Don’t Worry, Be Happy
Don't Worry, Be Happy
An interesting quote crossed my path the other day.....”You don’t need a new year to make positive changes to your life, you just need a Monday.” I loved it, and it resonated to me how true it is.
I’m not sure of the consensus, but it seems we can be great procrastinators and use the new year as a crutch, or an excuse to hold off a little longer and not have to take action now.
You’ve probably heard things like, “Well no sense going on my diet now; I’ll wait for the new year.” Or, “I’ll quit smoking and start exercising in the new year.” Then New Years comes, and guess how long the average person lasts on their new years conquest?
You may be surprised to learn that only 4% succeed on any New Year’s resolutions! I was a little shocked to learn this at first, but after thinking about it...it kind of made sense. I mean really....if you want to make a change, procrastinating and putting it off to a certain day or month is the first sign to me that this is not a priority.....And if a goal or ideal you wish to achieve is not a priority, then I’m sure the chances of success are diminished dramatically.
Just take a look at any person who has seen success....I bet they didn’t wait until New Years Day to begin the conquest of their goal.
Desires, limitations, goals, etc. are set by our own self-governing thoughts, and no one else has the right or privilege to say we can or can’t obtain them....that is reserved for us only. Remember this when discouraging words are heard because unfortunately there will be naysayers in your path at times, but you have the control to let it in or block it out.
Finally, why wait....? The sooner we get started to make positive change, the sooner we can begin to see the life we set our sights to.
And please, don’t use the excuse that you don’t have time. I remember President Obama saying how important it is to take some time to exercise 5 days a week. So seriously, if the President of the United States can make the time....so can you!
Failing doesn’t mean Failure....or does it?
Failing doesn’t mean Failure....or does it?
Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so are our successes and failures because everything is a result of how we see it. What some see as failing, can others view it as success?
First instinct is probably no, but let me break it down by interpreting some specific examples.
Let’s look at the fate of a boxer falling down after he was hit hard. Some determined and persistent ones would keep getting right back up. Some will end up winning and some will lose. Let’s say you keep getting knocked down and getting back up, but ultimately lose the fight. Did you fail?
You failed to win the fight, but succeeded in giving it your best effort and not giving up. That is something to be proud of and to every circumstance there is always a silver lining.
My dad was a professional boxer. He was that type of person who when he would get knocked down, he would get right back up, and with even more determination to win......and he did. He never lost a fight, except for the one time when his coach threw in the towel after he got clocked a good one.
Ohhhh, Dad was so mad at his coach! He said, “What did you do that for? I was just about to get up and get that #@&*^%.”
I think I get some of my tenacity from my dad. While searching for literary representation for my book Bravery, I must have sent over 300 queries to agents, and received over 300 rejections.
Did I give up? Sometimes it crossed my mind because I was so frustrated. I would keep getting the same old email response saying, ‘' We are sorry but agencies just can’t risk picking up new and unknown authors these days.”
Man, it was hard to continually face that much rejection.....and very humbling. Every morning I would excitedly check my emails, and every morning just more rejection letters. But I wasn’t going to shelf that manuscript, no way!
So, I learned how to self-publish and did it on my own. I’m so thankful I didn’t see those rejections as failures because I often still get calls and emails four years later from people who have been profoundly affected by reading Bravery.
I have friends who have never given up on their life’s ambition, despite many downfalls along the way, but I don’t see that as a failure.....I see it as getting one step closer to their goal by persevering, and I am more proud of them for that than anything else they do.
I love Thomas Edison's response to all his failed attempts at inventing the light bulb, "I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work.”
One thing I have come to understand is that there are no right or wrong answers when it comes to many of our results....there is only the way you feel that determines the outcome.
For example, if you keep failing at something and decide to move on to something else, then that is the right decision you have made.....accept it with pride. However, if you decide to persevere and keep trying in hopes to succeed, even if you may not, then that is the right decision for you.
As long as you can be at peace with your choices, then you are making the right ones.
The most important lesson to learn is that we have a choice to believe and think whatever we choose....so choose to be proud of yourself. No matter what.....it’s really is that simple. Don’t over analyze....shoulda....coulda....woulda only holds you further back from reaching your desires.
It’s not winning or succeeding that we should be most proud of, it’s instead the determination to keep trying until we get there, or the acceptance it wasn’t meant to be.
One of my favorite quotes is from Henry Ford and it reads, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.”
You Never Know
You Never Know
We get so wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of Christmas that I think some of us are so focused on shopping for presents, decorating our houses, and trying to fit all these extra things in our already busy schedule, that we tend to wear invisible blinders.
I don’t mean in the sense of not giving to others less fortunate, and actually, I am filled with joy from all the generosity I have seen this year. Our awareness and support to the less fortunate has been wonderful, and charities have been receiving more this year than ever.
I am grateful to be feeling extremely blessed, and not for one minute do I take it for granted, but, I don’t think Christmas is the ‘most wonderful time of the year.’ And I mean no disrespect to those who do....I think it is a joyous blessing to enjoy Christmas and the closeness it brings to our friends and families. Heck, for some families, it’s the only time they get to see some of their loved ones, and that is a special cherished time!
What is on my heart these days, and I feel compelled to talk about, is the reality of the season. Many people become depressed at Christmas for all different reasons. Some have recently lost a loved one, or lost a loved one in past years close to the Christmas season. Some people are struggling financially and so stressed trying to juggle their bills versus presents for their family. Some parents will make monetary sacrifices for the gifts they give, and some will not be able to give at all. Some are all alone with no one to celebrate the holiday season.
I do not wish to be a Christmas buzz kill....there is so much joy to spread, but I do ask that we all become a little more aware of the signs, and the people who we may think could be struggling a little at this time of year.
A helping hand, a kind word, a moment of your time, could make all the difference in the world to someone.
Merry Christmas and God Bless You All.
Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder
Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder
Each of us are separate individuals who interpret life, circumstances, events, etc, in our own unique way. How wonderful....no one can tell us, or make us interpret something their way, no matter how they try.
Depending on where we are, and our position in life, there may be people telling us to do things every day. Our boss tells us what we have to do at work...parents tell their children to clean their room....the law tells us to obey it. I could go on and on about the things we are told to do every day, but I don’t want to.
I want to focus on the beauty of being in control of what no one can tell us to; our own thoughts and interpretations. They are such a powerful factor in determining our happiness and welfare. People can tell us to do a lot of things, but our thoughts, our interpretations, are uniquely our own, and no one else has any control of that.
You may think what a crummy job I have as a janitor, but you could also think what a great and prideful responsibility it is to provide a cleaner and healthier environment
You may think what a depressing job it is to work in a graveyard, but you could also interpret it as a wonderful opportunity to get to work outdoors and provide a beautiful spot for someone’s final resting place.
I’m sure you get my point and no need to continue go on. Do not ever let the stigma of something become your perception! I love using our jobs as an example because it is important to understand that it is not the title of our job that defines us, rather than what it is we do in our job, and how we feel about it.
I was thinking about my current contract as spokesperson and special event coordinator at the Heart & Stroke Foundation. That is my title, and it could mean a lot of things and different interpretations, but what do I feel my role is? My heart filled with joy as I realized....I help to save lives.
If you find yourself in a position where some interpretations of your life may be bringing you down, just try looking for another way of thinking about it....you never know until you try, and your findings may surprise you. Another beautiful thing about our lives is that it is never too late to change an outlook, or an interpretation.
I have an 80-year-old friend that always wanted to write a book but thought that she was too old now. We had a lovely conversation and after some time she realized that she didn’t have to live by other people’s interpretation of what too old means.
The only limitations we have are the ones we put on ourselves, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Share the Love
Share the Love
As the festive season of Christmas comes upon us we often get so busy with our own life that it can be easy to overlook others. Christmas can be one of the most joyous times of the year, but for many it is lonely and sad.
I have been very blessed to have spent every Christmas surrounded by love and generosity, but as a child, I thought everybody did. I grew up in a small town where, at the time, poverty and other life challenges were not prevalent, at least not in my little bubble. It was all about the presents for me.
It makes me a little sad to understand that’s what it meant to me, but it makes me very happy to know that now I have grown to understand it’s so much more.
Now, being much older, and having experienced some of my own life setbacks, as well as seeing misfortune in others, I have a much different perspective. I get much joy of giving to others....especially giving to people who need a helping hand. It’s also wonderful to see all the people who are pitching in to support others. It’s really a win-win.....helping people fills our own self with a sense of greater purpose and appreciation.
I’m proud to see how many people in our community are doing up Christmas hampers, gathering warm blankets, clothes and coats, doing toy drives, dinners, fundraisers and much more. People coming together for the sake of others is what I love most about this holiday season.
I’m also so grateful to have been asked to speak at a big Christmas Feast, sponsored by Life Exchange, for families going through critical times. Presents and Turkey Dinner with all the trimmings for those who have fallen on tough times will surely help to lift spirits. I think it is also a little comforting to know we are not alone.
Most everyone will experience challenging struggles at some time in their life, and feeling the love and generosity of others redeems our faith in humanity....at least it did for me.
When we can look beyond our own welfare, and feel the joy of expanding our offerings to others, then we will greater understand the meaning of gift giving.
For those of you in a position to help a family, or even one person, your generosity of sharing the love will be your best Christmas present of all!
God Bless and Merry Christmas.
Believe In Yourself
Believe In Yourself
Many people I know came so close to giving up on their dream because it seemed impossible to reach, yet for some reason despite all the hurdles and setbacks, they kept going....but why?
Were they a sucker for punishment? Did they want to inflict pain upon themselves by experiencing the failure of falling short over and over again? Of course not.... they have a determination and drive that is relentless to quitting. No matter what anyone says, or how many rejections they get, nothing will stop them until they reach their desired manifestations.
I personally am still a work in progress, but I think we always are no matter who we are, what we do, or how old we are. I think what sets apart the enthusiastic ‘go getter’ from the ‘negative Nelly’, is the optimism and grit to keep going. If plan A doesn’t work, go to plan B, C, D..... etc.
If you don’t have an alternate plan; make one. Often, it’s not going to be easy, or come the first try, but what’s the alternative?
I have many goals and dreams that I am currently working on, but I will share how I made one of my biggest goals come true.
In my first year of English Literature, my Professor mocked a novel I was working on, which was loosely based on my early adolescence. He basically said that I was wasting my time.....I had no creative artistic writing ability.
Thirty years later, I still remember the hurt I felt, and that cement block hitting the pit of my stomach. As youth, we are often insecure and supposed to believe the professionals, so I buried the dreams of my writing career.
Twenty five years later, after my son was born with a critical heart defect and my daughter was diagnosed with autism, I felt it had become my life’s purpose to share my experience to help others rise above adversity. I had a calling, which was so wonderful because I never did find my life’s purpose all those years later. But finally, I knew I had to share how life can still be wonderful, even if it doesn’t go as we hoped or planned.
Life will give us all setbacks and things we don’t expect, but it’s what we do with it that can make all the difference. I knew I had to write a book.
But something was holding me back. I didn’t feel smart enough to write a book....my English Professor told me so.
Well, it took a couple years, but finally my desire overcame my fear, and I said damn my English Professor, who is he anyway???? The words of Les Brown changed my life.....
”You don’t have to let someone else’s opinion of you become YOUR reality!”
It was the beginning of a new perspective, and my dream came true......I became the author of Bravery; Our Journey of Faith, Hope & love. Four years later and I am still getting calls and emails from people who have been profoundly affected by Bravery. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t feel gratitude for persevering and conquering the fears instilled by someone else who did not matter one bit in my life.
I know there are many reasons that stop us from getting where we ’d like to be. There are people, situations, obstacles holding us back from following our dreams....achieving our goals. It’s okay to feel discouraged and frustrated, but just don’t give up.... .never ever give up!!!