This week many of my former colleagues were let go from Macys Inc. as the company restructured. Almost 4000 positions were eliminated. Having been through I believe 9+ mergers, acquisitions, consolidations, and restructures, I know how difficult this can be for everyone. Even if your position is going forward, you feel a sadness for those who are not. And when it is you, the emotions of shock, upset, anger and resentment are real and uncomfortable. However, they will turn into acceptance, gratitude for the training and experience there, and excitement for what’s next.
Although my situation was somewhat different it was a roller coaster ride. I decided to take an early retirement in 2011 from Macys which allowed me to venture off on my own: First into travel retail with DFS, and then to start my own consulting business. Yes it took relocating, adjusting to a different commute for awhile, more travel, learning some new skills, Skype calls with headquarters in Hong Kong and later with clients all around the world. Many times I was conducting business late at night or early in the morning based on where my client was located – Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong, Australia, NY, Ohio, Florida, and many more. My husband would chuckle seeing me with makeup on, business, professional attire from the waist up and with leggings or yoga bottoms on. .Similar to what so many people are doing today on Zoom. However it was all worth it. I had incredible opportunities all throughout my career. It took focus, hard work, confidence, discipline and persistence. It also took being open, flexible and adaptable to the ever changing circumstances. For change is a constant. In fact, it is the only constant.
For my friends and colleagues who are in limbo right now, know that there is the perfect new opportunity waiting for you. Even with all the chaos, confusion, anxiety, pandemic, racial injustice, economic instability, and so many other issues, positive, uplifting, life changing things are happening and will happen for you.
Visualize and write down your dream position
Know what you want and don’t want
Do not settle
Affirm daily that your perfect position is waiting for you
Believe it will work out
Take time for yourself
Think good thoughts
Find joy in every day
Balance the effort to find your next position with taking care of yourself
If I can inspire you, guide you, connect you with someone, or just listen, let me know.
With Light and Love,
Over the past four days I have been inspired to work in our home gardens after our daily run/walk. With sunny warm days and the Summer Solstice this weekend, it seemed like the perfect time to get my hands dirty. It has been a while since I last dug in the dirt! Plus, since we finished our house repiping and garage organization projects, I looked forward to doing something more creative and in nature. What discoveries I found that had me thinking and applying the principals to my life. Here are a few of the lessons learned:
Gardening is hard work. However when you love doing something, it does not feel like work! And when I take the time to garden, I love it. I go into a zone and everything else disappears. Also it is a great work out! With my weight lifting, running and yoga I came out of each day a little sore, but still ready and able to keep at it. And so it is with life! Love what you do so it does not feel like work. Appreciate the benefits of what you do and how strong you really are, mentally and physically. Then like several people have said, from Confucius to Mark Twain, “You will feel like you never worked a day in your life.”
Have a vision for your garden. What type of flowers, shrubs, trees or greenery do you like and what would do well in your climate? Sketch out your design and visit the nursery for ideas. And if yours are still closed due to the pandemic, check out pinterest and other sites for inspiration. The same plays out in your life. Have a vision of who you want to be, how you want to live, what you enjoy, what is important. Write it down, refresh it as needed, and continue to visualize and imagine.
Prep is everything. I made sure we had the plants to plant, soil, mulch, tools, garden stool, gloves, dumpster. I was shocked how in some areas the soil (or just clay) was so hard I almost broke the garden claw! That would be the second time! I realized that having the right mix of soil and nutrients were the foundation for a strong healthy plant. I was also shocked how many roots from plants no longer there were still buried deep in the soil (Bird of Paradise). And the weeds! I spent a lot of time removing what should not be there as it would not encourage growth. It was unhealthy for the new plants. I thought of what I had neglected in my life and what I needed to clear and clean out, getting rid of my clay soil, dead roots and debris. Time to Reflect, Renew and Refresh again.
Focus and pay attention. Once your plants are planted, Love them. Talk to them. Sing to them. Give thanks for their beauty. Enjoy them. Let them know you care by watering, fertilizing, pulling up weeds and removing any insects. Let them know you are there for them, and will give them what they need to survive. You may make a few mistakes, however it is a learning process. And so it is in life. Show up for yourself. Practice self-care. Pay attention to your nutrition, your sleep, your exercise, your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual state of being. Be mindful of how you talk to yourself. Be confident, be assertive, feel empowered, be strong. Be the best you possible!
Be patient. Once planted, it takes time for the roots to become comfortable in their new environment, their new parents, their neighboring plants and their feeding schedule. I definitely continue to work on this as bougainvillea planted 2 years ago is just now reblooming and growing again. And I almost took them out. However my husband and good neighbor kept advising me to be patient and love them. I even sang a song for them in the spring every morning when I opened the bedroom shade and looked down on them. I sent them positive energy. I believe it helped. Give yourself the time to bloom. Be patient. Practice self-love and kindness. Though the world is fast paced and has contributed to our desire for instant gratification in everything, growth takes time. Enjoy the journey.
Tomorrow I will resume working in the garden on the bougainvillea area. I am excited to enhance the existing plants with some new ones that will add a little more color. I will weed, refresh the soil, sing to them and love them all. I wonder what lessons I will uncover as well.
With Light and Love
This week I continue to be reminded of the importance of courage. We all need more of it to better deal with the chaos, the pandemic, politics, racial issues, protests, quarantine fatigue, unrest, the homelessness, the economy, the climate, our own physical, emotional and mental well being. Having courage can help us. What is it exactly? Courage can be defined as: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear or difficulty.
I found valuable insights into courage from 2 very diverse sources: The Wizard of Oz (one of my all time favorite movies) and Dr. Brene Brown!
I remember how finding their courage was an important lesson for both the Lion and Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. For the cowardly Lion it was when he met the Wizard and was introduced to Lesson #1: You’re a victim of disorganized thinking!
So much of our fear is a result of our disorganized thinking. We replay negative tapes from our history that keep us in our cowardly state. These old messages keep us from making the big sale, or applying for that new job, or starting our own business, or simply standing up for ourselves and for others. The old messages keep us scared to take the next step. However those that push through and take action, succeed. They do not let their fear stop them. They act in spite of it. Fear is stagnant. Courage is action.
Then when the Lion received a medal to show his courage from the Wizard he also could have asked for what the Tin Man asked for – a heart. For Lesson #2 is that courage is all about the heart.
The root of the word courage is “cor” which is the Latin word for heart. In its original form the word meant to “speak one’s mind while telling all one’s heart.”
Courage is an inside job. The medal the lion had wrapped around his neck is an outside symbol. It will really do nothing to help him develop the inner strength he needs to be more brave. Courage requires us to look deep within our soul, to be uncomfortable, and to make a heart decision.
We can put up all kinds of signs and symbols in our offices or homes (or as a backdrop to our Zoom video conferences) that remind us to be more courageous. Ultimately though, it comes down to our core, our heart, and a willingness to face our fears.
I personally really value having positive affirmations and reminders as visual cues that feed my subconscious all the time. However I also know that to be courageous is an inside job.
When Dorothy encounters Glenda, the good witch, towards the end of the movie, she asks for help to get back home. She was exhausted from her journey. This cry for help leads us to Lesson #3. Glenda proclaims, “You don’t need to be helped any longer. You’ve always had the power to go back to Kansas!. You just needed to learn from the experiences you have had and believe in yourself!” The Scarecrow was angry that Glenda waited so long before telling her this truth. However Glenda responded that Dorothy would not have believed her. She had to learn for herself.
And so it is with courage. We’ll never know how strong and courageous we can be, or already are, without learning it for ourselves. Courage and believing in ourselves requires us to rearrange our disorganized thinking. They require us to examine our core and our heart and not look for something from the outside to change us. Courage requires us to act.
Others can encourage us but no one can help us move from fear to courage. We must do that ourselves. That is a heart decision.
According to Dr. Brene Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston where she holds the Huffington Foundation – Brene Brown Endowed Chair at the Graduate College of Social Work, and is a visiting professor in management at the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business, “Integrity is choosing courage over comfort, choosing what is right over what is fun, fast or easy, and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.”
Dr. Brown has spent the past 2 decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy, and is the author of 5 #1 New York Times bestsellers: The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, Braving the Wilderness, and her latest book, Dare to Lead, which is the culmination of a seven-year study on courage and leadership.
Brene hosts the Unlocking Us podcast, and her TED talk – The Power of Vulnerability – is one of the top 5 most viewed TED talks in the world with over 45 million views. She is also the first researcher to have a filmed lecture on Netflix, The Call to Courage which debuted in April 2019.
I thank both the Wizard of Oz and Dr. Brene Brown for their insights and lessons on courage. They both have inspired and strengthened my spirit to recommit on being courageous.
What courageous heart decisions will you make today?
With Light and Love and Courage,
Not a question I would normally be asking, however being Mentally Tough is needed now more than ever.
At first, I found it a challenge to describe myself as tough! I consider myself a caring, sensitive, loving, positive and upbeat person. I value others and always look for a win/win outcome. I am also mentally and physically strong, persistent and driven to achieve. And as I researched more about being tough, I realized that I am! Although I welcomed the insights to strengthen my resolve and recommit to being Mentally Tough, as I am sure you will too.
Merriam Webster states tough as:
: very difficult to do or deal with
: physically and emotionally strong enough to put up with strain and hardship
: able to do hard work, to deal with harsh conditions
: strong or firm but flexible and not brittle
: difficult to accomplish, resolve, endure, or deal with
: capable of enduring strain, hardship, or severe labor
: very hard to influence
: marked by absence of softness or sentimentality
Mental Toughness is a personality trait that determines your ability to perform consistently under stress and pressure, and is closely related to qualities such as character, resilience, grit and perseverance. It helps determine how people respond to challenge, stress and pressure, irrespective of their circumstances.
Professor Peter Clough, Professor of Applied Psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University and a pioneer on research into Mental Toughness further describes a mentally tough person as “someone who is comfortable in their own skin, can take whatever comes along in their stride and mostly enjoy the challenge”. Mental Toughness isn’t being macho or uncaring or self-centred – it is about being tough in the sense of not giving up and being confident that you can prevail, even if the odds are stacked against you.
In his book “Developing Mental Training,” professor Clough describes four important traits of mental toughness, which he calls the four C’s: confidence, challenge, control and commitment. You may already possess a few of these traits, but having the four qualities in combination is the key to success.
According to financial guru Robert Kiyosaki, “Confidence comes from discipline and training.” Having confidence means believing in yourself. It’s knowing deep down that you will reach your goals. True confidence also means not giving up when things become challenging or don’t go as smoothly as you had hoped. Being confident means having solid social skills, being able to speak in public with poise and communicating well with others.
Challenge is something that many people are afraid of or try to avoid at all costs. Yet a mentally tough person welcomes a challenge. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. The idea here is that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Whether the outcome is good or bad, challenges often teach us a lesson. Mentally Tough people thrive on challenges and see them as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Don’t waste your time complaining about what you can’t control. This is largely a mindset issue, which is intertwined with confidence. Mentally Tough people believe they have control over their life, their attitude and their life’s outcomes. Despite curveballs and missteps, they persevere until they reach their goals.
Tough people are committed to achieving the outcomes they desire. Commitment, or “stickability,” means setting up specific goals and doing whatever it takes to achieve them, despite setbacks, critics and occasional failures. Failure doesn’t define who you are. Failing only means that you need to improve certain skills. If you are committed to overcoming this temporary situation, success is around the corner.
Dr. Michael Gervais, a high performance psychologist who trains mindset skills and practices that are essential to revealing one’s potential, states “If you want to develop mental toughness, we have to learn to cultivate optimism.” We need to feel and know that everything will work out and we will get through it.
Dr. Gervais has worked with some of the world’s top performers including sports teams such as the Seattle Seahawks, olympians, musicians, CEO’s and more! His work has been featured on various media platforms like ESPN, CNN, The New York Times. I have listened to him on his podcasts and YouTube videos. His message resonates with me and he motivates me to keep going, stay positive and to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Here’s to strengthening and developing your Mental Toughness!
With Light and Love,
We are living in very troubled times. I am shocked, saddened, in disbelief and genuinely concerned by what is happening in our world. And especially how we, human beings, are treating one another. Even though we say “we are all in this together”, our actions and words and behaviours do not reflect that statement. We are hurting each other, lashing out at each other. We are not showing or being our best selves.
I realize that months of the Covid-19 pandemic crisis, with the deaths, illnesses, and overwhelmed hospitals, stay at home isolation restrictions, unemployment, retail closures, event cancellations, home schooling and working, have pushed us to the breaking point. We are all dealing with it differently. What has been noticed is the increase of violence, abuse, alcoholism, drug use and mental health disturbances. This is new territory for us. We do not have all the answers, in fact, we have more questions than answers. We are trying to make it up as we go along to the best of our ability. It is not easy! For me, it takes daily and sometimes hourly self checks and reroutes. I destress with some exercise, go out in nature, read inspiring quotes, listen to music, meditate. Do what you can to uplift yourself. And balance the indigestion of the news with offsetting productive and worthwhile things.
And now, while dealing with the pandemic, we are having protests, riots, looting and demonstrations nationwide after a deadly police brutality incident that should never have happened. I am having deja vu of the 1992 Los Angeles riots and civil disturbances. Unrest began after a trial jury acquitted four officers of the Los Angeles Police Department(LAPD) for usage of excessive force in the arrest and beating of Rodney King, which had been videotaped and widely viewed in TV broadcasts.The rioting spread throughout the Los Angeles metropolitan area, as thousands of people rioted over a six-day period following the announcement of the verdict.
I remember being at work in downtown LA at Robinsons headquarters and seeing looting going on below through my office window. We were in lockdown. We had not been given the okay to leave yet. I was on the phone with a vendor who was shocked that we were in the office! Once we were allowed to leave midday, my colleague and I drove back to Pasadena. It was so unsettling to see the National Guard on rooftops, rifles ready, chaos on the streets, and the smell of fire and smoke all around. Once safely home, I was glued to the TV watching as it unfolded. Unreal. Scary. Frightening. Sad. Working remotely and from home was not really utilized then, so we were just off for a few days until it was deemed safe to return to work.
And here we are again facing similar destruction, frustration, anxiety, disbelief, unlawfulness, rioting, looting and vandalism. We have not learned the lessons from previous occurrences. Somehow we must be thinking that it will just go away. It does not until we deal with the root causes.
We are all the human race and human beings. How we treat each other should be the same regardless of race, religion, politics, gender, physical appearances. What is right is right. What is wrong is wrong. Treat others as you wish to be treated. Where is human decency, Love, kindness and compassion?
I usually take an optimistic view of the world and look for the good in each other. However I am truly being tested now. I ask myself what can I do? How can I make a difference?
We each have a voice. Let’s use it to spread Love, Compassion, Joy, Peace, and Empathy. The way we do it will be different, but we can be united in our message and our intention. The important thing is to do it. The right way.
With Light and Love,
The term “Gearing Up” usually refers to getting ready for something, especially an upcoming action or event, or preparing for something. It can be used for any number of things, small or large, minor or major, just about anything. For me, it is a motivating term to psyche myself up to face what lies in front of me to tackle. So much of gearing up, in addition to the right mental state, is about having the tools and items necessary to be successful in the endeavor. For instance:
All of the above are forms of “Gearing Up” “Psyching Up” or “Showing Up” that work for me. It all starts in our mind and with our attitude. What processes do you use to get yourself ready to face each new day? Even with challenges and detours and unexpected surprises, I commit to making my day special and worth living. I never want to take it for granted.
With Light and Love and to your Gearing Up, Psyching Up and Showing Up for your Life!
According to Wikipedia, a Second Wind is a phenomenon in distance running, such as marathons or road running (as well as other sports), whereby an athlete who is out of breath and too tired to continue suddenly finds the strength to press on at top performance with less exertion. Some scientists believe the second wind to be a result of the body finding the proper balance of oxygen to counteract the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles. Others claim second winds are due to endorphin production.
Documented experiences of the second wind go back at least 100 years, when it was taken to be a commonly held fact of exercise. The phenomenon has come to be used as a metaphor for continuing on with renewed energy.
Are you in need of Finding your Second Wind? I know I need mine now more than ever. Even more than when I was running half and full marathons. I am having to reach deep within to power up strength to deal with and handle all the pandemic fall out. Every day the impact continues to reach more, impact more, and disrupt what was our life.
Since yesterday when I usually begin to write my weekly post, I was having difficulty finding the inspiration on what to write about. Upon reflecting more and discussing with my husband, we determined that with the pandemic overshadowing everything, it was more challenging to find the sources to be inspired and uplifted. For example, we have enjoyed the Sunday paper for years. Now, with all live cultural events such as plays, musicals, dance performances, book launches, fashion shows, concerts and other types of entertainment on pause, there is not much for a news outlet to report other than statistics and updates on the pandemic. We are all now watching individually on our mobile devices videos and streams of concerts, Broadway productions, museum tours, travel pics, podcasts and so much more. True, it is not the same as live, however I am grateful to have these resources available. Though I have to admit, as the days roll from one into another, and the new reality of life takes hold through all the adaptations and adjustments we are making, I feel a sadness.
And today seeing and speaking with familiar faces at Trader Joes, others are feeling it too. So what is one to do? For me, I will internally reset and find strength from my Second Wind to propel me forward and overcome to thrive. I make a commitment to myself to refuse to allow outer circumstances to negatively impact my life. Practicing self care is a key component of my being able to handle this and any challenge that comes my way.
My husband and I will walk the beach today, giving thanks for living where we do and being able to appreciate the beauty around us and spending time in nature.
I will also look at my daily routines and see where I can inject bursts of positive reinforcement and inspiration. For we have unlimited potential and incredible opportunities just waiting for us to discover. We just need to make the choice and find those gold nuggets. Keep dreaming, keep believing, keep visualizing, and keep moving forward creating your life.
With Light and Love and finding your Second Wind,
When faced with a challenge (problem), how do you respond? I for one, go into overdrive. My mind offers up sometimes crazy ideas and potential solutions that at first seem ridiculous. However, it only takes one of those ideas to solve the puzzle. Or several of them put together.
We all have different ways we deal with the problem at hand. Some of us thrive. Some of us freeze up and do not know how to proceed. Some of us rely on others to help guide us. The important thing is to seek out the help you need to find the solution. I also find that when we brainstorm together, we build on the ideas of one another and achieve our objective faster and usually with a better outcome. Another way to deal with whatever dilemna you are facing is to “sleep on it.” It is amazing how our minds continue to process events of the day and offer up solutions. Even if you do not set the intention of solving the problem before closing your eyes, it will usually surface. Here is an example:
Yesterday we noticed how the rabbits were totally destroying our backyard grass. It seemed like overnight the grass went from being healthy, green, full and damage free, to being a mess. My husband and I looked at the options both short term for immediate help and then long term.
For Short Term:
For Longer Term:
After reviewing, we decided on the first step of adhering wire mesh to the gates to keep the critters out. Until the handyman could come and install, we could temporarily adhere a lighter mesh to the gates ourselves. Although we were not sure how to do that, I had a realization in the middle of the night. I woke up and said to myself “magnets”. Magnets? Yes! I have a glass and metal dragonfly attached by a magnet to my bedroom full image mirror which has a wrought iron frame. I then remembered seeing magnets attached to a file cabinet in my husband’s office. I couldn’t wait till morning to move forward on the project and see if it would work. We tested the magnets from his file cabinet on the gate and they stuck! So off to the hardware store we go. We buy the wire mesh for the handyman, the lighter mesh and additional magnets for us to use until he comes. And guess what? It worked perfectly!!!!! Amazing how it came together. Phase one of the solution solved. Next step is to call the handyman to professionally install the wire mesh.
Then we can take our time and find the perfect wood combination gates that would blend with a new garage door. And if we later decide to go with artificial turf we will.
Within 24 hours, we identified the challenge. We put a strategy together with options. We decided on a course of action. And we moved forward to resolve the problem. It has been challenging no doubt. And if you recall from a previous blog, we are also dealing with the pinhole pipe leak in our garage! We really did not need another challenge. After a few screams, swear words and tears, we faced it head on with a determined approach to succeed. Even though we were in the midst of a “Breakdown” yesterday, today we are making a “Breakthrough.”
And so will you. In whatever situation you find yourself in. Know that you can find the right solution for you. Ask for help, seek guidance and advise, use the tools available, and reflect on your options. If you need to, write it all down. And use the power of your mind and subconscious to sleep on it. You will be amazed at the ideas that surface. Stay open, be flexible and have the confidence that you will succeed. And know that Breakdowns precede Breakthroughs. You will get to the other side and find the solution.
With Light and Love
As the weather turns warmer, and the days get longer, I am tuning into nature more and realizing how special it is and how enlivening it feels. A few of my favorite happenings recently:
During these trying times of sheltering in place, protecting ourselves and others with face masks, social distancing, and limited outings mostly to the grocery store, I can redirect my focus to embracing Mother Nature and relish in Spring unfolding. It is a great way to rebalance and stay calm.
Feel how nourishing and comforting it truly is to be outdoors and enjoy the many aspects of Spring. I even spent some time yesterday after our run pulling weeds in our gardens and visualizing the changes I will be making.
For change is coming! In all shapes and sizes and colors and rhythms and scents. I do not have the crystal ball that shows exactly what will happen, however I do know that I have a say in it. We create our world. Yes, things outside of our control do happen. And we then choose to deal with them or become the victim. I choose to deal with them, influence them, visualize my desires, and create my world. For my world is my life which is composed of what I have thought and created and continue to think and create. I choose to thrive, not just survive.
Yes, I have many questions that are unanswered. However, it is my nature to figure it out.
And just like with the blessings of Spring, continual growth and blossoming is part of my DNA as it is yours. Let’s not allow the current global conditions to take that away. Imagine your new world, your better than ever life, your future. It is up to each and everyone of us to be an active participant, contributor and creator of our world. Be inspired by the beauty of Spring all around and begin to imagine and create your world.
With Light and Love,