When Your “Work Life” Disrupts how Your “Life Works”

“It is never too late to be who you might have been.” George Eliot

Welcome back to Vita Reali, the place that looks like perfection from the outside, but shares a different story when you walk through the doors and are allowed an insider’s view of the reality of imperfections that trouble its residents.

Today, meet John. John will describe himself as a happily married man with a son, a successful businessman and full social calendar. He’s walking through the side door exit in lieu of strolling through the Vita Reali courtyard. Such a shame because it’s a beautiful sunrise and the lighting in the courtyard gives it a surreal appearance that would be inspiring if captured on camera or canvas.

But John bypasses the courtyard because it’s much quicker to get to his truck to get to work, to have another successful day on the job. Without a doubt, John is a huge success in his printing business. He has responsible and efficient employees, return customers that are always content and consistently meets deadlines and sales goals. Business is good. Life is good.

Yes, his business is a success but if you were to ask his wife, their homelife is not so much. It’s not that he lacks the love and affection. He is loving and affectionate. It’s more that John is very goal oriented, conscientious at achieving his goals and efficient at work but none of that carries over when he gets home. Once he’s through the door, he’s not going out again.

The truth is he just doesn’t share his wife and son’s adventurous nature and they’ve accepted this, so he doesn’t put the same effort into life after the workday ends. The trouble is his family wants to enjoy life with him instead of telling him about what they enjoyed that day without him. 

To John, the most important thing in life is to be a good provider and successful at work. This has consumed his attention for years now and the imbalance has finally taken its toll because for his family, it has begun to feel like neglect and disconnect.

His wife goes out on the town exploring with his son, while John’s at work, knowing he won’t be up for it when he gets home. It’s not that John has purposefully chosen to check out at home but after a sincere and honest talk with his wife last night, she explained what was missing and that he’s gotten away with it because they wanted to support his desire to be a good provider and run a successful business.

As John drives to work, taking the shortest route per usual, it hits him, he is all about the fastest way from A to Z and has no interest in taking the scenic route. He’s also applied this mindset to all parts of his life.

John lets that thought settle in him. For him, it’s always been about routine, and efficiency, and discipline. A little voice pops up and asks, “What’s so bad about exploring  something new and different?” John gets an immediate response in his gut. The feeling is one of uneasiness. John doesn’t like the unexpected or handle the unknown very well.

John likes to be able to anticipate all the variables so he knows the projected outcome. John also grew to believe that a lack of focus leads to distraction, which leads to running behind, which leads to missing deadlines, which leads to underachieving, which leads to stress and worry. It served him to become a success in business so began to apply this approach to his life as a whole.

For this reason, John’s never allowed his imagination to run free. He’s remained strictly disciplined to achieving professional success and believes if he allows himself to get sidetracked, he’s certain that would bring imminent failure which would risk the financial safety of his family.

The thing is keeping such a tight rein on his imagination has benefited his business but kept him from growing deeper in his relationship with his family. He doesn’t take advantage of his 3-year old’s desire to see and do and touch everything in a world that offers a never-ending supply of much to learn and experience! Just giving in to his son’s attraction for exploration would breathe new excitement into John’s life and benefit his entire family who misses connecting with him by engaging more of what life has to offer. Learning and growth!

John is slowly realizing he isn’t fully engaging in life if he isn’t investing attention in his family too. He decides today he’ll start with taking a different route home to transition from work dad to engaged dad and when he gets home, he’ll continue this transition with a stroll through the Vita Reali courtyard and see what’s newly blooming. “Yes”, he thinks to himself, “it’s going to be a good night.”

John is not alone with this line of behavior. Many of us become so consumed with our professional goals we lose interest in staying connected to the world around us. We stop exploring anything that doesn’t have to do with our career. Yes, our career is a top priority and so is personal growth!

Staying engaged with a variety of topics and crafts, organizations and people help us to thrive in life. It breeds excitement and enthusiasm and meaning. And this, well, it has a long list of benefits starting with life satisfaction as it amplifies and improves our brain health, overall health, social relationships and meaning. Not a bad payout.

All it takes is attention, intention and giving it our best every day! Some days will be better than others. Just stay engaged to life.

“Growth is the only evidence of life” – John Henry Newman

 

Keep it Simple,
Just Teri

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Step Into the Unknown and Unleash Your Enthusiasm

How did you start your day today? Did you wake up ready to get your day moving? Were you excited anticipating what’s on your agenda? Do you have a strong intention to discover more on topics that make you feel alive? Are you feeling good because you’re engaged in activities that benefit others, brings satisfaction for your participation, promotes stronger relationships and an overall sense of well-being in our world?

Do you want to feel eager to begin your day knowing you will find meaning for your actions? Do you desire to feel the gratification of making more of your day than meeting the basic human necessities for living?

If you struggle to greet the new day with hope and ambition and truly desire to feel more energized as you begin your day, here are a few ideas to lead you in the direction of living a day that is more stimulating and holds a greater possibility of feeling satisfied throughout the day.

  1. Be fully present. Whether you’re walking, talking, driving or working, instead of going through the motions with minimal effort and attention, because this the benefit of habits, do it more consciously. Give this task your absolute and undistracted attention! By doing this, many times the tiny details usually lost bubble up and surprise us that we never noticed it before, or we’ve forgotten.
  2. Be a detective. Don’t be shy about asking people provocative questions such as “What do you enjoy the most about your job?”, “What are your favorite hobbies and why?”, “What are their biggest challenges with______ and how do you go about overcoming them?”. You’ll be surprised how other people’s answers will either provide a new perspective you never considered or lead you to an idea or solution that suits your situation.
  3. Get STIMULATED! If you want any ideas on this, email me! Please! I have a friend and we are constantly volleying ideas that encourage exploration of new information. We are a bottomless well of curiosity and action and if you want a direction to explore, I guarantee we’ve got a suggestion. We navigate books, webinars, online classes, podcasts, clubs, magazines, TedTalks, YouTube videos, Instagram, and even Pinterest. There is plenty of intriguing concepts in the world to discover, if we look through the eyes of someone willing to expand their current life view.

Don’t say you’re not worth it. Don’t say it doesn’t matter. Don’t say nothing will make a difference. Start with a baby step toward invigorating your health, relationships, work and your over life-satisfaction. Get curious.

You are worth it!

Keep it Simple,
Just Teri

If you know a friend who may enjoy this, please pass it along! Or feel free to leave your feedback in the comments section. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Revitalizing Our Spirit of Adventure and Growth

Curiosity may have killed the cat, or so the saying goes, but it sure does enhance the human spirit. Not curious by nature? No worries, curiosity can be developed with even a tiny bit of attention and intention.

Now some may say, “Who cares if I’m curious or not?”, “What is it so important”, “Does it really matter?”, “I don’t have time for any silly exploration. I just try to get through the day!”” or “I’m happy with the way things are. No need to ruin what seems to be working”.

If you feel this way or have ever felt this way, you may need a curiosity intervention and I’m going to tell you why.

Studies have shown curiosity to have an overall influence on enjoying life. This means that people who reported high satisfaction with their life, as a whole, were also curious in nature.

This could be why experts see promising signs of the influence of curiosity in health, intelligence, social relationships, happiness and meaning. This is by merely being observant and inquisitive! That’s it. Nothing to buy or join and no outrageous complication that requires major lifestyle transformation needed.

This isn’t some overly complicated formula that takes researching for a month (or more), then at least a month’s prep time to figure out how we can incorporate this into our busy life, and then the major upheaval of our daily routine to accommodate this “helpful” new life hack. Detailed formulas and lengthy steps stink!

All we need is ourselves and a little mindfulness and we’re on our way.

I myself am always asking questions to learn more about what I already know, and especially when I’ve stumbled across something I know nothing about! This is my favorite. I can ask so many questions for my unsuspecting teachers if given the time and opportunity.

If you’ve lost your drive to discover the new, or refuse to look into the deeper exploration of things already known, no worries, I’m listing a few websites I’ve found to be wonderful resources to get you on your way to engaging new days of excitement, stimulation and fascinating information and perspective.

This may be what you need to get you out of bed and looking forward with more anticipation to the day ahead!

There is an awesome website, ExperienceLife.com an online resource for the award-winning magazine that is “dedicated to empowering people to become their healthiest selves”. They cover a wide variety of topics from Health, Fitness and Food to Relationships, Detox, and Sustainability. This website is such a good resource to tempt your curiosity. It’s a contribution of a long-list of writers from many diverse walks of life. It’s a great place to whet the appetite for further exploration with good information

If you enjoy podcasts, which I’ve recently become addicted to, play one of these while driving, cleaning or my friend suggests while folding laundry. Each episode at Curiosity.com stimulates curiosity on different subjects such as: Behavior, Immortality, Artificial Intelligence, Food & Culture, and Mind & Body,  just to name a few. They have experts from these fields explain why the information they’re sharing is helpful and why we should care.

Happy exploration!

Keep it Simple,
Just Teri

Embrace Curiosity. It May beExactly What You Need

“The mind that opens to a new idea never returns to its original size.” Albert Einstein

As children, we possessed a beautiful curiosity for the world and how we engage with the world. This element of curiosity made life shine with excitement and anticipation for adventure. We saw a world of possibility, and intrigue, and unlimited potential.

The reality is sometimes we lose our childhood curiosity in place of adult responsibilities and life becomes boring, without challenge, and many days goes on auto-pilot. It happens because we need a reasonable amount of predictability in our lives so that we’re not overwhelmed with learning something new all day long. The problem arises when we stick to the known and abandon the unknown.

It doesn’t have to be an either/or scenario of predictability or adventure. We can have both in our lives and by welcoming this kind of co-existence, it brings a feeling of harmony in responsibility and exploration!

Curiosity plays a huge part to living a fully engaged life. Experts agree it encourages observation of the world, introspection, innovation and ultimately leads to personal growth and more importantly it’s a major factor in finding fulfillment and the belief that our life is well-lived.

Towards the end of the year, many of us find ourselves in a place of transition. Goals we set earlier in the year are in motion and may even be completed. We’re ready for a new adventure. We’ve grown bored. We’re tired of the monotony of our daily routine. We’re shuffling through the day. No pep in our step. No thrill or exhilaration, at all. This is common and it’s a gift, signaling we’re ready to find new a challenge and adventure!

Now is the time to start looking around for inspiration! I repeat, start looking, not doing. The holidays are most definitely not the time to add more to your to-do list with all the celebratory events, crafts and decorations, and gift- buying. Just wait.

If you’re noticing a feeling of boredom or becoming indifferent with your life and instead of feeling alive with interest and mentally or emotionally stimulated, you trudge through your days and it most certainly feels like a daily grind, it’s time to work your curiosity muscle. It certainly can’t hurt and most times, doesn’t require much extra effort.

All that’s needed are two things:

  1. Observe the world around you. Watch people, machines, nature and allow yourself to wander off with questions like, “how does that work?”, “who thought of it?”, “what need does that serve?”, “why do people, animals or machines behave that way?”.
  1. Explore the questions that bubble up from your observations. A little or a lot. You decide how much you want to learn. Follow where those questions lead you.

That’s all it takes. Now go out and see what’s new and interesting in the world!

Keep it Simple,
Just Teri

Work it. Own it. You are a FORCE

This week has been all about celebrating how far we’ve come and celebrating the small wins. I’ve tried to share with you the importance of  dialing into what you do well and what makes you unique. I am hopeful you’ve done some excavating of your inner virtuoso and have found the hidden treasure of your gifts and abilities!

Have you done this? Have you taken a closer look at all you do and have done, and sat back and gave a long, slow clap for your sublime work?

Do you own your special-ness? Do you see what you’re amazing at? Do you appreciate the value of what you make look so easy to others and it’s without a doubt, not easy?

OR…

Do you hesitate at claiming what you’re good at? Do you consider your skills nothing special? Are you just lucky when good things happen?

“If you are not willing to risk the usual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.” Jim Rohn

Now, this may sting but I have to take it here. Don’t be so silly! If you believe you could do more or you dream of becoming a master at your craft, how are you going to make progress and gain respect if you don’t think anything special of your abilities??

Stop this nonsense! Right now!

If we struggle claiming our “something-something” this is where we need to make some changes, or we’ll struggle longer and harder than necessary. Even if we’re aware of what we do well or above average, it’s crucial to pump up our self-perception to gain some ground in our life. Greatness doesn’t happen to wall flowers. It’s time to get comfortable with some attention and applause.

I’m going to suggest something to those of us aren’t comfortable claiming our greatness out loud, so there’s only one option that will help. Brace yourself. It’s time to start a journal.

Keeping a journal is like striking gold! I’m suggesting more than a diary. I’m suggesting a tool to help chop through the self-doubt that is blocking our path to self-realizing our goals.

I love to journal but struggle with it and I will unabashedly claim my five started and unfinished journals. Still, this truth in no way lessons my belief in the capabilities that a journal offers. I write a lot of unorganized notes, but I know the value of keeping a journal and have vowed to get back to organized journaling. To be honest, at times I’m lazy to journal because I’m one of the lucky ones to have a very good friend to supplement my journal writing.

Don’t wait. Get started. If you don’t like to write or keep a journal, fine, make a list of three things you did well each day. Things we overlook will slowly be revealed in our journal. Things like intelligence, creativity, self-control, patience, kindness and commitment. If you don’t have three things, write one. If you can’t find one, ask someone because you need to break the dam you’ve put up to reduce your self-worth. You will slowly come to realize you are much more competent and capable than you give yourself credit. This is a gradual change you’re working to modify so don’t expect a miracle in a week or even a month, but it will happen if you stay committed and will help to silence your inner critic.

If those of you who hate the idea of journaling, there is a fun book, You are a Badass, by Jen Sincero. It’s a NYT Bestseller and read by many women trying to get over self-doubt and claim their awesomeness. It’s a fun book full of hilarious stories, solid advice and exercises that are not like learning rocket science. If you’re really struggling with self-doubt and don’t have a BFF that is in better shape than you, or at least in the same mindset you’re in, give it a read. It may address things you may not to say out loud or share with others.

Do whatever you have to do and find a way to connect with your inner Master, because believing in your own talent is a key ingredient to thriving in life!

Keep it Simple,
Just Teri

No One is Born an Expert. It’s a Personal Evolution.

The sun hasn’t even appeared and Hazel already believes the day is ruined. She lives in Apt 8J at Vita Reali and is up and at it. She’s finishing her workout and instead of bringing on her usual dose of happy, courtesy of the exercise induced release of endorphins, she’s sad. She transitions easily into mad. Then right on time, she’s feeling like a failure.

Hazel has just completed her certification for Personal Training. It was a wonderful experience. She was in her element because biology always came so easy to her. The coursework, which was self-study, never troubled her and she was disciplined in pacing her days for reading and understanding the new material. Hazel even went as far to create note cards she could take with her on the go and study if she was at a long stop light or sitting in a waiting room. She was committed and fully absorbed in pursuing her passion.

To outsiders, no one would expect Hazel to be struggling but she was not only in such a negative place, she was living on an all-day diet of self-doubt.

It started a few weeks after she finished her course certification. Hazel was so excited and optimistic to start working, she expected to quickly transition into a comfortable client load that would fill her days. She worried more about “how” to juggle all of her clients with her other life responsibilities than the challenge of getting new clients.

See, the course itself didn’t prove a challenge for Hazel and it wasn’t a big deal to pass. It came so naturally for her. The big deal to her was to be a successful, booked personal trainer on her way to becoming the most-sought after and respected trainer. Hazel brushed off the accomplishment of her certification because it wasn’t as important becoming the new “it” girl for personal training.

Hazel had secured one new client from her gym who had known her from gym days prior to the trainer certification. Instead of considering this as an accomplishment, she felt like it is a charity case. Her new client, Mrs. Anderson, felt pity for Hazel and wanted to help her. Instead of letting this pump her up and feel good, Hazel squelched this benchmark because it’s so far from her ideal of being a smash hit.

Evan, Hazel’s boyfriend, runs interference with this self-sabotaging talk and reminds Hazel of her talent as a trainer and that her ability is what prompted Mrs. Anderson to hire her. She knows Hazel is good at what she does and not only wants to work with someone so knowledgeable, she knows Hazel will improve her overall health and to Mrs. Anderson that is priceless. Hazel doesn’t listen to Evan since in her mind, he’s biased and only trying to make her feel better.

This isn’t an uncommon scenario. What comes easy to us is easily dismissed as no big deal. We set such lofty goals that when we finally reach them, only then, we’ll be successful. Until then, we’re wanna-bes, posing as a successful professional and not worthy of respect of praise from others and most definitely not from ourselves.

This is unsurprising behavior from high achievers, and without a doubt, completely and absolutely ridiculous!

There is no overnight success. Everyone has a humble beginning and goes through predictable stages of growth. What appears to us to be spontaneous fame is years of hard work, exhausting days and ups and downs and it happened when we weren’t paying attention. Because that was when they were still one of many! Average at their craft.

No-one is born an expert or an out-of-this world phenom. It is an evolution of living through the processes of challenge and applying the knowledge we gain into delivering exceptional performance and creating our success. It’s days, weeks and months of self-doubt, self-criticism and unrealistic expectations we need to go through to understand no career is flawless or without failure and mistakes.

We are forged into experts with experience and errors because we learn and grow from them and gain a new respect for our service. Through these practical trials, we establish the performance criteria we come to expect from ourselves.

Let’s stop being so cruel to ourselves! Let’s stop holding off celebrating the little successes along the way to our dreams. They’re a bigger deal than we give them credit. They’re evidence of our growth!

Let’s honor these tiny steps that appear to be minutiae because they help build the feeling of competence and boost our self-image. Celebrating feeds optimism, reinforces dedicated planning and goal setting and raises our confidence that indeed we are doing what we love. And we’re darn good at!

Keep it Simple,
Just Teri

Why Everyone Should Have a Victory Dance

dancingclipart

High achievers and fierce entrepreneurs are like pitbulls with their goals. Always setting the bar higher, bigger, more challenging, more intense.

And the super achievers I know never seem to be satisfied with what they’re doing at the moment. They always minimize their big score and go on to explain its “ok” but they’re really after getting “this or that” done. And I’m like, “Wow, that seems like a pretty great achievement and I’d be pretty darn happy for those results. I must be a total slacker or under achiever.” Then I break into self-reflection, making sure I’m in fact not a slacker and right on track for what’s right for me.

You know what I’d love to see? I’d love to see these super achievers ease up a little and break out into a hard-core victory dance. I mean just own it. You set some serious goals and you rocked it out. Now, do your end zone celebration for your stellar moves!

We all need to have an end-zone celebration, of some sort, when we feel we’ve had a major score! Strike a pose. Karate kick. Fist pump. Shadow boxing. Something fun and silly and celebratory!

The truth is, most of us don’t feel worthy of a victory dance when we reach a goal. It’s quite possible we’ve set our goal too big or too high that we may never even have a chance to use our dance, if we actually had one.

When we set lofty goals, ones which are completely achievable through commitment and effort, they may take a considerable amount of time before they’ll be realized. Too much time to wait to taste success.

Experts agree that even for seasoned winners, setting smaller goals that contribute to reaching our ultimate goal, allow us to reach them in the shorter term and feel success and it reinforces our drive to keep going. They also agree to take time to celebrate these small wins. So, be sure to take a moment and do whatever blows your hair back.

When you’re feeling exhausted or overwhelmed follow the lead of successful entrepreneurs who turn that feeling into gratitude for being busy and staying the course. It’s evidence that they’re moving and shaking and on track to reaching their next benchmark. Feeling tired shows they’re doing what needs to be done to succeed.

And one last thing. When you reach your benchmarks, be sure to look back to where you started at square one. Take note of all you’ve done so far and learned and created to get to this point. You are not the same person who started this quest. You’ve expanded your world and you’ve grown personally and, or, professionally. This is exactly what our lives are about. Live. Learn. Love. Grow.

And I say, take the time to have fun living your life. Channel you inner super-star, get creative with a one-of-a-kind victory dance and let it rip. You deserve it!

Keep it Simple (and FUN),
Just Teri