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


Choose Joy

When you choose joy you feel good, & when you feel good, you do good.  When you do good it reminds others what joy feels like & it just might inspire them to do the same!

I have to admit I am enjoying this Christmas season much more than I have in the past, and I know it is because I don’t have a lot of the work stresses that I used to have before I changed my career!  I have found that I am able to focus so much more on the joy of this time of year rather than feeling so frantic and rushed.

I have had the time this year to be even more thoughtful and creative with the gifts I give (because giving gifts to those I love is one of my favorite things to do).  I think it means so much more to give a well thought out gift.  Because I have experienced so much less hustle and bustle I have been able to feel the spirit of the season and feel amazing gratitude for all that I have.  Do you ever feel so busy that you don’t take the time to appreciate what is right in front of you?  I have definitely been guilty of that throughout my life, but there’s something about getting older that makes you appreciate what you have and who is in your life so much more.

Christmas is the perfect time of year to ponder our blessings and more than that, to show appreciation to those we love for what they do for us.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like my kids don’t get what they want for pretty much the entire year, but at Christmas, there seems to be so much more wonder and love.  

I love that my childhood years were spent in England celebrating Christmas with Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles and Cousins, and that we managed to stretch it out over 2 full days (of course with the added Boxing Day).  I remember one year we played a game with my family that required us to play a cassette tape, listen to the first few notes, the beat or just the lyrics and try to figure out what the name of the song was.  It believe it was called “Name that tune”.  It had us rolling on the floor laughing by the end, because as you can imagine playing with 3 generations of people, the musical tastes are so different.  I don’t remember who won, and it really doesn’t matter, what was fun was that we were connecting, laughing, and loving each others’ company!

As I am much older now I realize that those memories are something that I can draw on when things seem dark and dreary.  In fact, it has made me even more determined to create amazing memories for our kids.  I hope that they will one day feel the same way I do about my childhood, and share great memories with their own kids.

As you can tell by my picture today, I am having fun & feeling joy.  I have found that when I don’t get so caught up in being something for someone else and just have fun being me…that’s when I am the happiest.  Maybe you could try this as a Christmas gift to yourself 😉

I hope that some of my silliness and joy rubs off to you so that you can have a fabulous Christmas and Holiday Season.


The Importance of Contemplation and Gratitude

“Gratitude is not a passive response to something we have been given, gratitude arises from paying attention, from being awake in the presence of everything that lives within and without us!”

I was going to write about this later in the month of December but after the events of my weekend, I knew I had to write it today!  

Saturday night was pretty normal, I went to sleep around 12:30am, and at around 1:30am Brandon woke me up because he was having severe pains in his abdomen and chest.  After I saw how panicked he was, and how much pain he was in we decided to head to the E.R.  They were amazing and got us straight in…and immediately ruled out his heart as causing the pain – which was a huge relief!

We were taken back to a room where then took blood for some further testing, put him on monitors etc. etc. and kept checking in with us about every 1/2 hour.  After they had ascertained that it wasn’t a heart issue, they ruled out gallbladder and gave him a G.I. cocktail.  It is basically Lidocaine and Maalox, and after about 1 hour his pain was almost gone.  

It took hours to get the labs back, and when they did they thought he could be suffering from pancreatitis, so to rule that out they had him eat some crackers.  Because there was no pain from that, and the fact that the cocktail made him feel better, they thought it was very likely to be acid reflux with esophageal spasm.  

OK, so I know that was a very detailed story, and the reason I wanted to share all of that with you was because that is kind of what kept me going.  I immediately went into the role of helping him, being there for him and not even thinking about the fact that I hadn’t had any sleep.  

As I contemplate my life with Brandon, I realize that I haven’t always been the most amazing wife, I sometimes let my needs be all consuming, and because of my past life and relationship experiences I have, at times, not allowed myself to be completely vulnerable and present with him.  Going through something like we did on Saturday night, even though it turned out that it wasn’t life threatening, we didn’t know that when we were in it.  It certainly made me pause to be grateful for having him in my life.

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Do you ever find yourself being so caught up in living your life that you don’t have time to appreciate how amazing your life is?  I was talking to a friend who also has kids that are getting older now, and we both agreed that having young kids was one of the best times in our lives…but when I was raising a house full of boys, the chaos, the mess, the tantrums, and the lack of freedom sometimes caused me to wish away those years to the day that I would be able to leave them at home alone!  Now that my boys are getting older, I have less and less control, I hate that they are not the snuggly little boys that they used to be and I wish I could bring back all the wonder and excitement they had around learning new things.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my life, and I love this stage of my kids too – I have definitely learned not to wish away the time, but I am also grateful for all the younger years too.  The years that both they were and I was younger…the years that they were excited to go to the movies with their parents and hanging out with us was always a first choice 😉

There are so many things that I feel gratitude for, especially at this time of year, because I allow myself enough time to slow down and notice the things that are important in our lives.  Having a family I love, working side by side with my husband helping people improve their lives, having a home I love, friends I couldn’t live without, sharing my experiences and hopefully helping others know that they are capable of anything they set their mind to via my blog and so much more.

I choose to pause and feel gratitude every day so that when I contemplate what I have in my life I don’t have any regrets…and that I am able to share my appreciation and love with others!

What would you answer if you asked yourself every day “what do I have to be thankful for RIGHT NOW”…even when things are going wrong, there is always something to feel gratitude for!

Create Your Own Day

 

“Ask yourself – what’s really important and then have the courage and wisdom to build your life around the answer!”

 

I recently came across this concept and I absolutely fell in love with it…

It’s the concept of creating your own day.  What I mean is, other than your birthday, what day do you use to celebrate YOU?  I have found that my birthday, as enjoyable as it is, is never really just about me – not in a bad way, but it involves celebrations, dinners, and very often I have to work.  So when I came across this concept I immediately latched onto it.

Here’s the thought…Make a day your own.  Create a celebration of you and spend time doing whatever it is that sets your soul on fire.  If it’s being alone, then do that, if you prefer to be with friends or family, do that.  Ultimately the goal is to take a day to reflect on where you are in your life, what you’ve accomplished, how you feel about yourself, what you are grateful for and so on.  My theory (I haven’t actually tried it yet) is that I will feel rejuvenated, I will find it easier to handle stresses, challenges, disappointments and it will reaffirm why I love my life.  I know, no matter what, there are always things that aren’t the best that are happening in our lives, but when you start to look at how things are happening FOR you and not TO you, it can change your perspective.

I haven’t decided the date I am going to celebrate my day, but I’ll give you some ideas of what I love to do so that maybe you can come up with some of your own or use some of mine:

  1. I will workout in the morning, that way I know no matter what happens during the day, I feel good about me knowing I am taking care of my body.
  2. I will get a massage, a pedicure or a facial.  Just a few things that are focused on self-care and love.
  3. I will have a lunch at one of my favorite lunch spots with a friend that I know will lift me up.
  4. I will do a little shopping – it actually relaxes me.
  5. I will find the best bakery in town and get myself the most decadent dessert (I have to because there’s no birthday cake 😉 ) And I won’t feel guilty because I worked out already.
  6. I will go for a drive up the canyon and take in all the beauty.  I love to drive different ways, see different things and feel appreciation.  If the weather is warm enough I will trade the drive for a bike ride.  I love taking my mountain bike into the foothills and getting dusty while I am enjoying the view.
  7. I will go to dinner with my lovely husband, because he’s the one that can make me feel the most amazing of all.

 

 

 

It may seem silly, but if there is something I can do to help in the self care department or something that will help me remember that I am important and that ME taking care of ME doesn’t have to mean neglecting anyone else.  in fact, it is necessary to take care of me, so that I CAN take care of others.

What do you think about this concept?  Are you on board?

My birthday is February and I hate that I can’t do a lot of the things I love because the weather is usually cold, so I will probably plan MICHELLE DAY for a day in the spring or summer…stay tuned!  I’ll post some pics 🙂

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