What Gets You Triggered?

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Triggered

Triggered seems to be the new buzz word, these days; meaning taken from Google dictionary – (of a response) caused by particular action, process, or situation; “a triggered memory of his/her childhood.” I had my Manifesting Me book launch the other day, and nothing triggers people like a memoir.

Everything was going great. I felt more love and support that day like no other. After it was all over, my husband was carrying things to the car, when he noticed the car was not there.  He forgot to move it from the loading zone, therefor it was towed.  At  whopping $455.00 later, he felt like a loser for letting this happen.  Completely owning his responsibility, we went to pick up the car. I wasn’t going to let this get to me, after a wonderful day. What was the real issue? Was it the inconvenience of having to get the car or was it about the money?

Triggers Come From the Past

Situations or topics that trigger us are coming from the past.  Nothing helped shine light on that more than writing my memoir; and having to read it over and over in the editing process, to see patterns.  When I was 5 years old, my mother was assaulted by our neighbor.  My mother had complained to the police that their music was too loud. They cranked up the bass to where our house would shake.  To this day, hearing the bass in someone else’s car irritates me.

I love loud music and never get mad at my son’s hard rock band for rehearsing. You could say they’re pretty loud. The bass coming from other sources, other than mine, triggers anxiety in me stemming from my 5-year-old-self that saw a woman attack my mother. Now that I know where this tenseness comes from, I can address it in my brain.  I can come back to the now and not live in the past.  I can look at the fact people are enjoying music.  It’s not to annoy me.

Road Rage

When I figured out why I had road rage, it was truly freeing.  Learning from therapy, I have had a long history of emotional neglect.  I was always trying to win over my mother. My mother was in her own world, which didn’t include much of me in it.  In my subconscious mind, I felt like I was unimportant and ignored. When someone cuts you off driving or drives ridiculously slowly; the trigger is, you are insignificant. How could they put your life in danger? Or make you late?

The reality of others driving like idiots or crazy, has nothing to do with you.  It’s your old triggers from the past that has you all jumbled up inside.  It’s not up to you to control others. You can’t. What you can control, are your reactions to any situation.  Do you get triggered while driving? Ask yourself, why?  You might be surprised where the anger comes from.

Triggered to Freedom

Understanding where your triggers come from leads to freedom.  No longer are you imprisoned from the past.  It’s not to say some triggers won’t get to you, before you recognize it’s only a trigger.  Stop and live in the now.  Really be honest with yourself about where the feelings are coming from.  Is it what is happening in this very moment? Or is it an accumulation of disappointments, rejections, feelings of not mattering, etc.,  from the past?

Most anxiety, anger, high blood pressure, or some sort of negative feeling, is brought on by some trigger or another. Wouldn’t you rather get to the bottom of where your these comes from?  Negative feelings are like a fever to the body. It lets you know something needs attention.

We all will inevitably get triggered at times, but the negative emotions don’t have to last as long as they did in the past.  Once I realized where my triggers came from, I felt a sense of peace.  I had a wonderful and exhilarating day at my book launch.  I wasn’t mad my car was towed.  No one was purposefully out to get me.  It was an accident.  Life isn’t always perfect, as we all know.  At first, I was a little upset over the money, only because I have an underlying self-talk regarding lack of money.  Why get mad and ruin my blissful day?

There will always be contrast in life.  That’s how we evolve.  It may very well be triggering, but can, and will, you look deeply into your thought patterns to see what exactly you are reacting to?

“We are not a victim of our emotions or thoughts. We can understand our triggers and use them as tools to help us respond more objectively.” –  Elizabeth Thornton

Are You The Sheep Or The Shepherd

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Sheep Or Shepherd?

My mother considered me to be a sheep – “follower” were her words. You could say I was. Being a sheep isn’t necessarily bad. How else can you learn to be a shepherd – leader?  The trick is to find the right shepherd to follow. More than likely, you will not pick the best shepherd all of the time, but as I stated in a previous blog, nothing is perfect.  Mistakes are part of human development. Most successful people followed someone, then instinctively new when the time was right to try and be the leader.

Being The Sheep Is Step One

We all come into this world not knowing a thing; exploring the world around us as we develop.  Parents along with others are constantly teaching us right from wrong or should I say “their” right and wrong.  As we grow and mature, we start to discern for ourselves, what right and wrong is. Sometimes we know things are wrong, but because our friends have input and our desire to fit in and be accepted is stronger, than our unwanted consequences, we go for it. The shepherd didn’t keep his/her sheep safe.

Sometimes shepherds lead and inspire us to be better.  They guide you and help you stay on track, while letting you make some decisions on your own.  Not all shepherds have your best interest at heart. You must learn to discern for yourself who to follow. Even so, you might not agree with everything your leader tells you. Take what is good and discard what is bad.

Being The Shepherd Is Step  Two

Once you’ve grown from being a sheep, it’s time to go on your own and be the shepherd.  What does this mean? It means you’ve defined your stance on things. You’ve become the leader.  Being a leader doesn’t mean you go around bossing people.  It means you can trust yourself to do whatever it is you want.  You don’t need other’s approval to define you.

These qualities make for great entrepreneurs, trend setters, managers, bosses, etc.  A great leader  knows when it’s time to be the follower.  Step two isn’t where it ends.

Switching Back and Forth From Sheep to Shepherd

In order to be a good leader, one most follow an expert in the area of which they are trying to lead.  Therefor, the shepherd becomes the sheep.   Good leaders don’t let their egos get in the way of learning something new.  It was suggested to me that I write a book about my life growing up.  My story was interesting enough, but I had no idea how to make it come to life. Not too mention, my writing skills needed some improvement.

The search was on to seek out people in the book industry.   Being afraid of showing others my ignorance in a subject, isn’t something I engage in.  Just because I didn’t know anything about the industry, doesn’t make me some sort of idiot.  Luckily, I found the right shepherds to follow.

The fact that I wasn’t afraid to go for something and start it, made me the shepherd.   I became the sheep when I didn’t have the knowledge to move forward in an industry in which I had no clue.  What I do have a clue in, is marketing and putting myself out there.  I can be the shepherd to others.

Extraordinary Shepherds

Exceptional shepherds vacillate between being the teacher and the student.   Great leaders aren’t too proud, and love helping others to do well in life.  Some leaders like to put themselves on their own pedestal which will ultimately lead them to their downfall.  If you run into someone that wants to keep you in a forever student position, I’d stay far away.

Curiosity is the number one step in almost everything that has to do with success.  What areas are you curious?  Do you want to be a trend setter or someone that only wants to follow the herd?  I prefer to do whichever makes me happy.  Sometimes I’m the sheep and sometimes I’m the shepherd.

“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” –  Jack Welch

It’s Your Self-Image, Not Your Reflection

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How Do You Perceive Yourself?

What do you see in the mirror? You see your reflection; or at least that’s what you think you are seeing. People see you much differently than you see yourself. The reason is, we see ourselves with our emotions, not what our eyes are actually seeing.  What is you self-image? Does your self-image have confidence? Or does it feel inferior?

Someone once told me that we all have a set weight in our mind, that are bodies adjust to. That’s why diets don’t work. We can lose weight on diets, but if your self-image is to be overweight; you can lose weight, but ultimately, you’ll gain the weight back after you quit the diet.  It’s because your self-image is one of being overweight. The actual number will vary, but nevertheless, you’ll find yourself in a state where you’ll always need to lose weight.

Your income, also has a set weight. You can set goals and reach them, but if your self-image is lacking or not having enough money, you’ll forever be dissatisfied with your income.  Unfortunately, this is true. It kind of sucks, to be frank. If you can be truly honest with yourself, without judgment, look back on your thoughts and life. You’ll be able to see the pattern. Most of us blame our conditions or environment. Aren’t you a glad to find out you have power?  Don’t you want a better self-image?

How Can a Person Change Their Self -Image

Changing your self-image is hard, but not complicated.  The reason it can be a difficult task is, because people hate change.  It feels unfamiliar.  It’s not what they’re used to.  Have you ever wanted to do something or go somewhere which no one you knew  was interested.  Yet, you were determined to go. As the event date moved closer, there probably was some sort of anxiety.  You weren’t sure where to go, what to do, what kind of people would be there, etc.  This is normal, but many people will let that feeling deter them from trying anything new. Good things happen when you push yourself.

When you overcome obstacles and get used to the idea that not all things are going to feel great, it makes you stronger.  This practice, is the start of changing your self-image.  Fear  in your self-image is what will hold you back.  So, what are you afraid of?

Fear

Most people are afraid of something; acceptance, failing, rejection, looking stupid, etc. Believe it or not, most people aren’t thinking of you as much as you think.  You can’t be rejected in this world, or you wouldn’t exist.  Your being in this world has a purpose. Just because you don’t know something, doesn’t make you stupid, and most important understand, failing is a part of success.  Those negative thoughts are in your head giving you your self-image.

Because of your negative self-image, you’ll believe a comment someone says to you, only if you believe it to be true.  If you thought you were fat, and someone made a remark how you could lose some weight, you’d get triggered.  If you thought you were skinny and someone made the same remark, you’d probably laugh or not have another care about the subject.  Your mind plays tricks.  The good thing is, once you know it’s only in your head is, you can change your self-image.

Affirmations

People have talked about affirmations forever.  In fact, none of what I’m writing is new information.  Affirmations come in different ways.  One is self-talk and one is facing your fears.  You build self-confidence when you push yourself.  You may fail while trying, but you will find that failing at a task isn’t the end-all be-all.  You can try again at a later time and you might get better each time. Or you might succeed the first time.  Either way the, you are changing your self-image.  Facing your fears or pushing through anxiety, builds confidence.

A strong and confident self-image opens doors for you.  You may not always like what’s on the other side, but that isn’t bad either.  Part of knowing what you want in life, is discerning what you don’t want.  This is how successful people make it.

Successful people know how affirmations work.  They change their self-image in the literal sense.  They dress the part.  If you want to be a rockstar, then dress like one.  When you walk down the street, people should know what you do by your style.  If you want to be an big executive, don’t buy a cheap suit.  Those are the little things that one can do to change self-image.  Of course, that isn’t the only thing.

Reading positive material that aids you in changing your self-image, especially before you go to bed.  It will help your brain rewire itself.  Your brain is plastic, it constantly rebuilding synapses.  What can you do to feel better?   Which areas do you want to improve your self-image?  Try it and see the results.

“The ‘self-image’ is the key to human personality and human behavior. Change the self image and you change the personality and the behavior.” – Maxwell Maltz

Why Are We So Obsessed with Perfectionism

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Perfectionism

Why are humans so obsessed with perfectionism? It’s something that doesn’t exist. Take the diamond for an example; all diamonds have some sort of flaw or it isn’t real. Yet we, the human race, are striving for perfection.

Any artist whether writer, painter, drawer, musician, etc. knows that their work could use some improvement, because it’s never perfect. But there comes a time when to the artist needs to let perfectionism go, in order to move on and bring the art/project into the world.

Striving to be perfect is a losing battle. I remember when I discovered how magazines airbrushed models on every picture. I was getting fitness magazines in order to get the exercises to get a certain body. What a rude awakening! I’m trying to achieve something that doesn’t exist. I was trying to get an airbrushed body.  Nothing like setting your self up for failure. It is impossible to reach that goal.

Perfectionism Can Be Debilitating

Perfectionism can be debilitating in many ways. One way that stands out to me and I grew up with, was my mother suffered from OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder. She had a hard time making decisions in fear of making the wrong one. Which lead to putting things off. It was pure torture for her when something didn’t go the way she’d planned. For some reason, the thought of a “redo,” never entered her mind. Imperfection wasn’t acceptable, even though it’s inevitable. It makes it hard growing up in that environment.  Fear of doing something wrong.

Another family member had such a hard time of picking out his clothes while shopping with his grandmother, leading to his missing out on getting any clothes. It’s as if he didn’t trust his own judgment to make the perfect decision. Again, fear is the underlying culprit. We’ve all heard of being frozen in fear.

When someone is so worried about making the “perfect choice” that’s when time can be wasted and non-productive. There is such a thing of researching too much. It’s a stall tactic, but the fear is real for some people. They lose sleep or even get sick over making the wrong choice. So why do we do this to ourselves when perfection doesn’t exist? Is it learned behavior or innate?

Perfectionism and “Reality” Television

For starters the “reality” TV show has an overload of influence on perfectionism. We all know, or should know, reality television, isn’t real at all. Television is out to make money and sell shows. Most of our reality stars are obsessed with looks. And not just any look. It has to be the “perfect” nose, cheeks, lips, etc.

For some reason, Hollywood stars have given doctors, especially plastic surgeons, the power to decide what perfection is on the human body. Young people are shooting Botox in their faces in their twenties. Or injecting their lips to the point of looking ridiculous. But many are doing it, so they must think it looks good.  Why do these stars think their appearance, before plastic surgery, was bad? What happened to originality?

I think people associate perfectionism with popularity. I think people are so desperate to fit in, they are afraid to express their own individuality, in fear of being mocked or not accepted.  How can we change this notion that being perfect is obtainable? Because it’s not! And it’s okay to embrace your flaws. It shows your are human and not fake. Wouldn’t you rather be a real diamond instead of an impostor like the cubic zirconia?

Perfection Is Subjective

There’s nothing wrong with trying to be the best you can be. That is perfection on it’s own. Perfection is subjective. What’s perfect to one person isn’t necessarily perfect to another.  So who’s definition defines perfection for you? Is it your mother’s, father’s, classmates, friends, or media?

Take your power back. Define your own personal definition of perfection, but include the natural flaws. Let that be your “True North.” Being your authentic self, imperfections and all, will bring you the most happiness, peace, and freedom.

We can nitpick ourselves to no end, but we can look at the accomplishments and see the beauty, as well. Sometimes perfection can be knowing when something is good enough. Don’t let the idea of perfectionism hinder your growth or ambitions. It will if you let it. Perfection comes from fear. Wouldn’t you rather live life from love?

“Many people think of perfectionism as striving to be your best, but it is not about self-improvement; it’s about earning approval and acceptance.” – Brene Brown

 

Emotions In The Process of Memoir Writing

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Emotions

Today I listened to Spring Forward Your Writing webinar with the speakers being Mark Nepo, Dani Shapiro, Linda Joy Meyers, and Brooke Warner. Each speaker had their unique way of addressing their emotions and process of memoir writing. I found myself with tears filling my eyes while listening.

I wasn’t quite sure where or why these emotions popped up. Questioning, if this was a normal experience, it was suggested that the answer could be found through journaling.

My answer was found in my journaling. We had a writing exercise with these topics: My suffering comes from… My joy comes from…. My work going forward is, what do they have to do with each other?  After writing, it was no wonder why I was emotional.

The one thing that stood out to me, was when Mark Nepo said, “Don’t try to be important.” Our ego can get our emotions in a tizzy, if we let it.

Don’t Let Your Ego Rule

Mark’s advice resonated with me beyond measurable. I took the message as, “Don’t let your ego rule this experience.” I know it is due to the fact that my memoir, Manifesting Me, is going to be public next month.  Once something is in writing, there is no turning back. Sometimes my ego chatter gets the best of me.  I feel extremely vulnerable and possibly exposed, leaving me anxious.

Your ego has a way of feeding your brain every negative thought; from the “what if’s?” and the “who do you think you are’s?” Thank God, I am not always listening to it. I find focusing on writing, gets me connect with my spirit side. I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it again, live life from love. It produces a more desirable outcome.

Love, Compassion, and Encouragement

Panic and anxiety weren’t the only emotions I experienced. I felt deep love, compassion, and encouragement energy from all of the speakers; which also, brought me tears of joys.  It was a gift to hear how much we are alike, from our fears to our desires to get our stories out into the world. And mostly to make a difference, by being of service.

Multiple Memoirs, Multiple Emotions

Dani addressed the issue of multiple memoirs. She has many memoirs and never thought she’d ever have one after being a novelist. A memoir only tells a moment in your life, not your autobiography. So it’s likely you’ll have more than one story which will likely lead to another set of emotions.

She also mentioned the fact that most memoirists didn’t have the best childhood. Although, some memoirs are about travel and have nothing to do with a tragic upbringing. Regardless of what your story is, or how many others may have the same story, they will never be exactly the same. You want your audience to feel your experiences as if it’s their own. Dani said, “They aren’t reading your memoir because of you, they’re reading your memoir, because of them.”

Don’t Make It About You

The biggest mistake you can make being a memoir author is making it about you. I know that sounds hypocritical in the fact that, a memoir is about you and your story. What memoir is really about, is inspiring others through your journey and letting others know they are not alone.  Sometimes it’s an emotional journey or an adventurous journey, but it’s something that will stir emotions in the reader.

It’s your story they are interested in not you which is one of the biggest compliment of all.  If I can reach one person, I’m sure I’ll be emotional over that, too. I guess all and all, memoir can be very emotional and raw. It’s okay to be sensitive, and it’s very normal, when writing or reading a memoir. It means the writer has touched you and has made an emotional connection. Isn’t that what good writing does?

My Emotions When Writing

It takes courage to write your story. Taking risks feels uncomfortable, but it’s well worth it. Be fierce like the lion. Face your fears and feel the power in it. Nothing is better than overcoming fear or  challenging yourself .

My emotions have been all over the place when I’m writing. Sometimes I’m laughing. Sometimes I get angry, other times I’m in tears of great sadness or joy, and other times, melancholy. Your brain doesn’t know the difference between reality or fantasy. In turn writing a memoir is as if you’re reliving your experience. That’s why it’s so emotional! What emotions will your story evoke? Would you be willing to share your story? Or is it too emotional?

“Rational thoughts never drive people’s creativity the way emotions do.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

What Does the Entrepreneur In You Dream Of?

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Is It Luck?

This weekend is big in our household. My son’s band, Vivifyd, has their first show away from home, in L.A. How lucky for them! I am so happy they get to have this experience. It’s bittersweet for me, because I too, will have a new experience. I will be working my first book festival at the 4th Annual Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley, which means I won’t be able to go to L.A. But I will get to learn more about being a writer.

Is it luck that they were invited to an L.A. show? Is it luck that I get the chance to meet new authors by working a festival?  Denzel Washington said this about luck, “I say luck is when an opportunity comes along and your’e prepared for it.” And I agree with this statement. And as a new author, I am throwing myself into whatever opportunities come my way, in order to learn this new business. It’s all very exciting and new. The band doesn’t have any sort of expectation; the same as, I have no idea what happens in a book festival, but we will soak it all up like sponges like any entrepreneur will do starting a new business. You never know who you might meet. But you have to start somewhere. Why not at the beginning?

 Entrepreneurs Run In My Family

I have a history of entrepreneurs in my family. General contractors, artists,  landscapers, auditors, and venture capitalists. You could say the pattern has continued. My husband is a general contractor owning his own business, my daughter is a realtor, my son teaches guitar lessons and is in a band, I’ve been an independent contractor as a hairstylist for the last 27 years, and have owned my own salon for the last 2 years.  Now I am taking on the business of being an author. I guess you could say none of us like having someone else being in charge of our lives; whether it’s our scheduling or our income. We don’t mind taking orders from clients or fans, but there’s something about having a boss that doesn’t settle with us so much.

When your an entrepreneur, you tend to take advantage of every opportunity when it arises. Plus, I know how to use the law of attraction, and have taught my kids how to use it, by bringing opportunities to us. It can be difficult when there’s more than one of you in a household attracting things. Sometimes they come up all at once. As a mother and new author, the choices can be somewhat difficult. Go with my nineteen year old son? Or start building my foundation? But it will be okay. My husband will be with him, along with his band mates and one other father.  We all must do what needs to be done. The more involved we get in our new careers, the busier and more conflicting schedules will arise. That’s not a bad thing.

New Ventures Can Be Emotional Roller Coasters

Any new adventure can be an emotional roller coaster, especially when it involves the limelight. Having your work revealed to the public adds a new kind of vibe. I’ve already had a neighbor congratulate me on my first book, Manifesting Me. I’ve seen this woman for about as long as I’ve lived in my house and had never really exchanged any words. It was very nice, but felt weird at first. Then another neighbor introduced herself to me, who I’ve seen around forever and has never looked at me before. Don’t get me wrong, it was pleasant and I like talking with people. I guess it felt strange, because I’m the same me. I am no different from before I wrote a book.

There are the ups and the downs. The highs can be exuberant, especially when it’s about something you’ve created personally and you get praise. Everyone will have an opinion and it isn’t always going to be positive.  People will love you, hate you, or not give a care. Entrepreneurs know not to take this personally. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized other people’s thoughts of me, cannot define me. Some days it’s a struggle. But you can’t please everyone all of the time. For the most part, you’ll be surrounded with more people that will appreciate what you have to offer.

Put Your Insecurities In Check

Put your insecurities in check. It’s okay to compare yourself to others in your field, only when it’s to gage yourself in setting goals. I have compared myself with other authors. Sometimes it makes me insecure, but mostly it motivates me to be like them, which leads me to do research. How did these authors get to where they are? I should meet these people and learn from them. Once you’re in research mode, you aren’t focusing on the negative stuff. In fact, it creates more excitement about the new industry. I’ve found most secure and successful people love helping newbies.  I’ve had the pleasure receiving advice from some of my She Write Press Sisters  I love the honest answers I have received. No sugar coating things. It’s very rare to have instantaneously overnight success. It take time, money, and action.

My friend who’s been in a band for awhile, said to my son, “For every step forward, there are two steps back. That’s just the way that it is. So don’t get discouraged. Keep on going. Persistence pays off.” He couldn’t be more right. He’s learned how to make money doing what he loves to do, in a career that most people think is impossible to succeed. And it doesn’t just go for bands. I feel the same was as an author. It goes for any kind of entrepreneur. Look at your feelings of insecurity and challenge yourself to understand why. Then get motivated to move forward.

What’s a Real Job?

It’s funny to me how others view an occupation when it involves art; music, writing, painting, etc. People think of it more like a hobby. It’s almost as if the art must sell immediately; or you’re just another “starving artist” and need to get a “real” job. What’s a real job? I believe the only reason they are “starving” is due to their lack of knowledge in marketing. This is where the entrepreneurial mind comes in.

As an entrepreneur, I think of the ways to make my “hobby” into a business. I never wanted to be in a career where I was miserable, just to make extra money. Why not make money in what you love doing? Doesn’t that sound like more fun? Marketing and branding oneself takes time and knowledge. If you don’t know how to do those things, then research is required.

Where to Start

Where do you start? Meeting people and picking their brains is probably the best and most useful way to learn. As a hairstylist, I have many wealthy clients. I was never envious, but rather curious. I was not afraid to ask them how they acquired such wealth. In turn, it got my brain into high gear, to make the same things happen for me. One client told me real estate was always the number one investment. Another told me the benefits of owning a home. Another, taught me investments in the market. I’ve managed to take their suggestions and put them to use. Never be afraid to ask questions. Most people love to share their stories of success.

The internet is great for learning how to do just about anything which includes, how to brand and market you business. Just Google it. YouTube has every kind of video. I learned how to submit a provisional patent, a trademark, and copyrights from YouTube. If I can figure out how to do it, you can too. Sure, it takes time. Don’t you want to be your own boss and love what your are doing?

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Never forget that or let anyone tell you differently. I started my twenties as a single mother to being an independent contractor at 22 yrs old, owning a home by 25 yrs old, owning multiple investment properties by early 30’s, and having a retirement plan, in the market.

Now I’m attacking the author world. Non of this would’ve happened, if I didn’t have an entrepreneurial mind or have curiosity. I have been “lucky” (or was it luck?) to have been exposed to entrepreneurs, willing to share their stories of success. And  be able to learn  and apply their knowledge to my own life and pass it down to my children. What does the entrepreneur in you, dream of?

 

“Diligence is the mother of good luck.” – Benjamin Franklin

 

 

 

 

There Are Benefits In Setbacks

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Setbacks

I was interviewed yesterday on Stories that Empower podcast with Sean, where one of the questions was, What was a setback in your life, that had a profound effect? I’ve had many setbacks in life. But this question really made me think. Everyone has had some sort of a setback, if they’ve lived at all.

I thought my life was heading in one direction until one incident change my whole trajectory. I know that I am not unique in this situation.

Setbacks introduce contrast into your life to help you determine what it is you really want or what’s best for you. So in the long run, there are benefits to setbacks.

What setbacks are tripping you up? Are you open to the idea that setbacks come with benefits? I’m 49 yrs. old and have had many experiences of let down, like many of you. But I’ve seen the upside as well. I’ve seen how those let downs were like dodging a bullet. I’m sure many of you have dodged bullets.

The Benefits of Setbacks

How exactly are setbacks beneficial, you ask? Haven’t you had a relationship that ended not on your terms? The feeling of rejections hurts like no other. It feels like you did something wrong or worse, there’s something wrong with you.

As time goes on and your heart is on the mend, you meet someone new.  This person is actually better than the one that broke your heart. Had you’d stayed with that other person, you would have never had an opportunity to meet this new fabulous person. Benefit #1 of a setback.

It’s the same with a job. You so desperately wanted this position and worked so hard for it. You were the best candidate for the job. You even had a strong inclination you were getting this job. Only to have the carpet pulled right out from under your feet. You fall flat on you your face. Completely blindsided. Later an opportunity comes up, even better than what you could’ve imagined. Benefit #2 resulting from a setback.

Sometimes the benefits take a long time to show themselves, but they always do. Sometimes it’s years and sometimes a few days. Look at it more like a detour; you’ll get there eventually. Life is working for you.

Life Is Working For You

Things don’t always happen in the time or the exact details we have dreamed of, but it doesn’t mean to give up. If anything it should motivate you. Life is working for you at all time, even when it feels like it’s not. If you truly reflect on your life, you will notice how things have always worked towards your benefit. So go out there and don’t let those setbacks detour you. Keep plugging along. Whether it’s a book your writing, a record your producing, getting on that team, moving into your dream home, or meeting that perfect mate, don’t let the setbacks discourage you. You will get there.

If you so choose, even the unexpected setbacks can bring new and positive possibilities. If you so choose, you can find value and fulfillment in every circumstance.” – Ralph Marston

http://storiesthatempower.com

How Does the Three Toxic C’s Affect Your Success?

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The Three Toxic C’s

In my memoir Manifesting Me, I bring up the three toxic C’s which is Comparing, Competing, and Complaining. We all do this naturally at some time in our lives. But it really will be the demise of our success, if this excessive  pattern doesn’t leave our thoughts. Although, some competition can be healthy when it’s with ourselves. And some comparison can be useful when used to gauge ourselves in an unfamiliar area. Other than that, they can spiral us into a dark place. Complaining is never good and no one wants to hear it.

Comparing is all Ego

 I went to an event where I was surrounded by many authors. Immediately I felt awkward and out of place. I felt less than everyone else. I had never been to a women’s literature event in my entire life. I perceived that everyone had been to an event like this one and I felt like I was in over my head.

My ego and insecurity had completely taken over my brain. I wondered How many people there were authors?  How well were their books received. Would my book be well received? Would I be well received?

Luckily, I relaxed and eased up as I listened to Leila Slimani, a world-wide famous author, being interviewed by Brooke Warner of She Writes Press; both whom I admire for their contribution to the literature world. Leila reminded all of us not to let critics and reviews dictate how we craft our art.

Competing

Logically I know I shouldn’t be comparing myself because it’s like competing, but occasionally it happens. It’s like when you go to the gym, but you haven’t been for some time.  You get on the treadmill next to someone who’s running fast and you happen to glance at their setting, and think you should be doing what they’re doing. You set your speed and start to die.

Why on God’s green Earth would you think you’d be able to keep up? You don’t know how long they’ve been going to the gym. It’s okay to push yourself and compete against yourself, but do not compete or compare yourself to some stranger or someone that is so far out of your league. It’s negative and no good will come of it. It sends you on a downward spiral which usually involves complaining.

Complaining, Plainly Sucks

When you’ve compared yourself to someone, and/or secretly/blatantly competed with someone, it usually involves complaining in some sort of way. Again, we’ve all done it.  And it’s normal to a degree. However, no one wants to hear it. It spirals your thoughts into negative oblivion. How productive is that? Complaining not only sucks, it drains the life out of you and everyone listening.

Not to mention when someone is complaining about someone else, they probably are going to, or have, complained about you.  Like I said before, some complaining is normal. But if you are so focused on what’s going wrong in your life, you’ll more than likely get more of something to complain about.

How Does 3 Toxic C’s Affect  Success?

The three toxic C’s can hinder your success. Success is all about learning from others that are more experienced, exploring whatever your new venture is, and having fun along the way. Focus on the prize not the obstacles. You will have bumps along the way, but that is part of the process.

Don’t compare or compete with someone in your venture. Assuming you know what they’ve done or not done, is only a distraction. It’s an excuse for you not to move forward. Just because someone’s book does better, or someone gets an offer first, doesn’t mean it won’t happen for you. Your time will come as long as you continue to do the work and not worry about everyone else.

You will have anxiety at times. That is normal in your journey to success. Walt Disney was turned down a ridiculous amount of times before Disney Land came to fruition.  What if he had stopped going for his dream after the third rejection?  Led Zeppelin had food thrown at them at one of their first concerts. What if they quit after that experience? Failure is a part of success.

Compassion

Lastly, the non-toxic C, is compassion. Don’t be hard on yourself if you get a intimidated or anxious when your trying something new. It’s pretty normal. You don’t yell at a baby as they fall, when they’re learning how to walk for the first time.

You have to start somewhere. Everybody starts at a different point. Don’t get jealous over other’s successes. Have compassion on where you are in your process. Rejoice in the little steps in your progress. Little steps add up to big strides. I’ve said it before, it’s more about the journey, than the destination.

My Hope For Everyone Reading This

My hope  for everyone reading this is, to not let fear stand in the way of a dream that needs to come into fruition; that your comparison with others, doesn’t hinder your growth or desire to move forward. I hope you only have a friendly competition with yourself in order to drive you closer to your goals. No one else’s goals are your business. There’s no need to complain about the circumstances you are in today. The contrast you feel, guides you towards that which you crave. What dream are you ready to fulfill?

When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you. – Lao Tzu

 

 

Why Does a Difference of Opinion Have to Turn into a Fight?

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Is Fighting a Good Topic to Discuss?

I struggled whether I should write a blog about the way people fight over differences of opinions. I decided to go forward in hopes of being part of the solution, no matter how small my contributions is. Something has to change. What we are doing as a society, isn’t working that well. Social media has its positive uses; but it has a very dark side, we all know too well. People used to be polite to one another in public. Now, people will ignore you or say something rude. Remember when we were taught, If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all?

What happened to manners? What about a simple smile? Fighting doesn’t usually occur when someone is being polite or smiling. In fact, studies show that if you smile at someone, it boost their self-esteem; it’s contagious. If you need to express your opinion of a topic, can you do it nicely?

Does A Debate Have to Turn into a Fight?

Everyday on social media there is some sort of controversy.  And it turns into a fight. Our country is having some serious issues on our communication skills. Many don’t know how to have a healthy debate, resulting in loss of relationships and friendships. How can we be part of the solution and not part of the problem?

For starters, when someone has a difference of opinion, it’s probably not a good thing to start of your conversation with a criticizing word or sentence. You will immediately lose the person’s attention and send them into defensive mode. Nothing will come out of this conversation, except a fight or argument.

Fighting or arguing on social media gives you the false sense of power to say anything that you might not have the guts to say in person. Not too mention, there’s no sense of tone in writing and things are misinterpreted, leading to a fight.  So, how do we not get provoked into fighting?

Let’s Avoid the Fight

Some topics like racism, politics, religion, abortion, and gun control are topics that have strong convictions and are all over social media.  More than likely you aren’t going to change a person’s mind on these subjects. But if there needs to be conversations regarding these topics, try not to make it personal. Listening to what someone has to say whether you agree or not, is one way to avoid a fight.

Ask questions as to why they feel the way they do without judgment. Hopefully, they will reciprocate the listening. When people feel like they’ve been heard, their walls come down and they are more likely to hear your point of view.

No one will respond positively with an opening judgmental statement such as “What’s wrong with you?” or “How can you possibly think that way?” which implies that they think you are some kind of idiot. Everyone likes to be treated with respect. You won’t want to fight, when someone is treating you with respect.

Someone Else’s Shoes

I have strong opinions on all of the topic above, like most of you do. Being a hairstylist for many years, I am paid for opinions on hair care and styles, not much else. My clientele is very diverse; as far as being religious, conservative, liberal, and somewhere in between. In order to keep my clientele, I have to try to put myself in someone else’s shoes.

By putting myself in their shoes, it helps me not to take things personally. It helps me understand the client; or at least, see why they feel the way that they do. By doing that it opens the door for me to share my thoughts and they try to understand me.  We don’t always see eye to eye, but we learn something new almost every time and there’s never a fight.

We All Can Get Along

Let’s not reduce to the fighting that is shown on reality TV. We all know or should know, reality TV isn’t reality; it’s entertainment. I’m not sure why people screaming or pulling hair, is declared entertaining. But for some reason, it sells. It personally gives me some anxiety – much like the fighting on social media.

If I get triggered over a comment on social media, I try to look inside and see why. If my emotions are too much to handle, I block those conversations. I try not to engage in contentious topics. I admit I read comments, but I have learned in the past, participating doesn’t always end with the people you thought you were talking with.

With love, empathy, and compassion, we all can get along. It takes some work and lots of real communication which includes listening to one another. We are at at volatile time where emotions and feelings are running extremely high. Let’s look for solutions instead of pointing out what we deem as the problem. Who really likes to fight?

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive. – Dalai Lama

 

 

Do You Feel the Effects of Mercury Retrograde?

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Effects of Mercury Retrograde

Some of you have heard of Mercury in Retrograde and how terrible it is. I know some of you are rolling your eyes and I totally get it. This is just some astrology hokum.  I would too, but I’m one of those people that sees patterns. I have quite a memory much like an elephant to remember patterns and when they took place . Have you felt the effects of Mercury Retrograde?

Mercury retrograde tends to affect learning, contracts, listening, speaking, travel, codes, electronics, and communication. This occurrence happens 3 to 4 times a year. We happen to be in one right now, March 23 – April 15.  I’m sure you’ve heard someone say, “Mercury again! When will this end?” Mercury gets blamed quite a bit. How are your phones and computers holding up right now?

How Are Your Electronics and Flights?

I can usually tell when Mercury is about to be in retrograde, when my computer acts weird, my phone does weird things, or my clients are late due to an unusual amounts of traffic and it’s not even a full moon.  People tend to lose their luggage or have delayed flights during this time. It can be more of a nuisance, if you only focus on its negative effects.

I know there’s no scientific proof of all of this. But I don’t need to have that, when I can see correlations and consistent patterns. My client works on computers for a living. I’ve asked him when Mercury is in retrograde, “Are you extra busy? Are things not going as smoothly as they normally do?” Knowing the answer is yes, he validates me every time. He’s very left brain and more scientific to believe in such nonsense. Yet, he will now ask me if Mercury is doing its thing, because he’s noticing a pattern. Don’t worry though, not all is bad when Mercury retrograde happens.

The “Re’s” That Come With Mercury Retrograde

There are many  “re’s” with Mercury retrograde. Lot’s of redo’s, repairs, and revisions which all sounds kind of negative. I recently had to send a list of mistakes in my advanced reader copies so it could to be “re”vised. It wasn’t a pleasant experience, because it pointed out all of my mistakes. My ego was bruised a little. In the long run, having my mistakes corrected before my book goes to the public to be criticized for poor grammar or typos, is a much better plan.  Not all “re’s” are bad.

Mercury retrograde is an excellent time for revising, redecorating, reconsidering, re-evaluating, reorganizing, renewing, rejuvenating, reinventing, and rejoicing. It’s a time for reflecting.

Do you have a project you need to revisit? To be successful sometimes it’s important to rethink some of our ideas and plans. Maybe they need revising since some things have evolved or changed. What was working at one time, might not be working as well as it used to. Slowing down and taking time to reevaluate a situation hasn’t hurt anyone. All of this is needed to succeed.

No Need to Panic When Mercury is in Retrograde

There is no need to panic when Mercury is in Retrograde. It’s not all bad. Look at the bright side; you get to slow down for a minute and reassess your situation and revamp it. Change is inevitable, so why not go with it. Remember to be organized and don’t wait until the last minute do something. You might need a little longer travel time to get where you need to be. Maybe Mercury in Retrograde is the Universe’s way of making us slow down in this fast-paced world we live in.

“When things are bad, it’s the best time to reinvent yourself.” —George Lopez