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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 Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/leonbiss/

 

3 Things to do When You Need a Break from Self-Improvement

4532135834_50e7a94e0c_oWhy do we always focus on improving ourselves? Are we really that bad to begin with?

For a long time I thought of myself as a work in progress.

Tinkering here, fixing there, always striving to do everything better.

There’s nothing wrong with being the best person you can be. But that’s usually not what we’re doing. We’re usually comparing ourselves to some ideal that very few people fit into (if anyone really does).

But with all the striving and working, when do we ever just appreciate who we are in this moment? When does all the tweaking stop and the acceptance begin?

We get stuck trying to fix what’s “wrong.” Meanwhile, we ignore what’s right with us. We ignore our gifts and our strengths. Instead, our inner dialogue is one long diatribe about what we’re not and will never be.

I love to write and communicate. That’s what I’m great at. But I remember in high school being completely frustrated with Algebra I. Frankly, I couldn’t understand why I needed it in the first place, but at the time I was told that it would hone my analytical skills.

Well, all it did was piss me off and make me hate doing my homework. After that, I decided that I hated math because I was obviously bad at it.

Well, imagine my surprise when I took Trigonometry in my senior year and loved it. What happened? It wasn’t until years later that I realized that I could visualize the concepts in Trigonometry, and that made it easier for me to understand.

If a visual person isn’t taught using visual examples, it’s kind of a problem, isn’t it? Even more to the point, I didn’t learn critical thinking from math. I learned it from analyzing literature in my college English classes. So much for a one-size-fits-all world.

Instead of focusing on what we’re not, we need to appreciate what we are. Our strengths are everything. They have value. They shouldn’t be ignored so that we can work hard on trying to fix what we’re not.

When you’re ready for a break from constant self-improvement, try this:

1. Create a self-love affirmation. Try something like, “I love myself as I am” or “I value myself.”

2. Take stock of yourself and what you’ve accomplished. Give thanks–even for the things that you’re not totally comfy with right now.

3. Forget being perfect. If you love and care about yourself, you’ll want to be the best version of you that you can be.

Here’s the thing, if you’re in a constant state of improvement, you’ll never appreciate your strengths. In fact, you won’t even see them.

And if you don’t love and appreciate you, who will?

Copyright © 2014 Deborah A. Bailey

Photo Credit: Nick-K (Nikos Koutoulas) via Compfight cc

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Why there are More than enough Opportunities to Go ‘Round

I used to wa00433095tch a lot of reality shows where people competed for prizes. In one of the shows, one of the contestants was worried that another person would take “her” prize.

Nope. There’s no way that anyone else could’ve won her prize if it was really hers.

That’s not the way it works.

If you have a dream or desire there is a way for it to manifest. Really. That’s why you have it in the first place. I don’t mean a daydream or a wish. Like if you wished you could be a champion ice skater in the Olympics and you’ve never set one toe on the ice.

I mean a desire, a passion, a thing that drives you to get up and get going.

I’ll give you an example. Years ago after I graduated from college, I had a dream to visit Paris one day. Not only that, but I wanted to get a job in the fashion industry. About two weeks later, I got a brochure from Parsons School of Design for their summer in Paris program. Imagine my surprise.

And what’s even more interesting, I never put myself on Parsons’ mailing list. Yet here was the brochure. After reading it, I made my decision. I was going. So I filled out the application and sent it in. About a month later, I got the news, I was accepted. I was going.

Here’s the thing, I could’ve received that brochure and tossed it aside. I could’ve procrastinated. I could’ve let fear stop me from taking any action. But instead when the opportunity came, I jumped on it. It was my dream and my desire, and I didn’t let it pass me by.

Here’s how it goes:

  • Create a vision for what you want
  • Believe in it even when you don’t see any sign of it coming (that’s especially the time to believe)
  • Prepare for its arrival
  • Recognize it when it comes (if you have a vision, you’ll know what your opportunity looks like when it comes)
  • Trust your gut and take inspired action

When preparation meets opportunity, that’s called luck. You’re ready, you’ve decided even before the thing comes that it’s yours. You can either walk through the door…or not.

It’s your choice.

Copyright © 2014 Deborah A. Bailey

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Read this the Next Time You’re Desperately Longing to Change Your Life

Rear view of a young woman holding a paint roller“Most people are not really free. They are confined by the niche in the world that they carve out for themselves. They limit themselves to fewer possibilities by the narrowness of their vision.” -V.S. Naipaul

Why do we stay in bad situations? If you’re feeling disgusted, angry or frustrated, then you know what I’m saying.

Or maybe it hasn’t gotten that far yet. Perhaps you’re just tired, bored and feeling like you could be doing something else with your life.

I’ve been there plenty of times. There’s a point where you know you’re not happy, but you keep going through the motions because it’s easier than calling it quits.

We stay long past the time when we should have left, then we end up rationalizing why we’re staying. If we want to move on, we have to prepare for it.

In my last corporate job I procrastinated about making a career transition. My new career was not going to just show up at my house and knock on the door. I had to at least meet it halfway.

Instead I tried to talk myself into staying where was, because after all, it wasn’t that bad. I was getting paid. So what if the environment was negative and I felt stifled, was it really going to be different somewhere else?

Sometimes we procrastinate because we aren’t ready to make a change. Even though I disliked by job, it was familiar. It’s strange how we can be unhappy with a situation and yet comfortable with it at the same time.

Although it’s human nature to wait until we’re forced to take action, it’s not the best course to take. I’ve done that enough to know that in the end, it’s not worth it.

What I’ve learned (finally) is that it’s better to move towards something than to be running away from something. When you know when to leave, you get to decide where you are going.

Copyright © 2010 – 2014 Deborah A. Bailey

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

Totally freaked out about Money? How to Make Peace with it Right Now

6041500642_0abe552ec5_bHow many times have you wished you had enough money to quit your job? Or maybe enough money to inject a bunch of cash into your business start-up?

Many of us have grown up hearing things like, “money doesn’t grow on trees,” or “the rich get richer.” Let’s not forget the big one, “money is the root of all evil.”

As we grow up we begin to say them ourselves. We teach them to our children. After a while, these beliefs define our experience with money.

Money and Freedom

When I worked in my corporate job, spending became a way for me to feel like I’d accomplished something in my life. Buying whatever I wanted, when I wanted (even though it was on credit) made me feel powerful.

It was exciting to constantly get new things, new packages being delivered, accumulating more possessions. After I opened the box, I’d put the item away–sometimes never to be worn. All that matter to me was the high I got from getting the new thing!

On one hand I was empowered by money, on the other my spending made me a prisoner to my job. Without a steady paycheck, how could I continue to maintain my “lifestyle?” For years this pattern kept me from moving out of the corporate world and into my own business.

Money and Value

Often business owners will struggle because they don’t know how to value themselves and set their fees accordingly. Sometimes it’s tied to self-esteem. Or it’s a leftover from our time in the employee world, the place where we learned that hours worked =  value.

When you work hours for dollars, you don’t look at the value you bring by being able to solve a problem or fill a need. You look at time spent. If you’re building widgets, maybe that will work. If you’re bringing experience and skill to the table, not so much.

Money and Beliefs

If you believe money is evil, will you feel comfortable making a lot of it?

If you believe that rich people are selfish, would the idea of being rich make you feel comfortable?

If your family or friends believe that money is limited (or only in the hands of a few), will it  feel good having more money than they do? Probably not. You might even be afraid that they’ll reject you if you did.

Money is not good or evil. Just as with many other things, it can be used for good intentions…or for destructive ones. Feeling guilty about having money won’t lead you to get more of it. Instead, you’ll end up doing everything not get it–whether consciously or unconsciously. Things like charging less than your work is worth, or believing that you don’t have a right to ask for what you deserve, or having contempt for money because focusing on it means you’re “selling out.”

By the way, the quote about money being the root of evil is incorrect in more ways than one. The actual quote is this: “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:10 (New American Standard Bible)

I don’t mention this quote to make any statements about religious beliefs, but to show that one of the most devastating sayings about money has been misquoted to begin with!

Money itself is a tool, nothing more. If we believe that having it is bad, then we’ll always stay stuck in conflict with our desires–and with reality. We need money in order to buy what we need to live and to function.

When we take an honest look at our money beliefs, we can start to get clear and make better choices. Many business owners want to be of service and help others. But how helpful can we be to ourselves or others if we’re struggling to pay our bills?

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3 Truths about Having Dreams I Wish I’d Known Years Ago

3719561835_77503c5e59_zHave you ever been told that dreams don’t matter? Or that they’re lame? Or that dreaming isn’t as important as doing? If so, it’s time to rethink that advice.

1. Dreams are expressions of your desires

Whether you call it a dream or a vision or a goal, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you know what you want. A lot of people don’t have a clue what they really want. They just go from day to day, walking through their lives with no real purpose. If that’s fine for you, carry on. But if it’s not, it’s time to ask yourself where you’re heading. Are you just clocking in each day on autopilot, or do you have a destination in mind? Get in touch with your desires for your life. Dare to dream.

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.” – Henry David Thoreau

2. Dreaming is not the same as daydreaming

There is a difference. Daydreams are fine. They can be a lot of fun. To me, the key difference is that you have to take action at some point to make your dreams real. Maybe you’ll get an intuitive hunch to follow up with someone, or show up someplace. Or you’ll decide to take that class, start that business, apply for that new job. Action has to happen somewhere along the line. When I decided to leave corporate, it would’ve been a daydream if I’d never made the decision and taken action. But I followed through and my dream became real.

“Hold fast to dreams, For if dreams die, Life is a broken-winged bird, That cannot fly.” – Langston Hughes

3. It’s okay to change your mind

If you had a dream as a child to be a writer and instead you were led in a different direction, that doesn’t mean dreams are bad. You do get to change your mind. Nothing is set in stone. Maybe you admired someone and wanted to be just like them, and down the road, you realized that wasn’t likely.

So what? That doesn’t make you a failure. It doesn’t mean dreams are bad. Just be the best YOU that you can be. Dreams aren’t limited. You can always dream a new one if you want.

“Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete? Proving nature’s laws wrong, it learned to walk without having feet. Funny, it seems to by keeping it’s dreams; it learned to breathe fresh air. Long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else even cared.” – Tupac Shakur, The Rose That Grew from Concrete

Being a dreamer does not negate being a “do-er.” They can be two sides of the same coin. Got a dream, a desire, a vision? Let that lead you to where you want to go. Take action and keep following your star. The naysayers have their own path to walk. Don’t let them discourage you from following yours.

 

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