Monday, December 30, 2019

What a Snooze Fest!

Some time ago while listening to the Rise podcast with Rachel Hollis, I learned about her Last 90 days program. Basically, for the last 90 days of the calendar year, you do five things: Wake up an hour earlier than usual. Drink half your body weight in water. Stop eating unhealthy food for 30 days or more. You practice gratitude by writing your gratitude down everyday. You workout or move your body for at least 30 minutes each day. I started my effort well before the 90 day kick off because I'm generally an overachiever in some regards, but I have to tell you, I wasn't able to maintain the practice of “five to thrive” until the end of the year. I also discovered The 5 Second Rule. It's by a gal named Mel Robbins and basically you set an intention and when it's time to live the intention, you count 5 4 3 2 1 and you just do it. So, I started using that approach to make sure I got out of bed when the alarm went off at 6:30 a.m.. Well, I kind of got off that routine as well. Now, I bring this up because even though I fell off the personal improvement wagon, there's always the opportunity to hop back on it. Last night, I went to bed with the intention of getting up at 6:30 a.m. and set my alarm.. When that alarm went off this morning it didn't take me five seconds to get up - I hopped out of bed! And even though it was 35 degrees and raining, after I did my morning practices of writing reflection and meditation, I put on my boots and I went out for a 30-minute walk around the park. It's a time for me to listen to my favorite podcast, to learn a little bit about things I can try, or what other people have done in the world. Its also getting my body ready for the day ahead. As I was listening to Rachel Hollis this morning on episode 125, one thing that resonated with me is her expression of excitement about living her day and what she does to get into that space. So when I got home and ate my granola and yogurt and drank my second glass of water, I kept thinking how excited I am to live this day. I have several things I need to attend to and I'm excited because these things are helping me live my dreams. Last year, I decided to become self-employed and launched CTD Creative Consulting. In 2020, it's time to get down to brass tacks and focus on reaching my goals with my business. I do feel a sense of anxiety every once in a while, but I also spent time retraining the voice in my head telling me I couldn't do it for so many interesting and not so interesting reasons. So, I picked up my list of my five to thrive this morning and I resumed my practices of waking up an hour earlier, drinking half my body weight in water, and figuring out what unhealthy food I'm going to stop eating I'm already halfway through my gratitude list for the day and just had an invigorating walk in the cold rain. Making changes in your life is not easy but I have learned its really quite worth it. Well, the positive changes that is. New Year's Eve is just a couple of days away as I write this reflection, and I will come up with moments and ideas of how I see my intentions for the next year and what I can do to hopefully reach those goals. No, on second thought, doing what I can so I will reach those goals. Ready to join me? Happy New Year!

These boots are made for walking...

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

I'm Having a Baby!


Not really but I have been dreaming of being pregnant, giving birth, or finding babies for the past few weeks.  I know enough to understand that dream symbols are what you make of them, but I was perplexed. Was I wanting another kid? Nope. After the third dream, I decided to look it up and had an 'ah ha!' moment of excited understanding:
"To see a baby in your dream signifies innocence, warmth and new beginnings.  If you dream that the baby is smiling at you, then it suggests that you are experiencing pure joy. You do not ask for much to make you happy. If you find a baby in your dream, then it suggests that you have acknowledged your hidden potential..."
"A dream about giving birth is usually a pretty straight-forward metaphor — you're starting a new life phase, or making a fresh start in some capacity..." 
"You found a baby! Which means that you're making peace with the idea of accepting your own hidden potential and talents..."
"Pregnancy in a dream can usually be connected to something in your waking life that is in the development phase,".... Life changes like setting out to earn a degree, beginning a new career or relationship, or starting a big project can often trigger these dreams — "something that is currently growing and will eventually result in 'a new life' for you."
Well, here's the big reveal:  I am starting a new phase in my life....as a business owner!  For years, I have wanted to be my own boss and be responsible for doing good work based on my values and my vision, but the time never seem to be right.

Earlier in the year, I started job seeking and soon after, I started having dreams of a different kind: that I was going to prison. Now, I do not need to look up what that could mean.  It was as clear as day: I couldn't dream of continuing my work as a fundraiser for a nonprofit.  I'll cover that matter in depth in a future post at some point, but basically, my heart wasn't in it anymore.  I love the skills involved in fundraising and communications. I love the development of strategies to be as functional as you can be with limited resources.  But my role as a development director was just not going to cut it.  I wanted to take my expertise and experiences to another level to help out nonprofits. I also spotted a need for owners of small businesses needing some basic digital presence support.

My dear pal, Shari, and I are accountability partners. She is one of my most brilliantly creative people I know and she has been urging me to strike out on my own for years.  I decided that now is the time for me to be a #GirlBoss and I have launched CTD Creative Consulting LLC.  I provide content creation support and capacity building strategies for small business owners, as well as, nonprofit organizations. I am working with a few clients right now on website content management, marketing strategy, blogging, social media management and board development.

Pinch me.  I love it!

I am also working with a SCORE mentor who has been a great resource of business wisdom and also a fantastic coach. (Thank you, Rochelle!) The service offers the mentor program, training, and access to other resources. I even opened an actual bank account and printed business cards.  This is real, people!
 

Starting a business is no easy task and I would be lying if I told you I haven't struggled with anxiety, fear of failure, self-doubt...did I mention fear?  I have the emotional support that helps me navigate those dips in my friends and my mentor.  I also have taken up some new habits that have made a world of difference, thanks to the wisdom of Rachel Hollis. She produces a podcast that is chock full of good things and resources that run the gamut of every topic around entrepreneurship.

For example, her Five to Thrive habits are now part of my daily life...fifteen days and counting. She also wrote two books that were awfully helpful in getting my head wrapped around some of my 'stuff'.  I highly recommend both her podcast and books! I have felt an immediate difference in how I feel both physically and emotionally since setting up those intentions.  I have struggled with depression in the past and uncertain times are a typical trigger for me, but I am taking care of myself by using these new habits and being more thoughtful when the inevitable 'scaries' come to mind.

So, this is my announcement to the world that I've got this.  I am super excited and can't wait to keep you posted on the developments of this new professional direction that I am taking. If you have any words of encouragement, please share them in the comments below because I can use their magic as I move forward with this dream.  Thank you!



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Saturday, August 24, 2019

Finding Things

This morning, I cried.

I looked at one of the final boxes that I had not unpacked after moving to Rhode Island a year ago, and something caught my eye.  I almost dismissed the need to open it thinking it was just some of this and that.

Well, I couldn't be more wrong.

In that box, it was filled with memories and precious things.

Things like reminders of the good work I have done in the world that I buried under my self-esteem, my forgetting due to shame.  I also found artifacts from my darling daughter's early years.  Things like mementos from her first birthday and other babyhood treasures.

I also found my missing Christmas ornaments. I thought that they were lost forever, and with them, some of my herstory.

I cried and cried.

Last holiday season, as Lila and I began our tradition of decorating our tree in our new home for the first time, I couldn't find my precious ornaments.  My heart deflated and sadness filled it back up.

I love my things.  I know it isn't very zen of me but my things have stories attached to them. And, I only keep things that have good stories.  Like my red velvet chair that I have moved countless times.  It reminds me of when I arrived in Portland, Oregon in the fall of 1995.  Starting one of the biggest adventures of my adult life.  It was one of the first pieces of furniture I purchased for myself. Like my $20 paper Ikea lamp that I purchased on a shopping trip with my friend, Carla. She is my favorite travel companion and one of the most generous souls I know. It is with me here in Providence.  Like the butterfly ceramic cup that my longtime friend, Dottie, gave to me during our last visit in Pennsylvania a few months ago. I have known her since 1987 and we remain friends.  The sculpture I picked up in Baltimore, Maryland when I went to visit Lesley, a friend who is no longer in my life due to some unspoken hurt. But I have that art that I look at everyday and I am reminded of that visit in 2007, when life was really shitty but that visit brought me joy.

The list goes on and on.

We are warned not to be attached to our material things but mine are filled with love and I wouldn't change it for the world. It is my history and reminds me to a certain degree of my belonging, especially when I feel lonely, forgotten, invisible.

I quickly sent a text to my darling daughter about the find and she is thrilled, too.  In four months, we will stand by our second tree since moving to Rhode Island and decorate it with our history.  I know that there will be moments of tears because of some much that is behind us but there will also be joy because we are together making a new history.

This is a lesson for me. A lesson that the impossible can certainly be possible, which is something that I will always need reminding, especially during times of transition.  What I love about that is, it is like a little treasure of goodness that can fill a room with hope.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, August 23, 2019

Oprah-sized

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a big fan of personal development.  I pretty much only read that genre and have at least one box full of notes from all the books I have read over the years.

Photo by Alexis Brown on Unsplash
One thing that has come to mind, is the you-can-have-anything-you-want-as-long-as-you-visualize-it approach that comes up in many of the recommended approaches to it.  What really gets me is when I hear, "Well, Oprah did it. So can you."

Really?


What do you think the chances are that the world will have another Oprah?

Don't get me wrong: I am not a personal development naysayer.  I live to read the next new book that might teach me another approach to pursuing my dreams.  Some of my favorites are The Success Principles, Girl Wash Your Face, and Create A Life Worth Living - just to name a few.

I think what is missing out there are guides written by women over 40 for women over 40. I'll tell you, it is a different world out there for us babes who have been around the sun four decades plus. I went looking - using the Google search bar - for a 'the female version of Anthony Robbins' and that is how I discovered Rachel Holllis' podcast. I have learned about all kinds of resources and women making things happen.  I've been listening to it everyday as I take my walk and want to catch up to current day episodes.  I love what she is offering - so much wisdom. I encourage you to check it out.

Dreaming of big, audacious goals is a must.  It isn't like someone is going to come up to you in the mall and say, 'Hey! We are looking for a new talk show host on ABC.  Are you interested?'.  You have to figure out your dreams and then do some work to get there.  But my point is, how realistic and helpful is it to even think about the likelihood of hitting the out-of-the-ballpark kind of life experiences you dream about? How do you navigate disappointment and keep moving forward?

I'd love to hear your thoughts!


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Let's Make Lemonade


One of my favorite summertime drinks is lemonade.  You take something that is awfully sour and turn it into something sweet.  You can even jazz it up with some ingredients like lavender or liquor.  What a beautifully versatile drink.

I think lemonade and life have a lot in common:  You can change it up depending on what you add to it or keep it just as it is.  I am the type of gal who likes to mix it up, I've come to learn.  But with anything out of the familiar, it is a risk, and risk-taking can provide some big wins or big losses.

When I was younger, I wasn't as cautious about a lot of things.  I think that is the case for many of us.  We learn to be fearful as we grow older and I lost my optimism and throw-caution-to-the-wind attitude over the years.  Many people who know me would gasp at such a reflection but I struggled for many years trying to regain an inner sense of my can-do attitude.  

It took a lot of work over a period of time, but I got my groove back.  It is how I moved across the country to a city I've never been to; how I followed my passion to produce a podcast about the arts and find some funding to help support it; it is how I committed to writing a book for women over 40 who think the world can go eff itself for thinking it can pretend we don't exist or matter.  

One of my always present intentions is to make choices that make me proud but also my daughter proud.  A lesson or nugget of wisdom I hope to share with her is to dream big and go for it.

Over the past year or so, I have made it a point to welcome failure as one of the realities to embrace.  No one I know likes that "F" word.  With baby steps, I have been pausing to look at what didn't work and find the wisdom I can carry forward from the experience. And it is due to that shift in perspective that has led me to pursue something I have wanted to do for eons but lacked the confidence to do it: launch my own business!

After years in the nonprofit sector, I've learned a thing or two, and the knowledge applies in any part of the country.  I am taking my two decades plus of across-the-board experience and offering it to organizations who want to raise the bar on getting their message out into the world.  All nonprofits want to do that but lack the capacity to do it.  My role is focusing support for those who lack the resources.

More to come later!  I have a plethora of skills that came out of success and failure.  I remind myself that we have to fail in order to learn.

I'm failing my way to happiness.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Follow the Joy

Somewhere buried under the rubble of invisibility and expectation, lies your true self. The person who is kind and generous; the curious person who loves to explore; the powerful person of conviction and integrity. Your transformation is tied into circumstances or circumstances come into being because you are growing and changing. There lies a mighty question mark: Are you feeling empowered to follow your inner compass of exploration and pushing out the sides of the box society seems to shove you into when given a chance? I made a decision about how to reclaim my power with regards to my professional identity. It feels like a thirst has been quenched! I know so much but remain aware of very little. So much to discover. So much to learn. I know I'm strong and capable - just as you are. Just looking at my life over the past year reminds me of fantastic life experiences and I know it's far from over.

As you contemplate your next steps, I encourage you to look back at your life successes and your lessons learned before you take your next step forward. Now I'm not suggesting to be so  lost in your history because that will keep you stuck in the muck, but understanding your blessings and your lessons will help you make wiser choices as you move forward.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel overwhelmed with not knowing which path to take and as I grow older, society has dismissed me to a certain degree as either ineffective or uninteresting.  I am determined to set that record straight and I hope you will join me in acknowledging our worth and contributions.

In this process of my reflection on ‘what’s next?’, part of me feels like a failure for starting over yet again.  But then I feel invigorated with an opportunity to explore a new adventure.  On one hand, I feel energized by new options but then some weak voice will murmur something to put me in my place.

I admit it can be kind of exhausting to keep your head above the waterline of doubt and not knowing where to turn when the newsfeed is horrific on a daily basis.  But what I do know is that joy is an antidote for disconnection and fear.

If you are swimming in self-doubt, anxiety, or uncertainty spend a little time with yourself and just ‘be’. Then do something that causes your heart to go pitter-patter.  This past weekend, I was feeling the fear and took a spontaneous solo day trip to a nearby park and it replenished my spirits.  I could have made a choice to stay home and do a host of chores but instead, I chose to do something exciting and joyful. It shifted my whole perspective for the day.  Try it.  You might like it.

 

Friday, August 9, 2019

Boosters or Busters

I just finished reading the book - Brave, Not Perfect - and the timing was perfect (as all gifts from the Universe typically are, yes?). I was thinking about my self-confidence over the past few weeks as I transition into my next Big Adventure (more on that in another future post).

I had recent conversations with two people who I happen to be very close with.  In the first chat, I was sharing how confident I was feeling of late around my leadership skills.  I don't recall the particular details of what I was expressing, admittedly, but what I do remember was the person I was talking said something to the effect, 'well, don't forget about your bossy behavior.' If you have been reading my blog, you might recall some feelings I have about the "B-word" via my little rant about being called a bossy cow.

Needless to say, I was pissed off by that comment.

Later, in another conversation, I was sharing my insights about another set of skills that I am good at and I was told, 'you sure know how to brag'.

What gives? Is it not possible for a woman to be confident and vocal about her abilities?  I mean, I've never heard a guy called 'bossy' and I hear plenty of them telling the world - and anyone who is willing to listen- how good they are at...everything.

I am proud that I moved cross country, uncertain of what lay in waiting; I feel mighty good about taking last night's a baking class AND without taking a friend in tow; I feel good about letting my sparkle shine on my head (my natural hair color is now bright white).

These are just some of my recent accomplishments that I feel really good about.

I also have noticed for a very long time, the rarity of people giving each other public shout outs on social media.  I practice 'amplification' of women's accomplishments on Facebook and LinkedIn as often as I can.  Wouldn't it be something if more people did that?  I mean, what would the harm be?  There are plenty posts about complaining.  What if we posted a compliment instead? Okay, will it fix all the problems in the world? Not exactly. It is based in kindness and being kind can go a long way. But if you can rally to the occasion, the least you can do is not say something hurtful.  Deal?

And, if I happen to pass by you in conversation and you are sharing some insights about your talents, please be sure to put your hand out ... so I can give you a high five.

via GIPHY