Real Not Perfect

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To be worthy doesn’t mean having to be perfect!

Perfection is something that is one of those unattainable goals that we somehow seem to be striving for, always in vain. We set expectations on ourselves and set ourselves up for failure when our goal or expectation is to become perfect.

It is easy to get caught up in wanting ourselves to be perfect, but it is also very dangerous because when we are wanting that perfection it very often doesn’t stop at ourselves and we come to want or even expect that from others around us as well!

In previous posts I’ve talked a little about how comparison of ourselves to others is fatal, and in this age of social media, it’s really hard to not allow ourselves to succumb to such self-sabotaging behavior. So how do we change our mindset so that striving for personal excellence is what we aim for? Here are some things that I use daily and they work for me:

  1. Choose to focus only on being better each day than the day before – rather than focusing on what we’re doing wrong or we’re not great at.
  2. Choose to appreciate and love the things we are good at and build on those…
  3. Practice positive self-talk so that we can start to realize how amazing we are.
  4. Allow ourselves to celebrate any victory, whether great or small. That way we are not always dissatisfied with our results. We have to appreciate the small things first otherwise we won’t know what the big things are!
  5. Don’t just focus on the outcome – a lot of growth and strength building comes in the journey. In the learning – you know, the falling down and getting up!
  6. Sometimes procrastination comes from not wanting to not be able to complete something or do it perfectly. Allowing ourselves the grace to not finish something immediately gives us the opportunity to avoid procrastination and learn something along the way.

I know when I let go of my need to control everything, my need for things to go EXACTLY according to a plan I might have in my mind, I am always pleasantly surprised by the results I get. My expectations have been known to get me into trouble, because I promise you the scenarios and outcomes I create in my mind are so much more elaborate than I could ever create in real life. It took me a while to realize that I didn’t want to hold myself back and I certainly didn’t want to be unhappy…but once I did, it created a huge amount of freedom and was light a weight being lifted off my shoulders.

I used to think that the pressure I put on myself – the pressure to create success and fulfillment – was what made me successful, but what I have realized after A LONG time is that it’s actually the opposite. I am always going to be driven, motivated, have a love of stepping out of my comfort zone, but it was actually the expectations and the need for perfection that held me back rather than making me better. It’s hard to come to the realization that I was sabotaging my own success, but once I did and I became conscious about my behavior…that’s when the magic started to happen!

Turn Weakness into Strength

Women are never stronger than when they arm themselves with their weaknesses!

As I think back to my childhood I realize that there were so many times that people told me negative things which caused me to feel bad or insecure with myself. In fact, one of the things that I was told when I was growing up by “mean girls” was that I had a huge chin and that it made me look like a witch. I’ll admit that there were some times where I wasn’t sure what they were saying was true or not, and it definitely made me self conscious.

It took me a few years to realize that those that told me those things were probably saying it because they felt insecure or less than confident about themselves. I had a choice at that time to either let what they told me become what I believed and repeated to myself, or to not let it get to me. I was a teenager when it happened, and it was one of the must vulnerable times in my life. My choice was to embrace my features, enjoy who I was and not only carry on but to hold my head up and be proud! I looked at my family and realized that my “strong” chin – which is what I choose to call it – came from my Grandad and he was an AMAZING man! How could I possibly feel bad about it?

As I think back to that time in my life I realize that it was a turning point – it was the time that I made a decision to not let others determine how I feel about myself. It was at that time I promised myself that I would always stand up for myself and be bold! If I could see the people that said mean things about me, I would want to thank them – because if they had not said those things, I wouldn’t have become the strong, determined, powerful and fulfilled woman that I am.

There are definitely people in this life that are going to try and make you feel bad about yourself, who you are, what you look like and very often undermine what you are capable of. I can promise you that NO ONE can make you feel anything. It is your choice to believe what people say or think about you or not.

I have found at times in my life that some people I thought were my friends chose to root against me, to sabotage my success, and quite often be two-faced and almost a wolf in sheep’s clothing. As I become older and more mature I realize that I have no control over how people act or how they think, but I do have control over how it affects me. When someone points out a weakness of mine or roots against me, I choose to not focus on that but rather on being the best me that I can be!

What I have also found is that for all the negativity out there…there is still so much positivity. I choose to focus on that.

Whatever we focus on we end up with more of – so why not think the best about yourself, your talents, your blessings…see what happens!

Winter Days

The best thing you can do is master the chaos in you. You are not thrown into the fire, you are the FIRE!

One thing I have written about quite a bit on my blog is how much I really don’t like the cold, but what I wanted to talk about today is how I have learned to embrace winter and what tricks I have used to do that.

Let me start by telling you a story about why cold hasn’t been my favorite thing. As you know, I grew up in England and my family lived there until 20 years ago when we moved here. Our home in England was middle class and pretty big for the UK. We were one of the first people I knew to get a dishwasher, and I had my own en-suite bathroom (pretty rare for England). We didn’t get snow like we do here in Utah in the winter, however, as you know, there was PLENTY of rain.

One of the things about damp climates is that the cold cuts right to the bone, and it is hard to plan for that cold because it is so damp. There was no central air in our home, in fact there were no homes that I knew of that did have central air…we all had radiators in each room to heat them. The thing about radiators is that it takes a while and it never quite feels like it’s really warm, again because they are filled with water and create damp heat. In my room I remember frost being on the INSIDE of the window pretty much every morning that I woke up and I had a heated blanket under my fitted sheet on my bed so that my bed wasn’t cold at bedtime.

My memories of damp and cold soggy days with little to no sunshine in England definitely catalyzed my disdain for cold…but I am learning to embrace it and even love it to some degree. So what’s my secret…?

  1. I search for something that I can love about each and every day that is cold. For example, on a sunny day with blue skies, I take time to appreciate and love the beauty of the mountains and the skies. If it is a grey day I appreciate the fact that I can light the fire and spend time cozy inside.
  2. I stay active. During winter months it is easy to become sedentary and not do too much, so I make sure that I am still actively working out and eating healthy because it makes me appreciate my health.
  3. I make sure that I am prepared. It is still important for me to look good even in the winter but there are so many ways to do it AND make sure that you are adequately prepared so that your hands, feet, head, ears and body are not cold. There are so many cute winter clothes now that there is never a reason to be cold or unprepared when venturing outside.
  4. Taking time to cook – when I get home from work I often don’t want to go out again, so I plan ahead and make sure I have all the ingredients I want to make a great family meal. I have found that my cooking is much more adventurous during colder months because I do it so much more often.
  5. I like to plan time to go somewhere a little warmer. Beaches are my favorite, but even a few hours south of us the weather becomes much nicer and it is a trip just about anyone can take.
  6. I choose to have fun and be silly. I have found that the more I focus o the negativity of how cold it is, the more cold it seems to feel. I choose to focus on the positivity and what I can appreciate about it.

Mondays can be hard, especially cold Mondays – but what if you thought of it as just another day instead of a cold Monday?

Choosing how to experience something is the key to mastering inner peace. I don’t know about you, but inner peace sounds pretty good right about now!

Step Outside of your Comfort Zone

You are only confined by the walls you build yourself!

For one person their comfort zone may be really small meaning that they won’t try anything challenging or intimidating…whereas the next person may take on new challenges willingly. The size of our comfort zone isn’t the thing that holds us back, because even if you are the most daring or confident person out there, there is always something that may be your kryptonite or something that really holds you back.

You have probably realized if you have followed me on social media, or if you have been reading my blog, is that I am a pretty confident woman. I moved from England not knowing how I was going to make a life for myself and my son. That was 20 years ago, my son was 3, I was a single mum and even though moving here was intimidating and uncertain, I jumped at the chance because I knew that the other option of staying in England didn’t present the same prospects or opportunities for us.

Over those 20 years I have taken on new challenges, and not all willingly, but the key is I have taken them on. About 4 months ago I was approached about starting a Video Podcast with a local Radio Station here in Salt Lake. It was right after I had handed in my notice from my sales job, & it seemed like perfect timing…so why did it scare me so much?

I have talked a little about when I first started my blog how I hated to have my picture taken all the time, I didn’t want people to see me having my picture taken and it made me worried that people would think that I was being conceited by posting pictures of myself all the time. I definitely don’t have that problem anymore, and the only way that I don’t is because I have done it so many times that it is now “comfortable”. I realized as soon as the fear of the Video Podcast came up that it was because that is what I NEEDED to do! I realized that the only way I was going to help people and grow myself was by doing that thing that scared me.

Before my first shoot I was really nervous…I definitely got in my head a little at first. But here’s the exciting news – I found that I actually really enjoyed it. I have never had a problem speaking in front of large groups of people, so this is no different. I stopped worrying about being PERFECT and just talked like I would normally.

I am to the point now where I am so excited for them to go live and see where this thing takes me…

Stepping outside of a comfort zone isn’t easier for one person than another, the only difference is that one person does it where the other won’t. Like the quote I posted today, the only thing that stops us is US!

The level of our success and happiness is determined by the amount of uncertainty or discomfort we are willing to endure. I don’t know about you, but I don’t ever want to be the cause of my own lack of happiness or fulfillment!

Here’s to expanding comfort zones in 2019. Start small…but just START!!

Be You – Be Different

“Being different isn’t a bad thing, it means you are brave enough to be yourself!”

There are so many things that make us different from everyone else, but we live in a world where it’s almost frowned upon to be different. The sad thing about that is that there are so many reasons that the world needs YOU just as you are, not someone trying to fit in or be like everyone else.

Being different, standing out, expressing yourself just as you are, that takes real courage…but most importantly it means YOU have to know who YOU are!

I don’t know if any of you remember that movie “Runaway Bride”? In that movie Julia Roberts was engaged at least 3 or 4 times and each time literally ran away from the wedding as the groom was standing on the altar. Nobody knew why she did it for a long time, in fact, she gained a reputation and it was newsworthy enough that a reporter went to her small town to write about it. Turns out that what she actually did was fit into a mold of exactly what she thought each of the grooms wanted her to be. Whatever eggs they liked, she liked too. In summary, she pretty much didn’t show up to any of the relationships as herself, and when the reality hit (on the wedding day) she couldn’t go through with it.

I have seen this so much in life, it’s so easy to fall into line with what we think everyone else wants us to be, so much so that we give up who we really are. The problem with that is that the real us is still inside just stuffed down somewhere out of sight, and it means that we can’t ever find complete fulfillment or happiness until we let her or him out!

I have always been a very strong person, but there have definitely been times in my life when I have been afraid to let people see who I really am – specifically in relationships for fear that they wouldn’t love me, or they would leave. I am not the type of person that can live like that, so at some point, usually when I couldn’t take it anymore, I would explode and pretty much blow the relationship anyway. Even with Brandon and I it took me a long time to realize that it was OK to be 100% myself.

I have learned that I don’t need permission to express myself, it doesn’t matter to me if everyone loves everything about me, because I have found that the more authentic and real I am, the more people love being around me anyway.

I love to express my feisty personality through my style, and I have found that the more I love me, the more I love who I am, the more happy I am. My style is uniquely me – and I will always keep it that way! In fact, the jacket that I’m wearing in this post is one that I had customized for me…I saw something similar on Pinterest and had my mum knit it and create my one exactly how I wanted it! What’s better than that?

Being unique is one thing that we all have in common, and it’s exactly what the world needs!

If you could do one thing today that you have been afraid to do, what would it be?

Life is a Balancing Act

Life is a balance of holding on and letting go…

One of the things that being a working mum has taught me is that finding a work/life balance is essential. I realized very early on that I am the type of person that throws myself into whatever I am doing 100%, which can cause problems if I don’t figure out how to balance ALL my responsibilities.

I chose to work, and I did it because not only did I want to prove my worth (sales will definitely make sure you have to do that), but also because I wanted to show my kids how important a good work ethic was. Not to say that anyone that doesn’t work can’t teach that, because I absolutely believe that staying home with your kids is one of the hardest and most fulfilling jobs anyone could ever have. I, however, chose the working path and I don’t regret one minute of it because of all that I have learned over the years.

My kids are older now (with my youngest being 11 and my oldest 24), but I still have to make sure that I am creating a great home for them, I have to make sure that I am available when they need me, and I also have to make sure that my work doesn’t cause me to neglect any of them…all while making sure that I am not losing myself in any of it either.

Whether you have kids to go home to or not, it doesn’t matter. A work/home balance is still essential for your own sanity!

Working, especially when you are a high achiever is something that can take over your whole life if you let it, which is why finding that balance is essential. I have learned a few tricks over the years that work for me, so I thought I would share them with you today…

  1. Use a calendar – I know this sounds simple but I can’t tell you the number of times where I have forgotten to put a work or kids appointment on my phone and then scheduled something over it. The easiest way to avoid that is to make sure you use the SAME calendar for both business and personal so everything is in one place.
  2. Don’t miss dinner – I was always guilty of working later and not getting home in time to make a good dinner, so I had to make sure that no matter what, even if something wasn’t completely finished, I went home to take care of my family. There were some times I had to work on my laptop after the kids were in bed, but it was worth it because I got to spend my evenings with my family.
  3. Delegate – there are going to be times when you can’t do everything, that’s when it’s time to delegate. I used to have a hard time doing this, you know the whole “if I want it done right I need to do it” thing…but I learned over the years that I had to let that go to make sure I wasn’t missing out on things that were important to me. It could be that you delegate work or home stuff, by just prioritizing the things that you absolutely don’t want to or can’t miss!
  4. Hire a nanny – when my kids were really young I used to burn myself out and end up fighting all the time with the kids working on their homework with them – getting them to do it and coaching them through it. I realized that I didn’t want to be the bad guy anymore so we hired a nanny that would pick them up from school, do homework and chores with them before Brandon and I got back from work. That way, when we walked in all I had to do was make dinner and spend time with them. They didn’t fight the nanny like they fought me, and I didn’t feel deflated or frustrated with their lack of excitement about homework and chores 😉
  5. Let it go – whether you work outside the home or not, there are going to be frustrations from your day, and the only way your home is going to be welcoming for you and your kids is if you let the negativity and frustration go. Early in our marriage before Brandon started his coaching business he worked for a large corporation that brought with it a lot of frustration, so I used to tell him that he needed to touch a tree in our front yard and leave all that frustration out there. That way, we didn’t have to deal with it and the anger and frustration was mis-directed to the kids or me.
  6. Self care – this is the most important of all. If you don’t take care of you, and taking care of you doesn’t mean just working all the time because you love it, it means finding that thing that can reset your energy meter. Find the things that make you feel relaxed, renewed and ready to start the fight all over again. It could be something as simple as taking a coffee break, going for a walk in nature, working out, getting a massage or pedicure or even a date night.

Mastering balance in our lives is the thing that will make us even greater spouses, parents, friends, employees or bosses. It is the thing that differentiates the good from the great. You can’t give up one thing for another, because even if you are the most successful financially you won’t be fulfilled in other areas, or vice versa.

Why not start off this Monday by just implementing one of these ideas…or just making sure that you follow through with the self-care!
Even though this is the most important of all the steps, this is the one that is the most neglected…

HAPPY MONDAY!!

January Bleakness

My dreams are my dress rehearsals for my future!

January in Utah is probably my least favorite month. I love the whole new beginning of it, but the bleakness of winter, the inversion that seems to be getting worse each year, the freezing temperatures, and the dirty snow…they all add up to make me just feel like taking a bath and getting into bed.

I have found that there are some things I can do to help me feel a little more “sunshine” in my day, because I’ll be honest, if there is no sunshine I have a hard time functioning effectively. Some of these tricks may work for you too…

  1. I always make sure I have some time planned in the winter months to go somewhere warm and sunny. With the inversion there are sometimes weeks when we don’t see the sunshine here, and that can make the coldness even more depressing. I’m so excited that this year Brandon is taking me to Costa Rica for my birthday in February – but anywhere warm would be amazing.
  2. I make sure that I still keep up on my self care – pedicures, spending time with girlfriends and such. It can become so easy to neglect yourself when all you want to do is hibernate, but that’s the time when it’s the most important.
  3. I make myself do some kind of winter activity that gets me outside. Of course I make sure that I am properly prepared with the right clothes, otherwise it wouldn’t be fun. When sledded at the cabin I didn’t spend hours outside, but the little time that I did made me appreciate the warm cabin, and most importantly it made me appreciate the beauty of winter a little bit more.
  4. Stay true to a workout routine. It’s so much easier to exercise when it’s warm outside, I definitely miss my mountain bike, but staying strong during winter will actually give you more energy and make you feel better. Whatever your workout regimen is, whatever you choose to do, find something that is reasonable and that you can stick to. It’s no good having the best intentions of an intense workout and then quitting after the first week.
  5. I work every day on finding something to appreciate about that day. I realized that I used to count down to warmer spring days, to my next vacation, to some upcoming date or event, and I realized that I was wishing my life away. Winter is here, may as well enjoy it and find something to appreciate in its bleakness and beauty.

There are so many things about winter that even I, an intense summer lover, can appreciate. I love to drive around and look at snow covered homes and yards, see the Christmas lights that tend to stay up throughout the month of January, and look for the biggest icicles possible. Finding something to appreciate about something that is not your favorite, that’s the key to finding a little more joy in your journey of life.

I have realized that each year we have 4 seasons and I am wishing away 1/4 of my life if I don’t find something good or something I can appreciate about winter.

You may be thinking I am crazy about not loving winter because summer or another season may be your least favorite, well the same applies to that too. What can you find about your least favorite time of the year to appreciate and let me know if it makes that time more enjoyable…

Happy weekend friends…

Goals NOT Resolutions

Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it!

I see so many posts on social media, and so many people talking about what their New Year Resolution is going to be each year it started me thinking…how long do people actually keep their resolutions? We all start out with the best intentions but somehow around mid-February everything has been thrown out the window.

I think this happens because our resolutions are made based on things we think we SHOULD be doing or not doing, because we want to make a change but we aren’t quite committed enough to the outcome to stick to it, or sometimes because we are worried about what other people think.

Quitting is so much easier than doing something consistently and changing habits. I have even found myself justifying that if I did something wrong it’s not a big deal because nobody keeps resolutions anyway. It’s also really common to think that if you do screw up that you may as well just quit now because it’s never going to work. Dieting when it’s not important enough to you can have the same effect! I have watched many people I know over the years make a mistake and eat something they shouldn’t so they either just quit completely or recommit to start on Monday.

As you all know by now that my husband, the coach, works with a lot of clients and what he recommends telling yourself is that you want to do this BECAUSE…what is the reason that you really want to do this? If it is dieting, it could be because you want to be healthier & have more energy so you can spend more time doing activities with your kids or spouse. If it’s quitting or changing your job, then what is the reason there? For me, when I started planning quitting my job, it was because I wanted more freedom to travel and make more money. The key is to find the reason that works for you.

I have always thought that resolution was such a flimsy word which is why I prefer to call them GOALS. We all have goals and the New Year isn’t the only time we start working towards those goals. That’s the main thing here…there’s never a bad time to start. It doesn’t matter your age, what your goals are, or how lofty they are, if you start…you are always going to end up closer than you would be if you procrastinated.

So this 2019…it still sounds crazy to me so be saying 2019…I am looking for goals that challenge me, scare me, help me grow, give me more freedom and patience but most importantly that help me gain stronger connections and relationships.

What is one thing that is so important to you BECAUSE…?

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!


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Snow – a Love Hate Relationship

When it snows you have two choices…shovel or make snow angels!

The beauty is all around us, the serenity, the wonder, the bleakness. Sitting in a cabin looking out over a gorgeous valley of rolling hills, mountains and farms and watching my kids sled and ski down the hill. It is a beauty that I can’t deny but for me that’s much easier to say when I am sitting inside the cabin by a cozy fire rather than being outside.

I have always had a love/hate relationship with snow – I can’t deny the fact that there is true beauty but I am also not a fan of how cold it can be.

When I came over and went to the U.S. I had never skied before, so for one of my classes I took skiing at Grand Targhee ski resort. My roommate and I were actually featured in the local newspaper and they named us the “snow angels” because on a snow/powder day we went up there and they captured our pictures with snowflakes in our hair and on our eyelashes…I guess they thought we looked cute.

I did actually love the experience of skiing but as the years have progressed, as I’ve been unable to ski due to being pregnant or having young kids, the fun just seems to have gone away. That’s not to say I won’t ever get it back, but for now the feeling that I don’t want to pay to be cold is kind of where I’m at. I love being with my family, and I have promised the boys that I will go at least once this year, but that’s probably all I can muster.

Many, many years from my college days, but not too many miles away from Grand Targhee resort we are in Star Valley, hibernating in the cold and enjoying family time playing games.

I did spend a little time outside today, but only a little. I sledded with my youngest, Reiken, and actually had fun. I found that I liked sledding in the inner tube kind of sled much more because those kind of sleds don’t hurt when you go over bumps…am I really turning into the fun sponge my kids say I am? I think not – at one time a few years ago I would have been content not going outside at all…

As I think about these winter months stretched ahead of I’m not going to deny that a lot of the time I will be wishing for warmer days, but that doesn’t mean I can’t find some fun in the winter as well. My winter goals for this year are about finding things to do with my family that don’t have to involve just being inside, but that also involve some outdoor and chilly activities. Let’s see how this goes…

Laughter – the Best Medicine

Always find a reason to laugh. It may not add years to your life but it will definitely add life to your years!

Something that has always been apparent in my life is the need for me to laugh. I like to think of myself as quick witted, because I love to say things a little off the cuff to make others laugh too. I’ll tell you why…I have always loved laughing and find greater connections with others when I feel that they have the same sense of humor as me or are equally as “strange” 😉

When I first came to the US from England and I was newly married I found myself sometimes getting offended or hurt by things Brandon or others might say. I was brought up so much more reserved, I was taught that sometimes saying something to someone wasn’t necessary. Not that I have ever had a problem giving people a piece of my mind…I just was taught that it was so much more important to be polite over “just being honest”.

My family was one that always laughed and made fun of each other, but somehow we just knew that it was a joke and a little cheeky. It’s weird that even though I had been brought up that way and my family and I had done that, when Brandon particularly said things it made me feel a little self conscious and sensitive. The good thing about having a mindset coach for a husband is that he is ALWAYS willing to talk things through and somehow we just figure out a way to make it work.

Over the years I have learned that I need to not take myself so seriously, and I have actually learned to laugh at myself. Being a work in progress is nothing to be ashamed of, in fact, it’s absolutely vital. I do still get called the “fun sponge” but more often than not I try new things, I don’t mind if I screw up and make a fool of myself, but most importantly I work on not letting ideas be more important than people.

One thing I look forward to in 2019 is the opportunity to smile more, have more fun, create even more connections and love my life even more.

Laughter truly is something that makes every situation more enjoyable…in fact, when we create experiences that involve laughter and smiling they are always more memorable. Even if you don’t remember exactly what you were laughing about, remembering the feeling you had and the experience of connecting with those you love is felt throughout our bodies FOREVER. I can still remember the feeling I had when I was around my Grandad Ron…he always made us all laugh because he was quick witted and funny. His saying that still brings a smile to my face was “Happen she/he wasn’t thinking” – he would say that whenever someone would do something that was an accident or not intentional.

Because smiling and laughter is contagious in our house when someone gets started on a good laughing fit, there are always going to be others that join in at some point. My kids tease me that when I really laugh, not only do I cry but also my right eye closes and they say I look like a pirate. I’m totally OK with it, especially because at the very moment that I know my eye is closing, I am having the time of my life. Who knows, I may even capture a picture of me with the eye closed mid-laughter at some point soon.

If you don’t resolve to do anything else for 2019, decide to add a little more smiling and laughter into your life and see what happens. I bet you won’t be able to say you’re not having fun!

Michelle
XOXO