Thursday, June 19, 2014

Make That Change!

A motto in life that I have tried to follow and try to encourage others to follow is this: “if you don’t like it, change it”. In other words, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

Often we put off making changes in our lives because we feel that we can’t. Maybe we feel that we can’t give 100% effort or maybe we don’t think we have the knowledge or the right skills to do something. But you don’t have to wait until all the right pieces are in place to get started. Start small, learn as you go, but just start.

There is a Chinese Proverb that says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.

If there is anything in your life that you are not happy with, you have the power to make changes to make it better. You are a powerful force! In my first blog post, I mentioned that I sent myself an email that just said “Do Something”. The point of that email was to get me out of a funk that I was in. I had just changed jobs and I wasn’t terribly satisfied. My husband and I were dealing with numerous issues with our daughter Taylor. She had spent months in the hospital, we were stressed and life just wasn’t great. I was in a really bad place and feeling rather sorry for myself. As I wallowed in my self-pity I remembered that I hate to wallow in my self-pity. I really do try to stay positive and feeling sorry for myself was not helping me do that. I knew that I had to stop focusing on my own problems. I wanted to turn my focus toward others. Do more to help others. That was the change that I needed in my life.

 Here are a few ways that I have made changes in my life to turn my focus away from myself and toward others:
·         I started writing this blog. I love to write. It makes me feel good. Through this blog I hope to share words of encouragement and to also share ideas for getting involved in charities; turning your focus outward.

·         I got involved with Livy’sHope. Taylor and I have made some wonderful new friends and we have been able to show kindness, give hope and help other families through the Kids Crew.

·         I am devoting more time to other charities like Ronald McDonald House , Feeding America and No Kid Hungry.

·         I pray more. I read Bible devotionals related to living a joyful life. I thank God every day for the blessed life that I have and I thank Him for the challenges I face too. It’s those challenges that make me stronger and even more grateful for the good times.

Amazing things happen when you turn your focus from inward to outward:
  1. You forget your problems
  2.  Someone else benefits
  3. You start to feel really good

 In these past several months I have had a new attitude. I smile more. I’m happy! I don’t let the little frustrations in life get me down. Sure, I have my days when the pity party tries to creep back in. But in those times, I really do try to turn it around. Remind myself that life is good. Pray.

So if you find yourself in a rut, in a bad place or just not happy with the way things have been going. I challenge you to take that first step, do something about the way you feel, make a change in your life. Do something, anything. You’ll be glad you did.

In the words of the late Michael Jackson, “Make that change”



Friday, June 6, 2014

Fear, Courage and Cliff Diving

I’ve been struggling lately to find things to write about. I want my blog to have a personal touch, but I really don’t want it to be a “day in the life” type of blog. Really, my life is not that interesting!
The other day I saw a quote posted on Facebook. It was one of my favorite quotes. I love quotes. When I see a good one, I jot it down and save it to my favorite quotes file, a Word document that is now about five pages long. Did I say I love quotes?

I find so much wisdom and inspiration in the words of others. If I need a kick in the butt to pick myself up on a particularly difficult day, there’s a quote for that. If I need to encourage my college-aged daughter to go out and do what she loves, there’s a quote for that. If I need to remind my son that there is no easy path to success, there’s a quote for that.  If I need to lift up a friend who is feeling down or tell someone that I’m really glad they’re in my life, there’s a quote for that.

I thought it would be good to take some of my favorite quotes and write about what they mean to me and share a particular situation when I used that quote to help encourage someone.

When I originally started this blog, my intent was to accomplish two goals I had set for myself.

1.       Start writing
2.       Start giving back more

 My original plan, as I described in my my first blog post fell by the wayside, but I can say that this year I have definitely given more of my time to others. In fact, I do have some great plans in the works that will hopefully get others motivated to do the same. This leads me to the quote I will share today:

“Always do the things you fear the most. Courage is an acquired taste, like caviar."
– Erica Jong

As I mentioned, this past year I have really started to get more involved and for me, that has taken a lot of courage. To most people, I seem pretty outgoing, but there is an introvert inside of me just waiting to get out. I have had to work hard over the years to battle my inner introvert and for the most part, I have won the battle.

I wrote about my first step out of my comfort zone and into the giving back zone in my Just Show Up post. That day, I ignored my fear of getting out there and meeting new people and it was so worth it. That first meeting spawned my (and Taylor’s) involvement with Livy’s Hope Kids Crew and some great new friendships.

As I continued to work on my goal of giving of my time, I realized that other people might share my fear of going it alone. Wouldn’t it be much easier and surely more fun if we served as a group? That was evident when I gathered a group of friends to help me cook and serve a meal at Ronald McDonald House. That was definitely an undertaking I couldn’t do alone. As the day approached and I planned my menu, I was terrified that I would not be able to pull it off. That fear quickly disappeared as my friends started arriving and we worked together. Fear is best conquered in the company of friends.

Back to my plan to get others motivated to volunteer and how that plays into my quote. I have a vision to start a service organization to promote volunteerism through group activities. I’ve started taking small steps towards this goal but I really need to just jump in with both feet. I am about to navigate uncharted territory as far as my own personal experience and knowledge go and that scares me to death. But as the quote says, do the things you fear the most.

I shared this quote many years ago with my daughter Lauren on her first day of classes at Florida State University. Lauren inherited my inner introvert and was having a difficult time adjusting to her new life and being so far from home. I wanted to encourage her to get out, try new things, meet new people, and conquer her fears. Five years later, I’m proud to say that she has done just that. The homesick teenager that I left in tears has graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work and is halfway through her Masters of SW & Public Administration. She has spent her summers leading mission trips and is now interning with the Florida Emergency Management department. The thing she feared most was getting out and meeting people. Now she is speaking to government officials and CEO’s of non-profits. She is forging her own path to success, simply by getting out there and doing the things she feared the most.

Psychology Today says this about fear, “…exposing ourselves to our own personal demons is the best way to move past them”. I have many fears regarding my new project; fear that I have no idea what I’m doing, fear of rejection, fear of failure. I read a blog by Curtis Zimmerman called Jumping off the Cliff. In it he says that the first step in achieving your dream is to “jump off the cliff”, which means going for something even before you feel totally prepared. So I have to move forward and acquire that taste of courage. I am the first time cliff diver, looking over the ledge, scared to death but also excited to jump. I have to take that leap of faith. Here I go……Geronimo!