Monday, November 9, 2015

THE LIFE-CHALLENGE SERIES: "YOU GOT SOME 'SPLAINING TO DO!"


Actually … ya don’t! Have you ever stopped to look at how often you explain your reasons to people about things that, to be honest, are just none of their damn business? There is sooo much unnecessary explaining going on in the world, and it’s all because we’re afraid of some kind of excommunicational (nope, not a real word; nope, don’t care!) consequence if we say no to people without laying our whole story on the line. We want them to approve and not be mad. Or, if they are mad, at least we will have stated our case in an effort to get them to understand our position, which was oh-so necessary for the good of our relationship/connection, right? Not ! Let’s be honest: most of the time, when people ask you to do things you don’t wanna do, if it’s not your boss or someone you really do owe a decent explanation (you know who those people are in your life; I don’t need to list them), all you really need to say is no, and keep it pushing, whether they like it or not.

This may sound cold, but I don’t care. The way I see it, as the grown-ass women and men we all are, we really don’t have too many people to answer to other than bosses, people in law enforcement, maybe a random teacher here and there, and possibly a spouse/significant other <-------- (possibly … depending on what the spouse/signif other is asking for). And if you’re not grown yet, well, sorry, but you might have to say yes when you don’t want to, and/or explain yourself to your parent(s) if you take a stab at a bold no, especially if you’re living in their house.

Listen. People want what they want from us, and they don’t like no. Many times they tend to be nosy, pushy, and act entitled when that’s what they get. I know I don’t like being told no when asking for what I want. Too bad, though, because the reality is, people are allowed to turn us down, and they shouldn’t have to be subjected to questioning about their decision afterward.

You’re allowed to say no, too (this includes changing your yes to a no), and this post is about getting comfortable with saying it and not justifying it every time, or at all, unless it’s really necessary. So, lemme ask you: are you aware of the many lovely ways there are to say no? Oh, there are quite a few, and I’ve used them all, depending on who’s asking for what, who they are to me, and if I care about any future interactions with them. There are some people I just say no to, flat out. No synonym phrases on deck. No feeling uncomfortable about it before, during, or after. Just no, and this convo is over. Bye. You mad? Meh … don’t care. But there are plenty of times when I’m not so comfortable slapping folks upside the head with a hard no, attached to the “And don’t ask me why, either,” tone. There are times when I feel the conversations would end better with a softer rejection, but still no explanation because it’s still none of their business what I decide to do with my time and life, and why. If I’m being frank, there are times when I’m truly uncomfortable with the no I know I’m about to hand someone, afraid, even, because hey, I’m human and flawed and the thought of some people’s adverse reactions daunt me every now and then, especially if they’re important to me. But I’ve come to a point in my life where, even when dealing with people who do matter, I'm solid about that fact that there are things they don’t need to know; there are situations I just don’t feel like explaining or talking about; and that’s my right.

This brings me to those synonym phrases. They’re the best. The following is a short list of ways to say no, when no isn’t the word you're comfortable using:
 
  • That won’t work for me
  • It’s not in my best interest
  • I’m unavailable/I won’t be available (*my personal favorite and one I use frequently)
  • It conflicts with my schedule
  • I have other plans
  • I’m busy
  • I’ve had an unexpected schedule change (for when you change your yes to a no)
  • Now’s not a good time
  • I have some important business to take care of (for use in a now-no or a yes to a no)
  • Maybe some other time

The great thing about these replacements is that they’re all true, meaning you’re not lying to people. “I’m sick,” when you’re not sick, is a lie. “I can’t” is a lie most of the time (usually you can; you just don’t want to). Bringing other people and situations into your no, when they have nothing to do with it, is a lie: “I promised so-and-so I’d help him move.” “I have to take my car to the shop.” “I have to work.” “I’m doing/going to XYZ with my family.” Yeah, stop that, people. Just. Stop. Be grown. Quit all that lying. It’s not necessary. The list above provides plenty of honest exit routes. They all mean the same thing: I’m about to take care of me. Period.

You may beg to differ that some of those options are borderline lies, but let me school you right quick. If doing what you wanna do is at the center of those options, then there is no lie. “I have some important business to take care of” is not a lie. Why? Because whatever you feel you wanna do in place of their request is important business, even if it’s sitting around cutting your toenails, sipping tea while staring out the window, or binge-watching your favorite show on Netflix all day in your pajamas. Basically, anything you wanna do that you decide is in your best interest, that brings you peace of mind, and that puts you in the physical or mental space you wanna be, is justifiably important. Because that’s your job, all day, every day: to make sure you feel good, comfortable, and at peace, as often as you can. The same goes for the rest of the options. If you look at their wording, they’re all based on the fact that you’re putting yourself before some request that you feel would take you out of your peaceful zone, or put you in a stressful one if you say yes (or if you don’t change your mind about), and again, you need not explain yourself any further.

Will you dare be questioned by the nosy-pushy-entitled ones? Possibly. No matter how you say no, there may be times when people will attempt to not let you off the hook so easily. Stand your ground, people (I’m talking to myself, too!). Don’t let them lightweight bully you into engaging their discomfort with or dismay about your refusal to comply. Now, this may take a little more courage than you think you have, but if you get questioned, kindly repeat yourself. As in, “That won’t work for me.” “Why not? What’s the problem?” “It just won’t work for me.” “I heard you, but why not?” “It just won’t work for me.” “But tell me why, though? Why can’t you tell me?” *Very firmly: “It’s not gonna work. Sorry.” You’re probably not sorry, but that’s not the point. It’s not an actual apology; it’s a “shut-down sorry,” the polite way of letting people know you’re ending the discussion. At that point, depending on the means of communication, you kindly excuse yourself from the person. Nosy-pushy-entitled ones sometimes need to be dealt with in a special way.

This type of conversation can be had with any no, even if you use the word itself. If you wanna be in control of your life, time, personal space, and personal business, then I strongly suggest that you employ the repeat-yourself method if/when questioned unnecessarily. It may seem more effortful than just giving in and explaining … or lying, but in my experience, it’s really the healthier way to go. It’s like saying, “This is the only answer you’re gonna get. Deal with it.” If you’re feeling particularly courageous and snarky, you could just say, “Because I said so,” or “Don’t question me.” Boom. Crack their face. The point is, if you always let people push you into giving them what they want, even if it’s an explanation where none is needed, then your self-esteem will plummet. Your chances of feeling great about yourself while letting people run your show aren’t good.

If you really don’t mind explaining a situation or reason, then by all means, do it. I’m definitely not saying you should never explain yourself to people. That kind of decision is based wholly on how you feel about the act. If it feels right, natural, necessary, and totally non-stressful, then great. What I’m asking you to do is pay attention to how and when you give of yourself to people; and when you don’t want to, please, for the love of your peace of mind and self-worth, find a way to be strong and decline without lying.

I totally understand that there’ll be times when you’ll be confronted with super-difficult “no moments,” ones that pull at your conscience, for whatever reason. I’ve been there. They can be a bit tricky sometimes, especially if you feel indebted to the people who are asking of you (that’s a whole other post that’ll take place another day). But, alas, no matter how uncomfortable, what I know for sure is that if we don’t find a way to honor ourselves in these situations, then we’re gonna tumble downhill, fast, emotionally.

I know I’m damn sure not up for spending the rest of my days trudging back up to the self-esteem mountaintop. Are you?

Take good care of yourselves, and always remember to HONOR THE SPIRIT

Friday, September 18, 2015

THE LIFE-CHALLENGE SERIES: VISITING HOURS ARE OVER

Sometimes, when a door closes—a situation in our lives ends—if we're brutally honest with ourselves, we're really not that fazed by its ending, because it either wasn't resonating with our spirits from the beginning, or, over time, our priorities changed and now that scenario isn't in alignment with our path.

But still ... when that door closes, sometimes there's this [long or short] moment of freak-out, where we get all up in arms about its dissolution, and we may even go out of our way to try to keep it, causing ourselves undue stress, when in reality, the thing isn't what we're trying to keep; it's the end result that we're attached to, the way that thing served us, how it kept us comfortable or safe in some way. That's what we're scrambling to hold on to. The fear of that door closing and not having that end result, either ever again or for a really long time, is what drives us to dishonor ourselves by clinging to something that our spirit has decided it's time to let go of and make room for a bigger, better, even more satisfying scenario.

Everything changes and everything ends, in one way or another. When doors close, let's remember (I'm saying "let's" cuz I'm talking to myself, too) that it's because, in hospital terms, "visiting hours are over." We're just visiting with these scenarios until it's time to advance. Some of them last years, decades, even. But at some point, the visit will end. And when it does, it'll be because we're ready spiritually, even if our ego says we're not.

Trust your spirit when doors close. Spirit is supreme. It knows when enough is enough. So pack up, say a jubilant good-bye, and walk away with anticipation of your next place of visit, in a new, grander situation.

Visit me at Honor the Spirit for more info about how I can help you stay centered and at peace.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

MY CLIENT'S AWESOME LIFE CHALLENGE CONSULTATION TESTIMONIAL



I went to school and obtained my bachelors degree based on advice from a previous manager, with the intention of becoming a senior accountant.

After I spoke to Charlene about my dilemma about training people in accounting to be promoted over me, being passed over for promotions and not being paid what I'm worth, or being called upon to do the work with a promise of a promotion and raise that never came to fruition, she explained that I was not "honoring my spirit," meaning that I was not believing in my self-worth, and that settling was not an option for me. When asked why I was allowing myself to be treated like that, I didn't really have an answer. I just knew that for the last 10 years I had been called upon to do major accounting duties at various jobs without getting paid to do them, all the while being told that I wasn't qualified for the position. She also explained to me that while I was holding up my end of the bargain, they were not honoring their side of the bargain and that’s why I was left unhappy and unsatisfied; and if I didn't stand up for myself and truly believe in my skills and abilities, then nobody was going to give me what I wanted. After talking to Charlene and thinking, I realized that I was being taken all along, and I was not going to stand for it anymore.

I had employers calling me because I had decided to leave my position for that reason. I told myself that I wouldn't take anything less than a senior accountant position paying $80k, an income goal I had for years but never pursued, and wasn’t even close to making. A senior accountant position that I had seen advertised previously on Indeed popped up on my newsfeed again. While this job had been open for 2 months, I thought I would not be qualified because I did not have ALL the skills they were looking for. With my new attitude, I decided that I had the majority of what they were looking for and the only thing they could tell me was no. I applied for the job, and they literally called me the next morning to schedule an interview. Not only did I get an interview, but they were nice enough to try and accommodate me on my lunch hour (so as not to cause an issue with the job I was seeking to leave). 

The interview went so well that when I went back to work, I had the audacity to call my boss (who worked in another state) and give my two-week notice that day, without knowing whether I had the job or not. I've had interviews where I thought I had the job, and then they called and said that it was between me and someone else, and they were more qualified. This time was different, and I KNEW it. My boss came to me with the whole spiel of not holding their up end of the bargain and they would see what they could do about getting me a raise and such, which was just idle chatter to me at that point. Not to be swayed, I turned him down without a second thought. Less than 24 hours later, I received the call that I got the job and that my salary was starting at $88k!!!! I thought I was going to pass out!!! That was more than what I was asking for!!!! I had never felt so happy, fulfilled, and appreciated in my life!! I am now happy and employed with a GREAT company where I can move up, and I feel challenged at the same time!

I was in a bad place, but the advice Charlene gave me helped me to honor my spirit and know my self worth. I am a person that is very honest and gives great advice, but sometimes I need people to help me out in this area as well. Charlene did that for me. She listens and can actually ask you the tough questions that you may not be ready to answer but need to face. There is nothing to lose by talking to her about your situation, only knowledge to gain.

Charlene, thank you so much for helping me to see what a disservice I was doing to myself. You actually saw the potential and how smart I was, but because I had believed for so long that I was not qualified, I let employers just walk all over me when I would NEVER let that go in any OTHER aspect in my life. I appreciate the love and support.

~Monica Gardner~ (Senior Project Accountant)

*UPDATE! As of August 2016, Monica is now Senior Revenue Analyst for the Google Maps Enterprise!

For more information about how I can help you, please visit Honor the Spirit.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

THE LIFE-CHALLENGE SERIES: NO, I WON'T DANCE WITH YOU

Last month, I asked a friend to do something for me, that, from my perspective, wouldn't take more than 10 or 15 minutes. 

Now, before I go on, let me say that this is no regular friend; she's my lifelong friend; I've literally known her since birth. Our mothers were childhood friends, and it just so happened that they birthed us 19 hours apart—same sign, and less than an hour shy of being born on the same day. We even used to have joint baby birthday parties. She was truly my first friend.

The following is the story of how I almost let a cowardly dance poke a hole in our 46-year friendship.

Let's retrace the steps. In August, I asked her to do me a favor, and she said she would. For the first couple of weeks after the request, I wasn't really worried about it; I was caught up in other life stuff. One day in mid-August, she texted me and asked me to remind her to take care of it that night. I said okay. But I forgot. The next day, I texted her to say I forgot, and to see if she could do it that night. That night wasn't gonna work for her. No prob. I moved on. It hadn't become an issue ... yet.

Let me pause for a moment to insert this bit of info: She has a husband, two high-school aged boys who are very active in sports, a new job, and she's in school pursuing her Master's. Her schedule and mine are completely different. I was aware that I had to get in where I fit in, and that was fine.

Back to the episode. A week later, I texted her to see if she could do it that day. She said she'd try. I told her if she was busy, then do it another night; I'd remind her again. Five days later, I texted her about it. I got silence. Watch how quickly things unraveled on my end.

By that time, we'd entered the month of September, and something about her silence rubbed me the wrong way. It was a little odd, since she always answers my texts.  I wondered what the deal was. Hmmmm ... it had been weeks since the request, and now, all of a sudden, I was getting silence. Was there a problem? She said she'd hook me up, but now I was getting the feeling that since so much time had gone by, maybe there was some issue she didn't wanna let me in on. Did she not wanna do it? Why would she not wanna do it, though? It wasn't a problem when she agreed to it. So why was she now ignoring my texts? Did she not understand the importance of the request? It should only take 15 minutes, tops, so what was the big deal? Did she need some help getting it done? Yes, that must've been it. She needed more info, a way to make things easier. Then I remembered that I really did have some important info that I meant to send her previously, so I decided to email it to her. That should take care of it. Boom. I had it all figured out.

Late into the next day, when I still hadn't heard back from her, neither in reply to my text from the day before, nor to the email, I decided to send yet another text to alert her to check her email. I got silence again. Then I was really shook. What the hell? The next morning, as I realized a grudge had started to set in, I texted her to confirm that she'd gotten the texts and email, because I hadn't gotten any replies. She texted me back about 20 minutes later and told me she wasn't trying to ignore me but she'd been busy with school and her sons; she said she'd look at all the info in a bit. Ah, yes! I forgot about her tight schedule. Phew. Of course that was the culprit. I assured her it was no prob; I just wanted to make sure she got all the info. I figured she'd take care of things that day. I felt better, like everything was ironed out. We texted about some other things for a few minutes and then moved on.

It's now time for an Honor the Spirit break. As you can see, I was clearly on the fast track to emotional hell, and it was all because I didn't make my peace of mind a priority the minute I knew I had gone from "no prob" to "prob," which was when I got the silence. At that point, the healthy move would have been to call her for clarification about what was going on, because once she got quiet, that's what I wanted to know. Instead, I danced around the subject with a bunch of texts and an email, went inside my head and put on that oh-so popular song called "Assumptions and Conclusions" and played it for nearly a week, while I not only made up my own stories and came to my own unverified conclusions about what she was doing, thinking, and feeling, but I also pushed myself into a space of stress and anxiety. I felt bad about the situation and bad about myself. Why myself? Because in my making-up of stories, I had decided that she just didn't wanna help me. Period. Why? Well, because. Because that's what it looked like, and that's how I felt. I saw that she had time to post and comment on Facebook, where she tee-hee'd and ha-ha'd with people at all hours of the day and night, but when it came to me, I couldn't get any love. So she must not have wanted to help me after all. That hurt my feelings. I was offended. I felt rejected. And as a result, I felt bad about me.

This is not how you honor the spirit. Ever.

The pursuit of our peace of mind and nurturing of our self-esteem are very deliberate, conscious actions that we often don't put enough effort into. Too many times, we allow ourselves to enter into and stay in an unhealthy emotional space because we're A) accustomed to being in such a state of mind so it really does feel normal and, dare I say acceptable in some cases; or B) we're too afraid to take the purposeful action needed to feel better, healthy, and stable in record time. Maybe it's because we lack the confidence to speak our minds; maybe it's because we're afraid of the worst-case scenario playing out in real life, just like we see it in our heads; maybe we're simply afraid of confrontation altogether. There are so many reasons we allow fear to keep us from prioritizing our self-care. It's self-sabotage and a severe disservice to ourselves when we don't put feeling our best as soon as possible at the top of our daily to-do list. It's sad that we're "okay enough" with feeling bad that we let those feelings run rampant way longer than they need to ... sometimes until they destroy us emotionally.

In my case, I came to realize that I really was afraid that my friend of 46 years didn't give that much of a damn about what I wanted—not based on past occurrences or a shoddy friendship history, but based on my own warped ego. Although I knew it was a bad move to continue assuming that about her, and although I knew I should probably call and confront her and put myself out of my misery, deep down, I didn't wanna hear her tell me in her own words that she didn't have my back, if that were the case. As self-destructive as it was, I contemplated never asking her for clarity and just continuing to assume the worst, while I waited for her to maybe fulfill my request. Mind you, a huge part of me was also aware of the fact that her not wanting to help me made absolutely no sense, since it wasn't like I had asked her to help me commit a crime, hurt someone, compromise her livelihood, or do something she wasn't capable of doing.

Three days after our "everything's okay" textersation, my request still hadn't been fulfilled, and she hadn't said anything more about it. Then I realized I was mad. I paid very close attention to how awful that made me feel, and in that moment, I sternly checked myself about the fact that I wasn't honoring my spirit by letting myself do an emotional nosedive. I also admitted that I wasn't honoring our friendship by allowing myself to harbor a theory-based grudge that could easily be dispelled if I would just call her and ask for the truth. Not text. Call—you know, that thing we used to do on a regular basis to engage in voice-to-voice, heart-to-heart communication, as little as a decade ago, before the advent of the now totally overused text. I remembered the famous quote that I'd seen hanging in many an office building over the years that says: "Seek first to understand, then to be understood." In reality, I didn't understand what my friend was doing, and it was time to find out. That's when I decided to turn off the damn "Assumptions and Conclusions" song in my head and stop dancing to its tune.

Okay, I did send one more text, but it was to tell her I needed to talk to her and confirm when she'd be free for a conversation. We agreed on the next day. When I called and asked her point-blank why she hadn't done what I asked, the answer she gave me was nowhere near what I expected, nor was it the worst-case scenario swimming around in my head.

It turned out that I was way off regarding what I thought my request meant to her. In fact, it was so important to her that she said she hadn't done it because she realized she needed ample time to make sure she got it right. She explained in detail about the way she wanted to do things and why, and it made perfect sense to me. She didn't wanna rush and do a half-assed job, not only because that's not how she does things in general, but also because it was for me, and she wanted to give it her all. This "all," for her, couldn't be given in a mere 10-15 minutes. Admittedly, once I thought about it, the task would be more effective and beneficial for me if done with the proper finesse. She also said that if she had allowed me to rush her into delivering what she knew would be mediocre results, she wouldn't have felt good about herself. So you see ... she had been honoring her spirit the whole time.

For the next half-hour, we talked and laughed about a lot of things—friendship, honesty, the damage that assuming can do, and so much more. But the most important thing that came from our conversation, aside from clarity, was a deeper appreciation for each other. She thanked me for being forthright (finally) and not letting things go sideways between us, and I thanked her for her openness and wanting to have my back in a way that I never considered.

For all of you out there who are running around with the "Assumptions and Conclusions" song blaring in your heads, letting it take you deeper and deeper into emotional wreckage, holding grudges against people, whether you love them or not, refusing to attempt to get the information you need to be at peace, I ask you now to please turn that ridiculous song off and stop butchering your self-esteem—and your relationships. Not only do grudges wreak havoc on your soul, but if you let them fester for too long, they'll also take you down physically.

You're not really about that life of self-inflicted torture ... are you?


Always remember to Honor the Spirit! <-----Click there for more info on how I can help you with that!














Friday, August 28, 2015

THE LIFE-CHALLENGE SERIES: SHOW NOW, RECEIVE LATER

An acquaintance of mine just informed me that she's preparing for a trip to Italy, a place she's always wanted to visit. She's a poet, like me, and she's planning to take her brand and work and infect Italy with as much of her positivity as she can. I'm so happy for her! I love when people win in their lives, especially where their dreams are concerned.

What was most important about her announcement was that she said she began learning Italian in January of this year, with the knowledge that if she began the process, "the universe would rise up to meet me." I loved that part, because it's so true! When you're really serious about accomplishing a goal or dream, the best way to move into the space you want is to show just how serious you are about being there.

You know the saying: "Stay ready so you don't have to get ready"? Well, that is so on point. Many times, we say we want this or that, or to go here or there, but then we don't do a single thing to prepare for it. We just wait around for opportunities to fall into our laps, not realizing that there's more to do besides twiddle our thumbs and hope for the best. There are actions to be taken, plans to be made; there is info to be gathered; it's beneficial to think about what we want our desired end result to look like. Many times, sacrifices need to be made, to better position ourselves for [a quicker] victory.

I remember when I decided I was ready for my first apartment. I had no idea when or where I would move, but something told me to start getting ready then, instead of waiting until I found a place. I went out and bought basic items like plates, cups, and silverware; I think there were a few pots and pans; and I bought a matching coffee table and end-table set from a friend. There were some other things in the pile that I thought were important, too. I stored everything in my bedroom closet, and I remember feeling like I was that much closer to my own apartment, even though at the time I wasn't quite in a position to start looking for one. I felt like if I could be as ready as possible then, that somehow things would move a little faster, and I would also be ahead of the game by having less shopping to do when it was time to move. Incidentally, it wasn't too long before I found my place; it was less than a year, I believe; and when it was time, everything fell into place almost instantaneously. I found and claimed my apartment on a Tuesday night, got the keys on Thursday, and moved in on Saturday. I remember on moving day, I was so glad I had those items because they made moving in and getting started so much easier.  

While you can't control how long it will take for your dreams to manifest, what's definite is that if you don't show the universe that you mean business, that your goal isn't some fleeting idea, then no matter how badly you say you want "it," you'll surely be waiting indefinitely for a door to open that you haven't even bothered to knock on.

Are you in prep mode for your goals and dreams? If not, then now's the perfect time to get started! For a deeper look into what it takes to accomplish goals and dreams, check out this epic post. You'll really be ready to get things going!

Always remember to Honor the Spirit!

Monday, August 24, 2015

HOW UNCOMFORTABLE IS YOUR DISCOMFORT?

Sometimes, you can be more comfortable in your discomfort than uncomfortable. Marinate on that for a few seconds. You can know that you're not where you wanna be, doing what you wanna do, feeling how you wanna feel, living how you wanna live, but the thought of making the needed changes to come from that place may feel overwhelming. You may even think there's nothing you CAN do to be in a better place, physically or emotionally. So even though you know you "need more," it seems easier to just stay where you are.

Part of this is because you're not surrounding yourself with people and situations that support your ability to advance. If you're in an environment that doesn't welcome healthy change, then it can be challenging to muster up the determination within yourself to pursue it. I do Life Challenge and Life Mission consultations, and I'm really good at my work. Really.

Recently, one of my besties came to me with a life-challenge issue having to do with her job. We did two very intense consults about the subject, in late April and then again in June. I didn't coddle or go easy on her just because she's my friend. I gave her the real. I advised her on the ways in which she wasn't honoring her spirit, and let her know exactly what actions would allow her to move forward. The rest was on her. I couldn't make her push past her comfort zone. A couple of weeks ago, she told me that she had completely transformed the situation, to the point where she had not only moved into a new position with the title she had been after for YEARS, but she also increased her income by more than $20,000 a year, something else she had been trying to do for a long time. Here is her testimonial.

I'm just saying. I can help you if you're willing to help yourself. For more info on how we can get you into a healthier zone, visit www.honorthespirit.com.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

IT'S ALL PART OF THE PLAN

These are three of the books that my Honor the Spirit venture is built on. Some people only know me as a poet, novelist, or copy editor; and I'm most definitely those things, always and forever. But over the years, my writing and personal experiences have launched one of the most important parts of my career, as a Self-Mastery Catalyst. Through my poetry and these three books, two of which are the companions to my consulting services, I've turned my passion and advocacy for strong self-esteem into a more expansive way for me to touch people's lives and help them advance.

For some people, it's strange seeing me constantly posting and talking about building great self-esteem, finding your life's mission, and knocking out life challenges, when they met and experienced me as a novelist, editor, and/or spoken-word artist first. But the beauty in doing those things is that they were all part of this bigger picture, which I was totally unaware of until I noticed a clear theme in all of the writing I was doing, and even in my work as an editor: living in a way that brings the most peace of mind and greatest feelings about self. I figured out through tons of trial and error, tears and frustration, rude awakenings and hurt feelings, that the ONLY way to live a life of peace is to honor my spirit by being as true to myself as possible, no matter who it offends. By doing this, I noticed that my self-esteem skyrocketed, which transformed my whole demeanor. I slept better, was happier, smiled more, was nicer, more tolerant and patient, and developed more compassion for others.

A slew of my personal stories are in my books, and many are in my blog posts. I also tell various [extended version] published and unpublished stories to my clients, as I help them get clear on THEIR lives. I'm very confident in my teaching, because I've lived, paid close attention to, and learned really well from the "before," and can speak in detail about it, and I know how peaceful the "after" is.

Social media isn't where people will get the deep, detailed stuff from my life. It's not the place where people can learn the most about who I am, what I've done, and been through. That's for the books and that good ole one-on-one connection.

My journey is, of course, never ending. I'm never gonna be perfect. I don't feel awesome about myself or my life 24 hours a day. That's not realistic. Challenges creep in, sometimes burst in with vigor, and try to take me down. But what I know how to do really well is get back to my center quickly, because I know how to not let them control me. That's self-mastery. It's all day, every day, but totally worth it.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

THE LIFE-CHALLENGE SERIES: THE HEALTHY PATH TO VICTORY

In dealing with all challenges, here are five tips to keep you sane through the difficult times:

1. Do the best you can with what you have and where you are. You can't always make your situations disappear instantaneously. And you may not have all the answers in your desired time frame as to how to get to your resolutions, so just work from where you are, to the best of your ability. And make sure you acknowledge that you're doing your best.

2. Don't panic. It impedes your ability to tap into the wisdom needed to take proactive, solution-oriented actions, and it only worsens your circumstances because you end up making snap decisions from your place of fear.

3. Don't complain. What happened happened. It's done and will never be undone. It's best to only focus on how you're gonna transform the circumstances, which you can't do if you bury yourself in complaint (and blame). It blocks your fortune.

4. Stay appreciative. Focus on what's working, what's right, what you enjoy, love, and what makes you feel good in your life. Think about and talk about those things A LOT, and give thanks for them repeatedly. This keeps your mental energy on an upswing, keeps you hopeful, boosts your self-esteem, and allows you to stay open to receiving more good.

5. Don't give up on your desired outcome, no matter how jacked up things look. Grab your faith and keep it close. Rely on it. Use it to keep you focused.



For more information about how I can help you move through your challenges, visit HONOR THE SPIRIT.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

THE LIFE-CHALLENGE SERIES: FEAR IS YOUR FREEDOM

This is kind of a part 2 to a previous post from this year, where I spoke in detail about fear being your prison, and how, if it's not used properly, it can ruin your life. Today, I want to briefly touch on the good side of fear, the one that can put you on the path to victory.

Fear gets a really bad rap, pretty much daily. We're basically taught that it's our enemy, and it causes us a whole lot of pain and suffering. This is only true if you fail to see its benefit and don't learn how to use it to your advantage every chance you get.

Your fears are actually really important—catalytic, even. They're not meant to be ignored or avoided. In order to transform your problems, you need to allow yourself to fully acknowledge, embrace, and clarify your fears about them, because your transformative moves will be contingent on that detailed information. Once you're clear about your deepest fears, you'll be in a perfect position to take courageous actions that directly oppose them, ones that will initiate healthy resolutions, instead of ones that will compound your issues via knee-jerk reactions based on panic and confusion. Clarity is the first step in all transformation and resolution. Without it, you will be constantly fighting an uphill battle in your efforts to bring your challenges to a speedy close.

Whatever you're afraid of in your daily challenges, let that fear (or those multiple fears) be your friend, your guiding light to the other side, as you use them as tools to supply you with the insight on what kind of bravery or proactive moves you need to incorporate into your scenarios that will not only get you the proper solution, but also solidify your self-esteem in the process, as courageous and wise actions always do.

For more information about how I can help you embrace your fears and use them to your advantage, please visit HONOR THE SPIRIT.

STRENGTHEN YOUR SPIRITUAL ARMOR

Self-mastery isn't something you "arrive at," and then you know it all and are above it all. It's an every day, every-moment journey that takes very conscious effort. There isn't a day that I'm not working on myself, regrouping from setbacks, sorting through confusing and upsetting emotions, checking myself about my actions, intentions, true feelings (as opposed to the non-authentic ones I try to embrace that are easier to deal with because they require less self-reflection on my part), sometimes telling myself to have several seats because I'm "on one" (being a drama queen, hella judgmental, not minding my own business, lacking appreciation for my life, etc.), and making sure I take full responsibility for my undesirable situations at all times, even when I desperately wanna find someone else to blame. But at the end of the day, all this "effort" is for my own advancement, self-care, and peace of mind, and it's all worth it. By working out my daily kinks, I'm ensuring that I move through the day, and in my interactions with others, as my most authentic, comfortable self.

As a Self-Mastery Catalyst, my ultimate goal during my Life Mission and Life Challenge consultations, and through my poetry workshop, Poetic Breakdown, is to help you embrace YOUR self-mastery journey, to help you understand how tending to your best interest on all fronts in your life (honoring your spirit) is the key to developing the kind of self-esteem and self-worth that is impenetrable. Impenetrable doesn't mean you're exempt from making sure it stays that way; you'll need to "groom it" daily. But it DOES mean that you'll eventually get so good at putting your self-care at the top of the list that even when you have difficult moments, your self-esteem will be as solid as a bulletproof vest, so that when the "shots fired" by life hit you, though you may get the wind knocked out of you, and it may even hurt like hell, you'll be strong enough within yourself to get back up with confidence, and continue to pursue the life and peace of mind you really want and deserve.

If you're ready to cultivate self-esteem that's strong enough to keep those "life shots" from taking you out, then let's get to it! Sign up for a free introductory consultation here.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

THE LIFE-CHALLENGE SERIES: THE VICTORY LAB

Are you ready for the fruition of that big goal or dream? You say you want it, but how true is that? Is it something you’re just good at talking and thinking about, or are you busy being about it, too? Do you know what it really means to be about it? Are you aware that achieving victories is more about actions than anything else? I love the saying: “I can show you better than I can tell you.” That idiom is what’s at the core of all major accomplishments, and what’s required daily when you’re in The Victory Lab.

First, let me ask you something. Are you actually in the lab, or are you standing outside, fiddling with the doorknob because you’re too afraid to enter and make the commitment to stay until you’ve won? Talking about going in, even psyching yourself up to make that move, is lovely. But how much more time are you gonna spend doing that? Until you decide to go in, shut the door, and get to work, that dream will never move from your head and heart into reality. If you want the prize, then you have to get in the game; and the game doesn’t truly begin until you embrace—and temporarily move into—the lab.

If you’re one who visits The Victory Lab often and emerges triumphant, then you already know how it works in there, and this post isn’t for you. Right now, I’m talking to everyone who’s never been in it, or maybe they stuck a toe in on occasion but got scared and ran away. If that’s you, then it’s time for your crash course in how to take command of the lab once and for all, so you can start living the life of a champ instead of watching other people be the winners all the time, and wondering how they did it.

The following list will give you a good idea of what you’ll need, what to expect from, and how to function in, the lab:

·      Faith. If you already have it, then it’s time to step it up; go harder with it; you’re gonna need its foundation to be solid. If you don’t have it, then I’ll be honest: things are gonna be bleak as hell in there. To be even more frank, you probably won’t last long. The lab is no place for the weak in faith. And let me clarify that I’m not talking about any specific type of faith—whatever your religious or philosophical belief is, is great, as long as it works for you and you believe in it. You'll need it to manifest and continually strengthen the discipline and diligence necessary to succeed in the lab. Get ready to lean on it harder than you ever have.

·      Clarity and Desire. You have to be super sure about what you’re pursuing and why, and your desire to get it has to be so deep that you're willing to jump as far into the trenches as possible to make it happen. Going into the lab half-cocked and confused is not advised. Once you’re in, you need to be ready to focus on making specific and well-executed moves, not trying to figure out what you want. Being uncertain about your strength of passion and desire for your goal when you enter the lab is like walking onto a battlefield unarmed. And you know how that ends. Impenetrable passion is your mandated armor. Make sure you have it strapped on tight.

·      Patience. This may prove to be the biggest challenge. Depending on what you’re after, you may be in there a while. A long while. Possibly years. This is also why clarity is important. Unknown timelines, and even those with designated endings in the not-so-near future, can be daunting when you’re crystal clear about your mission. If you lack passion or clarity about why you’re in the lab, then the “when” of it all can be that much more difficult to deal with.

·      Discernment. The Victory Lab is a sacred place, where only certain people should be allowed to visit while you’re in there. You have to be extremely careful of who you let in to your energy realm when you’re in lab mode. Being in the lab is tantamount to performing spiritual surgery—only other surgeons who’ve performed it should be in the room with you. This means that if you run with a crowd of people who aren't reaching for the stars, so to speak, or who’ve tried and given up before they got to the top, then you may need to limit your conversations with them. They won’t understand your commitment to the journey or be able to relate to what you’re doing and why. Lab time truly calls for being around like-minded people as much as possible. I also don't advise talking to them about your lab work (i.e. struggles, fears, dilemmas) when you peek your head out for some air and socializing. Though they may care about you and honestly want you to succeed, the truth is that people who’ve never had the courage to tackle the lab are not usually the best people to confide in or look to for advice when things get rough. I didn't say they never are; sometimes people can uplift you even if they don't fully get your path. But generally, if you feel like you need encouragement or an ear to bend, then it’s best to seek out other lab experts, ones who’ve made it across the finish line and can possibly mentor you. I should briefly mention that you may also need to be cautious when interacting with people who have endured the lab in a different area than you. For example, your friend did his or her lab work in the home-buying arena, but you’re trying to accomplish an off-brand career goal. Your friend may know all about buying property now, but hasn’t the slightest clue about how to navigate these strange waters you’re in. Think of it like an oral surgeon trying to assist and understand the process of a heart surgeon. Completely different types of surgeons who were mentored by people who knew the ins and outs of their field. I’m not saying cut off all your friends, family, and associates just because they’re not lab savvy or your type of lab savvy; I’m saying choose your conversations with them wisely.

·      Research. Whatever you’re pursuing, you would be wise to learn as much about it as you can while you do so. Unless you’re in school to achieve it, you probably don’t know a whole lot about it. Part of your lab work is making sure you know what to do with your goal once you get it. Your own brand of homeschooling on the subject should always be in progress if you’re not attending school. If you’re not even compelled to learn about your goal beforehand, then that says a lot about your level of passion for it.

·      Indifference. Basically, mind your own business. If you’re wasting time and energy focusing on the who, what, where, when, why, and how of other people’s lives; gossiping, getting caught up in social media comment threads, Googling the latest juicy deets, jumping on the phone to spew the info and hoping to get more, and having visceral responses to these people’s situations and actions, then you’re most certainly not in the head space to pursue a dream. I know sometimes it’s easy to get distracted by other people’s lives; I’ve done it. But as soon as I realize I’m focused on something that has nothing to do with my goal, I shut it down and get my life together.

·      Silence. I can’t stress enough the fact that you need an abundance of quiet time when you’re in the lab. By quiet time, I mean total silence … just you and your thoughts and feelings. You need time each day to check in with yourself about how things are going, and to tap into your spirit for wisdom, courage, and answers to questions that only you can answer about your journey. None of that can happen with distractions like TV, music, Internet, phone calls (including texting), and in-person conversations in the mix. Give yourself the gift of complete silence so you can stay properly connected to your dream and remain clear about how to move through the process to get to the other side.

·      Bounce-Back. All kinds of random, ridiculous, serious, scary, confusing, disheartening obstacles will appear while you’re in the lab that can potentially knock you off track to the point where you consider giving up on your goal—or at least slowing your pursuit down considerably—if you're not careful. When they appear, don't use them as excuses to quit but instead as fuel to ground yourself even more firmly on your path. You wouldn’t let people just walk up and punch you in the face without some kind of retaliation, would you? I didn’t think so. Don’t let obstacles have free reign in your life. Strike back with refusal to be defeated, and renewed determination to win.

The Victory Lab (and your subsequent success) awaits all of you. Go in. Brave it. Surround yourself with others who are in it or have conquered it, and form an alliance. Stay in until you emerge a champion. The euphoria you’ll feel when you finally share your testimony, and inspire others because of it, will be worth every minute of your time there.   

For information about my Life Challenge Consulting, please visit www.honorthespirit.com.  

Saturday, February 28, 2015

THE LIFE-CHALLENGE SERIES: VICTIMEYES—PEEP THE REAL REASON YOU'RE SUFFERING

If you're complaining and/or blaming within your situation, then you're in victim-mentality mode. This means you've given someone or something in your scenario total power over your advancement or happiness based on a limiting belief that you either created for yourself, or you borrowed it from someone else (your parents said, your friends said, the news said, your boss said, etc.), and are now fully subscribing to it. This is why you're suffering. As soon as you take yourself out of victim mode and take full responsibility for your circumstances, your situation will change. It's never "them"; it's always you. Always. You don't have to like or believe it. I didn't make up the rule. It's just how the Universe turns; and no matter who you are, you can't escape this key element in life.

This doesn't mean that "they" who are doing "stuff" are excused from their negligent behavior, and it doesn't mean you don't have the right to request different behavior. What it does mean is that when all is said and done, you don't get to control how they function, no matter how hard you wish or try. So let go of that notion, stop waiting for them to change to make you feel better, and take back your power by focusing on how you're gonna function to create your own change.

If your limiting belief is wrapped up in a thing instead of a person or people, then your job is still the same: to take back your power by choosing a new way of reacting to it other than complaint and blame, one that has the potential to create a valuable solution.

Are you ready to change? If so, then let's talk about how I can help you. I invite you to visit HONOR THE SPIRIT, to sign up for a free 20-minute Intention and Energy Assessment, which will prep you for a Life Challenge Consultation, where I'll guide you through the darkness of your scenario to a place of light.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

IT'S NOT ME; IT'S YOU

What I love about my Life-Challenge Consulting service is that I'm only encouraging my clients to pursue the things they tell me they want, based on the truth they've revealed through their own words, during what I call "the excavation process," where we dig up the truth that's buried underneath their fears, excuses, and lies they've been told and are telling themselves. I never suggest they do anything that contradicts what we've already fully clarified together that they want to change. 

This is crucial because these consultations aren't about me and what I think people should be doing with their lives; it's not my place to dictate people's well-being. They're built to uncover the person and the life my clients tell me they already know in their hearts is best for them to be and have but they've been too afraid to pursue. My job is to listen, use my specific questioning system to dig up their truth, make sure I'm clear about their truth throughout the session, supply the transformative tools, and reassure them that they have the strength to turn their situations around.

Once we part ways, my clients are clear about how to go for what they really want, and we both feel good knowing I didn't push them into deciding to do things that didn't resonate with their spirits. What I did was get them to be honest about what was resonating within them from the start, and encourage them to pursue it.

I can't make my clients do the work, but I'm happy to say that those I've worked with have already proven their readiness to change. They're using the tools and pushing through the discomfort of the transformation process so they can finally honor their spirits and live their desired lives. Bravo to them!

If you'd like to start honoring your spirit instead of your fears, then click here to set up an Intention and Energy Assessment so we can prep you for a consult.

Monday, February 23, 2015

THE LIFE-CHALLENGE SERIES: THE ROOT OF IT ALL

Through my various writings, poetry performances, and consultations (life challenge, life mission, and creative), I help people build strong self-esteem by implementing the courage to pursue their best interest at all times.

As someone who used to suffer from terribly low self-esteem, I set myself up for a lot of heartache, torment, and exhausting crying because I was too afraid to believe in and stand up for myself. What I've learned over the years is that without a strong sense of worth, people will tend to make a lot of unhealthy decisions that usually adversely affect their lives ... and sometimes the lives of others. High morale completely changes the way you navigate all the scenarios in your life, particularly the difficult ones. When you genuinely care about your well-being and peace of mind, you commit to choosing YOU in all the best ways possible, even if it means you inconvenience people who want you to choose them.

When I started choosing me, I started feeling like I was truly valuable and special, and that's because I was finally treating myself like I was. That's when I  knew for sure that the key to inner transformation that reflects an outer change starts with how you feel about yourself. My self-esteem journey is ongoing. I'm not exempt from it being shaken just because I've come a long way in its development. I've spent entire days trying to bounce back from incidents that shake it hard. But I always bounce back because I make feeling good about myself a priority, so I push my way through until I arrive back at a healthy mindset. I have to do my work in order to get my results. This stuff isn't easy all the time just because I know how to do it.

People who didn't know the old me--the childhood, teenage, and 20s and early 30s me, who compliment me on how confident I am, have NO idea what I've had to endure spiritually to get here. Some of my closest friends don't even know because a lot of my transformation took place after I moved to LA from the Bay Area 12 years ago, and I haven't spoken in depth or at all about the myriad lessons I've learned since that time. What I did was stay quiet, buckle down, and get to work on changing because the pain was overwhelming and I wanted to conquer it at the root. In the process, I've been using my words, both written and spoken, to not only tell my stories bit by bit, but also encourage others to do their work, so they can see how great it feels to honor themselves. I want that for everyone; it's a priceless feeling.

If you wanna transform, then I wanna help you do it. I'm right here, with many ways to offer assistance, if you decide you're worth it.

For information about my consulting services and self-help books, please click here.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

THE LIFE-CHALLENGE SERIES: IDENTITY FRAUD

One key aspect of developing strong self-esteem is getting really comfortable with all the unique ways in which you "do you." This doesn't just mean how you function with and treat yourself; it's also about how you interact with others in your special way. So many people get sidetracked into the struggle of accepting their outer looks that they forget about enjoying and embracing who they are on the inside. No matter how great you look on the outside, it will get overshadowed by the fact that you feel bad on the inside.

Everyone has their own perception of what's "proper" when it comes to people's functionality--how to walk, stand, talk, eat, express love; you name it and there's an opinion about it--about YOU, floating around. If you decide that in your daily functioning you're truly doing your best from moment to moment (aside from the moments when you KNOW you're outta pocket! LOL!), and you keep in mind that the way you "do you" is never gonna be appropriate for everyone, but it WILL be for the right, open-minded people, then you can let others' nitpicking of you roll off your back.

You're not here to "get it right" for everybody. You're here to "get it right" for you, in the ways that best resonate with your spirit. The people who understand and appreciate the way you function are the ones who'll gravitate toward you and find benefit in being in your midst. The ones who think you're getting it wrong are only irked because it's likely a reflection of something in their life they're sensitive about and not dealing with. Not your problem.

Twisting yourself into a pretzel trying to conform to other people's opinion of how to function in your own world so that more or certain people will like or feel at ease with you is unhealthy for your spirit. It will make you build a fake, uncomfortable, unbalanced identity that will keep you blocked from truly knowing and loving the real you, and sharing that person with people whose lives you could impact in a positive way.

For information about my Life-Challenge Consulting service, and how I can help you transform and advance, please click here.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

TRUTHFULLY SPEAKING ...

During my Life-Challenge consultations, you really have to be ready to tell the truth about what you're doing, feeling, and why. I'm skilled at asking just the right questions to aid in your honesty, and they probably won't be comfortable. I choose my words very carefully, based on the story you tell me, so that when I present the questions, you can see your life-challenge picture for what it really is, and so you can get out of denial about what's going on.

Afterward, I make it clear that it's up to you to do the work we discuss. It's okay if you decide you're not ready to do it today. But here's the guarantee: if you don't do it at some point, then your suffering will never end. There's no amount of "twist working" or manipulating that will change the dynamic of your challenge for the better. It will only turn around when YOU commit to changing for the better.

What's great about the work we'll do is that if you decide you're not ready to make changes right now, then at least you'll have the tools I've given you, and you can always return to them when you're ready. They don't expire. Your patience with your suffering hopefully will.

If you're ready to start moving forward in your life, then I invite you to set up a free 20-minute Intention and Energy Assessment, which will prep you for the consultation. Click here for more details.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

THE LIFE-CHALLENGE SERIES: FEAR IS YOUR PRISON

Every time you enter or stay in a situation based on honoring your fears over your spiritual needs/health, you'll have big problems that will not go away; in fact, they'll get bigger. Every. Time. You'll never have a healthy experience with fear as your core energy and reason for being there. That type of fear (as opposed to the healthy nervous kind) will always keep you from the happiness you deserve.

Fear is not the real problem. It's making fear-based decisions that alters your life in negative ways. Fear is a natural emotion, a necessary self-defense mechanism that will always be around and, if wielded properly, can even save your life. The issue is when you allow your fears to
make you constantly go out of your way to please people to avoid conflict, or keep you from living the way you want, asking for what you want, leaving or entering situations, standing up for yourself, pursuing goals, etc. It's these kinds of fearful actions that rob you of your self-esteem and keep you from being able to strengthen it. When you act in fear, in ways that aren't true to your spirit, you guarantee less-than-desirable outcomes because you started off with an unhealthy energy—you get what you give, energy wise. Kowtowing to fear is not good for your mental and physical health. It does nothing but make you feel bad about yourself, about your ability to make sound decisions for your life, like you're a "screw up." It's hard to feel good about yourself when you keep denying yourself happiness and peace of mind because you're too afraid to "go for it." In return, you end up in situations that leave you feeling less-than, and wondering why you're always discontented and not getting your just desserts. Honoring your spirit at all times takes big courage and a lot of practice. Once you get good at it, you'll see how freeing and healthy it is, and you'll make it your daily business to prioritize it, no matter what.

I think I should clarify that you're not necessarily waiting for the fear to disappear; that may not happen in every case. Your goal in all situations where fear appears to be your ruler is to muster the courage to do the opposite of what your ego is telling you, to refuse to be its prisoner, not resign yourself to your perception of what's gonna go wrong if you move forward. In reality, the outcome may actually be what you fear (e.g., someone being furious with you for speaking up), but the act of honoring your spirit, the part of you that truly wanted to be strong enough to speak your mind, is what steadily builds your esteem, even if your outcome is not what you hoped. Employing courage doesn't always bring about fairy-tale endings. Many times it does, but your job is to do it all the time, out of respect for yourself, whether it goes great or goes sideways. People will always prefer that you do what they want so they can be comfortable or feel a certain way. Not everyone will be happy about or respect the fact that you put your peace of mind before theirs. Not your problem. It's their job to figure out how to make themselves feel better; you have your own well-being to attend to 24/7. 


There's absolutely nothing wrong with coming to a happy medium with people, where everyone wins, and you don't feel like you were bullied or intimidated into your stance. Sometimes compromise is good. Considering others' feelings is good. Adjusting your behavior or stance out of respect for someone, depending on the situation, is an admirable move and can grow your character. The fine line in those types of situations is paying close attention to how you feel about compromising. Can you truly help someone or improve an important relationship if you do? Will your morals and/or self-respect be lost if you do? Is the compromise something you feel comfortable with, or, again, are you being pushed? You always know what feels right, what feels doable enough that you won't regret the choice regardless of the outcome. Believe that. Trust the feeling. It's an instinct that takes over you. When something feels wrong for you, you get that sinking feeling in your spirit, just like when things feel right, you feel it, too. It's a feeling of calm, comfort, a gentle or even resounding "yeah" that fills you up. But it has to be your "yeah," not someone else's. The goal is to never let your fear of an anticipated outcome keep you from walking your chosen path. 


Activating courage takes more than a wish; it requires bold action and a lot of faith. You have to make a very conscious choice to push through the fear and do the thing you truly want or need. That's how you feed your spirit. That's how you win in all your challenges.


For complete details about Life Challenge Consulting, please click here.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

THE LIFE-CHALLENGE SERIES: THE SNEAK-UP OF THE GIVE-UP

Are you in the throes of The Give-Up? Beware ... it's a sneaky monster that creeps into your psyche little by little and starts leaving subliminal Sticky Notes all over your mind. It tells you things like: your efforts toward reaching your goals aren't working; you should forget it; this is stupid and a waste of time; it's taking too long, so something must not be right; things definitely should have changed by now; so-and-so's doing the same thing and it's working for him/her, so what's wrong with you?

Next thing you know, you're suddenly finding yourself thrown off track with making efforts toward reaching your goal. It's very subtle, though; The Give-Up is smart (because it's the wickedest, shadiest side of your ego). It does things like make you oversleep, feel sluggish and move slower than usual, forget to do things related to reaching your goal, procrastinate, purposely fail to keep important goal-related commitments to yourself because you just "don't feel like it today," miss appointments that could get you closer to your goal (due to said moving slower, oversleeping, procrastinating, and/or forgetting), feel restless and bored, act out in ways that you didn't when you were filled with hope and courage (insert unhealthy or non-productive habit of your choice here), say yes to situations and people that are not only not in your best interest but may also lead you even further off track where your goal is concerned, not give your efforts your full attention when you're engaged in them—and many other mind tricks. This is just a short list of ways the attack can take place.

When you start getting discouraged about your goal, that's when your actions change; your efforts slow down or cease. The Give-Up puts you under its spell gradually, almost to where you don't even notice until certain things start happening repeatedly, or several different instances have occurred over time that you all of a sudden take note of. By then, its job is done because you're already immersed in a vicious cycle that can be hard to break.

Because The Give-Up is progressive (not to be confused with its sibling, The Hasty Quit, which happens abruptly, during an intense moment of perceived failure and doom), you could very well have been in the zone for days, weeks, even months already, and now you're hard pressed to reclaim your spot on the path to victory.

Here's the piece of info that I'm sure many of you already know, but it bears repeating: when you're making lots of progress toward your goal, possibly about to reach it, that's when The Give-Up gets completely outta hand. In your mind, it's been X amount of time and you have no [apparent] results on the horizon; so now you're resentful, and once resentment sets in, you're vulnerable to The Give-Up's power.

At that point, it doesn't take much to knock you off track, so it slips in quietly and goes to work on you: an oversleep here, a few forgetful moments there, followed by some procrastination, intentional failure to commit, and half-assed efforts, and you're fully in the zone. You're so distracted by your discouragement that you don't even realize you're on a downward spiral.

If you find that The Give-Up has overtaken you, don't beat yourself up. You may be down, but you're not out, so there's still time to get your mojo back. Combating The Give-Up requires that you pay close attention to your actions and feelings when you're pursuing goals and dreams. Obviously, when you're feeling hopeful and confident about things and you're making strides, you don't have to worry about getting caught up.

The fact is, though, every day probably won't be smooth sailing during your journey, especially if you have an influx of crappy days—or weeks—and that's when you need to keep your eyes peeled for mood swings, negative thoughts, and subtle behavioral changes that can lead you into the zone. If you can catch yourself before you get there, then great. But if you find yourself drowning in its sea of chaos, then you'll need to employ some belligerence and diligence to set yourself straight. Depending on how long you've been down, it may feel like pulling teeth some days to get back up.

And you have to get back up! If that goal or dream still burns in your heart, then you owe it to yourself to continue to pursue it with gusto, no matter what the scenario looks like. If jumping right back in the saddle and picking up where you left off all at once feels overwhelming, then take it bit by bit; regain control of your journey one action at a time, one day at a time. In whatever ways The Give-Up has you going in reverse, you have to switch gears immediately. It can be pretty strong, so you need to be stronger.

Be determined to get back in the driver's seat so you can cross the finish line.

For information about my Life-Challenge Consulting service, please visit my site.


Monday, February 9, 2015

THE LIFE-CHALLENGE SERIES: PRACTICE MAKES YOU A WINNER

Here are three important practices to boost your self-esteem:

1. Pay attention to and respect your preferences and needs, big and small. They matter, all day, every day. If you don't make the effort to honor them as much as possible, even at the risk of disappointing or angering others, then you'll only be disrespecting yourself, which pokes holes in your self-worth. Tending to your well-being is one of the most important steps to fostering a genuine feeling of love for yourself.

2. Keep your word. If you commit to something (for yourself or others), and it's completely within your control to do it, then get it done. Making excuses for not following through will gradually damage your self-esteem; you'll know yourself to be unreliable, which isn't a feel-good characteristic. Being trustworthy is something to be proud of, and every time you keep your word, that pride increases your confidence.

3. If you tried to do something and failed (even if repeatedly), then give yourself credit for the try ... every time. You can't always control when or how something [finally] happens, especially when there are other people involved. You definitely can't control THEM. Continuing to try means you haven't given up on yourself, on the possibility of victory. And staying on your own team, even if no one else is on it with you, IS a feel-good characteristic, whether you "win" the coveted prize today or not.

Notice I said three "practices." Cultivating healthy self-esteem is a daily practice that requires special attention and efforts. It's up to you, not others, to make sure you feel good about yourself every day, regardless of whether things work out the way you plan or want. Healthy self-esteem isn't based on always getting it right or winning the prize at the end of the day. It's based on truly doing your best and appreciating that best, and determining to believe in your worth and potential, no matter who does or doesn't along with you.

If you're interested learning about and/or partaking in my Life-Challenge or Life-Mission Consultation services, then please visit my site HERE

Thursday, February 5, 2015

FIND YOUR PURPOSE AND PASSION AND BE FOREVER CHANGED

I was inspired to write YOU ARE WHAT YOU SAY YOU ARE: CLAIMING YOUR LIFE'S MISSION & LIVING YOUR DREAM after helping a friend solidify a major part of her life-mission path. Having overcome my own painful obstacles with finding and implementing mine, I had developed a true sense of compassion for those who were struggling to find theirs, and I made it my goal to help them be victorious. If you haven't found your life's mission, otherwise known as purpose and passion, then this book is for you. If you know anyone who hasn't, please pass it along to them. It gives practical advice on how to go about finding your calling, and what to do and expect after you've found it. Below is an excerpt from the intro.

INTRODUCTION

Next to the topics of money and marriage/relationships, the topic of career goals and life missions is at the top of the list of discussions among people. It seems as if most of us strive for three major things in life: make an insane amount of money and live comfortably forever, find a soul mate and [maybe] start a family, and find a great career. Not necessarily in that order, either. Much unhappiness comes to those who live their lives not having achieved at least one item from that list. Obviously, having all three at the same time would be ideal, but more often than not, people fluctuate between them. Today, the relationship exists, but money’s funny. Tomorrow, the financial situation is great, but now the relationship is gone, yet the career seems to be headed in the right direction. Next week, all of it has fallen apart, and there’s nothing but a big fat zero staring you in the face. Well, at least you got to sample all of it, right? Sadly, though, there are many who achieve none of those things, neither separately nor all at the same time.

If a room full of people were asked to choose one item as the more important from the “hot list,” the answer would undoubtedly vary, which is natural. Everyone’s priorities are different. Those who are obsessed with being rich may not really care how they get to that point, only that they get there, and they couldn't care less about the other two items. A man or woman whose only dream is to get married to their perfect match and have a houseful of children may not be focused on get-rich schemes or chasing a career goal. And the person who has tunnel vision in regards to his or her career path may likely be a very hard nut to crack if asked to shift focus toward a relationship. Notice I didn’t mention money there. That’s because the career-minded individual definitely does care about financial gain; a huge part of the goal is to eventually make an excellent living at their career of choice. But while Mr. and Ms. Career Minded fully intend to support themselves one day by doing their craft, they understand that, in the beginning, while they’re spending long days and nights immersed in the training process so they can master their field, there will probably be very little to no pay involved. Because of the passion and love they have for what they’re doing, they’re willing to put the financial gain on the back burner until further notice, sometimes even for years. This is the mark of an individual who has truly found, and is dedicated to, his or her mission.

© 2009 Charlene E. Green

Excerpted from YOU ARE WHAT YOU SAY YOU ARE: CLAIMING YOUR LIFE'S MISSION & LIVING YOUR DREAM

HERE IS A LIST OF THE TOPICS IN THE BOOK:

INTRODUCTION
LIFE MISSION: THE TRUE DEFINITION
THE SETTLERS AND THE RISK TAKERS
"I'M NOT GOOD AT ANYTHING"
"HOW CAN I BE SURE?"
DO YOU TAKE THIS MISSION?
SACRIFICE: CLOSING OLD DOORS TO OPEN NEW ONES
CLAIM IT, SPEAK ON IT, LIVE IT—PAID OR NOT
THE BUSINESS CARD
MAKING IT ALL HAPPEN
POEM "FOLLOW"
NOTES, GOALS, DREAMS, ETC.

AVAILABLE HERE: PURCHASE BOOKS
Interested in doing a Life-Mission Consultation? Find more info here: Consultations with Hustle Diva



Friday, January 30, 2015

THE LIFE-CHALLENGE SERIES: DREAMS DO COME TRUE


A little story about accomplishing a dream. In September 2003, I began shopping my first novel, One Man's Treasure, to publishing houses through my (then) agent. For more than three years, it was repeatedly rejected. Though I never lost confidence in myself or the fact that my book was definitely mainstream worthy, I was outraged with the amount of time it was taking for this dream to manifest. At one point, the upset grew into desperation, and I literally used to cry myself to sleep with my manuscript either clutched in my arms all night, or with it next to my pillow, and I used to promise my characters, like a homeless mother with children, that I would "find us a home" in the mainstream world. I can't even tell you how much "when is it gonna be tiiiiime?!" crying I did. It was exhausting, and quite pitiful, to be truthful.

But things finally changed, and here's how: You can only have (and keep) what you don't smother with desperate actions and energy. So one day, I got sick of chasing and crying over mainstream, and I set out to publish the book myself. I did that in May 2007. And I was very content. I realized that even though it would still be nice to have that book deal, I did not "need" mainstream to be successful. I sold hundreds of books on my own. Seven months later, when I was happily preoccupied with my accomplishment, and nearly done writing the sequel, And They'll Come Home, I got a call from a literary agent friend who told me that bestselling author Carl Weber was starting a line of women's fiction books, and that One Man's Treasure would be a good fit. I sent her my manuscript, and a month later, she called to tell me that Kensington was offering me a two-book deal.

For more than three years, I lost my mind trying to get one book deal, and now I had two, because I let go and moved on, happily. *Side note: I never intended to write a sequel, but the woman who convinced me to do it was one of the readers of my 2007 version of One Man's Treasure. To this day, I still declare that And They'll Come Home is my greatest literary achievement. It's very special, complex work that I had no idea I could do, and I'm so in love with it. Thanks to Angela B. Brown's convincing, I had the second book in the two-book deal almost done when it was offered to me.

Whatever you're chasing after desperately, it won't truly be yours until you can detach from it, find your peace, and move on without it, with confidence.

Now, to get them both made into movies, STAT!

READ ONE MAN'S TREASURE

READ AND THEY'LL COME HOME (THE SEQUEL)

For more information about Life Challenge consulting, please visit HONOR THE SPIRIT

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

THE LIFE-CHALLENGE SERIES: PRIORITY #1

If you desire scenario A but you currently have scenario B, it's because some part or all of scenario B is where your priority lies. Your top priority will always win out over all other desires, no matter how badly you say you want them. There's something in that scenario that is so important to you that you won't leave it.

A word of caution: sometimes the scenario you're holding on to may not be something that's bringing you true joy and peace of mind. You may not be creating value from it, and it may not be adding to the enrichment of your life and the lives of others. Rather, you may be holding on out of fear of what your life will be like without it—that you won’t be able to handle your life without it. Maybe you're afraid to make a change for the better because you think "better" may not arrive for a really long time. Maybe you think there's nothing better; but if there is, maybe you don't think you deserve it. Maybe you're holding on to save face (everyone's watching you, already judging; you can't let them see you fail; this has to work!). Or, you may be accustomed to a certain feeling or status you get from your priority that you're not ready to part with. Priorities and how they serve us are not always healthy, but they're all-powerful, nonetheless. And if you’re holding on out of fear and you can’t seem to muster the courage to let go, then you can end up feeling trapped and hopeless.

Sometimes, there's something in your scenario that is truly valuable and fulfilling for your soul, so even though there's discomfort in other areas of the situation, possibly even a little unhappiness, you deal with it because you have more peace of mind than you do misery. However, if you're dealing with it negatively, then you'll be unable to move toward a better outcome. In order to transform these types of scenarios, you'll need to shift your energy from complaint and resentment to a place of acceptance (of your reality and the fact that you're choosing it), appreciation (for the fact that this scenario allows you to do or have this great thing), and proactive reactions to your circumstances and the people in it, instead of negative ones.

Learning how to move through the discomfort in this way will eventually open the door for either complete changes within the scenario that will yield you the full peace you desire, or a new scenario that will deliver it. But unless you change your attitude and perception about the situation, things will stay the same, and possibly get worse.

Take a look at the situations you’re in that you’re having difficulty with, that you say you wanna be done with, but month after month, year after year, there you are, still enduring the challenges. Really go deep within yourself while looking carefully at every aspect of the situation(s), and pinpoint what’s keeping you there. Because the bottom line is, you have choices. You’re not actually trapped. You can move on, pursue another path, free yourself from all the hardship. But something’s got hold of you, something you either really don’t wanna give up because it’s serving you in a good way, or you’re afraid of the consequences you think await you if you leave. What is it? Once you get honest and clear about what your true priority is, and why, you'll be able to navigate your circumstances in a way that will manifest the best outcome for all involved. 

Are you ready to get with me and tackle your challenges through a one-on-one consultation? If so, then I invite you to visit my site and set up a free assessment so we can determine if we're a good fit.

CONSULTS WITH HUSTLE DIVA 



Sunday, January 11, 2015

THIS WAY TO TRANSFORMATION

My Life Challenge and Life Mission services are only for those who are truly ready to face their lives and take the necessary steps to move forward ... now, not later. They are not for those who only want to lament and not take any action to do and be better, or for those who are only seeking a comfortable or easy way to "deal." Transformation is rarely easy or comfortable, but it's always worth it in the end. Your self-esteem and confidence will skyrocket, you'll have greater peace of mind, and you'll be motivated to not only stay on your new path because the change feels so good, but you'll also want to continue pursuing advancement on all fronts.

During our consults, my mission will be:
1. to guide and advise you on how you can be consistently proactive toward your happiness and comfort in whatever situation(s) you present to me;
2. to inspire you to tap into your own limitless reserve of wisdom and confidence, and be totally honest with yourself so you can make the best choices for yourself—regardless of what others think you should do or want you to do;
3. to help you move through those trying crucial moments that can often lead you to throw in the towel on your circumstances, yourself, and even your life; and
4. to uncover the fears that are keeping you trapped in your situation.

Both services were created from two of my books: Building Faith and Character Through Life Challenges and You Are What You Say You Are: Claiming Your Life's Mission & Living Your Dream (read more about these books HERE and HERE), so the nice thing is that these services already have a solid foundation. Initially, my only plan was to offer the books to the public, but after getting such great feedback on both of them, and after assessing some of the specific positive comments I received, I realized that offering one-on-one consultations based not so much on their content, but instead on their overall individual missions, would enable me to help people in a more effective way.

Both books are offered for free with their respective consultation, but you're more than welcome to purchase one or both beforehand so you can learn about me and my experience with both subjects, get a feel for what my intention is with them, and how I've been able to build the services around them. Who knows? You might be able to get ahead of the game with your transformation. If you're in an open enough mindset, you could utilize the book(s) alone to work through your life challenge or life mission issues.

If you're ready for change now, then I'm ready to help you get there. If you're not sure you're ready yet, then I invite you to visit the Life-Challenge and/or Life-Mission Consultation sections on my website, and partake in the free 20-minute Intention and Energy Assessment, to learn more about the service(s). Details in the link below.

I look forward to helping you advance!

Consultations with Hustle Diva

To order one or both books, please do so here: Purchase Books