Inspirational Seconds

Reinvention can happen at any time


I have an apology to make. My last post was late November. I haven’t written one post since then. I let my blog slip slightly and may have let down 3 Scoops of Inspiration fans. But, there was a lot of progress in my life since then. I’ve done a lot of thinking, goal setting, praying, reflecting, laughing, inspiring, mentoring (taking and giving), crying… In a sense, I was working on reinventing myself. I had goals and knew I’d achieve them, but I let distractions get in the way. Shame on me!

I never lost sight though. I never lost sight of where I’d like to be. I never strayed too far from my chosen life path. I stayed true to what my spirit and Creator were telling me. And that’s a good thing. Goals are set in stone, but plans are set in sand and can change. I dream of one day being a powerful inspirational speaker, traveling and touching lives around the country. There’s no doubt in my mind I’ll achieve this, but today… today that dream came one step closer.

In my “standby” time off blogging, I’ve concentrated on being an active member of a local Toastmasters club. Toastmasters is an international speaking and leadership club that’s been in existence since 1924 and helps those looking to improve their public speaking skills. In my short 6 months, I’ve met the most supportive and positive people who genuinely care about your success. Barely knowing anything, some folks took me under their wing and taught me about meetings, rules and certifications. I practiced more speeches and was encouraged to enter the Club contest. I had no clue what the contest was about, but took a leap of faith. I won 1st place in the Club contest. What an honor! Tonight I competed in the Area contest and walked away with first place again! The competing speakers were great, it was tough competition. Again, I met wonderful people who came out of the woodwork to congratulate me.

I don’t write this to brag about winning a contest. I was inspired to write because of the feeling it gave me. Tonight, Kristie was reinvented. Life took on a whole different level. I strayed out to the unknown and relied on my fellow Toastmasters to guide me along the process. I did something different, something brand-new and it left me with true inspiration and a new lease on life. People were inspired, touched and moved by my message. Doing something you feel called to do is the most inspirational, spirit moving thing you can do. You’re in your “zone”. Tonight, I got a taste of my ultimate goal as a speaker and it was delicious.

When did you last seek that spark in your life to jump-start your passion? When was the last time you felt a victory in life? When did you last picture your greatest results? Can you see yourself doing what you love? Do you envision what that’ll feel like? If you’re looking at your goals and dreams as a far away fairy tale, maybe it’s time to shake it up a bit and reinvent yourself. Take time to reflect, laugh and just “be”. Revisit those goals and take a different path toward achieving them if your current one isn’t getting you there.

There’s no rule in life that says you can’t change and reinvent yourself. Take the time to inspire yourself. Change is a good thing especially when considering your true passion. Do something out of the ordinary. Take that leap of faith outside your comfort zone. When you’re holding that personal victory in your hands, you’ll be glad you did. I promise.

Note: My speech topic was from a previous 3 Scoops of Inspiration post: Choosy Minds Choose Choice

 

Inspirational Seconds

Life is like… Black Friday?


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I admit, I’m one of the crazy people who LOVE shopping on Black Friday. I’ve actively shopped that fateful day for over 10 years now. Perhaps the thrill of the hunt, the massive savings or the challenge to buy that hard to get item pulls me back every year. While staring at numerous Black Friday ads for hours creating my game plan, I commented to my boyfriend that only certain people can really attempt and survive Black Friday. They have to own a “particular set of skills” (thank you actor Liam Neeson). As I named the characteristics, he thoughtfully said, “It sounds like the same skills you need in life”. Exactly.

Shopping Black Friday is about goals. You can buy a TV any day of the week, in your pajamas, at home, online. But to get that same TV for $299 within a tiny window of time — now you have a challenge. Whether you want to be successful in life or nab that last cheap iPod, the same skills apply.

ENERGY – If you’re going to shop at 2am with thousands of other sleep deprived people, you’ll need energy. While waiting outside your favorite store, you’ll see loads of people drinking coffee, doing jumping jacks or chattering quickly to keep themselves coherent. They have energy because their goal lies within the doors of that department store and they’ll do anything to stay awake to get it. Do you have that same energy for your life? Proper sleep, eating right and good mental well-being are essential to stay on track for your goals. Years ago, I read an article in Inc. magazine. A CEO mentioned energy being the #1 component to success. Years later, I realized if you don’t have energy to pursue success, you’ve got a tough road ahead of you. Energetic people are successful people.

Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you. — Oprah Winfrey

PERSISTENCE – This is defined as “firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition”. This  describes the epitome of Black Friday. Heavy traffic, no parking, irritable shoppers, crowded stores, waiting hours in line and praying your item isn’t sold out. Shoppers endure great obstacles to save a great deal of money on that prized Blu-ray player. Those who choose not to go through a few road bumps, don’t get the reward. It’s that simple in life. Pursuing something truly worthy in life means pushing through obstacles, naysayers, tragedies and setbacks. There’s nothing convenient about Black Friday, just like there will never be a perfect, convenient time to pursue success. Push through the negativity and keep your eye on the prize.

A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success. — Elbert Hubbard

PATIENCE – This may be the top tactic needed to get through Black Friday. Once you leave your house, you may have to wait to find a parking spot, wait in line to get in the store and wait in the check-out line an hour, or two. If you lack patience, these rituals will make your brain explode. The quote “All good things come to those who wait” runs through my mind while standing in Kohl’s in wall-to-wall people at 2:30am with a few items in hand. It’s normal to want success overnight, but the reality is, it just doesn’t happen. If you maintain your focus, keep doing the right things and have faith you’ll succeed, your patience will be rewarded in victory. Take a deep breath and know you have good things coming.

Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy. — Saadi

ATTITUDE – While navigating through seas of people and aisles, not everyone is in a sunshiny mood at 3:30am. You may even see media horror stories about the experiences of Black Friday. While some may be true, I’ve shopped Black Friday in multiple states and cities and manage to have a positive experience every time. Why is that? Because I’m expecting to have some road bumps in my shopping extravaganza. Then, I keep my eyes fixated on my goal and maintain a positive attitude toward my success. When you’re running for a better life, your attitude will be the difference maker on the level of your success. Bring a negative attitude and life will feel miserable. Bring a good one and suddenly doors of opportunity swing open.

See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination. — Ralph Marston

ORGANIZATION – This is essential for a successful shopping trip. Creating a solid game plan of scoping out ads ahead of time, making a list and setting a budget will get you through Black Friday. Pick a few hard to get items and go after those first. As in life, if you have no clue how you’re going to obtain your goal, your chances of achieving success are pretty grim. Don’t be afraid to create a timeline or prioritize a list of steps on how you’ll achieve your goals. Reading books, mentoring with experts and picturing your success aren’t bad routes to follow either. Put your dreams in reachable perspective by organizing your thoughts.

In every aspect of life, have a game plan, and then do your best to achieve it. — Alan Kulwicki

There you have it — life according to Black Friday. If you venture out for these elusive deals, may your car find close parking spots, may you get the last cheap iPhone and may you find a new friend while waiting in line. If you can endure all these challenges for one day of shopping, imagine what can be accomplished by applying these same characteristics in your life. Nothing compares to the feeling of realizing your dream and going through many harsh struggles to finally taste that long-awaited victory. It’s always worth it.

Note: It’s true, thousands of people opt to do much of their Black Friday shopping online to avoid the insanity. I too, have done this, but where’s the challenge in that?

Inspirational Seconds

9.6 tips to avoid the perfection complex


welcome-to-perfection copy

Perfectionism is a very personal topic that I’ve struggled with since first grade. My parents still remember the story of my teacher warning them of my perfectionist tendencies. If I got anything less than 100% on an assignment, I fell into a downward spiral of frustration, anxiety and sadness. I was a high achiever in all my school years, but was never satisfied and very hard on myself. Decades later, it’s been one of the largest challenges to overcome, but I’m happy to say I can now identify and control it. Being a prisoner to the perfection complex can leave you feeling trapped in your own world. Your constant pursuit of “perfection” can adversely make you feel unworthy, irritable and downright depressed. Sounds counter-productive, no? Shouldn’t the perfect life make you happy? Then why does the pursuit of perfection have the opposite effect for some? It’s not the pursuit, it’s the expectations you set on yourself.

The man with insight enough to admit his limitations comes nearest to perfection.
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The definition of ‘perfect’ according to Google:
–the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects.
–the action or process of improving something until it is faultless or as faultless as possible.
There’s a LARGE difference between 100% faultless and as faultless as possible. Most people define “100% flawless” as perfection, so that’s what I’ll refer to.

Here are 9.6 tips and a re-framing that guided me in letting go of the impulse to be perfect every day of my life.

  1. Realize perfection is a deceiving mind game
    Everyone has their definition of perfect. Since there’s over 7 billion definitions, whose standard is right? And since no human is perfect, then we’re imperfectly defining perfection! It’s deep, but true. No one, not even the most successful business person, influential spiritual leader or self-less humanitarian is perfect. We all stumble, err in judgement and fail. Unchain your mind from this toxic mindset and be glad no human is perfect. Could you imagine the world if there was? Whew, thank God for that.
  2. Learn from failures
    You will fail. It’s inevitable. If you understand this and use failures as learning experiences not a blow to your ego, you will take a closer step toward self acceptance. We were meant to screw up, but out of mistakes come the best inventions, insight and information that has changed the world. Failure is part of the success equation toward excellence.
  3. Avoid the comparison game
    This can be tough. We’re constantly bombarded by beautiful models, millionaires with extravagant lifestyles and families who can do no wrong. If you’re striving to have a lifestyle like these folks, remember, behind the scenes, they’ve messed up too. We’ve already established no human is perfect, including everyone you see in the media. Comparing yourself to others is a quick way to forget what strengths you bring to the table. Speaking of strengths, beware of comparing your weaknesses to others’ strengths!
  4. Control what you can control
    You’ve planned everything to a tee, triple checked all details and inevitably, something outside your control happens. It happens because it can. Kids will misbehave, foul weather will come and someone will trip on the stairs in front of 700 people. Life will not unfold perfectly, but will unfold the way it’s meant to be. If you limit your urge to control everything, your mind will relax. Life can’t be controlled, only lived.
  5. Have faith
    This mindset has helped me the most. Have faith in God, your heart, your instinct, whatever you call it. Believe in yourself and your capabilities. Things happen for imperfect reasons, but in the end we must have faith to believe they happened for a good reason. This goes back to viewing failure as opportunity for growth and learning. Believe those imperfect moments were put in front of you to grow, not to look bad.
  6. Keep your goals realistic
    I’m going to lose 20 pounds in 5 days! I’m going to go from janitor to Vice-President tomorrow! I’m going to run a marathon with 4 days’ worth of training! These are excellent goals, but lack perspective and a good dose of realism. I had a habit of setting myself up for failure by creating lofty goals and missing them by miles. For a perfectionist, feelings of frustration, unworthiness and insecurity quickly ensued. True goals include realistic, measurable and specific objectives. Stick to these characteristics and watch your level of success increase sans the cruddy feelings.
  7. Celebrate your successes
    While we’re on the topic of success (and you will succeed), don’t forget to reward yourself for an accomplishment. This sounds simple, but I still struggle with this one. Have pride when you’ve done something well, even if it wasn’t “perfect”. Look how well you organized the closet, finished that tough project or dressed for that event. You’re allowed to bask in your own awesomeness at times, it’s ok. The pressure of perfection will ease up when you congratulate yourself on a job, no matter how well done. If you don’t occasionally celebrate, even if it’s internally, you will continue having the negative mindset of: achievement = zero upside.
  8. Forgive yourself
    We’re getting into the tough ones now. Perfectionists can be very hard on themselves because they’re not ‘perfect’. We’ve already established no human is perfect, so throw that expectation out the window. Without the expectation of being perfect, you’ll have an easier time forgiving yourself when you do something less than desirable. Take a deep breath, admit something went wrong, learn from it and move on. Let it go and understand you’re still only human.
  9. No one else wants you to be perfect
    This makes me smile. As a recovering perfectionist, I realized one day, no one wants me to be perfect! Picture being in a relationship or a co-worker that never made a mistake. Ever. How about a leader that never made a wrong decision or prediction?  That’s quite unrelatable to other folks, isn’t it? If I wrote this blog in strictly perfect and articulate grammar, wouldn’t you wonder “Does she really talk like that?”. I don’t want the 100% perfect boyfriend because I couldn’t relate to his “perfectness”. Plus, that would be downright creepy.

9.6   I encourage you to practice these principles every day. As we all know, practice makes…an ex-perfectionist!

“I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God’s business.”
― Michael J. Fox

I hope these 9.6 suggestions help break your never-ending cycle of perfectionism. Instead of perfection, try pursuing excellence. It’s a much better deal and you’ll love the results.

Inspirational Seconds

Pick your battles now


I’m writing to you from a hotel room in Milwaukee way past 1am.  Today, I chose to wake up around 6am, drive over an hour to meet my friends to jump in their car for a 7 hour drive to Milwaukee.  Rest  stops, Chicago traffic and construction added to the flavor of the adventure. The hotel arrival includes even more friends greeting us with hugs, smiles and laughs.  These folks aren’t just acquaintances, they’re people striving for positive growth in their lives who have become close friends over the years. They picture a more fulfilled, purposeful life out there.

We descended on Milwaukee because that’s where the leaders are. We’re part of an association that organized a large leadership seminar reserved for people wanting to improve their lives and the lives of others.  We want more out of life than what the status quo has in store for us if we don’t keep growing. We understand life is meant to be lived to the fullest not with feelings of settling or feeling trapped. We learn from others with successful lives in many aspects like finances, relationships, health, leadership and spirituality.

Our Friday night session focused on dream and purpose, my favorite topic. Since it’s now 1:45am and I’d prefer to be coherent tomorrow, I will make my point brief. Each speaker came from various parts of North America with different stories to tell. However, they always have laser focus when it comes to pursuing their dreams and passions. The key to their success was obvious. Constant consistency toward the pursuit of your passion and purpose =success. Many of the thousands in the arena could relate perfectly to the message while others probably sat back pondering “What in the world IS my purpose???”

As the leaders poured their hearts out and I pictured my ideal life, I was reminded that anything in life is attainable, you just have to want it bad enough. You have to wake up before sunrise to jump in a car with some friends. You have to sit through construction and later encounter strange people at rest stops. By all means, you should narrowly zip in between semis in the middle of dead-stopped Chicago traffic praying you get to the hotel in one piece. (No, I wasn’t the one driving.)

The most joyous, happiest people pursue their purpose at all costs. They do it because something inside calls them to keep going, to keep pushing. They do the necessary things, no matter what it looks like to the outside world, because it’s their dream, no one else’s.

The trip could’ve been worse. We could’ve all stayed home. We could’ve said we’re not driving that far. We could’ve made a lot of decisions against pursuing personal growth opportunities.  But we didn’t. When was the last time you took your dream pursuit a little farther? When did you take that extra crazy step closer to that goal? Have you stayed up til 2am working on those little things that lead you to your ideal life? Maybe it’s time to battle some traffic. Your dreams are worth it.

 

Inspirational Seconds

Michelle’s chair


The work day was extremely chaotic — deadlines, rushes, caffeine-induced colleagues, phone calls and emails-by-the-second. You know, the usual day at the office. The work kept coming long after I powered down the Mac. I was glad to head to my hair appointment. I could relax, chat with a new stylist and walk out looking fab. It wasn’t until I sat in Michelle’s chair that I took a deep breath. The day had flown by and I barely had a chance to think. What in the world happened to the day? The only parts I could recall were work, deadlines, work, clients, work. But there was so much more. It was in Michelle’s cushy chair I was able to stop and think about all the wonderful highlights to be thankful for.

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Today, a long-time friend confided in me looking for advice. We go way back and have a tight, trusted bond.
I’m grateful for his friendship and trust. I’m thankful for my ability to uplift someone who needs it.

Remember Cassie from my post “Good Things Coming”? She needed a little extra push in faith and I was happy to oblige her.
I appreciate her trust and positive attitude. I’m glad to share my knowledge and experiences.

I met with a colleague (who you’ll hear more about) who’s interested in going full steam ahead in improving her life.
I’m thankful for her inspiration and trust. I’m grateful for having the coaching skills to help guide her.

I appreciate my boyfriend who helped me around the house and just got me a tasty glass of cranberry juice while I write this. Yeah, he’s awesome.
I’m glad to have his love and support. I appreciate my pursuit of constant improvement in relationships.

Have you stopped lately and thought of what you’re grateful for in others and yourself? Why don’t you do it right now? You don’t need Michelle’s chair. You don’t need 45 minutes to think about it. Just run them through your head and let them bring a smile to your heart. You’ll be thankful you did.

“Rest and be thankful.” ― William Wordsworth

Inspirational Seconds

Good things coming


This post is inspired by my friend, we’ll call her Cassie, as she recently texted me on how anxious she is waiting for a life-changing phone call. There’s anxiety, impatience, worry and excitement all mixed up in her pretty little head. She’s a smart cookie though and believes if it’s to be, it’s to be. She won’t lose sleep, pull her hair out or run around screaming. She’ll keep herself busy knowing things happen for a reason.

Cassie may end up reading this and disagree, but my thoughts stand. She’s good at letting things roll. Then I realized, not all of us are that good. We worry, panic and freak out. I am not excluded from this bunch although I’ve learned to handle stress and emergencies fairly well.

Over 7 years ago, when life took a nasty turn, I placed a great deal of affirmation statements and positive messages all over my work desk. When things go downhill at work, I’m surrounded by constant reminders to keep my head from rolling off.  It centers me, forces me to take a long deep breath and press on.

At the end of this post is an image which I’ve given to many co-workers. I cannot claim credit for the words, only the design. I’ve had it so long, I have no clue who to throw credit to. If you find it, please let me know.

It’s about worrying. We place a lot of energy on worrying about things that haven’t happened yet. Will I pass this test? Will I get this new client? Will I be accepted? Will she like me?

“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened” — Mark Twain

We worry about the future not the past since we know what’s happened then. We fear the unknown and its effect on us. In Cassie’s case, she’s unsure what the decision will be. Will it be in her favor or not? Either way, she wins because things happen for a reason right? We need to trust that good things will find us no matter what, even if its an outcome we weren’t envisioning.

I say this like it’s easy. “Just stop worrying!” We want the best for our lives, so we worry if we’ll get it or not. I’ve been working on surrendering to my Higher Power every day and it’s not easy. Whether you call it the universe, spirit or God, in my opinion, there’s many things out of my control. Worrying never makes it better. It just makes you tired and your icky energy just passes on to others.

Minimizing worrying can happen, you just have to work at it. A wonderful path has been laid down for you and you’ll see it in time. Good things are right around the corner. It’s not uncommon to remind yourself of these points every day.

Print out the Good Things Coming reminder and may it aid you in minimizing your worry habits. It’s worked wonders for me.

PS, All the best Cassie! 😉

GoodThings

Inspirational Seconds

Positive change? What’s that?


For several years, I’ve wondered why many people have a negative association with the word “change”. When employees hear “We’re changing the company’s procedures”, it’s followed by groans and speculation. If your spouse says “I need a change”, your heart drops. In baseball, a pitching change means the pitcher walks off the mound with his head held a little lower. Change, why are you met with such disdain? Why don’t we realize you signify one of the most awesome and powerful forces on earth?

Many of us interpret change as failure, the unknown or just plain annoying. This may be true some of the time. I’m more interested in looking at the positive side of change, because it exists and you just have to look for it. Many feel getting outside our comfort zone is a negative thing. What if getting outside our comfort zone was viewed as a positive action? Now you’re talking about life transformation by embracing change. Since external change is mostly out of our control, let’s talk about internal. It’s a much more exciting topic anyway.

“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” — Jim Rohn

Notice Jim didn’t say life gets worse. He views change as a positive tool in life. You want a better life? You NEED change. A seed in the ground can’t grow to a beautiful oak tree if it just sits there for decades. It has to break out of its shell and change. It also doesn’t become an awe-inspiring tree overnight — it takes time.  Notice that same oak tree didn’t consult his tree friends if it was ok if he became gigantic and wonderful. He also didn’t check to see what the other trees were doing first and then followed suit. He sure as heck didn’t wait around for five or six seasons thinking about doing it and then said “I’m not sure I wanna change, sounds kinda tough.” He just did it. (Yes, I just personified a tree)

A seed changing into a tree is natural. Why is change for humans so…unnatural? (see the comfort zone reference above) If you’ve tried tirelessly to change internally, perhaps a few tips for success are in order:

  • Assess how you look at changeDo you catch yourself saying “It’s going to be difficult” or “I have a long, bumpy road ahead of me” or even “I’m not looking forward to this”? Maybe it’s time to flip that perspective to “I’m excited to be on this journey”, “Something fantastic will come from this challenge” or “This will all be worth it in the end” An internal change means personal growth, positive outcomes and brighter days ahead. Who wouldn’t want that?
  • Picture the outcome
    Are you striving to be a smarter entrepreneur? A more organized employee? A more compassionate parent? A more influential leader? Picture it. We are visual creatures. If we can’t see the end result, our belief falters and soon, change looks cruddy and unreachable again. Take a few minutes every day to picture how this positive change will look. Are there 100 more clients in your roster? Do you have more balance and less stress at the workplace? Do you picture less arguments with your children? Are there 500 more people following your vision? Be vivid in your picture. What’s it look like? How do you feel? How are others reacting?
  • Remember your courage
    Many people want you to get ahead, just not ahead of them. When you look at change as a positive, exciting aspect of life, you’ll still be surrounded by those who don’t. You’ve changed your outlook, you have a vivid picture of the victory, but your social circle says “Are you serious?” This is a tough one that I’ve struggled with. When you’re ready to break from the pack and do something “unnatural” in their opinion, there will be friction. It takes courage to overcome this. It may mean associating less with negative people who don’t support your life-changing dream. It could mean while you’re getting outside your comfort zone, someone else watching you strive for excellence jumps out of theirs too. They’re uncomfortable with this new-found “you”. You’re taking control of your life while they’re still chilling out in the ground happy as an ungrown seed. I brought this issue up to my mentor once and he smartly responded, “Don’t ever let someone else’s insecurity to grow stop you from improving yourself”. I was trying to make others comfortable by blending in. What good is that? How do you become a better you by being like everyone else? Let your vivid picture of an awesome life feed your courage.

Make positive change work in your corner. It opens the world to new ideas, better opportunities and a passionate life. Who wouldn’t want that?

“Change your thinking, change your life” — Brian Tracy