Do you often think about doing something different or implementing a new idea only to allow fear to stop you dead in your tracks without giving the opportunity a try? Do you frequently conjure up a list of reasons to be inactive, why you shouldn’t try or can’t accomplish something?
All too often we build roadblocks to personal and professional success because we allow fear to be a governing force in our life.
Recently, I had the privilege of interviewing for the second time, an incredibly inspiring man, Sean Swarner, who went beyond the bounds of being human and not only faced his fears, but conquered them!
In his teen years, Sean was diagnosed two times with different, unrelated end-stage cancers, and each time he was not expected to live for more than a few weeks. He underwent rigorous treatment, which included the removal of one lung. Throughout his ordeal, Sean wasn’t sure if he would live and he wondered about the future quality of his life. He astounded the medical community when he survived both diseases. But, he didn’t just survive, he emerged stronger than anyone could have imagined!
Developing mental strength was the topic of conversation that I recently had with Amy Morin, author of the 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do series. To be honest, up until a few years ago, I never thought about mental strength or the role it played in my life. I just lived, moment to moment, blindly existing. It wasn’t until my life literally imploded and I came out the other side that I started to wonder how I made it through those challenges, relatively unscathed.
“If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands, if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands, if you’re happy and you know it and you really want to show it if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands”
Thinking about this song brings back joyous memories of dancing around my family room singing it with my children and perhaps, even having it sung to me as a child. The lyrics are simple and yet so profound – if you’re happy and you know it, show it (feel it, live it, experience it).
This past weekend I tried something that I had never done before. One of my friends invited me to a Tarot card party where an expert would offer private readings. Intrigued, I agreed to attend. During my reading, the woman said something that really struck a nerve with me; she told me that I don’t know when I’m happy.
Interestingly, this thought has been on my mind ever since I interviewed Dr. Rick Hanson, the author of Hardwiring Happiness. As a result of our discussion, I have been contemplating whether or not I truly feel happiness.
I was watching television recently when it happened … I saw the first commercial for the Valentine’s Day diamond collection – you know, the gift that every woman will treasure. As I listened to the music and watched as the camera panned the romantic setting, waves of emotion overcame me like a tsunami. At that moment, in my mind, everyone in the world was in a loving, committed relationship and I was going to be the only person sitting home alone on February 14 (most likely eating ice cream).
Realistic assumption? Of course not. But for a few minutes the drama queen in me took over and my emotions ran wild. Fortunately, I was able to reign them in, but the feelings I experienced are very common.
I’m a control freak. There … I said it. I like everything to be in perfect order. I have a difficult time when there is a mess in my surroundings or in my life. Being a person who is addicted to certainty is manageable when everything goes as planned, but what happens when life throws a curve ball? That’s when things get interesting!
As a driven, type A personality, I made sure it was all in order. College … marriage … two kids … a house with a fence … money in the bank. I left nothing to chance. There was always a master plan.
Then, one day, without warning, it all began to unravel. At first it wasn’t anything major, a few issues here and there, but before long, piece by piece, my life fell apart. And when it did, I didn’t know how to cope. I was a person who was addicted to certainty and everything was out of my control. Fear of the unknown consumed me.
This morning I had a conversation with a colleague about the topic of loss and grief and in it we shared intimate details about traumatic experiences that we each have survived. During the discussion, she made an interesting statement. She told me that there was a time when she knew she had to leave the “waiting room”. I have never heard the phrase “waiting room” used in relationship to grief so I asked her to explain. She told me that “waiting room” describes the space between the horrific pain of an experience, and the life of possibilities that can be lived. She added that many people spend their entire lives in the waiting room.
She got me to thinking about all of the time I spent hanging out in the waiting room. Simply existing. Staying in my comfort zone longing for what will never be. Not truly living or thriving!
The holiday season is upon us. It’s a time when people gather to celebrate with those we love. As the song states, it can be the most wonderful time of the year, but, it also can be the loneliest. If you have lost a loved one or suffered a breakup with a spouse/significant other or friend, the holiday season is a constant reminder of the pain.
I know that pain all too well. It wasn’t that long ago that I spent most of my time grieving the loss of my mother, sister and marriage (all within a period of six months). During the holidays (and to be honest most any other day), I would scroll through social media posts, watch TV shows and commercials, and long for the fun and love shared by friends and family. Everyone appeared to be living Hallmark moments, except me.
Grief at any time of the year is painful, but it feels especially traumatic during the holidays.
I recently had a conversation with grief expert, David Kessler, in which we spoke about the stages of grief and how the feelings that accompany a loss can be heightened during the holiday season. While it’s natural to try to suppress the painful memories, according to David, “Healing doesn’t mean forgetting, it means remembering with more love than pain.” And, he says, that happens with time.
To better understand what you may be feeling, David explained the stages of grief, which were created and adapted by he and Elizabeth Kubler Ross. David cautioned that these stages do not necessarily occur in order and they may repeat.
Eight years ago this month, I published the first issue of 24 Seven magazine. I had never untaken anything on my own of such magnitude.
What was once a seemingly crazy idea, has blossomed into more than I could ever have imagined. The magazine’s pages have been graced with the wisdom of so many inspiring and influential thought-leaders; people who are making a real difference in the world. And, each has entrusted me with his or her words.
I spend most days on autopilot, never really grasping the scope of where my brand is going. On some level I understand it, but on another, I am totally amazed.
This morning when I visited our digital hosting site, I learned that the October issue, from this site alone, was viewed more than 739,000 times. Nearly one million people opened my publication. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I am humbled to know that this “little” digital magazine is touching so many lives!
I recently learned that my ex husband got engaged. After living for more than three decades with this man in my life, I must admit, hearing this news was a punch in the gut. I spent the next two days with a horrible feeling surrounding me, you know that uneasiness you get in your stomach after someone close passes away? My body was on edge, I shook inside, and could not shed the anxiousness of impending doom. Even with all of the horrific things that transpired between us, I had an emotional reaction to his engagement.
I’m not really sure why I felt the way I did. I knew he was dating someone exclusively and we haven’t been part of each other’s lives for six years (as he severed all ties when he met her), and yet, I felt a tremendous sense of loss. Loss of the life we were supposed to live, loss of the family I so desperately wanted, loss of many dreams.
I thought I had grieved the divorce and moved on, my life is on a wonderful trajectory and I’m happy, but, there I was again, right in the middle of the pain. Divorce truly is the gift that just keeps giving!
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Mel Robbins, the creator of the Five Second Rule and author of The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work and Confidence with Everyday Courage. According to Mel, we live our lives inside a gap between what’s happening to us and our reaction to it and that gap is about five seconds long. She believes that by implementing her five second rule, which is simply counting back from five to one and then taking action, we can transform every aspect of our life. The premise is that by counting through the five seconds, in which we usually begin to think and allow excuses to come in, we can close the gap, be in control, and override bad patterns in our mind. She says this enables us to take action and to create positive new habits.