I am not sure I ever told you this story (memory) before you left us.
Looking back on my early adult years I think, like many others at that stage in life, I was more interested in my journey than yours.
How sad that makes me today.
Hindsight...is that what they call it?
You made thousands of sacrifices for me. You always told me I could do anything I wanted to do. You always made do with what was available. You told me about your memories of the Great Depression. I even heard you once or twice say a curse word.
My biggest lesson from you came when I was pregnant with Kristin. She was 10 days late, I lived in another state not knowing many people, and it was so icy that I didn't go out for fear of falling. I was a mess...scared, lonely, and sad.
I called you and you listened. Then you gave me some really good advice:
"My dear, sometimes things have to get worse before they get better."
Yep - that little girl was arriving sooner or later, and the hard facts were that before we could enjoy and love up on her...I had to go through the delivery.
Life is messy sometimes. Keep your goal in mind. Stay committed. Focus on what you want and why you want it. Know that you can do hard things sometimes. It's ok to be scared. Trust. Love. Believe. Aim Up.
Happy Mother's Day - best mom in the world and in heaven.
I love you!
I'd like you to picture something for a moment
You wake up each morning, regardless of what's happening on the news or in your life at the moment, and you know you are on the right track in your life and your business.
You have time to care for those you love, and give yourself the time, space and freedom you need to grow and soar.
Your decisions are consciously made and deliberately executed.
There is a peace inside you that only comes from knowing who you really are...and daring to live the life you were meant to live. Nothing less will do and nothing more is needed...at this moment.
"There comes a time in life when you want the original, and nothing else."
How do you live your life as an original? Where do you start?
It begins with positioning (as Rick Mulready says). That's why blending in is not the path to living an authentic life.
Blending in does not mean you are doing anything wrong. You may be doing everything right and by the books. Blending in means you are unnoticed and possibly unheard. And if you want your life to matter, not only for yourself but the others who you could help...being unheard means not having an impact.
If you live by others' edicts and decorum, and love doing it, feel blessed.
If you want to answer the whispers of your soul and the dreams that keep popping into your head, your journey should begin and end with what is right for you - right now in this moment of your life. Being true to yourself is not only where it begins. it is also where it ends.
Self-doubt, second-guessing and indecision begin to take control until you know who you are, what you want and why you want it. The pain pulls until the vision pushes.
Blending in...no, thank you! I want to Love The Journey of My Life.
Here's to uncovering your true colors. Here's to freedom.
Who Are You?
Real-life in the political arena! No, this is not about who you are voting for, or where you stand. This is about doing the best we can because it's the right thing to do. What we do should matter...especially for us!
We work hard, whether at home, at the office, hospital or school. We do our best and sometimes we think no one is really noticing or even paying attention, let along caring about what we do. We start to lose hope and wonder why we strive every day to be the best we can be and give the best we know how to give, to contribute and pay it forward. We wonder why? Why bother? Nobody cares. I'm all alone. It just doesn't matter. Let's try to reframe these feelings turned into thoughts before it turns into our life.
Two things happened today. Someone I casually know and had no idea was aware of what I did, asked to buy my book. Go figure. I'm honored, actually. Someone was watching. Then, after cleaning and wearing my dirty sweats, I decided I would make a quick run to the mailbox. Yep, one car went by and it was a friend who stopped his car in the street to say Hi. I certainly am not perfect. But having a friend stop and just say hello was far more important than looking perfect. So we do our best and keep moving forward and aiming up.
We all strive. It's part of human nature. It moves us into growth and possible enlightenment and hopefully awareness. Change begins with awareness. it can be messy at times. We make mistakes. It's not perfect. It hurts at times. Here are 3 keys to help you walk into your power and enjoy the process:
The first key is to make certain you are living as authentically as you can - based on your beliefs and values. It's like lying too much. It's hard to remember what we said or did and really keep our truth if we aren't telling the truth to begin with. The stories get blurred. Knowing what you stand for and owning it helps a lot because it's your truth. Own it - don't rent it or lease it. Own it. Be "for" something.
The second key is to strive for being a better you - and not expect to be perfect. You will never win the "I have to be perfect" game. It will push us in the beginning, but what will pull us into our power is being steadfast in moving in the direction of our dreams and living the life we were meant to live. Pain pushes until the vision pulls.
The third key is to be grateful every day for everything you have. It starts the process of everything. It's a show-stopper. It's a game-changer and a life-changer. If we can't understand life's smallest gifts, why would we get more? As silly as it sounds, I am so grateful for indoor plumbing! We get used to something and take it for granted.
What are you grateful for today? Remember, it's truly is a game-changer. Try it.
All my best,
"Hey, Rita...good news! I forwarded your name as a recommendation for a trainer at ****** on a big project that is coming up. Her email is attached for more information." It was from Nancy, a friend, and fellow road warrior facilitator/trainer/curriculum designer who I worked with on many projects. Thanking Nancy for the recommendation and then reading the details, I noticed that the woman who had sent the email had a line at the bottom that read..."If you know of any others who are on the younger, please let me know." This was when I was about 45 years old!
I wasn't angry at all. I remember it so clearly because it was the very first time anyone was looking at my age as a qualifier instead of my results or performance.
I was deep into conversation with a gentleman just last week about the importance of how we make a living and how we live our lives.
After telling him about the many career paths I had chosen in my 30+ years dancing through life, he asked me what I meant by the word "ageism". Hmmm. The simplest way I could explain it is that it's like racism or sexism, but involves an attitude or belief about one's age. "isms" can be tough on everyone.
Here is my take of ageism, from a woman "of a certain age" who still has dreams. 3 Strategies for looking at aging for people of all ages.
1. Check Your Own Perspective - Having a "birds' eye view" allows you to look at the big picture, the whole of something, from far enough away that you can gather information from all angles and see it as part of a whole. A young man of 20 can feel ageism as sharply as a 75-year-old man. It happens often at work when new ideas and energy enter an established traditional environment. There can be fireworks and conflict or fantasy and co-creation if all parties see and utilize the best that both players have to offer.
Somewhere, somehow we have to learn that there is value in life experiences, as well as untested optimism.
So when I hear a woman of 35 talk about ageism as if she were 65, I have to check my own perspectives. If she lives in Hollywood, 35 can be considered old. If her mother died at 40 she might believe her time is limited. If she has a physical job that might be getting harder for her to handle, she may feel the attitudes of ageism. Or, she's feeling old when she says her daughter's age out loud. Been there!
Instead of being offended or defensive, let's try being open-minded and giving people the benefit of the doubt. We can reframe how we think and judge - it's a decision and a thought - and both can be changed.
2. Hair Color & Botox - I think Oprah said it years ago...Hair Color has changed how we age! Years ago women had few choices when the gray arrived, and we with dark hair began to look like raccoons. My friend, Shirley makes me laugh. She is so real and honest and direct. On her choice a while back to let it all go gray, it lasted one week. She looked in a mirror one day at a store and says her reflection scared her to the point of saying "Who is that!!!" She immediately called her stylist and made an appointment for color! She felt better and that is enough. Her internal Shirley was not gray, and she wanted her external Shirley to match that energy. Good for you, my friend!
If you want botox, get botox. If you don't want to go that path, don't. Make certain you are doing anything you do... because it is right for YOU and you want to do it. Selfie filters help, too! Check it out.
3. Look At The Alternative - Years ago I was at my doctor's office, answering all the same questions but not liking some of the answers that time around. I mentioned something about getting older. He listened for a while and quietly said, "Isn't that the goal?" That question stopped me dead in my tracks (excuse the pun).
My father passed at 47 years young - I was 13 years old. Time and social pressure mix us up and make us uncertain, about who we are and what's important to us. The old saying, "If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself" sure says volumes, doesn't it? But no one knows how long we have or our odds of beating disease and misfortune. It's all only educated guesses.
My advice is to know thyself well, choose wisely your companions, and treat kindly those you hold dear. Be adventurous and have some fun. Most of all - do what gives you the Yummy Giggles and makes you happy.
Who Are You?
In an ever-increasing “me-first” world, a return to self-awareness may be just what we need to survive, and excel. What is self-awareness and how does a person increase this valuable commodity? How do you know when someone is more self-centered than self-aware? Here are a few examples you may experience in your day-to-day life…
Selfies, they’re everywhere! People take them with their food, their friends, their pets and yes, even while making the infamous duck face!
But there’s a dark side to selfies. The Washington Post reported that more than 250 people worldwide had died taking selfies in one year. In each case, the person taking the selfie was unaware of the impending danger. It seems like that we are a people preoccupied with selfies. And the more preoccupied we get, the less self-aware we become.
In an ever-increasing “me-first” world, a return to self-awareness may be just what we need to survive, and excel. What is self-awareness and how does a person increase this valuable commodity?
What is self-awareness?
One online dictionary defines self-awareness as "Knowledge and awareness of your own personality or character." Self-awareness is all about being conscious of your own feelings, motivations, and desires without being absorbed in the same.
How do you know when someone is more self-centered than self-aware? Here are a few examples you may experience in your day-to-day life.
People who lack self-awareness often have an answer for everything. They don't wait to hear the other person out. Why? They have a point that they want to get across and if they don't share it, they might forget it.
People who lack self-awareness seem impatient when it comes to change. They believe that change should happen immediately. And it doesn't matter what else is going on around them or in the lives of others. They want change and they want it now.
People who lack self-awareness can occasionally bully others. Even if others alert them that fact regularly, they still have a hard time believing it. They believe they are entitled to their strong opinions about people and situations and rarely hold back. When they get rolling, they may go on the attack and even disparage people personally without realizing it. In their minds, they believe they are just speaking the truth.
People that lack self-awareness believe they are rarely at fault. They believe that they are smarter and work harder than anyone else. They believe they carry the weight of the world on their shoulders and that everyone else should just get with their program. They rarely consider that they may be part of the problem, not necessarily the solution.
People that lack self-awareness can come across as entitled. Sometimes a person’s title drives this behavior. It could be a C.E.O., C.F.O., a professor or a company founder. Internally, they believe they've worked their way up the ladder, paid the price and feel as if others should recognize and respect their position. They may feel that their title, and the power that comes with it, gives them a free pass when it comes to how they communicate with others.
People that lack self-awareness sometimes use any means necessary to accomplish their goals. They live by the philosophy of “fake it ‘til you make it.” Their public persona (especially on social media!) is one of financial, relational and business success. They rarely talk about their struggles or failures. In fact, the opposite is the case. They will do whatever it takes to make themselves look good and may often go to extremes to make that happen.
How to improve self-awareness
Becoming more self-aware isn’t as easy as flipping a switch, but there are a few guidelines to follow that will help on the journey.
First, Ask. Ask for help. That sounds simple, and it is, but it's not always easy. Asking for help makes us feel vulnerable and that’s the point. Take care to ensure that you ask for help from someone you trust. And when they give you feedback, don’t argue. Instead, act by implementing the necessary changes.
Second, Wait. Wait to respond to that text, email, Facebook post or conversation. No one has ever regretted a brief pause before they respond to a situation. Viktor Frankl put it best when he said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Learning to pause when necessary puts you back in control and allows you to respond rather than just react.
Third, Assess. You don’t know you have a problem until the problem is diagnosed. Assessments are one effective tool that can help measure a person’s level of emotional intelligence, which is the first step on the road to improving self-awareness. If you don’t know where you are, you can’t get where you need to go.
Fourth, Remove. Remove yourself from people and situations, when you can, that hinder your self-awareness. Being around self-centered people can negatively impact you. Author and speaker Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” It may likely be more than that but the point is clear: make sure the people who surround you also ground you.
Fifth, Extract. Extract what you learn from each encounter, conversation or event. Every experience is a learning opportunity that can help you build self-awareness. This is where journaling can be a big help. Keeping a daily journal of the important events, people you meet, what you learned and what you need to change, helps you set a different course each time you write. It’s a great tool to facilitate change in your life.
Taking the next step
Developing self-awareness may seem like a lot of work but you need to view it as an investment in your most important resource - you. Once you begin to cultivate it, self-awareness becomes easier with practice. Just remember the acronym A.W.A.R.E. - Ask, Wait, Assess, Remove and Extract - and put self-awareness to work for you. Most people want to leave their little corner of the world better than they found it. That journey starts here.
I love being in a weekly Master Mind group. No matter how tired I am or how little I've slept, I always leave the gathering with more than I expected and in awe of the power of creative intelligence. Legendary Pools, Glorious Gardening, Steampunk Airships, and Seascape Original Art - we all come together to present, ponder, listen, learn, grow, share and manage our Micro-Habits. Because we know that success is a mind game and how you play matters. And habits are about routines. Micro-habits are all about preventing you from giving up due to something being too'hard."
Check out this blog from Peter Schroeder https://hackernoon.com/micro-habits-changed-my-life-47f572bfc153
Micro-habits are an action that requires minimal motivation or effort to complete. The idea is, over time, a micro-habit will slowly build on top of itself and result in something significant.
"Living A 'Hell, Yes' Life" - Do you want to join me?
Your Coach, Rita
Today our Supper on Sunday was a big, delicious, outrageously yummy brunch of bacon, sausage, and blueberry waffles. Two grandsons were here and they are teens, hence the brunch instead of the breakfast, as they sleep late these days!
But the real message of today was The Art of Trying to Fix Things. We've lived in our home for nearly 24 years and things just need to be "fixed". Updates, painting, replacing and sprucing up....Some small tasks and some seriously big projects. It can be exhausting and at the same time exciting. Our grandsons helped us with some chores and we realized how strong, dependable and bright young people they have grown into recently.
Yet sometimes, a situation cannot be fixed. It may need to be fixed or fancied up, but getting started and involved may even cause more damage. We were asked today for advice about such a situation, one close to home. Lending an ear and offering an opinion, if asked, is welcomed most of the time. There are times, however, when we can't rush in and solve a problem that isn't ours to solve. As much as people or things need "fixing up," it doesn't always mandate our direct involvement.
This is one of life's tough lessons. It doesn't make us feel good. It doesn't feel like we are doing anything to help and we want to help. We feel guilty. Truth is - sometimes it is not only not our responsibility, but more importantly, does not serve the people or situation in question.
Supper On Sunday can allow us time to reflex on when to jump in to help, or when to watch from a distance with love and compassion. Trust me - if we keep our hearts open and filled with kindness, we will know when the time comes to eagerly leap with joy, resolve and total commitment to help.
Your Coach, Rita
If you are or once were parenting young folks, you will relate to this.
Part of my parenting was to teach and remind my children to carefully monitor the people they associate with on a regular basis. Why? The five people closest to us will impact our own success and happiness in life.
Just this week, even at my age, I had to make a conscious choice to choose who would hang out in my space. Yes, it really is that important! Presented with a lucrative opportunity, my gut told me "no way" even though my checkbook was saying yes. So I remembered my new mantra from my book 10 Little Rules for Your Creative Soul:
"If it's not a "hell, yes" - it's a no!
The mere thought now of seeing, communicating, and dealing with this person on a daily basis makes me weak. The confirmation is so strong and I know I made the right decision. The decision to say no. The decision to include people in my life who inspire, encourage, dream, support, connect, and care. So when I ask myself daily what I want my day to look like and how I want to fell, I know I have at least five awesome people surrounding me in my life. I am lucky and grateful.
Key #1 - Choose wisely and treat kindly. They are a treasure and priceless.
Key #2 - Create a full circle of stimulating your intellect, creativity, meaning, and value in doing what matters most to you. Give-and-take.
Key #3 - Be honest with yourself, and become the person you were always meant to be. When you surround yourself with the right people, feel good about yourself and your direction, your world will begin to expand. And then you can give back.
This is creativity at it's best!
Even Hollywood is on the bandwagon...they make movies with "A" list actors, about having a bucket list to help us define and live-out our dreams before we leave this earth. I actually thought it was a good idea at one time and I still believe it could be a starting point for some people. My perspective has changed and I'll try to explain why we here at Reaching True North have shifted our thinking. It has been a small change with huge impacts on both Lisa and me personally, and certainly our company. We like the alternative solution, so hang on and see for yourself what that is as we explain.
The Pros and Cons of a Bucket List? The Pros are that it can actually motivate people who have never made goal-setting or putting their own wants and desires in the priority category of their lives. Action towards what you really, really, really, really want is a good thing.
Many times as people age or face unexpected loss, they start to make what I call "hourglass" decisions. There is a lot more sand (life used) at the bottom of the hourglass than at the top of the hourglass (life left)! The brain starts to get you to question the purpose of your life and/or how much y may have missed. Tick-Tock... the time is slipping away! Taking action is a good step, but at this point we may feel that it is too late, we've already missed the boat (so to speak), or we go head-on into whatever it is we realize we really want with abandonment and determination. See, therein lie The Cons of a bucket list! Why did we wait until a crisis, a "big" birthday or an external event to guide our path to our True North, and what we really desire???
Enter The Vision Board! Don't knock it until you've tried it...seriously. It is not Whoo-Whoo stuff for people who can't figure out what to do with their lives. it actually works and there are scientific studies to support that theory. From experience, I can tell you I have created many vision boards over the years and am still startled when I relook at them. Things, images, random photos of people and places that I included (and forgotten about) had come to pass, without my even being aware of it or acknowledging it. Bam!
The REAL reason we include "Learning How-To-Create YOUR Vision Board" in our menu of services here at Reaching True North is that doing so causes us to look at what is most important to us sooner, rather than later, in our lives. Living a life of no regrets is not the goal. If you've lived long enough you know that life can and will throw some unexpected and nasty stuff at us, no matter how pretty, smart or rich we are. The goal is to live consciously and intentionally, always aiming up and always moving towards living the life we have always imagined (no matter what that is - and it is different for each one of us!).
Let's make 2020 a year of true clarity in our lives and not just a TV show.