Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Positive or Negative... The Truth About Will Power

"I can't seem to get started.  "
"Being healthy is hard.  It takes too much work."
"I tried it once, and I just can't seem to stick to it. I don't have the will power!"

I hate the term "will power".  It's a term that always has a have or don't have attached to it.  If someone tries to make a change and doesn't the reason is that they don't have will power.  If someone accomplishes a tough goal that requires sustained effort and change, it is credited to the fact that they do have will power.  Will power becomes a trait of the haves and the have nots.


Everyone has will power.

Every day,  you make voluntary decisions (not the involuntary decisions like breathing and blinking) based on will.    Albeit the process of decision making can be very quick and very subconscious, you still make decisions - you exercise your will.  You have power to exercise your will - or, will power.

You know that cookie in the cupboard that is calling your name? That is will power.  If you know it is something you should not have but have it anyway, your will powered you to partake, not to abstain.  If you abstain, your will powered you to walk away rather than partake. Will power can be positive and move you towards where you want to be. Will power can be negative and keep you away or move you further away from where you want to be.  The difference in the direction will power takes you is choice.

WOMAN UP!  You ALWAYS have choice. Own the choice. Account for the choice. Manage the choice.

If you say you have no choice, you are not owning the power of your free will and you are fooling yourself.  If you say there is NOTHING you can do to move you toward the positive side of will power, you are not taking accountability for your exercise of choice.  If you say that this is just the way it is and you just have to live with the negative side of will, you are making excuses - you are not managing the power or choice that you've been given.

Even if you can't choose to step into the positive side of will power in the blink of an eye, you can own your choice and will power, and choose to move in small increments toward that direction-seek out help and information,  or a support group.  Be accountable for your  will power and choice by changing an attitude about your will, realizing that it is not responsible for you, you are responsible for you. Manage your will and change in a way that is sustainable by making one small change at a time, or by looking for things you are already doing or are capable of doing that will move you toward your goals. Each thing you do to change direction moves you one step closer to the goal line.  Each thing you do powers your will toward your goal rather than away from it.

With all of that being said, realize that if at times your choices in your will don't move you in the positive direction, it does not mean you have failed. It means you are human! But also realize that if you tend to not be making overall progress in the positive direction, you need to step back and reassess. You are the ONLY one accountable for your will power.  Don't permanently give that part of your personal power away to anything.

Your will is amazingly powerful.  Steward it in the right direction.

Friday, August 2, 2013

5 Signs That You Need To Woman Up!

Check yourself - Do you need to Woman Up?

Man Up is generally understood to mean "step into your responsibility and be accountable - take care of business." It is most often associated to men, so when a woman hears it she may be offended that someone is telling her to be more like a man.  The truth is, whether you are a man or a woman, you have a responsibility and accountability to TCB... take care of business. So men, you are expected to "man up".  But ladies, you need to Woman Up!

To Woman Up is to take unselfish ownership, absolute accountability, and mindful/meaningful management of YOU - your thoughts, your actions, your attitude, your life. You may have a good grip on what's going on in your world. If you do, that is fantastic. However, there are some things that will tell you that you need to do some life stewarding and Woman Up.

5 Signs

1.Drama and Calamity
If drama and calamity seem to follow you where ever you go, then you just might need to Woman Up.  Certainly there are things that happen to you that you have no control over.  Good things in life happen, but so do bad things.  But if every turn you make seems to lead to down the same drama filled road, then maybe you need to take a different road.  You can't get to a different destination by using the same map and directions. Many of the things that happen in life are direct consequences to your actions. Be accountable for YOUR part in the strife. Take a look at the maps you follow and find a detour or get a new map. Sometimes to Woman Up, you just need to take a right turn. 

2. Relationship Angst
If every relationship you have seems to have the same stressful and tenuous course, then you might need to Woman Up. To be clear, you are not responsible for any other adult's behavior. With that understood, you are absolutely accountable for the behavior you accept, boundaries you set, and relationship choices and actions that YOU make.  If your relationships (friendships, romantic, business, or otherwise) tend to end up in the same unsatisfying, unproductive or unhappy spot, then you need to Woman Up. You need to take a look at the patterns you take and reasons behind why you make the relational choices you make. And then you need to Woman Up and steer in a different direction - make different choices.  Your relationships will remain the same if you continually relive the "same" relationship choices and actions over and over.

3. The Dreaded 8-Ball
If you are always staring at the backside of the 8-ball, then you might need to Woman Up. It is not a fun experience to feel like you are always playing catch up, are  out of time, running out of steam, and short of resources. It happens to everyone at some point, but if your regular view is from the back of the pack then it is time to take a look at your role in your positioning.  Some things you may not be able to change, but other things you can.  Woman Up and look at wants versus needs; prioritize your time, energy and resources; learn to take your power back over your circumstances and let go of the things that you are allowing to keep you stuck.  Take your power back and move your own position.

4. Crisis Junkie
If you feel and act as if every stress, every change, every problem (whether it is yours or belongs to someone else) becomes a consuming crisis in your life, then you may need to Woman Up.  Be honest with yourself and assess if you are a crisis junkie.  If you notice that you gravitate toward the "sensational" part of a conversation or situation, be conscious to step back and take stock of the entirety of what's going on.  If it truly is a crisis, more specifically YOUR crisis, then deal with it accordingly.  But if a mountain is being made out of a mole hill, only look at the mole hill.  True crisis takes energy to deal with.  Don't waste your strength and stress on crisis that do not belong to you.  Woman-up and manage you. Don't choose to live in crisis mode, don't step into crisis that is not yours, and don't create crisis where there is none.  

5. ICS - I Can't Syndrome
Do you suffer from ICS? When you have a goal you should meet, an opportunity come your way, or a challenge to face, but meet them with the words or attitude of "I Cant!" then you have ICS and you need to Woman Up! Using I can't as a boundary or time management/scheduling tool is a good thing.  When it is used as self limiting talk ( ie: I can't lose weight, I can't step out and take an opportunity, I can't make a change) then you need to Woman Up! I can't is a declaration about your ability when it is used as a justification for not making a move that would ultimately take you to a better place. When you Woman Up you own your strengths, step out and up into your life, and take accountability for the things you can control.  If you say "I can't" then you won't.


Change doesn't always happen immediately. It also doesn't start until the first steps toward it are taken.  Who you are, the steps you take, your actions,  your attitudes, the words you use, and the thoughts you have are fully yours and your responsibility.  They belong to you - if you deny that it is giving your power over you to someone or something other than you.

Woman Up! Live who you are with unselfish ownership, absolute accountability, and mindful and meaningful management. Own it. Account for it. Manage it. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Here's A Challenge... Can you Handle It??

Are you up for it?  I DARE you to take the challenge and pass it along.  You won't regret it, and you'll bless and empower someone else to see the AMAZING in them!

Monday, July 22, 2013

I Like That About Me

My makeup settles in the lines around my eyes
But I like that about me.

My temples catch the light on glimmering gray,
But I like that about me.

My skin is no longer bronzed, taut and even,
But I like that about me.

My hands are calloused and my fingers are crooked,
But I like that about me.

My muscles are covered with fleshy softness,
But I like that about me.

My joints feel worked and sometimes ache,
But I like that about me.

My feet grow weary and weathered,
But I like that about me.

My movement is not as agile and swift,
But I like that about me.

My heart has broken into a million pieces- a thousand times,
But I like that about me.

My mind takes a bit longer to process things,
But I like that about me.

My eyes have seen the beauty of the world, squinted with the shine of the sun and crinkled in laughter.
And I like that about me.

The sun catches my locks, but reminds me that the silver on each strand is equal to the lining of the clouds that once seemed so dark.
And I like that about me.

Freckled and mottled, my skin has known the warmth of the sunshine, been stretched with the growing of babies, and chaffed but healed with the bumps of life.
And I like that about me.

These hands are no longer young, smooth and straight, but they have worked hard, are capable and creative, and have nurtured tenderly.
And I like that about me.

My body is not longer taut on the surface, but underneath lie muscles that have carried babies, moved households and carried the weight of the world.
And I like that about me.

Joints creek and moan, but they have climbed hills and mountains, and traveled hundreds of miles.
And I like that about me.

My feet are often weary, but they have stood strong and firm, run the race, and carried me across the finish line more times than can be counted.
And I like that about me.

Movement is slower these days, but I move with intentionality, with purpose and with commitment.
And I like that about me.

My broken heart has mended its million pieces a thousand times, each time bringing me greater understanding, compassion, and empathy.
And I like that about me.

My wit and response may be slower, but it is because I have absorbed more, gained wisdom, and learned to pause and think before acting and responding. 
And I like that about me.

Each line, ache, mark, break, and pause….each perceived imperfection is testament to the perfection of me; a carve in the clay of  great sculpture, a fine patina on the finest copper, or a light catching facet on a brilliant diamond.
I like that about me.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Strength VS. Power

As a younger woman, I was hell bent in insisting that I was a strong.  Life had tossed me some pretty tough stuff, but I weathered it and came out intact on the other end.  I would declare that I could walk through anything now and be ok. Not much shocked me.  I was a strong woman.  I affixed my sight on that beacon.

Then, one day, I realized that this beacon was fading. And I was feeling lost. The strength that I had gained and claimed was beginning to suffocate me.  I’d call on it with my words and definition of myself, but I didn’t feel it.  I knew I could get through the things that life gave to me, but when it came to giving back to life, I felt insignificant and weak.  I felt powerless. That’s when I realized, that strength and power are two different things.  

Strength is what you can withstand. As you walk through life, life happens to you.  Some of it is good and uplifting, but some of it is just plain crappy.  Your will gets tested, you suffer loss and disappointment, and you encounter things and people that keep placing weight upon your shoulders.  But you carry on day to day, your load ever increasing.  You see how strong you are.  That is a good thing. It can be a bad thing too. Power is what you accomplish.  It is your impact on situations, things and people. It is the mark you leave, the movement, or the change you create.  It is the piece that you add that comes from your willful or inadvertent assertion of who you are and what you believe in. It is not what you can carry, but what you can do with the strength you have. Power is a good thing. It can be a bad thing too.

You can be strong, but not be powerful. You can be powerful and not strong. Too much of one without enough of the other becomes self defeating and counter productive.  If you continually pile on the weight of life, eventually it crushes you.  The hard work and building of your muscles, themselves become too much to bear. When you take the strength you have built and release some of the energy into accomplishing a goal or making a difference, setting an example, or even sharing your story, it gives your strength time to repair and restore.  You accomplish more, make an honest difference, and bring meaning and purpose to the things that you have endured. If you continually exert power but have not built the strength to back it, it is not truly power – it is manipulation and control.  

When you roll with instead of control the uncontrollable in life, you gain strength that backs your power and your credibility. There is no reward in simply building strength. The reward is in how you live with that strength.  Take the strength that living has given you and be powerful with it.

By the way, once I realized my strength really did nothing productive until I CHOSE to see the potential in it and act upon it, my life changed.  I was no longer hostage to the things that made me strong, I became the steward of them. What an empowering moment that was.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The "Happiness" Fallacy

If you think that you can simply avoid any person that does not make you happy, you may as well move to your own solar system and take your position as sun.  The chances of you being able to live your life productively and fully by simply avoiding or banning anyone that doesn’t meet your happy quotient are about the same as having your own set of planets revolving around you. 
~Angie Mozilo

Does this sound cynical?

It is not. In fact, it is not cynical at all. 

Happiness and contentment are available to all of us. It just can't  be found by simply avoiding and banning anyone who does not "make" you happy.  That puts the responsibility of happiness on those around you, not on you.  That is giving away your own control and power over a feeling and state of mind that is your own.  It is letting someone else be the steward of you. 

Thinking that you can be happy simply by staying away from unhappiness is a huge fallacy.  Here's why:

Understanding comes from what you see around you.  Those people that make you "unhappy" create a marker from which you understand what happiness is and is not - at least in the context of the happiness you receive from other people.  If you took every person out of your world that didn't make you happy, then your understanding of what happiness is would become skewed.  Because we are human, we are flawed and imperfect, we can't maintain happiness 24/7 for every single moment of our lives.  We would find a new "thing" that interrupted our emotion of  happy and would find new reasons to move away from relationships with others. Simply avoiding anyone that steps in your sunshine limits your knowledge and information about people, relationships, and what happiness is.

It becomes all about ME.  Yes, you need to nurture you, and be a good life-steward of you. You should set firm boundaries for the things that impact your life, your emotions, your character, your integrity,  your family, etc. But, there is a fine line between setting a boundary of who you will and will not allow to impact you, and placing yourself above others.  Casting away everyone and anyone that does not fit your happiness agenda is not only unrealistic, it is self-centric. By simply saying "I will not allow anyone who doesn't make me happy into my life!" (which by the way seems to be a very popular mantra these days) shows not only a lack of maturity, but also a lack of humanity.  Should you seek only those that bring the weight of the world to your shoulders? NO! But in the same breath, thinking outside of yourself and realizing that the person that makes you unhappy has some back-story that affects who they are (which, by the way you do too...) may help you to see that you may have more in common with that person than you realize. Their unhappy "vibe" may be just a temporary hiccup in an otherwise very nice person. Don't get so completely caught up in your narrow idea of happiness that you miss opportunities for connection and positive relationships.

It would get pretty darn lonely.  There is only one Sun in the solar system. It used to have 9 admirers and happy-makers rotating around it. But, apparently Pluto didn't make it happy.  So now it only has 8.  See where this is going? If you insist on being the sun that takes in only positive happy energy and casts off those that have a bit of a different orbit than you expect, your domain is going to be pretty sparse.  Eventually everyone will do something that has some sort of conflict for your happiness. It could  quickly dwindle down to nothing - it's pretty tough to find happiness there. For just a moment, put yourself in Pluto's place.  Think of how you would feel if you had been a long time part of a person's "system" and then all of a sudden they cast you out because you didn't meet their expectations. Both the sun and the planets in this system get the short end of the axis. 

Happiness itself is not a fallacy. Thinking that happiness comes by cutting anyone out of our lives that does not make us happy is. It is good to set healthy boundaries. It is a good thing to step away from relationships that are or remain unhealthy and destructive. It is good to know what you will and will not allow to impact your life. But, it is also good to know that happiness is not something that others give to us. It is not visited upon us.  It is an emotion that is within us and that we need to unselfishly own and steward.

Because we live in an imperfect world with imperfect people, because we are emotional beings that are created to be in connection with others, because we understand the world around us through the interaction with others, avoiding people that don't fill your happy tank is simply impossible.  Your responsibility is own your own happiness, and not give the power of its ownership to anyone else. It is to understand that happiness is an emotion that waxes and wanes. It is to have compassion and respect for you as well as the "unhappies".  It is to be mature enough to not expect the feeling of happiness every moment of every day, but to understand the mindset of contentment. Your responsibility, your good self-stewarding is to know that you are bright, dazzling, and shiny because of what dwells in you and from what ALL others around you have brought to your understanding. 

And... it is to know that you are not the sun.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

When The Grass is Greener, The Crap Was the Fertilizer

Don't you just hate it when you look at someone who seems to have everything under control, everything going for them, and everything just right... and it seems as simple as breathing for them to be that put together? You look over their fence, and the proverbial grass is that beautiful shade of lush emerald green. It looks thick, healthy and welcoming.

You look at yours and it is a crunchy brown patch of straw. You get that little pang of jealousy when you look into someone's yard and their grass is greener than yours. You wonder why your yard - your life can't look like theirs.

No... we are not talking about  actual grass. We are talking about life.

Face it... we all peek over fences and compare, even though we know we shouldn't. And we often want what we see on the other side - the "perfection" we see on the surface.

There are so many things that have made the grass of your life weary, dry and dead.  Perhaps you have had struggles and strive that kept you from tending to your own yard.  You work hard and just don't "feel" like you are getting ahead. You are tired.  Disappointments, betrayals, failures, struggles leave you in a drought of faith.  You feel so far gone, that you just don't know how you could have the vibrant, renewed, lush grass that you see over other peoples fences. The closest to green you may feel is the envy that is creeping into your heart.

You think that there is no way that the grass on the other side of the fence could have possibly endured the same crap in life that yours has.  If it had, it would be just as brown and dry as yours.

Step back from your pity party (yes... harsh... I know, but oh how we love to host those!). Their grass is greener for one of two reasons.

The first reason: It is fake grass.

Fake grass has no roots and does not grow.  The last thing you want is a life that does not grow, so stop comparing yourself to one that is stagnate and phony.  Build the fence higher and forget that it is there.

The second reason:  The person on the other side of the fence has used the crap of life as fertilizer.

The crap of life can pile up, stink and destroy your patch of green. If your grass is dry and dead - that might be what you have been doing. But, you can choose to steward it in a way that it enriches, teaches and strengthens you.  You can use it to green your own grass - like the grass over the fence.

How do you spread the crap so it brings growth and not destruction? How do you make it welcoming? How do you steward the challenges of life to spring forth growth and vibrancy? 

Start by doing these things:
  • Refuse to let it hold you hostage.
  • Recognize and take accountability for any part you played in bringing it into your life.
  • Learn how to not repeat the same mistakes.
  • Don't let the disappointment that happens in certain moments of life dictate your expectations of every moment of life. 
  • Look at your own grass and choose to see the green blades among the brown.  You are more blessed than you realize. 
  • Water it in faith of what can and will be, if you choose to let it grow. 
It is in human nature to compare our lives to others.  You know who you are, where you fit, how to be, and how to exist in the world through what is seen and compared to around you. But when you do compare, realize that when you peek over fences and see a beautiful lawn - it may be that your neighbor has had just as much crap in life as you have.  They have just done a better job of using it as fertilizer. 

Do you get caught is a cycle of comparing your life to others?
Have you ever been envious of someone else's yard and realized that they were going through struggles just like you?
Have you ever been jealous of what was over another person's fence and realized that the grass was fake?