Friday, March 4, 2011

You And Yourself

Ran across this great poem this morning that I wanted to share:

You and Yourself
(Author Unknown)

It is rewarding to find someone whom you like,
But it is essential to like yourself.

It is quickening to recognize someone as a good and decent human being,
But it is indispensable to view yourself as acceptable.

It is a delight to discover people who are worthy of respect, admiration, and love,
But it is vital to believe yourself deserving of these things.

For you cannot live in someone else.
You cannot find yourself in someone else.
You cannot be given a life by someone else.
Of all the people you will know in a lifetime,
You are the only one you will never leave nor lose.

To the question of your life, you are the only answer.

To the problems of your life, you are the only solution.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Fall Down 7 Times, Get Up 8

That little quote was replaying in my mind over and over yesterday. I was doing something I had never done before. We won a family pass to a local ski hill. Ackbar & Freckles went skiing; Frogurt and I, being the adventure-seekers that we are, tried out snowboarding.

In a word: it was hard! I spent more time falling, sitting on the hill and looking for my pride, which I am sure was buried in that snow pile over there, than I did snowboarding.
This story, however, is not about me. It is about Frogurt.
We started off with an hour-and-a-half lesson (which originally seemed like a long time but was only a drop in the bucket!). About 50 minutes into the lesson, after falling and hurting himself one too many times, he gave up. He sat on the hill, board unstrapped, and said he was done.
I told him he was going to have to just sit there because Ackbar was off taking his lesson and I wanted to finish mine. I sat down and talked to him about I could relate to how hard it was (I, too, was finding it difficult and frustrating) but that it would just take practice.
No give. He just sat there. I kept going with my lesson. Different instructors went up to him, encouraging him to try again, No give. I had one more talk with him and finally, he decided to try again. Well, guess what? He got better! He mastered the tow rope (a feat which took me the better part of the afternoon!) and began to make it down the hill without crashing. His confidence was growing with each trip down the hill.

I told him at one point that he was surrounded by people that wanted to see him succeed but ultimately the decision had to be his.
Sound familiar? Ever found yourself digging your heels in, determined not to fail one more time? Ready to give up because it seems like the easier thing to do? 
You, too, are surrounded by people that want to see you succeed and who are standing at the ready to help you. Just like the instructors did with Frogurt, there are people who will support you and help you each step of the way. As you practice, your confidence will grow and soon you will be racing down the hill all by yourself!
Now if you will excuse me, I need to go find a donut to sit on!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Build a Ladder to the Stars

I'm staring at a blank screen. Blink - blink - blink goes the cursor. How do you begin to find the words? When something just doesn't make sense, how do you then attempt to explain it?

Well, that's just it. It can't be explained. Another leaf has fallen from our family tree. Another life cut short.

Tuck, you really showed me the meaning of joy in adversity. Despite everything that was happening on the inside, you kept your head up high. You kept us laughing and you showed such strength of character. You were a fighter to the end. Those who were closest to you were upheld by your determination and your resilience.

For me, I think about the paradox that my children face right now. We have talked to them about death and it feels so contrary. When they ask if they are going to die or if we, their parents, are going to die, the answer always assures them that we will all be here for a long time.

However, of the 3 funerals they have attended, Tuck, at 28, will be the oldest. I have trouble wrapping my head around that and trying to realize that I won't be able to make sense of it. My mind wants to have an answer for everything, to be able to assure them of how things will unfold.

But all I know is this: this is today. The importance of living in this moment is clear. Much as I want to control everything, there comes a point where I have to realize that control is an illusion. I can only do so much and at some point, I have to release the reins.

Tuck, we love you and miss you already. Your memory will always bring a smile and a laugh. Rest now. The pain is over.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Year of Potential

The beginning of a new year! This naturally leans itself towards reflection. It is a time to look back at how far we've come and areas we want to improve in.
I have a new workout DVD that I've been using by Jillian Michaels. One of the things she talks about at the end of the workout is how important it is to reflect on our accomplishments. So often we are just racing through life and don't take the time to stop and say, "Hey, I'm pretty awesome!"
Well I hope each of you know that you are awesome. We all have things we have done to be proud of. Our tendency is, of course, to look at all the things we didn't accomplish and focus on those. 
This quote from Ellen Goodman sums it up: "We spend most of January walking through our lives room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives, not looking for flaws, but potential."
That is my wish for each of you as you reflect on the past year and the year ahead. Focus on the positive - on all those things you accomplished. Use your strengths to help you set goals and resolutions that you will be able to achieve and be proud of.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Matter of Lifestyle

Today is a perfect example of the lifestyle I have been able to build with my business. Why? Because my daughter is home sick. She is also supposed to go to the dentist this afternoon.
Freckles has had a few health issues over the last year that have caused her to miss a handful of school days (today it's just a fever and a cold). I have had the ability to go into her room in the morning and realize that she needs to stay home and just let her stay home. I then come into my office and work - just like I would if she was at school. 

The point is this: I don't lose income when this happens. I can still go to work. I don't have a boss I have to call to get time off. I don't have to miss out on my wage because I had to stay home. It's not a big deal with a bunch of red tape.

Even if she wasn't sick today, I would have had to pick her up to take her to the dentist. If I had a traditional job, this would have meant getting permission to leave early and, most likely a loss in pay for those hours that I was away. Maybe it would have meant working through my lunch hour so that I could leave an hour early.

I often have the opportunity to go for coffee or lunch with a friend during the day. I can make my own appointments during the day instead of evenings and weekends. I can decide to take a day off if I've done a trade show over the weekend. I can plan my schedule around my family.
That's the key: I plan my schedule around my family. I look at our family calendar and our commitments that are already in place and I tell people the dates I am available for parties. I control my schedule. It means I ultimately decide how much time I will put into my business and when that will be.
This truly is a lifestyle business. I can go and earn a paycheque anywhere. But I choose to earn it from home. I love the freedom and the flexibility to be here when my kids are home sick. I love being the first face they see when they get off the bus. I love going on field trips and taking cookies into the classroom to surprise them.
When our children are young, they are very dependent on us. As they grow, they need us even more - just in different ways. For those of you with little ones, this is the perfect time to build a business from home so that as they grow, you too have the freedom and flexibility to choose how you fill your calendar!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Time to Dream Bigger!

On Friday, my kids were off school and we were driving in the car when Frogurt said, "You know what I would wish for if I had 3 wishes? I'd wish for the biggest Lego set ever, (some special Pokemon card) and $1000!"
It is interesting how our perspective of what is possible changes. If I had 3 wishes, I'd be wishing for a lot more than $1000. But for a 7-year old boy, that's a big dream. As our experiences expand, so should our dreams.
I am a big promoter of dreaming big. There is a great commercial on right now for one of the lotteries that says that we wake up every morning not remembering our dreams - maybe it's because we just aren't dreaming big enough.
So what is your biggest dream? If there were no obstacles to stop you, what would you do? Where would you be? Who would you be with?
I think that as moms, especially, we learn how to "settle", to put our dreams on hold. I don't think this needs to be the case, however. I think that in pursuing our dreams, we become stronger - as women, as wives and as mothers. We set an example for our families of what it means to pursue something - and achieve it!
When we look longingly at what other people are doing and think "if only" or "someday" or even "must be nice....". we are short-changing ourselves. It takes no more effort to think about big dreams than it does to think about small dreams.
The pursuit is where the effort comes in. But, like all things, by moving in small steps each day, we get closer to achieving it. I have had the pleasure of achieving so many of my dreams. Have I reached all of them? No. Some I missed and some I am still working towards (we always need something to be working towards). But even when I have missed, I have grown as a person and stretched myself so that the next time, I am closer and it is, perhaps, a bit easier to begin.
What is your dream? Make it a big one! Make it worthy of your effort and your longing! You deserve to achieve it and you can make it happen. Start with one small step today to move you in the right direction. Tomorrow you will be just that much closer.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Pain of Discipline or the Pain of Regret?

According to Jim Rohn, a master speaker and author, there are 2 major pains in life: the pain of discipline and the pain of regret.
There have been many days where it is well past 9:00 in the evening by the time I get around to exercising. There was a time when by that hour of the day, I would just crash on the couch and say "Maybe tomorrow."
There are many mornings when the alarm goes off at 6AM and my bed feels so warm and cozy that the last thing I want to do is get up and read. 
There are times when the phone seems to weigh a ton and I am feeling tired or down or just plain lazy and it takes effort to pick it up anyways and make the calls I need to.
That is the pain of discipline. I have found over the years that the momentary pain of doing what I don't want to do far outweighs the pain of regret. Choosing to let myself off the hook in that moment ultimately leads to feelings of "I should have done this. I wish I'd just done that..."
Once you get through the initial pain of discipline, there is great joy that comes. As much as there are mornings that I would rather sleep for another hour, I know that when I get up and spend that time preparing for my day, it pays off in so many ways. As much as I'd rather just plop down on the couch and not exercise because I'm too tired, I know that pushing through that gives me more energy in the long run. And as much as I'd rather sit there watching Oprah everyday eating bonbons, I know that the effort put into picking up the phone will move me towards my goals and give me long-term fulfillment.
It is a decision that we can each make today. Right now. Don't worry about what you didn't accomplish yesterday. Don't worry about the regrets of the past. Move forward. Commit to the actions needed to get you where you want to be. Realize that ultimately the pain of discipline brings with it long-lasting happiness and fulfillment. The pain of regret just brings more regret.

Look at the day ahead of you and think of one thing that you will commit to doing - one thing that you will be disciplined about no matter what. You will find that by accomplishing that one task, you will gain inner strength to do it again and more!