Sometimes You Just Need a Time Out

2722567195_6eb35e63ab_bWhen I was at AT&T, I had a project leader who, if you asked her to prioritize your work would say, they’re all priorities.

When you’re already overwhelmed and tired of running, that’s the last thing you want to hear.

Is your to-do list growing faster than your ability to actually DO anything on the list?  Where did all these tasks come from?

Am I just saying yes to too many things? Probably.

How do I prioritize? Is the new important thing more important than the older important thing I added to the list a couple of days ago?

For entrepreneurs it’s just as bad. There’s always that hot new thing that we must do now. That call we have to return. That new software we have to check out. The social media updates…the webinars that seem to pop up hourly…the “there’s only 2 spots left so you’d better sign up now!” email pitches for new programs.

I’m tired of being busy for the sake of being busy. It’s time to check my priorities and see if the items on my list are really that important.

Do I have to update that web site right away? Or can it wait? Will all life collapse into a black hole in deep space if I don’t tweet everyday? Will my friends drop me if I stay off Facebook for few days? Or for a week?

If I say no to more things, will that free up some time?

When I was in corporate, having a messy desk and working your ass off was a badge of honor. Having the ability to multitask like a madman (or woman) was the ultimate ego trip. Everyone called on you to help them. Your manager loved you (because you could be counted on to work endlessly). You were tired and stressed, but so what? You were getting things done!

I’m busy, therefore I am.

But at the end of the day, what are we really accomplishing? Did your project turn into a hot mess because you were doing too many things at once?Are you exhausted because you’re trying to do it all? Not getting sleep or eating properly because the to-do list never ends?

Perhaps it’s time to scale back. Scratch some stuff off that list –or delegate some tasks (if you can) to others.

Maybe it’s time to decide how you want to make this life journey. Will it be a continued marathon where you dream of arriving at some magical place where all your “to-do’s” will be done?

As for me, I’m stepping off the treadmill. Climbing out of the hamster wheel. Turning in my multitasker of the year award and giving myself a time out. Life is going by in a blur, and it’s time to slow it down.

Being busy is not the same thing as being productive. It’s time to enjoy the ride.

Copyright © 2014 Deborah A. Bailey

Are you ready for a time out? Or are you already on one? Share your comments below!

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Know What? Your Story is Not Your Destiny.

13405599515_c06216d86e_b“If you can’t fly then run; if you can’t run then walk; if you can’t walk then crawl; but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

It is important to believe you can manifest your desires in spite of what you see around you in this moment. Hold the vision for what you want and make the decision to move forward.

There’s something deeply disturbing about giving up the things that we are comfortable with. Even if we’re not terribly happy with our situation, there can be a certain comfort in knowing what to expect day after day. A reason for that is because our sense of self is wrapped up in a certain way of life.

We are much more than what we do during working hours, just as we are much more than the names we’ve been given. We are also much more than our physical appearance, our ethnicity, skin color, age or sexual orientation. Deep down we are more complex than even we can realize. Our lives are the sum of our experiences, and each of these experiences has given us a story about who we think we are.

No doubt you’ve heard that people live from their perceptions, or that perception is reality. Our perception…our story is what we live through. It defines us. It’s the roadmap we look at to tell us where we are and what is happening around us.

In the end, we cannot change the world to suit us. However we can change how we respond to the world.

Where we run into trouble is when we allow those stories to become part of our identity. I’ve met many people who say that they can’t write, or they hate writing. I’d guess that somewhere in that person’s past they were made to feel that their writing wasn’t good enough.

So, they accepted that story as their reality. The same is true for people who have been told they are stupid, or ugly or not quite good enough to be successful.

When you decide to make a change in your life, you are starting on a journey of discovery. You will be made to pull off layer after layer of the stories and beliefs that you’ve held for years.

Sooner or later we’ll have to address the part of ourselves that we suppressed so that we could live according to our stories. When that happens, it becomes impossible for us to pretend to be what we are not.

That’s when the work begins. Going through that experience enables us to discover who we really are.

Copyright © 2010 – 2014 Deborah A. Bailey

Excerpted from Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life.

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How to Fail Your Way to Success

21252022_8fdda98341“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” -Michael Jordan

If people aren’t making mistakes, they aren’t learning.

Instead, you get people who pretend to know what they don’t know – which just creates more problems in the long run.

When you’re afraid to fail…to stumble…to look silly…you will stay stuck in your comfort zone. Mastery is nice, but it’s also darned boring.

You have to be willing to fail if you want to grow.

Failure is a tough thing in our society. Everyone loves a winner, the saying goes. But those winners had to fail, probably more than once, on their way to winning.

There are no overnight successes. There are just people who kept going when others gave up.

Copyright © 2010 – 2014 Deborah A. Bailey

Excerpted from Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life.

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Thoughts about failing your way to success? Share them below!

Terrified about Transforming Your Life? Here are Some Comforting Words of Advice.

2283533573_81a55025ae_b“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” -Albert Einstein

The other day I got an email from a gentleman named, Tim. He asked me for advice about looking for a new job. He was unemployed and money was running low, but he wanted to make a fresh start.

How much courage does it take to transform your life after it’s come undone? Having been through this situation myself more than once, I’d say it takes quite a lot. That’s the difference between those people who survive and those who thrive. Survival is going from one crisis to the next, always shocked and a little surprised that you made it. Thriving is a totally different experience.

When you thrive you are not expecting doom at every turn. Your life isn’t just an endless journey through anxiety and insecurity. Yes, things do happen and life is not always a big bowl of cherries. I’m not saying you’ll never be hurt or disappointed; but I am saying that how you react to those things will determine your life experience.

We can spend a lifetime blaming this one or that one, being a victim of circumstances and believing that someone else took our stuff. Lots of people do it everyday. If that appeals to you, I certainly won’t discourage it. However, if you love your life no matter what-you are thriving. That’s something no one can ever take away from you.

At the end of Tim’s email, he admitted to being uneasy about the changes he was about to make. He acknowledged his fears, but then he said he wanted a better life and was going to take the steps to get it. From the outside his life may not look very attractive, but with that admission he’s already made the move from surviving into thriving. I’m excited for him, and I’m looking forward to hearing about his progress.

How about you? Are you ready to make the move? If so, here are some steps you can take.

  • Get clear of negative people and negative influences. If someone is always telling you what can’t be done or how awful everything is, you won’t benefit from being in that energy.
  • Take some quiet time everyday. Whether you call it meditating or being alone with your thoughts, take time for yourself.
  • Keep learning new things. Once you decide you know it all, you will never grow beyond that point.
  • Write down your ideas and your goals. There’s something about writing them down that makes them real.
  • Laugh. Not only is laughing healthy, but it’s much more attractive as well. Who would you rather be with-someone who laughs or someone who’s always grumpy?
  • Love yourself, a lot.
  • Embrace life. Don’t wait for some terrible event to occur before you appreciate what you have.

I’ve been in survival mode and in thriving mode, and I can tell you that thriving is much better. No, fear doesn’t completely go away, but it stops being a way of life. We all have the power to go from surviving to thriving, and in the end it’s up to us to make it happen.

Copyright © 2010 – 2014 Deborah A. Bailey

Excerpted from Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life.

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*Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life will be a free ebook download on Amazon.com from 10/21-10/25.*

Is it Ever too Late to Start Over?

39814442_d0458a093a_oThe other day I was reading a blog post about learning new languages. Most of the comments stated that if you don’t learn a new language when you’re young, it’ll be too hard to pick up when you’re older.

In our society, that idea is repeated over and over. And if people hear an idea enough, they start to believe it must be an established fact.

How often have you heard someone say they were too old to start over? They’ve invested too much time in their job, or their relationship, or their career, or their belief system to change now.

Here’s the bottom line: what you believe will become your reality. Too old to learn a language? You’re right. Have to stay in that career that you hate? Sure, go ahead. Change is hard. Don’t try this at home, kids. It might be uncomfortable.

I didn’t start learning Spanish until I was 16, and I studied enough to become quite good at reading and writing it. I’d planned to continue on in college, but I decided to major in Biology for about a year. Which meant my liberal arts classes got dropped in favor of Organic Chem, Algebra and Logic.

It was my first detour away from the things I do best–writing and communications. (The “why” is a topic for another day.)

Another change–another language

Fast forward several years later. I decided to switch careers from copywriting to computer programming. So I had to learn how to code. The school adviser told me that learning a computer language was similar to learning how to read music (which I learned in grammar school when I took up the clarinet). Since no one told me it couldn’t be done, I went with it and learned three computer languages.

That worked for me until I finally decided to leave IT and return to writing. A new way of life away from full-time employment. When I became a freelancer, I didn’t have the luxury to believe that it was too hard to learn new things.

Here’s the thing, at each juncture, I just went with the flow. I decided to make the change, and learned the new “language” that went with it.

I didn’t sit there and decide I was too old to learn to read music, or Spanish or machine code. No one told me I couldn’t do it, and I wouldn’t have believed them if they had.

In 2010 I published my first book, Think Like an Entrepreneur. Today I’ve got 7 books published, with 2 more on track for publication this year. Four years ago, I didn’t have a clue about self publishing. So I learned how to do it and made a start.

It’s not too late if you say it’s not

With each bend and twist in the landscape, I learned the new terrain and kept it moving.  That’s how you do it.

Everyday you have a chance to take a risk. Make a leap. Venture into the unknown without a road map or an expectation of what you’re going to find.

You can stick with “established wisdom” which is always there to tell you what you can’t do. Or you can just go do it.

Copyright © 2014 Deborah A. Bailey

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There’s One Thing You Should Know. You Are Enough.

woman by tracks“Take a day to heal yourself of the lies you have been told about yourself and then, go out and heal someone else.” –Maya Angelou

It is possible that at some time in your life you got the message that you weren’t enough.

You weren’t smart enough, attractive enough, rich enough…just not the “right” type of person to have what you desired in life.

It is possible that “well-meaning” people close to you gave you this message. Or you learned it out in the world. And you believed it.

The thing is, you are enough just as you are.

The world is waiting for what you have to share.

It’s not about waiting for someone else to rescue us, or make things right. We can do that for ourselves right now.

Are you ready?

Take a step in a positive direction by surrounding yourself with people who uplift you, as opposed to the ones who bring you down.

Look for ways to keep a positive and optimistic mindset, instead of always thinking about what’s wrong.

The more you believe in yourself, the more you can express your gifts and talents in the world.

Starting today.

Copyright © 2010 – 2014 Deborah A. Bailey

Excerpted from Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life.

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Why You Should Stop Expecting Your Future to be Just Like Your Past

Girl with her mother holding a new flower“Now, I return to this young fellow. And the communication I have got to make is, that he has great expectations.” – Charles Dickens, “Great Expectations”

“Uncertainty and expectation are the joys of life. Security is an insipid thing, and the overtaking and possessing of a wish discovers the folly of the chase.” – William Congreve, “Love for Love”

What happens when your desire for a different kind of life is in conflict with your current reality?

We’ve been conditioned to believe that change has to occur on the outside first. This is what leads many people to believe that losing weight, or having the perfect relationship, perfect job or lots of money in the bank will solve all of their problems.

It would be nice if it was true, but it’s not. For some of you reading this, that’s not exactly new information. For others, you may feel I’m only saying what coaches are supposed to say.

Speaking from my own experience, I know how difficult it can be to continue to believe in your dreams. The situation you’re in can make those dreams seem totally ridiculous. That’s when my inner critic decides to make an appearance and remind me of a few things. Real life is tough, you’ve got to try and survive and forget about fantasies. There have been times when I refused to believe I could have a better experience.

Of course if you aren’t getting what you want out of life, it is much more interesting to picture yourself as a brave survivor than someone who made bad choices.

So, if I’m honest with myself, I have to accept past decisions and learn from them. Then I have to open up the possibility that what happens next will not be a repeat of what has happened in the past.

Easier said than done, but it is at the very heart of shifting your paradigm. It takes courage to see a thriving business when right now all you see are financial losses. Or see a healthy body where now there’s one that’s out of shape or unhealthy.

It requires courage to open yourself up to loving again when you’ve been hurt or betrayed. It takes courage to take risks when you don’t see how it will all turn out, or when people are telling you that you’re crazy. It especially takes courage when someone tells you that they believe in you…that you can do it…but all you feel is fear.

It does sound like a cliché when you’re told to move through the fear. However, that’s the only way to get to the things we desire. I don’t know exactly how it’s all going to happen, but that’s not really important.

What is important is to believe that you can manifest your desires in spite of what you see around you in this moment.

When you’re holding the vision for what you want – and you make the decision to move forward – you’ve got great expectations.

Copyright © 2010 – 2014 Deborah A. Bailey

Excerpted from Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life.

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The Easiest, Simplest, Happiest Way to Stop Being Stressed Out

0Lnrvj8NQHepTFYthRyL_IMG_9925Find yourself stressing out a lot? I’ve felt that way over my business or over my to-do list. Life can become an endless round of running from one thing to another.

Beating yourself up over what hasn’t been done yet, or what wasn’t done the way you wanted.

Well, it’s time to accept that there will always be something undone. There will always be something to be done and more things that you want to start doing. It’s called life. And in our culture, being on an endless treadmill isn’t just normal, it’s expected.

But there’s a way out. Really.

Here are some suggestions.

1. Just stop running. Stop it. Take a breath and decide what your priorities are. Everything does not have the same level of importance. If you’re not sure how to decide, find someone else to brainstorm with. Someone on the outside will be able to see what you’re too overwhelmed to see.

2. Turn off the news. A steady diet of mass media news is a sure way to stress yourself to the max. It’s all bad news all the time, and the more drama the better. Don’t worry about missing out, there are a lot of other ways to keep up with current events. I haven’t watched a news program in years, and I haven’t missed anything major. Besides, if the sky really does fall, believe me, you’ll find out.

3. Surrender. It’s really not a bad word. It doesn’t mean being defeated. What it does mean is that you allow your life to flow. Instead of fighting against the tide, you roll with it. Trust your intuition to guide you when things are unclear.

4. Start where you are right now. I’ve been stressed over promoting my business, my books, my radio show–I had to stop and get off the merry-go-round of stress. Right now, I can only do what I can do. And whatever I can do is enough. If it’s not, it will have to be. Accepting that will lead to a whole lot of relief. It takes practice, though.

5. Get some rest. Being busy does not equal being productive. Are you accomplishing anything? Or just running? Burning yourself out won’t help. In fact, it’ll make you more stressed out and probably sick as well.

6. Stop worrying about what bad thing might happen. There are lots of possibilities, and most of them won’t ever happen. Why stress over a possibility? It takes as much effort to visualize a positive outcome. So why not do that instead?  Unless, of course you enjoy worrying. In that case, carry on.

7. Smell the flowers. Take the time to enjoy the moment you’re in. Otherwise, what’s the point of it all? You’re running and chasing and trying to get someplace–why? What’s it all for? Take a break. Turn off the electronics, get quiet and let the world go by. It might surprise you just how well it turns without you monitoring it every minute.

I’m a recovering Type A person who’s working hard to stay in the moment. I know it’s not easy to slow it down. You’ll have a lot of resistance to it. But how much is it worth to you?

Copyright © 2014 Deborah A. Bailey

Photo Credit: Wellington Sanipe

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Why Looking for Work-Life Balance is a Waste of Time

Still looking for ba3906025717_3ed03594d3_blance? What choices are you making about your life?

When I got my first job, I punched a clock, literally. We punched in and out. When the workday was over, I punched the clock and went home. Easy, breezy with no stress over where work ended and life began.

Fast forward to a few years later when I was in my career in the fashion industry. Working for JC Penney as a copywriter, I didn’t punch a clock. There was a sign-in sheet–and no pressure to work past my 7.5 hour day. Which was fine because I had zero interest in working overtime. I had a social life to live.

That was fine for a few years, until I changed careers and went into IT. At that point I was in the real corporate world (certainly much more corporate than my stint at JCPenney). In this world the clock had nothing to do with the length of the workday.

You’re on call? Then expect to be called at 3:00 am. Did something just blow up at 4:45 on a Friday? Then prepare to work until midnight to fix it. (And come in on Saturday if it’s still broken.) Did your manager just get an urgent request? Get ready to eat lunch and dinner at your desk. You’ll get a voucher for a cab ride home if you’re still here at 9:00 pm. There were times when I worked 7 days a week, 10-12 hours a day for weeks.

For several years, I had no balance. I didn’t do it for the money- there was no overtime pay. And I sure didn’t get any boost on the career ladder.  There are too many details to fit here, but  I realized that it wasn’t worth staying on the treadmill. My health was suffering and being stressed out isn’t exactly a way to go through life.

Here’s the thing, life is always happening. And balance is more of a dream than a reality. We make choices. Some choices are healthier than others. We do the best we can, where we are.

Just keep in mind that if you are on the treadmill, at some point, you’ll want to get off. Or you’ll be forced off. So you might as be the one who decides what your priorities are.

Are you happy with your choices?

Copyright © 2014 Deborah A. Bailey

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How to Deal with “Why not Me?” Syndrome

Vgu1RUfKT3WN1ZYxSWaR_14672519443_13d8873062_kEver had a situation where you felt left out of the action? We’ve all been there at least once. Either on the playground or in the workplace.

We end up keeping score of how many times someone else was acknowledged or rewarded and we weren’t.

It’s human to look around and wonder why we aren’t getting our needs met. But sometimes it really gets in the way. For instance, I recently published a book. You can read more about it here.

I got a lot of accolades on social media from some friends, but heard crickets from others. What was up with that? Did they just not see my announcement, or did they ignore it?

That’s when the ego really digs in and gets me going. How dare they? Why are they ignoring me?

Thing is, for all I know, they didn’t see my post. Or they’re wrapped up in their own lives. If I really wanted their attention, I could’ve emailed them directly. But I didn’t do that.

How many times has someone posted something and I didn’t see it? Or I didn’t have time to respond? How many friends have asked me to call, and I forgot? Or I put it off because I had work to do?

My ego loves to focus on the things I think I’m not getting. It likes to make comparisons so that I always come out with the short end. Then I have a reason to bitch about how unfair it all is.

Yes, at times people are wrapped up in their own thing and they really don’t have time for you. And at times they purposely aren’t ready to deal with what you’re going through or to celebrate your successes. It happens. You’re not the center of their universe.

So I have to ask myself, do I need other people to approve of me? Or is my own approval enough?

It’s hard, though. Hard not to keep score. Hard not to be resentful or figure I’m being ignored for negative reasons.

I see me. Isn’t that enough? If not, why isn’t it?

Approval can become a drug. As long as we get it, we’re happy. When we don’t, we’re pissed.

The world is filled with people desperate to do anything to be seen. It will never be enough because their need is a deep hole that can’t be filled.

As long as I compare myself to everyone else, I’ll come up short.

I have to know with all my heart that I’m on the right path. I’m doing the best I can. I have to give myself my own accolades, even if no one else does. If they do, great. But I have to love and approve of myself first.

And once I do that, I can stop asking, “why not me?”

Copyright © 2014 Deborah A. Bailey

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