It’s A Season

How would you define your life right now? Is it easy? Hard? Enjoyable? Frustrating? Happy? Sad? Whatever season you are going through in life, a new season will come. For life is ever changing.

I have read the verses in Ecclesiastes many times about all of the seasons there are in life. I have to admit, that even though there have been distinct chapters in my life, the idea of seasons was kind of foreign to me. That was until recently.

This has been a very difficult season, that along with the midwest weather, is finally turning towards Spring. The sun is starting to shine again and new life is starting to grow. As I transition from one season to the next, and feel the contrast between the two, it has made me aware of all of you around me who are going through your own seasons. Both good seasons and challenging seasons.

Can I share with you what I learned during my most recent challenging season?

  1. Don’t fight the challenging season you are in because you will not win the fight. Like the changing of the season in nature, your season has a certain amount of time it has to live out. I spent 11 months fighting my challenging season I was in and all I achieved by fighting was exhaustion. When I decided to embrace the season I was in, and stopped fighting it, I found more peace.
  2. Surround yourself with loving people and rely on them for love and encouragement with no judgement. A professional counselor is a wonderful option as well. They are there to listen, encourage and help.
  3. Don’t stop moving forward. The reality is that you do have to go through it to get out the other side. This is where my famous baby steps come into play. Keep moving forward, no matter how small the step and how slow you feel you are going. You can keep going, and you will make it through!

I have three hopes for the future for us:

  1. That we will not forget our challenging times and how important they are for our personal growth and understanding.
  2. That we will better love and support our friends and family that are experiencing a challenging season.
  3. Now that the sun is shining in life again, we can better appreciate this time of joy and not take it for granted.

Whatever season you are going through in life, be kind to yourself, keep moving forward because you are truly amazing!

Are You Overloaded?

I have talked to a number of ladies, just in the past few weeks, who feel like they are drowning. They simply have too much to do and not enough time to do it. Life is stressful enough, a long to-do list adds to that stress, but not seeing the time in your schedule to take care of these important things almost makes life feel unbearable. Have you ever felt this overloaded?

It breaks my heart that you have to go through moments in life that are so overwhelming. I wish I could provide for each of you, exactly what you need to calm the storms of your life. The reality is, that you will have these times, but also know that it is possible for things to slow back down.

The life-preserver that I throw out to you today is not going to surprise you. I hope with all of my heart that you grab a hold of it and utilize it to lift your head up out of the frenzy you find yourself in.

The life-preserver I throw to you today is the reminder to utilize baby steps. I know, you wanted a better life-preserver than that, and trust me, I wanted to give you one better than that. I have not found one that works in real life though. It makes me sad to say this, but we do have to go THROUGH these challenging times in order to get out the other side.

I just recently went THROUGH a similar time, and I am not out of the woods yet, but it’s getting easier. A few times in the processes, I felt a high level of stress bordering on panic. I wanted out! I wanted something or someone to save me. I wanted immediate relief, but that did not happen. I hated the idea that I was going to have to push through on my own. To be honest with you, I got angry with myself for teaching the concept of baby steps. I wanted to throw that life-preserver back, but it was my only hope. It was all I had.

I know sometimes you are pushing through deep water in your life, but know that as you get closer to the shore, the water becomes easier to push through. Keep taking one step at a time and before you know it, the water will only be ankle-deep.

Here’s to keeping our eyes on the shore, dreaming of sitting in the sun and taking one more step to get there!


Action Steps:

  • Make a list of the thing you need to get done. Divide the list into “must dos” and wanna dos”.
  • Start to take one baby step at a time to work through your lists.
  • Celebrate each baby step that you accomplish.

 

Lovingly Say Yes To…

I intentionally did not include what you are to say “yes” to in the title because I wanted you to open my post. There is one thing that very productive, busy women have a really hard time saying “yes” to. It is essential for you to lovingly say “yes” to YOU! Taking care of yourself, first and foremost, is a difference maker. This is very serious and BIG STUFF!

I have shared with woman after woman, in my years of Life Coaching, the importance of prioritizing oneself. Much to my sadness, most do not feel it is possible for them. They feel as though there is no possible way. I am here to tell you it is possible. It will not happen overnight, but it is possible and I beg you to start on that journey today.

Let’s look at where to start. Read the following “starting points” and pay attention to which one resonates with you the most.

  • What can you start to do to prioritize your physical health?
  • What can you start to do to prioritize your mental health?
  • What can you start to do to prioritize your spiritual health?
  • What can you start to do to prioritize your emotional health?

I do not feel these need any additional explanation. Which one caused you to pause and shake your head “yes”. That is your starting point.

What one small thing can you add for the next month to start prioritizing this area of your life?

No more excuses, get started!

  • Prioritizing yourself will be a difference maker in your life. You will start to really feel like you are living again, and as you feel better, those around you will be impacted in a positive way as well.

I make it happen each day, other women are on the journey with us. You can lovingly say “yes” to yourself as well. Join me!

Here’s to loving ourselves, loving those around us, and being a difference maker!

 


Action Steps:

  • Decide on your starting point.
  • Decide on the one small way you are going to move forward this month to lovingly say “yes” to you.
  • Get started!

 

Lovingly Saying No To…”I Should”

How often in your day do you think “I should be doing…”? How many times, when you take a moment to sit down, do you feel guilty and think of all of the things you “should” be doing? How often do you think back on your day and feel like you “should have done something, but didn’t”? When we pay attention, our lives are filled with “I shoulds”. They can torment and bring us down. It’s time to lovingly (or maybe even a little forcefully) put the “I shoulds” in their place.

When you find yourself unsettled in life, what “I shoulds” are responsible?

  • There are many unhealthy “I shoulds”.
  • There are some “I shoulds” that do need to get your attention because they are the right things for your life.

How do you know the difference?

It all comes down to what is most important to you. Defining what is most important to you at this stage in your life will help you differentiate between the things that you hold dear and all of the other clutter that tries to intrude into your life. Defining what is most important to you is one of the greatest exercises and investments of time you can partake in. It will shape your life into exactly what you want it to be.

I have a simple resource that is designed to help you do exactly that! I have used it in my Life Planning Classes, and I just recently had one of my former students pull his out to share with his co-workers. He shared how this tool was life changing for him and how it has shaped his life into what he wants it to be.

Click here for your free resource: Live the Life You Desire – Define What Is Most Important To You

Once you have defined what is most important to you, you can compare your “I shoulds” to your list of “most important things”.

  • If your “I should” is on your list of most important things, it should get your attention. You should find a way to prioritize it in your life.
  • If your “I should” is not on your list of most important things, you can lovingly say “no” to it, knowing that spending time on it would pull you away from what is most important.

No longer allow the “I shoulds” to torment you or bring you down. Say “YES” to what is most important to you, and lovingly say “NO” to the rest.

Here’s to leaving guilt behind, knowing we are living the life we desire!


Action Steps:

  • Ask yourself: When you find yourself unsettled in life, what “I shoulds” are responsible?
  • Download: Live the Life You Desire – Define What Is Most Important To You and start to work on your list of most important things.
  • Improve the lives of others: If you have someone in your life who could benefit from the free resource, please pass it on to them! We are all in this together!

 

How to Have a Great Year!

Regardless of How it Started

How did you ring in the New Year? With happiness and celebration? With concern and apprehension? With joyous anticipation? With sadness and heartbreak? These are real life emotions, and every single one of them is okay. My question for you to ponder is, no matter how your new year began, what do you want the rest of the year to look like?

My year started with sadness. My dad peacefully passed away in his sleep after an amazing life of 88 years. My new year was filled with family and friends, of many years, coming together to celebrate an amazing life, yet mourn the empty spot we now have in our lives. My new year started out a little rough, but I have many things to look forward to and work towards in the year ahead.

How did your new year begin? What do you want for the year ahead? You want the best, right? The best for ourselves and for our loved ones. I believe, with everything in me, that you can work towards a great year regardless of how it started. Here are a few things to remember in the days, weeks and year to come.

  • Know that you have it within your control to have a great year. Make it a point each morning as you wake up and transition out of bed, to decide it is going to be the best day you can make it. As you get ready and drive to your first destination of the day, remember what is most important in your life. Take a few short breaks in your day and dream about the life you want to be living. When we fill our minds with the right stuff, we automatically start to gravitate towards those right things. You have a ton of control! Use that control to live many great days this year.
  • Know that your intentionality this year will positively affect the people around you. Our lives are filled with amazing people, and even though we do not always see how our actions affect others, they truly do. This is especially true the closer someone is to you. The positive direction you make in your life makes their lives more positive too.
  • Know that your example this year will show others that making positive changes in their lives is possible too. Living intentionally is rare. The more you live an intentional life, the more you will stand out from the crowd. There are many people who don’t yet know that taking control of their life and living intentionally is possible. Your example will show them that there is light at the end of the tunnel, that the life they desire is possible.

No matter what state your life was in as you stepped into the new year, decide what you want for yourself and your loved ones and work towards that a little bit each day this year. You can make 2018 exactly what you want it to be.

Here’s to embracing where we are today, dreaming of what we want for tomorrow, and taking one step at a time to move towards a great year!


Summary of Simple Actions Steps:

  • Make it a point each morning as you wake up and transition out of bed to decide it is going to be the best day you can make it.
  • As you get ready and drive to your first destination of the day, remember what is most important in your life.
  • Take a few short breaks in your day and dream about the life you want to be living.
  • Notice how your positive changes and intentionality affect those around you.

 

Fill Your Life With Wonderful People!

Wonderful people are the difference makers in life. They make us laugh when we need to. They share in the important times in our lives, and they encourage us when times get tough. Who are the wonderful people in your life, and do you fall into the category of “wonderful” for others?

Tuesday afternoon, just after 4pm, it hit me that I had dropped the ball on a few things that are important to me. I immediately texted a few friends,  including one of those wide-eyed emojis, that I knew would commiserate with me. They immediately texted me back with light-hearted, loving encouragement. Soon we were texting the laughing emoji. They had immediately lifted my spirits and helped me see that it was not the end of the world.

Our lives can be so hectic. Being there for each other is so important. Wonderful people…

Take an interest in our lives.

Want us to succeed and will be a part of making it happen if they can.

Are happy to not only share life’s “ups” but the “downs” too.

Check in to make sure we are doing okay when they haven’t heard from us in a while.

Are happy to see us!

The list could go on and on, but the question I have for you is, do you have these people in your life? Are you this kind of person to others? Life is wonderful, but not easy. We need each other! It makes all the difference in the world!

My encouragement today is to fill your life with wonderful people, prioritize time with them and be a wonderful person in return. Wonderful people are the difference makers!

I’m Thankful For You!

Happy Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is one day set aside each year to focus on being thankful. It is hard, at times, in the midst of our busy lives to remember to stop, count our blessings and express our thankfulness. As Thanksgiving approached, one thing that has come to my mind time and time again, is how thankful I am for you. Yes, I am thrilled and thankful that you read my blogs, but I am mostly thankful for the amazing individual you are and all that you bring to the world we live in.


I am thankful for the wonderful strengths you share with all of us! Each of us have amazing strength that contributes to those around us. Many have the eye for details. These are the individuals that love crunching numbers and working on spreadsheets. Many have the gift of hospitality. You walk into their home and you instantly feel welcomed. Some people have the gift of keeping things moving forward…fast, and others have the strength of being slow and steady. The amazing thing is that we all possess amazing strengths that our world cannot do without. We all come together with these strengths to make a pretty amazing place to live, work and play! Thank you for living out your strengths to make our world a better place!

I am thankful for your “Can Do” attitude! Keeping a “Can Do” attitude is hard at times, but at the end of the day, we cannot settle for less than the best. We know in our hearts that life is good, therefore, we keep pushing forward towards amazing things knowing that we can always do better! Sometimes it takes time to figure out how to make it happen, but we keep striving for our best.Thank you for your great attitude!

I am thankful for your serving heart! Everyday you take care of others. It may be co-workers, your kiddos, significant other, parents, or even a complete stranger. Your heart to take care of others makes a difference and makes the world a better place every moment of every day. Your serving heart makes a difference! Thank you for your amazing heart!

Thank you for sharing your life with me! Thank you for sharing your life with our world! You make it a better place every single day!

I am thankful for you!

Saying No Is Hard To Do

The Holiday Party invitations are starting to arrive in the mail, and the calendar for the next couple of months is starting to fill up. But what is the solution if we have decided to slow down this Holiday Season? What do we do if our priorities for the rest of the year conflict with what everyone else wants of us? I don’t know about you, but saying “no” is hard to do!


This December I have a weekend scheduled to remove myself from my day-to-day life and focus on how to move my dreams for my book writing and other dreams forward in the upcoming months and year. This week I received an invitation to an important event  that is scheduled for that same weekend. The individuals hosting the event are putting their hearts and a lot of time in the planning  to make it very special. How can I possibly say “no”?

I have a dear friend who has been crazy busy for the past few weeks. Her family’s schedule shows no signs of slowing down. Everyone wants to do a ton of fun things. There is no way she could say “enough is enough” or “no, we are not going to add that to our schedule!” How can she possibly say “no”?

When we are on the outside looking at these scenarios, it is pretty easy to say “yes Jen, you need to get away for that weekend to keep moving forward on your dreams!” but when we are faced with these decisions ourselves, it is so much harder. It feels selfish to put ourselves before other people and their wishes.

I absolutely believe we must work for a compromise with those we love, but sometimes that compromise does mean putting ourselves first. After a week of waffling back and forth, I finally told myself that I had to make a decision. It was incredibly hard, but I decided to decline the invitation to the event and stick with my original plan of focusing on my writing and the upcoming year.

My purpose of this blog post is to remind all of us that it is okay to prioritize ourselves. We all give to others every single day of our lives, so it is good and right for us to treat ourselves with love and respect as well. It may be one of the hardest things you have to do, but remember your life and your priorities are very important, they are essential for you living your BEST!

It may take some time to work through it, but if you feel strongly about adding to or subtracting something from your holiday schedule, talk to those you love and make it happen, for you, this Holiday Season!

Thank you John Regan, for supporting me and my dreams! For taking care of things at home while I take some time away, for myself, to plan and dream about the future!

They Have Gotten Me Through

I have had a week filled with systems at work that failed and needed updating immediately, the health decline of an immediate family member, not prioritizing a loved one and letting them down, and I topped off the week today by catching a cold. With each of these came a multitude of tasks with urgent deadlines, except for getting sick, then everything halted to a stop!  In addition to all of these things, laundry still needed to be done, bills still needed to be paid, I still want to eat right, exercise and keep going. The one thing that got me through this week were baby steps. I kept asking myself “what is the next thing I need to do?” then the next, then the next, then the next.


I started this year out with a set of videos on the topic of baby steps. I never imagined that I would have utilized this concept as much as I have this last year. Baby steps have gotten me through the ups and downs of life. Even though it was stressful at times, knowing I could take small steps to move forward brought me some level of peace and comfort.

I also shared with you that many small steps over a long period of time bring us to great places. I now look back over 2017 and I am thrilled with how far I have come. For me,  it has not been a year of great task achievement, but it has been a year of essential learning that will propel me into a great future. I hope you can look back over this past year and say the same as well.

Whatever it is you need to do, even if it is get through the next 24 hours, take it one baby step at a time. Ask yourself “what is the next thing I need to do to move forward?” and do it…then repeat. Baby steps keep us inching forward even when we don’t feel like it is possible.

Whatever it is that life throws at you this week, keep striving for your best! You are doing great things, one small step at a time!

Let’s Decide Now!

Happy November! Halloween is over and the weather has become colder. We can’t help but think about the upcoming holidays. I sat down with my calendar in hand this morning and realized that it was time for me to decide. Time to decide what my holiday season was going to look like this year.

As you reflect back on past holidays, what are the things that you want to prioritize? What are the things that are of less importance to you? These are great questions to ask now, before our already busy schedules shift into an even higher gear. Just like the other areas of our lives, we have control during the holidays and we have to be intentional in order for them to be the best they can be. Take a few minutes to think about these two questions:

What do you want the overall theme of your holidays to be this year? High energy? Exciting? Fun? Filled with people and events? Slow paced? Relaxing? Filled with one-on-one people time? A little bit of all of the above? Deciding this ahead of time will help us make better decisions as the plethora of invitations come our way over the next few weeks.

I am going to interject one important theme here that we can tend to take for granted, it is staying healthy over the holidays. Yes, there are flu bugs that we may catch that are out of our control, but there is a lot we have that is within our control when it comes to our health over the holidays. Let’s prioritize rest for us and our loved ones. When we are run ragged, it affects our immune system and makes us more susceptible to getting sick. We are also bombarded with special food over the holiday. When we can, let’s add in some nutritious stuff that will give our bodies a boost. I have already started to eat an orange a day to increase my vitamin C. Lastly, if you or your loved ones are sick, and this is purely my opinion, stay home, rest, get better and don’t share the bug with others. Sometimes, we feel like we can’t miss out on an event and this decision can be very hard, but let’s remember that our decisions will affect others in a negative way, in this instance. [end of soapbox]

What are the essentials of your Holiday? Let’s decide now what our essentials are and get them on the calendar. I do not know if you have ever seen the big rocks illustrations. Imagine you have a one gallon clear bucket. You have sand, small rocks, medium-sized rocks and large rocks that all need to fit into this bucket. The bucket represents our life, the sand represents the non-essential busy work that we feel is expected of us, the small rocks are a little bit more important aspects of our lives, mediums rocks are pretty important, but the big rocks are those most important things that are very important to us. Many times, especially during the holidays, we can get wrapped up in all of the little stuff that everyone else expects us to do. This is placing the sand in our clear bucket first. The same goes for those small rocks, filling our time with non-essential things. The heart breaking aspect of this illustration and what can easily happen over the holidays, is that we fill our bucket with the less important stuff. When it’s time to place our most important BIG ROCKS into our lives, there is no room to fit them in. If we take a different approach and place the BIG ROCKS in first, the most essential things, them some medium rocks, them a few small rocks fit in and we can even fit some of the sand in too. What’s so important is that we first and foremost, fit in the most important things. Whatever is most important to you for the holidays, your BIG ROCKS, let’s get them on the calendar now, then fit the other items in after.

We all go into the holiday season with a very special picture in our mind of what we want it to be. Let’s do all we can to make this holiday season the best it can be for ourselves and our loved ones.

If we do not decide what our holidays will look like now, everyone else will decide for us. Let’s take control, be intentional and have a great holiday season living our absolute BEST!