Grateful Living

How many times have you heard, “Be grateful for what you have.”? What happens when life seems to be going all wrong and gratitude isn’t what we are feeling? Can we find the reason to be grateful in what we perceive as negative?

Life can be challenging and I’m grateful for that. It is in those challenges that I learn who I truly am and gain strength.

Sadness comes into our lives and gives us reason to be grateful for the happier times. Without sadness we could not know happiness.

A feeling of powerlessness over our situation is cause for gratitude in the knowledge that in these times we can turn to others for a helping hand. It deepens our connection to those we love.

Fear is always something to be grateful for. Fear at a primal level will keep us out of harms way. Fear that doesn’t come from a place of survival will lead us to push ourselves beyond our comfort zone and live life to the fullest.

Most of us would say it is easy to be grateful for family, food, and fun times. My challenge to you is to find something to be grateful for in every situation throughout your day and your life.

Enjoy the following video on Gratitude. I’m sure that in no time you will be singing along. Each day is filled with gifts waiting for you to untie the ribbons!

Dream it! Wish it! Do it!

Do you dream of doing things in your life that seem impossible? Every dream starts out that way. It’s up to us to bring that dream into reality and it starts with small steps. The first step, believing that you can accomplish whatever your heart desires.

I ask myself two key questions when determining if I believe a specific dream can become a reality. Will this dream serve the greater good of the community and world? Will I grow from the accomplishment? If the answer to both is yes–I have a winner.

After getting that resounding yes to my two questions, my dream has gone from impossible to probable. So how do you get from probable to inevitable?

Here are a few steps to get you started on the path to realizing your dream, whatever it may be, getting healthy, weight loss, education, conquering addiction, getting out of a bad relationship. These steps can be used for nearly every goal you may have.

  • Decide on something you can do right now, this moment, toward that dream. It may be something as simple as research, a phone call, or meditate on the next step to realizing your dream.
  • Next you will need to decide what it is you can do each day forward.
  • Take out a pen and paper or sit at the computer and write out a few things each day that would bring you closer to your where you want to be.
  • Tell someone else about your dream. If we share our goals with others we are more likely to continue working on them.
  • Ask someone to hold you accountable. Find a friend that supports you and believes in what you are doing and ask them to check in with you once a week to see how things are going.
  • Create a vision board and look at it daily. If we can see our dream, it becomes more real to us.
  • Express your gratitude on a daily basis. Being grateful for what we know is our reality coming to life will bring more of that reality to be grateful for.

Celebrate your victory.

I’m going to share one of my dreams with you and you can hold me accountable. I enjoy what I’ve been doing for the last few years with Unlimited Smileage. I enjoy coaching survivors, speaking to groups, and spreading kindness wherever I go. One of my biggest dreams is to take a specific training that I believe will facilitate my growth as a coach and allow me to contribute more to my community and the world. This training has always been financially out of reach. I’ve changed the way I view this and although I don’t know how, this training will happen in the very near future.

What are some of your dreams? Dreams become reality, one choice at a time!

 

Where do the experts go?

Have you ever wondered where your doctor goes if he or she is sick? Who does Tony Robbins talk to when he needs coaching? If you are considered an expert, the best at what you do, does that mean you never need a mentor, someone to turn to for guidance? Do these people ever fail? Do they ever make a mistake?

Think about how many times in life we put someone on a pedestal, we believe they are super-human..after all they are the best at what they do. They are the best at their sport, their coaching skills are unmatched, they are always on top of their game. You can apply this to whatever someone is good at.

In thinking about so many recent headlines, Lance Armstrong and his doping confession is the first to come to mind. In my years of working side-by-side with him and his foundation I have defended him on more than one occasion. When the confession went public, I will admit to feeling betrayed, feeling foolish for having believed in him, for having put him on a pedestal.

Was I as much to blame for this as he was? As I look at it now, I take some responsibility. I was no different than anyone else who idolizes another human being. I expected super human powers from ordinary people. Those people we idolize, although not blameless, are under extreme pressure to live up to our expectations. That doesn’t seem fair.

This post is not about any one particular situation, it is not about Lance. This post is about why we choose to look at people as if they are more than human. It is about why, with my expertise in overcoming extreme life challenges, I find it nearly impossible to admit to anything remotely human. It is about why I find it difficult to tell the world, I found a challenge I don’t know how to handle.

I’m going to lay it on the line. I want nothing more than to have my “random acts of kindness” movement be successful. The journey is not going as I had envisioned it would. Does that mean I give up? No way! Does that mean I change the way I envision things will go? Maybe. Does it mean I look for advice, coaching, and a mentor for myself? Absolutely! Advice, coaching, and mentoring doesn’t need to come from someone who is skilled in those areas, it doesn’t need to come from someone who makes their living doing these things. We need to be open to finding answers wherever they may be presented and from anyone who may be in our lives. Anyone can be a teacher.

Here is a piece of advice from a great friend, :) Kristin Pedimonti, that is stuck in my head, “Be sure the voices you are listening to are your own.” I have decisions to make and I’m not sure the voices I’m listening to are my own.

Here’s where you come in. I would love to hear what tools you use in your life when you have major decisions to make. How do you know the voices you are listening to are your own?

Sincere Smiles!

Success or Significance

Have you ever felt like you were living a successful life but there was still something missing? Are you a successful person?

One dictionary definition of the word success tells us it is the accomplishment of one’s goals. If you consider that definition in it’s simplest form, we are successful each day that we wake up, unless of course you have a goal of not waking up ever again. In that case, please find a friend to talk to, a support group or call an emergency hotline. Most of us can honestly say that we do hope to wake up from our much needed sleep and we are successful.

Continuing that thought process, we all have small successes throughout our day. We have a goal of going to work, or playing with our kids, or making dinner, or getting some fresh air as we head out on a daily walk. Successes like these may not be thought of as a success, you may not give any of the things you do throughout your day much thought. You should, it will instantly brighten your day, knowing you are a success.

However, does success bring happiness is the greater question. In some instances, yes, success brings happiness. If you were craving a great meal and someone just served it to you that would be a success that makes you happy. If you had a goal to play with your kids in the backyard for an hour and had more fun in that hour than you did all day–that is a success that makes you happy.

If you head out to work, bring home a great paycheck, have very little debt, but hate your job or feel you have no purpose, you may be successful but certainly not happy. How many times in life have you found yourself achieving a goal only to feel successful but unhappy? You got what you wanted, when you wanted it, but something was still missing.

Then you have those moments where you can’t sleep and you do something you find joy in but not something you feel successful at. Something that has significance, even if it is only significant to you and you are over the moon happy.

The key to joy, harmony and balance in life is to find success through significance. If what you are doing doesn’t make you feel significant, you may want to reconsider what you are doing. The ultimate success is found in doing something with your life that makes you feel significant to yourself and others. It has been said many times but it is worth repeating…”What would you do even if you didn’t get paid to do it?”

 

This is Your Life

This is Your Life…it is short so make the most of it.
                 Do what you love,  
                 Love what you do.
 Share your passion…Live your dream…..
Always remember, People Matter…
                No act of kindness is ever too
                small.
A door isn’t to keep us in or out…
a door is for going through.                                                                                          The greatest love of your life is the face you see                                                            every time you look in the mirror.
Be here now…always and in all ways.

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Practice Does Not Make Perfect

Despite what you may have been told, practice does not make perfect. I know what you are thinking–“How can I say such a thing?” Our teachers told us that, our parents told us that, our mentors told us that, and they were all wrong. We have been lied to, although unintentionally, it is time to set the record straight.

Perfect practice makes perfect and there is no point in practicing anything you aren’t passionate about. If you aren’t passionate about what you are doing you will never have the drive it takes to get good at what you are doing. Let me explain. If you wanted to swim like Michael Phelps you wouldn’t grab a golf club and hit the course with a PGA pro instructor. You would find the best swim coach money could buy and you would head to the pool. That would be called “perfect” practice. But, if you hate the water and you want to swim like Michael Phelps because you want the notoriety and fame that goes with the name, don’t bother getting in the water. No matter how much you practice or who your coach is, you will never be a great swimmer. You will learn to swim, but you will not be an Olympian.

You may ask, what does this have to do with you. Why this subject? I find it very fitting for this time of year, a time of resolve. Why do so many of us set a goal and then try to achieve it through indirect methods or pick a goal that we aren’t passionate about?

When we fail to reach our goals we feel as if we are a failure. Let me start by saying that when we fail, we are not a failure. You can never be a failure. Failing is the universes’ way of telling us there is a better way. It is a way of polishing the diamond that you are.

What I am about to say applies to any goal you set for yourself. We are not born into greatness, we make ourselves great. We have all heard the stories of countless people who were told they would never succeed at what they were trying to accomplish and yet they went on to greatness.

What did all these famous failures have in common? One word, Passion! All of these people had a passion for what they wanted to achieve. They were not willing to take no for an answer. They loved what they were doing and were willing to do anything to achieve success.

As we close in on 2013 we all will undoubtedly set new goals for ourselves. This year, as you think about what it is you want to accomplish, think about your passion. When you set a goal, ask yourself if that goal is something you are passionate about. How do you know? I like to ask myself this, “Is this something I want so badly I am willing to do whatever it takes to achieve it?” Is it something that no matter what obstacles life throws at me I will persevere….if it is then go for it from the heart and watch yourself succeed. I will be sharing a few of my goals with you in an upcoming post. I encourage you to share with the community. What better way to share your passion then in a community of friends. Have a wonderful holiday season!

4 Words

Have you ever thought about what the 4 saddest words might be at the end of your life? Four seems like such a small number, I’m sure you are thinking, “How much sadness can 4 words contain?” Try these 4 words, “I wish I had” and then fill in the blank.

We all have things we dream of doing, some may seem to be crazy, some just seem to be out of reach. What makes them crazy? What keeps them out of reach?

Are your dreams crazy because no one else would understand? We have all heard the saying, “Dance like no one is watching”, follow your dreams the same way. Smile while you journey toward happiness, remembering that happiness is the journey. No one wants to get to the end of life and say “I wish I had, but no one would have understood.” You understand, and when you smile, so do those around you.

What keeps your dreams just beyond your reach? Is it money, time, lack of resources? These are excuses. There are people living their dreams with little to no money. Just try Googling the Moneyless Man. I’m not suggesting you go to the extreme and try what these people have done. I am saying money is not a valid excuse for not following your dreams. Take it in baby steps, simplify your life, save the money you would have used to dine out and eat at home instead. Sell things that really don’t serve a purpose in your life anymore, I did and it is a very emotionally liberating experience. There are a whole host of ways to find the money to follow your passion.

Time, the most important thing to note about time is that we make time for the things that are important to us. If you are truly passionate about something you will find the time to pursue it.

Lack of resources is nothing more than us not being resourceful. I’m guilty of this. You hit a road block and instead of finding an alternate route you give up and go home. The latest greatest in GPS technology has live traffic updates that give us alternatives. Treat the obstacles you face the same way. If one route doesn’t work, look for the alternative.

Here is an example from my own life. I recently discovered an online educational opportunity that I wanted to participate in and when I looked at the cost involved I knew it was not in my budget. I could have given up and said it just wasn’t meant to be. I chose to contact the business and offer a trade, their coursework and certification for my services as a writer. Guess what, they replied with a two thumbs up. I’m smiling, they are smiling. They have a need, I have a dream. We both get what we want. This is just one simple example of how to be resourceful.

In reality, the only thing keeping us from our dreams is us and our fear: fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of the unknown. So what are your excuses for not following your dreams? What steps can you take today to make those dreams come true? Each step you take gets you one step closer to realizing your dreams and even closer to the biggest smile you will ever wear. If you still think you just can’t follow your dreams than maybe you need new dreams or maybe you just need to change your perspective on what really is possible. You are born with unlimited potential! You cannot fail, you can only learn!

I would love to hear what it is you dream of doing, or maybe you have already accomplished something that was a dream…leave a comment..share your dreams..

A Question We Should All Answer

Quite some time ago I watched a TED video that touched my heart and made me cry.  Like so many other times in my life I got so busy with the day to day that the emotion I felt and the message I got from that video was only here for a passing moment in time.  I had the honor and privilege of attending a recent TEDx event and during that event they presented that video in between the guest speakers. I was reminded of how important it is to live before you die. Death is not always a subject that we are comfortable with, yet it doesn’t need to be only associated with sadness and loss.  Death is simply transformation.  Each moment we are dying to be reborn. Research has shown that our cells are in a constant state of death and rebirth. You are not the same person you were yesterday and you will be a different person tomorrow.

Do we really understand the importance of this rebirth? Each day we are given a new beginning, each moment is a chance to be a new you, in every way, from the cellular level out.  What will you do with this new person, this new lease on life? Are you living as though today was your first day and your last? Think about it, this day is your first and last in many ways. Many of us aren’t living this way. We allow our fears to get in the way of what we really want in life. We fail to realize that on the other side of those fears is where our dreams live. We bury our dreams so far that they cannot grow. They get no light, no water, no nurturing. The seeds that grow are the ones we nurture and care for. Which seeds are you caring for?

We make excuses for not doing what we want to do. “ I can’t, I have a full time job, I have responsibilities.” “People will think I am crazy.” “ What about my family and friends?” “ I have no money, I need to save.” “ I will follow my dreams when I retire.” “ I will take a vacation when I can afford it.” “ I will do the things I want to do someday.” Guess what, if you wait until you can afford it you will never do the things you want to do and someday only leads to nowhere in the middle of never land. I don’t know of anyone who got to the end of their life and regretted not having worked enough. The bigger question would be how much do you play? Am I suggesting you drop everything, quit your job, and runaway…no, unless of course that is your dream. Some of us love our jobs and doing what we do is part of our dream. For those of you in this position, rock on, you are living your dream. How do you know which of these people you are, simple, ask yourself this question. “Would I be doing what I do even if I didn’t get paid for it?” If the answer is yes, then you are definitely on the right path. If the answer is no, you may want to rethink your passion and find a new path.

I’m sure many of you are reading this and saying, “Well that’s fine for you but it won’t work for me.” You are wrong, it works for all of us, I’m not special. The important thing to remember is to nurture those dreams even if it is in baby steps. Say for example, you want to take a vacation to some faraway place that you have always dreamed of visiting, start with little things. Research your dream destination, collect interesting facts about what you can do there. Put a picture of it on your desktop. See yourself there. How would you feel if you were standing there right now? Your body won’t know the difference and you will benefit from this every time you practice it. Start a vacation fund. Get the picture? You can take baby steps with anything that is on your list of things to do before you die. Don’t wait! Before you know your dreams will be a reality, one stop at a time.

The video I’ve been referring to was created by a young woman named Candy Chang, you can check it out here. You will laugh, you will cry, you will be inspired. This video asks a very important question, one we should all take the time to answer. Before I die I want to_________________. The answers, as you will see, ranged from humorous to serious, happy to sad and everything in between. The movement she created by this one simple act has spread world wide. Enjoy the video, and then get out there and live your dreams!