What Matters Mondays – Jan 25, 2016

January 25th, 2016 by admin Leave a Comment

Have you ever been on a vacation and on the last day or two you start feeling sad that it’s ending? Well I have. But this time I didn’t and there’s a really simple reason why. BE HERE NOW! It’s a slogan we teach to the Rotary Youth Exchange students when they come to live in Canada. For the past 11 days I have constantly reminded myself of that phrase. And the most amazing things happened. When I focused on what was right in front of me in each moment, I felt the most grateful I’ve likely ever felt in my life.

When I chose to BE HERE NOW I noticed how delicious my spearmint tea tasted, how the giggle of my boys made me smile, the beauty of everything around me, the love of my hubby as he sat next to me without needing to say a word, the taste of my food, the hum of the ceiling fan keeping me cool, how funny my family is, the quiet as we all read instead of watched TV…there were so many things to notice and be grateful for.

Here’s the thing. In our days, we (and trust me, I mean WE) spend a lot of time focusing on the past or worrying, anticipating the future and we miss what’s right in front of our eyes. My boys are growing so quickly and I want to be here now! I want to laugh at their jokes, accept the hugs and love, have the cool conversations without having to race to the next thing. This vacation taught me many things but most importantly it taught me to embrace and be grateful for every moment as its happening. The moments are gone quickly.

As this trip ends, for the first time ever, I’m okay with it ending. I’m not sad. I had 11 days of ALL IN! I was present in every moment and I’m so blessed!

What will it take for you to choose to BE HERE NOW?

 

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What Matters Mondays – Jan 18, 2016

January 18th, 2016 by admin Leave a Comment

Sometimes you come across an article that sticks in your brain for days, weeks… even longer….you can’t stop thinking about it, you can’t stop talking about it. Last week I read an article that did that to me. It was called The Most Important Question of Your Life. In a nutshell, the article said that as humans, we all want things (to be rich, skinnier, happy…etc.) but are we willing to put in the struggle to get these things? We want the awesome relationship, but are we willing to struggle with the fears, disagreements, hard moments, hurt feelings…? We want to be financially secure, maybe even rich but are we willing to work 60+ hour work weeks, to climb the corporate ladder and possibly lose relationships along the way? We want to lose weight but are we willing to exercise regularly, watch what we eat, give up our sweet treats, eat proper portions?

 

I hear it all the time in my work. I want _________________. But when we sit down to discuss how the work is going, the list of excuses starts. How would it be different if you put on paper what you wanted and then listed all the struggles associated with it? When you saw the struggles and the pain involved would you still commit?

What if you told yourself that you wanted something and then honestly said, I’m not willing to do the work; I don’t want the pain and struggle. Would you give yourself a break?

What if your want list was only the things that you honestly felt determined to achieve…struggle and all?

 

So I have been thinking about my list of wants for 2016. And I had to get real. What was I willing to struggle for?

  1. Parenting – I love being a mom and I will struggle every day with the work and commitment it takes to raise great kids. I will sit with them and talk about their day, I will sit and help with homework, I will hold them accountable for their actions (bad cop), I will push them to be their best, I will drive them around to activities, I will be there in their disappointments. I want to be a great mom and YES, I am up for all the challenges that come with that.
  2. Marriage – We all want that fairy tale marriage right? Well, I want a marriage that is fun, where we respect each other, and where love and trust are felt at all times. I will take the struggle…the fact that I have to be vulnerable, that I will get my feelings hurt from time to time, that it won’t always feel fair, that we will disagree…I’m willing to have the pain and struggle. It’s worth it!
  3. Health – I want to increase my level of health. I already go to the gym 4-5 times a week so exercise I have handled. Here is the struggle…and trust me, this is one of my biggest struggles to deal with each day. I have to want to eat more fruits/veggies, I have to limit my chai lattes and diet cokes, I have to plan meals in advance, I have to say no to the things that leave me feeling tired, I will struggle with wanting to throw in the towel, I will struggle with the inner battle that will take place, but I want this struggle. I am ready for it!

 

Here are a few things I am taking off my list of wants for 2016 because I am not willing to put in the struggle at this point. And guess what…it feels really freeing to say it. I don’t feel like a failure…I feel real and honest.

I am saying no to

  1. Getting rich – I LOVE my work, I am passionate about it and feel so privileged to do what I do, but I am not willing to put in the struggle to take it to the top. I’m not willing to give up my workouts each morning, I am not willing to be away from my family all the time, and I don’t want the struggle of doing things that aren’t aligned with my values. That’s it. I’m not willing to struggle.
  2. Relationships– I have so many amazing people in my life. It always feels so easy to be with them. I also have relationships that suck the life out of me. Ones that leave me feeling worse after. I am not willing to have the pain and struggle to keep people in my life who treat me poorly, who are always negative, who gossip lots. It’s a struggle that I am taking off my plate and it feels so good.

 

The article says who you are is determined by the values you are willing to struggle for. You know how I love the values language.

My values are:

Authenticity

Balance

Belonging/Connection

Gratitude

Humor

Health

Learning

Legacy

Organization

Optimism

Understanding

 

I am willing to struggle for each of these things. And…it explains why I am saying no to some things. Saying no is me honoring my values and staying in my authenticity.

It feels good. No failure. Just beautiful honesty. That’s it.

 

What are you willing to struggle for this year? What struggles don’t feel worth it?

Have an awesome Monday!

Danielle

xo

 

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What Matters Mondays – Jan 11, 2016

January 11th, 2016 by admin Leave a Comment

Brené Brown recently did a Super Soul Sunday on The Anatomy of Trust. If you have not seen it….you need to Google it and give yourself the gift of 20 minutes of complete inspiration! There are many parts to the episode, but perhaps the most impacting is the acronym for the 7 elements of trust:

B – Boundaries

R – Reliability

A – Accountability

V – Vault

I – Integrity

N – Non-judgment

G – Generosity

I won’t explain each one, but today I want to explain the V = vault. I think this is one we all struggle with from time to time and when I heard her talk about it the other day I realized it’s one I still, at times, have to work on.

The vault means a few things. In terms of trust, it means that I can trust you to keep my stories and secrets safe and you can trust me to do the same. But the part about the vault that really resonated with me was the backside of the vault. If you want to have complete trust with someone, you also cannot be telling that person things about another person. For example, you are chatting with your dear friend and the friend says, “Can you believe what Sally did in her marriage?” and then she goes on to tell you the story. You see, for me, in that moment I am thinking, “If you can talk about Sally to me, are you sharing my stories with Sally?” And in that moment, trust is fractured.

As humans, we often do this in order to hotwire a connection. We think that gossip is what binds us. The truth is, it doesn’t. It keeps us both from being authentic, and the story we are likely sharing is NOT ours to share.

Now…this is a hard concept. Many people will be like, well I’m only telling it to my closest friend. And trust me, you are not alone. I’ve done it, I will likely do it again (being imperfect and all), but every time I do, I feel really yucky after. It moves me away from who I want to be. I truly want to be authentic, I want to be trustworthy and that means that I have to honor the vault completely.

Something I do when I am going to say something is ask myself the TKN. Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? If the answer to any of those is NO…I don’t say it.

I guess the reason this really resonated for me is because at one point in my life, when things were crumbling around me, knowing that other people were sharing my story was one of the most hurtful things I have ever felt. It connected me to the people who truly honored the vault and it fractured the friendships of those who didn’t.

Today I challenge you to ask yourself what it would feel like to honor the vault in all of your relationships. What would it feel like to be the kind of person that kept everyone’s stories safe? I am challenging myself for 2016 to honor the vault. It is who I want to be!

 

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What Matters Mondays – Jan 4, 2016

January 4th, 2016 by admin Leave a Comment

The New Year is here and with it, all the talk about New Year’s Resolutions. For years, I bought into this idea that I had to start my year with a set of resolutions or goals. What would I accomplish in the coming year? My list always looked very much the same – mostly because I never accomplished them the year prior and so I always believed that this would be the year! My list often included losing weight, running a race faster than I had the year before, making a certain amount of money, achieving some kind of work recognition…etc.

Well let me tell you how this resolution thing worked for me. It didn’t. Having resolutions equated to a pass/fail system for me. You did the resolution…you passed. You didn’t….you failed. And so I would end a year focusing on what I didn’t do, then rewrite the same resolutions out and vow that this year I would achieve them. And repeat year after year.

You may be reading this thinking that I have no willpower or that I just needed to try harder and work more at them. All of those are likely true, but the reality is…I was missing all the best stuff in my life. All the things I did do….all the things I should have been celebrating.

So five years ago, I decided to give up resolutions and instead choose a word to live by for that year. The difference for me was that I could be successful living my word in each moment of each day. I could stop myself in the middle of the day, say my word aloud and check in to see how aligned I was with it. And BAM…I felt connected. I would catch myself on days when I was veering from it or not as intentional as I wanted to be and in that exact moment, things shifted. I reconnected to my word and my WHY…why had I chosen that particular word? And I was back on track that easily.

So at the end of the year, I wasn’t rating myself on a pass/fail system, but instead I was remembering moments throughout the year when that word was my guide, experiences when I remember really embracing and living that word, and it always left me feeling like I passed….I did it!

For some of you, resolutions work and good for you! If you are like me, and pulling out your resolutions with dread each December….then I challenge you to try a new approach this year. Select one word that you want to be in your mind at all times and let that be your guide.

For me this year, my word is GRATITUDE. I want to spend as many moments in my days being thankful for all that I have. I want to catch myself when I am focusing on what’s not working and remind myself to get back to my word. It’s easy to be grateful in the awesome moments. This year I am challenging myself to be grateful in as many moments as I can…good or bad!

I guess it boils down to this for me…I embrace imperfection. Focusing on a resolution gave me a bit of a perfectionist approach to life. Focusing on a word allowed me to take each moment one step at a time, catch myself when I was off track and keep practicing. Life is a practice. We are going to screw up, get off track and sometimes all it takes is ONE word to get you back to who you want to be. Happy New Year to you all! I hope 2016 is a fantastic year for you! I’d love to hear your word if you have chosen one!

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