Slump Removers

There is a part of me that would rather just not exert myself, would rather not exercise or take the time to leave the house to do exercise of any kind. Every Thursday morning, I don’t feel like going to wallyball. I don’t feel like going to dance on Monday nights. It gets worse in winter when I don’t feel like leaving the house at all. I was going to go snowboarding yesterday afternoon, but it snowed.  Actually, the reason I chose not to go was because I had a goal to get something else done. My morning didn’t go as planned to I decided to follow through in the afternoon. And it was easier and more efficient to stay home.

I however, did go play in the freshly fallen 10 inches of snow. I did a lot of shovelling, I cleaned off my vehicle, and got my snowboard out of the shed and into my van. I had to cut a trail to the compost pile across the yard and I another one into the forest to dump three buckets of ash I had accumulated over the cold spell last week. My heart rate went up and I got quite breathless when I carried the larger can of ash that contained more coal ash and more sooty ash, which resulted in a couple of rests along the path. I got a full 60 minutes of exercise today just going out in the snow and doing things.

I could have had more fun with it and in the past, I have done just that. Making tracks walking around the yard in deep snow or, running for short distances. Those things can get your heart rate up really quickly. On days like today, when the weather is close to the freezing mark, (especially after the deepfreeze when just 7 days earlier, it was forty decrees Celsius colder), the weather felt rather balmy. I worked up quite a sweat too.

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My path from the house into the forest.

The thing I find with winter is a lack of motivation to get out and exercise. Eating season (even with tempering), along with the short, cold and cloudy days of December kind of gets me in a stupor that is difficult to come out of. In the northern hemisphere there is a benefit to the New Year’s resolutions or the goal reviews. It can help fire up a person to get out of the slump of late fall and holiday festivities.

Is it any wonder that blue Monday comes three weeks into January. First, people come down off the high of the holidays and realize things are just the same as before or worse, which is the second reason: people are paying the credit cards due on that Monday if they have a mid month due date. Then there is the feelings of failure because after two weeks of going to the gym or eating well or working hard at something and seeing little to no results and being hit by really cold weather, and/or getting a flu/cold, some people may be feeling like ‘why bother’. It is normal to get discouraged over all of those things….for a short time. It is less normal for those who have practiced mindset skills, or those who have low expectations…yes there is something to be said for the practice of low expectations.

What are some of the things besides low expectations that can help us through the hard times, whatever time of year it is? A really big thing: Get outside! Go outside and move around, follow a path into nature, make tracks in the snow or the leaves or on the fresh spring grass. There is evidence that walking in the forest can also improve your immunity.

Move a little faster than you normally would. Get your heart rate up. When you get your heart rate up, it has multiple health benefits including increasing oxygen to your brain. Not only will you feel good because of it, you will have a better outlook on things and you will retain more information. Getting your heart rate up for a little longer or up and down…because you should stop and enjoy nature as well…will help you feel like you have had a good workout, which will help your mindset but the good workout will also help you sleep.

Sleep is important and getting outside (preferably in nature) and getting exercise will help you sleep better. If you study something after you go outside and move, you will retain more as well. And bonus: learning also helps you improve sleep quality. It’s a really big win when you put together the trifecta of outside, exercise and learning.

Other slump removers vary with people. Cleaning my environment is a good way to make me feel better. I spent the other day cleaning house. Although I got more steps than my yesterday, I only got about 6 minutes of exercise. I guess I wasn’t cleaning/moving fast enough. Listening to motivating podcasts also helps me feel great. I do that while I am doing things like cleaning house or shovelling snow, so I am learning while I am moving. Getting organized, and getting rid of things that no longer serve me are great to do in winter and also helps me feel lighter and accomplished. I still have a long way to go on that one, but making headway.

There are many ways to get out of a slump but for me the biggest problem when I am in a slump is feeling motivated to get out of it. It sounds like a good idea, but I would actually have to do something and I usually don’t feel like it. That’s when taking action creates action and action creates momentum. It’s getting prepared the day before when I am motivated and putting on the proper gear, rather than thinking I will change later. It’s having my snowboard in my vehicle and my gear bag in the vehicle or by the door. It’s setting myself up to do what I need to do so the moment I am supposed to do it, I just move to do it, rather than thinking of and having reasons to not do it.

I went snowboarding today. I played wallyball this morning for an hour and a half, had some lunch with the girls then headed to the hill. I picked up my pass, got my gear on and hit the slopes. Even as I was putting on my boots, I was feeling like it was a lot of work, but I was there so I did kept going. I did a few runs, felt the momentum, and got good and tired. I didn’t stay long, I didn’t need to as I have a pass and can go again next week. I will be sore tomorrow from the first day of boarding. On the way home though, it always feels like magic, like I have done a whole lot of exercise and I will sleep well tonight. And now that I have been once this season, it will be easier to go next time.

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Took a break and sat down for a photo while the sun was shining nicely.

When it comes to anything a little new, the first step is the most easy to put off. When you get into a slump, what are some of the things you do that brings you out of it, gets you moving, and starts momentum?

 

Decentralizing the Sock Box

There was a day when I found out my kids would go find a pair of socks in the overflowing sock box, take that one pair, the pair they found first, sometimes not even their own socks, and not look back. That dreaded sock box. With a family of six (or seven in the case of my childhood home), that sock box/basket would sometimes become a nightmare. It would get to a certain fullness where I would finally set the kids to task sorting the socks. I realize this is a first world problem, also a colder climate problem and one that has many solutions, like having everyone wear the same exact socks so they all pair up. I have too much of a foot thing to have shared family socks, but that’s a whole other story.

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The day I found out that the overflowing sock box was being treated as a second sock drawer for every single one of our four kids, I made a quick decision to disrupt the system by decentralizing the sock box. The socks were sorted that day and a new decree was put forth. From that day forward, there would no longer be a sock box. Each sock without its pair would be distributed to its rightful owner who would either have their own sock box, or would put it in their own sock drawer to await the fateful day of the matching sock to find its way there. Oh the freedom I felt removing that box from its designated spot, freeing up space there, but also in my mind. No longer did that box haunt me as it filled. No longer was I the manager of the socks, because without designating that role to someone else, it fell on me, and no longer did I have to manage the persons I would designate to sort it.

This may seem like a strange topic to base a blog post on, but bare with me. I was thinking of the sock box the other day as I was not able to wash all the dark clothes at once and ended up with a spare sock. I put it in my drawer and got a little giddy about not having a sock box….yes, after all these years and with only two of us in our home. I thought of all the other people who struggle with the sock box situation. I also thought about how many ‘sock box’ situations there are both in our personal lives, at work and/or in business.

We all have things we dread doing–the sock box didn’t fill up because people were eager to sort the socks. Those things may be delayed or ignored until they absolutely need to be done. I can relate to this in the dreaded paper pile, or email pile, or the sorting files on the computer pile. What about phone calls to make, or appointments or cleaning house, or cooking. I personally love cooking and baking to the point of when I am not feeling well enough to do things, but feel like I am being lazy, will set myself to doing some cooking or baking. Not as much now since the family is out of the house, but if there is something coming up where I will need some baking done…well, it’s self care to me. And yes, I know, busyness is not the same as productivity, but sometimes it feels good to do something rather than nothing.

When I had access to slave labour, while the kids were young and didn’t know better, I was able to delegate jobs of lesser esteem through systems of scheduling, objectives and rotating chores. This served our organization well. When they figured out they could start their own systems and have their own organizations, and moved onward and out, most of those delegated tasks fell back to me, but…I no longer had to train and manage those people and there was a lesser need for some of the jobs. Some things became much easier.

Back to now. Working on a business and all it entails is not always easy. There are so many moving parts and so much to learn, especially if you are starting from scratch which was the case for me a few years ago. Learning and implementing, learning and failing, learning what I can do well and what I struggle at, learning many of those things anyway because who else will do it….and how can you manage someone else doing it if you don’t have a clue. Granted you don’t need to know everything your lawyer does, to make sure he gets it right. You don’t need to know everything your accountant does to make sure she has it correct. You do need to know your business to make sure you are getting from them what you need and what serves you best. Starting out is the most difficult because of the learning curve. It is why many people don’t start or they quit too soon. It’s not that it isn’t easy sometimes, sometimes it is downright hard.

Once you get to the point of knowing what skills you are good at that will serve your business or home the best, you can hone in on those things and delegate other things. I always said I would hire a housekeeper once our kids moved out. I have yet to do that. At this point, I use that time to work on my business and my personal growth in the form of listening to podcasts. And it is a decent way to get in some movement. I find it difficult to just sit and listen to podcasts without doing something.

I do know there are things I prefer not to do, things that sap my energy, make me cranky and take forever to get done, not because I procrastinate (well maybe sometimes), but mostly because I have to figure it out, or don’t like doing it, so it feels really hard. So I am taking baby steps in outsourcing. I have a virtual assistant lined up to work on some small things that overwhelm me. She lives in the Netherlands; if you read my last blog post you may figure out who that is. I feel confident in her ability to do certain things because she knows my voice, she has some understanding of what I am looking for, she is young and techie, is up on trends in the business world, has a good related educational background, and is willing to work for some extra money because she is a student.

Over the next year, I am looking to decentralize the ‘sock box’ in my business. I am setting up team members, working to partner with my husband more in setting up systems where he is doing the things he is strong in. It’s amazing how we find life partners who are strong in things we are not. When we can tap into both person’s strengths and have laser focus, we can build an empire of a home life or business.

Along with decentralizing, having each person responsible for their own colourful socks, there is the part where we get rid of those socks that have hung out for way too long in the sock box and no longer serve a purpose. Those things have to be discarded or repurposed. There have been some ‘old socks’ I have released already. It will be a work in progress, but at each change will come an absence of a burden, which is so exciting, just like it was when I decentralized the sock box.

It is so easy to add things to our life. Sometimes when things are moving very quickly, like when we have kids and family stuff going on, we add things without much thought. Often we are too busy to think of the things we will remove, give up or pass on. The lesson I learned from the overflowing sock box is there is always some way to change ‘the way we have always done it’ to have a better system. Did you think of some things you would like to decentralize or delegate?

What Makes You Great

Our daughter left us for another country. A couple years ago, she decided she wanted to do her Masters degree in the Netherlands after traveling there for 3 weeks with her school. In June of this year she went there and started courses. It is an amazing opportunity for her to travel, to experience life elsewhere, learn a new language, be immersed in a culture that is different and to live life abundantly.

She is so lucky. Nooooo…. She worked really hard to get there. Getting her bachelors degree aside, there was a lot of prep work involved. Not only did she sell most of her worldly possessions, she had massive amounts of paperwork to get done. There was insurance, and a student visa and banking and government papers to fill out. Regular stuff that is needed, but a lot of work and a lot of not knowing if it is right, or if it will be accepted. The not knowing is often the hardest part. That and the not wanting to mess it up when you are not knowing exactly what is being asked. There was a point of despair when she said, “This is so hard”.

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That feeling of “This is so hard” is really common. We have faced it in our real estate investing journey. Despite immersing in learning while doing our first flip and despite taking some courses, there are so many things that are moving parts. Getting a mortgage is not fun, especially for those who are not strong in paperwork. I have found it does get easier, but it takes time and practice and that is where it is hard. I wrote about our struggles in growing in new areas a couple months ago in this post. There are days that seem so hard and the burden heavy and mindset practices become more essential than ever.

Mindset practices are just that, practices. Practice is something you do before the big game. When we are learning a sport or playing on a team we practice, we do drills, we make shots, we might do some other exercises to build muscle to enhance our skills. We do all those things in preparation for the game. The practice is to learn and grow so that the skills are present when needed in the game. Still, practice is a perfect setting for practice but practice also happens in the game where there are different opponents and situations that don’t happen in practice.

Athletes also practice mindset. What happens in my mind when I do a bad throw, strike out, miss saving the goal? What happens when I do something wrong and I lose the championship game? Or what happens if my mistake causes a setback in the game that could cause a loss; what happens in my mind while I am still playing?

The practice of mindset helps get us back and keep on track. If we can’t shake it off, it can cause worse damage. If a person struggles with mindset on the field it can look like they have given up, when in reality they are in their head and not able to preform the acquired skills. This makes mindset practice as essential as learning skills.

The same holds true with life and business challenges. There are things that many people will not do because they are hard, complicated, too much work, feel impossible. There are things (dreams) people will give up on when the going gets tough or beforehand. It isn’t easy to do the hard things. The stress can feel insurmountable at times. The mindset practices along with support from others helped us over the last month to enjoy the great moments we had with family and friends.

Our daughter was not scheduled to come home this holiday; the plan was for her to visit next December. In November my sister invited me for lunch on a day in mid December. I showed up for lunch and my daughter was there. It was an amazing surprise. It was so wonderful to spend time with her during our stressful time and be there when she surprised others. She left a couple weeks later and will continue to do her hard work there while we do ours here.

Back when she called me that day in the spring, while doing the things she needed to do, to get where she wanted to be, and she said, “This is so hard”, I encouraged her, as mothers do. I told her, “That’s what makes you great. Other people will think you are lucky, they will wish they could do it too, but they won’t do it because it will be too hard. That’s what sets you apart, you are doing it anyway. It’s what makes you great.” (As her mom, I think there are lots of things that make her great.)

Since that conversation, it has popped into my head on various occasions when I have been struggling. There is a thing about taking one’s own encouragement (or advice); so easy to see what others need, so hard to give to oneself and receive. I have been encouraged by my own words, the words I spoke to her, as I have struggled with the challenges I have been working on. The mindset practice has been serving me in this game of life over the last while.

I leave you with this thought. When you have a goal, a dream, something you are working toward, it will get difficult, it will feel really hard, it will cause stress. That’s when mindset practices are actually practiced. Those are the times that other people won’t go through. Those are the times and things that make you great.

 

Good Night

“I can’t get to sleep.” I was young child when I had that happen and I got out of bed to tell my parents while they were still up. It didn’t happen often, so when it did, I was frustrated. My mom had a perfect solution that worked. As I got older I didn’t need to go tell her I couldn’t sleep, I had that solution. When our kids were young and couldn’t sleep, they were given the secret as well. It wasn’t counting sheep although that was a tactic also shared.

Let’s talk about sleep. What constitutes a good sleep? There is a lot of data out there about sleep and what is necessary for health. The time needed, type of sleep needed for restoration (quality) and quantity. I have had a Fitbit for many years and currently there is a sleep score recorded daily based on the average for ‘women my age’. Some insights from Fitbit about sleep:

  1. You go through sleep cycles of awake time, deep sleep, REM sleep and light sleep and they are all important.
  2. We awake 10-30 times a night but most are too short to be noticed
  3. Deep sleep is often at the beginning of the night and helps with physical and mental recovery as well as memory and learning
  4. REM sleep is also contributes to memory. It too is important for mood and is the time when dreams are vivid. It occurs later in the night.
  5. Light sleep is essential. It is dispersed between the other sleeps and wake times and contributes to physical and mental restoration.

I generally sleep well. There are things that I have learned over the years to contribute to getting a good night’s sleep along with that little trick my mom taught me as a kid. Let’s dive in.

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Eye Mask: Did you know that even the smallest amount of light can affect your sleep. The news has been out, and the chatter is firmly entrenched (although not always followed), that we need to shut down our blue screens at least half an hour before bed. The lights stimulate our system and keep us alert. Even when we fall asleep quickly, the quality of our sleep can be affected by the screen light from earlier. Our sleeping space should be free from light as well. That includes all those things that have the time illuminated, as well as the lights shining in from the window. Black out curtains are recommended. Dave Asprey has a great article on light and it’s affects on the body day and night here. Since we do not have black out curtains and there is light coming in from outside lights, I use an eye mask to black out the light.

Ear plugs: This may not be practical if you have a baby or young children who wake at night that need your attention. If that is where you are in life, know it will pass and you will get to a place where sleep is no longer illusive, at least for a couple years until you are at the age where it is again. Back to the ear plugs. I have not invested in expensive earplugs…yet. I have sound eliminating head phones which would be nice to use if only I could move in them. They are even difficult on a plane when I want to lean my head against a jacket on the window. For sleeping, I use the orange ones from the pharmacy that are rated at 30 decibels. They reduce sound but not completely so I can still be awakened by a cat jumping off furniture onto the floor. They seem to like to loosen in the night so I have a trick for that too.

Head band or buff: I started using a buff a couple years ago to go over my hair and ears. This was to protect my hair from the elastic of the eye mask and also because I don’t have satin pillowcases to protect my fine hair from rubbing on the flannel. I realized I don’t actually sleep much on my back so the pillowcase isn’t much of a problem. I have had a little problem with the buff being too loose because my head is smaller than most adults (kids/youth hats fit, adult ones not so much). I found a headband that is nice and snug and it keeps my earplugs secure and adds another barrier of sound. I am totally loving that cute little headband I got from Monat but will have to see how warm it gets come warm vacations and summer. Tim Ferriss mentioned a head band he uses in one of his podcasts that also goes around his ears but I have yet to look it up so, no link for that here now.

Cooler Room: Having a cooler sleeping space helps you get a better sleep. The recommended temperature is 60-67˚F (15.5-19.5˚C). There is a variation because we all have an internal thermostat that is ideal. Although being too cold is not conducive to a good sleep, our bodies cool as we get sleepy.  Having a cooler room promotes a good sleep but we will awaken and have trouble going back to sleep if the room is too warm or too cool. You can read more on ideal room temperature at Sleep.org’s post here.

Raised bed: Not the kind for plants; something we can do with our own beds. Before our trip to Mexico we were listening to a podcast with guest Dave Asprey. He was talking about the health benefits of raising the head of the bed. Some of the benefits are: better sleep, better recovery, sharper mind during the day, improved blood pressure to name a few.  You can read more here, in Dave Asprey’s blog Bulletproof which goes into greater detail on the benefits of sleeping on an incline. We waited until we got back and currently have our raised at just under six inches, but will experiment further. It is funny how when I close my eyes, I can’t really tell I am at an angle and it reminds me of how pilots can go sideways and upside down when flying if they don’t have a sight reference and need to rely on their equipment. I haven’t noticed any concrete changes in my sleep or daily health but sometimes those things take time so time will tell.

Magnesium: I take magnesium before bed. Whereas calcium in the muscles helps them contract, magnesium is essential to help muscles relax so our muscles need a balance to work properly. A simple google search will bring up a lot of information on the benefits of taking magnesium. Don’t discount the sites that have a product. They have done their research. I also take a probiotic at night which helps replenish healthy gut bacteria and has a special way of eliminating yeasts and molds in the system. When I started taking it, I noticed an instant improvement in my sleep. The magnesium also flushes out waste products in our system which goes along with the restoration that happens during the night.

Different environment: This would be the trick my mom shared when I was a kid. When I couldn’t sleep she would tell me to sleep at the other end of my bed. I would take my pillow and go to the foot of my bed and would fall asleep pretty quickly. That doesn’t work as well when you share a bed or at least not for me. As an adult, I have learned to move to a couch or a different bed in the house. If I feel really wide awake I will use a small flashlight and read for a few minutes to half an hour until a feel a little sleepier. I usually wake up an hour or two later and go back to bed and sleep through the night.

The tricks I have shared are more or less physical things to promote sleep at night. What we do during the day also affects our sleep. Most of us have struggles that make a good sleep seem impossible at times, but we can also experiment with methods and life/health choices that can enhance our sleep, which in turn will enhance our quality of life. What have you found that helps your sleep?

 

But Will You?

The craft show season is upon us. If you have been to craft shows you know there are items people make that are really complex, and other things that are so simple even a child could put it together, beautifully done of course but simple. You may spot a sign on a table that says: “Yes, you can make this at home… But will you?” That phrase is something that has stuck in my mind ever since someone shared it with me thirty years ago. I have applied it to other things in my life as well. A couple weeks ago was one of those times when we were enjoying some sun in Mexico.

What does vacation look like to you? What do you like to do with your time? We have spent a lot of our time checking off boxes on vacation. My husband is partial to seeing as much as possible. It was a bit of a sore spot with us when we were first married. I would go to work during the other weeks of the year and come home and do a lot of things in the house (as would he). When I was on vacation, I just wanted to have less of a schedule, get ready slowly, drink coffee slowly, eat slowly. When the kids were young, our vacations, when they weren’t staycations, were pretty simple road trips and or camping trips, and they involved a lot of the same parenting work without the same amenities. Sometimes, I dreamed of renting a motel room and going there by myself and doing nothing, or just whatever I wanted to like sleep in, get ready slowly, drink coffee slowly, eat slowly, enjoy the space, read a book, read a magazine, do whatever I wanted.

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Over the last few years my husband and I have traveled alone or with friends. Some of our trips have been work/growth related, others are vacations where we are seeing new things. You pay to go somewhere, so it makes sense to make the most of your time, see as much as you can, experience as much as possible. But what if experiencing things in another place means also sitting and enjoying the sights and smells and savouring the moment? What if it means more self care?

A few years ago, we decided to go, for the first time, to an all inclusive with another couple. After twenty five years of conquering daily activities and working hard, as well as filling our vacations with seeing as much as possible, I wondered if an all inclusive would be enjoyable or boring. Would we, as active people be able to just relax. We did a couple of excursions, but otherwise took it easy and relaxed. With the heat and humidity the time by the pool and the ocean was great and we were able to read and relax while also having time to do walks and smaller activities between. It was good.

Our recent trip to Mexico, after doing some pretty intensive trips recently (work/growth/sightseeing), was supposed to be more relaxing. A bit more sitting around, a little less conquering the sights. Not that we planned to sit and eat the whole time, but for me at least, I didn’t want to have to rush to do anything or be beholden to the schedule of others. I brought books to read and I had some work related things to do including keeping up with some small weekly goals, including writing a blog post…this blog post, so it’s apparent how that part turned out.

At one point the conversation came up about the time spent reading/sitting around. You see, we can do that anywhere. I can read at home, I can do a blog post at home, I can sleep at home. Here’s the thing…we can do all those things at home but will we? Do we take the time, when life’s struggles are pulling us in all directions, to take care of those things that are also important, those things we want to do at home but don’t? When you go on a vacation and come home and need a vacation from your vacation, but you have to jump right back into life spiralling out of control because you were gone, what are you left with in terms of doing what you want, or self care?

There is something else that struck me when we were working on balancing sightseeing with sitting by the pool reading. I had books to read and things I wanted to do and an amount of time I wanted to just sit by the pool. I had things to conquer! I had goals to be met and became frustrated when I felt pressure to drink my coffee faster, to stop reading, to go see something. It was still conquering expectations, just different ones.

We did some walking, saw some things, read some, sat some, slept, had a massage, ate well and reasonably healthy, rested and rejuvenated. We got a good dose of self care and learned some things, and experienced new things. We could definitely do all those at home. But…will we? Yes, but…and there is a but…we do it in smaller incremental amounts and sometimes we put things on the back burner in periods of time when we feel like we are putting out life’s fires. It is nice to get away, take a break from the every day and do things that you don’t take the time to do at home.

On vacation like at home, finding balance in the things we each want to conquer is an ongoing dance, not only with the people we are with, but also within ourselves. We had a good balance of conquering things based on what we set out for this trip, and we had a great vacation.

 

 

It All Falls Apart

It seems odd I would write a post about it all falling apart a week after writing about it all coming together. For any who have been doing personal growth practices for any length of time this will resonate. To build something new, sometimes requires the removal of something old. When we are renovating a property, we remove much of the old, worn, and dated elements and replace them with new items, and with new finishes the property is essentially new. When an old house has lived out its days, it is removed to put in a new structure which may look totally different than the previous house. The old has to come down before the improvements are installed.

The same can apply to personal growth.  Through life we build walls and barriers, based on our experiences. Or it may be experiences of other people who have lovingly warned us to make sure we have a good education or hang on to the traditions of the family and don’t bring shame to our ancestors. The walls and barriers go with us and when we dream a new idea, we quickly dismiss it because of our past, of our solid beliefs, or because of what others may say. The same holds true when we are challenged in our beliefs and ways of being. People can become quite assertive when their ideas are challenged.2019-09-SC-ISSUE 28-INSPIRATIONQUOTE-10-2019-02.jpeg

Sometimes we just aren’t ready for the change. We may not be ready to move forward on an area where we have had some insight or growth. Yes, it’s still growth if you aren’t ready to move forward. Growth happens in larger and smaller increments. Sometimes we are preparing the parachute, other times we are preparing to jump. We often don’t jump until we are prepared, despite the calls within us to jump sooner.

Those steps before we move, all the moments we hear something, make a mental note, think about it, don’t do it, hear it again, and so forth; those are the moments that chip away at the wall that is standing in the way. The thoughts and barriers that are keeping us from reaching success in areas we are moving toward are not always brought down with one decision. There is something that has come before, once or many times, that has primed us for the moment of everything falling apart.

Here is something I have been working on for what seems like forever. I will preface with; although my kids may think I am a hoarder, I do and have regularly discarded things, but maybe not at the rate they would think appropriate. The other thing to consider is that most of us could go into someone else’s place and get rid of their stuff; we can be ruthless because we don’t have an emotional attachment to their things. There is also a difference in what one person finds joy in compared to what another would find joy in.

I have heard for years the idea of ‘If it doesn’t bring you joy, get rid of it”. It just didn’t resonate with me. I would become overwhelmed with the exercise. My mind would counter the question with yabuts. Ya, but I may need that some day, ya but it was expensive, ya but as soon as I get rid of it I will need it. Ya but, I am going to lose weight and then I will fit all those clothes again, ya but it’s one of my fifty favourites of my fifty one items. Am I ready to go through everything right this minute. Well, no, I am writing, but also, I have some really important, work things to take care of so I won’t be spending hours a day purging. Am I moving closer to getting some space in my closet, yes, I am.

So what has made a difference? Well, in my reading and my studying and in looking inward, I am seeing some of the walls that have been built. I have been looking at the things that brought me to some of my beliefs, to the source of the yabuts, to the reasons I have stress in areas of my life. I am doing the work to see and feel what sometimes I don’t even know is there. The result is crumbling walls and things falling apart. The other result is new growth and rebuilding. None of it is easy but it sure feels good in the end. It doesn’t feel safe either, but it is rewarding. And it doesn’t even feel safe to share it but I am doing it anyway.

As we expand our mind, we may renovate an area a few times, get rid of some old things, add some new; we rebuild. We can go from the old decrepit house on the block to the new build or we can continue to grow through renovation after renovation. There is no wrong way, but something has to fall apart for something new to take its place.

It All Comes Together

The most miserable infant or toddler, aside from a sick one, is one who is just on the verge of a breakthrough. You know the one, they are trying and trying to walk, they see others doing it and it looks simple enough, but they just can’t get it. They get so frustrated. Sometimes it doesn’t even look like they are trying, they are just sitting, maybe visualizing. They sometimes just sit there crying for what seems like nothing at all. They react to the littlest things, maybe the cat looks at them wrong. Regardless the child in struggle easily reacts to outside circumstances and nothing…and I mean nothing, is ever good enough; even if it doesn’t have anything to do with the struggle.

THEN…It happens. Suddenly it all comes together and the little one takes the first step, then the second and there is excitement, not only within the child, that feeling of success, but also from the others in the family who are there watching and waiting. This is followed by congratulatory remarks from others outside the toddler’s inner circle of fans. The toddler practices and get proficient and then, just like after the transition from crawling (which also played out in a similar way), they go on to the next big thing.

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It would seem life doesn’t stop playing out this way, only we don’t always recognize or accept this cycle of events. We don’t recognize the struggle or we give up when it becomes a struggle…’Perhaps this isn’t for me, I’m just not good at this, I don’t have the skills, I am not good enough to do it, other people are smarter, better, more equipped than I am, other people have more natural talent which is why they can do it, it’s easy for them.’ Oh the haunting, unrelenting thoughts in our heads.

The thoughts in my head can be an agent of positivity to move me forward or an agent of destruction, paralyzing me in negativity. For years I have been working on fostering the former while letting go of the latter. Reading all those great books about washing my face or maximizing life or getting unstuck or so many of the ones with titles to shock my brain into doing something different. Are they really shocking anymore when so many use the same word for attention? Anyway, I have read and continue to read in an effort to get better, trying to do more, to get more, to work smarter not harder, to accomplish things, to gain more abundance, to fulfill my life, to have more freedom for me and my husband. I struggle, just like others in both the same and different ways. I have also done seminars and listened to podcasts, gone to masterminds, and gone to listen to speakers, so many great speakers and I have even taken notes. I don’t just do it to improve and grow…I also really love that stuff. Here’s the thing. I am the same person. Yes, I am growing. Some days I feel like I am not and other days I amaze myself in either a different mindset to a situation, or in knowledge when in conversations with others not on the same journey.

A few weeks ago I went to an interactive workshop with Julia Cameron, who wrote The Artists Way. She was amazing and the process was so interesting. I did gain some clarity about some things and one of them is about sitting down to write, for me. I believe I said that before, in a post a few months ago. I got lost in wanting to write, but feeling it always had to have a purpose for an ideal reader, that avatar who would be a customer, that one person with a name and a place they live and specific number of kids and a specific age…you know the drill, because it’s really all about making money and if you aren’t doing it to promote a business or to make a name for yourself (can we say ‘influencer’) then you really should be focusing on something where you will be making money or becoming an influencer. And I got stuck. Don’t get me wrong, I am the last person to turn down money or fame. Or am I?

I have been reading and studying a few books that are specific to finding the deep down stuff. Not just the great things that drive a person to become great, but the things that hold us back from becoming our best. Having finished reading The ONE Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, which we are going to start studying in our mastermind, I am reading The Illusion of Money by Kyle Cease. I bought the book when we were in Ohio where he spoke at the Summit of Greatness and having heard him a couple times on the School of Greatness podcast I thought it would be an interesting read. I am blown away.

One of the things we did at the Julia Cameron workshop was to make lists. Each time it was for something else and each time we shared with a different group of 2, 3 or 4 strangers or who we hadn’t had in a group before. Each time they gave you a little piece of paper with feedback, a gift, or a blessing just for you based on what they heard. It was a positive experience and one full of wisdom and growth. There was a lot to process after.

In reading The Illusion of Money, I am thinking about the way I see things. Because even though it has to do with money, it’s really not about money at all.

One of the other things Julia Cameron promoted strongly was morning pages. This was new to me having not read her books. I had heard of morning pages before on podcasts from those doing the practice. So for the last two plus weeks, I have been practicing morning pages. With my coffee beside me, pen in hand, and exactly two pages of loose leaf, I sit down as soon as possible from waking and start writing, filling both sides of the first page and continuing until the last line on the front of the second page has words on it. No more, no less than three sides of writing. I then fold it and put it in the fire. She said to “burn the pages before hiding the body”. That means, no rereading and if you don’t destroy them immediately, hold them sacred where no one reads them. Some will go back to read them but at this point I am not inclined to reread them another day.

At the end of Chapter 3, Kyle Cease challenges the readers to make a list of 20 beliefs we have about money, maybe from our childhood or our experiences, like ‘money doesn’t grow on trees’, ‘money is the root of evil’, ‘money will make me happy’. I did the exercise, then I went a step further and on another piece of paper, I wrote the opposite statement to the ones I had. ‘Money does grow on trees’, ‘money is a tool for good’, ‘money will not make me happy’. I had more than 20. Then I burned it.

Here’s the thing. I have been learning and reading and studying and doing and taking steps and doing more, with learning real estate investing, with different areas of running a business and of navigating through other things I am doing at the same time. I have had moments of utter frustration and feelings like I will never get it, feeling of not being smart enough, good enough, not talented like other people. I have had feelings of failure, being inadequate, wondering ‘Who am I’ to be here or do this. I have had doubts and fears, and did I mention utter frustration?

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Here’s the other thing! Many of those things I was learning and struggling with came together. Many of those things suddenly happened and they were easier. I suddenly knew something. There were pieces from one book and another that gelled. There were breakthroughs and feelings of victory. And then I moved to the next thing.

Growth happens like this. In knowing and embracing the process we can ease the angst as it happens. It will still be frustrating, but we can rest in understanding it will pass. And the bonus to sticking with it is finding out how things criss-cross in patterns we never expected, in seeing what you learned two years ago become a catalyst in what you are working on today; in recognizing it all came together. I love it when a great plan comes together.