1 week. Do something new for 1 week. Stick to it, and don’t give up. It may be hard. Do it anyway. Have discipline for 1 week. See what happens.
Notice carefully each day how you feel and how you’re changing as you try this new thing. Does it add to your life or subtract? What other things are changing as you do this 1 new thing?
Is it causing 10 times the reactive positive change in your life? You may find it will. Sometimes if we do 1 thing different, we can see an uplift in multiple areas of our lives if that new 1 thing is positive for us.
Remember for the weeks following what you felt and how it’s improved your life… Use this memory to fuel you forward to new horizons in your life.
I have an awful habit of not staying on-top of fixing things that are broken in my house and car. I guess it’s because I think I have a higher tolerance for chaos in my life than average (because it doesn’t seem to bother me to leave things but hey maybe it is bothering me in ways I didn’t realize!) and well… I’m lazy. I’ll admit it, i’m so lazy when it comes to some things in my life. I have no care at times for some things.
Last weekend, I took it upon myself to go around my home and car and fix anything I could. Just one day out of the weekend, actually. I did this after months and months of letting things go broken by doing the following steps:
I told myself… no more. I will not live like this.
I put it on my Google calendar that I’d fix things.
I followed through even though I didn’t want to do ANY OF IT. It was a chore. It wasn’t fun. It wasn’t grand. It felt like the worst work on the planet. ha!
HOWEVER, AFTER I fixed those broken things last weekend…. I felt accomplishment, I felt joy, and I felt happiness in a way I hadn’t felt for a long time. AND, something else happened…
My other problems in my life that were not physically broken things seemed to feel less like problems and seemed totally more manageable or less of an issue than they were before.
So, I share this because if this can have that kind of power for me, then I think it may for you too.
Maybe we start out small (I love my own advice!…. I totally need to practice what I’m preaching here too. ha!), and we fix just one little broken thing in our lives right away or even better… the minute it’s broken – don’t even let it sit. The effects of fixing that one little thing could quadruple and spill over into fixing more than you’d ever imagined.
My MBA taught me that I need an outlet such as writing or communication with someone I trust (often that’s myself or my good friends) to get the best understanding of myself and the situations I’m presented with.
The team-focus in my MBA and all the writing I did for it helped me to see this about myself. I never knew it until my MBA.
It taught me also that I absolutely love reading. I never read for fun until my MBA… it was reading those Harvard Business Review cases that I grew a fond love for reading, ironically. A lot of people laugh at this when I tell them…
They say, “You grew a passion for reading from HBR Articles? – You’re nuts! haha!”
My classes showed me that I am smarter and more reflective than I ever imagined. My self-confidence grew, and I now understand a lot more about myself than I did with my undergraduate degree alone.
I also noticed that I had a lot to contribute to my MBA teams and classes because I typically have ideas and/or input that is different from maybe what everyone else thinks. Or, maybe I am brave enough to say my thoughts whereas others hold in what they feel if it opposes the mainstream thought.
My MBA helped me to find my own voice.
Overall, my MBA helped me dramatically with my own personal growth.
And it’s still and will always be a work-in-progress. This I learned from MBA too… I thought I knew so much more before my MBA.
My MBA humbled me – it let me see the endless things that I didn’t know, and that there’s infinite things to learn in this world.
It was far more than the lessons you learn from a book or being in class. It was a very personal journey.
It was my junior year of college and I was involved in everything, working a lot, had my first upper level business classes, and decided to live in the freshman dorm hall because it was cheaper. I found I ended up with horrible grades, and I nearly failed one of my classes.
I had a roommate that took over the whole entire room with her never-ending things she had and upstairs neighbors that played music so loud that my dorm room shook. The next semester of my junior year I realized I needed to make some significant changes otherwise I was going to not do so hot in my college career and might go insane!
So, I took away all of the commitments that were serving me no true value or purpose by taking a closer look at what I really wanted and needed. I moved to another dorm room where I had my own room that enforced quiet hours in an upper classmen residence hall.
I could breathe again, and soon my sanity came back.
I realized from all of this that I needed to learn to be more selective with what I did with my time, who I was around, and again that my environment I was in either was demotivating or motivating.
Everything seemed to go to heck that first semester, but it all fell into place again once I made some hard decisions to get back to what I needed.
This writing was another reflection exercise I did for one of my MBA Leadership Classes.
This class was so profound for me in my MBA. It helped me to learn sooo much about myself and how my life experiences have affected me and thus in-turn as a leader.
It was at an end of the year awards ceremony in high school that I realized I was at the top of my class and I was different.
That year each teacher gave out top three students in their class awards as well as top 10 for each subject. I found out that I was in the top 3 for every one of my classes and top 3 in my entire class. This was in about 9th grade this occurred. I found that I was 3rd performing in my class at that point.
I didn’t know this until that exact point. I just simply did my work and didn’t care that I was performing well.
It started with a few awards, and then after about 4 trips up to the podium in front of the entire high school I started to realize that this was both eye-opening, but also I felt sad. My classmates soon realized that I was standing up for nearly every award there was given to be a recipient, and they all started guessing that I was going to be called ahead of time. They did this with all of the 3 of us or so that had numerous awards. They seemed upset that we kept getting the awards and they didn’t.
I was picked on afterwards about the awards. They said I didn’t deserve them and that I was just “Miss Smartypants” and that I needed to help them cheat on their homework because I had all of the right answers. Some of the people in my class actually did help them to cheat and they played up the attention while I again got frustrated by everyone and I thought of myself as different for not allowing myself to help my classmates cheat. I offered them the chance for me to teach them, but they didn’t want it. They went to those that would simply give them the answers.
It wasn’t until this awards ceremony and the aftermath that I realized I felt and was different from my classmates in many regards. I went home that night of the awards ceremony with about 10 awards total. I felt sad because I wanted everyone else to be able to feel a sense of achievement and recognition like I had at the ceremony. I felt sad for them that they had to watch me come to the podeum again and again and I felt their pain.
I felt so many emotions for the people out in the crowd watching me again get an award, and what was worse was that to me the awards really didn’t mean anything. To me, they were paper and I didn’t like the attention that came with getting an award.
I didn’t want everyone to think of me as “Miss Smartypants”.
I wanted them to see past this and look at me as good friend or a caring person.
This writing was also a reflection exercise I did for one of my MBA Leadership Classes.
This class was so profound for me in my MBA. It helped me to learn sooo much about myself and how my life experiences have affected me and thus in-turn as a leader.
I mostly have been a person to stick with a close set of friends valuing quality over quantity of friendships. When I find someone that I really like to spend time with and talk to, I really hone in a lot of what makes them unique and yet I am able to see their weaknesses.
I had a friend from 3rd grade till 7th grade that was my sole friend. I didn’t see any need to make more friends; she was all I needed for socialization. I did everything with her and I really put a lot of value on our friendship. We were two peas in a pod.
It was great, but over the years as we got older I realized more and more that while she was a great friend she also was discouraging to me and almost held me back from being my best self. I noticed weaknesses in her that I hated over time.
In about the 6th grade, we started to really like the boys…. We would talk about the different men we liked and about our classmates. What I found was that I was actually very brave and curious about everyone while she was shy and talked as though she was afraid of everyone and everything. I was still her friend, but I would suggest we sit with other people at lunch or maybe we could do something that was kind of crazy but could be fun! She resisted. She didn’t want to do anything out of fear for what people would think and she didn’t want to eat lunch with anyone else.
Eventually, I started to feel trapped being her friend even though I clearly could have just went and did the things alone without her. One day it all came to an end, but by my actions. I told her that I was going to eat lunch with my friend I was making in my band class and she was free to come, but I wasn’t going to sit with her anymore and maybe even be her friend. I told her what I thought about her, and she was upset.
We grew apart and I made new friends. Of course, I noticed the same things with my new friends. They were fearful of others and never were curious about other people who they had their negative views of. I wanted to talk to everyone and get to know everyone. I soon felt different and as though my thoughts weren’t appropriate because nobody seemed to be like me.
I showed my bravery and curiosity in other ways though. Sports was one. In sports, I was able to play with multiple of people instead of sticking to the group of friends I was around all of the time. I talked to anyone when I would talk, but I didn’t talk too much in high school. Band was also my outlet. There were in my opinion no social norms in band, I could talk with everyone there about band because we shared that interest. So, I did. I tried to not be distant from anyone in band and I was most myself there than any other place.
Therefore, I found from this experience that I need to feel free and allow my bravery and curiosity to show. I also learned that the environment and again people I’m around has an influence on how I allow myself to be. I find that I cannot be around closed-minded people for too long, otherwise, it internally bothers me or I begin to inhibit their characteristics instead of acting as my true self.
My mom’s birthday would have been last Tuesday, May 21st if she were still alive.
I pulled a few old pieces of writing I did about her and us in honor of her.
Hope you enjoy.
Old Writing #1:
My mother’s death and the value of living life to the fullest and showing a sincere sense of respect and happiness for those who are meaningful in my life.
“Life is short, live it to the fullest.”
My mom died when I was in my freshman year of college. We didn’t have the best of relationship and we never hugged or showed affection for each other.
She made me hug her before I left for college, and it was the last hug I ever got from my mom while she was in good health. It was a very emotional yet eye opening experience which has shaped my thoughts about life and showing of affection/sharing what someone truly means to you in your life. I never did really until after my mom’s death show affection to anyone nor let them know what they meant to me.
After my mom’s death and to this day, I make it a point to let my friends and those I value know that they mean something to me if they do. I enjoy showing affection to those I most care about.
I also learned that you have to forgive people and move on from things in life a lot more than what I did previous to this life event. I learned that life is short and you must live life the best way possible being appreciative and showing others what they mean to you because they may never know without you saying or showing how you feel.
Old Writing #2:
My Hero – My Mom
My mom is my hero. While we didn’t have a good relationship for many years, now thinking back to how she raised me, never failed to share her harsh opinions and observations, and put up with my bullheaded nature growing up which wouldn’t be easy for nearly anyone – she’s my hero.
She taught me many lessons in life and I still live by many of them. She had perseverance to put up with a child like me that questioned everything and was extremely curious and always standing my ground with my opinions on a wide-range of things that may or may not have been grounded.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but I wouldn’t be the person I am without her personality of speaking back to me in opposition to what I thought, making me question my thoughts and beliefs even though I became frustrated many of times.
All along she believed in me and the success I could have in life. She was the one that motivated me and pushed me to get things done and never give up when I wanted to stop.
She was my punching bag but also my rock. I needed her more than I ever wanted to let onto, and when I lost her in my freshman year of college I realized so much. My mom is my hero.
However, it’s too bad I never realized this until she died because I would have liked to have seen her in this light while she was alive and I could tell her.
For many years now, when it came to starting a business of my own and creating action towards my entrepreneurial passion I’ve had since high school, I have sat in my own head creating endless loops of thinking and overthinking. Downing myself and putting away this passion as something that’s just not for me. Literally any excuse I can create for myself or hear from others, I’ve allowed to dictate my movement forward. I’ve finally decided…. I can do this and be this and I don’t care what my former self told me as true or anyone else for that matter, and I need to get out of my own head and move forward.
For years, I have sat around and thought and thought and thought and thought and thought about business ideas and written endless business plans and gotten excited and then, sadly, torched my own beautiful fires.
Mostly, it’s been myself entirely… my own insecurities not allowing myself to move forward with my own thoughts of myself. But, it has also been the people I’ve told my thoughts to over the years who have helped me to add to my list of endless excuses and crutches with moving forward.
There have been VERY FEW people in my life that have encouraged me and I mean really encouraged me to go after my entrepreneurial passions. They say, “Take the safe road, you’re not ready, you don’t understand the work involved, you’re an accountant – you aren’t going to be good at sales & marketing – why do you think you’d make it?, just wait – you’re young, laughing at me for my creativity for my business ideas because apparently they think this is just some funny shit to add to their entertainment and not something serious, that’s not good enough of a career for you, etc etc etc etc etc etc etc”. Mostly, I haven’t thought I actually WAS listening to them and taking those things to heart, but I was indirectly as much as I wanted to think I wasn’t. I figured, hey great they want to say what they think and offer me little golden nuggets that I can choose or not choose to use in my life. (Yea, I still think that’s true…. but what the bad part is about it is coming…)
What listening to everyone with all these crutches concerning moving forward did to me was that it slowly crept into accepting those truths about myself and they gave me endless excuses for myself even in ways my own mind couldn’t….. it just added to all the misery that kept me away from passionately and positively pursuing my own gems in my life.
I’ve been stuck in my own head… examining those worries or allowing them to be truths for too long. So, recently I decided…. you know, nobody – including myself – can stop me. I don’t care if I fail at this or not – I’m doing it. And I don’t care about perfection anymore.
People, including myself if I let myself, can hold onto every imperfection they see or think, or even smell from afar as a turd even if it truly smells like a beautiful flower in reality. Time to smell the reality flowers and stop smelling the turds of imperfections… my people. Go forth and get out of that head and everyone elses’s head too!… GO FORTH!
(Yeppp… Got into my real crazy, nutty writer’s head here on that last paragraph! LOL!!)
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I’ve always been cheap and haven’t been too materialistic… or so I thought until my journey with minimalism. 🙂
Back about 4 years ago, I started to really get into reading. (Shocking, I know! Nobody would ever think that about me, but it’s true. I could probably count on two hands the number of books I’d read before then.) Being a lifelong cheapass until then (ha!), the reading material I was drawn to were those about living a great life but not needing to spend a lot of money. I’ve always loved finance and accounting also. I read and read and read. A common theme I started to see was that which cores to minimalism. So, I started reading about minimalism! I got rid of a lot of things (and yes it’s still a journey – always will be) after reading about minimalism. Then, after the things went away…. I realized my mindset was still focused around materialism even though I wasn’t buying many things. This is where things became deep… real deep. Below I share some tips from my journey with minimalism. I hope to inspire you to think beyond ownership of things when comes to your minimalism journey… A mindset of materialism vs. minimalism is pretty huge I think in this journey also.
Tips for the Journey of a Minimalistic life you may not always hear (because some of them are brutally hard to hear but soo true.) –
Even if you are not purchasing physical items…. ask yourself then are you still spending your time fantasizing about physical possessions?
My example: I would spend literally hours on the internet looking at clothing sites awing the beautiful clothes there. While I didn’t think this was a materialistic mindset and life, it was. Even if you aren’t physically purchasing items, the mindset of materialism is still there if you’re daydreaming about material things to an excessive amount.
Lesson: Be intentional about when you truly NEED something and only do your browsing and looking then. Be focused and intentional about what you need and also what you want. This will help your time management and also help you with your focus and mindset. I didn’t need to spend a significant amount of my time looking at clothes online for fun. There were other ways to spend that time that are so much more meaningful.
Are the activities you do centered around materialism even though you aren’t purchasing things?
My example: Before my journey with minimalism I would spend literally at least a half a day or more every week browsing through thrift stores (Or Big Lots! No joke!) for fun. And I always thought…. I’m not materialistic – I hardly buy anything; I just like to look! 🙂 Ohhhh was I wrong. Mindset, mindset, mindset…. how are you choosing to spend your time and where is your focus?
Lesson: You don’t have to buy or have things to be constantly thinking from a materialistic mindset. Where is your mind at and the joys in your life coming from?…. Are you still bubbling and getting excited over a Big Lots store? haha. 🙂 Not saying that’s wrong at all though! We all choose how we want to live our lives and spend our time and what we get excited over is nobody else’s business. (I cannot say what is right or wrong for everyone. That makes no sense to me.) BUT, if you’re wanting to focus your mindset and life around a journey of minimalism then this is one subset of mindset and activities in your life to look at possibly examining.
Are the goals you have in your future wrapped around materialism?
Do you daydream about having a hugeeeeee house with a ton of things in it even though you say you’re not materialistic?… Even if its JUST A DREAM and you’d actually be perfectly happy with way less. How about what you think about what you have in your life materialistically now vs. in the future? Is that centered in your thinking more than it should be? My example: I would dream about a garage or a having a dishwasher and having a washer/dryer when I was living in my apartments that didn’t have these. Ok, so it’s something to look forward to for sure!
Lesson: There are certain things that enhance and make our lives better (some we think would, but honestly they don’t!). Those enhanced material possessions shouldn’t be something that kills the simplicity mindset of where you are NOW and what you find of beauty. It’s OK if you don’t have a dishwasher right now. It’s OK if you don’t have a washer or dryer in your apartment right now. Constantly thinking about wanting material possessions and daydreaming about a big huge life filled with things isn’t too minimalist centered. In all honesty, it destroys the simplicity of the life you live now. It’s ok to have some materialistic goals, but don’t allow that to destroy the simplicity and beauty in what you do have now. Don’t let it become something you constantly think about either. Let it be… write it down and say “Yes, that would be nice one day. However, until I get there this is perfectly fine and ok. Life is not a race.”
Lately, I’ve been finding it so odd and yet almost refreshing how we can have such vivid moments in our lives… Then, roll forward 3, 5, 10, 25, 50, 60 years and have other vivid moments and present-times, but if we think back to the past we often are left with only just short glimpses of those old realities we thought so highly of and were living with so much emotion in the past.
Everything in the present is so lively and of immense focus. Yet our past is often short memories that may seem to fade with time. Though it does seem we can allow some parts of our past to remain vivid if we choose to replay those times over and over in our head. I’m sure there’s plenty of debate if that’s good to do or not!
It’s shocking and interesting to me how the mind and memory work over the years. Life progresses despite our past no matter whether our past is good or bad.
Been reading a lot lately on how we can shape and transform our memories. Maybe that’s why I’ve been noticing this lately? Funny how what we read can allow us to create meaning and contemplate life.