Category Archives: Stress

My To-Do List for Today…

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This photo was on Facebook today and it just really resonated me from a personal and professional standpoint.  I seem to be so very busy lately with all sorts of projects, but which ones really speak to me?  I work freelance to be able to have the control over my business and my life.  The kind of freedom that people stuck in their cubicles dream of.  Am I being true to that?

Are you true to yourself?  That’s an interesting question.  It should be the kind of question we all ask ourselves and then have the luxury to be able to live.  Sadly though, many either can’t, choose not to, or even worse, don’t even know that it’s an option.  I fortunately have the option and can, but am I?

The great thing though about life, is you get a choice.  No one can make you do anything.  The “gun to your head” scare tactic…you still have a choice.  “I had no choice” is never an excuse.  And I’ve decided to make some choices to help me get back to being true to myself and what my goals are in my career and my life.

They are not easy choices.  Nothing really truly great in life is an easy choice, an easy decision.  But you know it’s a great choice, a great decision when once you make it and act on it, you feel a release off your shoulders, a spring in your step, an excitement each morning when you awake to face the day ahead.

I have an extremely odd way of making those tough decisions.  I use a Magic 8 Ball.  Yes, that’s right.  I ask my question, swirl the ball around and let it reveal the answer.  BUT, I don’t look at what the Magic 8 Ball says for my answer, I get more philosophical than that.  When I read the answer, I focus on my immediate gut reaction.  Do I feel relieved?  Or do I feel like I was punched in the stomach.  That first, immediate reaction is sub-conscious and can’t be faked.  By honing in on that, it allows me to make those decisions that I know I need to make, but I keep rationalizing both sides of it.

Regardless of the strategies to help make choices, important decisions in your life, they must be made.  Waiting in limbo for too long may make your life stand still, but time is still passing, time that you can not get back.  Time spent worrying, rationalizing, stagnating.

This photo had me thinking about the decisions that I’ve had to make recently that I had been stagnating on.  Those choices that I need to make to get back to who I am, to be true to myself.  Those choices that once made, will drastically improve my personal and professional life because when you are living and working on your purpose, you feel invigorated, alive and most importantly, happy.

How I Found My Purpose in Life…

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Making a Postive Difference in Someone’s Life..

Years ago (heck, might even be close to a decade ago), I did a weekend seminar designed to help you find your purpose in life and then use that purpose to make your dreams come true.  Hokey, I know, but I’m a self-help nut-job.  🙂  After the first full day of classes, I spent the evening really reflecting.  Journaling, just letting whatever come out.  From there I reviewed what I had written when it just hit me…my purpose in life, what truly makes me happy. 

In the workshops, they told us that in order to truly get a honed-in succinct purpose, you had to get it down to 2 or 3 words.  That’s right!  We had to condense our purpose , what we are destined to do in this world, and get it down to 2-3 words.  In that evening’s personal pow-wow, I came up with mine…evoke emotion.  To elaborate slightly, I feel the best, the happiest, the most successful when I am making other people around me happy.  I like to be the cause of people’s happiness.  And it doesn’t have to be anything big or crazy.  Sometimes the littlest things can make someone happy.  Just as a straw can break a camel’s back, so too can straws bring happiness to people (heck, I’m happy everytime I have a straw in my Starbuck’s drink!).. 🙂

I think that’s why I can’t focus my efforts in work at just one genre.  Lots of things that I can do make people happy.  When I put makeup on someone or teach them how to make themselves beautiful, it makes them (and me) happy.  Some of my most favorite customers are the ones that when I finished their look, I couldn’t get the mirror out of their hands.  They were so happy with how they looked, that they actually started tearing up.  I love that!

In my social media and digital communications work, I try to find fun and humor in everything.  With the explosion of tech communication, we are constantly bombarded by news, horror stories, disasters, and drama.  Unfortunately, the drama sells, it goes viral, it’s what clogs up your newsfeed.  And it’s a major downer!   I can’t stand that I scroll and see a natural disaster somewhere, another scroll and I see a man-made disaster, another scroll and children are missing and/or abused, another scroll and there’s racial, sexual, financial hatred.  I can’t stand it.  So I made it my mission to try to change that.  I try to make my posts and articles uplifting, inspiring, and always a tiny bit (ok, some more than just a tiny bit) humorous. 

Sometimes I lose track of it all, but then something happens, someone says something and then I’m reminded of the power I have over other people.  A great friend of mine revealed that she can’t read my posts at work anymore.  I’m serious!  She said it’s because she laughs so crazy, so hysterically that she either spits out whatever she’s eating or drinking all over her charts (she’s a nurse) or she ends up having people run into the room to see if she’s ok.  And I love that!  She’s come to expect that from me and she knows that if she ever needs a pick-me-up, then I’m right there, at any hour of the day, on her smart phone.

I guess you could say that I’m a little bit of a therapist as well.  Taking people when they are having a rough time and making them feel a little bit better, give them a little more hope.  A good friend of mine just lost her job.  That can be devastating in this market especially when you add into the mix that she is a single mother and her car is not working right now.  Being able to help give someone hope and even make them laugh a little helps with the healing process, helps with the moving on.

Now, I’m not going to say that all of this goody, goody, cheerfulness is with me all the time.  I’m human, I have my down times too, just like everyone else.  And there’s times when I simply can’t be that “go-to” gal for my peeps because I’ll have crap going on in my life.  And while I love being there for everyone else’s problems, I do not feel comfortable sharing mine with others.  Weird, I know.  I’m just going to blame it on being an introvert.  Lol.  But I created a separate blog just for me, for my trials and tribulations.  You might say that it’s my therapist.  Twenty minutes typing away and then I’m back to my ole self again.  So, if you need a pick-me-up or a good laugh and I’m not answering, wait 20 minutes.  I just might be dealing with one of my crises.  🙂

Be True to Yourself…

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Hello, my name is Jeanette and I’m an organizing freak.  Yes, I admit it.  I can not function in chaos.  I’m a planner as well.  I have to know all my steps, my master to-do list, my map so-to-speak.  I have always been that way and I am finally comfortable enough and proud to say that I will always be that way.  We all operate and function in different ways.  Just as people learn via different methods, people can also thrive (or not thrive) in various environments.

For years, nay almost a decade, I thought that something was wrong with me, on why I couldn’t succeed in doing things, why others succeeded when I didn’t, why I consistently felt stressed out and not myself.  Part of it was those people that I thought were my mentors and while they were (and still are) amazing people which I learned a lot from, they consistently told me one thing over and over again which seriously hindered me…they told me “quit planning and just do”.  While that may work for most people, I am certainly not most people and it definitely did not work for me.  And it wasn’t until recently that I realized that.

I was bumbling along in my career.  Trying to succeed in this, trying to succeed in that, with zero luck.  I was attempting the “just do”, but I didn’t feel like myself and when you don’t feel like yourself, you definitely lack self-confidence.  And when you don’t have self-confidence, well…everyone can tell.  I didn’t feel strong or sure of myself.  I constantly second-guessed myself.  I consistently let fear of the unknown get the better of me.  And I think that the biggest thing for me is the fear of the unknown.  Heck, I get ridiculously uncomfortable driving in new places unless I’ve reviewed the route via Google Maps at least a half dozen times.  I need to know the route, the back up route and the back up route for the back up route.  The same is true of my life.

I make plans and then I play devil’s advocate to come up with a few back-up plans just in case.  I’m constantly joking around that if you create a back up plan, then you won’t need it, but if you don’t have a back-up plan, then that’s when you’ll need it.  Yeah, I joke about it, but I really truly believe it to the core.  It calms me, it soothes me.  Knowing I have a plan B and a plan C, allows me to relax about plan A, not worry so much about it, have more self-confidence about it and you know what?  I very rarely have to use plan B and I can’t remember the last time I’ve had to use plan C.  It’s just so comforting to me knowing that they are there.

And that works for me.  It gets rid of a lot of the chaos (I’ll never get rid of all of it, nor would I want to as chaos does provide that air of excitement), but most importantly it leaves me with a calmer mind that allows me to succeed in my project du jour.

Now for those naysayers who are thinking to themselves (or even out loud), “Sure, you’re a great planner, but plan all you want, nothing happens until you do something”.  Here’s where I take my planning to the “doing” level.  Once I have a gameplan, I set it up into teeny tiny, succinct to-do lists.  I mean like ridiculously tiny and succinct (google such-and-such to brainstorm, pick top 3 ideas from google brainstorm session, create a gameplan for each top 3 ideas from google brainstorm session-yes, those have been actual to-do items for me).  Then I take those to-do items and add them into my calendar task list for the appropriate day that it should be done on.  If a to-do item doesn’t or can’t have a due date, then that means that I need to re-evaluate it in my overall gameplan and tweak it to where it can have a due date.  Everything in my gameplans ultimately have due dates.  That’s how I can take my planning self and turn it into a doing self.  If it’s a project that take two weeks to complete, then I break it down into teeny, tiny bites/tasks that can each be accomplished in one day and then I add all of those to my task list.

Sure, I end up having 40-50 tasks each day to do, but you know what?  Over half of those tasks take 5 minutes or less each.  And I’m telling you, you definitely feel like you are having a successful day when you are constantly checking off things as completed.  And lots of little baby steps can take you really far.

Creating those task lists by due date also help clear my mind in that I only worry about what is on my list for today.  I don’t worry about tomorrow or the next day or next week.  I don’t have to worry about forgetting something, because as soon as I think of “something that I have to make sure I don’t forget”, I add it to my calendar task list and then I’m free to forget about it until it conveniently pops up in my list on the day it’s due.  It’s refreshing and limits my daily stress.

Now, one extremely important thing that I have learned and 100% respect is that not everyone operates like I do.  Where I try to avoid chaos, there are others out there that thrive in it, that love it, that fuels them.  There are those people who just the thought of a to-do list freaks them out.  And it’s very important to know that that’s ok!  We all function differently in different ways and in different environments.  The key to success, especially when working in groups, is to understand that the way that you do things is not the way that others are going to want to do things.  It’s ok to allow each member of a team to do things their way as long as they get to the agreed upon final product.  Just as Google Maps has various ways to get somewhere, the same is true of projects.

I guess what I’m trying to say is to embrace who you are and how you work while respecting the way others work.  Tolerance like in all areas of life is important.  Be tolerant to others but also be tolerant to yourself.  That’s the one we typically forget.  Let others be themselves, but don’t forget to be yourself as well.

Keep Yourself Surrounded by Classy People

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In the past 6 months, I’ve really evaluated the people in my work life.  Being an introvert, I’m always particular about my personal friends, but business contacts and colleagues I always tried to keep everyone happy and be there for everyone.  And I’ve got to say, if that’s how you are working your business, STOP RIGHT NOW!  You can not and should not be working with and pleasing everybody.

People work really hard to get good reputations.  They work hard, do the right things (most of the time), always watch their Ps and Qs (again, most of the time).  Lol.  But what people don’t consider is that who they associate with on a business level also affects their reputation.

I first encountered this years and years ago when I was working for a rental car company in their management program.  I interviewed for a promotion, but what I found out later completely appalled me.  The wife of one of the top managers there was my friend and she was told that I was by far the best choice for the position, but the direct manager said no because he hated the manager I was currently working for.  So basically, I got hosed because of who I was associated with.  Sucks.

Fast forward many years later and I had my own make-up business.  Being freelance, you never know when your next paycheck is going to come, so when you first start, you tend to make the erroneous decision to accept every client that comes in because, hey, you gotta pay your electric bill this month.  There were quite a few clients that while they were consistent, they definitely did not mesh with the image and reputation I was working to build.  They consistently booked me, but also consistently wanted discounts and freebies.  They made lots and lots of mistakes that in turn made me look bad.  And other work colleagues were absolute liars that put me in the most ridiculous (and heartbreaking) situations.

It wasn’t until I realized that these toxic people needed to be out of my career in order for me to move forward.  I will admit, I was scared shitless when I told each of these people that I no longer wished to work with them.  I mean, there’s no easy way to say it.  With one client, I just told him that my rates had recently changed (I hadn’t raised my rates in 5 years) and that I could no longer provide the discounts he was accustomed to as I felt that I had already proved my worth.  He stopped using me, and you know what?  I am completely ok with that.  I no longer have any last minute stresses of him needing me in 30 minutes only to earn $20.  Another client I did the exact same thing to and guess what…he said, “ok” and continues to book me, but at my full rate now.  He respects me more now too.

The “mistakes” client I was simply up front with.  I told the client that I was no longer available due to the multiple serious communications errors that were not only affecting me, but also the members of my team who work with me loyally due to the respect they have for me.  And the liar…it just caused enough atrocities that it was easy to end that one.  I just quit that client cold turkey.

Was it difficult to come to these decisions?  ABSOLUTELY!  Is it awkward when I see these people?  ABSOLUTELY!  How can it not be.  Am I glad that I did this?  ABSOLUTELY!

Since siphoning out my bad colleagues and clients, my work has actually grown, and grown A LOT!  I’m now working on multiple projects with some amazing people that respect me, trust me, and that actually help my reputation get better and better.

So, if you feel stuck in your work right now, take a look at WHO you are around.  Get rid of the un-classy people (in a classy way of course) and see what leaps and bounds your business takes.  It will be ridiculously scary saying no to a paycheck, but it is so very much worth it.  You work hard for your reputation, don’t let other people ruin it.

And to those clients of mine that I am currently working with…Shirley, Scott, Val, Adrenna, Susan…love you guys!

A Much Needed Spa Night…

 

There is absolutely nothing UNclassier than a grumpy grumpster.  Bad, negative attitude, bitchy even.  It’s just so not classy.  But we all get that way some days.  It’s normal, it’s natural.  We do so many things throughout our days that if we don’t take a little time to destress, it can drive us absolutely bonkers.  Some days we just need to “check out” for a while and yesterday was most definitely one of those days for me.

I’ve been handling and running so many different projects lately (ones that I’m excited about!), but between those, a hubbie, two kids, and the not-so-fun symptoms of peri-menopause, I will admit it, I was bitchy yesterday…and the day before that…and if we’re counting, the day before that too.  You get the idea.  So I decided to take a much needed break last night even though my to-do list was horrendous, I was going to do no one any good unless I decompressed and took some time for myself.  I decided to do a tech-free spa night.

There’s no fabulous pictures of my spa night because I went tech-free for the evening-no emails, no Facebook, no television.  I had a pile of fashion magazines waiting to be read (ummmm…one of them was from last November…oops).  I also had a complexion that was feeling worse for wear.  So I gave myself a DIY facial.  I removed my eye make-up and washed my face.  Then I put on a glycolic peel mask (the one from No7) and waited a little bit longer than what they initially said, ok, a lot longer, but who’s counting?  After washing it off, I put on a super hydrating mask from Nuxe (the 24hr hydrating one).  After letting that sit, I rinsed it off then went to work putting on my treatments.  I’m really loving the new L’Oreal Revitalift series-specifically the hyaluronic acid serum and the regular serum.  I used the hyaluronic one where I needed it so basically everywhere from my nose down.  The regular serum I put everywhere else.  I then topped everything off with a heavy duty shea butter cream from No7 (the one with the rose top).  I then plopped myself in my recliner with a cocktail, some chocolates and my fashion magazines.  All, in all it made for a fabulous night!

This morning I woke up to the softest skin I’ve had in a REALLY long time and I felt motivated to start tackling my to-do list again.  Sometimes we just need to step away from things for a few hours and regain ourselves back.

What do you like to do to step away and recharge?

 

Photo from theje.com

La Rentrée Quickly Approaching!

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La Rentree, the “re-entry” into life commences every September.  As vacations wind down, work projects amp up and school starts again, life goes from the lazy days of summer to the more organized, scheduled time of fall.  It’s my favorite time of the year.  It’s a renewal, a rebirth.  It’s New Years and its resolutions without all of the pressure.

Each year I make my “la rentree” gameplan for work and home.  I write out my goals, create a master to-do list, break that down into more mangeable and less intimidating chunks (can you tell I’m slightly OCD?   Ok, maybe a little more than slightly.)  🙂

I am usually very excited about la rentree.  But not this year and I’m attributing it to the fact that I don’t feel like I’ve really had that relaxing summer experience.

It starts with the fact that my kids are on a year-round schedule at school.  So our summer vacation doesn’t start until the third week of July, so right there I’m four weeks behind.

Sure I started the summer vacation with with a four day trip to Las Vegas, but immediately upon return (an hour after I got home actually!), I was thrust into a huge work project.  And it seems like it’s been one large, time-consuming project after another, all summer long.

Our pool has only been used a handful of times.  My unread magazine pile actually has issues in it from as far back as April!  I have no tan what-so-ever and I’m even writing this article from indoors.  I am definitely feeling the stress of it all and a sadness.  As if I might actually miss my chance to enjoy a carefree summer experience this year.

But all is not lost!  I am an optimist after all!  I have one week left before September starts!  And I’m going to stuff all of summer into it!  I have a weekend full of social engagements and I fully intend to relax and enjoy them!  Next week I only have two short work meetings (both early morning) and I am not going to schedule any more!  That’s what the first week of September is for.  I’m not going to give myself a guilt trip about “where I could be” in my business if I work next week.  I’m going to do the bare bones of housecleaning all week (actually, starting NOW!).  These are all things that will still be there in September.  But my carefree summer won’t be.

I’m going to enjoy my last week of August!  Relax, chill out, veg.  Read my magazines.  Read a book.  Lay out in the sun.  Float in my pool.  Drink cocktails with lunch.  Cook a yummy and fresh dinner each night (this is actually a big de-stressor for me!).

We need that “unplug” to be able to not only have the energy, but also the mental clarity to have a strong and successful September.

So my pledge to myself (and my challenge to you) is to enjoy the end of summer.  Regardless of what you have planned for the next week, find some time, any time, even if it’s only for ten minutes, but find the time to unwind a bit, unplug and revel in the pure joy that is summer.

A Leisure Lunch

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There’s something to be said for the simplicity of having lunch at a sidewalk cafe. Watching the people walk by as you savor each morsel of food, each sip of champagne as the tables around you constantly rotate with new guests as they rush through their meals.  One wonders if they truly taste the flavors let alone experience the pleasure of them.  The pleasure of the brie cheese sauce as I watch it ooze out of my crepe when I cut into it.  Or pleasure the bubbles in the champagne as they travel into my nasal cavity as I sip my mimosa on this hot summer day.

I wonder if they even hear the hiss of the misters as they turn on to cool the diners and tourists.  And then the carefree euphoria of the champagne begins to take effect.  I take another bite of my crepe and can taste the crisp sweetness of the apple.

There’s no cell phone distracting me.  It’s safely tucked away, on silent, in my purse.  I’m actually writing this old-school, on paper in a beautiful journal.

I love that there’s no one sitting with me, chatting wildly about nothing in particular simply to fill the silence at the table.  It’s peaceful.  I’m alone, but not lonely.  I have the company of myself.  A date I’ve not had in a really long time.

I’m eating slowly, savoring every morsel.  I find that I can not even finish my amazing meal.  I am not overly stuffed, not even full, simply satisfied.  I am content, yet know that when I leave this lovely little sanctuary, I will be able to continue walking on, happy, content, at ease, full of pleasure knowing all is good.

I relish these moments.  The clarity.  I feel that’s truly when my writing is the best.  It’s hard to slow down sometimes.  To not look at your phone, to not look at your watch.  But I highly recommend it.  In fact, I challenge you to try it.  Sure you might feel really (and I mean REALLY) awkward at first.  But push through.  You won’t regret it.   And with that the Bellagio fountains have started.  I can’t imagine a more perfect way to end an amazing lunch.

The Importance of a De-Stressing Hobby…

This week was a super tough one for me.  I was behind on so much stuff, both work-wise and household.  My to-do list was a mile long.  I was still getting over that obnoxious cough that EVERYBODY seems to have and not shake.  My allergies were making me want to cut my sinuses out of my head.  My dirty laundry pile not only overflowed the hamper, but was trickling down my room and into the bathroom.  I had THREE days of dirty dishes sitting on my kitchen counter (and it wasn’t done purposefully for a shoot like last time!).  I had injured my tailbone (I know, seems minor, try doing anything that involves sitting.), so I couldn’t go to my yoga classes nor my karate classes.  And to top it all off…PMS!  Sometimes I almost wish they had taken my ovaries as well when I had my hysterectomy.

I know that by now I’ve lost any guys who might have considered reading this post.  Lol.  No worries as I so often say.  Women out there, especially those with monster careers, families or both are all shaking their heads in agreement and saying, “Yup, soooooo been there.”  IT SUCKS!  I hate feeling like I’m rushing around out of control with not a moments time for my mind to comprehend anything.  Luckily for me it doesn’t happen very often, but when it does…it DOES!  And this was definitely one of those horrid times.

In fact, this morning is the first time all week that I feel like my good-mood, productive self.  My glorious husband (have to say that, he’s a FB friend and might read this.  hehehe.  Love you babe!) took our kids  up to his parents house and they are staying there all day.  He’s coming back later this evening in time for a much-needed soiree at a new friend’s house tonight, but the kids are staying until tomorrow.  I desperately needed this alone time, de-stressing time.  I am such a loner.  Lol.  I LOVE to be by myself-go to movies, eat out, go shopping, but I seldom get to do that with all of the things I have balancing on my plate right now.  But needless, to say, today’s alone-time is much needed.

Now back on topic though (or at least the title of the post), the importance of a de-stressing hobby.  The first thing I did when everyone vacated the house this morning was work on my backyard garden.  I know, I know!  I’m a beauty-junkie/fashionista.  What the heck am I doing digging around in the dirt with bugs?

Oddly enough, I have found that gardening is a HUGE de-stresser for me.  It has taught me patience (I of the “I want it NOW” mentality), which I have NEVER had.  The idea of planting a seed and having to wait sometimes two whole weeks to see a tiny smidgen of green emerge from the damp soil can at times set my teeth grating, but learning to acknowledge and accept that no matter what I do, I simply have to wait really helps me to calm down.  Making nice, neat, tidy rows of fruits and vegetables, nurturing them, spending time everyday with them outside, no need to rush around, time to relax, de-stress, get some fresh air as I water them, pull weeds, get excited as I see a new sprout, flower or teeny tiny vegetable forming.  The anticipation of the amazing flavor explosion when I get to have a vegetable salad in a few months and everything came out of my backyard.

It goes back to one of my earlier posts about finding the pleasure in everyday things.  Sometimes you have to find something ordinary that simply makes you happy even if it in no way makes sense to you or anyone else.  Heck, I don’t like the sun, am petrified of bugs and hate getting my hands dirty.  Yet, I LOVE TO GARDEN!  Makes no sense, never will, but you know what, it works for me.  You have to do that.  Find what makes you happy.

Don’t talk yourself out of something if it makes absolutely no sense and people call you crazy when you tell them about it.  Sometimes you just have to do something that makes you happy and happy people are much less-stressed.  So, here I am, sitting in my garden…outside…typing away on my laptop feeling more and more like myself, much less stressed…BEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!  🙂

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