Trying to save someone who doesn’t want to save themselves

Nobody said life was easy. Life is good. But life isn’t easy.

In our youth we don’t understand the natural law of compounding. If we did, we may have paid closer attention to our decisions and perhaps listened more to our elders. But no, youth is king, and we knew better. Just watch us prove you wrong. We will do better. It will be different for us. Easier. It won’t turn out as people had warned.

Guess what?

It does turn out like our elders warned.

I say this as a well-adjusted adult having gone through my youth with typical ignorance and naivete. Yes, I did act immature at times, but I also paid the price of my mistakes as I made them and promised to learn from them and do better. And I’m grateful to say, I have.

I tell my children that my observations, warnings, and guidance of their life in no way points to my expectation for them to be perfect, and not to fail, and to not make any mistakes. I tell them I’m trying to prepare them with the tools to better process those mistakes and failures and hopefully avoid any life-damaging choices that put a noose around their neck.

Charles Dickens had it right when he taught us through Ebenezer Scrooge, “I wear the chains I forged in life, I made them link by link”. This is exactly what we do. Regret and anger, cruelty and neglect, they make up the chains we wear, and the reality is, the length and weight of our chain is in our hands and a direct ratio to our poor decisions. They are the consequences.

I look around and I see the wreckage of choices of the people I care for that were put in motion many, many years ago. It’s hard to witness. It’s even harder to accept there is absolutely nothing I can do to fix their problems or end the struggle of the consequences of their choices even though I try in vain to help them solve a problem that they have no intention of fixing.

It’s like watching a drowning person and you want so desperately to save their life. You see them flailing madly in the water and you know they could take you both down if you dove in after them, but you can’t just stand by and watch. So, you throw them a life preserver and scream to them, “It’s right there, next to you, just grab hold!” But they don’t. They can’t see it through the turmoil and chaos as they flail about in anger, or fear and panic. It’s right next to them, waiting to help but they don’t take it, and you watch their struggle knowing they could save themselves if they would grab ahold and swim to shore.

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I’ve learned to accept this is true for people drowning in life. It’s their life to live and the truth is we have to realize their troubles didn’t just happen overnight and there are countless events from yesterday that indeed shaped their “today”:

It’s failure to make good emotional choices that keeps a person out of a bad relationship or destructive friendships or tension with the in-laws that creates stress and anxiety that drain our life force and vitality.

It’s the neglect of the body by eating badly, choosing to stay on the couch instead of recognizing the necessity of movement, and disrespecting the importance of sleep that breaks the body down at a rapid pace.

It’s the disregard for staying committed to learning new things, dismissing the need to stay engaged to people and the world and laughing off the benefit of mental stimulation that accelerates our cognitive deterioration.

It was too much work. There were better, more important things that had to be done. They didn’t have time and they didn’t feel it was critical to make time.

These are the links of neglect. They don’t disappear or evaporate as time passes. They are forged link by link over the years until they hang like heavy chains around their neck until they can no longer ignore them or the limitations that come with them. They have-to remove their chains.

I have always and will always lend a helping and loving hand to people trying to heal and choose to learn and grow.

I’ve also learned, I cannot force anyone to take my hand, or want to heal, or commit to learn and grow. As much as it pains me to watch people struggle, I’m witnessing a lifetime of choices that has put them there and the pain is not the mistakes they’ve made but the fact they are incapable of realizing they do have the capacity of making the necessary choices to heal, and learn and grow, and change their situation for a reality of their making. First, they have-to decide to grab hold of the life-preserver.

Keep it Simple,
Just Teri

Seeking More Happiness in 2020? The gift of finding happiness lies within us

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“If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never be fulfilled. If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself. Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the world belongs to you.”  Lao Tzu

As reported in the Washington Post article, Americans are getting more miserable, and there’s data to prove it, it’s understandable that finding more happiness in our lives is a common goal for the new year. Are you among the band of citizens pursuing more pleasure, more joy, more carefreeness, more delight? Good for you. This is a worthy goal and the solution is much closer and attainable than you may believe.

Yes ,we have basic physical and psychological needs suggested by Abe Maslow, that must be met as we live our human life and we’ve got to satisfy the needs of each stage before we can confidently move forward to the next stage that can potentially lead us to a higher level of self-actualization, if done with intention. When we boil our lives down to find what’s most important, I believe to be self-actualized is the true purpose of life.

While our basic and psychological needs all contribute to our feeling of well-being, it goes beyond the combination of health, money and relationships of our life situation with one major factor of influence. This factor is perception!

“Perception is real even when it is not reality” Edward de Bono

The truth is, happiness is a matter of personal interpretation. It’s based on our unique, individual values, beliefs and life experiences. It’s not a one size fits all and sorry to say, but happiness is a temporary feeling based on what’s happening in our life at-that-moment. It’s defined as a “state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others and it’s not a constant emotional state.”

That being said, we can learn to ride out the ups and downs of daily living and find more joy throughout our day. It’s up to us to go beyond the momentary joy to pursue a deeper understanding of what brings us a consistent feeling of peace and contentment regardless of whether something happens or doesn’t happen. This is what comes when we live life with a gratitude for all that we have now and the endless possibilities we can create by living a thoughtful life.

I remember when I was in my 20s and this realization hit me. I felt immediate relief! I felt empowered that “happiness” was a result of my interpretation of my life and more importantly, my choices, present and future that determine my level of life satisfaction. I was more than happy to get off the roller-coaster of emotions that allowed external situations dictate whether or not I felt happy and move towards genuine appreciation of my life.

Do people influence our mood? For sure! Do situations impact our state of affairs? Most definitely! The key is to accept that what other people feel, and many of life’s circumstances are not and cannot always be in our control.

What is in our control is how we live our life based on our actions and reactions. It’s possible to live in a state of satisfaction if we choose what works in our life based on our goals and our dreams. We’ve either forgotten or haven’t realized this is truly possible. When we do this, we no longer live each day at the mercy of people and situations beyond our control to “make” us happy. We know that being content lies in living true to our personal nature. True to ourselves.

Wishing you a year full of days where you find the joy in the little things, feel the contentment of your choices and actions, and the carefreeness that every moment is a fresh, new opportunity born to make changes that’ll bring good change!

Keep it Simple,
Just Teri

Hindsight is 20/20: Suggestions for a Positive End of Year Review

2019 is coming to a close. 2020 brings the promise of not only a new year but a new decade.

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. ~Carl Bard

At the end of the year its common practice to indulge in a year-end review. Some people go deep in their excavation, unearthing the roots of their thoughts, their feelings, and their behaviors. Some people prefer to stay on the surface and see the results of their year from a bird’s eye view.

Either way, most people take at least a moment or two to consider how their past year went. No matter your approach from experience I find it important to be vigilant not to judge harshly as your memories flood your head with your past year’s hits and misses.

Realize that we see the truth of all our choices, after they’ve happened. As they say, “Hindsight is 20/20” and it’s absolutely true! It’s right there. Crystal clear and in High-Def!

So, as we review our year, let’s be kind in our evaluation. We do our best with what we’re capable of based on our situation, knowledge and skills at that moment.

Be loving to yourself and don’t let the past year’s replay go on for too long, or you risk falling into a loop of disappointment and self-criticism. The gift of introspection is to learn, not sulk. It’s cruel and self-sabotage to remain any longer than necessary to gauge where we’re at and how we’re doing.

Take some time to give 2019 a once over and then look towards 2020 with the hope it offers. New Year’s Eve is a ceremonial finish of one chapter and the beginning of a new chapter. Fresh, blank pages that are unwritten and beckon us to grab our pen and color those empty pages with new and exciting ideas and experiences that are fresh and stimulating.

I don’t know about you but welcoming a new year, one that also signals a new decade, seems to bring a little more umph in my annual life-review!

It’s gotten me focused on how I want the next decade to roll. What would I like to do to take things to the next level? What tiny corrections in direction, or minor adjustments in my approach, or subtle tweaking could make things just a little bit better?

I’m aware that I am in the driver’s seat and I have the freedom and gift to chose what will help bring me greater life satisfaction.

Do I need to pursue a new opportunity or try to do things more efficiently, faster, or better quality? Do I have balance in my life? Are my relationships healthy? Am I thriving in my professional life? Do I practice self-care? Am I involved with community or learning opportunities or hobbies that stimulate me, offer meaning and keep me growing?

Bottom line, it’s not just a new decade or new year that offers a new beginning. We have this option every day, or every hour or every minute to make some changes that will make things change.

Keep it Simple,
Just Teri

Gratitude is the Secret Super Power to Living a Satisfied Life

Gratitude is said to be a feeling of appreciation for what we have. It turns our focus outward and opens our eyes to what other people and life offer us. The magic of gratitude is that it connects us with the goodness out there in the world and especially in our own life. It restores faith in our fellow man that we’re together in this journey of life and we’re not left alone to navigate the perilous land of the unknown.

Gratitude and Social Bonds

A major benefit of feeling gratitude is that it serves to strengthen social bonds. It brings our attention to the gifts we receive from others such as encouragement, assistance – emotional, physical or financial, shelter, and many more ways that people support us to live a good life. It’s a realization that the goodness of our life that contributes to our happiness and well-being is found outside ourselves.

It’s the friend that cheers us on to follow our dream of a new career when we don’t exactly know how we’re going to make that dream a reality. It’s the teacher that takes extra time for her student who struggles with a new math concept and feels like he doesn’t have what it takes to continue school after high-school. It’s the support a new widow receives when his wife has lost his fight with cancer with cards and calls and visits. Gratitude takes on many different forms of action and words in many different situations, but the result is the same. It’s a genuine, deep from the heart thankfulness for the helping hand that shares love, humor, encouragement, compassion, understanding, or teaches us.

When I practice gratitude, it’s like a cozy blanket that feels like peace and safety and appreciation. I feel centered to acknowledge and respect the people around me who help me to live a good life. I’m inspired to pay it forward and share the magic of helping someone else live a good life too! Though we’re no longer needed to live in a tribe for “survival”, we thrive when we find a tribe to share our life journey. It’s the mutual support that’s priceless and when we continue to receive support and pay it forward, the number of people reached is multiplied and the impact becomes exponential. When each of us prosper and live a life of excellence, the whole world is rewarded.

What Gratitude Is and Is Not

True gratitude, the soul food, the life-sustaining nourishment for feeling peace and joy, isn’t a product of happy surprises, good fortune or luck, material things, power or money. Yes, we certainly feel gratitude when those things are earned, but the satisfaction is fleeting. They aren’t the true source of the unshakeable feeling gratitude provides and helps to make every day a good day, no matter what’s happening around us.

I know the people who have the bank account that funds trips, mansions, cars, jewelry, and hobbies that from a distance is without a doubt enviable. It’s easy to think, “They have it all. What a good life! What fun. How fulfilling their life must be.” and you’d probably believe this to be true. But we’d be wrong. Appearances are deceiving and in most lifestyles like this, the “shiny” has polluted the calm waters of the simple pleasures of life. It muddies the water of the beautiful and simple gifts of our human existence, and they become desensitized to the what the shiny offers. It quickly loses its luster and becomes ordinary. This I’ve seen leads to a desperate search for another new “shiny” to replace the old, boring, worn-out thrill they need in order to feel their life is good. Sadly, this will be a lifetime pursuit because they see living a happy life as something they don’t have and need to acquire.

Gratitude makes the ego take a back seat. It doesn’t allow the ego to be in the driver’s seat of our life that can easily steer us towards the superficial and temporary thrills that never fully satisfy us for more than a moment. They’re the flashy and shiny “gifts” that are so pretty and mesmerizing. They’re an enchanting illusion that hides the danger of becoming addicted to a temporary feeling of happiness with a quick expiration date and a promise to leave us feeling empty and less satisfied. It’s never-ending need for more of the “shiny” to feel good again. This is what I call the “Hollywood Factor” and my heart aches for how it’s infected the world with the false idea of what happiness and success looks like. Being genuinely happy in Hollywood appears to be the exception, not the normal.

No, gratitude is much deeper than the “shiny”. It’s a feeling of peace for all the miracles we may overlook like health and love and social connection. When given the room, gratitude roots deep within us. It never leaves us feeling as less than, or alone. It says, our life is splendid if we’d only look around with humility and simplicity.

It’s having the mindset of “I am a master at enjoying my life and experiencing true joy. I feel love and contentment, so much that all the other good fortune in my life is simply the cherry on top”. It’s a feeling deep, deep in our soul that is renewable and a self-sustaining resource of contentment available when we live with awareness and recognize the abundance of blessings that already exist in our life.

The true goodness in life isn’t in chasing what we don’t have, it’s appreciating what we have right now. We just need to cultivate it and we can do this by practicing gratitude for the riches in our life that are beyond and deeper than the material rewards of life.

Keep it Simple,
Just Teri

Simple Tips I Practice That Help Me Stay Committed to a New Goal

Without a doubt, there are dreams we wish with all our heart that we can make a reality. The question is how to sustain the commitment to make it happen. John Maxwell said that what motivates us is a choice. I agree and in following this line of thought, it stands to reason that what motivates us is as unique as the life of every individual.

So, if you’re wondering what keeps your desire to improve burning, keep asking what means the most to you in your future success and make certain you incorporate that into the foundation of your goals.

Here’s what I’ve learned from not taking time to be prepared in chasing my dreams.

  • Motivation for me will struggle if I don’t take the time to get crystal clear on what my accomplishment will do for my life and what changes I believe it’ll bring.
  • If I don’t take time to get clear, it’s nearly impossible to create a plan to get “there”. I can’t draw a map if I don’t know where “there” is.
  • Not having a plan makes it impossible for me to break the goal down into smaller, more reasonable mini-goals that help my forward progress.
  • If I don’t adjust my surroundings to support my mission, I’ll be swimming against the current. I’ll give in to exhaustion too-soon, and falsely believe it wasn’t meant to be.

The truth is, there are plenty of ideas and helpful motivational lists you can find in books, at conferences, and on the internet, but I found these approaches to be the most helpful at the beginning stages of reaching my goals. I learned to stop and take time to become prepared for the changes I needed to make mentally, emotionally and in my environment before I took a single step. I use these simple tips because I want to have more say in making life happen “for me” rather than just “to me”.

I hope some of the following suggestions will help you continue your march towards making your dreams come true! You can do it. All you need is to find what works magic for you.

  1. Get Clarity.

Imagine your dream in the most vivid detail possible. Why this goal will be good for you. How it looks, sounds, smells. What it feels like to be that person you’ve imagined. Take time to write down your dreams. That’s right, no digital notes. Experts suggest recording your dreams by hand is more powerful because there it establishes more of a mental connection, and this helps further your belief that you are going to be that person.

  1. Create a plan.

NO expedition, exploration, or innovation makes it much farther than the front gate without a good plan. You need to take the time, and don’t be surprised at the amount of time required, to create a solid plan with the most effective strategy to get to your first benchmark goal. Your plan is your set of actions you believe will lead you to your desired results.

  1. Break down your goal into smaller, achievable units and reward yourself.

The old saying, “You can’t eat an elephant in one bite”, is one of the most powerful pieces of advice. If you start off expecting too much, too soon, you create unnecessary stress, and practically insure failure – not the good kind, it’s the kind where you start to believe you’re out of our league to ever think you could achieve your goal. Break down your big dream into smaller, more manageable goals. They’re easier to learn and perform with more proficiency. This builds competency and confidence – a real game changer!

Be sure to reward yourself with treats appropriate to the commitment and effort of the task. A coffee break at your favorite cafe? A candle? A dessert reserved for special occasions? A piece of clothing or accessory you’re been wanting to splurge on but didn’t feel you deserved? You decide the reward based on the effort.

  1. Create a positive environment.

Surround yourself with an environment where you feel inspired. Good music, scented candle, essential oil vaporizer? Also, fortify your support group. Perhaps a mentor you respect. A fellow entrepreneur, a local networking group, or a good friend who knows you best and totally gets your dream and will talk you through your confusion or frustrations.

Bottom line. It’s important to be enjoying your journey to create change in your life because it helps reduce the stress and negativity of becoming isolated and unbalanced. It you fail to nurture and maintain a healthy, balance life, there will be nothing or no one to celebrate and enjoy the fruits of your labors when you finally reach your goals.

 

“Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men! Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for power equal to your tasks.” – Phillips Brooks

 

Of course, there are an abundance of suggestions, tips and strategies for achieving our goals available, but I’ve found the beginning stages are the most fragile in maintaining the commitment to continue, and these basic suggestions I’ve offered are some of the easier tactics we can activate to fuel our motivation to see our plan through to the end.

See it. Believe it. Plan it. Do it. Good luck!

Keep it Simple,
Just Teri

Why Our Choice to Take It to the Next Level is the Root of Our Motivation

The dream is easy. It comes to us. We’re going to raise the bar on our quality of work, creativity or transformation. We’re ready to create a life that is healthy, engaged and abundant in love. Making the dream a reality isn’t always so easy. We are required to go after IT! Yes, the dream is the gift, but making it a reality is making a commitment to a lot of work! The sad truth that I finally came to realize is that as unique as we are from other people, this uniqueness also applies to everything about us and certainly to how we’re motivated. There is not a one-size-fits-all answer to sustaining our motivation. It doesn’t exist. The secret ingredient is one-of-a-kind for each of us.

My friend Melissa and I would always say, “Wouldn’t it be great to have just a little bit of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)?” Now, while we were in no way being flippant or disrespectful to this disorder, we found ourselves envious of the unflinching focus (albeit not chosen on their part) and their results of getting things done! And we also realized, with OCD, you never get just a little bit of it. It’s life-consuming.

The problem we ran into was sustaining our motivational levels to stick with reaching our goals. The creative part was a piece of cake. Our brainstorming was something to rival Nike (in our opinion). We had great dreams that could be a reality if we only kept on the straight and narrow of making our dreams come true. But how does that happen when we feel no obsession, no desperation, no hopelessness that could only be ended by achieving our goals? And without a doubt, any book we read about high performers and their great success stories, without a doubt, they were 100% consumed by their dream!

We both didn’t feel this. No desperation to provide for our daily human needs for survival: food, shelter, safety. We didn’t have a giant void we needed to fill to have a healthy self-esteem or make life matter. No fixation on fame or riches beyond our wildest dreams and a bottomless well that flowed with money. The Oprah or Bill Gates kind of money that we could never make a dent in our checkbook with the most outlandish, irresponsible or frivolous spending. We didn’t crave power and influence or to be the envy of everyone. All we believed is that we have our gifts that could serve others . Our natural skills and abilities we were born with that call to us, even demand that we share with the world.

Now John Maxwell, the grandfather of leadership and all areas related to character, attitude and intention, says everyone has a distinctive motivational drive and it is a choice. Let me repeat that. What we use to motivate us is a choice! He’s written over 100 books on these topics and is a library of knowledge and tips and how to chart a course to live our best life. If you have an itch of reaching your potential that needs scratched, John Maxwell is most definitely worth checking out. There is a book that speaks to everyone in his collection.

Please let me make a suggestion here. Before you start reading and researching on “how to”, take some time to record what’s going on right now. Take some quiet time to reflect and jot down what you value the most for your life as a whole. How you feel you’re succeeding in the physical, mental, and emotional areas of your life. Are you feeling joy? Do you believe these areas are thriving? What would you like to do better for these three areas of your life? Why these improvements will be beneficial to your life and the people closest to you?

If the root of our motivational power is a choice, we need to get crystal clear on what, why and how these changes will impact our life. Without clarity, we will end up adrift and living out our days doing just enough to get through it. Not learning, or growing, and certainly not thriving. And I believe making the most of each day is making it a day well-lived.

Remember, we are worth it!

Keep it Simple,
Just Teri

Raising Our Standards to Bring Our “A” Game

Setting honest and loving standards helps us to live a life of authenticity where who we believe we are is congruent with how we live our life every day. Setting challenging standards helps us to live each day striving to produce our best results. We live up to the standards we set and that helps us stay committed to reaching our maximum potential. Setting healthy physical, emotional and mental standards help us greet our days with energy, enthusiasm, love and joy as we set out to be our best version for that day and every day to follow.

Setting healthy standards are the guideposts for improvement in life.

Our lives are a cycle of growth, reward, and rest. We thrive when we move through this cycle with commitment and focus and make many, many, adjustments. At each summit of an accomplishment, it’s time to set new goals. Strive to learn new skills and capabilities or do what we know better and with higher quality output.

It’s a worthy effort to take some time to evaluate our standards. Do we want our life to be fine, typical, comfortable? Or do we want our life to be spectacular, engaging, stimulating or at the very least thriving in what we do every day?

For this particular mission, I’ve discovered that changing our standards is like preparing for battle. Truly so! And if we hear a calling, from deep within us, to do more, be more, achieve more, then here are some ideas to explore as we create a new acceptable level of performance to embrace our potential.

Bravery:

It requires bravery. When we decide we want to produce better quality, to perform at a higher level, we have to be brave and step outside our comfort zone. It has to happen if we want to produce results different than what we’re currently doing.

Awareness:

We’ve got to get painfully honest with ourselves. Dial into our self-awareness because this is where we’ll find the answers. Within each of us lies the truth of our reality and we have first-hand knowledge of what we’re doing well and what actions we’re completely “tanking”. We need to take some time to reflect and listen for the answers we know better than anyone else.

Sometimes it’s hard to be blunt with ourselves, and I seriously warn you not to dwell in self-criticism for long. It’s way too easy to get lost in the fog of too high expectations and mocking judgment. But when we’re not producing better output, we’ve got to locate the input that needs to be changed. And, brace yourself, there’s usually more than one change needed. Yikes! Don’t get down on yourself if this is the case. Take one truth at a time and slowly begin the work to improve it. What advice would you give to a friend, such as yourself, seeking better standards?

Benchmarks:

At this point, we need to set a benchmark to produce new results. Our new acceptable standard of performance. Be careful not to set it at an unattainable level that requires skills you’ve not yet developed. This is self-sabotage and you deserve better than that! Self-sabotaging our goals insures that we’ll break down to the point we want to quit. For this reason, I set my goals higher than I believe I can achieve to be committed and push myself to reach beyond my current capabilities and I’ve found it does bring out the best in my performance. I typically achieve higher than I would have if my standard had been set lower.

Another key is to set benchmarks that bring rewards sooner than later because successes build confidence and self-esteem, fuels motivation and commitment to continue our pursuit of higher standards and output. Upon completion, it’s important to keep our momentum going and by again raising our standards and asking a little more of ourselves, in reasonable increments of course. This helps us to stay engaged with our vision.

Planning:

It’s super helpful to plan and prepare “how” we’re going to reach our benchmarks. Jim Rohn, who is a master in teaching how to reach success, suggests a few simple things such as: It’s important to develop the right plan for us, establish times to spend on it, take time to reflect each week and make adjustments, and keep a journal of our progress.

It’s easy to forget ideas or corrections if we fail to record them. As unique as we are as people, creating a plan to keep us motivated will vary as well. When we find a way to incorporate our plan into the natural flow of our day, it’s easier to make it happen.

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” Pablo Picasso

Failure:

Let’s not forget that we’ve got to welcome failure and make it a friend of sorts. Failure highlights what we’re lacking in skills, what we’re doing wrong and needing correction, or what task is pivotal to do better for success and what may be needing more of our energy and attention to propel ourselves forward. Failure doesn’t suggest we need to stop but what we need to adjust in our attempts.

If we’re at a point in our life where we’ve enjoyed a fair amount of success and believe we’re capable of more, or if we’ve never made any significant achievement at all but we know we have it in us, it’s time to set new standards to create a new outcome. It’s within all of us!

Be positive. Be committed. Be intentional. These are key ingredients for our attitude as we commit to raising our performance.

Keep it Simple,
Just Teri