Obsession — more than Calvin Klein

Years ago, the perfume Obsession was all the rage.  I’ll admit it smelled good.  I had a bottle of it.  Don’t know what happened to that bottle — all I know is that I never finished it.  I’ve moved on.  How many times do we leave stuff unfinished and move on?  I’m looking around my house at the moment and see a few things that still need to be done.  Not to get ready for the upcoming Holiday, mind you, just because they need to be done.  And as I look around, I can’t help but think how badly I’m procrastinating.  Procrastinating about what, you ask?  Why my latest obsession, of course. 

I am scheduled to take a very important exam on Friday.  Passing this exam will bring me one step closer to receiving my Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) designation.  I have been studying for a month.  I don’t feel prepared.  I know stuff but do I know the right stuff?  All I know is that if I haven’t learned it, it ain’t gittin’ learnt. 🙂  I have designated tonight as my last night to study.  I have to stop sometime. 

I really don’t consider myself a person who obsesses over things.  Never even gave it a thought until my mom asked me today why I was obsessing over this test.  Hhmm, I thought.  Why am I?  Well, the truth is, I am not used to failing.  I don’t like it.  It’s not an option for me.  I do everything in my power to ensure success.  If that means being overly prepared for something, I’m all over it.  Of course, sometimes I just “wing it” and everything comes out awesome! But the mere thought of the possibility of failing this test has me “all jacked up.” 

What do you obsess over?  Is it worth it?  What would happen if suddenly you stopped obsessing over whatever “it” is?  Will the world suddenly implode if you weren’t hyperfocused on something?  

My current obsession: taking this stupid test.  It’s going to be hard and make me think.  So what?  Isn’t that what tests are supposed to do?  I’ll stop obsessing…..tomorrow! 

Until Next Time,
J

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My Pretty New Sweater

“I haven’t seen any blog posts lately.  What’s going on?”  I was asked this question today while having lunch with my new mentor.  I had some lame excuse about being lazy and needing to be inspired to write.  The response, “What’s lazy about?” 

I began to think about that question on the way home.  Is it really me being lazy or just being resistant to the idea of putting keyboard to screen because I don’t want anyone to know about what’s going on in my world as of late?  So, here it is:

I am going through an employment transition at the current moment.  I know that I want to grow my practice to be able to do what I love.  I say I don’t know how to do that but the truth is that it’s a scary proposition to not have a steady income and the security that comes with it.  So, the reality is that I’m not being lazy, I’m resistant.

How many times have you, dear reader, been presented with a scary situation?  It may not have to do with steady employment but maybe something you’ve been wanting to do for a long time and just “never found the time.”  Let me let you in on a little secret: The time will never be right to do what you want, you have to take a leap of faith and JUST DO IT!  Life is scary and uncertain.  Get over that and forge ahead.  Put the lazy sweater away and put on the ambitious sweater.  It’s prettier anyway.

“Let me help you with this” the wise one said to me.  I need help.  I’m not ashamed to admit it.  Life is not meant to be done alone.  That’s why we build support systems. Take advantage of those support systems that are offered to you.  Heck, even if they aren’t offered, ASK!  I have put the lazy sweater in the bag for Goodwill.  Here’s to wearing my new sweater.  It’s not going to be easy but at least I know I have awesome people in my corner.

Which sweater are you wearing?  Let me help you with this.  We can do it together.

Until next time,

J

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WHY? Because I CAN!

It’s August. The end of the Summer is drawing near. The end of 2011 is right around the corner. Life has certainly been interesting these past eight months. 2011 started off with the feeling of transition and change. I just knew that big things were going to happen this year. So, here it is 8 months into 2011 and I cannot detect a single big change. UNTIL………….I look back and see all of these little changes which, in my book, add up to BIG stuff!!!

I won’t bore you with everything that has changed. I will, however, tell you HOW things changed. I began to pay more attention to little signs. I began to engage in what my sister-in-law calls “big talk.” I opened my mind and my heart to be open to these changes. I reached out to people who I haven’t interacted with in quite some time. I began to speak to people I came in contact with in stores and other places. You know what happened? STUFF STARTED TO CHANGE!

While on vacation, I had the privilege of speaking to a woman who does things simply because she can! I was speaking to her about a big change I wanted to make and, like all of us, came up with a million excuses and ended a sentence with, “I can’t do that.” Her question was, “Why not?”

So, I ask you: WHY NOT? Do something just because you can. Apply for that new position. Try zip lining (a bucket list item of mine), start a business, talk to a stranger, take a risk.

Why? BECAUSE YOU CAN!!! The only thing stopping you is YOU. Get out of your own way and live your life the way you were meant to live it….with love, laughter, and fun.

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Grumpy is one of the Seven Dwarfs…not a way to Live!!!

So, I spent the weekend floating in the pool surrounded by my friends who I haven’t seen since last pool season.  We soaked up some sun, squirted each other with those awesome new water shooters, laughed until our stomachs hurt and just really enjoyed each other.

Then, it happened…………..Grumpy came to visit.  There was a group of people sitting near us and all they did was complain about this and that.  I went to the snackbar and all I heard was complaining that the line was too long.  I checked facebook and all I saw was complaining. I talked to a neighbor and all I heard was complaining.

Now, I like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs…..but come on, does Grumpy have to be the lead?  Yes, I know that even though he didn’t really like Snow White being in their home he took the lead and warned her of the threat of danger posed by the Queen.  But, what happened to Sleepy or Sneezy or Doc?  Or better yet…Happy?

There are so many things to be thankful and grateful for.  Granted, we all have a bad day but one bad day or bad hour doesn’t have to last forever!  As we enter the unofficial start of summer, I challenge you to leave Grumpy behind.  Find ONE thing….at least…that you’re thankful for each morning when  you wake up.  Make a conscious decision and effort to change your way of thinking.  It will be hard at first but once you take notice of the little blessings, you will start to see more and more.  I promise!

Wake up, count your blessings….leave Grumpy to his own devices!

Until Next Time,

J

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Winning isn’t everything…..Or is it?

It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game. Really? Tell that to a 10-year-old who played his heart out on the basketball court and didn’t make what could have been “the winning basket.” Tell that to the 12-year-old lacrosse player whose shot hit the goal post and missed the net. Tell that to The Jones’ and everyone who strives to be like them. Tell that to the promising musician who didn’t get into Julliard because someone else played a better piece on the cello.

See my point? We live in a world that is so consumed by winning and competition that we don’t take time to see things from a different perspective. There is competition everywhere — playing fields, academics, careers, life, families…the list is endless. It doesn’t have to be like that.

I struggle with a competitive spirit. Don’t challenge me to a game of Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, Uno, or any other game…it ain’t pretty! The thing is, even though I will give you a run for your money, I don’t always have to win. And, if I do win, I won’t rub it in your face. I will smile, say good game, let out a “woo hoo” and move on.

Competition is good. Take the game of golf for example. For the most part, you are not competing against anyone but yourself. Great concept. Strive to better yourself, develop your skills, and have fun.

Competition can be detrimental, too. Take boxing for example. Two people in a ring beating the heck out of each other — often resulting in blood, a swollen eye, and a myriad of other issues. Yes, I do know there is a technical side to boxing, but in the end, the victor is the one who ends up the less beat up.

Here’s my point: Even though I used sport examples, the concepts can be applied to anything.  Find your balance and realize that competition is a choice. Sometimes we have to face reality that there is no point to continuing and that we need to walk away with our heads held high and be ready for the next opportunity life presents. There is NOTHING WRONG with acknowledging that you can’t win. In fact, it takes a better person to admit it and walk away. At least you know that YOU TOOK CONTROL of the situation and did something about it. It doesn’t make you a “sore” loser…it makes you a “smart” loser.

If you win, celebrate but don’t rub it in.

If you lose, celebrate the fact that you got to play.

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You Can’t Handle The Truth

Remember that famous Jack Nicholson line?  People jokingly quote it but, in reality, sometimes we can’t handle the truth because we’re afraid of how we might feel when we hear it. Sometimes the truth hurts and we withhold our opinions or thoughts because we don’t want to inflict pain or hurt on the other person.

And so I ask you:  Is it better to hide the truth (aka lie) and have to live with the constant fear that the truth will be revealed at some point OR is it better to speak the truth and know immediately where you stand?

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Whenever you have truth it must be given with love, or the message and the messenger will be rejected.”  Speak the truth and the truth will set you free. Just be careful HOW you say it.  Be genuine.  Say it with love.

Be open to hearing the truth.  Be open to the experience and put yourself in the other person’s shoes.  They are just as afraid to speak the truth as you are.  True story.

“I love you, and because I love you, I would sooner have you hate me for telling you the truth than adore me for telling you lies.” ~ Pietro Aretino

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I’m Sorry

Two of the most simple words when apart, but, when put together they can be the hardest words to say.

What happens when you apologize to someone? Does the person graciously accept the apology and thank you or do they become defensive? If the reaction is the former…doesn’t that make you feel good? If the reaction is the later…whoa, look out.

Recently, I apologized to someone for not taking into consideration a long-standing plan they had and scheduling something important to me on that date. The response I received was less than expected. The person to whom I was apologizing became very defensive and argumentative. It was almost as if they thought I was blaming them for my mistake. That was not the intention of my apology.

This situation got me thinking about how we hear and receive apologies. What is your style? Do you say, “thanks” then mumble something under your breath like “darn right they should apologize?” Do you say, “thanks, I really appreciate it?” Do you say, “I don’t know why you’re apologizing.”  Or do you somehow turn the entire apology into an argument because you perceived the apology was an attack on you?

I also began to think about how we say “I’m sorry.” Do you say it with sarcasm in your voice? Do you say it with genuine sincerity? Are you really and truly sorry?

Saying “I’m sorry” is simply an acknowledgement by one person that they have hurt another person. It’s not about placing blame or becoming defensive. Be gracious and kind. Be sincere. Mean what you say — hopefully the other person does.

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