If you’re ever in a down moment, need a little inspiration, Sara’s got it for you. I heart this video/song! (And yes, I’ve been known to spontaneously dance in public – my kids & boyfriend can attest to that).

 

It’s in the words left unsaid,

the home you once had,

love lost.

What life should have been.

The light in her eyes,

the concentration in his lips,

the arms that hold you now.

Warm.

 

The friends that remain.

Food on the table.

A good busy.

Hope.

 

Look into their eyes.

Love and say it.

Thankful.

10,000 hours, that’s what experts, like Malcolm Gladwell, say it takes to master a subject.  Whether it’s chess, cooking, or public speaking it takes that long to truly master your craft.  Daunting, huh?

That’s a ton of hours, if you really think about it.  For instance, let’s say you have a ton of time and can devote 20 hours per week to your craft.  It would still take you about  10 years to become a master.  Oh gee, is that all? Piece of cake.  (I figure I’ve got about 6k hours left to become a “master” at writing, and probably  9k hours left to becoming a public speaking master.)

To be honest, it’s a pretty obscure goal.  I mean, sure there’s a sense of accomplishment to saying “I’ve written for 10,000 hours!” but after your friends congratulate you and then roll their eyes, there’s not much left.  It’s not as if there’s some certificate of completion or doctoral degree to be awarded.  So perhaps it’s more useful to set a more tangible goal, like who you want to be, and then choose the goal.

In  Paul Tough’s How Children Succeed (a must read, btw) he quotes grand master of chess, Jonathan Rowson, “When it comes to ambition it is crucial to distinguish between ‘wanting’ something and ‘choosing’ it.”   If you decide for instance, that you want to become a best-selling author, you may not only not become one, but you will then suffer the disappointment and regret of falling short of this goal.  However, if you choose to become a best-selling author, then you will then “reveal your choice through your behavior and your determination,” as Rowson says, “Every action says ‘This is who I am’.”

Of course this is not new news; we’ve heard this philosophy of positive visualization before in books like The Secret.  Particularly poignant though is the idea of choice when it comes to who you will be.  There’s something especially powerful and frightening about choosing one’s destiny.  There are a lot of “what if’s” in life, and it can be petrifying to take the reins and say “this is who I will be.”  Ironically enough, there is also something equally terrifying about not choosing, effectively letting the chips fall where they may, possibly never living up to your own potential.

How can you choose to be who you want, knowing there’s a possibility you may fail?  Life is both implicitly simple and dangerously complex.   It has certain “rules;” for instance, you can say that you will be a flower, but you will never actually metamorph into a petalled perennial.  Yet someone can grow up in poverty, living in a van and then, with determination, become one of the funniest, wealthiest comedians in Hollywood (yep that’s Jim Carrey) .  So how do you know if it is possible to be the person you want to be?  In essence, are you thinking unrealistically that you want to be a flower?  This the point at which some logic is thrown out the window and you move into the realm of possibility.  Is it possible, in some way, despite the challenges you face, to become what you want to become?

Where is the possibility in your life?  I know you’ve got a million excuses for not being “where you want to be.”  I’ve had them too and still wrestle with them.  But at every crossroad you make a decision to either move closer to who you want to be or further away.  It may not be an easy journey, but it may be a possible one.

Contrary to what many success gurus say, you very likely will not start making six figures 3 months after you decide to choose your dream.  God knows I haven’t had that experience and honestly, I’d be a shitty person if I had.  There is beauty in the hard work and chaos that goes along with fighting for your dream.  Sometimes the universe just aligns with your goals and it is an unbelievable ease.  Other times the universe tests your resolve.

In order to live in the Possibility zone, it takes faith.  You have to start having faith in the possibility that you can achieve your dream – YOU, not someone else.  You can have 100 people who believe in you (and boy does that feel great), but if you, at your core, secretly do not, then you’re in for trouble.  Sure you may even make it to your goal, bolstered by the love and support of others.  Believe you me I am not downplaying that support.  I would be nowhere without the help of my support system.  However, unless you learn to have faith in yourself you will always be seeking out the acceptance of others, which is just plain draining.

On my desk, I keep a framed little artwork piece with a quote from St. Theresa, it’s an absolutely beautiful quote and this line is just perfect:  “May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith,”  Just soak in that for a bit.

Think of the unending possibilities for you if you can have even a start of faith, in yourself and choose.  You aren’t on this earth for nothing, choose who you are.

st-theresa-may-there-be-peace

And of course, I couldn’t write this post without a shout out to Incubus’ Make Yourself:

 *Read Paul Tough’s How Children Succeed to see what that foundation is.

 

Failure paves the road to success. I’ve come to terms with that idea. I’ve even come to be almost comfortable with certain types of failure.  But what really gets my goat is the by-product of failure, aka self-doubt. For me it’s not the failure itself, nor the fear of it, it’s the seed of doubt that failing plants in my head. Logically, I know that each failure just means I’m closer to achieving my goal, yet I can’t help but wonder sometimes, is there something wrong with me?

I recently applied for a writing scholarship that I figured I was a shoe-in for, then fear, failure and self-doubt paid me a visit. The award was based heavily on the student’s economic situation and, of course, their essay. Since, at the moment, my financial situation is very much less-than-savory and I wrote a darn decent essay, I figured, I’ve got this. I just ‘felt’ like it was mine. So when I got the rejection email I was actually a bit surprised. It’s not as if this scholarship was a make or break for going to school. It wasn’t as if I was being rejected enrollment by the only school I wanted to go to. Still it saddened me and I thought, well, I doubt they had a lot of applicants in worse economic situations, so perhaps my writing just wasn’t up to snuff. And that was the ticket to make me melancholy for the rest of the night. Depressed enough to have too much kettle corn and two cocktails, on a weeknight nonetheless! As I guiltily mixed the drink, breaking my diet, I thought, I know I am a good writer, why didn’t they think so? (The adult equivalent of: “ Why don’t they like me?”)

The problem started with my expectation, or the weight, I put on this scholarship. I tried to be balanced and detached. I told myself that even if I didn’t get it, it wasn’t a big deal. I still had the possibility of a grant and if all else failed, at least I had enough money saved for one class and that was a start. Secretly though, held on to this idea: if they give me the scholarship it’s confirmation that someday I will be a super successful writer – that perhaps I will be the golden child of the writer’s program. So naturally, when it turned out I was not, in fact, the golden child, that I was very likely not even the best candidate, my ego took a blow.

It’s hard to be a dreamer and know when to temper it. As an idealist, the part of me that says, you’ve got something here, conventions don’t apply, live extraordinary, and pushes me to believe in something bigger, yeah that part, also has some unrealistic hopes (and standards). As dreamers it’s as if the ability to think big is just built into our DNA. Unrealistic expectations of grandeur can be my forte and, in truth, part of the motivation for achieving great things in my life. But sometimes it gets to be too much. When it does it leads to what a lot of us dreamers and entrepreneurs experience as moments of self-doubt and discouragement.

We think we’re supposed to keep humming along, motivated every day to reach new heights – to achieve what we set out to do, without being blindsided by failure. Yet when the dark cloud of failure or doubt moves in we think of giving up, throwing in the towel, that maybe we aren’t quite as cool as we think we are. Truly we are both not as cool as and somehow totally more rad than we even realize. Let me explain, we aren’t necessarily going to fulfill every expectation, hope or dream our passion drums up, but what makes us extraordinary is that we do not get stuck (for too long) on the side of that road. We are the ones who keep moving forward even we feel so beaten down that we want to give up.

In a dire moment of parenting overload and flounced onto my bed and blubbered to my boyfriend, sitting nearby, “It’s all too much, sometimes I just want to run away, I used to think I was strong and now I’m so weak.” (It had been a particularly tumultuous day in teenagerland.) In his ever more rational way of looking at the world, he said, “Andrea, what makes you strong is not that you handle everything perfectly, it’s that you struggle and cry and then, even when you feel like doing the opposite, you never give up.” It’s probably one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me.

Life is full of storms, and there are even more when you’re pursuing a dream; sometimes you feel like you’re about to drown, or that it might even be easier to just drown and be done with it.  Just remember YOU are the only one who can make your dream happen. Sometimes you’re going to give out, but that doesn’t mean you need to give up.

3 (or 4) Ways to stave off this particular brand of mind-freaking:

1. Fall in Love Again. Remind yourself how you felt when you took the first step of this journey, the place where you were inspired and motivated, impassioned to pursue this path. Being a dreamer or entrepreneur is like being in love. It always starts with the “honeymoon” phase. As you go through the hard times you need to remind yourself of why you are here in the first place, why it is so worth it. If you don’t you will lose sight or at least focus and it will not end well. So take the time to fall in love with your dream again.

2. Identify what secret/private expectations you have of a given situation and let them go. This is something you might not even tell anyone else. (Like my “golden child” fantasy) Easy right? Bah. This is a hard one, but if you can “let it go” and realize that things will happen as they should and that you’ve done all you can, you free yourself up for possibility. The state of possibility is where you can more rationally decide what actions you will take if this particular situation doesn’t work out – rather than reacting emotionally after the fact. And if you’re having a hard time letting it go, remind yourself that, most importantly, if it doesn’t go the way you’d like – you’re still awesome and you’ll get there, eventually.

3. Be Kind. When things don’t go the way you’d like, instead of berating yourself or bashing the person or circumstances, be compassionate with yourself and, gasp, maybe even others. Vent for sure, it’s important to get all that crap out of your head and heart. But then be kind to yourself. Learn whatever lessons you can from the situation. Improve where you need to improve, stretch and grow, but be vigilant about not allowing fear to take over again.

4. (PRAY like you mean it!)

 

Have some of your own tips?  Please share!

Yesterday my family & I played the roles of treasure hunters at the Rose Bowl Flea Market.  Little did I know I would find this unexpected gem.   Each of us  focused on our goals,  my primary aim was the perfect coffee table, hiding somewhere in the sea of booths.   We traipsed aisle by aisle, in 90 degree heat to look through antiques, records, glass bottles and other curiosities.

The first thing I noticed about Matt Wilcox’s booth was this hard-hitting, laser-cut plaque:   

dreams-board

 In case you can’t read the text (the pic isn’t the greatest) and because it’s worthy of a repeat:

“If you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs.”  

-Dhirubhai Ambani (or Tony Gaskins) [this quote seems to be accredited to both guys]

This quote hit me like a punch to the chest.  I almost bought it on the spot, but was saving my cash for a coffee table – which I scored later.  

Thanks Matt for reminding us that we need to make OUR dreams happen (or be content working for someone else’s)!

(Oh and I will be ordering  soon, Matt!)

Visit Matt online:  wilcoxart.etsy.com or facebook.com/wilcoxart

 

Short & Simple:  Three things I’ve found to inspire you today!

I’ve been doing a lot of research lately on women, single moms and empowerment.  I’m so excited about the opportunities that are popping up and my first book (that I’m working on).  I want to share three things with you right now, to keep your momentum going, to help you keep plugging along to your dreams.

 

shelly-ulaj1.  Read the story of Women Empowered  founder, Shelly Ulaj

 

 

 

 

 

2. Listen to the words of this quote and let it be your daily meditation:

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  

Live the life you have imagined.”

– Henry David Theoreau

she-did-it

3.  Watch this video – What a great project!  

I can’t wait til this comes out.

 

 

 

 

Have something inspiring to share?  Please do!

“The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love.”
Hubert H. Humphrey, Jr.

some "girl time" © kirbybird

some “girl time” © kirbybird

Sometimes life pummels you with some curve balls and, if you’re anything like me, you get a little light headed and starting spinning.   I find myself doing this time again when I get smacked with a stressful situation; to mix metaphors, I totally start spinning my wheels.  I’ve been struggling lately with some personal hurdles while trying to keep focused on my path to my dreams.

I can see a million possibilities and it’s hard for me to pick the right one and sometimes reaching out for help is hard.  Studies show that friendship is one of the major contributors to happiness and yet so many of us hermit-ify ourselves when we’re trying to make a decision or cope with a problem.  “But I don’t want to burden them,” or “They are probably busy” or “I’m sure they are sick of me by now,” are a few of my choice excuses for not calling a friend when I need help.

A few years ago I was really going through it, my business was failing, I had no love life and I was facing the harrowing reality of having to move back in with my mom. (love you mom)  I just shutdown emotionally.  I withdrew from many of my friends and it was hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I felt extremely alone.  I was upset that more of my friends weren’t reaching out to me to help me through this hard time.  I was blaming them for my feeling lonely.  One day I realized that “you’re only alone if you let yourself be.’  Believe it or not your friends still care about you, but they have their own lives too and won’t always remember to call.  Sometimes you have to be the one to reach out and pipe up, “Hey, I really need you right now, I’m struggling and I need to talk (& a hug).”

If  you’re on your path to living your dream, or you just want to be more positive, it’s time to start getting back in touch with your friends.   They help you sort through your thoughts and give you fresh perspective.  Plus they give you a  hug when you need it!  [Bonus!]  Sometimes it just gives you a boost to know that someone cares and gives you the strength to hold on to the end of your rope.  When I go home after having spent time with friends I am energized and have that youthful zeal back in my life.  I feel more prepared to tackle the challenges ahead.  The funny thing is, this phenomena goes both ways, as you both share your struggles and joys, you BOTH come away feeling better.

A word of caution:  avoid Toxic-Negativity-Mongers and Stuff-Their-Feelings-So-They-Look-Righteous-Peddlers.  You’ve heard it before, but its good to have a reminder  that it’s important to pay attention to which friends you are reaching out to when you are going through a hard time.  A lot of us, (I’m totally raising my hand here), have the tendency to call up our B*tching Buddy when something goes awry and just let loose a deluge of garbage back & forth.  Or how about your Negative Nelly friend?  Need someone to agree with how horrible your situation is, there he/she is to comply.  These “friends,” although well meaning and offering toxic condolences that will only weigh you down and you should stay away.  Now I’m not saying just go to someone who is ONLY positive either, because that kind of saccharin sweet is just bull pucky, in my opinion.  Their glossed-over perspective will only leave you feeling needy and invalidated.  You know the kinds – Toxic-Negativity-Mongers and Stuff-Their-Feelings-So-They-Look-Righteous-Peddlers.  Find your true friends, the ones that know the real you and can empathize with your pain or fear, but also have a positive perspective on life.  If your selection of those kinds of friends is slim…perhaps its time to start reaching out to make some new friends.

Side Note:  I am currently reading The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin.

Lots of good info on the circumstances and practices that lead to happiness.  Hint, hint – friendship is a big one.  Check out Gretchen’s blog (I’ve linked directly to her category on “Friends”)

 

 

Surrender.

I needed to hear that today and as the Universe would have it I came a great blog post reminding me of the power of surrender (see video below).  I’ve been struggling with some personal and career decisions lately, and frankly, stressing myself the hell out.  A big stressor was recently removed from my life, but ironically, more devious little stress buggers cropped up in it’s place.  I knew the problem was not just the source of stress, but me and how I choose to deal with it.  Still, sometimes I’m so lost in the problem, I don’t stop to really think and find the solution.  A solution is surrender…and here’s my story:

About 2 years ago I was really struggling in the dating world.  I wasn’t finding anyone I truly wanted to be with and to be honest, there were a lot of guys more interested in getting into my pants than my head.  My mindset of yearning for a mate fed into that vibe, unconsciously attracting the opposite kind of guy that I wanted.  I had the usual cadre of blocks in my head:  I’m not cool enough, I’ve got two kids, my business is flailing, & conversely, I like myself, I think I’m pretty cool, am a good mom, am ambitious, workout, etc. -SO WHY don’t I have a boyfriend?  I was deeply entrenched in WHY.

Then I realized that even if I found my soul mate, at some point, I would, at least near the end of life, be without him again.  At that realization, I decided right then that I needed to get “ok” with being alone.  I had to fully surrender my fear of not finding “the one” and for me, that meant “give it to God.”  I kept working at it because it didn’t come easy, but every day, sometimes many times I would visualize the burden being lifted and me giving it away.  Visualization helped a TON.

The anxiety, the struggle, the insecurity, the stupid decisions melted away and I was comfortable in my own skin, on my own at a movie and alone in my bed.  I flourished in the things, friends and family I loved and loved myself just as I was.  A few months went by and then out of the blue, the most wonderful man I have ever known came into my life.

I’m not saying that if you surrender you’re going to get exactly what you want right away.  Sometimes you will get exactly what you didn’t know you needed in an unexpected form.  (I’ve been there, lemme tell ya)  But, surrender is the key to open the door to the free-flowing abundance of how things are meant to be for you.

Here’s the video post from Carrie of Female Entrepreneur Association that prompted this post today:

And here’s the video of Oprah that she refers to:  Watch BOTH!! 🙂

There have been a lot of positive changes in my life recently and some big moves.  I am at a pivot point with the goals in my life – as you know if you’ve been reading any of my posts. 😉  So today when a Female Entrepreneur Magazine post popped up on my Facebook feed I was stoked to find “just what I needed.”  I wanted to share this with you because it just may be perfect timing in your life right now, to dig in and sort out just what it is that you want.  They are offering a Free download of their The May Review, a guidebook, mind mapping, goal setting tool kit of sorts.

Fair warning, you have to sign up for their email list (but you can always unsubscribe if you don’t like it).

Who knows maybe this will be your weekend to have a glass of wine & plan your pathway to living your dreams!  Here’s the link:  http://femaleentrepreneurassociation.com/2013/05/the-may-review-your-guidebook-planner-map-to-staying-on-track-and-achieving-amazing-things-this-year/

may-review