How To Get Rid Of The Blahs

It is my desire for you to feel your best. There are many different ways we can work towards feeling great. The one that always seems backwards, but fills me with so much joy, is giving my time to lend a helping hand. We get so much back when we give our best at the right place and right time.

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I was raised in a house where my parents set an example of serving others. To this day, I go visit my parents, who are now in their 80’s, and they invite me to go down to the local nursing home to take care of the needs of the residents. None of our lives are perfect, but my life growing up was filled with joy because helping others was just as normal as breathing.

But sometimes the busyness of life gets in the way. Before we know it, it is all we can do to keep up with our own tasks much less take on those of others. I know when this is the case for me, I start to feel drained and down. If this is how you feel today, take a look at your calendar for the next few weeks and block out time now to lend a helping hand. It will bring you energy and joy in these four amazing ways.

  1. It reminds us that we have special gifts to contribute. I don’t know about you, but our world can be draining. It always wants more and more is not good enough. Sometimes it feels like we have nothing special to offer, but that is not true. When we give our time in an area we are passionate about, our love, strengths and unique abilities shine. Each one of us is amazing and has so much to contribute!
  2. It gets our mind off of our problems. When we share our time with others, and focus on their needs, it gives our mind a short break from our dreaded “ToDo” list, or issues that are on our mind. Joyce Meyers once shared that the best way to get something off of your mind is to fill your mind with something else. Filling it with caring for others is a great way to do it.
  3. It gives us perspective. I enjoy volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. In fact, a friend of mine just recently organized a work day that I was able to be a part of. I had the opportunity to help build a home for someone who was in dire need of a safe, reliable place to live and raise their family. As I worked on screwing in drywall, I was reminded of all the blessings I have in my life that I simply take for granted. Helping in areas of need help to bring perspective to our lives.
  4. We receive a gift that cannot be explained. I was challenged once, when I was down in the dumps, to get off my rear-end, get out of my house and go help a friend. It was the LAST THING I felt like doing, but I did it. As I drove home that night, I felt great. The load that was on my shoulders earlier did not feel as heavy. Some people call it karma, some say “you reap what you sow”, others “what goes around, comes around.” I don’t care what you call it, it works. It truly is greater to give than receive!

Has the busyness of your life gotten in the way of helping others in need? What gifts and talents do you have that would be a blessing to others. What baby step can you put in place today to move forward on helping others? You will get so much in return!

Here’s to feeling great and making a wonderful difference in the world we live!

Yep, We Can!

Doesn’t it feel great accomplishing something? To say that I love to check things off of my “To Do” list is an understatement. There have been times in my life that I have bordered on addiction when it comes to getting a “high” off of accomplishing things. But how, when life is incredibly busy, can we keep moving forward? How can we keep accomplishing the things that are most important to us when we can barely keep our head above water?

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I recently attended a profession conference, and like most conferences, I drank from the firehose for three days straight. It was great, but there is not enough room on one sheet of paper to include all of the “To Dos” that were added to my list during that time. During the hours of traveling home, thirteen to be exact, I continued to ask myself “How am I going to move forward on all of this stuff?”

Is there an area in your life where you would like to accomplish something or reach a goal? Does it feel too big to tackle? And because of that, is difficult to get started? Here are three essentials that help me continue to move forward in the most important areas of my life.

  1. Believe you can do it. This sounds simple, but, if deep down you do not believe you will succeed, it will continue to hold you back. Believing you can accomplish your goal produces action in your life. If you tell yourself you can cut back on your sugar intake (an example from my own life), you will start to look for ways to do it. Thinking “I can” produces action! Repeat “I can” over and over in your mind, and you will find a way to move forward.
  2. Focus on the next small step. I love to think BIG in my life, but with that comes big ideas that can be overwhelming. I probably have three million steps to take between where I am today and what I want to accomplish in my life. I get heart palpitations when I think of all that I have left to do. The same might be true for you as you think of all it is going to take to accomplish your goal. Let’s ask ourselves and focus on the next baby step, then take just that one step. Then ask and focus on the next step, and the next, and the next. Before we know it, we will look back and be amazed at how far we have come.
  3. Make a commitment. Life is incredibly busy and it can pull us in many different directions. If we are not intentional about staying on course, we will be detoured. Make a commitment to yourself and to your loved ones that you will stay focused on this most important area of your life.

Are you ready to tackle that important task or goal in your life? What is your first baby step? Let’s move forward, one step at a time knowing without a doubt that we can do it!

Here’s to a “Can Do” attitude and our next baby step!

Time for a Fresh Start

I love the changes of the seasons, both in nature and in our lives. The beginning of summer is exciting when the kids end the school year with the anticipation of summer vacations. It is equally exciting when the school year starts back up with the plans of a new year, new classrooms, and re-establishing a routine. Even without children, I love the feeling that the beginning of a new school year brings. It is a great time for a fresh start.

red-school-blur-factory croppedI loved shopping for school supplies as a child. I would bring everything home and get it  organized. I would write the name of each subject on my notebooks,  fill my new case with pencils, pens and markers. It was all new, organized and ready for whatever was to come. I loved it!

What areas do you want to feel new, organized and ready for the great things to come? Here are 3 questions to help us move towards a fresh start as the new school year begins and the beauty of fall approaches.

Is it best for me and my family? As we begin new things in our lives there are always expectations that we need to consider. Schools, church, family, friends, and work all have expectations of what we should do and how we should be involved. These are all potentially wonderful things, but also realize that it is ok to say “no” to them if it is not right for you and your family. We love to be involved, contribute and help others, but, at the end of the day, we have to make sure it is right for us and our loved ones.

What is most important? Take a moment to think about and even write down what is most important to you. Maybe prioritizing a family meal together is important. Maybe physical activity is a priority. Having fun and scheduling something fun together would be great. These things do not tend to happen by themselves. Many times life gets hectic and what we have decided is most important gets pushed to the side. Determine what is most important to you, put it on your calendar, and make it happen.

What can I remove? Take a look around and ask yourself if there is anything that you should removed from your life. This could be physical possessions, items on your calendar, bad habits, time wasters or even unhealthy relationships. Our lives become cluttered with “stuff” before our very eyes. Taking time to de-clutter and simplify can feel so good! It frees up time and energy for the important things, and allows me to give some of my possessions to people who are in desperate need of them.

Are you ready for a fresh start? What do you feel you can do to start fresh in the next few weeks?

Here’s to new and fresh starts!

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Is it Perfect for You?

Is there an area in your life you would like to improve? Maybe get a good night’s rest on a regular basis? Figure out some new recipes to make? Get out for that early morning or late night jog? We all have something on our “I want to” list.  As we move forward to make the improvements in our lives, realize that there is no “one size fits all” program to success. We have to figure out what works best for us and then stick with it.
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When it was time for me to lose 20 pounds I decided to start calorie counting. At the time, I loved it because I could decide how I “used” my calories for that day. I could eat a banana or I could eat powdered donuts. Granted, my approach was not the healthiest at times, but it worked for me. It worked so well, that to this day, I track my calories religiously. Because calorie counting worked well for me, I felt like it was the solution for everyone. I shared my enthusiasm with anyone who would listen, but I soon found that my answer to losing weight was not the answer for everyone. Since this discovery, I have seen this played out in many areas of my life. I love to ride my bike, but it’s not for everyone. I eat a special diet that helps me feel great, but it’s not necessarily for everyone. I love to play a certain type of music, but it’s not for everyone. What works for me may not work for you and that is okay!
How do we figure out our “program for success?” Here are four things that have worked for me.
 
  1. Listen and learn from others, but in the end decide for yourself. One of the greatest sources of information is to talk to someone who has succeeded in what you are trying to accomplish. It is fascinating to hear their stories, what worked for them, and what did not. If you can, talk to more than one person to gather different perspectives. Gathering their thoughts and experience can be helpful as you figure out what works for you.
  2. Experiment. As you do your research and listen to others, you will quickly see that there are many different ways to accomplish the same goal. If you are not 100% sure which way is best for you, start one and look at it as an experiment. Move forward on your experiment. As you move forward, learn what works for you, and learn what does not.
  3. Recognize discomfort and make adjustments. When something is not working best for you, you will feel discomfort and maybe even frustration. Sometimes you may not see the results you want to see. Sometimes you find that it does not work into your current schedule. Whatever it is, take some time to analyze your discomfort then make the needed adjustments to move forward. On a side not, realize that accomplishing big goals in your life is not always going to be easy. There may be times where you just have to buckle down and do it, even if you are uncomfortable.
  4. In the end, be true to yourself. We are all unique and amazing individuals. Love yourself and be proud of your way of doing things. Yes, there are times I make compromises, but I compromise because there are people in my life that I love, I respect their uniqueness and I want to spend time with them. When it comes to what I want to accomplish, I will succeed when I am true to myself.
What is an area you want to improve in your life? Have you tried any of the above? Let me and my other reader know how it’s going.
We all accomplish amazing things every day! Don’t forget to celebrate those things! Here’s to loving ourselves and living our best!

Three Easy Ways to Brighten a Day

Every day I get wrapped up in my own world and my own problems. We all have plenty to deal with on a daily basis. With so much on my mind, I put my head down and get to work. But at some point I lift up my head and realize that the people around me are struggling too. I am reminded that we all could use a positive boost.

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Recently I had a rough day. It was one of those days that I could have used some positive mojo. I felt like I had gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. My mind was filled with negative thoughts and I was incredibly tired. That same day I was scheduled to bring my car in for service. My service center has always done a great job for me, but they are frequently suggesting additional “routine maintenance.” This particular day, I was not in the mood. Seriously, all I wanted was a simple oil change and tire rotation! I pulled up to the service bay and the place was packed. The gentleman who has helped me in the past jumped into the car in front of me to move it forward, making room for my car. As I saw him get out and head over to his desk I felt bad for this guy. He looked overwhelmed and exhausted, it broke my heart. My mood changed and I immediately wanted to find a way to give this guy a positive boost to brighten his day.

Here are three simple ways we can brighten someone’s day.

  • Send a message. It does not matter what kind of message you send; text, email, Facebook or snail mail. It will bring a smile and encouragement. It only takes a few minutes.
  • Give a compliment. It can be as simple as “you look very nice today” or “I am proud of you and how you handled that project!” It’s simple, impactful, and it will only take seconds.
  • Show appreciation. There are many people who work hard every day and are rarely appreciated. This could be anyone; the checker at the grocery store, the attendant at the gas station, the clerk in the drive thru, the nurse at the doctor’s office. You will bring a smile to their face in no time flat.

In what simple way can your brighten someone’s day today? Let me know how it goes! I love to hear your stories!

Here’s to bright sunshiny days!

 

What Gets Us Through The Last 6.2 Miles of a Marathon & Life

I don’t know about you, but I have a new appreciation for marathon runners. Life is hard enough, why put yourself through that torture? I say that, but I still love a good challenge!

There is one more insight I want to pull from the article I came a crossed “My Experiences With The Last 6.2 Miles Of The Marathon” http://www.runningthroughlife.com/2012/03/29/my-experiences-with-the-last-6-2-miles-of-the-marathon/ . Here is what he writes.

“When I was struggling the most I came upon a young guy who made me feel like I was doing okay. He was really struggling. He was walking (well really hobbling) and as I passed him I gave him a little slap on the shoulders and told him that he could do it and that we were getting close. He mumbled something back that I couldn’t understand but then he started to jog with me. As we talked I started to tell him that he was looking good, that we were getting closer, and that he would never be the same after finishing that marathon (It was his first). The thing that I noticed is the more I tried to help him and get his spirits up the better I felt about myself. In talking someone else through the rough spots I am talking myself through.”

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When we are down and out, the last thing we want to think about is helping others. It takes all of our gumption to get ourselves out of bed in the morning much less the effort to help someone else. But what Mr. Haag says in the article is so true. If we take just one ounce of energy and put it toward encouraging someone else, we find that we suddenly have more. More energy, more peace, more joy, more. I can’t explain it, but I think we all know deep down it is true. If you have never tried it, today is the day. I know this is a great reminder for me. I want to be an encourager of others and I love how I feel in return.

“Now in every race that I run I seek out those who look like they could use a little help or inspiration and try to offer some words of encouragement. I think life is the same, if we will try to find opportunities to help and give then usually we are the ones who receive the most.”

Whether you feel like it today or not, experiment and encourage someone around you. Genuinely care about them, and see what comes back your direction. It might just be the key to get us through the last 6.2 mile challenge we have in front of us.

Part 2: The Last 6.2 Miles of a Marathon

If you are just tuning in, I found a great article recently that is helping me walk step by step through my marathon of life. On March 29th 2012 Ryan Haag posted “My Experiences With The Last 6.2 Miles Of The Marathon” http://www.runningthroughlife.com/2012/03/29/my-experiences-with-the-last-6-2-miles-of-the-marathon/ and he touched on some pretty amazing correlations between his last 6.2 miles and how we have to run the race of life.

Friday we looked at the last 6.2 miles of the marathon. This is important, because the marathon is somewhat “easy” towards the beginning, but as it continues, it gets harder and harder to the point where you can only focus on putting one foot in front of the other.

PERSEVERANCE!

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Today’s subject is very similar because I don’t think we can take the subject of perseverance too lightly and only mention it and move on. As I continued to read Ryan Haag’s article he started describing a number of his last 6.2 miles experiences.

He shares “It was not long after this (seeing the 21 mile marker) that I experienced what has been my nemesis in the final miles of all but one of my marathons, which is cramping in my hamstrings.”

And his marathon a year later, “the hamstring cramps that I had felt the year earlier returned with a vengeance. I was trying to run straight legged and hobble the best I could but my pace started to slow. I found myself gritting my teeth and kind of growling to try to persevere through the pain.”

I do not want to make light of Mr. Haag’s pain and suffering, but I started to laugh as I read about him running straight legged and hobbling. Don’t get me wrong, it was not a laugh because I thought it was funny, it was a laugh because I feel right now, today, that I am hobbling and just trying to make it. I envisioned myself as the one doing all I could to keep going even if it meant running straight legged and hobbling.

One of the goals I have been working in this year, among others, is the physical goal of getting into better shape and strengthening my back (a cause of pain for me for years). I have made great progress with the help of my personal trainer. We have discovered and improved one area of my back, but with that improvement, my hip which has had to compensate for my bad back all of these years is now screaming. I know I am making progress. I know I am getting stronger. But I feel like I am having to run straight legged and hobbling. And yes, I have growled too!

Your struggle may be physical, it may be mental, emotional, spiritual, relational, financial.. Whatever it is, it can be hard!

The article continues “with about 2 miles to go someone was passing out ice cold wash clothes which I used to wipe my hot, salt crusted head and body with and then just laid it on my bald head while I ran. It was possibly the most refreshing thing I have ever felt.”

Each day we are blessed with “cold wash clothes” but sometimes in the middle of the mess and pain we don’t see how much of a blessing they are. There is no doubt that Mr. Haag had to focus all of his being on putting one foot in front of the other, but he was able to feel the refreshment that came his way that day. It may come from another person, it may come from nature, where ever it comes from, grab it, hold onto it and allow it to help encourage us in our race.

Stop for just a second and think about a “cold wash cloth” experience you have had recently. Take time to enjoy it! Then keep hobbling FORWARD!

The Last 6.2 Miles Of A Marathon

This morning I googled “what is the hardest mile of a marathon?” because that is where I feel like I am in life right now. I always teach that life is more of a marathon compared to a sprint. We just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward.

Well, I am doing that and I suspect you are too, but doesn’t it get to the point at times when you feel fatigued, like your life is getting “cramped up”, like the finish line is too far away?

That is how I feel today and have been feeling for a few weeks now. I am pushing forward in a number of areas of my life, but I’ve lost my excitement, I’m struggling to stay confident, and I question whether I’m running the right race.

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My Google search brought me to a blog called Run Through Life: Tips and Experiences on Running & Other Important Things In Life. http://www.runningthroughlife.com

On March 29th 2012 Ryan Haag posted “My Experiences With The Last 6.2 Miles Of The Marathon” http://www.runningthroughlife.com/2012/03/29/my-experiences-with-the-last-6-2-miles-of-the-marathon/ and he touched on some pretty amazing correlations between his last 6.2 miles and how I feel in life right now. I want to fill this blog post with all of his insights, but I am going to take one at a time. I need to chew on each of them and figure out what each of them mean to me and how I can apply them to make the “stretch of life” less cumbersome.

Today’s insight is: “When I start a race I am usually thinking in five mile increments and then the farther I get into the race my goals shorten to water stops and then to 1 mile at a time and during the final few miles it goes to one step at a time.”

As I reflect on my life and current goals, I can see this same thing. I am probably to the point where I am looking for water stops. But this does not encourage me because it means that it is going to get harder. It means that I am going to get to the point where I can barely lift one foot to put it in front of the other.

Does it help to know that this phase of my goals is around the bend? Maybe a little. I guess I know when I am there that it is a “normal” part of the race. That others have come before me and persevered through this part to cross the finish line.

But I think what motivates me more is to know that many before me have stopped just short of the finish line and I don’t want to be that person. I do want to persevere!

“It is during that last 6.2 miles where you really have to reach down into yourself both physically and mentally and find strength that you previously didn’t know you had. The last 6.2 miles is what makes you better, stronger, more confident, yet humble person following the marathon. That 6.2 miles stretch gives you the confidence that there is nothing that can stop you from attaining your dreams but also makes you so grateful for all of the gifts that you have been given.”

Where are you on your current race of life? Are you feeling good watching the miles pass with ease? Are you starting to feel the fatigue? Or are you just trying to put one foot in front of the other?

Hang in there! Keep going! Don’t stop! Others have persevered and you can too!

More to come…

Whose definition of success are you living by?

Have you been influenced by other people’s definition of success? Has that influence been good, bad or both?

As many of you know, I am in the process of writing a book. This adventure is bringing me in a lot of different directions, all in the hopes of helping each of us to live the BEST life we can possibly live. Today I am reflecting on and writing about what success looks like and I am curious how you feel on the subject and the experiences you have had.

 

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  • When you transitioned from your high school years into your “adult” life, were there very clear expectations placed on you by your elders on how to move forward in life?
  • Did they have a clear definition of success they wanted you to pursue?
  • Was their view of success one of order or adventure?
  • Did you follow through with their definition of success? If so, are you still on the same path? Or have you veered off?
  • Why?
  • Have you discovered your own definition of success in life? What is it?
  • If you are a parent, what definition of success are you passing on to your child? Why is it important for you to communicate this to your child?

In my personal life and in my career as a Life Coach, I have met many amazing individuals that have all had a unique combination of answers to the above questions. Some are moving forward in life, some are stuck. I am interested in seeing how the definition of success of influential people in our lives have shaped our lives.

I would love your input! Please feel free to set up a simple account and comment right here in the blog, comment on Facebook or send me an email. 

A Difference Maker – One Thing That Will Move You Forward Faster!

I love results! Who doesn’t! It’s a great feeling when you have lost a few pounds, learned something you never knew, accomplished a task you have been working towards, or finally running in that 5k or half marathon that you have always wanted to run. Getting results give us a great feeling, a feeling of accomplishment, a feeling of moving forward, a feeling of making a positive change in our lives.

I had a moment of inspiration this morning about this exact subject. While we love the feeling of accomplishment, and making things happen in our lives, many times we are not willing to invest in “the one thing” that will provide the greatest amount of growth – GETTING HELP.

Classroom Desk (Mobile)

I have experienced this first hand in my life. I knew in order to get a job, I needed an education so I went to school. I knew when I wanted to become a Life Coach that I needed training, so I did what it took to get my certification. Education seems to be a no brainer when we need to receive that diploma or certificate. But what about our health? What about our interests? What about the direction of our life as a whole? If you are like me, I’ve tried to do it myself, and have just muddled through.

Most of us have heard the common definition of insanity. Insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different result.” We all have done this at one time or the other.

In order to break the insanity cycle, the key is this: If something thing is not working, try something else.

In 2014 I tried something else. I got help.

I have been working for quite a few years now to get into better physical “shape”. I will be turning 42 in the next few weeks and I want to continue to be active and vibrant as I go through my 40’s, 50’s and into my 80’s and 90’s. I knew the only way for me to be vibrant throughout my life is to work on being strong and less fragile now. I have tried many programs and have found some success, but it has been minimal. For me, I continued to hit a wall and could not get over it.

IT ALL CHANGED THIS YEAR by making one simple change, I am getting help from a professional in the field of physical fitness. As of yesterday, I have been working out with a personal trainer for 3 short months and I have advanced more than I have in ALL of the years that I have been trying to do it myself.

Did you get that? In three short months, I have advance more than I have in all of the years prior to that!

By making one change, getting professional help.

The same is true for my life as a whole. Since I hired a Life Coach, I have made more changes in my life for the better. Again, I tried to do it by myself, but the last three years of being coached have created MAJOR CHANGE for the better in my life. All because I got help from a professional.

Today, if you want to see real change, faster results, and the feeling of moving forward in your life, invest in obtaining professional help:

  • If you want to lose weight, there are people and companies that specialize in weight loss!
  • If you want to get into shape, there are personal trainers that will help you reach your personal goals.
  • If you want to be more financially secure, there are people and organizations out there to help you put a plan into place for financial success.
  • If you want to dream of a great future for yourself, your significant other, your family, and put a plan together to make it happen, hire a Life Coach and you will move forward in those dreams!

You name the area you want to move forward in, there is a person or company out there ready to help you move forward.

But Jen….all of that costs a lot of money. You are absolutely right, but I am going to say it like it is. THAT’S A BIG OLD EXCUSE! You are spending your money somewhere. Take a look at where your money is going.

If you want to move forward in your life, you can and will make it happen. Period!

I can be the queen of excuses (trust me), but there is ALWAYS a way to move forward.

Henry Ford said it best: Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right!

What is different about my life? I “think I can” and am making change happen by getting HELP!