Why Me?

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Everything happens for a reason

Good health. Yoga woman relaxing by seaSometimes when we’re disappointed because we didn’t get an outcome we wanted, it’s hard to understand why it happened. It seems unfair that we try so hard to achieve our goals with little visible success. It’s especially hard if we did our very best. “Why me?” we ask. “Why is this happening to me? What did I do wrong?”

Nothing happens by accident

Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in this world by accident, even if in the moment we can’t make sense of the experiences. There are often two levels of reasoning. There is a logical, secular explanation, such as we weren’t prepared in the way we need to be or we could have made some different choices. But there is also a spiritual, metaphysical accounting that suggests that whatever happens was for our highest and best good, regardless of outward appearances to the contrary.

The spiritual reasons could be we weren’t emotionally ready to go to the next level. We had more inner work to do, there were more important things to attend to before our dreams could be realized, it wasn’t the right time, or had we realized our dream, we would have missed another opportunity that we needed to experience.

How do you know whether to let a dream go or keep at it?

And if you let go, how do you know when it’s time to try again? There is no one-size fits-all answer. There are many factors to be considered, including timing. If you’re at this crossroads take into account the following:

  • Are you consumed with making your dream happen?
  • How long have you worked to make it happen? How many attempts have you made?
  • How does your obsession with making it happen affect your loved ones? Sometimes the price we pay is worth it – and sometimes it’s not. Only you can decide.
  • What are the financial implications? Health implications? Are you using your last dime, your family’s savings, or your rent money? Are you getting sick? These are questions to consider.
  • Is it really your dream to make this happen? If so, sometimes it’s worth everything to keep the dream alive.
  • Does your life or livelihood depend on the success of this experience?
  • How do you know when you’re ready to resume the process? The answer varies. However, the amount of time since your last attempt, whether you’ve been able to acknowledge your mistakes, whether you’ve been able to indentify lessons learned, and whether you’ve been able to reach out for help are all factors to be weighed.

Today allow yourself to think through what would happen if you put your dream on hold temporarily. You may not think that you have the time or that you’ve already invested too much money to stop now. But perhaps if you continue as you are, more money and time will go to waste. Sometimes allowing time to come between you and the experience gives you a chance to regroup, reassess your strategy, and become spiritually and emotionally strong again.

Join my conversation on FacebookFacebook Esteemableacts Fan Page, or my Facebook Law Page, you can also interact with me on my Twitter Esteemable Acts page, Twitter Law Page, or on LinkedIn. Feel free to subscribe to my newsletter.

How do you let go of stuff that gets in the way?

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Goals. Dreams. Fear.

With 2016 almost at a close let’s take some time to reflect on goals for this year and where you are at with those goals.  If you’ve not quite reached your goals, today’s blog post outlines fourteen steps to help you stay focused on your dreams!

dream or realityStep 1#: Admit stuff gets in your way: Denial is the enemy of success. Excuses prolong the misery and keep you further from the solution.

Step #2:  Take responsibility for your part: The more time you use to blame your habits on others, be it your parents, your spouse, your friends, the government, or anyone else, the less time you have to do what you need to do to move forward.

Step #3: Feel your fear and take action anyway:  Fear keeps you in bondage. Walking through fear sets you free.

Step #4: Share with another person: Acknowledge on paper and to another person what’s really important to you in this moment.

Step #5: Remind yourself of your agreement: Reflect back on the promise you made with yourself and the agreement to live your dreams. Keep it uppermost in your mind. Repeat it over and over again, perhaps in the form of an affirmation.

Step #6: Break the hard stuff into small pieces: It’s easier for the mind to accept a small piece than a big chunk that appears too hard to handle. So reduce all tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces and then do something.

Step #7: Alternate between the easy and the hard tasks: For some of you the best approach will be to tackle the hard tasks first. For others, it will be more rewarding to do the easy tasks, and then move on to the more difficult ones.

Step #8: Take it a day at a time: There will be days when you’ll feel as if you’re on top of the world, in the flow, in sync with the universe. Then there will be days where nothing goes right. Consider this time an opportunity to take a much needed break or regroup.

Step #9: Schedule everything: Visual reminders are powerful and scheduling is a visual reminder. Schedule time to do the things that will take you closer to what’s important to you.

Step #10: Delegate tasks when you can: Delegation is a learned skill that begins with selecting the appropriate person for the job. If someone else is willing and able to perform a task for you, let them!

Step #11: See discipline as a good thing: In today’s “I want what I want when I want it” world, the quick fix is the order of the day. We are always looking for the faster and easier way around every situation. And sometimes our quest for all things immediate has us bypassing the real lessons to be learned, such as patience and discipline.

Step #12: Avoid being a perfectionist: Understand that every time you say “I’m just a perfectionist,” you’re giving yourself permission not to try. It’s good to want to do a job well. But, when your best becomes an excuse not to try, that is not a good excuse.

Step #13: Don’t wait for the right time: Forget about waiting to be in the right mood- it will never come. There is never a right time to do the hard things you’ve been avoiding.

Step #14: Even if you don’t believe you can complete the task – just do it anyway! Act as if you are enjoying it, and then before you know it, you will be where you want to be.

Right now, get up from wherever you are and do something. Perhaps it’s writing out your goals or creating a visual that will help you stay focused on what you want to do. Whatever it is, just do it or tackle a small, manageable piece of it today!

So what steps can you do today toward moving past your procrastination, past your fear?

Loving Others Starts with Self-Love

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Self-Love. Self-Care.

Illustration depicting a green chalkboard with a self worth concept written on it.

Self-Love.

For many people the idea of self-love generates negative thoughts and feelings about narcissistic, ego-driven people. We think of those who care little about others unless they can further their personal or professional goals. But if you genuinely love yourself, you engage in behavior that includes both honest and continual self-care, and kind and generous treatment of others.

There’s an age-old theory that you can’t love someone else until you truly love yourself. This point has been debated by countless experts and the popular answer is, indeed, you cannot love someone else until you truly love yourself. And I agree. How can you care for, honor, or cherish another person if you don’t honor or cherish yourself? How can you give away something you don’t have? How do you even know what it looks like or feels like if you’ve never really experienced it?

There’s a wonderful old saying that is applicable here: Charity begins at home. First love yourself, and then you can love someone else, without judgment and attachment.

For so many of us, men and women alike, our self-esteem is dependent on something outside ourselves, such as our spouse or the man or woman we are dating, the neighborhood or house we live in, the job or career we’ve chosen or the amount of money in our bank account or stock portfolio. Without those things, we perceive ourselves as nothing, unless we’re taught otherwise or have role models who show a different example of how to see ourselves.

Our Choice.

Make no mistake about it, we are taught how to view ourselves. We learn to value or devalue ourselves as men and women by the examples we see in the movies, on television, in magazines, and at home. And the music we readily listen to reinforces the message of self-care or self-loathing. Sometimes the message is subtle and sometimes it’s flagrant. It’s always our choice what we do with it.

Learning how to love oneself is a lifetime process. Self-esteem is contingent on what you are willing to do to nurture it. How are you demonstrating self-love in your life? What are you doing differently today?

Until next time, I’m Attorney Francine Ward helping you protect what’s yours. Join my conversation on FacebookTwitter, or in one of my LinkedIn groupsGoogle+ Circles.

A True Entrepreneur. Botox. Flonase.

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Success. Business.A true entrepreneur. Botox. Flonase.

I suspect I am one of the only people I know who does not use Botox.  It’s a personal choice, mostly because the idea of injecting Botulinum toxin into my body is a painful thought.  However, this post is not about my decision (for today) not to use Botox. Instead, this post is about the clever, smart, and effective entrepreneurs behind Botox, the company now called Allergan, PLC.

Years ago, knowing that their patent would not last beyond 20 years, their team was hard at work thinking of new ways to get people to continue using their product. So along came the migraine- headache relief medicine–BOTOX.

There is clearly something to be learned from this.  When they knew the patent would expire they could have said, ‘oh well, it was good while it lasted.’  Instead, they went into action and had their chemists identify other uses for the drug, then sent their marketing team into full gear in order to make it known that their product isn’t simply for cosmetic purposes anymore.

A similar example is GlaxoWellcome (Now GlaxoSmithKline), the developers of Flonase. When they discovered their patent was to expire and open the door to the generics, they maintained their trademark, lowered the price, and continued to sell Flonase over the counter under their own trademark in order to keep the customers who would have gone the generic route. But the real clincher was they marketed it like crazy letting people know Flonase was alive and well.  As long as they did not intend to deceive the public, it was not even necessary to mention the company had lost the patent.

The loss of the patent was public knowledge to anyone who did the research.  The main point is that they still owned the trademark, and had created good will in the marketplace. Therefore, even without a valid patent, Flonase users, such as myself, continued to buy Flonase at a fraction of the price we had to pay when it was under patent.

While the cost of Flonase is significantly cheaper than it was when under prescription, the company still makes money because it maintained its trademark and had a smart marketing team to guide them.  A smart marketing team along with great problem-solving lawyers will do it every time.  That was brilliant!

Lessons.

What are some lessons that small business people and entrepreneurs can take away from these two examples?

  1. First, if your business or plan for a business faces what “appears” to be a closed door, find a way around it. There are almost always other routes one can take when the road ahead seems blocked. Sometimes you may even have to build a new road yourself.
  2.  The second lesson is that if you have a product or service that is becoming stale or dated, work on refreshing it or even re-purposing it. If people are tired of the food in your restaurant, perhaps it’s time to change the menu.
  3. Lesson number three is that in order to be successful you always need help. You need to surround yourself with the best possible people you can, and truly listen to their input. Again, having a great marketing and legal team on your side always puts you at an advantage over your competition who doesn’t.

As an entrepreneur, you must always remember that the business world is not static, it’s dynamic, and if you aren’t constantly adjusting to new circumstances and trends, and thinking 2 or 3 steps ahead, you will most likely be left behind.

Until next time, I’m Attorney Francine Ward helping you protect what’s yours. Join my conversation on FacebookTwitter, or in one of my LinkedIn groupsGoogle+ Circles.

The Forgiveness Factor

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Key to Forgiveness. Willingness to Forgive.

Forgive. Keys to Forgiveness.

The key to forgiveness is a willingness to forgive.  Just saying “I forgive you” doesn’t rid you of the anger. Think about it: How often have you seen someone who says he’s forgiven someone else and yet is still riddled with anger and resentment at the mention of that person’s name? Someone who at every chance he gets makes hurtful comments aimed at the very person he claims to have forgiven, despite being quick to tell you he’s forgiven the person? In these cases, saying “I forgive you” is like making an empty promise, or saying “I love you” when you don’t really mean it. If solid action doesn’t accompany the words, the words mean nothing.

So how do you begin to forgive?

Following is a step-by-step list of suggestions to help you truly forgive:

Step 1: Pray for an open heart – Even a tiny opening can let forgiveness in. Praying to be willing to forgive often creates a space to allow forgiveness to step in.

Step 2: Read inspirational materials – If prayer is too far out for your reach, or even if it’s not, read material that will soften your heart. Sometimes just letting in positive information will create a change of thinking.

Step 3: Attempt to understand – Understanding is the foundation of love and love is the basis for gratitude. Grasping why people behave as they do can sometimes help us forgive them. Sometimes, because of someone else’s enlightened self-interest, we get hurt. Unfortunately, when people are hurt, they lash out and hurt others. But the truth is that rarely does anyone start out wanting to hurt us. It’s not personal; it’s just the way it is. This by no means justifies their behavior, it simply explains it.

Step 4: See your part – Be open to seeing the part you played in the situation. This is equally as difficult as Step #3, because more often than not, we don’t recognize our part. In our minds, we are always the good guy being tormented and abused by the big bad guy. But interpersonal problems almost always involve two or more people. Once you’re able to see past your hurt and anger to how you might have contributed to what happened, you’re better able to understand that they, like you, are human and make mistakes.

Step 5: What you put out is what you get back – Understand that as long as you are unwilling to forgive others, you limit the possibility that others will forgive you. The Universal Law of Karma is alive and well.

Step 6: Be grateful – Write a gratitude list of the things you like about the person or that she or he did well. This might take some effort, but try. By writing this list you create a space for humanity to step in. It is hard to hold on to anger when you see the other person as having done something right.

 

Lastly write a letter to the person expressing your feelings. Write about what hurt you, how they betrayed your trust, how they didn’t care for you. Don’t worry you won’t be sending it, and no one but you will see it, so write exactly how you feel. Thereafter in your journal write the payoffs for making peace with this person.

Feel free to join my conversation on FacebookFacebook Esteemableacts Fan Page, or my Facebook Law Page, you can also interact with me on my Twitter Esteemable Acts pageTwitter Law Page, or on LinkedIn.