Don’t deny your past; it’s where you grew from, it’s where your roots are still planted.
It seems to me as though, for the first part of our human existence, we are in the soil of our lives planted like a seed. We are in the dark, in the drought, the floods, the heat, and the cold largely unaware.
We struggle to reach the light and beyond the darkness. We exert ourselves to get to the weightlessness of no dirt, no mud, no pressure around us and upon us. We endure the elements as we desperately try to make it through to the surface, to emerge.
Once we are through, we are in awe of the grandness of the space and the possibilities. We rejoice. We dream. We plan for a bright, struggle-less, weightless future.
We Are Out Now!
We’ve made it out and it’s all going to be better from now on.
The pressure is off.
The darkness has cleared.
We Are FREE!
Naïve and unprepared for what’s next - the twists and storms of life ahead - we are dismayed as we are made to encounter the elements in entirely new ways.
We get scorched, drenched, and dried again.
The winds of life blow so hard we can barely hold on. And just as we are faced with having to let go, as we stare the end in the face, ready to release the grasp reprieve arrives in the last possible moment.
In disbelief, numb and tired, we notice we are safe. Somehow, all is well again. And, again, we get to bask in the comfort of uneventful sunny days, graced with warm breeze and joy and ease and calm.
We look ahead to the horizon with hope and dreams and plans all set.
Then, all of a sudden, without warning, the wind picks up; it’s unrelenting and fierce! We must hold on.
We must keep our young, vulnerable roots in the soil because we know if we don’t, they will wither away; we will die!
So, we twist in the wind, resisting it enough so it doesn’t break us, so we don’t snap. It would be such a shame after all we’ve been through, trying so desperately and with such devotion to getting above the ground.
And then, drought comes again. Only now we are more exposed to it. We’re not hidden as before, no shade yet either. We are still weak and vulnerable to all the elements, to all the twists and storms of life.
Sometimes, a cloud is a blessing, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes the rain is welcomed, sometimes we almost drown.
Those of us lucky enough to make it, strong enough to take it, and those who had it the hardest coming through to the surface might just be resilient enough, prepared enough, willing enough, desperate to survive enough, stubborn just the right amount get to grow into a giant, beautiful, majestic tree that, because of all those elements, has learned to lean into the wind enough not be broken and surrender to it enough to remain flexible.
And keep growing and expanding those roots beyond the shallow.
Has your body ever done something that was really scary or even terrifying?
Something you did not understand?
Just a week ago mine did.
It did something so scary, it had me thinking this might be it and call 911.
It was sudden and shocking and it did not make any sense to me whatsoever.
Only a few minutes after eating three teaspoons of cooked (but dry) quinoa and taking a sip of water, I felt a sensation that resembled an air bubble trying to escape from the stomach.
But then, all of a sudden, it became quite painful.
So I reached for my glass of water and took another sip. That did not go over well.
The pain increased and I was not able to breathe. And this was the very scary part, I could not breathe and I didn’t know why.
I was puzzled but convinced that whatever was going on would pass as quickly as it showed up.
I was wrong.
There I was alone in the house, significant pain halfway down my esophagus, and each time I swallowed I struggled to take a breath. I had no idea what was happening to my body.
Nothing I could think of made sense.
I was not choking and I swallowed the food fine. “WHAT IS HAPPENING???” was a question my now frightened mind did not know how to answer.
The inability to draw a breath in would pass after a few seconds, not that it felt like it at the time, but it would return every time I was compelled to swallow. My body kept doing it on its own.
As you probably know, for the most part, swallowing is an involuntary function of the body (a very complex function, as I found out later).
To my astonishment and terror, my body did its thing while I was trying to figure out what was interfering with my breathing, and how to make it better.
After about 10 minutes of this, I finally gave in and called 911.
I had to. I was too scared not to as I still felt no signs of any improvement.
Needless to say, I am okay now and I did not have to go to the hospital, thank God. By the time the first responders arrived at my door I was able to take a decent breath in so I knew things were improving and I was going to be okay.
I’m writing about this to inform you and others that such a thing can actually happen. Before it happened to me I have never heard of anything like it. Still not sure what to call it other than ‘my terrifying quinoa incident’.
Chew your food well, very well!
Don’t rush like I did that day because whatever you're rushing to can wait – it did for me, it had to.
Just to be clear, this was not quinoa’s fault, not at all. And I made friends with it the next day.
Yes, I made myself eat some so I would not be afraid to eat it going forward. And I chewed the hell out of it, too! And guess what? No problems at all and I’m glad because I love it.
DON’T eat fast because, under the right/wrong circumstances, the food will get stuck in your esophagus which will then go into spasms and cause a cascade of other issues you won’t enjoy, not at all.
The whole thing lasted about 25 minutes and many thoughts came to my mind during that time; here are the ones most meaningful to me:
- Use your time wisely because you just don’t know when it will run out.
- Do what you love and share your passion while you can.
- Really enjoy every hug.
- Be grateful to wake up each morning as life can change in a second.
I am so grateful for so many things and on so many different levels.
Life is so precious.
Our time is so valuable.
We are so important and needed.
Each and every one of us is a beautiful blessing.
Take care and be well,
If you know of similar experiences or have any additional information please share in the comments below. You just might help someone when they need it the most.
Prioritizing is essentially knowing what to do, when to do it, and in what order.
This may sound mediocre but it’s not.
Your ability to prioritize effectively has the power to skyrocket your effectiveness and your position of leadership internally and externally. When you know what to do and when to do it, and then execute what you know, you develop inner strength, self-trust, and confidence that will propel you to great heights of success and achievement, personally and professionally.
Success, achievement as well as great leadership are all an inside job. Once you believe yourself to be The Leader of your everyday personal world, you can confidently step out to be The Leader in the world where success and achievement await you.
Let’s look at THE COST OF NOT PRIORITIZING; what lacking in this very important skill can inadvertently bring into your life?
-disappointing others and, perhaps more importantly, disappointing yourself
-hindered business growth
I trust you know how all of the above can quickly and easily derail your project and your self-esteem.
Now, let’s look at REWARDS OF EFFECTIVE PRIORITIZING; what’s in it for you?
-feeling a sense of accomplishment
-increased desire to create, serve, and expand your reach
-the sense of being in control of your time and effort
-clarity of choice and decision-making
-enhanced leadership skills
-personal and professional empowerment
Now, once you dance with this list, your life and business will flourish and prosper in beautiful ways which, incidentally, is my deepest wish for you and all your endeavours! We are but one step away from success (whatever success means for you): believing in ourselves and our ability to attain it!
Prioritizing: an Individual Perspective
So how do we prioritize? What’s the best approach to achieving the goal, completing that project, or developing a viable business or idea? Where do we start?
Most important step is to determine what must be done first. That to me is recognizing what small steps need to be taken and in which order while still keeping in mind the big picture. This means that, in any part and stage of the project, we must discern what’s a ‘must do now’ task, what is a ‘necessary but can do later’ task, and what is a ‘fulfilling task’ which helps us keep the passion and enthusiasm going, especially when faced with tasks we don’t love.
Here is an example:
In order to run a business, one has to have an office, home or otherwise (if one is serious about having a business).
In order to keep that office, one has to pay their utility bills.
In order to pay the utility bills, one has to bring in some income.
In order to bring in some income, one has to have a service or product to sell.
In order to have that, one has to develop some skills and take time and effort to have a useful, valuable service or product to sell.
I think you get the point.
What is important to underscore is that prioritizing is relative to individual needs and intentions. It is you who governs what’s most IMPORTANT TO YOU and why.
For some people, a ‘must do now’ task can be paying for their office space, their ‘necessary but can do later’ task can be creating a program to offer for sale, and their ‘fulfilling’ task would be the process of creating the program or gaining knowledge about how to do it.
For someone else, the whole process of creating the program can be the fulfilling task, depending on their circumstances. If they don’t need the income, as they may be retired or have a full-time job, for example, they are only doing what they are doing for the pleasure of it.
The main thing to remember when prioritizing, in very simple terms, is differentiating between ‘must do now’ and ‘can do later’ items. Once that’s established and depending on the size of your project, subcategories can be created to track progress and to complete the individual task or the whole project successfully.
So, when creating a product to sell, for example, start with the end in mind; what is the intention for the product (outside of creating revenue at this point)? What is the content or function of the product? Then, establish steps to achieving that. This may also require subcategories where you create a list of the different parts to your product and ways to bring them all together.
Always keep the big picture, the final result in mind as you progress through each stage of the production or development process; this helps to stay on track so you don’t get lost in the details.
Are You on Your Priority List?
If not, you’re in trouble.
You must make yourself a priority because you can only give what you have and if you are depleted it will show up in your performance, service, and product creation, however that looks in your case.
Usually, people schedule tasks to complete other tasks and forget to schedule breaks and self-care rituals or activities. Be different and make sure you replenish your body, mind, and spirit so you can share yourself with the world at high capacity. After all, you are the most important ingredient in all you’re doing so take care of YOU!
One more critically important step in making prioritizing a success is planning for days when not all your tasks get accomplished and understanding that life happens despite our most diligent planning, intending or strategizing. Anticipating and the acceptance of things not going according to plan are two of the strongest attributes of a great leader and a highly skilled prioritizer!
Be patient with yourself while befriending accountability. It’s all in the balance between those two attributes where much peace and accomplishment are found. All you have to do is allow yourself to be human; you can be Super Woman (or Superman), but don’t forget to be a human being too. So be gentle with yourself, go with the flow, and keep your own integrity intact. You will be able to do this well with practice, I promise; and it can be fun!
Lastly, as much as you can, bring joy into everything you’re working on. Not every task is joyous, granted; but please understand, joy isn’t found ‘out there’. It’s generated within by what you think and how you feel about what you’re doing. Most people dislike paying bills, for example, and I get that. But what if one could execute that particular task with gratitude for being able to have an office and funds (even if they’re a bit tight) to pay for it? What if one could take the time to appreciate the utilities and see them as a convenience if not a blessing?
I think we all could do a little bit more of that.
Then, feel into your passion and love for the end result, your rewards, for where you’re going or what you’re working on achieving and infuse those into your work and service. This, in my opinion, is one of the best recipes for success.
Know how you tick! Know your limitations and abilities and be very honest with yourself. Many people fail at success or planning or advancing their carriers because they are trying to fit into someone else’s schedules and ways of doing things.
Don’t do that to yourself!
Get really clear on what works best for YOU. Are you a morning person? Do you loose focus within an hour or two? How often do you need to take a break (even a ten minute one)? Do you get easily destructed? How good are you at being your own supervisor and what do you need to stay motivated?
Those are some of the questions you need to answer to get to know how you work best so you don’t get frustrated and discouraged by trying to work a schedule that doesn’t fit your work style.
THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION
What To Do & How To Do It?
First, sort out the meaning – your meaning – for what you are prioritizing; what does the project mean to you, what is the reason you are doing it, what is its end result or purpose. This will help you decide what tasks are most important, necessary, or fulfilling.
Then, see what subcategories you need to put in place to accomplish all the major parts of your creation.
Use the above questions for each part of your subcategories and also consider what will move the project forward, what’s the sequence of ‘events’ or steps, and how to best execute those.
Next, use the following list to create a solid priorities table to follow. I believe they are all essential to some degree, depending on your individual situation, personality, and approach.*
- checklists (what you need before you start and onward)
- to-do-lists (overall and for subcategories)
- time management/project management worksheet (to track your time spent on each task, this helps a lot in future endeavors too!)
- set due-by dates and stick with them (please be realistic and fair – (trial and error approach for beginners)
- establish coping techniques for stress management – you’ll need it. We all do and it’s okay so be prepared.
- understand and respect the 80/20 rule; 80% of what we do generates about 20% of results so focus on the tasks that move the needle in the right direction. And be patient! You’ll get there.
- think ahead which means consider the consequences and connectivity of your tasks.
- take time to go over your progress and to review your plan – repeatedly throughout the process.
- BE WILLING TO CHANGE YOUR PLAN if necessary. Flexibility and adaptability are critical!
- be willing to ask for feedback, help, or to delegate tasks if necessary – the ability to allow yourself to do so is one of the most important keys to success.
- NOTICE YOUR PROGRESS AND CONGRATULATE YOURSELF FOR IT (no matter how small)! Create a reward system and celebrate your hard work and dedication. You deserve it!
* If you have a team to manage, you must apply all of those to your team as well as effective communication and other team management skills which are beyond the scope of in this article, but guess what? You can Google it! ;)
In some ways, I think of prioritizing as creating the road map of your project for you to follow so you can confidently and comfortably ‘get lost in it’ yet stay on the path to a successful and satisfying completion.
Please know that the dreams and the desire in your heart are there not by accident. The gifts you possess are uniquely yours for a reason, a very good reason. Combine those with action steps and you are a success!
You have all you need to accomplish what you wish to accomplish. Trust yourself and your abilities by remembering all your prior successes and accomplishments. I’m sure there are many. Let your heart lead you further and further into your own kind of awesomeness!
You got this!
I am reasonably sure you have come across this term at
least once: fear of public speaking.
I’ve been hearing it for years.
Does it apply to you?
Are you afraid to speak in public?
If so, you’re not alone; apparently, out of all the fears we
can feel as human beings, this fear is only second to the
fear of dying! Incredible, right?
But it’s okay because I have some good news for you!
I am also going to help you do something about it.
First, it is not public speaking that people are actually afraid of.
This is important so let me explain.
About a year ago I gave a talk at a local business meeting about self-awareness (my favorite topic and if you think about it, it covers everything). Part of that talk was on, you guessed it, fear of public speaking.
After the presentation, once I sat down at my table, a prominent member of Toastmasters (https://www.toastmasters.org/) expressed his amazement about what I said on the topic and told me he could not wait to go to his next Toastmasters meeting to share what he heard.
And here, in the nutshell, is what he heard:
People who believe they are afraid of public speaking are simply misled.
As a self-awareness expert, I love to dive into people’s fears, as well as my own. What I found was that much of our inner dialog is imprinted in our fears.
As Life would have it, shortly before my presentation, I worked with a really amazing lady who came to me specifically to ‘work on her fear of public speaking’.
In a relatively short time, what she discovered was not only the source but also the truth behind her fear, and what she was actually afraid of.
In short, she was afraid to be perceived as inadequate and stupid!
As in many other situations, when we are faced with presenting ourselves to the public, what happens is, our own self-judgements and unacknowledged, latent beliefs rise up to our conscious awareness. Often, only just enough to make us feel uncomfortable.
Since we don’t quite understand this discomfort and we don’t really know what those latent fears are, we often misinterpret the whole thing and explain it away with something that makes sense.
We label the discomfort as something that makes acceptable sense like people are afraid of public speaking; I’m uncomfortable about it so I too must be afraid of it – there, that fits, right?
And off we go into the world having adopted or reaffirmed yet another misleading belief.
The fact is, there are millions of people out there believing that they are just another person who is afraid of public speaking. This isn't so.
In reality, we are afraid to be perceived in certain ways; sometimes we don’t clearly know what those certain ways are, and why those ways are even there.
Simply put: we don’t know why we feel how we feel.
Can you relate?
If this is you, here is what you can do to begin to discover your truth behind
this false fear.
Imagine yourself standing on stage ready to begin your presentation; really get
into the role. Now, ask yourself:
1. what’s the worst that can happen?
2. why is this the worst thing that can happen?
3. what would it mean about you?
4. what would your audience think of you?
5. how does knowing this make you feel?
The answers to those questions will shed some light on how you feel about YOU.
Self-awareness is the conscious knowledge of what’s behind your stories,
patterns, and labels.
The power of self-awareness is your ability to change your life by first understanding
and then transforming those stories, patterns, and labels.
Self-awareness = Empowerment
Fear of public speaking, just like fear of success, which I will discuss in future,
doesn’t really exist. At least not in the way millions of people think it does.
So now that you know, do you agree?
Let me know what you think in the comments.
Do you ever feel like whatever you’re working on or trying to accomplish is a lonely journey?
Well, let me tell you, I am very familiar with that feeling.
The other day, I was watching my favorite player as he was winning yet another tennis match. (I love watching tennis and love and admire the very best maestro of the game, Roger Federer).
As I watched, I felt so much joy for him and I truly wanted him to win (I always do!). And as always, I joined the crowd at the stadium in cheering him on to another victory.
Then, suddenly, I felt deep emotion rise up in my body and tears rolled down my cheeks. Usually, I feel very deeply and I cry easily for any reason that is present on the spectrum of feelings and emotions so this did not surprise me. Though this time, as the tears kept coming, I took a moment to ask myself “why am I really crying?” The answer was surprising and obvious all at the same time.
I longed to be cheered on!
It can get really lonely sometimes building your dreams from scratch on your own, like I am. I am sure you can relate to that on some level, right? We all have something we are working on; at home, with family, at a job, or in your own full-time or part-time business, or even a hobby. We all can feel a little alone with our passion and efforts.
As is my nature, I immediately went to a place in my being where service to others resides and, without much contemplation, I realized there are many women out there who must feel like I did and long to be cheered on too. In a moment, I decided I would do just that; I would take the time to cheer them on!
And just like that, the “I Am Cheering You On!” project was born.
Within few days, with great joy and excitement, I sent out greeting cards to women all over the world. As I cheered them and their efforts, I also asked them to do the same for three women in their life who could use a kind word and some cheering on in their efforts toward accomplishment.
And now, with hope and excitement, I invite YOU to do it too.
Do you know a woman (or three) who is working hard and giving her all to something, anything, who would like to know that her efforts and dedication are appreciated; that what she does matters and that she matters?
It is so simple. Get a greeting card, write her a note (nothing better than a hand-written note from a friend, right?) and send it to her. That's it!
Let’s truly honor and support each other as WOMEN.
All women need that. The world needs that!
Let’s cheer each other on and often!!!
We all, each and every one of us, need it, appreciate it, and deserve it so!
To make this even easier, here is what I wrote in my cards (use it if you like):
I am writing to you to let you know that I am cheering for YOU!
You are an amazing woman and all you do is so very valuable and important.
You are valuable and important!
So keep going, (insert first name here)!
Know that I’m thinking of you and wish you every success you dream of.”
I encourage you, ask you, and challenge you to be part of of this heart-felt project, cheering other amazing women on in their efforts to make this world a better place, just as you are.
Whether you know it or not, whether you do it intentionally or not, you are changing the world and I honor you for it! Thank you for your wonderful contributions.
You rock, Girl!
So please just keep going!
You're worth it and your dreams are worth it!
The entire WOMANHOOD is worth it!!!
With love and appreciation,
I would really like to hear what you think so do leave a comment or ask me a question;
I love questions!!!
About the Author
In early Spring of 2011, as I sat with my journal at a family cabin, I felt the seed of my creative writing come through from beneath the surface. As I picked up my pen to begin my first journal entry, I felt a feeling of profound peace and indescribable comfort. All was well. I felt I was Home - finally!