Defining Decisions

You know that saying, “Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed?” No one is productive when they’re grumpy in the morning.  They wake up in a bad mood and they can end up carrying that feeling with them the rest of the day.


Thursday night was pretty uneventful. I am thankful that I had the foresight to decide what I would be wearing in the morning and placed my dress, tights and shoes out by the chair in my bedroom.  I remember thinking that since I was waking up extremely early to get to a morning event, I wouldn’t want to be making difficult decisions like, “what should I wear?”  I decided what time I needed to wake up and I set the alarm.


At 4:45 I woke up, saw the time, and realized that I had a whole hour left of sleep.  Listening to my dog snoring in my ear, I immediately fell back to sleep.  The next time I woke up was 6:20. I stared at the clock and thought, “it’s just 6:20”.  My next thought was, “IT’S 6:20!!!!” It finally registered— I was meeting someone in 15 minutes.  I will admit that the first minute of my 15 minutes was a complete waste of time.  I spent it running in a circle achieving absolutely nothing, but things became more productive from that point on.  I threw on my clothes and began to fix my hair and put on my make-up.  As the dog watched, it dawned on me that I needed to allot time in my valuable 15 minutes to let him out and feed him.  As you might imagine, he let me know this was non-negotiable.


I ran back upstairs, grabbed my phone and brushed my teeth.  I had full make-up on and was completely dressed and was ready to walk out the door. I drove to meet my friend and got there only three minutes late. Not bad considering!


Looking back on that morning, it had all the makings of a really, really horrible day. One of those days that starts out really bad and just gets worst as it goes on. Not to mention that I actually got in a car to drive without having my coffee.  You need to understand that I go absolutely nowhere until I have my morning cup of coffee. However, my time calculation told me that it was either coffee or the dog, and the dog won.


Now here’s the interesting part of what happened that morning.  Aside from my one minute that was wasted running in a circle and spouting expletives, the rest of the time was just focused on getting my tasks done and moving ahead so I could follow through with my responsibilities. I didn’t spend any time thinking about how dumb I was, or why did this have to happen to me, or how I wasn’t going to have time to do my hair.  I just kept moving ahead and accepting what was.


At some point, the same thing will happen to you. You’ll spill coffee on yourself and stain your outfit, you’ll get soaked in the rain and ruin your great hair, or your alarm won’t go off at the appropriate time.  You have a choice whether you want to let this ruin your whole day or not.  You can focus on how angry and upset it makes you that things didn’t go the way you planned, or you can just let it go and move forward in life. You can be that person that woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I choose to let it go.

Inspirational Quotes

Do you know the secret to finding success in your personal and professional life?  To be honest, I don’t believe the secret can be summed up in just one sentence or thought.  There’s a multitude of things that goes into you being able to accomplish your dreams. In lieu of this fact, I have compiled a few of my favorite quotes about success and why they speak to me.


“If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful after all”—Michelangelo 

What this talented painter was trying to say was the amount of blood, sweat and tears that went into his mastery was incredible.  It was his passion, his work and his life.  There is no way around it— being a success translates into numerous hours of intense work.  If you’re not willing to put in the time and energy and truly dedicate your life to your dream, then you won’t reap the benefits. It’s not an easy process, but it’s more than worth it.


“I think everyone should experience defeat at least once in their career. You learn a lot from it.”—Lou Holtz

If you strive to be successful, get comfortable with failing.  Being successful means that you need to be willing to take risks and put yourself in uncomfortable situations.  Failing along the way is a large part of each person’s journey to finding success. It will humble and center you so you may better understand what’s truly important in life. If you’re willing to listen, failing will teach you more than you can imagine and help prepare you for eventual success.


“Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you too, can become great.”—Mark Twain

What great wisdom from none other than Mark Twain!  When you’re working toward a lofty goal, surround yourself with strong, confident women that support your efforts.  If there are individuals in your life that don’t support your goals, keep in mind that it’s more a reflection of them than it is of you.  Your courage to go after your dreams could make other individuals feel inferior and threatened. Stay the course and focus on your own goals.


“You know you’re on the road to success if you would do your job, and not be paid for it.”—Oprah Winfrey

Well guess what, Oprah? I would do my job for free! However, I realize that wouldn’t be a great business strategy, so I charge for my services.  I am passionate about helping other women achieve their goals and believe that this is my life’s purpose. When I’m working, I don’t’ feel like I’m working (except when I’m doing paperwork which is my least favorite part of my job). The point is that when you’re doing work you love, there’s a great chance you’re going to be successful.


“If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would astound ourselves.”—Thomas Al Edison 

It always pains me to see women that are squandering their strengths and talents.  It’s possible that you don’t even know that you’re talented in a certain area because you haven’t yet put yourself in a position to find out.  The point is that you need to get outside your comfort zone and try some new experiences. You will learn a lot about yourself and may just discover some new skills that you didn’t even know existed.  And with that, comes renewed confidence!


So many pieces of the puzzle need to fit together in order for you to find success.  Do what you love, work hard, stay positive and keep your eye on the prize when things get tough. And most of all, never stop believing in YOU.



Overthinking Things

I was a terrible test taker during my undergraduate days.  It’s not that I didn’t study and prepare enough, because I definitely did that. By the time I was ready to take my test, I knew the material inside and out.  Yet the same pattern repeated over and over; if the test was multiple-choice, I ended up spending way too much time on each question.  After much analysis, I would be able to make a case for choice a, b, c and d all being the valid answers to the question.


I guess you could say that I was a deep thinker.  To put it another way, I was guilty of overthinking on a pretty consistent basis.  This enabled me to receive B’s and C’s on my tests when I really should have aced the exams.  I grasped all the concepts, but I just had a way of making the tests much more complicated than they had to be.


Many years later, I went back to receive my Masters in Social Work.  I was a bit worried about my Social Work Exam looming over my head since I had Post Traumatic Stress from test taking many years before. The test had a reputation for being extremely difficult and I didn’t know anyone that was able to get above a 75%. For two months I studied and studied, determined to pass the test.  I knew the material inside and out. This time, it was going to be different. I had a strategy— I was not going to overthink the test. I was going to go with the first answer that popped in my head and then quickly move on.  I repeated this to myself like a mantra as they read the instructions to us the day of the test. You see, my habits were quite ingrained and I knew that my only shot at passing was to intensely focus on this objective.


I whizzed through two hundred questions and didn’t go back to check my answers. I knew if I analyzed, it would be the kiss of death.  I was the first one to finish the test and leave.  When I stood up, everyone in the room shot me a look of terror.  They couldn’t believe I was done! I heard later that the next person left an hour after me. Of course, true to my overthinking, I spent the whole way home in the car thinking I most certainly didn’t pass the test.


If you’re wondering how it all turned out, I ended up getting the same passing grade as my friends that were there an hour after me.  My strategy worked and taught me a valuable lesson.


Women excel in the area of overthinking.  At some point, you’ve probably made a problem or situation in your life much more complicated than it truly had to be.  Your mind may work overtime, weighing options and searching for the absolute perfect answer.  You can even reach a point where you have “analysis paralysis”— overanalyzing a situation or decision to the point that no action is even taken.  It’s professional consensus that it’s healthy to take time to have a better understanding of self. However, there’s a fine line between attaining more self-knowledge and moving into rumination or thinking in circles.


Who doesn’t remember having deep conversations with your girlfriend about why the guy you were crazy about wasn’t calling you back?  I remember going on forever, analyzing the situation. Yet, looking back, the answer really didn’t need to be so complicated.  If he were really that interested, he would have called you back…end of story.


Overthinking takes a lot of energy. It can be exhausting, frustrating, and a pretty poor use of your valuable time. So maybe it’s time to find a different hobby— one that yields better outcomes. Keep things simple and give the overthinking a rest.

Branding Yourself

Branding seems to be a popular word in the English language these days.  According to the dictionary, branding is the process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme.  There are numerous branding experts that can assist you in finding your special voice in the marketplace.  I’m not a branding expert, but there’re a couple things that seem fairly common sense to me.


YOU are your brand. Your brand is the culmination of every move you make and every action that you take during your day.  It is the total sum of every word that comes out of your mouth and the emotion that others are left feeling after you’ve exited the building. If you truly want to positively stand out from the crowd, then you need to take this seriously. Are you putting your best foot forward on a daily basis? The following are a couple tips to help you decide whether you and your personal brand is on target.


Be certain that your audience is receiving your intended message. Most people focus on the words that they use to sell their concept or product, but the unintended non-verbal message is much more revealing. For example, if you were branding yourself as a successful financial wizard, you would be best served to dress in accordance with your message.  If you’re marketing yourself as a health expert, you should definitely look the part.  If you present as someone that is listless, tired and hasn’t hit the gym for 6 monthes, I doubt you’ll be credible. Often, we focus so intensely on the details, that we miss what’s right in front of our eyes.


Make sure you are sending one consistent message into the universe. When I say consistent, I mean your appearance, demeanor, and affect have to send your intended message every single time you’re out in public. But let’s take it one step further.  When I say consistent, I mean that you (your brand) have to come through in every single move you make in life.  For example, if you’re branding yourself as an advocate for women, you would be smart to communicate with every single woman you come across in your daily travels with the same level of respect— from the cashier in the Walgreens to the store owner where you’re buying your new dress.


Not only is your public presence important, but give thought to every time you represent YOU in email, social media etc. If you are an avid Facebook poster, think long and hard before you post anything that will personify you and your brand.  I SAID ANYTHING! Every single word you use is an extension of YOU.  I have witnessed numerous people that destroy their brand daily by not thinking before they post.  I agree that you have the right to your personal page and you should feel free to talk to your friends about numerous topics. However, keep in mind that every single time you type words that are read by others, you will be conveying your BRAND. Is what you’re posting with your personal friends congruent with the image that you want to convey? If you are serious about growing your brand, you will think twice before discussing some personal or controversial topics that might not appeal to potential clients, friends etc.


I hope you take a few minutes and give thought to your current daily demonstration of your own brand.  Make the needed changes and keep moving forward.