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Author: Ayanna Castro

Yeah, You Are Busy. But Are You Productive?

Yeah, You Are Busy. But Are You Productive?

“So how are things going?”

“Oh my goodness. I’m just swamped. I’ve been so busy!”

“Really? What have you been doing?”

Insert crickets….

There is a difference between being busy and being productive. When you are “busy”, wheels are spinning and you get absolutely nowhere. When you are being productive, you can see your progress. Some people don’t know the difference so when they ask someone how things are going, they are impressed by the list of things that are rattled off. Here’s the difference between busy and productive people:

  • Busy people fake having a personal mission. Productive people live their mission every single day.
  • Busy people have several “priorities”. Productive people have a selective few.
  • Busy people say “yes” at the drop of a hat. Productive people have no problem saying “no”.
  • Busy people tell what they are doing. Productive people show you.
  • Busy people multitask. Productive people focus.

We have all been guilty of glorifying the “busy”. However, in order for you to be extraordinary and live a life that will inspire others, it’s time to start being productive.

With love,

 

 

 

 

Registration is open for the 4th annual Work Your Package Women’s Conference on October 7, 2017. Limited seating is available, register today at www.wyp2017.eventbrite.com.

 

Emotional Mooching Vampires

Emotional Mooching Vampires

 

In a perfect world, we would all be surrounded by people who support and love us without any strings attached. Our co-workers would be kind, considerate and thoughtful and offer constructive criticism. Our families would be able to assess your emotional state before piling on their worries onto your shoulders and our friends would try to solve some their problems all by themselves. Unfortunately, that is not reality. So how do you recognize and deal with the emotional moochers in your life?

According to PsychologyToday.com, there are five types of emotional “vampires”:

1. The Narcissist – It’s all about them…all the time. They have an inflated sense of self-important and entitlement and crave attention. These people lack empathy and have zero to no capacity for unconditional love. It’s their way or no way.

 

2. The Victim – The ENTIRE world is against them and that’s why they are unhappy. Even the best ideas that offer solutions to their misery are met with, “Yeah, but…” Every conversation with them leaves you feeling drained.

 

3. The Controller – Somehow these people think you are theirs to control and manipulate. They have an opinion about everything and will try to discount your feelings if they don’t believe you have a valid reason to feel that way…even if they caused it.

 

4. The Constant Talker – You might have initiated the conversation but they will dominate it and won’t let you get a word in edgewise. They are not interested in anything you have to say or how you may feel.

 

5. The Drama Queen/King – These people have a flair for small incidents into off-the-chart dramas or as my granny would say, “Making a mountain out of a molehill.”

So how do you protect yourself from this emotional mooching vampires? Take a minute to think about how you feel after interacting with people. Do you feel energized or optimistic? Or do you feel drained and defeated? If it’s the latter, then maybe you need to limit the amount of time, if any, that you spend with those type of people. Dealing with that type of negativity on a daily basis can weaken your emotional snapback and agility.

Here are four strategies on how to deal with emotional mooching vampires from the book Emotional Freedom by Judith Oroloff, MD:

Strategy #1: Am I Being Sapped by an Emotional Vampire? There are some common emotional side effects such as feeling put down or your mood takes a nosedive.

Strategy #2: Practice These General Dos and Don’ts With Emotional Vampires  Whenever possible, eliminate drainers from your life. However, with those, you can’t or don’t want to remove like friends going through a rough patch or relatives — follow these tips:

  • Do: Take a breath to center yourself. Stay calm and matter of fact instead of going for their bait. Communicate clearly and firmly, with a neutral tone when setting limits.
  • Don’t: Panic. Talk yourself out your intuitions or call yourself “neurotic.” Blurt out what you’ll regret later or use an accusatory tone.

Strategy #3: Could I Be an Emotional Vampire? How Do I Know? (Own your stuff!) Everyone has a little bit of vampire in them, especially when stressed. Cut yourself a break. The solution is always to own up to where you’re emotionally stuck and change the related behavior.

Strategy #4: Identify and Combat Emotional Vampires  To be free of vampires, you must know the nature of the beast. Each one has a special talent for emotionally disabling you. The good news is that vampires are predictable. Once you get their number, you won’t be caught off guard.

Take some time to assess who is around you and create strategies on how to deal with them if they are emotional moochers. Your peace of mind and emotional well-being will thank you.

With love,

Your Scars Are Your Credentials

Your Scars Are Your Credentials

Exhausted. Irritated. Overwhelmed. That was me last week. Multiple responsibilities from home and work collided and I was left feeling defeated and depleted. I had nothing else to give to anyone or to myself. I didn’t feel like working any of my “packages” and felt guilty about it. I shared my feelings online and received permission to be still. Understand this, I didn’t need or ask for permission. What blew me away was that the people who told me it was okay for me to take a day or several days off were the people who I serve. The people who have attended Work Your Package conferences, have bought the book, read the weekly blog and double-tap my images on Instagram. It was confirmation that I could be vulnerable and transparent to the people I was created to serve without being viewed negatively. Additional confirmation came in the form of a sermon preached by Pastor Battle of Zion Church. The name of the sermon was “A Wounded Witness”. Here are some of the lessons I learned from that sermon:

1. Your wounds are a witness.
2. Some of the stuff you’ve been through, you can’t hide.
3. Being transparent is one thing, being touchable is another. (Reminds me of Dr. Brene Brown’s teaching on vulnerability)
4. Sometimes you have to reopen a wound in order to help someone else.
6. Stop giving a censored version of your wounds.
7. Wisdom, grace, life, compassion come out your wounds.
8. Don’t ask why you went through what you did. Ask why you survived it. It’s your credentials. You’ve been to hell and back so that you can help others.

It looks great on social media to appear like you have everything together but behind closed doors that facade is exhausting and eventually, the truth will seep out and your authenticity will be in question. It’s okay to say that you are tired and feeling overwhelmed. Sharing the challenges of life doesn’t diminish who you are as a person, tarnish your “brand” or your effectiveness as a leader. Wounds lead to scars and scars lead to lessons that will help others.

With love,

Write Your Story

Write Your Story

How many times have you talked yourself out of taking the path that would have led you to something extraordinary? I have a friend who has a story that needs to be told to the world. I don’t say this because they’re my friend. I say this because when they told me a small part of their story, a piece of my heart wept and then I was in awe at how they were still standing. Recently I asked my friend when they going to tell their story. They told me they were too young to tell their life story and they were going to wait another 20 years. Insert major eye roll right here. My friend doesn’t know if they going to live another 20 years. Do you know the best stories ever told and the best advice that fit your exact situation are six feet under at the cemetery? If you aren’t ready to tell your story, find a way to document it. 

You are too young to do that. Who would want to learn from you? You haven’t lived yet. You are too old. That is an old-fashioned way of thinking. Write a book? No one would buy it. Go back to school? It’s not like you’ll get a promotion when you finish…if you finish. Lose weight? Haven’t you tried to do that already? Vacation by yourself? Are you crazy? Buy a house? You’ll never get approved for a mortgage. Start a business? Do you know how many fail in the first year? You aren’t doing anything original…

These aren’t the lies that other people tell you. These are the lies that you tell yourself.

Lies hold you hostage. Denying the potential positive impact of sharing your imperfect life serves no one. Lies keep you stagnant. I believe you are more resilient than a lie. But it doesn’t matter if I believe it. Do you?

With love,

Adulting Is Overrated

Adulting Is Overrated

I don’t know about you but I couldn’t wait until I became an adult. Remember when your only responsibility was doing your homework and maybe some chores on the weekend? Fast forward about 30 years and I realize every single day that being an adult is completely overrated and can be stressful. How I long for the days when school started at 9 in the morning and ended promptly at 3 in the afternoon. I just looked my schedule for the day and all I want to do is roll my eyes. The amount of homework I had as a child is laughable as I look at my desk wondering which task I’m going to tackle first. This isn’t a full-out adult temper tantrum contained within a blog post. I don’t complain without getting closer to a solution or a goal. Do you want to see how I deal with all of this “adulting” without losing my job, family, friends or mind?

Behold the sanity keeper, the conversation starter, the stress reliever, the spontaneous group activity that I bought for my office. This coloring sheet is a glorious 5 feet wide and 4 feet tall and it derails adult temper tantrums, negativity, and tendencies to be cranky. Did you know that adult coloring relieves stress, sparks creativity and encourages mindfulness? The act of coloring requires repetition and attention to detail, so you are able to focus on the activity, not on the meeting that ran over by 30 minutes. Is coloring not your thing? What about going outside and tossing around a football or lace up your sneakers and coordinate a group walk during lunch.  Find what works for your office to help you and your fellow co-workers alleviate the stress from all of that “adulting” that we are required to do while on the road to being extraordinary.

With love,

Joy From Serving Others

Joy From Serving Others

I don’t know about you, but I get unexplainable joy from serving others. Helping others reach their goals, break through a mental road block or overcome a challenge makes me Christmas-morning happy. We help others by sharing our gifts and talents. We help others by being authentic and transparent about our struggles and heartbreak.

Have you ever had someone come to you and tell you that because of something you did or said inspired them to pursue a dream? I can tell you from personal experience, it is an amazing feeling. Don’t be selfish with your life experiences. You never who it will encourage or inspire.

With love,

Grow Anyway

Grow Anyway

I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes life can just suck. Like sucks to the point that you don’t want to be bothered with anything other than remembering to breathe and to blink your eyes. The amount of negativity the average person can face each day is enough to make your want to throw your hands up in defeat and question why you started in the first place. I get it. I really do. Now here’s where you will probably roll your eyes at me and sigh deeply. I need you to GROW ANYWAY. The concrete in your life can be anything from family members who tell you can’t do it based on your past mistakes to sabotaging co-workers. GROW ANYWAY. Ask for the promotion. Create the business plan. Enroll in school. Lose the weight. Write the damn book. No one ever said that your individual journey would be easy. If you are looking at someone else’s journey and you think they had it “easy”, invite them to have lunch so they can tell you the truth. Success is hard. Following and fulfilling your purpose might be even harder. But I can tell you that it is worth it. Don’t let a little bit of concrete stop you…GROW ANYWAY.

With love,

A Little Bit of Motivation

A Little Bit of Motivation

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been recording Facebook Live videos. I didn’t set out to do them with any frequency but alas, there is more than one. Have you seen them? If not, you are in luck, here are the links and topics I covered.

Who Is Surrounding You?

Cut It Out With Self-Imposed Restrictions

Stop Existing and Start Living

You Don’t Need Saving

I would love to hear your thoughts on the videos and hear what topics you would like for me to cover next.

With love,

Are Your Limiting Yourself?

Are Your Limiting Yourself?

Self-imposed restrictions and limitations can be great for setting a basic guideline like eating healthy or exercising. But when you limit yourself because you doubt how awesome you are or what others may say, you are blocking yourself from doing something extraordinary. Be willing to go where you are uncomfortable. Be willing to start the conversation. Be willing to volunteer for that project that no one else wants. Be willing to see the opportunity in the midst of challenge. Be willing to live instead of just existing. Be willing to be extraordinary.

With love,

From Point A to Point B

From Point A to Point B

How can you get to where you want to go if you don’t know where you are right now? While coaching an amazing woman, I asked her, “Where do you see yourself a year from now?” The question stumped her. So I asked her a basic question based on her current circumstances. “What are you really good at?” Again…crickets. When using your GPS for driving instructions, it needs your current location in order to give you directions for your destination. Getting to know yourself is the starting point on the GPS. If you are unsure of where you are, here are a few questions to get you started:

  1. What are my strengths? What are you known for? What do people call on you to do frequently?
  2. What are my short-term and long-term goals? You don’t need a complicated plan. Take some time and mind map it.
  3. What am I ashamed of? If you haven’t read “Daring Greatly” by Dr. Brene Brown, I highly recommend it.
  4. What new activities am I willing to try?
  5. What am I worried about? What is keeping you up at night or keeping you from making a decision?
  6. What does my inner critic tell me? We are our worse critics. Listen to what it is saying. Is it really true or a lie that someone told you that you keep replaying as truth?
  7. What do I do to practice self-care? This is a big one. If you don’t take the time to take care of yourself. No one is going to give it to you
  8. What am I passionate about? 
  9. Am I an introvert or extrovert? Did you know you could be an outgoing introvert? Transparent and vulnerable moment….I’m an ambivert. It took me years to figure out why I get so mentally exhausted after being around a large group of people for an extended period of time. I love to serve others but I now know when I’ve met my threshold of being sociable.
  10. If I wasn’t afraid, I would______. Some are able to complete this statement immediately. Some may take a few minutes or even days to think about it. However long it takes, answer it and then ask yourself, “Why am I afraid?”

When you are unsure of where you are, the road ahead can seem daunting. When you know who you are, you can chart your own path.

With love,