You’re Already Living in Your Amazingness. Recognizing it is the Hard Part

You’re Already Living in Your Amazingness. Recognizing it is the Hard Part

I’ll admit it; this particular topic was difficult for me at this point in my life. You see, for the last several weeks I have felt more un-amazing than anything else. I dragged my feet on writing this knowing I’d have to fess up to the terrible way I’ve felt about myself recently. So… here it is: after losing my job I felt like a giant failure. I was certain everyone could see that failure on my face. But you know what? Now that I’ve said it out loud, I can see how awful it really is.

It’s ok to feel un-amazing for a while

Why did I let that statement make me so miserable for literally months?

We all go through these cycles of feeling bad and then getting better but we greatly undervalue a certain part of the process: the part where we dust ourselves off and try again. Why do we give such weight to the negative and yet, without blinking, completely undermine the strength and courage it takes to overcome our darkness?

That journey, the one that only you know, it’s special and there is amazingness in having lived it. So let me share with you some lessons I’ve learned along the way to help me get past these negative feelings and start again with sincerity towards my own amazingness.

Tell your story

In her 2015 publication, “Rising Strong”, Brene Brown says, “vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”

By owning your experience and sharing it with others, you become the narrator of your own history. It’s your story, so make sure you tell it with conviction. For example, leaving my former position was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. There are still days when I am not sure it was right but what I do know is that in the wake of that decision, I’ve pondered new ideas and pursued things that I never thought would be a reality for me.

I’ve become more attuned to my strengths, due in large part to my moments of weakness. I am more comfortable in my abilities than I might have ever realized had I stayed where I was. To me, this unexpected realization is pretty amazing.

Find your tribe

What’s cool about finding the right group of people is you really recognize their importance in your life when you feel the least awesome about yourself.

Moment of truth coming up: I haven’t always been a good friend.

I rarely make dates to get together and if I do, I often have to reschedule because of my job or kids or some other pressing issue. But let me hear that a friend is down on hard times and I’m there. No questions asked. This is what I’ve experienced recently but on the receiving end.

The women and men who I call my “tribe” really stepped up and helped me through the dark parts by saying all the nice things to me that I wasn’t able to say to myself at the time. You see, if you surround yourself with people who will jump in and be champions for you when you are unable to climb out of the pit, you’ve got yourself something seriously amazing there. Even better, when you have true and loyal supporters who lift you up, you’ll start to see yourself the way they see you and soon afterward, you may even start believing it, too.

Free your mind

If you come to my home and it is really, really clean, you’d be witnessing the aftermath of some mental tornado. Like so many others, I clean when I am stressed or depressed or need a moment to gather myself. The act of physically placing things in order can have tremendous metaphysical benefits for our internal journey.

As Albert Einstein, said, “Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

When we release the weight of things which no longer serve us, whether in our careers, our homes, or our hearts, we open up space to carry the things we didn’t have the strength for before. Sometimes, the simplest things can bring amazingness to the surface—you just have to prepare your mind to accept it—which you can’t do if it is filled with too much unnecessary junk.

For me, I found this in good old fashion exercise. Not only did I get the endorphin high from the physical activity but I also started to see results, which helped me let go of so much of the negativity I had toward myself about my appearance. Just physically feeling better helped clear my mind of the awful and hurtful things I would think about myself on the regular.

It’s OK to know you’re amazing!

When the time comes to let all that negativity and self-loathing go, you’ll know.

One day, suddenly, you’ll realize that you’re stronger than you were the day before. You’ll remember how hard you’ve worked and you may even get mad at yourself that you allowed this sad state to go on for so long. But don’t get distracted here. Now is the time to own your experience by sharing it with others and reaching out to your tribe. Soon you will begin to clear the clutter and start again.

The moment when you decide to live with our un-amazingness and keep going anyway, this is the most amazing part that we often overlook. So next time you find yourself in this place, where you have to choose to stay the same or to live in your un-amazingness, recognize that what you’ve done, what you have, and where you are going is actually pure, golden amazingness. Let this be the part of you that shines.

You’re More Amazing Than You Think

You’re More Amazing Than You Think

Once upon a time, there was a woman who thought only the best things about herself. She embraced who she was, valued herself, and knew that she could accomplish anything she set her mind to.

Here’s where you might think to yourself: Okay! Okay! Cut the crap… this is CLEARLY a fairy tale.

I mean, who really thinks the best of themselves? Especially when you are behind closed doors and the makeup is off, you didn’t finish a project on time, you burnt your dinner and forgot to buy milk again.

It’s true: you are your own worst critic

Maybe you’re like me, who, upon hearing “you are more amazing than you think”, instead hears that little voice inside your head that scoffs and whispers “No I’m not!”

We argue with our best friends when they doubt themselves…“Yes, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL”, and “you ARE SMART, don’t say that about yourself!” But, do we give ourselves the same chance?

Too often, when someone compliments us we blush and deny it, thinking they’re “just saying that to be nice”, or maybe we don’t speak up for fear that someone else will think what we have to say is silly.

On many days I catch myself playing the comparison game. I compare myself against the accomplishments of others. “That fit mom with the stock-photo-posed children on Instagram surely has her life together! And, “wow that person over there is so successful and talented, I could never compare to that.”

We make running lists in our head of our shortcomings, and things we aren’t, without acknowledging the good in ourselves and what we do!

Own Your Successes

I’m not saying we should become super prideful and arrogant but we should own our successes, no matter how small. We should own our flaws and our attributes. I may not be the concert pianist I decided I would be when I was nine years old (long story!), and I know I certainly am not the tidiest or most orderly person in the world (condolences to my very organized husband…). I may feel silly for my lack of knowledge in conversation about politics, law or history, and God forbid you ask me to do a math problem on the spot. But I know I am strong. I endured a painful pregnancy and gave birth to a beautiful daughter. I’ve moved across the country twice. I earned a Bachelor’s degree with honors. Oh, and I can bake a terrific loaf of bread. Now please understand that I am not trying to brag. In fact, it really makes me squirm to type all that.

Which makes me ask, why is that? I think it’s because I forget these things, or I choose to dismiss them to look the other direction. I look at myself and see someone who I wish wasn’t as messy, was more educated, would procrastinate less, looked better (whatever that even means!) and was bits and pieces of other people more successful than myself. But I am ME. Not someone else. And I want to be more than okay with that.

You are amazing

Your value isn’t assigned by the approval of others, but it also isn’t determined by your own negative self-judgment. We are lying to ourselves! You are amazing, no matter what that little negative voice – or anyone else – says. Today as you stand in front of your reflection, or pause for a moment of introspection, I encourage you to think of your accomplishments, skills, and strengths. Then look inward and say, “you are amazing”. It might be difficult, but my hope for each and every one of you is that you’ll believe those words. You are more amazing than you could possibly know.

Happiness is Found Beyond the Box

Happiness is Found Beyond the Box

In 2014, I experienced something that changed my life forever. I had a sleeve gastrectomy (weight loss surgery.) Before the surgery I had no confidence, often felt depressed, and my body hurt.  I couldn’t even tie my shoes! I knew I needed to make a change in my life. I decided, after researching and talking with patients who had received the procedure, to go ahead with the surgery.

I lost 140 lbs. The first year! As my confidence increased, I knew I made the right decision. My body felt great, and I could move. I was able to reach my feet and fit in a restaurant booth. In 2015 I met Mark. Mark was the next big thing to happen in my life. We knew after the first date that we were meant for each other.

Newfound Confidence

I was fired up about the changes that were occurring and realized that positive things happen with a positive attitude. I once read the quote, “If it doesn’t scare you, you are not growing,” so I decided to scare myself, A LOT. I decided that if I step outside of the box exciting things might happen.

I began speaking at seminars for the surgeon that did my procedure, and as a guest speaker at a local college graduation. Mark wanted to give me a scare too and sent a video of me singing to America’s Got Talent. Shortly after, they invited me to audition. They emailed us tickets, and in November I stood before a judge and sang my heart out.

I had always wanted to audition for a national talent show, and I realized I just marked something off my bucket list.  Although I didn’t make it to the next round, I did it!!! I was pumped. I stepped out of the box and received a reward; it was the reward of newfound confidence.

Beyond the box

Since then, Kelby King of our local television station WMFD, contacted me and invited me to be on her first episode of “Sitting Down with Kelby King.” It was a great experience and led to being asked to speak at a Kiwanis event, booked to sing at Kingwood center for their summer concert series in July, and singing at several locations around the area. And, I met the wonderful ladies at Mind Body Align who asked me to do this fun blog.

My pursuit of happiness all began with finding and uncovering my true self. I learned to love myself again and now realize I have more to offer than I was allowing myself to see. It could be any small or big change that makes the difference, be willing to step out of the box and become a better you!!!

Getting Unstuck – Pushing Through The Fear

Getting Unstuck – Pushing Through The Fear

Afraid of everything… that was me growing up. I was always scared of the monster under the bed or in my closet. I never wanted to be out in the dark… fraidy cat.

As I began to think about my life and ponder how to approach the topic of “Getting Unstuck-What is Holding You Back,” I discovered that I have addressed this issue many times and have come a long way!

I was divorced and on my own for the first time at 41 years old. Surrounded by memories and not sure how I was going to move forward, I made the monumental decision that I was going to leave Mansfield, my best friends, my home, and my parents to create a new life for myself. Excited, petrified and determined, I found a job and an apartment and began a new life in Columbus not knowing anyone but determined that I would make it. So, my puppy dog, Jasper, and I moved on April Fools Day to begin our new life!! Many people told me I was crazy to do this, but the fear of “Being Stuck” was more significant than fear of failure!

Adapt and succeed

Being the only person I could count on to keep a roof over our head was frightening at times but also pushed me to work harder and succeed. My first position was with the Placement Service I enlisted as a means of securing a job in this new city. It was fascinating and I met a lot of really nice people. About 18 months in, the company announced that we would no longer be using paper files. We would have everything on a computer for easy access. Panic set in! I had never used a computer and had no idea how to do so. My dilemma was to either learn how to use the computer or get a new job. I learned so that I could continue with this company. I never realized that this knowledge would open up a whole new world for me!

I was at my first position in Columbus for almost three years, when introduced to the General Manager of a company where a wonderful new friend worked. They were looking for an Administrative Assistant. I got the job and proceeded to work my way up. As our division grew, my responsibilities changed. When downsizing closed our division, I was the Divisional Office Manager and the “right hand” to the Division President. I loved my job, and at eight years, I would have stayed forever! So… here I go again. Terrified but determined, I decided to try something totally out of my comfort zone (which seems to be the place that I find myself in most often). I was hired as the Showroom Manager for a blind and drapery company. What was I thinking?

I had no experience, no idea what I was doing, but was determined not to allow fear to hold me back. (Noticing a Theme in My Life?) Four years into this position, a wonderful old friend called me to ask that I come and work with her. I became the Assistant General Manager for a Co-Working Company. When she left the company, I took over the helm which was way out of my comfort zone, but, with support from my boss and clients, we moved ahead.

Fear was weighing me down

Let me share a secret; I had this enormous fear of walking into a room full of people and not knowing anyone. I wasn’t much better when I knew I had someone waiting for me. My dad always encouraged me to go into sales, but I knew that would never happen. Fear is a powerful deterrent.

Six months into my position as General Manager, the company decided that I would be required to go out into the community to make our company name known to all! I was determined that I could not allow fear to hold me back. So, I walked into the Hilton Polaris; a networking event with 500+ people, not knowing if I would recognize anyone. The moment I pulled open that door and stepped through changed my life. I felt a weight lift off my shoulders. A weight, I carried most of my life.

20 years later, I moved back to Mansfield and became involved in the downtown area and all the exciting growth taking place.

Confidence overcomes fear!

As my life continues, I still have to walk through doors not knowing what I will encounter, but now I have the confidence to handle anything that comes my way!

So… Getting Unstuck, What is holding you back? Mine was fear of the unknown. What is yours? Once you face that fear and realize that it does not control you any longer, there is not going to be anything you cannot do. Believe in the Power of You!

Becoming Comfortable on the Edge of Your Comfort Zone

Becoming Comfortable on the Edge of Your Comfort Zone

I got into a bad habit of waking up at 3:30 in the morning to check my phone. This breaks every tech rule, but it seriously became a compulsion. I had to see the photos of my child.

Let me back up a little so you all understand.

I said NO to the mission trip

And then, as kids will do, she went to her dad. That was just fine, because I was totally confident: my husband would never say yes to this mission trip.


He said yes, but she had to raise half of the funds needed, which was a daunting number for a thirteen-year-old.

Still, thinking we were safe, time passed and life was cruising along, all the while my daughter was baking and selling cookies, sending letters, and quietly amassing the funds for nearly the entire trip!

Uh Oh! Instantly, I am at the edge of my comfort zone

And soon enough, I was compulsively checking my phone at 3:30 in the morning when the leaders would post photos at about 9:30 in the morning in Greece and Sicily.

One morning I saw my child climbing Mount Etna, an ACTIVE volcano. Hello?! Did they realize this same volcano had erupted six weeks prior?

Any parent knows that our children drag us, kicking and screaming oftentimes, to the edge of both reason and our comfort zone. Am I right? (I see you nodding your head!) Well, the ability to drive humans to the edge is not limited to one’s children. Not only that, the edge of our comfort zone can take on many forms and appearances.

I survived my daughter’s trip

…and the volcano did not erupt while she was on it. (Actually, it just erupted again!)

Thinking about this reminds me: sometimes it does take an eruption to cause us to make a change.

All of a sudden, we are hit with a major thing, like a job issue, or an illness. We are never ready for this type of eruption, we are uncomfortable, and yet we must adapt.

We need to become comfortable with the uncomfortable

The eruption may not be fiery, loud, and causing everyone to leave their homes to escape flowing molten lava. Maybe it is just a small eruption, with some sparks flying, like being assigned the project that you don’t want, or a new, super-eager boss who has you on edge.

If you are anything like me, you hang out in a comfortable space for quite a while before shifting outside it, and generally, that shift takes some encouragement or force. I kind of enjoy having people around me who encourage me to grow and change.

Some of you probably know that I am a resource on Mind Body Align’s creative team. I am working with Annamarie on a journal that will eventually be a tool for each of you. My career took some twists over its now 25 years, but one consistent theme has been the written word.

I started off as a lawyer, but soon discovered that sparring in a board room over contract terms was horrifying to me. I made a shift, to a law practice where I was interacting with people, but I was in the middle, a judge, and my decisions were written. It was perfect.

Until it wasn’t.

Isn’t that how it always happens?

I had to make a change; a major shift

Suddenly, I was at home with my son, trying to remember which day of the week it was and what it was like to go to the bathroom by myself. Eventually, at a mom’s group, I encountered the owner of an antiquing journal and public relations firm, who asked me to write and edit for her. Being free and open to this opportunity allowed a totally new career to emerge.

I was chatting with my family about this, and how making a major life change qualifies as “at the edge of my comfort zone.”

We all agreed: where it gets more interesting is in the smaller changes, and even in the way one handles being at the edge when facing both large and small matters. My husband is a former Marine, and he told me that Marine recruits and Navy Seal trainees are both taught the same basic principle:

“You are capable of much more than you believe.”

If we all adopt this, we are all capable of more than we believe. Our capabilities are greater than we can know or even imagine.

Becoming comfortable

Not only that, we need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. If you think about it, one’s comfort zone can be a pretty big zone, and have varying degrees of comfort. You may be only slightly comfortable with starting something new, like a couch to 5K running program, but you can still embrace the small bit of comfort and continue in a positive way.

There are times when what you hear in your mind is screaming.

“This is a disaster!”

“I cannot figure this out.”

It is not actually a disaster, and YES, you can. We can all adopt my husband’s favorite mantra, “I think I am going to be amazed at how this will work out.” Hearing this immediately helps me be open.

Open to the amazing

The mind opens, my eyes begin to see things differently, my ears are listening and hear words that are positive. It is all about your posture, your openness, and just looking for the amazing.

Why wait for the eruption of the volcano? We can also start new good things all on our own.

Most mornings I listen to Sirius XM Morning Mash Up on the way to work. On the first day of each new month, they recommend their listeners start something new. Also, check out this great, quick, three-minute Ted Talk by Matt Cutts on why we should start something new every thirty days.

On the edge of your comfort zone every thirty days? Yikes!

What should we do first?



Honoring your story

Honoring your story

Growing up, I was very sheltered. At eighteen, I decided that my life was to include going to college then graduate school, have a career, a husband, a house, and kids. I found myself feeling fairly prepared for my upcoming life that included being a United States Senator by the time I was 35. From there, I assumed that everything else would just fall into place. That was going to be my story.

But it didn’t happen that way. Not at all.

I was told I could achieve anything I set my mind to. However, I faced a very different reality. I’ll spare you the sordid details, but suffice it to say that the plot took unexpected twists and turns, and at the age of twenty-seven, I was facing a divorce with no back-up plan. To make matters worse, my grandmother passed away, leaving me without her wisdom and support during the time I needed her most. I felt ill-equipped for the task at hand.

I began to honor their story.

At that point, I viewed my story as a series of terrible events that were happening to me. I felt helpless, lost, and unstable. As I looked in the faces of my three sons and daughter who were 4, 5, 6 and 7 years old, I fully understood the gravity of every decision that I would make for years to come. If I couldn’t fix my own story, what about theirs?

Almost swallowed up whole by what I was missing, I decided to focus on what I had and a new story line immediately started to emerge. I could hear my mother’s voice, “Deanna, this too shall pass.” My father’s reminders came to mind: “Don’t reach a destination only to realized that you’ve missed the journey.” My grandmother’s voice resonated from inside of me, “Don’t wait for anyone to do it for you, fulfill yourself.” My grandfather, until his death in 2010 on Christmas Day, was always my champion and stayed close enough to remind me constantly that I was the latest in a long line of very strong women. “You come from some tough women, you can handle anything, Gal, it’s all inside.”

I was the main character in my own story.

I realized then, that I was never an insignificant character just existing among 7 billion others. This set of circumstances was all mine. No one had ever, or would ever experience this story again. So, I stepped into my role as the powerful main character, and changed every chapter from then on.

I began to make things happen. I embraced my role and responsibility as mother and making certain that my own children knew their own gifts and talents were tools to navigate through life’s uncertain challenges. We spent time daily, naming their gifts and uncovering my missteps so they wouldn’t repeat them. With intention, I taught them that they were main characters in their own stories. Now at 23, 24, 25 and 27 years old, they’ve all made it safely to adulthood, no worse for the wear.

I never became a Senator, but I did serve in public office. At the age of thirty, I served on City Council on a local level, even with four children in tow. I’ve had a very fulfilling career that has afforded the privilege of supporting many other women in similar situations. My career has been a more significant part of my story than I ever would have imagined. If given the chance, I wouldn’t re-write a single line.

By observing my own life from some distance, I am better positioned to receive the lessons for me in every single experience in the course of a day. I embrace my complimentary roles as both the main character, and the author of my own story.   I honor it by consciously using and sharing the lessons I’ve learned and the words of wisdom I’ve collected along my journey. I realize that with each day, and with each better decision I make, I am writing a new, and even better chapter.