How To Recognize Self-Sabotage

self-sabotage

I am a chronic self-saboteur.

I say that I want something and then find myself doing all sorts of things that  push that desired object further away from my grasp.

Here are just two examples. I say I want to lose weight, but I often eat way too much of foods that are bad for me. And I say I want to finish my PhD but in the past, I procrastinated for years and avoided my advisors, the very people who could help me finish. I want to be a speaker and have been meaning to sign up for public speaking classes, but have not managed to do so as of yet.

I eventually get things done, but these behaviors create unnecessary drama, prolong reaching my goals, and make the journey less enjoyable. And none of this has to be. I created all that with these self-sabotaging habits.

Wtf is that about?? Why do we cry and fuss and say that we want something so much, yet turn around and undermine our efforts?

This is self-sabotage. And its getting in the way of everything we want.

We sabotage ourselves because we have internal subconscious scripts that block our logical desires.  In other words, we think we want something, but somewhere deep in our brains, we don’t really want it so we fight against it without realizing it. I know! Deep, right?  Examples of operating scripts include: feelings of unworthiness, not believing your desires are actually possible, or fear of living in the new reality that reaching your goals would bring.  Recognizing these scripts is where the hard work happens. 

But the good news is that the more we are aware of these behaviors, the more chance we have of keeping them in check and preventing them from stopping our dreams.

Here are 10 common self-sabotage methods to be aware of:

Self-Sabotage Method #1: Procrastination

This is probably the most common form of self-sabotage. You have an important project with a deadline far enough in the future to give you more than enough time to get it done. But instead of tackling it in a timely manner, which would give you ample time to do it well and to be able to correct any mistakes, you wait until the last minute to get it done.

And  procrastination is even more debilitating when your project doesn’t have a clear cut deadline. Like saving money or eating better or organizing your home. This type of procrastination can make it possible to NEVER accomplish your goals because there is no sense of urgency.

The thing with procrastination is that it makes you dread tomorrow. Since you have unfinished projects looming over your head, you feel tired before beginning anything. Finish your projects today. Give yourself a deadline and don’t let yourself off the hook. You deserve to accomplish the things you want.

Self-Sabotage Method #2: Negative Self-Talk

We all talk to ourselves. What do you say when you talk to yourself? If you call yourself bad names or are super-critical of your past-mistakes, you are engaging in negative self-talk. This is self-sabotage because it feeds your subconscious mind into believing these things about yourself. If you repeat something often enough, it becomes an affirmation. Instead, try imagining yourself as a small child. Be patient and nurturing. Talk to yourself in an encouraging way that makes you actually want to move toward your goals.

Self-Sabotage Method #3: Creating Drama

Sometimes we don’t want to face the challenges in front of us. So instead, we engage in gossip and fan the flames of drama. This is simply a distraction. Your goals and ambitions are placed on the back burner while you deal with the drama you created. This can also include social media/gossip site addictions. And the worst part is that we often  don’t even realize we are doing this. If you have lots of “emergencies” that you have to “handle” in your personal life, this may be a clear sign that you are creating drama. Channel that attention into the areas you want to improve in.

Self-Sabotage Method #4: Dropping the Ball

You know what has to be done. You make a commit to do it. You tell others that you will do it… and then you drop the ball. You back out. You flake. This type of behavior lets others know that you are not dependable. Dropping the ball also stifles you and keeps you in place. Be aware of your commitments and honor them.

Self-Sabotage Method #5: Neglecting Self-Improvement

If you are not growing, you are dying. That is true for all living things. In order to grow, you must have a self-improvement plan. Find opportunities to expand your knowledge and abilities. Network to meet people to grow your social circle. Read books and take courses. Strive to get better. And this is not about dissatisfaction. This is about recognizing the importance of growth.

Self-Sabotage Method #6: Ignoring Basic Maintenance

Life is basically about the maintenance of things. There is a basic level of upkeep on everything from our bodies, relationships, our homes, our clothes, our cars. Yet sometimes we act as if we don’t know this. When you don’t maintain things, they break down eventually. Break-downs cause crises and are expensive, but are usually 100% preventable. Take care of all the little things in your life. When you don’t, you are self-sabotaging.

Self-Sabotage Method #7: Being a Perfectionist

When you refuse to take basic actions because the circumstances are not “perfect” you are self-sabotaging. There is hardly ever a perfect time to do anything. By waiting for the “perfect” time, you are simply giving yourself an excuse to not do anything. Do the best you can do, and move on. You will improve later anyway.

You will never be perfect. Striving for perfection is basically ensuring that you will be disappointed in pretty much anything you do. Why set yourself up? This is self-sabotage.

Self-Sabotage Method #8: Disorganization

We all have busy lives with a lot of moving parts: work, money, home, kids, appointments, social lives, etc. And if we are not careful, things can become a mess. Make a place and space for everything and everyone that is important to you. Being organized helps you to make sure that everything gets the proper attention it deserves. Being organized also helps to manage anxiety and overwhelm. The only purpose that disorganization serves is to distract you the things you need to be doing.

Self-Sabotage Method #9: Overthinking

I’m a firm believer that all major life decisions should be carefully considered. But when you are paralyzed by indecision because you constantly overthink every situation, this is self-sabotage. Life calls for timely decisions to be made. Make them and move on. Don’t sit too long in indecision. This is self-defeating and useless. Growth comes from digging in, making mistakes, and learning from them.

Self-Sabotage Method #10: Negative Thinking

“I’m not going to submit my application because they already have a chosen candidate.”

“I’m not going to tell him how I feel because I know he doesn’t feel the same way.”

“I always lose, so I’m not even going to go after it anymore.”

In life, some things  work out in our favor and some things work. Such is life. But when we assume that nothing will  work out in our favor, we are being self-defeated. The problem with negative thinking is that it affects our actions. We psyche ourselves out so that we don’t even try to go after what  we want. This is self-sabotage. Don’t let your negative thinking turn your actions into inaction. Whenever you hear the voice in your head turn negative, push past it with an affirmation. You can do it.

Remember that your goals are on the other side of your self-sabotaging behaviors. Try your best to recognize and dampen them.

If you need assistance with stopping your self sabotaging habits from undermining your goals, check out my 90-Day Goal Getter Individual Coaching Program. 

Inspiration is Everywhere

Inspiration is Everwhere

Hey Abundance Seeker,

I want to talk about inspiration today and I’m gonna share a quick story.

Many years ago I dated this guy named Chris. I was a recent college grad looking forward to what I hoped would be a long and rewarding career. I hoped to be promoted often, move up in the ranks until I was the Executive Director of a governmental agency or large non-profit. My dream was to be a highly educated, well-paid executive professional.  And when I met Chris, I was just starting out on that road.

Chris was about 8 years older than me and was in a very different place in his life.  He was  a young professional with 10 years in at an insurance company but he felt trapped, dejected, and demoralized. He had been promoted several times and made really good money,  yet it was not enough for him.

I was hopelessly optimistic. And my optimism was compounded by my lack of experience. While I thought he was in an ideal situation- young, six figures, job security- he had had enough.

Chris’s breaking point came when his favorite uncle was killed in a horrible car accident. He died relatively young and Chris lamented that the uncle never got to do any of the things he wanted to do with his life. Chris was really affected by that and decided that was all the wake up call he needed.

He made a decision to quit and strike it out on his own by starting his own business because he figured life was too short to spend in a job he hated even though it paid well.

I thought he was being emotional and was making an unwise rash decision based on his grief and I told him so.  But true to his word, Chris quit his job soon after that. We ended up breaking up. We tried to make it work, but in the end we just saw our lives going in different ways.

I don’t know what ended up happening with Chris, and I hope that his venture was  successful.  After having worked on the track that I was so zealous about then, I see how naive I truly was. And now of course, I have been where Chris was.

And I now know that Chris was absolutely right to go after his dream.

 

Life is too short to endure being miserable. The world is too big and filled with too many possibilities and opportunities to force yourself to do that.

Do you ever feel like you’re not living up to your full potential? Or like you took a wrong turn somewhere and can’t really figure out how you got on  your current track?

Maybe you even fought really hard to get where you are, but now that you’re actually here, it’s not exactly what you thought it’d be. So now you just feel trapped with no options.

I know this feeling well. This is what prompted me to change up my life and move back to my hometown. 

And perhaps you currently work a crappy job that doesn’t even begin to tap into your superpowers.

This is a rut. And it is deeply psychological.

If you are not careful, you may find yourself believing that your life will always be like this.

Say it with me:

Inspiration Leads to change

As you saw in Chris’s case, the first step to getting yourself out of a rut is to find inspiration.  And it doesn’t have to be something tragic like the death of a loved one. The good news is that inspiration is all around us. We just have to take the time to notice.

Be Inspired.

Here’s how to tap into all of the inspiration that surrounds you every day.

Be still and soak it all in

We get messages and signs all the time. Often though, we are too busy or overwhelmed to see or recognize them. Carve out small bits of time to be still and see what comes to you. Do this regularly and you’ll be surprised to see how clearly your soul speaks to you. Whether it is prayer, meditation, long walks, running. Make it a habit to allow yourself to get into a mind space that will allow you to be calm and see what comes to you.

Chase it

There are some situations that I know will always inspire me. Every single time Erykah Badu, Stevie Wonder, or Maze featuring Frankie Beverly come to my town, I drop everything and go. Because their shows inspire the hell out of me. There is something so inspiring about seeing people who are so great at what they do and truly enjoy it. You can see their joy exuding from them while in their element. And it gives me life!! It makes me want to get mine, too. I leave these shows feeling joyous, awed, and inspired.  Find and seek out people, places, art, etc that you know you will be able to gain inspiration from.

Create it

Sometimes inspiration comes from doing and creating. Do you have a hobby or skill that you practice regularly that allows you to use different parts of your brain? If you don’t, maybe you should. To create something means that you made something that did not exist. You used what you had around you to create something new. Creative action then, allows you to see things around you as tools and ingredients for your creation. So put yourself in a creative space and watch the inspiration flow!

If you need some help finding inspiration,  or if you need to figure out how you can get the most out of life, be sure to check out Jumpstart Your Life! 6 Week Program. It will definitely get you on track to tap into all the inspiration around you.

Organize Your Life

organize your life

Thanksgiving is this week.  The time of year when most people think about  showing appreciation for all of their blessings.

The number one thing I am grateful for this year is my time. It is precious and irreplaceable. And I can harness it and use to my advantage in order to achieve my goals.

But time can only work to our advantage if we truly appreciate it and use it well. We use it well when we are our lives are organized and when we make space for all the important things. We also use our time well when we don’t blow it all on  unimportant tasks and people who don’t appreciate or deserve it.

Here is my #1 tip for appreciating your time:

Be Organized

On a scale of 1-10, how organized you are? If I asked you where something was, how quickly would you be able to locate it?

When you are organized, you are automatically more efficient, which means that you don’t mismanage your physical space, your money, and your material resources. And if you work a job for money, all of these things translate into your time because you use your time to make money.

Organize your physical space

Make sure that your physical space is clean and orderly. I’m not talking about being obsessively organized.  But at minimum you want to make sure that you know where to find all of your stuff. Make sure that you are not compulsively hoarding things and that you put effort into how you keep and manage all of the material objects in your life. The more organized your physical space is, the more efficient your movements are. This means that you don’t have to waste time looking for things.

Organize your finances

Do you know how much money you spend on groceries or monthly bills? Do you have a budget that guides your spending? Knowing how much money you spend and bring in are both important in organizing your finances. How much money do you owe to credit card companies? Do you know how much money do you spend on groceries, or coffee. What about how much are you contribute to savings? When your finances are organized, you are aware of your spending habits youOrganizing your finances honors you time because you don’t have to use your time so  much to make more money. Organize your finances in a way that honors the time you had to use to make your money. Don’t be wasteful. Respect your time.

If organization is difficult for you, download my free workbook.

Organize your time

There should be space in your life for all the important aspects. Organize your appointments so that you have made time for your self-care, money-making, important relationships and all the other things that make up your life. Don’t fret  your time away on bullshit that does not matter. Once time is spent, it is gone.  You deserve to have something to show for it. Don’t waste all of it.

Let’s face it, Abundance Seeker, you cannot achieve your goals if you are mismanaging your time. So, reclaim it like Aunty Maxine and go get what you want.

And also don’t forget to check out my 90 Day Goal Getting Coaching Program. We can figure out a way to manage your time effectively so you can reach those goals. 

Five women and a Magical Pool: The Power of Retreat

I love a good retreat. No, I mean I REALLY LOVE retreats.

As a teenager, I was introduced to the concept of retreats when I participated in a   leadership program. And these were intense retreats led by corporate alumni like lawyers and business leaders whose  mission it was to foster leadership in urban teens. Retreat topics included male/female relationships, self-awareness, etc. They were brutal and beautiful at the same time, and I’m so grateful for those experiences now. These retreats were transformative experiences and helped shape my character.

And I’ve gone on other retreats since then. Retreats are a way for me to do important self work and allow me the luxury of focusing on my own self-development without distractions.

I’ve always wanted to lead  personal development retreats. And two years ago,  I facilitated my very first one. I rented a private villa on an all inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic and took 3 of my clients down with me for a week to heal, share, rest, relax and have some fun.

Enroute to retreat

There were many memorable moments. But I want to share one moment with you that I think was especially powerful and reminds me of the power of retreat.

On the day before everyone arrived, I did my best to prepare everything. I spoke with the resort staff the previous day and that morning to make sure the check in process was to go as smoothly as possible. On the day everyone was supposed to come, I reiterated my requests and was assured that everything would be fine.

The next day, my first two ladies checked in with no problems.

However, my third lady experienced a very difficult check in process in which everything that could go wrong did.

There was a language barrier with the staff of the resort. We were waiting outside the reception building, sure that we would see her as soon as the bus arrived. I wanted our faces to be the first she saw.

But somehow we missed her and she was waiting for us inside the office. Meanwhile, management was calling our villa in front of her to tell us of her arrival. And we of course, were not there to receive the calls. By the time we met up, she was quite upset and understandably so.  She had just gotten off a long international flight in a country she had never been to, and had experienced nothing but frustration.

retreat villa

While we apologized profusely for the confusion around her arrival, she was inconsolable and I felt horrible and looked for ways to try to make it up to her.

By the time we got back to the villa, she was still upset and not quite in the mood to chat or meet with the other ladies. Again, totally understandable.

We all kind of settled into our own rooms and prepared for the welcome dinner in a few hours.

retreat villa balcony

How Retreat Transform Us

After the welcome dinner, we all returned to the villa. I had wanted everyone to have plenty of time to settle in and informally get to know each other, so I did not have any formal activities scheduled until early the next morning.

I  changed into my bathing suit, took my Ipad and speakers out to the pool in the back yard and blasted some soul music.

One by one, the ladies came out to join me in the pool. And it was so much fun. We laughed and got to know each other all night. There were discussions about music, food, love, adventure. We shared our hopes with each other and named our fears. It was really magical.

The overall retreat was a success. I saw each woman bloom in her own way and it was honestly an honor to watch. Each woman had a breakthrough in her own right and left feeling better and more focused than she had when she arrived.

And it all started in that pool.

It was in the pool where we all let the stress of the day leave us and opened ourselves up to the promise of connection and self-growth. This event set the tone of the retreat.

This is the power of retreat. Allowing ourselves to withdraw from the day to day and tap into what’s important. Retreats allow us to slow down and be mindful of our thoughts and take control of our experiences.

I hope to see you at my next retreat.

In the meantime, be sure to check out available individual programs.

Big Fat Juicy Goals: 20 Things to Keep In Mind While Pursuing Your Goals

Mindshifting Goals

“I can’t believe she finished!”

I said this to myself after seeing the Instagram photos of yet another smiling, happy colleague of mine clad in her cap and gown graduating with her PhD. from our university. And this particular colleague had started after me.

My next thought was , “I need to finish this dissertation now, because I’m so over this shit.”

We all set goals. Whether its losing weight, earning more money, getting out of debt, finding a life partner, writing a book, or running a marathon.  Goals are an expression of our deepest desires.

One of my life goals is getting a Ph.D.

I’ve had this goal since about the age of 15. And when I got accepted into a doctoral program, I was so excited and saw it as a fulfillment of one my life’s goals.

When I first started the program, it was with the intention of  being a professor which meant writing books and teaching classes at a university. But while finishing up my coursework in grad school and experiencing up close and personally the politics, intellectual bullying, sexism, classism, and racism, I was  turned off and I no longer wish to pursue such a career full time. But nonetheless, I am still pursuing the degree. One big reason  is just for the sake of finishing something that I started.

In pursuit of this goal,  I have pulled several all nighters this week and managed to have accomplished more in this week than I have in the past few years. Why? Because I was fed-up and made it non-negotiable. It’s amazing what you can do when failing is no longer an option.

At this point, I am determined to finish this dissertation and graduate in June 2018. Anything else is unacceptable.

It is totally easy to set a goal, but it is the showing up everyday that counts.

Here are 20 things to keep in mind while you are in pursuit of your big, fat, juicy, exciting goals:

1. In order to accomplish your goals, remember why you started

The bigger and more ambitious your goal is, the harder it is to achieve it. That is the nature of the beast. But with a continuous source of motivation, you can achieve any goal, no matter how big it is. Remembering why you started can be a huge source of motivation, especially on those days when it feels like you have no energy to do anything. If you keep something around that reminds you of why you started, you’d be surprised of how it can push you when you’re funning on fumes.

2. In order to accomplish your goals, remember who you are

Now, this one may sound arrogant or cocky, but you are a bad ass. And you have done incredible and wonderful things before. There have been times before when people have counted you out and you surprised them. You can do the same now.

3. In order to accomplish your goals,  remember that if it was easy everyone would do it

Your goals are hard to reach for a reason. The fact that they are hard to reach makes them worthwhile in the first place. Not everyone can run a marathon. Not everyone can get a PhD. Not everyone can lose 100lbs. This is what makes your goals special. And more importantly, this is what sets you apart because you are not “everyone” and you can do it.

4. In order to accomplish your goals, you must be willing to do whatever it takes

Whatever it takes means, whatever it takes. Les Brown has a saying that I really like. “You must be willing to do the things today others won’t do in order to have the things tomorrow others won’t have.” And that may mean spending money to invest in your future. Or foregoing sleep to pull some all-nighters.  It may mean restricting your food take or being uncompromising with your schedule so that you are using every second to get you closer to your goals. Whatever, it is. Do whatever it takes. Be uncompromising.

5. In order to accomplish your goals, remember that failure is not the final answer

The truth is that sometimes we fail. And we fail hard. Failure can bruise the hell out of our ego and make us feel like shit. I know this personally. You know this, we’ve all been there. But that is no where near the final story. Failure is just one step on the road to your goal.  DO NOT throw away your goal because you have failed a few times. Just get up, dust yourself off, and move forward. Standing still is not an option for you. And just in case you needed, extra proof. Here, here, and here are all proof that stopping after a failure should be the last thing you do.

6. In order to achieve your goals, you need accountability

Accountability happens when someone is aware of your goals and they make sure that you do what you say you are going to do. In other words, they do not let you off the hook.  We all need accountability and often times, it is the difference between success and failure. Having accountability helps to foster the “whatever it takes” mentality that is crucial to your success. Find someone who will hold you to your word, especially at the times when you feel like you don’t have the strength.

7. When achieving your goals, remember that you are your biggest obstacle

Another reason why you need accountability in order to reach your goals is because you are your biggest obstacle. There is something about where you are now that is comforting to you. And subconsciously you want to stay right where you are. Because of this you may unintentionally sabotage yourself. I’ve seen it a million times, both personally and with my therapy clients. You know what it looks like. You are making huge progress in your goal and all of a sudden, you stop. And the irony of self-sabotage is that it usually comes about right when a major breakthrough is coming. Again, if you have someone you can hold you accountable, they can point out when you are in fact sabotaging yourself.

8. When pursuing your goals, dismiss naysayers

No matter how big or small your goals are, someone is going to tell you that you cannot do it.  They will tell you that you are not being realistic and that you are foolish for wanting what you want. Do not believe them. You have the power to create your own reality and they have the power to do the same for their life. Your life is your own. And no one gets to tell you what is possible for you.

9. Celebrate small victories

Depending on how big your goal is (and I hope its really big), it may be awhile before you can finally cross it off your to-do list and count is as a complete accomplishment. Because of that, you have to be sure to celebrate the milestones along the way. In order to keep yourself on track, you have to acknowledge and celebrate when you get shit done. Decide beforehand how you will commemorate crossing certain thresholds. And do it!

10 When pursuing your goals, anticipate setbacks

Not everyday is a good day. Michael Jordan had off days and he lost a lot of games. but he is still considered the greatest. You will have bad days and somedays you may take 3 steps forward and fall 2 steps back. But the important part is that you keep moving. Knowing that it wont be a straight shot helps.

Keep Moving Toward Your Goals

11. Pursuing your goals, helps you build character

Let’s be honest. Nobody likes a wimp who melts when things get too tough. Perseverance is a very attractive quality. We like to be around people who are disciplined and who have the fortitude to show up everyday for the things that they believe in. Going after a big fat ambitious juicy goal allows you to develop these transferrable skills.

12. Always be learning while pursuing your goals

Sometimes Plan A doesn’t work. And then you try Plan B, and that isn’t much better. Plan C is a bust. And Plan D is just a hot ass mess. The point is to keep learning from each of these plans and keep fine tuning your plan until you find the right one. Do not personalize your plan failure, assess what went well and amend the part that failed. Turns out, Plan W works like a charm!

13. When working on your goals, keep everything in context

This big ambitious goal of yours is one aspect of your life. There are other areas in your life that are probably working just fine. Once you meet your goal, things will improve because you will get the results that you want, but your life will not magically transform and you will not become a magical super hero fairy. Do not fall into the trap of magical thinking that says you have to put your life on hold while you are pursuing your goals. That is false. The pursuit of your goal, is a part of your life but it should not be ALL of your life.

14. When pursuing your goal, always use positive self talk

Bullies suck. Don’t be one. And bullying yourself makes you a bully. Talk to yourself in way that encourages you to be your best and want to perform at your peak. When you talk badly to yourself, is another form of self-sabotage.  You create a hostile mental environment which pushes you further away from your goals because you are fighting against yourself. When speaking to yourself be encouraging and kind. This doesn’t mean to let yourself off the hook, but you can hold yourself accountable without all the negative talk.

15. Your goals are not the end all be all, they are merely stepping stones

I see this all the time. People fight tooth and nail to get to where they want to get. And then the experience feels a bit….anti-climactic. This happens when people forget that their goal is not the end all be all, it is a stepping stone for something else. You want to lose weight so that you can move better, be healthier and prolong your life. You want to write a book because you want to share your knowledge with the world. You want to run a marathon to build your character and sense of accomplishment. Your goal helps you live more fully. It is not your reason to live.

16. Your goals must have deadlines

Give yourself a delivery date and etch it in stone. If you are not dead-set on the end date, you will always put the work off until tomorrow. I know this personally. This is how my PhD goal has become spread out over years and years. I did not have a sense of urgency. You must have a sense of urgency that lights a fire under you and kicks that butt into gear! Create clear, specific, non-negotiable deadlines.

17. Surround yourself with visual cues/triggers that keep your goals forefront in your mind

Whatever it is that reminds you of your goal, whether its a picture, a number, a quote or a mantra, keep it close to you so that you can look at it to remind you of why you started and why you are going through all the trouble. Sensory cues and triggers can also work to remind you that you need to be doing certain activities during your daily practice.

18. Work on your goals first

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “Pay yourself first.”  It means that you should put your savings on autopilot before you start paying bills and buying non-essential items. If you wait until after you pay everyone else to start saving, you will never have enough money. You can apply the same concept to your goals and your time. Set up your schedule so that you are working on your goals before anything else. Work on your goals before you leave the house in the morning. Write. Exercise. Train. Meditate. Record.  Whatever. Just work on your goal in a meaningful way before you do anything else.  This is your best energy. Use it on you. Because if you wait to have energy after you do everything else with your day, you will not be able to show up for yourself a lot of the time.

19. When you are pursuing your goals, remember that you are your own competition

It is very easy to compare yourself to people who have already achieved the goals that you aspire to. But when you compare yourself, you only create a false sense of inadequacy. Remember that you are your only source of competition. The only person that you are measuring yourself against is the person you were yesterday.

20. When pursuing your goals, you will surprise yourself

When you have a whatever it takes mindset and are relentless about getting what you want, and you begin to manifest the results you are seeking, you will surprise yourself. You will be able to do things that you have never been able to do. This will feel amazing!

 

Alright, Abundance Seeker, as always I hope this was helpful.

If you have some big fat juicy life-changing ambitious goals that you haven’t been able to accomplish but are burning with a desire to do so, check out my Goal-Getter 90 Day Individual Session Program.   We can work together to shatter them!

And if you haven’t already, please subscribe to our weekly newsletter for more inspiration sent straight to your inbox.

What Do You Value?

I value October
I love October

I love October and I get all into it. During the month of October, my birth month, I always make a point to be extra good to myself.  And by being good to myself, I mean making sure that I have time for the things that I value. All the things that I find important.

In a world where everything moves so quickly and things can be overwhelming and  loud, its so easy to forget the things that matter most to you. This is how I spent my glorious October honoring my values.

I Value Intellectual Stimulation

I value Intellectual Stimulation
Book Discussion at the Schomburg Center

So The Street: A Novel is one of my favorite books in the world. If you’re into exploring complex sociological concepts through fiction, I definitely recommend it. I read it for the first time when I was about 16 years old. And though it resonated with me then, I didn’t get how deep it was until about 10 years ago when I reread it. My favorite types of books, are those that I can read over and over and learn something new each time or get a new angle. And it was so awesome to be in a room filled with people from all walks of life talking about something that I loved so much.  I left the auditorium feeling really good and stimulated. Intellectual stimulation is very important to me and I have to make room for it in my life or I feel unfulfilled.

I Value Intimate Gatherings

I value time with family
Celebrating My Birthday
I value time with family
Various October gatherings

Honestly, I am an introvert and sometimes being around tons of people exhausts me to no end. I crave time alone with my thoughts. But… I also need to connect with my loved ones because not doing so leads to isolation. And believe me, I know all about that. Since I don’t want to be isolated, intimate gatherings are how I stay connected while honoring my needs.  And October was full of these gatherings! I had people over for my birthday which was sooo much fun! My cousin threw a bowling party for her birthday the very next weekend. And then I had a card party the following week. So much fun! I’m still recovering from all the laughter and drinks.

I Value Nature

October in Central Park

If you have been reading my blog for any amount of time, then you are very much aware of my love affair with nature in general and Central Park specifically. And October was full of Central Park time.

These are just three of my values. I encourage you to know what you value and make space for them in your life. This how you stay fulfilled and feel alive. This is how you THRIVE.

If you are having trouble figuring out what you value or how to make room in your life for yourself, be sure to check out my 6 week coaching program- Jumpstart Your Life!

The Essential Guide to Starting Your Life Over, Getting Unstuck, And Getting Out of Your Own Way

Starting Over in Life

Today, I am writing this post while sitting in my very own living room in New York City. This time last year, I was living in Chicago and would not have been able to predict this at all. I wanted to move but was not exactly sure how I was going to make all the pieces fit together. All I knew was that I was starting over, no matter what.

Have you ever reached a  point in your life where you thought, “How did I get here?”

I have too. That’s where I languished mentally for about a year.

I did not like the mind-numbing monotony of my life.  There was nothing exciting or interesting to look forward to in my immediate future. Basically, I was in a deep rut. I had allowed my world to get too small and I was suffocating in it.

What I needed was a change of pace, an adventure,  and some fresh new energy. Also, I had conquered all of my immediate challenges and was in need of new challenges and fresh obstacles. And thinking the same thoughts over and over was mentally exhausting.

When my  mom passed away a few years back, I had promised myself that I would not let myself languish too long in any one place, physical or mental. So I decided that I needed to shake things up. It was my life and I was the only one responsible for how I felt and my happiness.

I needed a do over. I needed to hit the reset button.

So, I decided to leave Chicago, my adopted city for more than a decade and return to my hometown, New York City. I left New York at the age of 17 to go to college and never returned. I had gone out into the world and  put together a comfortable life for myself.  My past accomplishments made me proud. And now  I was ready to come back home and start the next phase of my life.

But moving to New York and creating a new life for myself was no easy feat. Deciding to do it was the easy part. I had to make things happen. And starting over is never easy.

Step 1–When Starting Over, Take Stock of Lessons Learned

Even though I had decided that moving back to NYC was in fact what I wanted to do, I did not want to discount or minimize the things that I accomplished  in Chicago. I started a business and had some really transformative relationships. It was in Chicago that learned how to maintain a household and save money. I learned how to get jobs and leave them with connections that could help me in the future. I learned how to drive and earned a master’s degree.  In Chicago, I had learned all these major life skills through trial and error.  And I’m grateful because I can use these skills in New York, where the stakes are a bit higher.

Before embarking on a new phase  and making dramatic changes, be sure to take stock of all the things you’ve learned in your present life phase and think about ways that you can build on this foundation in your next phase.

Step 2–When Starting Over, Honor What You are Leaving Behind

In addition to taking stock of the lessons that I learned, a part of me was really sad to leave. I love Chicago. I love the people I met. At one point, I never thought I would leave. And if I’m being honest, there was even a little part of me that tried to sabotage the move because Chicago was just so comfortable for me.

And even though Chicago no longer fit the life I wanted I was so thankful for her because at one point she was everything I needed. You will never hear me speak ill of her! But life is about growth and movement.

Step 3– Sketch It Out

But deciding to move was not enough. I was looking to do a complete life shift, so I had to imagine a new life for myself. Location was just one aspect. But I also had to think about: what type of experiences I wanted to have, what type of people I wanted to be around, how I wanted to feel. Sometimes we get so focused on what we don’t want that we don’t make enough effort imaging and naming  the things that we do want. Vision board anyone?

Starting Over with A Vision Board

I got busy naming and claiming the exact neighborhood I would live in and what my apartment would look like and how much my rent would be. Next, I looked up the activities that I knew I wanted to participate in. Then, I made a budget that allowed room for all the things I wanted to do.   I even named the organization that I would work for.

In order to get the life I wanted, I knew that I had to design it. Because if I wasn’t purposeful, I could end up in the same old rut that I was breaking away from. So I needed to be intentional, like an artist making decisions.

Step 4– Make Small, Gradual Moves

Knowing that I was going to be moving to NYC, I knew that I would undoubtedly be moving into a smaller space. So I slowly started to get rid of things. Books, dishes, clothes, housewares.

I also sought to re-familiarize myself with my hometown. After all, I had not lived in NY for many many years and never as an adult. A few things I did:  visit family more,  joined email lists of organizations that held the types of events I planned on attending after the move. I also reached out to my network to see if anybody knew of any job opportunities. I started watching YouTube videos about NY culture.

Step 5– When Starting Over, Make Some Big Moves

Starting Over By Closing My Business

About six months after I decided to move, I closed down my physical office space. I had not made any definite plans. I did not have a job and I certainly did not have an apartment. But somehow I knew that closing down my business would bring me dozens of steps closer to my real goal. And it was super scary. Yet I knew that it sent the right signals to myself and the universe that I meant business and there was no backing down from it.

I also spent one whole month in New York staying with family. While I was there, I really imagined how my life would look on a daily basis. I reached out to people I hadn’t seen in years. It was a lot of fun and my mind really started to see this move as a real thing.

Step 6– Be Singularly Focused About Starting Over

When you are committed to starting your life over, you have to be singularly focused. I for one am very susceptible to succumbing to multiple attractive projects at the same time. But to undertake something as big as relocating and changing your lifestyle, you have to concentrate on the monumental task at hand only, even if other things fall by the wayside. I admit that this is why I was away from the blog for so long. I was getting my ducks in a row and brainstorming and figuring everything out. Some days, it was all I could think of. That meant that other things had to fall by the wayside. But the goal of starting over was more important that anything else at the time so it was given priority over everything else.

Step 7– When Starting Over, Do Not Give Up 

Starting your life over takes a great deal of perseverance. And I was firm on two non-negotiable parameters: I had to have a job and an apartment before I moved. Even though I had tons of friends and family in NYC, it was very important for me to be self-reliant. That meant that I wasn’t going to put anybody out or be a burden or inconvenience.

Finding jobs and apartments in Chicago had been relatively easy, but finding them in NYC appeared impossible. I had begun sending my resume off to several jobs in late 2014 and did not land a job until late 2016.

And there were some pretty bleak times. Like the time I had managed to get a phone interview through a college acquaintance. I was interviewed by 2 women and the interview lasted about an hour. I felt pretty good about the interview when I hung up the phone. In the 90 seconds it took me to walk to my kitchen, pour myself a glass of water and walk back to my living room, I had already received an email from them notifying me that I was not selected for the job. Damn, that’s how y’all feel?

Or going apartment hunting and seeing super expensive teeny tiny walk up apartments with no light and that reminded me of elevators or cells. Or finally finding an apartment that I thought was perfect for me only to be rejected because the landlady preferred another couple.

But I kept at it.

In the end I got a better paying job with a better organization than the one that rejected me in 10 seconds. And I also ended up finding and securing a rent stabilized apartment in a better location, for a better price with all the amenities I wanted. It was almost spooky how much my job and apartment matched the original sketch I imagined when I first made the decision to move.

Starting Over in a New Apartment

The moral of the story  is not to give up. Just focus on putting yourself out there and moving toward what you want with steadfast determination. The rest is not up to you.

Step 8– When Starting Over, Build the Life You Want

Starting Over with Family

Life does not simply unroll in front of us like a plush red carpet. We have to actively pursue the things we want.

A major reason I moved back was so that I could spend time with family. And huge part of my vision included long leisurely walks in Central Park and all around Harlem. So I got busy making sure I was doing those things.

Starting Over in NYC

I moved 6 months ago and I am still adjusting. Driving a car here still scares the daylights out of me. And the non-stop pulse of the city is both exhilarating and exhausting. I’ve set up some of my life rituals- my Sunday walk in Central Park with a cup of coffee and an audible book. Exploring fancy neighborhoods where celebrities live. I found a hair salon through trial and error.  I’ve made a few new friends.  But there is still much that still needs to be done. And I am excited about all of my new challenges.

Are you considering starting over too? Do you need to hit your reset button and need some help?  Please look into my Jumpstart Your Life in 6 Weeks Program.  Or consider another program. It might be just what you need.

Do You Know Who You Are (Really)?

Be True To Yourself

Could you love someone that you didn’t know?

My guess is that you probably could push yourself to do so. But it would be a struggle.

So since we’re creating a movement of women who are committed to loving ourselves, we must also be dedicated to knowing ourselves better. Completely. Because knowing yourself allows you to accept and love yourself.

So who are you?

No, really. Who are you?

I got some questions for you:

  • What are you into?
  • What’s your “thing”?
  • What do you believe in?
  • What’s important to you?
  • What’s not important to you?
  • When it comes down to it, what do you want your life to stand for?
  • If you knew you had 6 months to live, how would you spend your last days on earth?

Knowing who you are and what you value helps you to weed out and filter through all the “stuff” that comes your way on a daily basis.

And most importantly, knowing yourself and your values stops you from judging yourself based on the opinions of other people. It frees your mind.

For example, I know that I value freedom, simple living, fairness, and knowledge. These values guide my decision making. So when well meaning people, for example, suggest things that they think will be of use to me, if these suggestions are not in line with my values, I simply don’t do them. Plain and simple. They are not for me.  And when other people don’t live according to my values, I’m OK with that, too. They have their own life to live, just as I do.

I determine my worth. No one else gets this privilege. And the same goes for you. You determine your worth. Other people’s opinions belong to them, not you.

Listen, we each only get one life and we need to make sure that we honor it by being true to ourselves and not living the life that other people think you should live.

So here’s what I want you to do. Right now I want you to think about the three things that are most important to you. And in the comments section below, I’d like you to share your top three values with us.

Til next time.

And if you haven’t already done so, be sure to sign up for the 7-Day Self-Love Challenge here.

Clear Out Your Inner Junk Drawer

Let it go(1)

Do you have a junk drawer?

A lot of people do.

It’s the place in the home where you can put any and everything that doesn’t seem to really have a place of its own. Things like extra condiment packets, old batteries, tape, pencils, scissors, take out menus, tools, etc.

And because the junk drawer is so great at storing things, you can kind of forget all the stuff that’s in there. And the irony is when you actually need something that’s in it, you can’t find it. Years can go by without clearing it out and before you know it, you have all this useless little stuff that you never use, just taking up space in your home and being an eyesore.

junkdrawer

But do you also notice that sometimes, we behave like we are junk drawers?

We hold onto useless baggage from the past that other people left in our lives just for the sake of holding onto it. And all this useless stuff weighs on our emotions, self-worth, and relationships.

Here are some examples:

  • An ex-lover was unfaithful and treated you badly which made you feel unworthy, so now you hold on to that “junk belief” just because a temporary person came and dropped it in your mind.
  • You got fired or let go from a job, so now you hold onto the “junk belief” that you are disposable and have little value.
  • You made a mistake for which you were embarrassed and now you carry around a great deal of shame around this mistake, even many years later.

But you are not a junk drawer.

And you simply have to let all this stuff go. Stop holding onto old useless resentments, shame, heartaches,etc. Let it go! Forgive people. Forgive yourself. Try things again. Try new things. Live in the present. Because life is happening now.

Junk is stagnant and still, but life is always moving, growing, developing, and changing. Since you are alive, you must do these things too.

Because the more you hold onto all that junk, the more it weighs you down and gets in the way of living. You will remain stuck and stagnant too.

The more you hold onto these useless unnecessary junk, the less free you are.

And I don’t know about you, but I want to be free!

So here’s what I want you to do right now:

In the comments section below, please tell me what junk beliefs have been hanging out in your mental junk drawer for far too long that you are finally deciding to let go of.

Can’t wait to read them.

Til next time,
Jennifer

Self-Love Begins with A “Gifts and Gratitude” Mindset

Gifts and Gratitude

Do you spend a lot of time thinking about how you wish your life was better?

The truth is that most people do.

They think that people have it so much better than they do.

I know I can personally attest to this. Many years ago, I closed my Facebook account and shut the world out because I was so consumed with looking at other people’s lives and comparing myself to them. I saw so many people I grew up with were getting married, having beautiful children, and looking glamorous, but I wasn’t. I wanted all of those things in my life too, but they weren’t happening for me. The end result was that I felt really bad about myself. I felt like there must be something wrong with me. After many years feeling like crap every time I logged in, I decided the best decision was for me to completely walk away.

And it was years before I felt good enough about myself to log back on.

So what happened in the interim years?

I developed a Four Part Self-Love Practice that I will be sharing with you in the next few blog posts.

The first part of this practice was with shifting my focus towards a “Gifts and Gratitude” mindset.

This is the room where I do most of my gratitude journaling.
This is the room where I do most of my gratitude journaling.

Here’s what I learned:

A BIG reason for why I felt so bad before was because I was so caught up in what I thought my life SHOULD be, that I couldn’t see and appreciate my life for what it actually was. And I spent so much mental energy in the gap between what I had and what I thought I should have that I was miserable.

But in hindsight, I know that at least 2 things are true that I hadn’t realized before:

  1. EVERYBODY has their own particular challenges, so just because things look so great on the outside doesn’t mean everything is perfect on the inside.
  2. There is always someone looking at your situation right now and feeling envious about something in your life.

These 2 things let me know that instead of getting stuck in a never-ending cycle of feeling sorry for myself and drowning in comparison, I needed to shift my focus to identifying the talents, gifts, strengths that I do have and showing my gratitude for them regularly.

Because, here’s the thing: if I am always focused on what I don’t have, I never get to appreciate all the wonderful things that I do have. And not appreciating my gifts is a surefire recipe for feeling bad about myself.

So here’s what I want you to do right now:

I want you to publicly name your gifts and talents. In the comment section three things about yourself that you are grateful for right now in this very moment.

We need to start a movement of beautiful women who are proud of their strengths and talents and not focused on what they do not have.

This is where self-love begins.