As we near the end of another year, have you taken time to think about all that you have accomplished? The lessons that you have learned? The relationships and partnerships you have formed and hopefully cultivated? Or are you dwelling on everything you didn’t get accomplished? I’ll give you about 5 more seconds to continue doing that. Are you done? Good. Reliving the past will keep you there unless you are gathering lessons your mistakes.
If you have followed my blog long enough or have read my book you know that I don’t believe in New Year Resolutions. I have resolutions that I aspire to all year long. I’ve added some new resolutions like not loving someone more than I love myself. There are moments in time when you will selflessly put your needs aside in order to serve as support to someone else in the their moments of need. However, continuous deprivation of self love is a detriment to your personal development and growth. That was a tough lesson to learn but it was necessary in order for me to keep moving forward.
As 2014 comes to a close, I have no regrets only an optimistic view on 2015. My little birdie is excited because she lives in the realm of opportunity. My second annual women’s conference is 90 days away. I’m looking forward to inspiring women to enhance what they already have in order to become extraordinary. In the coming weeks I’ll be featuring some of the speakers who will be sharing their knowledge in personal finance, health and wellness, beauty and style, social media, career strategy, entrepreneurship and personal development. Until then…finish off 2014 without regret and welcome 2015 with enthusiasm.
Imagine this, you are standing on the proverbial corner of opportunity and “holy-cow-this-is-amazing”. The opportunity is so amazing you can’t believe it just dropped in your lap. You are in the process of fulfilling your dreams and then…you see your child crying.
Welcome to my reality. I was offered an opportunity to host a talk show on a local television cable station and I was beyond excited. I’m talking excited like it was network television with syndication and I was one step closer to being the next Oprah. Then a series of obstacles began to appear: the studio hours for taping weren’t conducive to my 9 to 5 job with benefits, sites to shoot on-location interviews were hard to come by and it took forever for my volunteer camera person to get trained. I came up with a plan to work around them. And then…I saw my baby girl crying because she didn’t “have a troop with her people”. Don’t jump off the deep end, she wasn’t referring to race or color, she was referring to other 2nd grade girls who are Girl Scout Brownies. So as much as I want to be on television, my child’s happiness is more important. So guess who has signed up to be a Brownie Trooper Leader? Yup, that would be me. The OCD Planner in me has already set up a Pinterest board to capture ideas for meetings and activities.
Fact is, I’m already pulled in multiple directions and quite frankly I wondered what the added the pressure of scouting for talent, writing scripts, taping and editing two shows per month would do to my already packed schedule. I would have been stretched to the point of being transparent. It has always been my hope that everything I do helps me to be a positive role model for my children and I also need them to know that I love them and that they are a priority. No, I’m not abandoning my dream of being on television and sharing my message with the world. I’m managing my priorities and my children are one of them. Ambition is awesome and ten years from now I don’t want to be successful and filled with heartbreaking regret because I’ve missed out on some of the most important years of my daughters lives. Girl Scout Cookies anyone?
Have you discovered your purpose? The question seems to be the “in” thing to ask someone and it is dangerously on the verge of being labeled as a gimmick. There are hundreds of speakers and authors out there who all claim to know how to you should discover your purpose. At the risk of insulting some very accomplished, well-paid folks…no one can tell you how to discover your purpose. By its very nature, the discovery of your purpose in life is a personal experience and no two people will experience it the same way. Some people know their purpose very early in life and I think that is amazing. Then there are some who discover it a little later in life only to realize they have been doing it all along but never put a label on what they were doing. Knowing your purpose will change the way you look at your life and everything and everyone in it. Once you discover and embrace your purpose, you will begin to attract the people and things you need to get you closer to your goal. The “little birdie” that used to whisper to you will begin to squawk loudly whenever you veer off course. You dismiss yourself from the presence of negativity and shallow relationships with people who never have an encouraging word. And because we all can be a little hard headed, the “little birdie” will have some back up and the whispered desires of your heart will get an audible voice from someone who has been watching your journey from the sidelines and has been cheering you on since day one. The journey towards your purpose is not a marathon. It is not something that can be accomplished during a one day seminar. As I’ve said before and will say again (because I know my purpose), you already have everything you need inside of you to be extraordinary.
I fall in the second category of people who have discovered their purpose. I smile when I think about how long I’ve been on this path and not once thinking it was my purpose. Different milestones in my life have put the spotlight on my purpose and nudged me along when I began to doubt myself. My intrinsic circles of family without DNA are getting bigger and overlapping with each downpour of blessings I receive and accomplishment I make.
I know I’m not alone in this journey and neither are you. There’s a misconception that one’s purpose has to be something that changes humanity. When in reality, your purpose may only affect those closest to you and they will pay it forward to others. Take a look at your board of directors. Are they pushing you a little further pass your comfort zone? Are they giving you the feedback you need to bounce back from challenges and setbacks? Yes? Then you are closer to your purpose than you think.
Until next time, continue to Work Your Package…
It’s very easy to give advice to others. It is not easy to follow the same advice when the same situation and possible solution applies to you. Giving advice, unsolicited or requested, is a privilege and you shouldn’t give it halfheartedly or without thought.
When I decided to write “Work Your Package – A Guide to Being the Total Package”, I was going through what most people would call a “rough time”. There were challenges at home and at work that would have frustrated a saint and I was elbow deep in the planning of my first conference. It was crazy of me to take on the additional responsibility of writing a book but then I thought about what I would have told someone else in the same situation. Why not do it? If not now, when? Obstacles show up in everyday life and have we have two choices…complain about them or overcome them. The driving force behind finishing my book was knowing that people were watching me and wondering “Does she really practice what she preach? Is she really “working” her package?” Do I do what I do for public approval? Heck no. But I am a woman of my word. When I posted on Facebook that the book would be released soon, I gave the power of accountability to more than 600 people. I knew that if it took too long to release the book, there would have been at least 50 people asking, “Hey, when is your book going to be released?”
There is a level of authenticity you earn with others when your words are congruent to your actions. If you are telling people how to eat healthy, you shouldn’t be eating fast food everyday. If you are telling people how to be financially responsible, your personal finances should be in order. Whatever it is you are giving advice about, you should be doing your absolute best to live the advice that you give.
I have a tendency to second guess myself. Not just my actions but my non-action as well. When I have great ideas in my head and do nothing with them I am my greatest critic and begin to fall into what I call Success Envy. Envious of the people who seem to have it all together. Envious of the people who can plan and execute the ideas in their head without a hiccup or pause. In the midst of this Success Envy, I lose sight of my accomplishments and my skill set and totally forget that everything isn’t for everybody.
Everywhere you look someone is starting their own business, losing 50 pounds or making a drastic life change. And there you are, working in Corporate America, craving a Big Mac and resisting the urge to run away from home. Facebook is the biggest culprit and enabler of Success Envy. Perfectly curated photos and status updates depict flawless lives far removed from the reality of day to day life. When I find myself questioning my own happiness and success based on the social media presence of others, I do a reality check. Two healthy kids. Check. Lovable husband. Check. Silly, neurotic old dog. Check. A roof over my head, a job with benefits, friends, and family that love me. Check. Check. Check.
Everything is not for everybody. Appreciation for what you have doesn’t mean turning away from your dreams. It means focusing on what is best for you while you work towards them.
I spent the last couple of months planning a division annual meeting for IAAP (International Association of Administrative Professionals). As one of the co-chairs for the annual meeting, it was my responsibility to attend meetings to coordinate the activities and tasks for thirteen different committee chairs and representatives. The meetings started with a frequency of once a month. Those meetings were relatively easy to deal with. An update here, a question there. No big deal. But then the meetings switched to every two weeks and the information that my co-chair and I should have received wasn’t forthcoming from the appropriate parties (How’s that for a politically correct statement?). When we started meeting every week, I became a very cranky version of myself. I questioned my sanity and intelligence for taking on the responsibility in the first place. I mean really, who was I trying to impress? I’ll tell you who. Myself. But was it nice to hear from the attendees that we did a great job? Absolutely. When a room full of seasoned, experienced, Alpha female administrative professionals give you a compliment, it is nothing to sneeze at. Administrative professionals are some of the hardest people to please. I love them dearly, but if there is something wrong, if there’s a typo, if a waiter took too long to bring the soup they will let you know about it…immediately. It’s not that we look for mistakes, we are just quick to find them and 99.9% of the time we can offer a solution to fix it.
Planning a meeting of this size for an elite group of 120 women was a challenge and an honor. Having such a huge responsibility tested me in ways I thought only my husband and children could. I had to use technical as well as soft skills to be the best co-chair possible. Even though the planning got rough at some points and feathers of pride got ruffled, I would do it all over again. When I went back to work today, I could not believe that all the planning was over. I missed my cue sheets and conference timelines. I missed the banquet event orders and the room layouts. I missed providing solutions to problems. I didn’t look at any of the meeting materials today instead I stacked them in a corner on my desk. I tried to think about the many tasks to be completed at work. And then I received an email from the Registration Committee Chair….a list of all the attendees. I fought the urge to send out the survey right then and there. But I’ll give you two guesses what I’ll be doing first thing in the morning and the first guess doesn’t count…
There are times when I feel like a complete and utter failure. This morning is a perfect example. I didn’t prepare lunches last night so while I was making breakfast and coffee for my husband, I was also making breakfast for my girls as well as their lunch. Usually I’m okay with multi-tasking in the morning but this morning there was a nagging voice that kept saying “You are so unorganized, no wonder your house doesn’t run smoothly”. This voice continued and added some other things that I don’t even want to repeat. The louder the voice became, the more irritated I got. I had my “boom” moment when I yelled at my oldest daughter for not getting in the car…RIGHT NOW. Epic, huge, magnanimous fail for me. I don’t like yelling, especially at my kids. Especially when they had nothing to do with the way I am feeling at that moment. I was silent for the majority of the time as I drove them to school. I made sure to tell them that I loved them and I wanted them to do their best today. When they got out the car, I wanted to cry.
I’ve come to believe that all my past failure and frustration were actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy. – Tony Robbins
I’m still learning to give myself some credit for the things I do right and to have patience with myself when things go haywire. One day I will look back on this morning and realize that I’m not a failure as a mother, wife or household manager. Why? Because there will be other days that surpass this one with greater significance.