How to Stop Being an Amateur

Stop Being an Amateur

Stop Being an AmateurDo you ever look at someone who is really, really good at something and wish that you could be that good?

You can. It’s easier (and harder) than it seems. You just need to follow one rule consistently.

Stop being an amateur.

When you have a goal that you are trying to reach, ask yourself what a professional would do and do exactly that. Every single time.

Let’s start with a goal that many people have: trying to lose weight.

It’s not about will-power. It’s not about desire. It’s about working out every day because that is what the most successful people would do. The first time that you make an excuse, you are behaving like an amateur.

I know, because I do it.

In most instances, I don’t really care. I’m not trying to have the body of professional athlete. I’m not trying to be America’s Top Chef. I am, however, trying to be the best inspirational writer that I can be.

I’ve been writing Be-Mails long before blogging existed. It’s one thing in my life that has consistently stayed with me. And by consistently, I mean inconsistently.

I will start to write daily and then I won’t write for months. You know, just like an amateur would do.

Tonight, I wasn’t going to write. I wanted to watch a little TV.

Amateur.

I’ve reached a point in my life where I want my writing to move forward. I want to reach more people.

I want to be a professional.

So I’m going to be.

Three nights a week, my husband puts my daughter to bed. From 9:00 until midnight, three nights a week, I’m committed to working on projects that inspire me. No excuses.

What is one of your big dreams? Not all of them. Just one.

Pick one dream that you want to chase. Then block off time every week specifically for taking steps toward that dream.

And commit to that time. Commit to that dream. No excuses.

Dreams aren’t reached overnight and they aren’t reached without a plan. Treat this time like it’s your business. Start at the beginning and move one step at a time.

That’s what professionals do.

Post in the comments the dream that you are committing to and the time that you have set aside for it. Then do it. I’ll hold you to it.

And stop being an amateur. You deserve better.

 

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Posted in Goals, Work

Thanks for the Gift. I’m Giving it Away

Thanks for the gift. I'm giving it away.I am of the belief that a true gift comes with absolutely no strings attached. Once I give it to you, it is yours to do whatever you want with.

I was at the store picking up some google-y eyes for my daughters Valentine’s when I passed containers full of buttons. There was no way that I could pass these by. My daughter is constantly digging through drawers trying to find stray buttons. I knew she would love to have a whole container full of them and I was SO excited to surprise her with them.

I came home and showed her the surprise and you would have thought I bought her a pony. Her eyes lit up and she screamed, “I’m so happy!!!!!”

Not a bad way to spend $4.00.

Within 10 minutes of receiving this gift, she started sorting them into piles. Why? Because she wanted to share them with her teachers.

The gift that made her scream with joy, she was going to give away.

I was surprised, but resisted my urge to ask her why she didn’t want to keep them.

She is 4. She has very few possessions in life. She doesn’t have much to give, but what she does have, she wants to share.

I gave her a container filled with hundreds of buttons. Her thought was, “I can make so many people happy!”

What an incredible way to look at life.

To whom much is given, much is expected.

When life gives you buttons, share them with others.

I found her the perfect gift and I was looking forward to seeing all of the things that she would make with her buttons. The one thing that I didn’t anticipate her making…was making other people happy.

Posted in Children, Happiness, Kindness

“I’m Sorry You Feel That Way”

I'm Sorry You Feel That WayI made a comment to someone the other day and her response to me was, “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

Really?

What does that even mean?

I’m pretty sure that you aren’t sorry and I’m also pretty sure that you are judging me. You aren’t sorry for the way that I’m feeling, you are sorry for WHAT I’m feeling. I don’t ever need anyone to feel sorry for me for how I feel. When I’m mad, I’m mad. When I’m happy, I’m happy. And just because you don’t agree with my response to a situation doesn’t give you the right to spew criticism wrapped with a red bow.

For the past few days, I’ve been trying to think of a situation where “I’m sorry you feel this way” would be a beneficial thing to say.

This is what I came up with:

1.

2.

3.

 

Never. It’s rude.

If you don’t agree with someone, just say that you don’t agree. If you couldn’t please someone say that you are sorry that you couldn’t come to a reconciliation.

There are a million different ways to disagree without having to criticize someone.

Have you ever had someone say this to you? Under what circumstances?

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Posted in Respect

Passing Out Happy-Pops

Passing Out Happy-PopsThis morning, I was relaxing on the couch and reading a magazine. My daughter wanted to look at the pictures and wanted me to cut out the ones that made her happy.

I said, “What if we cut out pictures that we think might make other people happy and we can pass them out to people when we are out today?”

Happy pictures and happy people? That’s a recipe for a perfect morning.

We taped the pictures to colorful straws and headed out to the mall where we were going to see The Lego Movie. (great movie, btw)

As we walked into the mall, she immediately started looking for people who she thought  would like something happy.

Our first stop was the cookie place so she could grab a snack for the movie. This is where she gave her first Happy-Pop to the girl working at store. The girl was friendly and had already complimented me on my purse. She had an eye for design. My daughter gave her a picture of a beautiful room overlooking the beach. The girl was so happy!

We turned around to leave when my daughter spotted a little boy (around 2 years old) with his dad. She whispered, “I’d like to give one to that little boy.” She handed him a picture of a beach ball. Being 2, he grabbed it quickly. His dad was thrilled and thought it was the nicest thing to do.

Off to the movie.

There was a man working security and my daughter handed him a picture of a the sun shining. He smiled and thanked her.

The movie was about to start, but she spotted someone….a boy in a wheelchair. “I want to give him one, mommy!”

She picked her favorite one, a big one with a picture of a dog, and handed it to the boy.

He thanked her and then said, “I have a dog that looks just like that dog!” Needless to say, my daughter was smiling ear to ear.

We weren’t able to give away all of our Happy-Pops, so we have decided to make it part of our routine. Whenever we leave the house, we will bring a few Happy-Pops, just in case someone needs cheering up.

Have you ever performed random acts of kindness for strangers or have you had it happen to you?

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Posted in Happiness, Kindness

Fake Smiling at Strangers

Fake Smiling at StrangersYou are walking out of an elevator and you pass a stranger in the hall. You don’t look away, because that would be rude. But you don’t want to flash your pearly whites because, well, you don’t know them.

So you keep your lips securely together and turn up the corners of your mouth. Not friendly. Not rude. Just a fake smile as you go about your business.

What if everyone stopped doing that and decided that strangers deserve real smiles? Real smiles make you feel better, they make you feel connected and they don’t feel forced.

A fake smile says, “please don’t talk to me….just keep on walking.”

I introduce to you the weekend smile challenge. For the next two days,  if you are going to smile at a stranger, invest in it. Show your teeth. Say hello. Acknowledge they are human.

Then tell me how it went.

 

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Posted in Happiness, Kindness

5 Tips for Finding Quiet in Every Day

5 Tips for Finding Quiet in Every DayFrom the moment I wake up until my daughter falls asleep, I am on the go. Isn’t everyone?

I love being busy and I have a to-do list that is longer than my twitter feed. I’m ok with that, but in order to keep up this pace, I need to find time every single day to be alone with my thoughts, even if just for 15 minutes.

Between kids, traffic, bills, meals, work, errands and fun…where are you supposed to find this time for quiet?

Here’s how:

Wake Up Early

Sounds terrible, doesn’t it?

It’s all in your perspective. I’m not a morning person. Not even close. I’m writing this at midnight even though my alarm will go off in 6 hours. Last week I practiced getting up 30 minutes earlier to exercise. In all reality, it wasn’t even 30 minutes earlier. My alarm went off at the same time…I just didn’t hit snooze. I woke up, jogged on my mini-trampoline and ate breakfast while watching House Hunters. And I was completely alone.

 

Commuting as an Oasis

Sitting in traffic for 30, 60, or (ouch) 90 minutes doesn’t have to be a prison sentence. It can be a luxury. I have learned to love my commute immensely. I listen to podcasts every day. I drive and I listen and by the time I arrive at work, I’m filled with incredible thoughts and ideas. If you aren’t a podcast listener, I highly recommend giving it a try. You can stop by the iTunes store or use the Stitcher app. Personally, I prefer Stitcher because it is just like having my own radio station. I keep all of my favorite podcasts in a folder and just go down the list. When I get to the bottom, I start over with all new episodes. Whether you are into technology, parenting, news or comedy, there is a podcast that you’ll love.

If podcasts aren’t your thing, you can listen to audiobooks via audible.com or listen to some relaxing or inspiring music on Pandora or Spotify. Turn that hour in traffic into an hour of pleasure.

 

The Pomodoro Technique

I learned about the Pomodoro Technique a couple of months ago. The principle is simple: every 30 minutes take a five minute break. When I started doing it, I stuck to the 30 minute rule, but found that it was just too frequent of a break for me, so I changed it to 45-60 minutes with a 5 minute break. During those 5 minutes, I would walk the stairs in my office building. It gave me a little bit of time to refresh my brain, get some exercise (sitting will kill you, you know) and look at something other than my computer screen. You don’t need anything but a timer, but if you want to make it even simpler, there’s an app for that.

 

Don’t Eat Lunch at Your Desk

It’s easy to think that working through lunch will make you more productive. It won’t. Your brain works best when it is well rested, so get away from your desk…preferably away from your office. With half the country in the middle of a polar vortex, you may not feel like heading outside, but if you can do it, it can help. Go out to lunch. Sit at the local coffee shop and have some coffee. Run errands. Read a book. Just do something away from your desk.

 

Take Ten

If you are like me, you move from “work” mode directly into “family” mode. Both can be exhausting work. I have scheduled 10 minutes of me time in-between work and home. It may not be glamorous, but I sit in a parking lot and read a book for 10 minutes to transition between my two worlds. During this time I am mentally shutting down my work brain and starting up my mom brain. When I see my daughter, I am 100% present.

 

You are important. You need to fill up your tank if you are going to be of any use to anyone.

 

What about you? What do you to find time for yourself each day?

 

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Posted in Balance, Rest, Work

I Can Feel Your Judgement, But You Don’t Know

 

You Judge Me, But You Don't KnowToday, I woke up with a spring in my step. My husband and I had a short list of things that we wanted to get done. We were looking forward to going to the mall to exchange some shoes. The weather was beautiful and we were ready for a great Saturday.

Sounds amazing…but my highly spirited four year old had very different plans.

We had a nice lunch at Panera. She ate without being fussy and was over-the-moon excited about being at the mall. She LOVES the mall.

First stop was the shoe store. She bounced and spun all the way there and touched every pair of shoes once we arrived. We couldn’t find what we wanted, so we headed over to Nordstrom to see if we could find some shoes there.

My daughter was super excited to be at Nordstrom. We headed for the shoe section when she spotted the jewelry and went insane. Pretty jewelry is pure delight for her. She wants to touch it (no) and wear it (no) and pull on it (no, no, no). She headed toward the Kate Spade bags like a bull in a china shop (no). She pulled on the security tags (no) until I decided we needed to leave, but it was too late. It was time to freak out. Very loudly and very publicly.

As my sweet, loving child ran full speed across the store, her movements were stopped by a passing stroller. Had that not happened, I have no idea how this story would have ended. The stroller slowed her down and froze me in my tracks long enough for the girl at the cosmetics counter to ask me if I would like to relax and get my makeup done.

What?

“Would you like your makeup done?”

No! No, I wouldn’t. I want that little monster running through the handbags to revert back to the silly girl she was this morning.

And now it was time for me to catch her. CATCH HER. In the designer handbag section of a lovely store. I’d move left, she’d move right.

And they watched.

I’d move right and she’d move left.

And they watched.

I had to catch her. What could I say that would make my audience judge me less?

“Stop right there or I’m taking away your purse.”

She runs.

“Ok. You just lost your purse.”

3 – 2 – 1 – NOOOOOOOOOOOO!

She froze. I caught her, but her running turned to wailing. I pulled her over to the beautiful leather sofas and called my husband who was using the restroom.

“We need to leave RIGHT NOW. Click.”

Five minutes later after wrestling with my daughter while watching every single person in the store glare at me, my husband appeared.

For five minutes I looked at all of the eyes as they judged me.

“What a terrible mother.”

“Get control of your kid!”

“Wow. What a brat.”

“Why doesn’t she get that kid out of here?”

And my eyes welled up…because they don’t know.

They don’t know that this girl loves even more passionately than she screams.

They don’t know that my husband and I haven’t had a decent conversation in six months because my child never, ever, ever stops moving.

They don’t know how much I worry about her because she can’t calm down.

They don’t know that she learns by touching, and that she doesn’t know that touching pinecones is different than touching $800 handbags.

They don’t know that I love this little girl so, so much that my heart is ripping out of my body right now as you judge us, when you know nothing about us.

And we walk out of the mall about 40 rows away from where we parked and walk through puddles while she screams and I cry.

And we all drive home in complete silence.

 

What the hell just happened?

 

Life. That’s what just happened. And it happens to everyone.

That kid crying in the airplane while you are trying to relax? You don’t know.

The mom that is letting her child throw a tantrum in the grass outside of McDonalds? You don’t know.

The kid that is flipping out in the store while the mom ignores it because she HAS to get this done and simply can’t leave. You don’t know.

You don’t know.

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Posted in Acceptance, Children, Kindness

Your Hair Looks Terrible

bad hairEvery morning, I wake up and look in the mirror as I get ready for the day. And every day, I toss out a little insult. You have gray hair showing. You look tired. You need to lose some weight. You used to be much cuter.

Every day.

Insults.

If my husband criticized me every morning, our marriage wouldn’t last very long, so why do I do this to myself day in and day out?

I’m trying to break this habit and it’s VERY hard. Rather than saying “you need to lose some weight,” I’m trying to re-frame it and say “it would feel great if I worked out today.” Rather than thinking “you don’t look as good as you used to,” I’m trying to say “you look pretty good for your age.”

Basically, I need to talk to myself the way I talk to other people. You know, people that I like.

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Posted in Acceptance, Aging, Change, Growth

A Second Coat of Paint

Eimagevery time that I paint a room, I get nervous watching the paint dry. It looks streaky, spotty and far from flawless. I question my paint choice. I question my painting skills. Then I tell myself to just wait for the second coat and it will all work itself out.

It always does.

In life, we need to give the paint some time to dry and we need to have enough patience to go back and do the second coat. We’ve all had that first date where he seemed nice enough, but he seemed spotty and far from flawless. We think we made a bad decision. We should move onto another guy, right?

Maybe not.

Maybe he just needs a second coat of paint. On the second date, maybe he won’t be so nervous. Maybe you’ll have deeper conversation. Things may smooth out to the point that you could live with this forever. Maybe. Maybe not, but you’ll never know unless you take the effort to give it a second coat.

Is there anyone or anything in your life right now that just may look better with one more coat of paint? Are you willing to put forth the effort…or are you going to walk away…never knowing what could have been?

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Posted in Perspective, Relationships, Time

I Came From the 80′s

imageI’m not the type of person that thinks that everything that I grew up with was great and everything that kids do now is crazy. I love texting and iPads and Lady Gaga. I don’t hate Gaga because she is “knocking off Madonna.” I love her because she is crazy. And the 80′s were all kinds of crazy.

I miss swatch watches, skirts with high-tops, and dangly neon earrings. I miss girls, just wanting to have fun rather than girls wanting to be sexy. I miss rock stars that wear tight pants, have long hair and actually look like rock stars. I miss rap that doesn’t devalue women. I miss Grandmaster Flash. I miss dancing at Medusa’s and McGreevy’s to the B-52′s and Ministry.

25 years later, the 80′s have been boiled down to neon and leg-warmers. It’s all kitsch. But it wasn’t for me. It was a time where Madonna redefined what it meant to be a female musician. It was a time where I would sit with my friends for hours watching MTV. We are a music generation.

I’m happy that I’m not a kid of 90′s grunge, but of 80′s pop.

I grew up at the mall. I bought clothes at Express when it was a very alternative store. I ate french fries at McDonalds…and they only came in one size: small.

The thing about growing older is that you have these incredibly fond memories of place that no longer exists and feels so, so far away.

I’m a kid of the 80′s….and an adult of the 10′s…and I’m still going to listen to The Pet Shop Boys. So step off.

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Posted in Change, Moments, Perspective

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