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!

get-stuff-doneI’ve recently been given the gift of more time (hope it’s not temporary)!  Now, that’s pretty much a miracle, especially for a single mom.  So how is it that I feel like I get LESS done now that I have more time?

It’s amazing how many “To Do” items keep cropping up now that I have more ‘free time.’  From laundry to doctor appointments to bills, there’s always something.  Have you ever felt this way?  It’s like none of these things seem really important in-and-of themselves, yet they had to get done.

I’m going to confess that I have a compulsion to get shit done.  It started when I became a single mom without child support.  I pretty much feel like I always need to be productive, except during my designated relax times.  But I get distracted too (one of my biggest distractions is the internet).  Keep me away from Facebook or reading articles online because a “quick minute” turns into hours, fast.  

So how do you keep the momentum going if you’re trying to get ‘er done?  

Here are my TOP 5  Get Sh*t DONE! tips (some from 4 Hour Work Week)

#5.  Limit interruptions.  Turn your phone off, close your email program, log out of Facebook, tell everyone you can’t talk right now, shut your door, escape to the library, whatever you need to do.  Interruptions are the devil!  You can always check your phone, email etc. once you’ve completed your task.

#4.  Dress for success.  I know this sounds silly, but for some reason you just feel more professional & focused if you prepare for your day/work – even if you work from home.  So go ahead, take a shower, do your hair and wear a nice shirt – you’ll feel more prepped for your tasks.

#3.  Create a sense of urgency by using a timer.  Think about how much more productive you are when you know you have a limited amount of time to do a given task.  (For example, cleaning up your house when a last minute guest is about to stop by)  If you’re working on your computer, use http://e.ggtimer.com to set a timer that will interrupt you when your time is up.  (I like to set a timer for each specific task, i.e. check Facebook, write an article, etc.)  This also method also gives you that bonus warm, fuzzy feeling of completing something before the timer buzzes!

#2.  Plan Ahead.  Create two things:  a To Do List and Calendar for your week ahead (I like to do this Sunday nights).  Make your To Do List first, then see where you can fit the items in to your week.  Remember to allot some “free time” for unexpected events and relaxing, and always overestimate how long things will take you.  If you can’t fit everything from your list into your calendar, then prioritize & either bump these items to the next week or see what you can remove from your existing calendar.  Knowing what lies ahead helps create peace of mind and a clear head means better, more creative results throughout the week.

#1.  Get RID of CABLE TV!  A few years ago, when I was operating two businesses, raising my kids and acting VP of Marketing for a women’s business organization, a colleague asked me “How do you manage to do all of that at once?”  “I don’t watch TV” was my answer.  Think about how often you watch TV – 1-2 hrs a day or more?  That’s at least 30 hrs per month.  Just think what you could fit in those wasted hours (Hint, hint: achieving your dreams)  Now I’m not saying never watch, I enjoy a good movie or even a TV show sometimes, just scale back and see what you can accomplish.  [If you’re more of a gamer than a TV watcher…this more than applies to you as well!]

Hope these will help in your quest to get stuff done.  Please share your tips below as well.  I’m all ears!!

 

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

1 billion dollarsThis is an interesting exercise that I like to revisit from time to time. I also love to hear how people respond.

Here’s my question to YOU:  So if I gave you 1 billion dollars, in other words enough money so that you would never need to work for a living again, what would you do with your life?

Now, I don’t just want to hear about how you’d travel or buy tons of shoes – those are fine, but what I would really like to know is what your dreams are, the kinds of things you’d work at or risks you’d take if you knew you didn’t have to worry about making a living.

So will you please tell me in the comments section below? I can’t wait to hear about what you would do!

I know this may be hard for some of us, but I think it’s really important to think about.

It was one month ago (March 6th) that I started this blog and publicly committed myself to living my dream (& writing here every day)!!  Wow, it’s been an interesting journey so far.  There have been moments where it was more challenging than I thought, areas of my life that were challenged more than I could have imagined.  There have been some great rewards already – like being able to help some friends, getting in to better habits, writing every day (even if it’s not a lot, on days when I’m exhausted) and I also got back in to Toastmasters.

I really appreciate the support I’ve received from so many friends.  I feel very blessed by you.  I’m excited about the direction of my life and I definitely have a clearer vision of what I want to achieve and even some directions as to how!  I’m so excited!

In the coming weeks, I may be changing a little bit of the format of the writing of this blog.  To improve the posts, I may end up posting a little less frequently.  I feel like a lot of these posts are, as Anne Lamott would say, shitty first drafts.  But hey at least I’m writing and staying accountable in my journey to fulfill my life’s purposes. I’ll let you know when I finish deciding how to  proceed.  For now I’ll still be posting every day.

Thank you for reading, I am beyond blessed that anyone would even like to read along this journey with me.

<3, Andrea

habits

My reason/ excuse is that I worked two jobs today – my reason I’m not writing much tonight.

So I am working on trust in a certain area of my life, therefore I thought it apropos to share this quote:

“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”
― Ernest Hemingway

🙂

Last night I heard a powerful story of vision and passion, a story I am excited to share with you.  At Toastmasters* one of my co-members spoke about the idea of vision, specifically our individual visions for what we wanted to achieve through Toastmasters.  He invited us to take a moment  to really think about what we hope to do with the speaking and leadership skills we are learning.  He illustrated what is was like to have vision (& pursue it) with two stories.  One of those stories especially struck a chord with me.

Viktor-FranklViktor Frankl was an Austrian psychiatrist and neurologist who lived through WWII in Europe.  Dr. Frankl was also Jewish and as such was relegated to concentration camps, where, as you may guess, he encountered the extremes of human suffering.  What set Dr. Frankl apart however was his approach to the ordeals he faced.  Despite the dire circumstances of his surroundings, including all of his family suffering similar fates, he decided to use his passion and experience to help others cope with their desperate situation.  He used his knowledge to help those around him and himself.  Here is an excerpt from the book he wrote after he was released from  Türkheim camp:

“We stumbled on in the darkness, over big stones and through large puddles, along the one road leading from the camp. The accompanying guards kept shouting at us and driving us with the butts of their rifles. Anyone with very sore feet supported himself on his neighbor’s arm. Hardly a word was spoken; the icy wind did not encourage talk. Hiding his mouth behind his upturned collar, the man marching next to me whispered suddenly: “If our wives could see us now! I do hope they are better off in their camps and don’t know what is happening to us.”

That brought thoughts of my own wife to mind. And as we stumbled on for miles, slipping on icy spots, supporting each other time and again, dragging one another up and onward, nothing was said, but we both knew: each of us was thinking of his wife. Occasionally I looked at the sky, where the stars were fading and the pink light of the morning was beginning to spread behind a dark bank of clouds. But my mind clung to my wife’s image, imagining it with an uncanny acuteness. I heard her answering me, saw her smile, her frank and encouraging look. Real or not, her look was then more luminous than the sun which was beginning to rise.

A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth – that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way—an honorable way—in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words, “The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory.”

Saying Yes to Life in Spite of Everything: A Psychologist Experiences the Concentration Camp (in German), known in English by the title Man’s Search for Meaning (1959)

When I heard this story last night it cut me to the quick.  We all have situations we are trying to “survive,” or muddle through without losing our minds – a dramatic family situation, a bad relationship, an irritating job, etc.  But most of us (here in America) are not facing the real drama of living through something like a concentration camp.  Yet this man, Dr. Viktor Frankl, when faced with a nightmare, decided to not give up hope or lose his vision.  He reframed his circumstances and continued to use his God-given gifts anyway and as a result he helped many as well as himself.

Dr. Frankl went on to teach across Europe and the US, including Harvard.  He received 29 honorary doctoral degrees, published 39 books, translated into 40 languages, one of which (Man’s Search for Meaning) was toted one of  “the ten most influential books in the United States.”  In 1985 he was awarded the Oskar Pfister Award for contributions to religion and psychiatry.

I look forward to learning more about Dr. Frankl.  But in the meantime, I am blessed to have heard a bit of his story.  It fuels my commitment to live fully, passions infused and vision intact, despite the hard times.

Imagine what is possible if we choose to shine despite the darkness, if we reach down to the deepest part of us and pull up our true selves to face the world!!

 

 *Toastmasters is an educational group which helps you learn speaking & leadership skills.  (Let me know if you ever want to come with- it’s awesome)

flower_mudI’m tired, but these quotes are true.

Here are a few simple quotes from Eckhart Tolle tonight as I didn’t have the energy to quite finish the post I’m working on. 🙂

Cheers to keep plugging along!

“Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.”
― Eckhart Tolle

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”
― Eckhart Tolle

It’s been such a nice Easter, I actually had some time to do a little art on eggs. I do not get much time to just do art for art’s sake these days. It’s a very peaceful, mindful practice. I hope you had a lovely holiday.

One thing I am going to be working on this week is going to bed earlier and getting up earlier so I have time to start my days with more mindfulness.

Here’s a nice start of the morning prayer from Marianne Williamson:

Dear God,
I give you this morning.
Please take away
My despair of yesterday.
Help me to forgive the things
That caused me pain
And would keep me bound.
Help me to begin again.
Please bless my path
And illumine my mind.
I surrender to You
The day ahead.
Please bless every person
And situation
I will encounter.
Make me who You would have me be,
That I might do as You would have me do.
Please enter my heart
And remove all anger,
Fear and pain.
Renew my soul
And free my spirit.
Thank you, God,
For this day.
Amen.