Yes! Yes! Yes! There Are Right Things To Say “Yes” To!

More and more we hear about the importance of saying “no”, in fact, I have written blog posts on the subject. But not today! Today is all about “YES!”  There are so many important things in our lives that deserve to be told “yes!” What are they for you?

Recently my husband, John, was gone for a week on a business trip. We do not have children, so it was going to be me and my dog, Pebbles, holding down the fort for the week. The first thing I did was stop by the grocery store to pick up a bundle of fresh flowers. I came home, put them in a vase and displayed them front and center on my kitchen table. This is not something I do frequently, but it was spring and I decided to say “yes” to doing something special for myself. It is a little thing, but every time I see them, they makes me happy and for that, it was worth saying “yes” to!

In each of our lives we have people and things that are most important to us. Identifying what is most important has tremendous benefits. Yes, it reminds us of what is not important and what should not get our time, but just as importantly, our list of “most important things” directs us to what should get our time and attention.

What is most important to you? Have you ever taken the time to write them down? If not, now is a great time to start. Who is most important in your life? What activities are important to you? What values do you hold close to you? What do you want to invest your time and energy in? As you go through you week, start to think about it and start writing your list.

Once you have a good list started, another great step is to put them in their order of importance. This can be helpful when there are different “good” things competing for your time. Knowing what is MOST important will help you know what to say “yes” to.

Writing these important things down helps you, also, to really think them through too. I remember when I wrote mine down for the first time. I had no idea where to put myself. I knew I needed to take care of myself, but what did that mean? Forcing myself to write down what was most important to me, made me think about them, and over time, I slowly but surely moved myself up to a higher priority on my list. I knew I had to take care of myself in order to take care of others.

After you have written them down, keep them in your day planner or someplace you look daily. They are a great reminder of what to stay focused on when life tries to pull you off course. It also helps you come up with fun ideas like buying flowers for yourself!

There are so many things to say “yes” to, but we want to make sure we say “yes” to the BEST! Defining what BEST is, is the place to start this week!

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Here’s to saying YES to our BEST!

I Need A Solution – NOW PLEASE!

Life likes to throw challenges our way on a regular basis. Sometimes the solution is evident, sometimes it is not. I love instant answers. I love instant, clear direction, but life does not hand that to us all the time either. So what do we do when the solution to a challenge is not immediately evident?

I have had to make some challenging decisions in the past few months. These decisions revolve around areas that I have defined most important to me in my life. If they are most important, than they should get my time and energy right? Yes, but that is not always easy when there is only 24 hours in a day and I need to sleep and eat at some point. How, then, am I going to prioritize these things? What is the solution? Why isn’t the solution easy to find?

There are decisions that require immediate response, and we all do our absolute best to make the right decision at the moment. There are many decisions that really do not require an immediate response. The BEST solution might actually reveal itself if thought through over a period of time.

For those of you with strong, fast paced decision making skills, I know you feel that all decisions should be made quickly. My husband has the strength of making quick decisions and does it pretty well. Heaven forbid we were ever in an emergency situation, he would have me to the safest spot before the emergency even registered with me. Even though this is a strength, he does struggles with making decisions that do not have quick, fast, easy answers.

Those of us (me included) that have a slower, more introspective approach to decision making, can be challenged with the slow process of finding a solution too. I want things NOW just as much as others do. Here are the nuggets I want to share with you today that have been profoundly helpful for me in past months.

If something is very important to you, and does not require an immediate response:

  1. Don’t give up on the idea or dream if the solution is not immediately evident.
  2. If it is a priority, keep it in the forefront of your mind. Don’t let it slip away.
  3. In your mind, or even on paper, continue to play out scenarios that might work. You will find many that will not, but that is part of the process.
  4. HERE IS THE BIG ONE I HAVE LEARNED RECENTLY! Relax! Don’t fight it. There have been two instances where I kept fighting and fighting for a solution. When I finally wore myself out and relaxed, the answer appeared. One solution came through a comment from a friend and the second came from relaxing and daydreaming a little.

You might think I am off my rocker a little, but aren’t we all! ; ) If you have been trying to figure out how to make something very important to you work in your life, but the solution has not been easy, take another approach. Take a load off of your mind and relax. What’s the worse that can happen? A nap?

Let’s live an amazing life focused on what is most important to us. Hooray when life’s solutions  come quickly! Relax a little when they don’t!

Settling Is No Fun

In preparation for launching my Facebook Group, I read the book Tribes by Seth Goden. In it he stated that “Settling is not fun.”1 Which I agree with whole heartedly. Just a few sentences later, he mentions “competing priorities” as a possible culprit for settling. Hmmm, that’s an interesting topic to dive into! How can we deal with competing priorities, especially when they are both high on our priority list?

Back in October, I changed up my workout routine. I started at a new gym, with new class options. I started out going to one class a week, desperately wanted to add more, but I suddenly found two high priority items pulling at me for my time and attention. Both of them were part of what I consider to be my Heart’s BEST Work. My family and my self care. I did not want to settle, but how was I going to work through these competing top priorities?

The first thing I did was review my priorities and how they were reflected on my calendar. I knew what was most important to me in life, so I needed to make sure those most important things were really getting my time and attention, not other less important things.

Second, since I had to find a way to juggle these two really important things, I took my time to make decisions. I was tempted to give up quickly and settle with the reality that one night at the gym was just going to have to be enough. I just could not settle for that. 2018 was a very “blah” year for me with regards to my physical health. I wanted new and better for 2019. The answers came by thinking things through over time and with determination.

Next, I had to be open to changing old routines. I love routines! Once I find something that works, I stick with it FOREVER (I wish)! As I looked at my options to fit in these most important things, I initially did not want to budge on changing up some of my well formed routines. It actually took the gentle nudge/suggestion of someone at the gym to make me even consider changing things up. I did and guess what, I have a new routine!

I decided to reduce my time with one priority in order to add it to another. I cherish the time I have at home with my husband and puppy, but something had to give in order for me to find time to add in my desired gym time. Neglecting my family was not an option, but finding a compromise was. Now, I workout on Saturday mornings when John (and Pebbles) love to sleep in. They hardly know I am gone. Some nights John and I eat dinner a little later, and the nights I workout, we have less “hang out” time. John does not love waiting at times, but he truly does support me, so we have found a compromise. Now my time is shared among these two priorities.

We have to guard and prioritize our Heart’s BEST Work, but know that even when priorities compete for our time, there is a way to come out the other side and not settle.

1 S. Godin, Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us. (Portfolio/Pengiun 2008), 78

You Can Do It…Differently

I don’t know about you, but I want to focus on the Most Important Things in my life in 2019. That seems like an obvious goal, but it is not always the reality we are pulled into. We all have very busy schedules, more obligations than we can meet, and only 24 hours in a day. If we want to improve the way we live and what gets our focus in the next year, we may have to do things differently.

First of all, do you know what is Most Important to you? I think you have a pretty good idea of what should be on the top of your list. Have you ever written it down though? Writing down this list actually helps us think through it a little bit deeper. I have provided a free resource at the end of this blog to help you out. Let’s do things a little different in 2019 and actually write down our Most Important List.

Second, compare your Most Important List to your calendar. Does your calendar reflect what you have determined to be Most Important to you? The greatest gift we can give is that of our time. Do you need to do things a little differently and add more of the items on your Most Important List to your calendar in 2019?

Lastly, we have two options in 2019, to say “yes” or to say “no”. Those are your two options. Something will get your time and attention, and something will not. You are in the driver’s seat. When you are asked to add something to your life in 2019, will you say yes to the Most Important things, or set them aside for good but less important things?

On December 31, 2019 it is my heart’s desire that we all look back on this amazing year and know, without a doubt,  that we focused on the Most Important People and Things in our lives. Here’s to trying things differently in 2019 to live our BEST!

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When Everything Else is Stripped Away, What is Most Important to You?

I hope this blog post finds you and your family well, but I also know that life is not perfect, even here in December. The television commercials display the perfect happy family, perfect romance and the perfect gift under the tree, which is a brand new car! Hee, Hee! I asked my husband, the other night, how many people actually get a new car for Christmas? I am thrilled for you, if you are one of those people! When we strip all of the “stuff” away, I ask you “What are the things that are most important to you?”

The reason this question is so important this time of year, is that we have the desire for the Holidays to look a certain way. We desire quality time with family. We desire to catch up with friends that are only in town this time of year. We desire to keep God as the focus of the season. How is it that we get to the end of another year and feel a little sad because another Holiday Season flew past and is gone?

I know one of the biggest things that gets me off track each year, are the expectations of others. It is great that so many people want us to be a part of their event, but we have a choice, fill our time with what others want us to do, or fill our time with what is most important to us. I, by no means, want us to be disrespectful to others, I simply don’t want us to fill our time with expectations of others and miss out on what is most important to us, again.

While you are driving home within the next day, since that might be the only quiet time you have in your day, think about who and what is most important to you. Ask yourself if you have prioritized quality time with them this Holiday Season. Think about the obligations and expectations that you have agreed to that might keep you from your most important people and things.

Decide to have an amazing Holiday Season. It’s up to you. Someone is going to get your time and someone will not. You get to decide who those people are.

I wish you the absolute best Christmas and New Year!

Jen

It’s So Easy…To Say Yes!

Last week we talked about how sometimes the plethora of opportunities that present themselves in our lives gets in the way of the quality. This week we will touch on why we love saying “yes”, why we don’t like saying “no”, and how we can find the quality of life we are yearning for.

Have you ever been in a situation where you were asked by a really great person to do something, attend something, make food for something, or volunteer for something? Even though you know your schedule is crazy busy, the word “yes” slips right on out. After all, this is a really great person asking me and it is a good cause. It feels good at that moment to say “yes!” You suddenly can’t ignore the unsettled feeling deep down in your soul though. You know you will need to figure out how to fit this in amongst all of the other opportunities that you and your loved ones have said “yes” to. But for now, it feels good to have said “yes”.

You are right! It has been shown that saying “yes” brings a good feeling to our bodies, much like the good feeling eating sweets, drinking caffeine, or filling our tummies with our favorite food. It literally feels good to say “yes”. We instantly feel approval. We instantly get a smile of appreciation. It instantly feels good.

Verses…

The disappointment that we perceive when we say “no” to others. We generally don’t get a smile in return. We certainly don’t feel approved of. If there is any feeling that can be associated with saying “no” it would be the feeling of cold, not cozy. Then the guilt sets in. The person we just said “no” to is such a great person, they work so hard, we feel like we owe them. I just finished reading a book by Andy Stanley called Enemies of the Heart, where he talk about guilt. He explains that when we feel guilty, we feel like we owe someone something. I have found that to be true in my life.

No wonder the word “yes” flies off of our tongue so quickly!

Reality then sets in. How are we going to fit it all in? I guess the morning jog that I long for can wait another day. The kids are fine running around with me at night and the sit down dinner around our home table that I long for will just have to wait. I will have my significant other run to pick up the food for the next night’s event and we will eventually see each other when we all get home  at night just to start in all over again the next morning.

I’m worn out just writing that paragraph, and I know there were probably a number of things I missed in that description. I do know something that was missing in the descriptions… many things that you hold dear to you as most important.

That just made my heart hurt a little. It feels so good to say “yes” until reality sets in. Reality does not feel good at all.

I do have a solution and a way for you to still get the good feeling by saying “yes”.

Take time to define what is most important to you, even define the pace of life you desire to live. Start saying “yes” to those things. Fill your calendar with those things. When the really great person comes up to you and asks you if you can add something to your calendar, here is what you do:

  • You think about what you have defined as “most important” to you and ask yourself if this fits into those categories.
  • You think about the pace of life you want to live and you ask yourself if this will help you live at that pace.
  • You tell them you will take a look at your calendar and get back with them.
  • You look at your calendar, which is starting to fill up with “most important” things and you make a decision…then you get back with that really great person with an answer.
  • There is nothing wrong with telling someone you already have plans for that night, even if those plans are to cuddle up with a book on your couch to rejuvenate your soul.

It feels great to say “yes” to the best things, and you actually feel good deep down, even when you have to tell someone else “no”. You know you are living the life you want to be living by doing the things that are most important to you.


Actions steps:

  1. Start adding a few things on your calendar that are things that are most important to you.
  2. Make one of those things “taking time to define what is most important to me, and the pace of life I want to be living.”
  3. Gradually transition the things on your calendar to the things that are most important to you and away from the “yeses” that are driven by the guilt of letting others down.
  4. Keep moving forward in this fashion, one step at a time!

Say “yes” to the best things! You got this!

 

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.

 

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!