Get Out of Your Own Way

I hesitate to post this book recommendation. Not because I’m unsure of its content and not because I didn’t like the direct writing style. It’s because my last post was about How to Be a Badass at Making Money and this next recommendation is for Unfu*k Yourself: Get out of your head and into your life by Gary John Bishop. I’m a mother for goodness sake! And I keep reading and writing about these books with profanity in the titles!

Seriously though, I am recommending this book. I like that it’s straightforward; it’s an easy read; and it’s content delivers one light bulb moment after another. Here are my four favorites…

  1. Chapter 2: “I am willing.” Be honest with yourself about what you’re willing/unwilling to do (instead of saying what you want/don’t want). Example: You say you want to buy a house, but you’re unwilling to sacrifice and save money. Be honest about what you are willing to do and adjust the view of your life from there. Stop feeling negatively about not having the house and start enjoying your apartment.
  2. Chapter 5: “I embrace the uncertainty.” Get out of your comfort zone. Life is supposed to be an adventure. Live life; don’t just survive it. “…what causes most of your worry is trying to predict the future and then refusing to accept things when they don’t or aren’t going to go your way” (p. 112).
  3. Chapter 7: “I am relentless.” Some people may tell you that your dream is silly or your goals can’t be attained. That’s only true if you believe them. You may fail and be discouraged, but the dream is only over if you quit. Keep moving forward, even if it’s “failing forward.” Keep your head down and work toward your goals and when you look up later, recognize your progress. “Even when you don’t see anything happening, it is. Even when you’re not quite hitting the mark, you’re making progress” (p. 158).
  4. Chapter 8: “I expect nothing and accept everything.” (This chapter contained the MOST light bulb moments for me!) Basically, we are unhappy when our expectations do not match our reality. Simple example: you had to work late and you expect to walk in the door to your children greeting you happily and your spouse having dinner ready for you. Instead, the family is annoyed that you are late and waiting for you to make dinner. Instead of being unhappy in that gap between what you expected and what was reality, just accept the situation. Don’t waste time on an expectation; take action to achieve your desired result. “Don’t expect victory or defeat. Plan for victory, learn from defeat…Free yourself from the burden and melodrama of expectation; let the chips fall where they may. Love the life you have, not the one you expected to have” p. 183.

So there you have it. Read Unfu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop if you are ready to challenge some of your current thought patterns. What you discover might be the change that gets you out of your own way and clears the path to a happier life.

If you’ve read the book, please share your thoughts in the comments too!

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Another Badass Book

Back in October, I wrote Learning to be a Badass, a post about Jen Sincero’s book, You Are a Badass. Well today I have another badass Jen Sincero book to share with you: You Are a Badass at Making Money. I could make this a very short post and just say, “Trust me. Read this book. It’s awesome!” But that feels kind of lazy, and if you’re going to invest your time in reading a book I suggest, you probably want to know why I’m recommending it.

Similarly to You Are a Badass, You Are a Badass at Making Money is a book in which Sincero describes how she applied the Law of Attraction to improve her life, specifically, her financial life. But it’s not just about the Law of Attraction. Sincero explores how our thoughts and beliefs about having money impact our success.

After reading just the Introduction (I’m talkin’ only 10 pages in!), I noted the following:

We have been taught to work hard, even if we don’t want to be doing what we’re doing; basically, we’ve been taught to settle for a mediocre life. The real key to success is not to work harder at the jobs we’re settling for, but to…

  • “Listen to the hollerings of your heart instead of your doubts and fears” (p. 9).
  • “Not only admit to desiring, and commit to creating, wealth, but most important, you must allow yourself to do so” (p. 9).
  • Agree to getting “really really really really uncomfortable. Over and over again” (p. 9).

If we apply the Law of Attraction, then we believe the resources we need to create the lives of our dreams are already out there waiting on us to claim them. For some, beliefs about money are huge obstacles though. Sincero lists negative money beliefs such as we feel shallow if we want money, we feel undeserving or not special enough to make a lot of money, or that making money is hard. She then offers really insightful thoughts to counter those negative beliefs:

  • “You living your fullest life and making all the money required to do so doesn’t take anything away from anyone else any more than you refusing a ham sandwich because someone, somewhere, is starving helps them” (p. 19).
  • “Understand that your gifts, talents, and desires were given to you because you are meant to thrive and share your youness with the world as only you can” (p. 24).
  • If you believe making money is difficult, then it is. (Many, many sections on the Law of Attraction and being mindful of what thoughts you send out into the universe.)

One of the Law of Attraction concepts is that what you focus on, you create more of. Sincero explains how this applies to your financial situation. If you have a scarcity mindset, then you are always worrying that you don’t have enough. So guess what…you’ll never have enough. Instead, be grateful for what you have, give freely to help others, and focus on the abundance in your life. And then, what will you attract into your life? That’s right…abundance!

To wrap it up, if you are interested in improving your relationship with money and your financial situation, read You Are a Badass at Making Money. Jen Sincero offers tips and money thoughts/mantras at the end of each chapter, and she sprinkles in short quotable nuggets of insight throughout. There are few books that I want to read more than once, but this is one of them. There’s so much to absorb and practice!

If you’ve read the book, please share your thoughts in the comments too!

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Year of Yes

If this is the first time you’ve visited my blog, welcome! And let me catch you up. I LOVE the topic of saying yes to life. (If you haven’t already, please check out my other saying yes related posts such as Say Yes and If Not Now, When?) I also happen to have loved the show Scandal. So, when I discovered that Shonda Rhimes, creator of Scandal, had written a book about saying yes, of course I had to read it!

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person, by Shonda Rhimes, is a different kind of “say yes” book than A Place of Yes, by Bethenny Frankel, which I wrote about in an earlier blog post (A Refresher on Coming From a Place of Yes.) Whereas A Place of Yes is a mix of Bethenny Frankel’s life story and lessons on how to improve your life based on her advice, Year of Yes keeps to the narrative of Shonda Rhimes’ personal story, challenges and victories, as she completed the obligation she made to herself to say yes for one year. (Spoiler alert: She changed so much for the better in that one year that the “year of yes” has been extended indefinitely.)

By committing to saying yes, Rhimes was forced to face fears (such as being front and center instead of behind the scenes, giving speeches and making tv appearances), face her health (such as admitting she pushed down unpleasant emotions and buried them with food in an attempt to numb herself), and face truths (such as finding that people she loved were actually toxic in her life.)

Rhimes also writes some things I LOVE about being a mother and being YOU at the same time. She defends that a mother who brings store-bought treats to the school function and the mother who brings homemade treats to the school function are equals. On page 109, she writes, “Perhaps you think that it is important to your child’s personal growth to bake goods in your home. More power to you, my sister. I will defend your right to home-bake whatever you damn well want to home-bake. But I will take off my earrings and ask someone to hold my purse for the verbal beat-down we will need to engage in if you try to tell me that I must define my motherhood in the same terms as yours.” She continues, “I am not telling you to do it that way. You go bake your ass off. But we all have to acknowledge that our way is not the way.”

Other standout points for me in her book are about how difficult it is for her (and many women) to take a compliment or accept her professional achievements. She writes about how hard it is to accept and own our beauty and greatness. We worry about what others will think. On page 186, she admits, “I am scared people will think I like myself too much.”

We’re taught to be humble and modest. Those are good qualities to possess, but we’ve taken it too far when we diminish our accomplishments and talents and can no longer fathom that a compliment given to us can be true. Rhimes writes that she used to answer interview questions about her success by saying she has just been lucky. Now she answers, “Lucky implies I didn’t do anything. Lucky implies something was given to me. Lucky implies that I was handed something I did not earn, that I did not work hard for. Gentle reader, my you never be lucky. I am not lucky. You know what I am? I am smart, I am talented, I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way and I work really, really hard. Don’t call me lucky. Call me a badass (p.180-181).

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person is not a “how to” book, but rather a “what I learned” book. And the overall takeaway from Year of Yes is how saying yes to your life, getting out of your comfort zone, getting out of your numbness, facing your fears and experiencing the resulting power and freedom after doing so, is how you find your true, authentic self. It’s how you develop into the best version of yourself, which you were always meant to be.

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I’m Unworthy

I was scrolling through the Instagram feed last night when I read a post that said basically if you feel unworthy, you will never succeed.

Ponder that point.

If we are presented with the most amazing opportunity, but we don’t feel like we deserve it or are good enough for it, how can we possibly succeed? If we even accept the opportunity, we are destined to fail. We will believe the negative messages in our heads and self-sabotage our success.

But here’s the thing that really hit me. In response to that Instagram post, a woman wrote, “That’s me. UNWORTHY.” I read that and my heart ached for her. I don’t know this woman, so of course I don’t know what has happened in her life that would make her feel unworthy, but I know for certain that’s a false statement.

I couldn’t just scroll on without responding. I wrote to her that the mind believes whatever we repeatedly tell it; start saying, “I am worthy.”

I kept thinking about that word “unworthy” and how much weight it must add to a person’s mind if that’s really what she believes. Can you imagine the emotional and physical drain that word and belief must create?

Even after I went to bed last night, I kept thinking about it. What would I really want to say if I was face to face with this woman? If I had a chance to maybe impact her thoughts and then her life? I’d say, “You are SO worthy! The fact that you exist makes you worthy. The fact that you were created was no accident. When you were born, there was a plan for your life, even if you don’t know what it is. You have a purpose, and God/the Universe/or whatever higher power you believe in wants you to succeed. Wants you to live a meaningful, abundant life. You are worthy and that higher power wants you to start acting like it.”

Obviously, one little pep talk is not enough to change a person’s deep-seated self-perception. A person who feels unworthy needs at minimum a good coach and support system and (depending on the life events that got the person to this feeling) possibly a licensed therapist to work through previous years of harm and negativity.

But here’s my hope: it’s that just maybe the woman who read that someone out there thinks she IS worthy is enough to give her pause. Maybe someone else echoes my response and she begins to think, “Hey, maybe there’s something to this. Maybe I should…get some help, find a support group, try saying positive affirmation, etc.

And my hope is that if YOU are reading THIS post and feeling unworthy, you realize that YOU are WORTHY.

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Pulling Out of the Downward Spiral

Does this ever happen to you…the downward spiral of negative thoughts? I was getting ready this morning and what started off with “I have nothing to wear” became “nothing looks right on me because I’m old and fat and I’m not going to run well in this 4-miler this weekend and I need new shoes and I’m so sick of wearing the same things and, and, and…”

I know, I know…I’m the one coaching positive thinking, so why am I telling you this? Because I’m human. I want you to know that I understand how our minds play these tricks on ALL of us at some point. And I want you to know that you have the power to turn it around before it gets out of hand.

Ask yourself what’s really happening. In my case, I was getting dressed to go to a networking lunch group I’d not been to before. When things get stressful, your mind can throw up obstacles to see how much you really want it. In my case, I was able to recognize that my negative thoughts were spiraling and I had to do a reality check.

In reality, I look no different today than I did yesterday and I was happy yesterday. In reality, all my clothes fit. In reality, the event I’m running in this weekend has nothing to do with today.

Had I not checked my thoughts, I may have been so upset that I skipped the networking lunch, which ended up being two hours very well spent that I would have missed! So, long story to say, your mind is tricky. Get on top of the first negative thought when it happens. Challenge it. Figure out what you’re really feeling and why. Do a reality check. Control your mind so it doesn’t control you!

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Learning to be a Badass

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. Yep, that pretty much sums up the book. Ok, not really. But it does set the tone for this awesomely inspiring book by Jen Sincero. It’s inspiring because she doesn’t write, “Hey, I found the key to being successful. Look at my life now;” she actually tells you how she changed her thoughts and behaviors and believes that you can do it too. But you have to really believe that you can change your thoughts and therefore change your life.

Are you familiar with the Law of Attraction? Because You Are a Badass is basically Jen Sincero using her own life events to demonstrate and explain how to use the Law of Attraction to live the life of your dreams. You may have read some other books about the Law of Attraction or positive thinking that have left you ready for a nap, but I guarantee this book is different! I was reading it on a plane and flagging so many pages that I ran out of little sticky flags and had to just start folding pages over to mark them. Sincero’s writing style will get you fired up! As I was reading, I had so many new ideas that I couldn’t write fast enough to keep up! I was so excited to put what I was reading and thinking into action as soon as I stepped off the plane!

If you are new to the Law of Attraction, here’s one of the concepts Sincero explains really well in her book: the frequency or vibration you put out into the universe is what is returned to you. In other words, if you are living at a high frequency, expecting great things to happen for you and seeing the good in everything, then the universe (God, Source Energy, whatever you call your higher power) returns good things to you. If you have a low frequency of expecting nothing to go your way, then the universe returns that negativity to you. “The Universe will match whatever vibration you put out…Which is why when you’re vibrating at a high frequency, awesome things seem to flow to you effortlessly and you seem to stumble over the perfect people and opportunities all the time (and vice versa)” (p. 32).

To be clear, just thinking positive thoughts and expecting good things to happen is not enough. You must also take action to move you into the direction of receiving what you want to attract. “The trick is to have both parts – energy and action – working in unison…Once in a while you may get lucky doing one without the other, but if you can get clear on what you truly want…believe that it is available to you regardless of your present circumstances by staying connected to Source Energy and keeping your frequency high, and take decisive action , you will eventually succeed” (p. 33).

Did you catch that “get very clear on what you truly want” part? What’s your passion or gift that you want to be sharing with the world? “Getting clear about what your unique purpose is can be the difference between living a happy, fulfilled life of abundance, choice, and expansiveness or living in the restrictive veal pen of your own indecision and tired old excuses” (p.71). Sincero goes on to offer some tips on how to get clear on your calling as well.

The Law of Attraction is so dependent on your thoughts and your willingness to believe. Sincero writes on page 95, “You have to change your thinking first, and then the evidence appears. Our big mistake is that we do it the other way around. We demand to see the evidence before we believe it to be true.” You have to believe that you live in an abundant universe and that what you truly want already exists out there and is available to you.

I highly recommend You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life to anyone who is interested in the Law of Attraction, anyone who is ready to change their ways of thinking, and/or anyone who is just tired of doing the same things and (of course) not getting different results. Jen Sincero offers not only stories and examples but also tips, exercises, and resources to apply to your own life.  The last tip of each chapter is a “Love Yourself” tip. I won’t give them all away, but I’ll close with a few examples:

  • p. 62 “Love yourself. Because it’s the Holy Grail of happiness.”
  • p. 120 “Love yourself. Be grateful for all you are and all that you’re becoming.”
  • p. 165 “Love yourself. You’re doing an awesome job.”
  • And of course, p. 244 “Love yourself. You are a badass.”

Already read You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life? What did you think? I’d love to read your comments too!

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Managing Fear

Fear comes in all shapes, sizes, and varieties. It can be debilitating, stopping you from living the life you really want…if you let it.

“The fears we don’t face become our limits.” — Robin Sharma

Some fears are outgrown, like the fear of the dark, for example. Some fears don’t really come into play and so don’t affect one’s quality of life. (I have a fear of snakes, but I don’t have any desire to go camping or visit a jungle anytime soon, so this fear doesn’t really impact my life.) Some fears, however, plague people for a lifetime and keep them from living the life they really want. I’m talking about fears like traveling, failure, public speaking, dating…fears that have the potential to create limits in a person’s life if not faced and managed.

Depending on the intensity and impact of the fear, professional therapy may be the best solution. However, some fears can be managed with one or more of the following:

  • Coping strategies. These are activities that are calming or distracting, allowing you to work through the feelings of fear. Strategies include deep breathing, counting backwards, calling a friend, journaling, going for a walk, or listening to music.
  • Worst case scenario and probability (rationalizing). Let yourself think about the worst possible outcome from facing your particular fear, but then also rationally state the chances of that outcome happening. For example, the worst case scenario for someone who fears taking tests may be that they will fail the test, fail out of college, and spend the rest of their life living with their parents. Could it happen? I guess. Is it probable? No.
  • Eyes on the prize. Sometimes the pleasant end result of facing your fear is great enough to get you through it. My best example of this is giving birth. Afraid of the delivery? Very much. Response to picturing baby in your arms? Bring it on!
  • Gradual exposure. This is the step by step approach to facing your fear. Start with the first baby step. So if you fear dogs, start by watching videos of dogs. The next step might be to visualize petting a dog and imagine what your emotional response would feel like. The next step could be petting a trained dog (like a therapy or service dog, with permission). The steps keep progressing until you feel you’ve achieved manageability of your fear. This doesn’t mean you’re ever going to love the thing you fear, dogs in this example, but that you can manage the fear enough that it doesn’t hinder your enjoyment of life.

“Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is.” –German proverb

Whichever way you choose to manage your fear, the first step is to acknowledge the fear. If you don’t ever acknowledge it or face it, then it continues to grow and looms large over your life. Next, decide that YOU are in the driver’s seat of your life. You control your fear; it doesn’t control you. Every time you face your fear head on, it loses some of its power over you and you gain more evidence that you are capable of managing your fear. Be patient with yourself. Don’t give up. You CAN do this.

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