Empowerment

100-Shots-You-Dont-Take-Wayne-Gretzky-QuotesI recently wrote a speech for a client that was designed to inspire and promote positive and effective leadership. While writing this piece, I became enthralled by the empowerment aspect of it. The truth is, empowerment seems like a grand and often unreachable concept. When in reality, it is actually much easier to accomplish than we make it out to be.

This morning, I was sitting on my front porch drinking coffee and watching my son ride his bike before school. I realized, that even in this simple moment, I felt empowered. Having the ability to write and edit has awarded me this opportunity to spend mornings with my son and not be rushed to get him to school so I can get to work on time myself. Flexibility is what has driven me to start a freelance writing career in the first place and I feel truly blessed that I have a talent that allows me to work from home.

At the same time, I struggle because being self-employed and working from a home office is quiet and lonely. I sincerely miss the hustle and bustle of a busy corporate office.  I miss interacting with others on a daily basis and having a team of people to work on mutual goals with. I am torn between two passions and desperately seeking a way to bridge that gap.

So, how is this internal conflict empowering? Well, I got here, to this point in my life because of the challenges and setbacks that I have faced on this great journey. I have had the bad boss that we all dread. I have had the interoffice feelings of inferiority that often come when working with others. On the flip side, I have also had some amazing and inspirational bosses who truly know what it means to empower people. I have also made many life-long friends while working the traditional 9-5 job. I wholeheartedly believe that both the good and bad that I have met with over the years has brought me to this point. These experiences have given me an understanding and I am more confident now than ever, that I am on the right road. I do not currently know where that road is going yet but I do not regret a single moment that I have gotten to spend as a stay at home mom. Although, it led to a spotty work history as I have spent many years working on a degree remotely and trying to establish my passions and career goals at the same time.

Nevertheless, it was on my front porch this morning that I realized that empowerment is simply a personal connection. Those amazing leaders that I wrote about in that speech for my client, made personal connections with others. Investing in people helps leaders build trust and establish respect. At the same time, bad leaders are also making connections. Except, when you are connecting with people based on selfish objectives those connections fail to empower other people. Instead, it brings out the negativity in others and makes them feel unappreciated. In my situation, if I were to only focus on my internal struggle, the fact that I can’t decide if I want a traditional job or to continue this freelance career, I would be brought down as well. Focusing on the problem was blocking my mind from realizing that. I am blessed because I have the ability to do either one and excel at whichever option I choose. I can make the commitment to invest a little of each day seeking a traditional job and a little of each day investing in my freelance writing and editing career. The path I choose is only limited by my ability to try. As Wayne Gretzky said, “you will miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Both of these possibilities are very important to me and ignoring one to focus on the other is not an option.

Empowerment is making connections. Great leaders make positive connections with people. Empowering ourselves is a concept that is often more difficult to see and define. I choose to feel empowered because I have amazing options that have presented themselves in my life. Empowering ourselves has to be a choice that we alone must make. We have to form positive connections that directly align with our goals and objectives. Nobody else can bring you to greatness but you.

How can you work to define empowerment with your internal struggles? How will you tackle the challenges that you face without losing sight of your goals?

Life Renewal

asphalt dark dawn endless

One year ago, I walked out of a job that was literally sucking the life out of me. At the time, I was not fully aware of the massive negative impact it was having on my health. I had gained 70 pounds and I was upset, emotional, and angry ever day. Ultimately, I was in a very unhealthy situation and it took leaving to help me see that.

Since that day I have been working on getting my life back on its proper course and am dedicating myself to be better, both physically and mentally. To begin with, I worked diligently to lose the extra weight. (For those interested in that process, that is a different blog scheduled for a different day.) Now that I was physically in a better place it was time to work on getting my brain and emotions on board also. Naturally, when I lost the horrible boss, the added stress and the extra pounds some of that happened on its own.  I felt better overall, but it wasn’t enough. I soon ventured down the path towards a full-blown life renewal.

So, what exactly is a life renewal? For me, it meant burying the past and hurtful memories. I spent some time sifting through the events that had transpired and pulling from those the lessons that I needed to use to forge onward. After extracting the useful information, the lessons, I began to stamp out the negative, depressing, and even vengeful thoughts to keep them from making frequent repeat appearances in my life.

I used three tools to help me on this new journey. First and foremost, I had a strong support system. I have many amazing people in my life to cry with, to laugh with, and to dream with.  People are important because they offer us a sense of security and comfort. I have had friends come and go, some are distant some are close, but I know and understand that they are there for me whenever I need them.

The next step is crucial, you have to remove all the negativity and replace it with positive change. A friend encouraged me to watch the Netflix documentary called, The Secret. This paints a picture of how successful people rise to the top using the power of their thoughts. Constant negativity will bring you down, and those around you also. This show expressed the importance of focusing on the good in order to avoid the bad.

However, the main objective that I took from this film was the lesson from Lee Brower. His message resonated with my soul on a practical level. Mr. Brower told the story of his Gratitude Rock. This was just a simple stone that he kept in his pocket to remind him to think of what he is grateful for twice a day. Now, considering I don’t always have pockets I chose not to use a rock as my reminder. Instead, I put my watch on every morning and take it off every night. I use this action twice a day as an opportunity to be grateful for the joys in my life. I will confess, some days are more difficult than others to be grateful for but those are the best days to remember the blessings amongst the sorrows and I cherish them the most. It is amazing, the power that gratitude has in your life when you let it in. Thank you, Mr. Brower, for this tremendous yet simple trick. I have noticed a significant difference in my spirit since inviting this empowering change into my life.

Finally, accept what is not changeable in your life and learn to mold what is changeable to your own benefit. During my new journey in life, I have started working as a freelance writer and editor, as such I began editing a book for a client that offers an intriguing perspective on the different versions of normal in our life. The author introduces a concept of labeling the things we cannot change as “concrete normals” and the rest of them she calls “malleable normals”. The objective is to help you learn to control the way you look at what is normal and it teaches you how to avoid the pitfalls that it presents in our life. I am looking forward to that book, “Grow Up Already” by Renee Lowry being published. When it is, I will post a link here. Ultimately, I know you have all read, heard, and cherished the serenity prayer, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” God made this sound so simple, yet it is one of the most difficult things we face in life. This book really helped put this concept into manageable terms and helps us learn to regain control over the events in our life.

I wish that I could tell you that implementing these three changes magically made my life perfect and caused money to grow in my vegetable garden in the back yard. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened and never will. The truth of the matter is that life renewal isn’t a magical journey that erases all of your problems. It is merely a mission to focus on the good in your life, it is a goal to invite positive change, and it is an opportunity to surround yourself with people who will help you become the best version of yourself.

What I have gained from this journey is a new outlook. I have been introduced to new potentials that I never before imagined possible. When you focus on the good in life, that is the vision you will have as you move into the future. I am looking forward to discovering the new adventures in my life and learning from the struggles and inspiration that comes with it.

Living for Tomorrow

At times, being human is a challenge. Especially, being a human of the female variety in particular. Women are naturally driven by our emotions and logic tends to play a secondary role. As we know, anytime our emotions are involved it is just an open invitation to let in the crazy drama.

Personally, I try to maintain a healthy level of self-awareness and balance it with an equal effort to be conscious of those around me. Sadly, this ideology does not always exempt me from said drama. In fact, it often invites me to the throes of a dramatic situation. The bottom line is this… drama, by its very nature, is unavoidable. So, quit trying to avoid it and learn how to use it to your advantage instead. After all, we are all in this crazy, mixed-up world together so we might as well make the best of it while we are here.

Becoming a conscious human can help you live for tomorrow, it can help you build a brighter future, and it can help you find yourself in a sea of others swimming towards their own best life. So, what does it mean to become a conscious human? The definition of conscious according to my good pal Merriam Webster, is to perceive, apprehend, or notice with a degree of controlled thought or observation. I believe that the key word here is “controlled”, when we understand that we are in control of how we think, feel, and act then, and only then, can we begin to move our lives in the direction we choose.

There are three things that we need to take into consideration when we work towards becoming a conscious human.

  1. Don’t be a juggler!

No, I am not referring to those old tennis balls you have stored in the garage. I am talking about the many hats we wear on a daily basis; being a mom, a wife, an aunt, a sister, daughter, co-worker, and friend. Many times, we get lost in the roles we have that other people rely on us for and we lose track of who we are and what we want out of life. The most important role you have in this world is to be true to yourself. If you build a strong inner core and foundation than the other roles we step into as wife, mother, etc… will be that much easier. Spend some time sorting out what you want for your life, invest time in yourself, and make sure you commit a certain part of each day to take care of you! The rest will fall into place as it should, no juggling necessary.

  1. R.E.S.P.E.C.T

Don’t just take Aretha Franklin’s word for it, find out what respect means to you. Yes, you need to respect yourself first. However, you must first and foremost realize that respect is a two-way street. If someone has disrespected you, maybe you did not earn it. Adversely, if you do not have respect for someone, odds are, they didn’t earn it. Either way, your behavior, and actions will reflect that disrespect as will theirs. Thus, you have the beginnings of an unhealthy relationship.

At the end of the day, you have to make the decision to work on the relationship or walk away. Some situations are beyond repair and are better left in the past. Once you have sifted through your current relationships and decided which ones are unhealthy, work to move forward and allow yourself to focus on your current goals. Maintaining healthy relationships will become second nature as you gain respect for yourself and learn to avoid situations that are toxic. Keep people in your life that help support you, build you up, and are a positive influence.

  1. Embrace your Future

Before you can move forward you need to be able to escape the shadows of yesterday and reach beyond them to embrace your future. In other words, do not dwell on the problems or struggles you had in the past. Use those dark times or difficulties as lessons to help you build a better tomorrow. Once you can learn to view those challenging situations as opportunities to help you grow, they will become easier to accept, cope with, and move on from. Set goals for yourself and strive to reach them. Your best life is within reach if you are prepared to embrace it!

 

You are confined only by the walls you build yourself. ~Andrew Murphy

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