thought, “It’s late, maybe I should go to bed.” Then, I had a second thought, “what if I have that last game ticket?!” My mind was made up. Even though the store was closed, I was gonna stay up and go through all my game tickets to see if I had won!

So with all the glee and excitement of a child searching the house for hidden Christmas gifts, I tore through my purses and pockets looking for every game ticket I had stowed away over the past few months. I gathered all my findings into a pile on the table and sat down resolved that I would check all of them before I went to bed. I was so excited, matching ticket after ticket. Then, I started to find duplicates. Slowly my stack of possibilities turned into the pile of tickets I had already matched. As that pile grew, my hope for winning dwindled. By the time I got down to the last ticket, I realized that I was a sucker. Each prize section on my board was missing one or two game pieces. I had figured out the game. The store had printed out millions of the random ones, but the one or two tickets everybody needed to complete each section were a rare find. Dang! I was crushed—still a little hopeful, but mostly crushed.

I had stayed up all night, way into the wee hours of the morning, pursuing a one in a million chance. That’s like playing the lottery! And with that realization, it hit me. Epiphanies come to me like this all the time. Right at the moment when I should feel down, or discouraged, I get the lesson. And the lesson of this moment was that I should not be pursuing a one in a million chance more aggressively than I’m pursuing my “sure thing.” My gifts, my calling, my purpose, the things I know God invested in me are my sure things. Inspiring others energizes me; I know that is my sure thing. Designing everything from business cards to wedding gowns, excites me; I know designing is my sure thing. Writing books to empower and entertain children, brings joy to my heart; I know writing is my sure thing. God has placed gifts, interests, and passions in you as well, those are your sure things.

When I sat there holding that last game ticket, I felt a combination of inspiration and sheer stupidity. I just have to be honest, I was a little embarrassed. I mean, I shamelessly begged for game tickets in my Facebook status, and I won’t say what I did when I saw some in the trash, lol. Where is that same hunger to stay up all night working on my dream? Where is that same shameless assertiveness for promoting my new children’s book? I should not be more willing to aggressively pursue a one in a million chance, than I am to perfect who God created me to be. And neither should you. As I held that last game ticket, shaking my head at the loss, I really felt as if God was saying, “Why don’t you put that same energy into your sure thing?” And that’s my challenge to you.

Maybe a sweepstakes isn’t your thing, but you turn your phone off so you can watch your favorite TV show, uninterrupted. Maybe you won’t stay up late sticking tickets to a game board, but you’ve painstakingly studied stats and game highlights to perfect your March Madness brackets. Where is that energy for your sure thing? Where is that same level of commitment for the gifts that are inside of you? Look, I’m not your judge. I outed myself first. We’re in this together. We all have something in us that we know we were created to do. Whatever your sure thing is, please know that your odds of succeeding are way better than winning the lottery. Give your purpose the attention, the energy, the hope, and the time that you would a perceived winning lottery ticket. Because with this one, the odds are in your favor. Be blessed.

By the way, If you‘re curious how close I got to winning, here are the pics of my game board. Enjoy!

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