How Tragedy + Perseverance = Empowerment

Today marks the 24 year anniversary of my Mothers’ tragic death.  It also marks the 24 year anniversary of the beginning of my growth process.

It truly amazes me how I can remember every step, every motion, every word, and every emotion of that day 24 years ago but I cannot remember where I set me keys 10 minutes ago.  I can still feel the pain as if it happened yesterday…I can remember the blood curdling screams coming from my pregnant 17-year-old body.  I can remember begging and pleading to everyone in the room to just let me see her….which now I am so thankful they did not give into my pleads. My mother was killed in a terrible car accident and I know that the visual of her mangled lifeless body would have changed me in a way that I may not have been able to recover from .

It took me many years to really experience a breakthrough as a result of my Mothers untimely demise.  I went through several years of depression and a feeling of emptiness. Several years of just being lost.  I was 17 years old when my Mother died.  I was 3 months pregnant and I was marrying the father of my unborn child 2 days later.  I think I lost my Mother when a young girl needs her Mother the most.  I had no idea what I was doing.  I, at 17 years old, didn’t even know how to take care of myself let alone a child…and how to be wife..are you kidding me??????  I was still doing homework for crying out loud….like legit….I was a senior in high school.

If you were to ask me 20 some years ago how I coped and found my way I probably would have told you some bullshit about being strong and working hard and being focused….thinking about that now makes me laugh!  Ask me now how I coped and I will tell you it was because of the leaders, mentors, and the people who gave me guidance.  My Father, my step-Mother, my Sister….they selflessly guided me.  Also, my in-laws at the time.  They had A HUGE impact on my life and I kick myself regularly for walking away from my marriage the way I did.  I divorced my Husband and literally just walked away from everyone.  I was young and scared and didn’t know how to handle things.  I have since apologized to them for my actions and have learned an EXTREMELY valuable lesson as a result of it.  I literally ghosted them….I will never do that to anyone again.  If I make the decision to no longer be part of someone’s life I choose to have the uncomfortable conversation as to why.  Not that I chose not to have a relationship with them I guess I just didn’t know how.  I should have told them that and they could have used their life experience to show me.

At the time I’m sure all those people thought I wasn’t listening….in fact I don’t even think I was listening….like I wasn’t really HEARING them. The point is it still got in my brain…just for later use .  It was through the natural evolution of maturity that I started to call upon some of the input my Dad and step-Mother instilled.  Also, through my growing relationship with my Sister (technically my step-Sister but I feel far too connected to her to address her that way)  who has been a beautiful example of the kind of person I want to be.

What I am trying to say here is that I did not get to this place of clarity for many years.  It did not just magically happen.  I think that is how some people see it though….because they did not actually see my process they naturally assume that I was always this way.  They assume they can never get to that place of enlightenment because they weren’t born that way.  I am here to tell you that NO ONE is born that way.  You become that person as a result of you who you surround yourself with and the stories you tell yourself.

I know that you cannot get to a place of clarity on your own.  It is through learning from others that you obtain that knowledge.  The opposite can also be said…you will get to a place of self-destruction, pain, stagnation, and a feeling of failure by surrounding yourself with the wrong people.  By listening to words of discouragement instead of encouragement, by listening to negativity rather than positivity….that will also take you somewhere…but it is going to take you to a dark place…a place where there will be growth but it will be a place where disease grows…where pain grows…where failure is an absolute.

I choose to use the death of my Mother as the birthplace of where I am today.  My Mother was 39 when she passed…It was nearing my 39th birthday that I had that  “OH MY FUCKING GOD” moment of realizing this was all the life my Mother ever lived.  I can either choose to bathe in pain of her tragic death or rise to the top as a result of it.  It is truly a choice.  It is 110% a fucking decision…..in every possible situation you have a choice…you may not like the choices but you still have a choice.

I made the CHOICE when I had that breakthrough moment nearing my 39th birthday to end my very unhappy marriage….that was the hardest DECISION I have ever had to make.  It was a choice though….either way you look at it….it sucks.  I could have chosen to stay in an unhappy marriage and live a very unfulfilled life OR break up a marriage that impacted the lives of a man, 3 adult children, and a grandchild.  IT FUCKING SUCKED!!!  But, I had a choice and I chose to leave so that I could be my very best self to serve those children better….to serve the my grandson better, to serve my team, my tribe, my community, and ultimately myself better.

Persevering through tragedy is ultimately what makes you unstoppable.  Surviving that time in my life is exactly what led me to where I am today….and I am damn proud of where I am today.  I am a very good person…I know this because I WORK REALLY FUCKING HARD AT IT.  I am strong, I am independent, and I am empowering.  And I have every single person that has ever been in my life to thank for it.  The people who had my best interest at heart as well as the people who were sucking me dry.  I thank every one of them equally.  The good ones for the guidance to the light powerful side and the bad ones for showing me what the dark side looks like and serving as a bad example.

DO NOT WASTE THE PAIN YOU ARE EXPERIENCING RIGHT NOW…It is your catalyst to greatness…it is the fuel that is going to take you to exactly where you want to go!

I please ask that if these words spoke to you in any way or you know someone who could benefit from reading them PLEASE LIKE AND SHARE THIS by clicking here.

It is my mission to help show everyone just how powerful they are. I need your help in spreading this!

10 ways we as a nation are “numbing out”

After listening to the most recent “couragemakers” podcast (click here to experience it for yourself) I really started to think about how much I continue to numb myself. Although I work really hard on self discovery I still have a long way to go. Today’s episode was called “Challenging The Shit That Holds You Back” with Andrea Owen.

Andrea talked about how when she really started down her path of self discovery how her drinking had really accelerated. How when she really started to look deep within herself and address her pain the numbing became more prevalent. That really made me think about how we numb and all the different tools we use to numb. A lot of which you probably don’t think of numbing agents. Also how we really stunt our emotional growth when we numb ourselves.

Growth really happens in the most painful, uncomfortable, awkward times of our lives. If we numb ourselves in those moments to lessen the pain we are feeling we are really doing ourselves a HUGE disservice. If you can put down the drink, put down the doughnut, avoid the pills, or whatever it is that you are reaching for in that moment and just look that pain right in eye…feel the pain, and yes it’s going to hurt like a motherfucker….but those are growing pains and they are necessary.
First, let’s think about all the different agents we use to numb and how it is affecting us and those around us.

1.) Alcohol
This is a tough one for me because I really do enjoy cocktails…Prosecco is my current drink of choice…The thing is though how is it affecting not only you but those around you. Most people would say “what is the harm in just having a couple drinks”…I am one of those someone’s btw. One thing I start to realize with myself though is after even just one drink…I change. I lose momentum. My ambition towards greatness starts to decrease…I get this “meh, it can wait until tomorrow” sort of attitude. For others, they love the way the drink let’s their guard down but then they don’t know when to stop…before they know it they are slurring their speech and depicting themselves as someone their not which can make them look very unattractive to the people they love most.. Then there are the one’s who think they are “OK” to drive and end up injuring themselves and becoming the responsibility of a loved one. Or maybe get a DUI which again puts pressure on the loved one to drive them to work and everywhere else they have to go.  This can often cause resentment and inevitably lead to the end of that relationship. Or the absolute worst case is tragically taking the life of another human being…possibly ruining the lives of an entire family and more.

2.) Drugs
Drugs come in so many different forms now, Legal to illegal. Anything that is going to change the way you FEEL…masking physical and emotional pain, anxiety, sadness, fatigue…I am not talking about antibiotics here. Anything that if when the effects of the drugs wear off that you feel the emotional pain you were trying to mask with the drug in the first place…that is what I am talking about….Although I do not really think that marijuana is a harmful drug at all and I don’t think that legalizing it would be a bad thing it is still a mind altering drug and it numbs you from the pain you should be experiencing for growth. Which leads me to the other point…you cannot selectively numb….if you numb pain…you numb joy and happiness along with it. If you have someone in your life that loves you…they love all of you…the good, the bad, and the ugly. I recognize that many people suffer from feelings of depression and anxiety but I think many times those symptoms can be fought with a change in perspective, ownership of mistakes, and self-love.

3.) Sex
We as humans are here on earth for one reason and one reason only…Connection. So often we don’t allow ourselves to be vulnerable enough to show the people around us who we really are so we feel the only way to feel actual human connection is through sex…I’m not talking about sex with someone you love and have a beautiful relationship with. I am talking about just having a warm body that you are trying to connect with. The problem with that is without that real connection that only comes with vulnerability of the heart you don’t connect anyway and you start to trust people less and less. You start to feel more alone than you did before this “connection” therefore even less likely to truly connect. There can be so much pain involved in this ….I think particularly with women as we tend to get more emotionally attached after sex then men do. When that emotional attachment happens but there is no foundation in which the relationship was formed there is a feeling of rejection when the deed is over with nothing to show for it.

4.) Shopping
Shopping actually boosts the same neurotransmitters, serotonin, as sex and drugs. When we buy things it makes us feel good which in many cases can be awesome. Anytime you make a purchase so many people prosper as a result of it. The company you purchased from, the creator of the actual item, the paper company that the receipt was printed on, the company that created the bag that you carried your time away in…the list goes on and on. The downfall is, much like alcohol, when is enough enough. We are the most in debt nation in the world for this reason. We max out credit cards, we blow our savings, we take out loans, you name it…we do it… all to just keep buying things that we don’t truly NEED. As a result our families suffer as we are now not able to provide the needs, such as food, shelter, clothing, and eduction….or medical needs perhaps. I absolutely believe in buying things that make you feel good but there has to be a limit..it has to just be the things you NEED. Be intentional with your purchases. If you don’t absolutely love it then you don’t need it.

5.) Video Games
Whether they are on a gaming console, your phone, or your computer games can often times act as a distraction from the pain you are feeling. I think a game, when you are intentional about when you choose to play it is awesome. If you find yourself reaching for your phone, computer, or game controller because you begin to feel the tinge of pain when you sit in silence….you have to fight the urge and just feel the pain.

6.) Social Media
This is a major one. Social media has a wonderful place in this world. I will forever be grateful for Facebook because that was the medium in which my boyfriend Heath and I were reunited. The question is how are you using it? Aimlessly scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, and other sites is a sign that you are avoiding something. Worse yet, we like to share the things on social media that make us look really really good….what we WANT people to see. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen a couple snap a pic of each other in this really lovey dovey pose with big smiles and pure happiness only to go back to not talking or looking at each other after the photo was taken. We are creating a mirage of what we want people to think in hopes that will make us feel better about ourselves and our lives. All that does is drive us further and further away from connection. Use social media for inspiration, motivation, entertainment…but make sure you are not using it to numb or mask. Unless you are intentionally searching for something or you are posting something that you are really proud of that you think your friends, family, and the rest of the world needs to see tread lightly because you are likely just avoiding facing the pain you are inevitably feeling

7.) Food <——my numbing agent of choice
This is one I can really relate to the most. I have struggled with my weight and my body for as long as I can remember. I love food, I love the way it makes me feel. I love the feeling of being full…not stuffed but full. I wish salads would give me the same satisfaction as pizza did! We need food for survival which is what makes it extra difficult. You can’t just say “ok, that’s it, I’m quitting food”. Food is a must. Unfortunately there is something in a big ol’ plate of nachos that really gives me comfort than I cannot find in a bowl of quinoa and kale. This is something I have really been working on. Identifying when I am truly hungry versus when I am just trying to numb some pain. When I am traveling the road of healthy eating though it is amazing the difference you feel. The energy and genuine happiness you feel. Because I am not filling a void or feeling of emptiness with a sleeve of Oreo’s I am forced to face my demons and identify with where they are stem from….and fight them.

8.) Television
This is very much in the same realm as social media and video games. If you find yourself scrolling through the guide on tv…you are avoiding something. If you reach for the remote, find exactly what you want to watch, and pay attention and enjoy that is different. I think, again, like social media and video games, television has a wonderful place in this world….but you have to be aware of are you just distracting yourself, just passing time??? Or are you engaged with what you are watching?

9.) Over-exercising
I have a feeling there would be some people who would fight me on this but it’s true. Exercise is something, much like food, that we all need. This is also something that so many people avoid…myself included. However, there is a whole lot of truth in “too much of a good thing is bad”. Working out also stimulates that beautiful neurotransmitter, Serotonin. It makes us feel good which is awesome but there are people that are spending 5-6 hours of everyday working out. Our bodies need rest and our brains need to be stimulated. I get it though…nothing makes you feel like you can conquer the world more than working out. But it has to come in healthy doses. Work out, build muscle, burn fat, escalate your heart rate….but be cognizant of when you are just trying to numb out…trying to avoid the emotional pain.

10.) Plastic Surgery
We see this all the time in Hollywood. The most beautiful people in the world go under the knife in hopes of changing the way they feel inside. I can understand how this happens. As I’ve gotten older it becomes harder and harder to identify with the person I see in the mirror…who is that person? Inside I feel like a young 22-year-old woman but I look in the mirror and see the reality, It can be tough to swallow. I am not against plastic surgery….I think if a little enhancement is going to make you feel beautiful go for it. A nose job, breast enhancements, Botox, facelift. Go for it….BUT, if you find that you get one of those done and you end up wanting to go back for more there is a deeper issue there. You have pain that needs to be felt and fought and until you do that there is not enough plastic surgery in the world that will make you feel beautiful. You have to feel it on the inside before you yourself can see it on the outside.

What this all comes down to is being intentional. Give yourself a few moments every single day to feel your emotions. When you are in the car alone, turn off the radio, put your phone on airplane mode, and just be. For most people this is going to hurt….to actually feel your emotions…it can be excruciating but once you do it…it is the most peaceful beautiful feeling in the world. Trust me on this, I can always feel when I haven’t gave myself a little silence. When I do though, I recognize my value, my worth, my beauty, and my power. You will too!

 

This is what the path to greatness feel like

Over the course of the past 2 years I have truly come to realize that if you are not completely fucking terrified that you are at a standstill in personal growth.  That feeling of complete terror has actually become a place of comfort for you me.  It’s crazy how some things in life just become the new normal.

Embracing fear has become the mantra of my life.  I have actually gotten to a point of enjoying the feeling that fear gives.  My stomach starts to spin, I get very clammy, there is a feeling of shortness of breath, and my heart feels like it is pounding so hard you can see it through my skin.  When I start to feel those things I know that something amazing is going to happen.  It usually comes in the form of tragedy though…later revealing itself as a lesson.

How do you get to that place?  YOU CHOOSE IT! You CHOOSE TO change your perspective on terrifying moments.  When your gut tells you to run and hide from something you have to start hurling yourself into it instead….CHOOSING TO believe that is going to be great.

In my opinion there is nothing more terrifying than baring your soul….showing the world exactly who you are.  Taking off any mask that you have worn in hopes of acceptance.  That feeling of complete terror tells me that greatness is right around the corner.  The world doesn’t need a knock off of something else…which is exactly what a mask is. The world needs your true self…a fresh beautiful perspective that can only come from you.

What does greatness feel like to you?

This is what happened when technology failed me…again

In my quest to change the way the beauty industry is viewed by empowering new and seasoned stylists to earn the respect they so greatly deserve I was presenting at a local cosmetology school.  I do this by teaching the importance of how you show up in the world.  The night before I made sure I was completely prepared by testing out my projector, hooking up my laptop, and doing my presentation.  Of course as luck would have it when I got to the school and hooked everything up…. nothing ..zilch …nada.  Nothing worked.  I had to get creative….I had to rely on my story telling to get me through my 1.5 hour presentation.

After the presentation the students willingly gave me feedback telling me they enjoyed this class so much more than my past presentations.  It was my vulnerability and my engagement with them they really enjoyed.  I was very thankful for the feedback since I had another presentation at the same school later that evening.  When I arrived I had made the decision to not even try to use technology.  I was incredibly nervous because I realized that 1/2 of the class was comprised of the same students I had presented to earlier.  I thought it was going be a whole new class.  The story I had going through my head was that these students were thinking “great, I have to listen to her babble on again for another 1.5 hours”.  What the truth actually was though is they were completely engaged.

When I left there I felt really good about everything.  I felt that my message was well received…the next day…I had gotten an email telling me just how well received it really was.

“Hello, my name is Danielle. I was at HP Collage in Dekalb Tuesday night getting my hair done by my sister while you were guest speaking to the class. I know the speech wasn’t intended for me, but I feel as though I was meant to be there and hear you talk. I am at work right now, still trying to process and reflect on everything you said. What stood out the most to me is “fake it until you become it”, that hit me personally because I struggle with self-confidence. I always imagine a way I’d like to “appear” to others, but never was able to work up the courage to become that person. Well, this morning I woke up early, curled my hair, put on my brightest red lipstick and went to the back of my closet and pulled out a pair of heels I bought 6 months ago and had yet to wear them. I try them on almost every day… but they never made it out the door, until today. Today I am dressed the way I want to be seen from head to toe and I feel amazing. Walking into work was a little awkward, but I was flooded with compliments. I can’t explain to you how good I feel. I can’t wait to see what my future holds. I just needed to thank you and make sure you knew that you did this. You successfully changed a life over-night. My goal is to write down things I remember so I can keep reflecting and putting your words into my everyday life. Thank you Gina, thank you thank you.”

As much as she thinks my words changed her life….her words changed mine.  This made me think about one of my favorite Ted Talks.  How telling someone the impact you had on their life effects you.  Because Danielle went out of her way to share that with me has given me the confidence to pursue this mission that I am on full strength!!! Danielle has now became a leader herself….first, this new lease on life she has is going to inspire and empower those around her to do the same….second, because she sent that email my mission has gotten greater and I will continue to change the lives of others….SHE DID THAT.  A leader is defined as a person who guides or directs.  Well Danielle is definitely keeping me in the direction of greatness.

I am a firm believer in the power of the universe.  A dear friend gave me this great little box of inspirational quotes and daily motivators. Yesterday here is the one I pulled…it gave me chills.  “You have within you right now, everything you need to deal with whatever the world can throw at you” by Bryan Tracy.  EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU HAS THE POWER OF GREATNESS.  Are you showing it to the world?  Put yourself in a position in which you cannot be ignored. How do you do that?  You look your absolute best…if you put on an outfit in the morning and your thought is “meh, it will do”…BURN THAT SHIT.  It does not belong in your closet.  Get a killer haircut, do your makeup, smell irresistible, only wear something that you know you look fucking amazing in.  Make eye contact, shake hands, smile, use killer dialogue, stand up straight, be on time, and have a great attitude.  If you are not confident enough to do these things…..fake it, fake it every damn day until one day you realize you’re not faking it…you have just become that confident!!!

Please share this with everyone you know!!!  Shit, share it with everyone you don’t know too!  You never know who might be reading that needs to hear these exact words!

 

This is what happens when you share your story

Today is one of those days that I will remember as one of the greatest I have ever experienced.  You know those days????  When you can reflect on something that happened or someplace that you went and it changed you forever.  Today was one of those days for me.

It began with a breakfast meeting with my very first “professional” mentors.  Stephen and Tricia Wake who own Focas Salon in Saint Charles IL.  They taught me so much!  So much more than how do to kick ass hair.  They taught me how to be an amazing human being.  They opened my mind to a whole life I didn’t even know was possible.  A couple of weeks ago I had this moment where I had just realized what a profound impact these 2 people had on my life.  I had always known it but I saw it differently at that moment for whatever reason.  I knew immediately that I had to contact them!  I had to let them know how wonderful they are.  As a fellow small business owner we hear criticism on a regular basis and it is so rare that people go out of their way to share the good stuff.  I knew that I had to let them know what a positive effect they had on my life.  I knew going in that 2 things would happen as a result of it #1.  It would give them the extra boost of confidence that comes from knowing you impacted someones life and it would keep them moving forward in helping them build their team.  #2.  It would allow me to work on my vulnerability and story sharing.  What happened though was so much more than that.  It became a collaboration of minds.  3 like-minded people traveling the same path in life sharing our “secrets” to success with one another to help empower the other.  It was beautiful.

Next, I was in-between appointments and I was starving.  There is a whole lot of eating involved in today I am realizing.  Anyhow, I decided to check out this new restaurant in town called Craft Urban in Geneva, IL.  Holy shit is this place incredible…1st off…talk about a visually appealing environment.  It’s wide open, brightly colored but not obnoxiously, everyone has an edginess to them but not in an intimidating kind of way, and oh my god…the kindness…the genuine kindness.  SO amazing!  That is what I noticed just while walking in.  Now, you get to the menu…simple, to the point, unique selections, OBVIOUSLY INTENTIONAL in every possible way.  I struck up an amazing conversation with the bartender and the owner.  This place is special.  Not to mention they have a Friday and Saturday late night Ramen menu….what?????  Every Friday and Saturday they have a new ramen selection.  Taco Tuesdays serving different tacos every week…YUM, but I digress.  The point is I learned their stories and it was beautiful.

Lastly but certainly not least I went to a new place for my pedicure today.  Lisa Clark at Lacquered Up in downtown Geneva, IL.  This woman….oh my god this woman.  She is the most beautiful soul with such an amazing story not to mention she does some killer nails for a super super reasonable price (side note). It was because she shared her story and truly engaged in mine that I made a connection with this beautiful human being that I will never forget.  I am truly and I do mean TRULY a better person as a result of talking to her for an hour.  Her insight on life, love, perspective, intentionality, and her spiritual mindedness changed me!!  Listen to what I am saying…..if she hadn’t allowed herself to be vulnerable and true that connection would have never happened.  If I put up a wall and didn’t engage with her we both would have missed out on a connection.

Remember that is the whole purpose of life...connection.  That is why we are here.  There are so many people in the world that would say “oh it’s just nails”, or “it’s just hair”, or “it’s just bartending”…the list goes on of occupations that are snubbed but think of it this way…we sat eye to eye, there was actual physical contact which means there was a transfer of energy…we engaged with one another…we allowed ourselves to be vulnerable.  If that is not some powerful shit I don’t know what is.  Not only did Lisa give me the confidence that comes from looking my best….I feel great when my feet look good!  She also touched my mind and my soul.  Because of that PEDICURE I am a better person.  I grew as a human being.  Thank you Lisa Clark!  (630) 277-2555 for all you local people….you won’t regret it 😉

Here is my point….it was through actual real conversation….REAL CONVERSATION that I was able to connect with people on a beautiful plane today.  Imagine what I would’ve missed out on if I would’ve just been on my phone the whole time.  What if I hadn’t reached out to Stephen and Tricia because I was to embarrassed about what they would think about me contacting them out of the blue.  Imagine if I would’ve been to self-conscious to dine alone and didn’t go into Craft Urban today.

No matter who you are…no matter what your path in life is…you have so much to offer!  You are so powerful….you have the ability to change someones entire life but ONLY if you allow yourself to be your true authentic self.  Embrace every facet of your existence…whether you came from a life of tremendous abundance or horrible scarcity.  No matter if you are a brain surgeon, a CEO, a nail technician, a hairdresser, a server, or a student…..YOU HAVE THE ABILITY TO CHANGE THE WORLD…I beg you please do not pass that opportunity simply because you were too afraid to put yourself out there.  GO BIG….show the world exactly who you are!

Please pass this along..  I would be humbled and honored if you would share this with someone in your life!

Intentional living comes in many forms…here is what I’ve learned about the latest form I have discovered

It amazes me more and more everyday how many forms intentionality comes in.  Lola, my badass salon, recently fell victim to a ransom-ware attack.  This is when a hacker breaks into your system, encrypts all of your files, and holds them from ransom.  The goal for the hacker is 2 things…1st, hopes that in an act of desperation that you will pay whatever monies they are asking to un-encrypt the files.  Even before all the IT advise of not paying them came through I knew I would never do that.  I wouldn’t care if they were asking a dollar and it was guaranteed that I would get my shit back….I would tell him to go fuck himself….I don’t reward bad behavior.  The 2nd goal is to upload a key logger which tracks all of your keystrokes.  The hacker would be able to see everything you are typing in hopes of getting usernames, passwords, account numbers, and such.  So the ultimate goal is identity theft.  The way it has been explained to me is that in our situation it was a random attack by using the power of trial and error guessing IP addresses until one matches and then they are able to get in.  Not being very tech savvy I didn’t realize that our level of protection against this was very minimal.  I take full responsibility in this.  I should have been more INTENTIONAL on making sure that was the case….lesson learned.  I have now aligned myself with the best of the best in technology to prevent this from ever happening again.

I tell you this story to lead to my point that intentionality comes in all shapes and sizes.  Technically the hacker that attacked us was certainly practicing intentionality unfortunately it was not with good intentions.  Be sure that the intentionality you practice follows the golden rule.  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.  Although I do believe that you need to be number one in your life because if you are not in a good place you can’t be great for those around you…however make sure that what you are doing is not directly hurting an innocent bystander.

The other way intentionality was practiced in this story is how the situation was handled by myself and my team.  The moment I learned about what had happened I recognized that there was nothing I could do to change it so we went into full on plan mode.  We immediately devised a plan on how we could reach our guests since we had lost 100% of their contact information, all of our appointments, all of our inventory, all of our history….it was as if Lola never existed.  There was no getting mad, there was no yelling, no crying, no “why me’s”….just inertia to move forward.   THIS IS NOT A NATURAL THING FOR ME….I WAS NOT BORN THIS WAY.  It was through the continued practice of intentional living that brought me to this place of clarity.  If I’m being honest I am actually very thankful for this mess.  It was tangible proof of my growth!  To be able to look at something so monumental and earthshaking and know that you overcame it with grace and dignity is the most empowering, incredible, un-fuck-withable feeling your can every experience.  As a result of this absolutely horrible situation I have become a force to be reckoned with.  I now know that I can DO ANYTHING!!!!

Please use me as the proof that you can be, do, feel, experience, have, behave, live parent, love, learn, and grow in the way you choose…IT IS A DECISION!  And the second you make that decision you become a different person.  Don’t get me wrong there are ups and downs and the key is to only surround yourself with people who recognize the greatness you are striving for.  If you don’t have those people in your life….I will be that person for you.  I know what you are capable of…I know how brilliant and powerful you really are!

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Me really means Us

Yesterday I celebrated my 41st birthday.  41 YEARS!!!  Holy shit!  Although some would say I have 41 years of experience under my belt I will say for the first 39 of them it was truly one 1 year of experience done 39 times.

When I reflect of the first half of my life it was me just skating.  No real destination…just wake up, do my thing, go to bed and repeat.  I feel like I have learned and truly experienced more in the last 2 years of my life than I did in those 39 years that came before it.

In my ongoing quest of intentional living it must be known that I share these stories as a way of letting YOU know that anything is possible. That YOU can do and be whatever and whoever you want.  The words I and me are used a lot in my blogs but what those words really mean are you and us.  What I mean by that is that I am just a girl…just a 41-year-old suburbanite woman with nothing more than a high school diploma and a cosmetology license.  There is not one single thing that I have done in my life that ANYBODY couldn’t do.

As you read these stories and insights I hope you are able to look at them through a reflective lens.  YOU are capable of living whatever life you want to live…the key though is to first figure out what that is.  What does the life you want to live look like?

I have started an online course that helps you really figure out what your goals in life are. Vishen Lakhiani, creator and founder of Mind Valley, has such a knack for helping you figure out exactly what you want out of life.  He will guide you through an exercise in which you create goals based on the 3 most important categories…Experience, Growth, and Contribution.  Within those 3 categories are 4 sub-categories.  In the experience category is love relationships, friendships, adventures, and environment.  In the growth category is health and fitness, intellectual life, skills, and spiritual life.  Finally in the category of contribution is  career, creative life, family life, and community life.   You write these things down and when you are done you have everything you want out of life on paper that you can see everyday!

The course is called Extraordinary by Design…it is completely free and it is a wonderful self-exploration exercise. Click here to start living the life you have always wanted.  It does not require a lot of time.  Each session averages about 15 minutes.  Some are a little more…some a little less.  You have absolutely nothing to lose except for a life that you are not happy with!

I have been amazed at how much I have learned about myself in this short process.  As I mentioned earlier when I say I it means you…so you will be amazed at what you learn as well.  When you are finished making your sheets hang them at home and at work where everyone can see them.  Encourage friends, family, and co-workers to do the same so that you can all connect as human beings and support each other through your path!  I am so excited for you!  Enjoy the process and please share your stories of discovery with me.  Also share your goals with me and everyone….you never know who may be the person who can connect you with a goal!!!

 

Intentionally Lola, Dopamine Dealer. Here’s my card

Hey kids, I’ve got something for you. You are going to love the way it makes you feel. I’m going to give you just a little taste of it now. Go tell all your friends about it and then come back and see me when you’re ready for more.

What is it that you’re getting a taste of you ask? It’s called dopamine and I’ve got the good stuff! I’ve been getting my supply from people around the world but I just got my biggest and best supply to date and I am willing to share it with you. There’s a catch though. You have to take it and share it with your friends.

Here ya go, open your mind wide and say ahhhhhhh. Here’s a taste.

You know that thing that you’ve been wanting to do? You hear that voice in your head that keeps nagging you about what you really WANT to do in your life? Well, today is the day. Today is the day that you start making that shit happen and stop waiting for the right time. That “right time” is never going to come.

Today is the day that you start seeking out the other people in the world that have done what you are wanting to do. They are out there but here’s the thing…you have to find them. Find them, talk to them, ask them questions, and then implement their suggestions. Then go back and ask them more questions….not until you have used all the information they gave you last time though. Nothing is going to annoy a great mentor more than a person asking for help and then them not taking action on it.

Find out what books they’re reading. Find out what podcasts and TED-talks they are listening to….then you read those books….you listen to those podcasts and TED-talks. Then start doing the things they are doing. Here’s the thing…because you have a different personality, different look, different style…you could try to do things exactly like that other person but it will be a little different because it will be coming from you. You are going to put your own unique spin on it and maybe even make it better than the original.

Surround yourself with the people you want to be like….that’s how you make shit happen. BAM! I know you’re gonna run out of that little supply I gave you but you know where to find me….I’ll be here and I can give you even more next time. You just let me know how much you’ll need and I will make sure you get plenty. Make sure you share it with your friends too though. They will love it just as much as you do!!!

Why empathy is crucial to intentional living

When I made the decision to live an intentional life I was met by much resistance from many of the people closest to me.  I realized because I made the decision to move forward and it did not benefit them I appeared to be selfish as I was “leaving them behind”.  I was called cold and heartless by the people I loved most and the people I thought loved me the most.  It was a very painful time for me but I had to keep moving forward.  I knew that the last thing I could be described as is a heartless person therefore this had nothing to do with me so much as it did with them.

It was around that same time that I had heard something that changed the way I connected with people from that day forward.  “Everyone thinks they are the good guy”.  So simple but so profound.  In every situation no matter the person, the circumstance, or the subject….every person involved believes that what they are doing the right thing.  From that moment forward I always put myself in that persons shoes.  This helped me identify and connect with people on a deeper plain.

Empathy, the act of understanding and knowing how another person feels has helped me in moving forward easier.  When I look back at that time in my life I can now fully understand why they gave me so much resistance.  Their life was changing without their permission.  They were scared.  It was fear of the unknown that caused them to react the way they did.  There is nothing I could do about that however just knowing why has really helped me.

I share this with you in hopes that it will help you understand why people do the things they do.  It is important that you do not change your course as a result of their actions rather make your course smoother as you will have a greater understanding as to why they feel the way they do.

Next time you find yourself putting a label on someone…”oh, she’s crazy…or he’s an asshole”…whatever it is…take a moment and try to see things from their perspective. Very often it is either a person’s fear or fearlessness that we are labeling…not the person themselves.  It is their behavior that we are seeing which is as result of something bigger. It has nothing to do with who that person is at their innermost core rather what obstacles they are currently facing…that is what we are seeing and labeling.

I invite you to use an empathetic approach today.  You will find that you stay much calmer when you are faced with obstacles.  Please share those stories with me!

 

 

What is living intentionally?

I was reminded today of how I had a missed opportunity of being intentional.  When I began this journey of creating a blog on living an intentional life I skipped over the absolute most important part….Defining it!  One huge aspect of taking on this new way of thinking is to NEVER assume anything.  Also when you realize that you made a mistake…fix it.  So here I am.  Taking ownership and being intentional with my decision to define a lifestyle that I so passionately believe in.

This blog was meant as a road map to living an intentional life.  If you didn’t have a clear definition of what that was it would seem very undesirable.  We tend to shun the unknown.  Allow me to introduce you to intentional living.

Intentional [in-ten-shuh-nl]  Adjective: Done with intention or on purpose

To be on purpose every single day.  To live a life that happens FOR you not TO you.  When you live on purpose you have a reason for everything you do, wear, say, read, watch.  You’re intentional on where you shop, the products you use, the car you drive.  You create the world you want to live in.  You choose the people you want to surround yourself with.

Because you are taking ownership over every single thing in your life you react very different to obstacles.  When you know you are on purpose and things don’t go as planned you recognize that you have control and can bob and weave appropriately.  The most important thing though is that when things don’t go as planned…you devise a new plan.  Think of it this way.  Imagine a life without the technology we use today…scary huh.  Imagine you are out driving around with no gps…no map…nothing.  You find yourself lost.  You don’t just set up shop in this place because you cannot find your way out.  You keep trying new routes until you find yourself in familiar territory again.  Or you find someone who can help you find your way back.

To be on purpose is to make conscious decisions about everything!  In order to make those conscious decisions you have to define what you want out of life.  Do you want to make more money?  Be specific…how much money do you want? Are you willing to sacrifice the time and energy it will take to make that money?

Do you want a better relationship with your spouse or partner?  What does a “better” relationship look like?  What is it exactly that you want?  More affection?  More quality time?  More help with the kids and home? Define what a great relationship is to you.  Are you willing to give your partner what they need as well?  If you are feeling that you are not getting what you want and need from your partner there is an excellent chance that they are not getting what they need either.  Are you willing to take ownership of your shortcomings in the relationship?  Define what a great relationships is to you.  What are your nonnegotiables?

I have defined a great relationship as one in which my partner respects my feelings…no matter how crazy they may seem.  They know that they are part of a partnership so their actions directly affect me and vice versa.  Someone that is putting just as much into the relationship that they are taking.  Someone that will communicate their feelings to me no matter how vulnerable they feel.  Someone that I can communicate my feelings to and know they will be taken seriously and not used against me.  Someone that is always making sure they are growing and becoming the very best version of themselves.  Someone that has specific expectations of me as well.  I have been very on purpose with my relationship and it is for that reason that it is so healthy.  Have we had our ups and downs.  ABSOLUTELY!!!!  But it was our willingness to communicate that has made us stronger.

What do you want?  Be specific.  Define it!  Create a road map to get there.  Move forward every single day….if you get lost….reroute!