Redesign Your Life
I was speaking with a client the other day, and she was overwhelmed. She said she comes home from work, and her mind is still racing with news headlines, work overload, and day-to-day tasks. Simply put, she could not relax. I’m sure you can relate!! I think every one of us, no matter what phase of life we are in, is busy with lots to do and lots on our minds! Whether working inside or outside of the home, with children or without, married, single, man, woman, busyness has become standard in the fast-paced, always connected world we’re in!
Believe it or not, busyness can be fun, too, if you learn to embrace it, and find your own sense of balance! Since we spend so much time at home, positive energy and balance can easily begin there, just by creating your ideal living space to fit your budget. Being positive will open the door to amazing things, so follow these simple tips to “redesign” your life!!
Set the Stage First things first, go through your surroundings and take inventory! Is there a room that you aren’t crazy about? wallpaper that’s screaming 2 decades ago? a light bulb that just doesn’t seem bright enough, or maybe a bit too bright? It doesn’t cost much to slap on a coat of paint, or replace bulbs and batteries for a fresh, updated look, and you’ll feel so much better! And, if design isn’t your thing, flip through a magazine to find a picture if a room you’ll love. Recreate the look yourself, and you’ll save tons!
Choose Colors Carefully Keep in mind colors affect us more than we think! Pick colors that are conducive to what you want your space to be. If you want a serene room, stray away from red! Red is an energizer and may even stimulate your appetite! Greens are calming colors, perfect for a spa-inspired setting. Or, if you want a cross between calm and amped up, choose a shade of blue!
Tackle Your To-Do List We all have mental to-do lists, but now’s the time to put it on paper and check it off! Make a list of the things that have been on your mind, like organizing a closet, filing cabinet, or drawer. Tackle the items one by one. Clearing clutter clears your head, too!
Store No More! Our closets, garages, and basements are havens for hidden treasures we may have written off too soon! You can go green and save green by refurbishing old furniture (it’s amazing what furniture treatment and new hardware can do!), using old clothes to cover pillows, pocketbooks, or accent your windows! Get creative, and you can design a whole new space with items you already own!
Organize to Organize If you’re trying to get organized, it may be overwhelming at first. Start simply by getting 3 bins together: “Use, Donate, Shred.”
Items in the “Use” bin should be put to use now! Donate unwanted items by picking an organization of your choice. Many even offer free same-day pick up services, as long as you pick up the phone to call them!! The only items we should be tossing are paper such as non-essential paperwork. Shred private information and recycle it!
Article By Jennifer Tuma-Young
If You Vision It, It Will Come
If one more loon tells me they have a vision board, I might lose it. Everyone and their best friend’s brother has one, it seems. Umm. Including me.
I signed up for a visioning workshop this past weekend put on by Kristina Leonardi, one of my favorite career coaches. I’m guilty; I’ll admit I like the idea of vision boards. If you can see it, you can believe it, right? And as soon as you believe, you can begin manifesting those visions. You’ve read or heard about The Secret; you know the drill.
Kristina’s workshop was based on the book Visioning: Ten Steps to Designing the Life of Your Dreams by Lucia Capacchione. Here’s how it worked. About 17 women gathered in a space, each equipped with bunches of magazines, tags, scissors and glue sticks. For about an hour, we sifted though O Magazine, Self, Cosmo, Yoga Journal, cutting out every image that grabbed our attention. In silence, no less, with instructions not to over think it too much. A hard task, especially for us ladies.
Kristina insisted we use our right brains instead of our left. She explained that we use our right brain for our intuition and creativity, but our left brain is analytical, practical and used mostly for survival. In our city, we overuse our left brain and give it way too much power.
So there I was, flipping through mags and squinting my right eye in an attempt to squeeze something out of my right brain. I must have looked pretty awkward, but nobody was about to comment in a room of silent women, so what did I care?
At the end of our day, everyone presented their collages. Mine looked pretty serene in comparison to the others. But, then again, I am looking for peace of mind; isn’t that what this blog is about? I cut and pasted a lot of greenery, lovely homes surrounded by lush nature, anything and everything yoga, and empowering statements like Be 100% You! I also couldn’t resist an image of a bride in front of a hot dog stand, getting proposed to with a hot dog! Don’t ask what that means!
I’m supposed to look at my board every day and wait for something to happen. “If you can dream it, you can do it!” Kristina wrote on our take-home flyers. “Your collage serves as a motivational magnet. Pay attention to clues and opportunities, and take action based on vision. The courage to grow is noticed by the Universe.”
OK, then. Here I go. My vision board is propped up on my armoire so that it’s the first thing I see when I wake. I’ll just have to hide it when guests come over, because I cannot have them thinking I’m one of those sweet loons!
It’s strange, though. Ever since the workshop, I’ve been really craving hot dogs.
Top Photo: Flickr
Check out Ilana’s blog, Downtown Dharma for more zen tips in the big city.
3 Simple Steps To Become More Productive
Like most people you have more on your plate than you can handle. There so much you want to accomplish in any give day or week, and the prospect of what you would like to do over the course of your life feels absolutely daunting. Take into account there are so many things to distract you, everything from office gossip to TV binge watching, it’s no wonder you’re looking for ways to do more in less time. Distractions and detours will come up so it’s important to ensure the time you spend working is fruitful and productive.
To boost productivity so that you have real sustainable results use the 3Ps framework for getting things done: Plan, Produce, Party!
Plan: First step is to plan your schedule each week and book events and appointments in a daily calendar. Add specific work tasks to be completed by blocking out time to work on those tasks as if they were key appointments. Review your schedule and fill time to eat, exercise and doing nothing. You have to fuel your body in order to be productive and time to rest is a key component in that equation too.
Produce: Once your schedule for the week is in place it is time to produce and that means holding yourself accountable for getting things done. Set reminders on your watch, phone or computer to alert you when it’s time to eat, exercise and work. Tell other people about your schedule and ask them to check in your progress. Literally check off your daily itinerary as you complete the items you have planned. The love for the checkmark is fixated in your mind from your formative grade school years and you’ll be motivated to see all the things you’ve accomplished.
Party: Once everything on your list is complete, it’s time to party and that means celebrating your accomplishments in big and small ways. Create a range of low costs rewards you earn for yourself. That can be anything from treating yourself to a day in the park, spending time with friends, checking out a new movie, getting a manicure or cooking your favorite meal. Enjoy rewarding yourself because you’ve earned it.
About the Author: Tanea Flanders is a Life Coach & Leadership Development and Organizational Consultant and works as part of the Live Well / Stay Well Program at Tournesol Wellness.
Photo Credit: Flickr
Working with a Career Coach: Can it really help?
I remember the day I got laid off. While the HR woman was reading off some legalese about my rights and benefits, my mind was drifting off to a beach, where I’d relax, sunbathe, and take some time off.
At that moment, I was grateful that I was being given the time to plot my next move and create my dream job (while sipping a few Mojitos, of course). I decided I would never sit at a cubicle again, my alarm clock would never go off before 8:30, and I’d only work on projects I was passionate about.
But after I had packed up my boxes and walked through those corporate doors for the last time, another thought hit me: Um, so what exactly is my passion anyway?
I realized that I wasn’t so clear on my dream job, or how to even approach planning the next steps in my career. And although I’m sure the answers were somewhere inside me, I needed to bring them up to the surface.
So I decided to enlist the help of a career coach—a move I’d recommend to anyone in my boat. Kristina Leonardi, a coach recommended to me by a friend, helped me figure out how to better integrate my passions into my job (after a nice beach break, of course). After meeting with her over several weeks, here are the important lessons she’s helped me remember and discover.
1. This is an Opportunity
Though many people feel like getting laid off or leaving a job is a tragedy, it can also be a gift that gives you a push toward your next opportunity. Often, when one door closes, it makes room for many new doors to open. Kristina reminded me that this was an opportunity to get to know myself better and find a life and work that was better in line with who I am. Hey, what could be better than that?
2. Manage Time and Money
Of course, when you’ve been laid off, the lack of a paycheck is definitely difficult. Luckily I had some savings and a severance package that would keep me going for a few months, but Kristina also taught me how to manage my time and money better. I actually started budgeting, learned how to spend money only on the essentials, and realized that happiness doesn’t come from shopping sprees at H&M, but by being content with what I had.
I also made a schedule of things I needed to do to stay on track with my job hunt, as well as things that would keep me sane, like yoga, meditation, and even pedicures. Come on, sometimes the best ideas come to you during a foot massage!
3. Identify Patterns
After giving Kristina the lowdown on my work and life experience, she was able to connect some dots for me. She mapped out where I had been and where I might want to go, but didn’t realize I could. Growing up and throughout my career, I loved storytelling, video producing, and generally parading myself in front of a camera (though for the most part, I’m really shy!), but I hadn’t put them all into one job before. Together, we found new ways to pursue jobs that involved video producing and hosting.
She also encouraged me to develop the more latent parts of my personality though “extracurricular” activities—trying stand-up comedy, for example, has helped me build my confidence and presence in front of any audience. I would have never thought of that on my own, but I now often do open comedy mics—and I love it!
4. Stop the Get Rich Quick Ideas
At several points during my career, I wanted to invent the next Facebook, start a NY real estate empire, or pursue other big, get-rich ideas that didn’t have anything to do with how I really wanted to spend my time. But Kristina reminded me that I had an opportunity to do something that makes the best use of all my talents—and that I shouldn’t go back to doing things I hated just for money’s sake. The next job I pursued didn’t have to be my dream job, but it at least should get me a step closer to it, not father away. Kristina was a voice of reason and a mirror that could remind me of my passions and keep me on track.
5. Be Comfortable in the Unknown
Most of us feel like we need to know it all—that we should have everything about ourselves and our futures figured out all the time. But Kristina got me to realize that it’s essential to live a place where we don’t have all the answers, and that the unknown is actually where the magic of our lives happens and unfolds. As long as you’re taking action to move in the direction of who you are and what you love, you’ll be presented with opportunities that you probably could have never planned for yourself. After all—as Kristina reminded me—there are whole new industries and titles being created every day.
I now work doing PR, marketing, and video production for an agency—a much better fit than my old job. And I’ve also continued doing comedy. I usually start my set with, “So my career coach told me to do comedy to cure my fear of public speaking. She’s a terrible coach—I just peed in my pants!”
But of course that’s a joke. Working with a career coach is a huge opportunity for growth and positive change in all areas of your life. Kristina reminded me to be thankful for the opportunities I had (even the job loss), that I need to have patience, and that sometimes it really is the journey that matters more than the destination.
Top Photo: Flickr
Looking for a coach to lead you to success in all areas of your life?
People deserve to be happy. Happiness leads to success.
What If Our Instincts Are Actually Intellect?
How many of us have ever had a “gut” feeling of something being right or wrong? I think it would be fair to say just about everyone has at one time or another. The question is, did you listen to your gut or did your brain rationalize something different? How did it end up? Was your gut right or your brain?
I have a passion for studying people and their behaviors. For example, why some people are successful and why others continuously fail. There are many attributes that lead to one’s success but one thing I find in common with many of the most influential people I meet is that they often say, at the end of the day, they listen to their gut.
Our “gut” reactions are an incredibly potent tool yet, oddly enough, they are seldom talked about in the boardroom as these days only that which can be quantified or qualified is given true weight. While intellectual input is crucial, why do we not put as much emphasis on our hidden, higher intellect—called our instincts? Aren’t instincts something that we’re born with in order to survive?
There is an interesting book called “Blink” in which the author explores the phenomenon of rapid cognition or, in simpler terms, our immediate (within the first two seconds) instinctive impression of a person, place, or situation. His argument is that it is within these first two seconds, we many times form our most reliable and accurate synopses and that everything else after potentially only serves to convolute the truth.
Regardless of your belief on such a theory, we cannot reject the notion that our instincts are worth paying a good amount of attention to and that there is a wealth of untapped knowledge within them. Perhaps if we quiet all the other chaotic voices around us and focus on the one coming from our heart, mind, and soul, we’ll find ourselves making decisions more in tune with who we are and where our happiness truly lies.
• Why not learn more about instinctual intelligence? You may be surprised reflecting back to realize where your smartest decisions have come from.
• Why not understand the value of your instincts while making important decisions? – focus on how these decisions make you feel inside instead of just how they seem on paper or in your mind.
Top Photo: Flickr
Spring Clean Your Career
Spring has sprung, and summer is on the way! If the past few warm days have meant you’re cocktailing at the nearest rooftop bar, grabbing a blanket in Central Park, and planning your first weekends to the Hamptons, you’re not alone.
As you’re spicing up that social life perhaps you’ve also gone through your closet to toss some old clothes that were too 2010. As you get a new spring in your step thanks to the season, it’s also time to take stock of important aspects of your life, including your career. After all, without the benjamins it’s pretty hard to plan weekend escapes, spa treatments, and personal training sessions.
That said, what are you holding onto that no longer serves you? If your boss promised you a promotion about a year ago, it may be time to truthfully look at your situation: Do you have more responsibilities, more headaches, and nothing else to show for it? Are you gaining anything such as client exposure or access to the higher-ups or are you beating your head against an exposed brick wall?
It’s time to think outside the cubicle, sister and get movin’. If your gladiators no longer feel spunky and it’s time to ditch them but you haven’t quite gotten your new “it” sandals of the summer, it may be time to stretch that career one step at a time as well. What areas of your job have you outgrown and how can you grow into new areas?
When I give career advice the first question I ask someone is what they’re currently doing. More often than not, they barely take a breath and continue by saying, “But what I really want to be doing is this…” So, as you take stock of most areas of your life this time of year, no times like the present to truly look at your job situation. What makes you unhappy? What can you change? What things are you unable to change? How can you alter your attitude to deal with some of the BS? Most importantly, how can you get to where you want to be?
Since you can’t exactly tell the boss to take this job and shove it even though you may be more qualified, smarter and let’s face it, a whole lot savvier, it may be time to add something to your plate that’s all about you: networking functions, a new blog, semi-monthly lunches with your mentor. Whatever you do, just be sure as you put effort into the social life, outfits, and all things that go glam, that you focus on ways to give your career a burst this season.
Need more career advice? Vicki Salemi is an author, global freelance writer, career consultant, public speaker and die-hard Yankees fan! Her newest book, Big Career In The Big City, is now available for pre-order on amazon! Order here!
Know~ing Your Worth (And 3 Steps To Getting It)
A topic at the forefront of my mind is the unfortunate fact that women still earn 20% less than men. I am totally pissed off thinking of my hardworking female contemporaries underearning. My immediate reaction is to blame men, society and government for putting us women in this situation. But the self-help junky in me knows better. Rather than blame others for my discomfort, I chose to turn inward. I ask myself, “Why do these statistics make me so angry?” And after coming down, I realized why; my inner voice (aka ~ing) responded, “You’re angry because you too are under earning.” Wow! My ~ing was right on the money. It’s not that others are undervaluing me, it’s that I am undervaluing myself. My anger was the result of not knowing my own worth.
This revelation caught me off guard. For nearly a decade I’d perceived myself as a kick ass businesswoman. I’ve been an entrepreneur since the age of twenty-one, I’ve started several businesses, closed tons of deals, managed my books, paid my taxes,- you name it. With this kind of track record, what gives? Why am I still undervaluing my worth?
I turned to the expert – my dear friend and founder of DailyWorth.com (a personal finance email for women), Amanda Steinberg, in order to help me understand this female issue. According to Amanda, “Women still make 20% less than men because we don’t understand our real market value. We often approach jobs and contracts with fear and insecurity, hoping ‘they’ll want us,’ and not thinking about the established market value of what we bring to the table.” She continued, “It’s more common for a female job candidate to ask what the job pays, rather than walking in the door clear about her own bottom line.”
Recognizing this is the first step to realizing earning parity. The next move is to take action toward significant change. My personal energetic change around money could benefit all women and myself. By shifting my own thoughts and energy around earning, I could become a power of example for women throughout the world. So, I committed to taking the necessary steps towards earning more and loving it.
The first step toward know~ing my worth was the willingness to feel uncomfortable. Most change can cause growing pains. In order to move through them you must be willing to feel whatever comes up. In my case, even the topic of negotiating or raising my rates or spending less made me feel nauseous. I found that as I entered into these conversations, I’d defend my old patterns in efforts to stay safe. But, playing small was no longer an option. I braved through the discomfort and committed to change by welcoming everything that came along with it. The good, the bad and the ugly. I shifted my inner dialogue from, “That doesn’t feel good. Run!” to “Bring it on!”
With the willingness to feel discomfort, I transitioned into the second step towards know~ing my worth: practic~ing. The only way to transform my old patterns was to create new ones. I went into practice mode. Regardless of how uncomfortable I felt, I practiced negotiating every chance I’d get (even if I didn’t want what I was negotiating for). I negotiated in areas ranging from retail purchases to sponsorship deals. Each time I practiced this new behavior I felt more worthy. Ironically, I enjoyed my practice period. This step helped me transform my fear around negotiating as I settled into a new perception of my worth.
Though things had gotten better I still noticed something funky come up during my practice period. Each time I’d ask for what I wanted, I felt as though I needed to apologize for what I’d asked for by over-talking and justifying my requests. Though it was totally cool that I’d acquired the chutspa to ask, I was still unable to close. Each time I’d overtalk my negotiations, I’d sabotage the deal.
This brings me to my final step to know~ing my worth: clos~ing the deal. This step is all about revving up your belief system. When you believe you’re worthy, others believe you’re worthy. Therefore I tapped into my visualization mediation practice. I’d sit in a ten-minute meditation and imagine myself signing the contract on a massive sponsorship deal. Then, I’d see myself cashing the check. Most importantly, I’d hold the vision long enough to feel worthy. The key to believing is feeling. By holding powerful visions through meditation, I was able to guide myself into a true feeling of worthiness.
With this new belief system in tact, I was ready to close the deal. Now that I walked the walk, I had to learn to stop talking the talk. At closing time, I cashed in for some male advice from my boyfriend, who happens to be a killer negotiator. He said, “When you’re finished asking for what you want, shut up.” Man, is that right! In order to truly own your worth and close a deal, you must learn to be silent. There’s no need for extra talk, backpedaling or further explanation when you know your worth.
I continue to practice these tools daily and have experienced miraculous results. I’ll negotiate with anyone, visualize and ask for more any chance I get. All for the sake of truly know~ing my worth.
3 Tips To Turn Failure Into Opportunity
Fear: (n.) A reason for dread or apprehension
How many times have you tried something and not succeeded? Believe me, I am a living testament to the motto, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!”
You just have to remember that Albert Einstein quote : “Insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” So, we must learn from our failures.For many people, though, the fear of failure becomes a block, stopping them from going after what they really want in life. Fear, as defined above, is so vague. What is the “reason for dread”? If we don’t believe in ourselves or what we are doing, we can be fearful. Without faith in something, fear is inevitable. Where there is faith, fear can not exist.
Failure: (n.) The condition or fact of not achieving the desired end or ends.
The greatest thing about life, is that it doesn’t start on Monday and end on Sunday. It does not start and end, it flows. We can not only build something within our lives, we can grow so much as a human being, just by being. We must recognize and acknowledge the difference between EXISTING and truly LIVING. So, if by definition, failure is “not achieving the desired end”, well, we can just keep on ‘being’.
Opportunity: (n.) A good position, chance, or prospect, as for advancement or success.
Success begins within ourselves. We have to see it in our mind’s eye and truly envision what we want for our lives. Once you can see it for yourself, you are on the path to creating. Failure actually puts us in a good position to learn.
Here are three tips to turn failures into opportunities.
1. Look back for understanding – If we fail at something, we want to crawl in a hole and just forget about it. But, the only way to move forward is to evaluate what happened- good and bad. Self-evaluation is key. Be honest with yourself. We can easily learn from our experiences- isn’t that what life is all about? We are all both students and teachers in life. What was the lesson? What was the gift in the imperfection?
2. Life can be a mirror – If we feel like we failed, we don’t always like to face the reasons why things may have went awry. But, it’s so important to see the whole picture, and sometimes we can learn from the way others see us. Ask and be open. Feedback can help us grow.
3. Dig deep and listen – Get to the source of what you really want for your life. Sometimes we may set a goal for ourselves, and no matter how hard we try, we don’t achieve it. But, if you re-evaluate your goals and opt for defining what you want on a deeper level , the picture will be much clearer. Then take time not to “speak” about what you want, but to “listen”. Perhaps this will create an inspired pathway for you to achieve your REAL desired state of being!!
5 Things We’ve Learned From Tina Fey’s Career
Who does not love Tina Fey? She was definitely a highlight at last night’s Golden Globes. She’s smart. She’s funny. She’s incredibly successful. She’s like a long lost friend you just want to have brunch with and dish over mimosas (even though most of us haven’t met her). There’s a lot we can learn from successful women in the spotlight and Tina Fey is no exception.
• Embrace your inner nerd. According to IMBd, Ms. Fey considered herself a “supernerd” during high school and college. After studying drama at the University of Virginia and graduating in 1992, she ventured to Chicago, worked at the YMCA to support herself and started Second City’s first set of courses. If that doesn’t say smart and tenacious, I don’t know what does.
• If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Did you know that after nine months, a teacher told her to skip ahead and audition for the selective Second City Training Center? Well, she did and she failed. Eight weeks later she re-auditioned and, as you can imagine, was accepted into the year-long program.
• Believe in the dream. Sure, she’s a household name now but when she was in Chicago in the mid-90s did she make headlines? Nope. Not yet. That’s ok. I firmly believe the best is still within us and we have to stay the course in order to enjoy the journey. Although we’ve been immersed with messages in the media about instant success, I tend to disagree: It doesn’t always happen overnight and we need to stop expecting such high expectations, otherwise we’ll always fall short.
• Break some barriers, girlfriend! Saturday Night Live is overwhelmingly a male institution. When she started writing for SNL, she was one of the only female writers on staff. And yes, in due time she became the very first female head writer in the show’s history!
• Be versatile and unleash your inner rock star. She created 30 Rock, writes the episodes and leads its talented writing team, starred in Baby Mama, wrote Mean Girls, and now stars in Date Night with fellow SNL alum, Steve Carell. There’s no stopping Fey now! Consider this: Last year she morphed into impersonating Sarah Palin during the presidential campaign on SNL. She continues to shine. Imagine if we, too, could stretch our boundaries and see where our skills and creativity could take us? Hmmm…
Top Photo: Flickr
Need more career advice? Vicki Salemi is an author, global freelance writer, career consultant, public speaker and die-hard Yankees fan! Her newest book, Big Career In The Big City, is now available for pre-order on amazon! Order here!
Living to Your Fullest Potential
Often we have goals or dreams that we let go of because we have no idea how we would obtain them or worse, we believe we do not deserve them. We discount our abilities and strengths and focus on our weaknesses (or perceived weaknesses) to talk ourselves out of taking the risks that would be needed to achieve what we really want, but desire is where it all begins.
Becoming an author was a dream of mine for over a decade. The interesting part of that dream was when the desire first came to me I had no idea what the content would be, what my message would be or how I would ever get a publishing deal. This is one of the first lessons in the power of desire.
All you need to put a dream into motion is a deep-rooted desire. Once you have that desire and set the energy in motion, then you must have the faith that life will give you the experiences, lessons and people to move forward in the direction to achieving your goals.
Next, you must commit to the work of the journey with unwavering determination and perseverance. The journey itself provides you with many new goals and achievements along with failures, many of which you never could have predicted, but are very important as part of your process.
One other extremely important part of the equation is gratitude. I believe that gratitude is the emotion that brings depth into the journey; gives it real purpose. Being grateful for the good times and the lessons learned in the bad times gives meaning to whatever it is you are doing. It is an emotion that fuels your spirit and creates internal happiness.
As the new year approaches we begin to reflect on the past year’s events and make new plans and goals for the future; both personally and professionally. Know that you truly have the power to create the life you choose. No matter where you are today, you constantly have choices to determine how your future can be.
As you begin 2015, challenge yourself to not just set goals like “join the gym” or “be more organized” but additionally challenge yourself to reflect on what your purpose is, what you would like your legacy to be and commit to taking action steps to move closer toward those visions everyday. Even if you don’t know how to “get to where you want to go”, gaining clarity and desire in your vision and maintaining gratitude will perpetuate better circumstances in your life along with incredible people who will be your teachers along your journey.
Know your worth and know that choosing to strive to live to your fullest human potential is how you create the most abundant intrinsic happiness that will radiate and positively affect the world around you.