Be Yourself

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Be_Yourself_Music.jpg
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Be_Yourself_Music.jpg

 

The financial magazines and news programs, along with the advertising agencies on Madison Avenue, would have you believe that in order to be successful you have to be sleek, flashy, and in the spotlight. They also suggest that you must have your act together, be extra-ordinarily talented, or super smart.

But that isn’t true.

You can achieve your dreams with who you are—your quirks and foibles—and all that makes you unique. You can be quiet, nerdy, and shy and still live the life of your dreams. Whoever you are right now, added to the seemingly “ordinary” raw talents you have inside, are just the right ingredients needed to achieve your goals and dreams. Then add the urgings of the Still Small Voice to the mix—and following those urgings—and your success is virtually guaranteed.

That doesn’t mean you won’t be challenged and that you won’t have to dig deep from time-to-time. It also doesn’t mean that your success will happen overnight. What it does mean is as long as you consistently take steps along the pathway to your dreams, you will achieve success.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:First_step_to_success_know_yourself_and_be_stable_2014-02-20_00-50.jpeg
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:First_step_to_success_know_yourself_and_be_stable_2014-02-20_00-50.jpeg

Your homework today is to take the next step. Break it into small pieces and tiny increments, as needed, and move forward.

You can do it

Post in the comments section that you took a step today! WooHoo!

I’m so proud of you!

Your Friend,

Lauren

 

Family and Friends

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Charles_Van_den_Daele_001.JPG
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Charles_Van_den_Daele_001.JPG

 

As much as they love you, don’t expect blatant support and encouragement from your family and close friends. It isn’t that they don’t care but rather because they do care—a lot.

This doesn’t seem to make sense on the surface of it. But if you delve a little deeper you’ll realize that it’s because your family and friends value their relationship with you that they don’t want to be put into an awkward position.

Look at it this way: They friend you on Facebook, comment regularly on your blog, and follow you on Twitter. Everything’s going along great, and then they realize they’re spending too much time on social media and need to cut back on the people and groups they’re following. They decide it’s your blog, Facebook page, Twitter feed, etc., they’ll terminate. They’re probably thinking that they get all the updates from you directly—and much sooner than from social media feeds. They still support you and believe in you even though they’re no longer connected to you on social media.

If this would happen, you might feel slighted and insulted, to say the least. Most likely, you’d feel betrayed and that would seriously affect the relationship. Instinctively, your family and friends know this and don’t want to hurt you or harm the relationship.

Strangers, though, will support you enthusiastically and vocally.  That’s because if they decide to move on, they don’t have to fret about seeing you at family gatherings or avoiding getting together with friends because you might be there. Strangers know it’s little harm if they stop following you. And if they do stop, you may feel mildly disappointed at first, but it quickly passes and you don’t think of it again.

Keep in mind that it’s your friends and family who have given—and will continue to give you—a shoulder to cry on. And, when things weren’t going so well for you, they’ve patted your hand, slipped you a few bucks, and perhaps dropped off a casserole.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Valentinesdaytree.jpg
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Valentinesdaytree.jpg

Your homework today is to go easy on your family and friends. Be thankful that in their own quiet ways they are supporting you. And, be grateful for all the times they’ve held your hand when you were anxious and they helped you up and brushed you off when you fell.

Give three cheers for people who’ve comforted you and helped you over the rough spots!

You can do this!

Post in the comments section about people who have been there for you.

I’m so proud of you!

Your Friend,

Lauren

Weekly Evaluation

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http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:LBS_Student_Growth.jpg

“All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination.” ~Earl Nightingale

Today we review our week—how’d it go for you?

As always, don’t berate yourself if you seem to have fallen short of what you wanted to do this week. Draw a line under it and move forward. There’s a brand new week ahead of you and you can start fresh right where you are. You don’t have to spend time in the penalty box or forfeit the progress you have made. Just make a note of where things got away from you, come up with ideas for what you can do about it, resolve to do better this coming week, then move on.

Keep plugging away toward your dreams!

Your homework today is to evaluate where you are on the path to your dreams. Make your plan for the week, making sure to take into consideration the demands on your time and your obligations and responsibilities. Tweak your schedule as needed so that you give yourself every opportunity to be successful this week. Break the steps into small pieces and tiny increments. It’s quite fine to make slow progress toward your goals and dreams as long as it’s steady progress.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Trumpetare.jpg
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Trumpetare.jpg

The second part of your homework is to congratulate yourself on the things you did accomplish this week and applaud the things did you do well. Delight in these victories! Do something special for yourself—perhaps include your family and close friends in your celebrations.

 

Keep moving toward your dreams! You can do it—I believe in you!

Post in the comments section what you’re doing to celebrate your accomplishments this week.

I’m so proud of you!

Your Friend,

Lauren

Look for the Helpers

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http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:HELPING_HANDS_WILL_GET_THIS_SKIER%27S_CAR_OFF_THE_ICE_-_NARA_-_554290.tif

 

Please note:  An updated version of this was posted on April 15, 2017.

Mr. Rogers, famous for hosting Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood on PBS, tells of a time when, as a child, he was frightened by items in the news. His mother comforted him by saying that although there were, and will be, bad and scary things in the world, it was important to look for the helpers—there were always helpers. Her words calmed him at the time, and also helped form the foundation of his life’s work.

It’s true, there are always helpers. No matter how seemingly all-encompassing and horrible the situation, there are always helpers. In times of natural disasters, organizations such as the Red Cross immediately dispatch people and resources. Friends, neighbors, and strangers reach out helping hands. Also, in times of war, there are resistance networks fighting the oppressors and individual citizens, in their own quiet way, performing small acts of kindness.

The same is true for you as you travel the pathway to your dreams. You don’t have to do it all yourself; there are helpers along the way. These helpers will probably not be with you every single step on your pathway, but they will be there to help you negotiate a rough patch. And new helpers will appear the next time you come up against setback.

So, if you’re having trouble taking the next step, look for the helpers who can give you the boost that you need.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FEMA_-_13355_-_Photograph_by_Kevin_Galvin_taken_on_01-01-2004_in_Massachusetts.jpg
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FEMA_-_13355_-_Photograph_by_Kevin_Galvin_taken_on_01-01-2004_in_Massachusetts.jpg

Your homework today is to look for the helpers on your path. Of course they can be people, but also look for books, classes, services available at your local library, other resources, and the like. The second part of your homework is to look around you and be a helper to someone else.

Go you! You can do it!

Post in the comments section what you did today to be a helper. Yay you!

I’m so proud of you!

Your Friend,

Lauren

PS Here is Mr. Rogers’ full quote and the source in which it’s found:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers–so many caring people in this world.” The World According to Mister Rogers by Fred Rogers

Rough Patch

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http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:BLOCKS_OF_CONCRETE_FROM_ROAD_REPAIR_HAVE_BEEN_DUMPED_ON_A_PARTIALLY_CLEARED_SECTION_OF_OHIO,_OR_%22SUNSHINE%22_KEY._HALF…_-_NARA_-_548742.tif

From time-to-time we all hit rough patches. These times can make us feel discouraged, or frustrated, or anxious.

Sometimes we retreat and look for ways to avoid the situation. We may develop a tense or snappish demeanor. We can also become morose—not too enjoyable to be around. Other aspects may suffer—we have a sour or worried look on our faces and we may let our appearance go, even just a little bit.

Now is not the time to lose ground: fight back! Take things step-by-step, breaking them into small pieces and tiny increments.

More importantly, though, is to do things that validate you as a good person who’s capable and competent, and who is a person others are glad to see.

How do you do this?!

First of all, take care of yourself. Get out your mirror and repeat your favorite pep words and phrases to yourself—focus on positive thoughts. Take care with your appearance. Make sure your clothing is clean and in good repair, and keep up with your daily grooming routines. Make sure you are drinking water and eating fresh, alive food—also getting a good night’s sleep. Stand straight and tall with your shoulders thrown back. These actions will help you regain a sense of control.

Then, take care of others. Look for opportunities to help someone else. Is there a neighbor, friend, or family member who is going through a rough patch of their own? Perhaps there is some way you can help, even if it’s just lending and ear as they talk about things. Or, there are probably opportunities in your church or community where you can volunteer. This will help you feel valuable and needed.

Copyright LMC Images
Copyright LMC Images

These steps will help improve your attitude and give you a boost of confidence so that you can better handle the rough patch. Give them a try!

 

Your homework today is to make sure you are taking care of yourself. Next, look around and see what you can do to lend a helping hand. It could be something as simple as holding a door open for the person entering behind you or giving a passerby a nod and a smile.

You can do this, I know you can!

Post in the comments section about the lending hand you reached out today.

I’m so proud of you! You’re the best!!

Your Friend,

Lauren

Cautionary Tale

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http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:MUTCD_W14-1.svg

 

Oftentimes we tell our friends and family about mistakes we’ve made. We want their sympathy and a shoulder to cry on. It could be, too, that we’re cautioning them not to make the same mistakes we did.

As parents, we tend to do this with our kids, encouraging them to make better choices than we did. We don’t want them to fall prey to the pitfalls that we have in our lives. Our children will make their own mistakes, certainly, but we hope to caution them against making our same mistakes.

It’s tiring, and embarrassing, to always be using ourselves as a cautionary tale. How about flipping that around and being the example? Be someone that people admire and hold up as a shining example of good and right living.

It feels much better to be an example rather than a cautionary tale!

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Light_shining1-b.jpg
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Light_shining1-b.jpg

Your homework today is to set yourself up as the shining example. You do this by taking the next step. If it seems too big or too hard or your anxiety is getting in the way, then break the step into teeny tiny pieces. It doesn’t matter the size of the piece; all that matters is that you use it to move forward on the path to your dreams. That’s how you become the example rather than the cautionary tale!

Post in the comment section the things you’re doing today to be the shining example. You are awesome! I’m so proud of you!

Your Friend,

Lauren

 

The Ripple Effect

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http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Michael_Melgar_LiquidArt_resize_droplet.jpg

 

Have you hit a rough patch? Do you think it’s okay to give up on your goals and dreams? Do you think they don’t really matter—that your life will be just fine without them?

Here’s something to consider: Everything you do has a ripple effect, not only in your own life but also in the lives of others and for generations to come. Granted, you can live a great life without achieving your dreams…but there will always be something missing, a mild discontent. And, of course your friends and family can still live great lives in spite of you not going for your dreams. But, if you do work toward your dreams and achieve them, think how much better your life can be—and how you can enhance the lives of those close to you.

I’m sure you can think back along your family tree and find someone who, when faced with difficult circumstances, decided to make a change. Perhaps they changed careers or move to a new town. Possibly, they started a business or maybe even moved the family to a whole new country. That change made all the difference for them and their immediate family. And you now are still enjoying the benefits of that decision. It could be that you’re working in the family business that your great-grandparents started. You may be living in a country with far more opportunities than the one from which your ancestors emigrated. Whatever it is, you’re standing on their shoulders and their achievements are your foundation. Their decisions made decades ago are still enhancing your life today.

The ripple effect also works the other way. Perhaps, decades ago, someone in your family tree made a bad decision. Maybe it sent their immediate family into poverty and disgrace. You and your family may still be working out from underneath that burden.

You can change this, though. You can change the course of your family’s river by taking the next step on the pathway to your dreams!

Copyright Sweet Doll Designs
Copyright Sweet Doll Designs

The point is, you just don’t know the deep impact your actions—or lack of actions—are going to have in your life, the lives of others, and the lives of those coming after you. That’s why it’s vitally important for you to keep your negative thoughts under control—over-write them with upbeat thoughts. Focus on the positive: your talents, the steps you are taking toward your dreams, and the constructive things that you can do each day. When you do this, you are benefiting yourself, your immediate family and friends, and you’re laying the groundwork for generations to come.

Use your ripple effect for the good, the constructive, in your life and others’ lives.

Your homework today is to take the next step. Marshal your thoughts; concentrate on the positive and what you can do. And then do it. Move forward!

You can do this, I know you can.

Post in the comment section about the ripples you’re creating today.

I’m so proud of you!

Your friend,

Lauren