everyday success

Blog Archive: Oct, 2017

Checking In on Yourself

Twelve weeks from today is New Years’ Day 2018!  It’s hard to imagine that 2017 is almost behind us but I’m afraid it is – almost behind us.  We’re in the last quarter of the year and we’re racing towards the holidays.  Halloween is one thing, but in fewer than 7 weeks, it will be Thanksgiving and you know what happens after that.  In what feels like minutes, it will be Christmas and Hanukkah and a week later, we’re celebrating the start of the New Year.

It feels as if 2017 raced right by.  Before we know it, we’ll be thinking New Year goals and resolutions.  But what about this year’s?  Now is a very good time to look at 2017.  Has it been a good year for you?  A momentous year?  Or, have you encountered bumps in your road?  Take a moment to look behind and ask yourself:

What were the highlights of this year?  What will you remember forever from this year?  Did you meet a new friend, start a new job, have a new child or grandchild?  Could be you traveled or learned something new.  

As you think of the good parts, make note of each and remember to congratulate yourself for the role you played in making each of them happen, in making it a good year for you.

What were your challenges?  Some years may be better than others so, did you run into anything that made this year more difficult?  How are you managing?  Do you have the help you need to get you through?  Have you reached  out to others so you don’t have to manage alone?

There are so many other ways to look at your 2017 experience, here are a few more.

  • Goals  Did you start the year with goals you wanted to happen?  Did they happen?  If not, is there anything you can do in the weeks ahead to fix that?
  • Fun  Did you have fun or happy times during the year?  Did you make sure you smiled – and found things to smile about? 
  • Family & Friends  Our relationships make an immense difference in life.  What changed, either favorably or not, in your closest relationships?  What might you do in the next twelve weeks to strengthen or solidify these, especially with the holidays in mind?
  • Growth, Hobbies  It may look as if I’ve returned to the idea of having fun and you wouldn’t be wrong.  As you look back and then ahead to the remainder of the year, those things you do that are pure expressions of you – whether gardening or golf, hiking or learning a language – give us a deep and needed satisfaction.
  • Health  Checking up on your health is every bit as important as exercise and diet.  Do have need to check with your doctor, your dentist or anyone else?  How often do we mean to do these details but somehow our intense schedule gets in the way?  Remember you and your health!
  • Work and Money  What did you plan for your work this year?  Did it happen and, if not, what can you do between now and 1/1/18?  Whether we love our work or it is a means to an end, it does require your thoughtful attention.
  • Love Life  When you are married, partnered or otherwise committed, do you take time for just the two of you?  Taking time with your partner is immensely important.  Now, as a woman who didn’t marry til 50, I can assure those of you who do not have a current love, there is so much in our lives that is deeply fulfilling.  Instead of a romantic date, do the things in life you love doing.  I just bring up love life and romance because so many people forget to take time for the relationship.

We’ve twelve weeks during which we can add our own final spin on our year.  Plus, we’ll kick off our new year in strength.  May these be good weeks for you!


Success is Not Final

Success is not final, failure is not final: it is the courage to go on that counts.  Winston Churchill

It sounds so easy, you work hard and build your life, you go to school and establish a career, you meet your partner, buy your home and create a family.  Right?  Easy-peasy.  But then what, if you do all these things, is the rest of life just coasting?  What do you do over all those years?  Yes, you raise your kids, but that’s twenty years and then they’re off. 

It turns out that those early tasks are your training ground.  You are making habits that will serve you for your lifetime, habits of working to goals and making them happen.

It sounds so easy but things happen.  Companies get sold or they change their plans and let people go – not because the people weren’t good but because they were no longer part of the plan.  Sometimes we discover that we don’t even like our chosen career.  Or, marriages can fall apart.  Illness can happen.

Suddenly what seemed like a good life, one easily thought of as a successful life, can turn around. It can feel as if you’re veering of the road but you are not.  The thing that is so interesting about life is that it is not a straight line to nirvana.  There will likely be bumps but never, no never, think of them as failure.  It’s simply a time to reassess, roll up your sleeves and get to it.  It takes courage and it takes willingness to turn it around.

Another favorite quote comes from Amor Towles’ novel A Gentleman in Moscow, “If one does not master one’s circumstances, then she is bound to be mastered by them.”  When things go bump, it’s time to break out the courage and get on with it.

On the other hand, life doesn’t always take off at the beginning.  That’s terrible because it isn’t building your confidence in your success.  Still, it is not a lifelong sentence, frustration is not forever.  Remember to seek out a few people you admire and with them, develop a plan. Check in with them on your progress, make yourself accountable to the plan.  It’s mastering your circumstance and finding your success, your everyday success.


Some Days, Life Feels Too Fast

You are not alone in thinking that the world is moving oh, so quickly.  It is.  But it’s not just the pace of life today, it’s the high drama events that add to the intensity.  

Our phone beeps with incoming texts and tweets, emails and posts.  We waken to an intense schedule of work, to-do lists, ferrying the kids after school, managing the highs and lows of family and friends – all to the tune of incoming beeps and messages.  These are the things of our everyday lives.  Somedays it feels doable but other times it becomes too much.

This month, however, we’ve all sustained high drama moments with hurricanes ripping towns apart and leaving floods behind.  And, now, a mass murderer.  Even when we’re not the immediate victims of these horrific events, we feel them.  We want to act, to help, to smooth the path for those who’ve suffered.  Afterwards, we absorb what has happened.

It can be a high drama, fast-paced world which also means we each need to remember to take a moment for ourselves.  There are ways to calm the pressure that can build up inside us, the anxiety that results from feeling overwhelmed. 

Experience the moment.  To begin, stop the mental dialog that is running through your head.  We all do it, we plan dialogs, make lists, figure out dinner, plan the softball schedule.  Stop the dialog and bring your thoughts to the present moment.  You may choose to keep a favorite photo nearby to slow or settle your thoughts.  You may find taking a walk can bring calm, maybe even noticing the beauty of our world.

Gratitude.  While we hear this over and over, science has proved that a daily gratitude habit, grows one’s sense of well-being.  So, name the things that make your life good.

It’s not big things that return us to calm, a sense of normalcy and well-being; usually, it’s the small things.  Hugging babies.  Calling dear friends.  Working in your garden.  Listening to music or a hilarious podcast.  Moment by moment, we regain our equilibrium.


We Stand United

We have huge hearts.  When things go bad for other people, we care, we care deeply.  When others suffer, it’s our nature to help, to take action.  We’re a compassionate people with the willingness to stand up and be counted by helping in whatever way we can. 

When evildoers wreak horror, we stand united.  When winds destroy, waters flood and fires burn, we come together and we act.

While we stand united, the help we offer is different according to our own unique abilities.  First responders race to the scene providing aid to victims and helping to recover the salvageable.  Some first responders care for the injured, others work to recover infrastructure.  Still others work behind-the-scene whether by hugging and holding or by restoring and rebuilding.  Most recently, out of a need to be of help, people waited for hours in lines to donate blood.

In the case of mass murder, many among us courageously shield and care for their fellow beings, immediately giving of themselves to serve others.  In so doing, they foil the evil at hand.  As the victims are cared for, we then stop to look around and wonder how such an act is even possible.  Its enormity shakes us to our core; we are changed, forever changed.  As we come to know about such horrors, our humanness pulls us together. 

We are a deeply caring nation.  We stand united with victims of calamity.  We are bound by our humanity and our readiness to lend a hand, to support, to do something that can somehow make a difference.

It’s an investment of spirit.  In times of disaster, we are there for each other; we stand united.

Updated from my 2012 blog written at the time of another human calamity. 


The Words We Choose

You had a great weekend.  Now it’s Monday morning and you’re going to tell your friend at work all about it.  You want to make sure she gets just how special it was for you.  How will you tell her?  What words are you going to choose to make sure grasps its importance.

“It was amazing, it was awesome”, you say and she says, “that’s nice”.  You can tell she’s not feeling it, she isn’t experiencing your meaning.  You wonder why.  After all, awesome is an overwhelming feeling and that was your experience.

Unfortunately, awesome and amazing are so overused that they no longer mean what we want them to mean.  Today, it can be harder to express something that is exceptional to us because we’re used to hype.  Every day we hear exaggerations in advertising, in social media; everything is bigger and better and best which makes it hard to share that one weekend is better than another.

Instead, add a couple of words that describe what made it good for you.  Was it the people or a particular person?  Was it the experience itself, maybe a great concert, movie or performance?  Was it natural beauty like sky, water and more?  While you can name a weekend a wow, you can also add a sentence or two that explain yourself, that tells what made it better than your typical weekend.

     We danced all night       

     The music rocked my soul

     We hiked through a forest of golden leaves

     My daughter and I sang in a concert together

It doesn’t take a lot of words to express what made it so special for you and when you do, your friend will fully understand that you’d just had an exceptional weekend.  It’s easy to say, “it was amazing” but by adding just a few more words, you’ll tell so much more.