I’ve found that many of us are so focused on goals, achievement, workaholism, being productive, getting a million things done, and being busy that taking care of ourselves isn’t on our priority list.
Maybe you’re really good at juggling all of the balls you have in the air but not so good at balancing the rest of your life. That’s where self-care (and self-reflection) comes in.
It’s easy to let self-care slip down the priority list. With the demands of a job, family, and friends, there’s not a lot of time or energy to devote to yourself. And before you know it, you’re stressed, exhausted, and maybe even sick. It’s time to take back control and schedule some self-care.
The good news is that self-care doesn’t need to be expensive holidays or massages or yoga retreats (although they do sound pretty good). Self-care be can simple, easy, and straightforward. In fact, the best self-care is the constant repetition of small acts of self-love and kindness. Doing small things every day is easy and effective. In fact, self-care is not a ‘one and done’ sort of thing; it isn’t something you put on your ‘to-do’ list just to check off and then be done with it.
Self-care can be tiny things you do for yourself every day (and no, they don’t need to be time-consuming or expensive). I have 20 simple and small ideas to get you started.
Franklin Roosevelt is quoted as saying, “When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” Now, that was appropriate for the time he was living in. I think he was trying to be encouraging and let people know that if they can just “hang on” long enough, things will turn around. But who wants to just “hang on”? Not only that, but think of the bicep muscles it would take.
I want to thrive, not just “hang on.”
How many have you heard someone say “I’m hanging in there” when you asked how they were? Have you said it yourself? I know I’ve said it even when I didn’t necessarily feel sluggish, lifeless and a little hopeless. But we need to remember that the words coming out of our mouths are powerful.
This reminds me of a story about eleven people who were hanging on a rope under a helicopter - ten men and one woman...
“We write, we speak, we tell the truth about our lives- that's what we do. Why is being yourself considered brave? Or something you have to build up to doing? What is dying inside you while you wait until you are brave or courageous enough to be yourself? How many years are going by while we work on self-improvement, self-discovery and trying to turn ourselves into someone we are not?” ~ Denise Dee
I spent a lot of 2018 on ‘being myself.’
Of course, I had to first figure out who I was, and that’s different than who I thought I was. You know, the me without the labels or the ‘shoulds.’ So, when 2019 was approaching and my inbox was filled with promises to help me create my best year, programs to help me have my most productive year, or products to help me have my most successful year, I resisted that hype.
That’s not to say I didn’t do anything, because I did. But I did things ‘my way’ based on my work on ‘being myself.’ We’re almost at the end of January and I’m still continuing with the forward momentum I started at the beginning of the year. I haven’t’ abandoned my resolutions (of course, I don’t make any), but I haven’t abandoned any goals, desires, or dreams either. I feel like I’m moving in the direction I want to go with poise and purpose.
So, I thought I’d share some of what I did and maybe you can use these as an example of something you can try (maybe starting February 1) and see if by the end of February you still feel like you’re moving in the direction you want to go with poise and purpose.
It’s never too late to start.
I celebrated my accomplishments in 2018
I looked back at my calendar (and the notes from the Mustang Sallies group) and reflected on the areas that went well and the fun I had. I listed things like taking road trips, losing 20 pounds, purchasing a home, beginning to learn Hebrew, speaking at Unity Churches, and launching new products (and of course, much more). Then I reflected on how I did these things (taking action, scheduling it on my calendar, asking for help, etc.) and if there was further progress I wanted to make on any of these accomplishments.
Takeaway: This got me in a really good mood and made me realize all the opportunities that came my way, the impact I had, the fun I had, and how I got a lot of things right. There was a lot to be grateful for.
“Success is a state of mind. If you want success,
Success. We all want it and so few of us think we are it.
Let me ask you a question: what is your definition of success? Did you get this definition from your parents or teachers? Or maybe from your employer? Or maybe from the gazillion success gurus out there?
When we rely on other people to determine what success ‘looks like,’ then it’s often very challenging to live up to that determination.
Here’s what Webster has to say: “the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame.” And what do all of those have in common? They are outward reflections that other people can judge. Ick.
Can peace of mind be considered success? What about self-satisfaction? Or maybe self-development and personal growth can be considered success. Personally, I love the idea of success stemming from each one of us living like we matter.
I subscribe to a lot of blogs, videos, and newsletters (too many). I downsize my subscriptions and then I upsize – and it’s time for another downsize. And so many of these blogs, videos, and newsletters focus on productivity and success. And while I get inspiration from many of them, it seems they mostly focus on externals like money and business building (okay, okay – those are the types of things I subscribe to).
My point of view is that success is NOT just about those things that we can measure.
Success isn’t about what we can ‘show off’ but how we ‘show up.’
“I gave myself permission to feel and experience all of my emotions. In order to do that, I had to stop being afraid to feel. In order to do that, I taught myself to believe that no matter what I felt or what happened when I felt it, I would be okay.” ~ Iyanla Vanzant
Okay, I just posted a video called “Clarity is Power” and now I’m posting a blog called “Permission is Power.” So which is it? What’s more powerful, clarity or permission? And what does permission have to do with power? I’m glad you asked.
We get hung up on clarity.
I speak to many women who think that once they have this magical, mystical thing called ‘clarity’ then they’ll know their purpose, they’ll be happy, they’ll be able to move forward, and they’ll have confidence. But I think that we (especially women) use this lack of clarity as our excuse to stay stuck, to treat our purpose and our passion as a hobby, or to put off being bold or outrageous.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Clarity is a powerful motivator and accelerator. With clarity we have a sense of direction and vision. Our affirmations, visualizations, and meditations can be specific and juicy. Clarity is our guide and compass.
But what if we are afraid? Afraid to shine, afraid to stand out, afraid to lead, afraid to soar?
Sometimes we have blocks to our own brilliance and magnificence and then clarity eludes us. But if we say we want clarity, then it looks like we are blocked only because we don’t know where we should be going. Not because we are afraid to move or make a decision.
This is where permission comes in.
Let me ask you a question (or two or three). Are you feeling stuck? Do you feel frustrated or trapped? Are you embarrassed or even ashamed that you aren’t more successful or that you haven’t achieved more?
What you may need is permission for your desire.
“People try to bottle up their emotions, as if it's somehow wrong to have natural reactions to life.” ~ Colleen Hoover, 'Maybe Someday'
Why am I on a kick about ‘hiding our feelings’ you might be wondering?
And even if you haven’t been wondering, I’m going to tell you. I was a master at hiding my feelings, even from an early age. I remember being on a camping trip when I was a girl scout and I had to carry a pot of boiling water from the stove to a table where we were going to wash dishes. Some of the water splashed out onto me and burned my stomach. Ouch, it really hurt! But I didn’t say anything or tell anyone. I still have a scar on my stomach from that event. (yes, that's my actual girl scout sash in the photo)
Another time I was taking bareback horse-riding lessons and the horse stepped on my toe (I was only wearing tennis shoes). Another ouch. And again, I just took the pain and didn’t say anything to anyone (no scar on that one).
Declaring my pain in those two instances would have been a natural reaction to life. I don’t think anyone would have criticized me for saying ‘ouch, that hurt,’ yet even from that young age (I think I was around 10 years old), I must have gotten a message that it wasn’t okay to share my emotions or feelings.
My married life led me to getting a PhD in hiding my feelings. My husband would use my vulnerabilities and weaknesses against me in some sort of emotional blackmail, so I quickly learned to hide any sort of emotions that could be used against me.
So, imagine my delight, when I found a belief system that seemed to encourage me to hide these negative emotions. And I pursued this belief system with vigor. I even became a minister and founded two churches.
Comparison is the thief of joy” ~ Theodore Roosevelt
New year, new habits, right? Not only new habits, but new goals, new behaviors, new commitments, new disciplines, new techniques, new strategies (and a lot of other ‘new’ stuff, too).
Have you ever compared yourself to someone else and came up lacking? Have you looked at the strengths and talents of others and compared them to your weaknesses and ever felt good? Of course not.
It seems like the purpose of comparing ourselves to others is to keep us stuck, to dampen our enthusiasm, to help us quit before we reach the target.
And this comparison is our excuse and reason to quit. And as Teddy Roosevelt describes above, it robs of us joy. So, when we look at it that way, comparing ourselves to others is silly, isn’t it?
I’ve made a number of videos so far and I really enjoy making them. But when I compare them to the videos I get in my email from top-level million dollar coaches, mine seem amateurish and don’t measure up. Theirs look so professional. They don’t stutter over their words. They seem so confident and at ease.
But it’s not really a valid comparison is it? They may shoot in a studio. They may have a teleprompter, they may have staff that edits out the parts where they do stutter over their words. So it isn’t a fair comparison. Instead of getting depressed or jealous and thinking I should stop making videos, I need to a) stop comparing and b) notice and appreciate that I have a lot to offer.
“Examine how your fears and the ensuing protection behaviors impact your life. What fears are stunting your growth? Where did these fears come from? Are they necessary [in your life today]? Are they real [today]? Are they contributing to a full life? If we can control our fears, we can regain control over our lives”
It’s funny what we remember. I can clearly remember about 4 years ago when I was having some blood work done. The lab tech excused herself to help with a patient in the next room. It was an 8 year-old boy who was getting his blood drawn. He was crying...a lot. His mother and his little sister were also in the room with him. I could hear the lab tech saying, "don't move so much or it will hurt more." She said this over and over again. Obviously, it wasn't working.
And then it happened. Shrieking!
Loud, fearful screaming. I knew it was at that point when the little boy saw the needle. Why didn't anyone tell him to close his eyes? At this point, I was getting tense and nervous. I was actually allowing this boy's fear to have an effect on me (and I don't mind getting blood drawn.)
And then it was quiet. The very thing he was trying to get away from, the thing he was hoping his screams would prevent was now at hand - and it wasn't so bad. I wondered if he asked himself why he made such a big deal over it, but he was probably just glad he was alive.
How many times are we like that little boy? We worry and fret; we think this will be the worst day of our lives; we create dragons and monsters in our minds.
No one tells us to close our eyes or think of something else. And after all of our fear and worry, we realize it wasn't so bad after all. Even if we don't always realize it, we are always free to choose thoughts of joy, happiness, security, and love and we don't have to keep revisiting the dungeon of fear.
We all aspire for greatness and success however that may look for us individually. We all want to be happy, healthy, and fulfilled. We all want to love and be loved. But some of us think that ‘greatness’ is meant for others and not for us (yet deep down, we wish it could be true for us as well.)
And yet, we all have that spark of greatness and genius within. We need to START to tap into it. But we need to STOP a couple of things as well.
Here are two things we absolutely need to stop if want to have any chance at all of achieving our own brand of brilliance.
1. Stop Asking Everyone Else
“If you were setting out to accomplish something and you had no role models to emulate, you could get a good start by looking at what everybody else was doing - and not doing it.
That quote makes me laugh at myself and stop and think at the same time. Luckily for us, there are plenty of role models we can emulate no matter what we want to achieve (thank God!).
And yet, even with great role models, so many of us spend a LOT of time asking everyone else what they think we should do. We even ask people who aren’t even doing it! Does that make even the littlest bit of sense? Uh, no. But we do it anyway.
I have a mental block (a ton of resistance) about identifying my niche, or target market, or perfect client. How much easier might it be to come up with topics and content if I made the decision to actually commit to a particular niche? Answer: A lot easier. But. I. Resist.
And let’s be honest. I know who I want to work with. But I want to get the language perfect. And while I’m busy ‘trying’ to perfect my language, I’m not magnetizing or embracing those people who are a perfect fit for me (not to mention those people who need me).
Back to laughing at myself.
Instead of trusting my own wisdom or even emulating a role model, I ask people around me, “who should be my target market – my niche? What about this? Or this? Or that?”
And you know what? The people I’m asking can’t give me the answer to WHAT I WANT? Is that silly or what? Not only silly, but not very smart on my part.
I have a dream, a goal, and a vision. And so do you.
But we need to stop asking others for their opinions. Especially those people who are not our mentors or living and achieving what we’d like to emulate.
Learning to believe in your own inner wisdom can be difficult. We might not be familiar with what our own wisdom even sounds like. But stick with it. You are worth it.
2. Stop Hanging Around With Negative/Toxic People
“You cannot expect to live a positive life if you hang with negative people.”
Toxic people are judgmental, envious, arrogant, victims, and just plain negative all the time. They are the ones that want to bring you down to their level. Their lives are mediocre and they are definitely not supportive of our success.
Unfortunately, some of these people we call family. Even worse, some of these negative and toxic traits live right inside our own mind! Ouch!
The people we hang around with should energize and inspire us, not deplete us. And we need to do the same for them as well, by the way.
If a friend or colleague of yours enjoys some level of success, how do you react? Are you jealous? Do you think they must have done something unethical? Guess what? We are the toxic person in their life.
We need to celebrate success and greatness where we see it – even if we are a bit jealous. After all, if someone we know can do something amazing and awesome, SO CAN WE!
Okay, that was a little side trip.
How much energy and effort do you think it takes to counteract the judgment, negativity, and envy if we allow those people to interrupt our dreams, visions, and goals? A lot. And that energy takes us away from living our greatness.
It can be a challenge to eliminate negative and toxic people on your own. If we are already surrounded by them, chances are we have already developed patterns of behavior that are not easy to overcome. But you can do it and you are worth it.
Of course, if you’d like some help and guidance in learning to trust your own voice and wisdom or if you'd like support in eliminating negative and toxic people in your life, let's chat (especially if you’re willing to laugh at yourself.) We can do this together.
Janet is an effective 'Belief Change Expert' who helps clients go from Overwhelm to Overjoyed, from Confusion to Clarity, and from Surviving to Thriving. Whether you want to grow your business or grow your self-esteem, Janet helps people believe in their own potential and transform their dreams into fulfilling, inspired, and prosperous realities. Janet can help you get the rapid results you are looking for.
Believing in you and your possibilities.
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That’s what I’ve been telling myself for the past few months. Also, ‘stop resisting and start allowing' and 'stop resisting and start opening.' I’m not sure I was resisting exactly, but entering into the unknown, embracing my innovative side, displaying my sensitivity, and opening up to my power is scary and I’m making my own path. And on this path, I can see my feet dragging. And while running into this unknown territory doesn’t feel good, neither does dragging my feet.
But I do it anyway (drag, that is)
My 5 for 5 coaching wrapped up last week and it hit me that it has been months since I’ve even put out a blog-letter (that’s a cross between a blog and a newsletter). During the past five months, I’ve had many ideas to pass on, especially when all of my clients were either saying or experiencing similar things. Yet, nothing and no ideas made it to paper (or to the internet). I was resisting.
It isn’t like I was just sitting around and twiddling my thumbs, of course.
I’ve been coaching my own clients, I’ve worked with my own coach and mentor and have lots of assignments from her. I helped my daughter move to Spokane Valley, I’ve written some poems, I went on two road trips, I continue to minister at Center for Positive Living Sedona, I taught a class in Spiritual Bypassing and am currently teaching a class based on the book, “Busting Loose From the Money Game.”
And yet, I knew I was still resisting. In a way, I was resisting life. It looks like I'm having a great time in the photo to the right on my recent driving tip in California, and I was very clear I was resisting allowing myself to feel honored, valued, and noticed.
Oh yes, I have a lot to say and I have also been resisting writing a blog-letter. Why? Do I think no one reads these blog-letters? Do I think I don’t have anything important to say? Do I think it has been too long since my last blog-letter and I’m a failure at getting this out consistently? Do I think I have to be brilliant and witty? How hard would it have been to simply begin? Just sit at my computer and write something (anything) for five minutes?
Inertia. Had. Set. In.
Has this ever happened to you? You know you need to do something – anything to move you forward. In my coaching, I’ll often ask, “What can you commit to doing in the next 24 – 48 hours?” Sometimes, we can commit to taking out the recipe and putting on the refrigerator. Or we can commit to making one telephone call. Or we can commit to picking out a paint color.
So often we focus on the end result of our goals and it is overwhelming. We don’t have enough time or enough information (or even enough motivation) to complete the entire ‘thing’ – and we fail to ask ourselves, "What is the very next [small] step?" Forget the end result for now. Just get moving.
Here are two ideas we can we take when we are in a funk and are resisting moving forward.
1. As I mentioned earlier, ask yourself, “what small step can I take in the next 24 – 48 hours?” It could be as simple as sending out an email, doing some research, visualizing, buying a domain name, or spending time in gratitude. And then, of course, make sure to give yourself credit and acknowledge yourself for taking this small step.
Everything begins with the first small step. If we allow our negative and fearful mind chatter run the show, we will continue to resist moving forward. What can you do to make this first small step fun? Do it. The perfect time to begin is not when you have more education, more time, or more information. The perfect time is now. Take it slow, but take that next baby step.
2. Ask for what you want. I don’t know about you, but I am not good at asking for what I want; I expect people to be mind readers and should know what I want (and need). Sometimes we don’t ask because we’re afraid of the answer. Other times we don’t ask because we don’t want to appear selfish or needy. Or maybe we just don’t think we are worthy to receive.
What if asking was really about giving yourself permission to make progress? It doesn’t have to be pushy but it is a way to honor yourself and your desires. For the entire 5 months of my 5 for 5 coaching, I neglected to ask for a testimonial. And one of the reasons I even offered this 5 for 5 coaching was to get the testimonials. So, I had to remember to ask. I received one and am knowing the rest will follow. What could you ask for? Well, you could ask for….
You know those ideas I've had over the past five months that I wanted to pass one? None of them showed up in this blog-letter! But taking small steps and winning this battle with resistance seemed important to me today.
I’m glad I finally sat down and began. You’ll be glad too.
Stay tuned, and until next time
Have some fun, stay aware, and rock on!
Janet Kingsley is an effective 'Belief Change Expert' who helps clients transform frustration to focus, confusion to clarity, and self-doubt to self-confidence.