How are you feeling today? With so much chaos, confusion and uncertainty in the world, has it been challenging to remain hopeful? Has fear and lack of clarity and direction caused you to freeze up and become discouraged wanting to hide under the covers, close the blinds and refrain from doing what you enjoy.
Know that you are not alone. I for one am also on this roller coaster of emotions. However deep down inside, I remain hopeful and feel confident that our new reality will be better than what was before. We have the choice to create what is best for us. The lessons that we are learning will strengthen our spirit, our drive, our intentions. I reduce fear by building up my reservoir of hope.
What Is Hope?
Hope is directly related to our sense of possibility. The greater our perception of possibilities, the greater our hope.
Hope is not the same as happiness or optimism. It is what we feel when we think that life is worth living, that our work is worth doing. Hope is what we have when we have a positive relationship with our existence. It is the deepest of the three emotions. Happiness and optimism cannot exist without hope, but hope can exist without happiness or optimism. For some people, hope may seem too wishful, without intention or commitment. I offer you a different perspective to consider.
Here are some great ways to remain hopeful recapped from various TED talks:
Shift your expectations – Tali Sharot (The Optimism Bias) Optimism changes your subjective reality, Learn to change your brain and train it to zoom in on positive events.
Recognize that you can change your life at any point – Paul Tasner (How I became an entrepreneur at 66) Open yourself up to the possibilities that exist for everyone, at any age.
Look for meaning in the most challenging moments – Andrew Solomon (How the worst moments in our lives make us who we are) Fold the worst events of your life into a narrative of triumph, evincing a better self in response to things that hurt.
Listen to another person’s story – Dave Isay (Everyone around you has a story the world needs to hear) Get out of your own head. Listen deeply and intentionally to another person’s meaningful story.
Return to your home base – Elizabeth Gilbert (Success, Failure and the Drive to keep creating) Be safe from the random hurricanes of outcome by never forgetting where you rightfully live. Identify the thing or things in your life that you love more than yourself.
Add some Wow to your world – Keller Rinaudo (How we are using Drones to deliver blood and save lives) World changing ideas are being hatched all around us. Swap some of the time reading or listening to news headlines; instead do a search for news stories with the key word “innovation.”
Remember the essential goodness of humanity – Mary Latham (More Good: Acts of Human Kindness) There’s always going to be horrible tragedies, but there is always going to be more good out there, you just have to look for it. When we put our fears aside, when we connect with strangers, when we smile at people next to us or put away our judgments, it opens a door into an entirely different way of life.
Think about your death (yes, really) – Candy Chang (Before I Die I want to…) In our age of increasing distractions, it is more important to find ways to maintain perspective, and remember that life is brief and tender. Thinking about all the things you can achieve right now, can be one of the most uplifting things you can do.
May these 8 concepts assist you in remaining Hopeful instead of Fearful.
With Light and Love and Hope,
We recently enlisted gardening help to assess, recommend and do what needs to get done to improve the health of our plants, shrubs, trees, flowering vines and grass. They were not thriving and looking their best. They looked tired. We knew we had sprinkler and soaker issues, however we knew it was more than just watering. And since we believe we no longer have rabbits, there was somehting else. They needed to improve their diet! They wanted and needed fertilizer, especially iron right now.
A good gardener is like a doctor. He looks and determines what is necessary to improve the health of the patient.( our plants and ourselves). And even though the responsibility is really 100% on us to follow through, we sometimes need guidance and expert opinion to get us going in the right direction.
It was an AHA moment for me. We are all connected. I asked myself what the lesson was. I realized that if our gardens needed some nourishment, we probably did as well. I pride myself on following a mostly plant based diet, and grocery shop mostly around the store’s perimeters for healthy, fresh and non processed foods. My husband and I exercise, hike and run in nature, strength train, practice yoga and love to sleep. In today’s environment, we make sure we decompress from all the noise to reduce stress, anxiety, confusion and upset. (Last week I spoke about “This world, She’s upside down” – and she still is!)
So when our new gardener talked about feeding our gardens with iron enriched fertilizer, the light bulb went off. In stressful times, the demands are greater on us. We need to adjust and increase the nutrients if we want to thrive and flourish.
How simple it sounds! However it is one thing to know it, and another to do it. I encourage us all to reflect on our current food intake, our vitamin and herb supplements, our exercise and fitness programs, our stress reducing habits, and reassess what is needed for now. Adjust what is necessary to improve your energy, your positivity, your outlook on life. Even with all the chaos and confusion around us, we can be alive and well. In addition, I and my husband will also strengthen our invisible bubble that protects us from the craziness of todays environment – tough enough to protect us, flexible enough to remain sensitive and aware, and perforated just a little to allow us to breathe in clean, healthy fresh air.
With Light and Love and Increased doses of Fertilizer for you and your gardens’ Wellbeing,
My grandfather would often say this when he felt confused, frustrated, perplexed, not in control, and disappointed with the happenings going on. I too have used it especially in today’s environment. The world is truly upside down, having been shaken to it’s core, with everything we have known changed and rearranged. I do not see how anything from our past will transition into the future 100%. Some version perhaps will survive, but with a twist. There are so many dominoes still falling and impacting every part of everything. So what is next? Who has the crystal ball? Where will we find the answers?
The crystal ball image then changed for me to a vision of a snow globe. Who doesn’t love a snow globe? You pick it up, shake it up, turn it upside down, and Voila! a new and improved version of what was appears before your eyes. We hold the snow globe in our hands and smile at the snow gently covering everything with it’s brilliance and magic. We get to slow down and appreciate the beauty within the globe, and give thanks. Our heart opens and we savor that experience. Years ago I was gifted a different type of “snow globe”. It was a item being used during a new fragrance launch. It was a globe with sand, sea shells and starfish. It was special and I loved turning it upside down and discovered new items that had been buried each time I did that.
You can use your imagination and visualize your own snow globe today. Pick it up, shake it up, turn it upside down, and watch as the snow gently starts to flow down, covering everything with its magic. However we have to stay open to feel it, see it, and understand it. Our perspective of things will change. To thrive in the new reality, our new snowglobe, we will adjust and adapt, remain flexible and flowing to the revisions and reroutes, give thanks for where we have been, and be grateful to have the opportunity to go forward. We will view things differently, rethink what is important, what has value, and what is truly meaningful in our lives.
There is a reason why we needed to be shaken up and turned upside down. There are lessons to be learned and behaviours to change and Divine principles to follow. Yes, we are all in this together. However our lessons to be learned may be different. Use the time being upside down to listen and learn what is best for you. Then savor your new reality, your very own magical snowglobe.
With Light and Love,
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!