Stop And Smell The Roses.


It’s an Esteemable Act to stop and smell the roses.

Good health. Yoga woman relaxing by seaDaily Meditation.
For many years, I diligently and faithfully read my daily meditations. I took my time while reading and digesting every single word, carefully making notes and highlighting sections, which caught my attention.  I weaved the message of the day into my daily activities.  Reading my daily meditation was a part of my routine, just like taking a shower, brushing my teeth, and pressing my clothes. Reading my daily meditations was a great way to start the day and helped me to maintain some semblance of balance throughput the day.  But over the years, I became lazy and careless in my approach to my readings.  I rushed through them, rarely understanding a word that I read. As a result, I missed the essence of what keeps me grounded.

Do you Understand What you Read?
Do you really take the time to understand the meaning of your daily readings? On average, I’d imagine too few of us do. When we skim through our readings, we miss the real benefit of these powerful, inspirational, mind-altering tools. There are powerful riches to be found in our daily readings, which give us the means to change a bad day, avert a disaster, calm a nerve, think through a problem, or simply untwist a mind wrought with anger. Think of a time when you needed help in making sense of an experience and you opened a spiritual or inspirational book to just the right page, seemingly by accident. When we don’t process what we read, how can it help us?

Benefits of Investing the Time to Slow Down.
Yet if we invest the time, we will experience more abundance and a greater sense of serenity. We’ll discover tools for living that previously eluded us. We’ll feel better equipped to handle situations that used to baffle us because we’re participating in our solution. We’ll know a new freedom and a new happiness because we’ll know we are not alone.

Today, I invite you to stop… and smell the roses.  You can start that practice by reading, understanding, and really digesting your daily inspirational readings. The more you practice reading for understanding, the easier it becomes and the more you will benefit.

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Living Your Dreams


Walk through your fear


Dreams. Goals.

Most of my early life I felt stupid.  But in 1981, at the age of 28, I set out to change the conversation. I went back to school. It was one of the hardest decisions I ever made, because it brought up all of my insecurities. Fears I never knew I had surfaced such as the fear of being too old, the fear of failure, the fear of not being smart enough, the fear of not being able to grasp the concepts, fear of not fitting in, the fear of going back to school, the fear of the coursework being too hard – the list continued. But one day at a time, after talking to advisers, researching the necessary steps, and auditing classes, I decided to face my fears and embark on a journey, one that prove to be an entry into a life far beyond my wildest dreams.

What do you dream about when you are by yourself and left with your own thoughts? What do you wish you could do “if life were different”? What would you be doing if you could snap your fingers and make it all happen?

What would you do if you were guaranteed success?

We all have dreams. Some of us make them come true, some of us talk about making them come true, and some of us wish we had made them come true. Most of us know what we long to make happen.  Perhaps you are afraid to speak it aloud, but deep down you know.  It’s your heart’s desire, a passion that burns inside you just waiting to be nudged into action. Then there are those of you who need some assistance in identifying the dream-the heart’s desire.  Maybe because it’s been stuffed so deep inside that only emotional surgery can release it.

For the rest of you, perhaps one at a time you had a dream – and now you don’t. So, let’s begin by identifying your dream.

How do you go about doing that? For this you’ll need to tap into the right side of your brain – your creative side, your playful, imaginative and inspired side.

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Don’t Let Stuff Get in the Way


Have you ever started something you really wanted to do and not finished it?

Change your life.

Have you ever allowed stuff to just get in the way of your doing what you said was most important to you in the moment? I suspect at some point in your life you have.

Choosing to do what is least important in the moment may seem like the best decision at the time, but it rarely is. It’s merely the easiest. Each time you take a detour, each time you allow something to steer you away from what you say and know is most important to you, you pay a price –  knowingly or unknowingly. And over time, the price gets higher.

Your reasons for not fulfilling your commitments are always valid – at least at the time. For instance, emergencies and other people’s urgencies, unforeseeable conflicts of interest, not having the money to do what you’ve committed to do, insufficient information, lack of time, not having someone to take care of the kids, and health issues can all get in the way of fulfilling a commitment. But regardless of the validity of your excuses, the impact those excuses have on your relationships and on your self-esteem can be damaging. You don’t feel good about yourself when you don’t follow through.

Eventually, for us to succeed at whatever we want to do in life, we simply must get started doing those things that lead to our success, regardless of the distractions that get in our way. We must be willing to take action despite how we feel. It’s the very act of doing something that relives us of the pain of feeling like someone who can’t be counted on. Taking an action, regardless of how small, is the key.

Ask yourself today. What stuff gets in your way?

What distractions keep pulling your attention away from the things you say are most important to you? Having the courage to write them on paper makes them real and takes away some of their power.  List all the things you use to procrastinate. Getting that stuff out of you and onto the paper is a first step in moving closer to begin where you want to be in life.

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Being Over Prepared


Have The Courage to Risk Failure  – Even When YOU are Over Prepared

Microphone at conference. Dynamic microphone against the background of convention center. Real photo.

My experience as a professional speaker has taught me a lot about being over prepared. Sometimes you can be so prepared for a program that you create unnecessary tension, setting yourself up for failure.

You become more focused on the outcomes then on enjoying and participating in the process. You’re so plastic, stiff, and totally inaccessible to your audience. You’re so scripted that you leave no room for spontaneity.

There is a fear that if you deviate from your script, you’ll fail. Once I was so overly prepared for a program and so concerned about failing that I lost sight of why I was really doing it and failed. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy. I was too prepared.

Public Speaking.

On the contrary, being prepared, when done right, gives you the freedom to be more spontaneous, not less so. Take for example public speakers who are well grounded in their material; they spend less time trying to remember their lines and more time building a rapport with their audience.

What does it mean to you to be overly prepared? Have you ever been overly prepared for something? Describe examples in your own life of over preparedness. What beliefs made you feel that you had to be overly prepared? What lesson did you learn from that experience?

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Show Love Through Action



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

Self-love. Learn to love yourself.

Love is an action word. It goes beyond the words to the doing. It’s the behavior behind the words that make the concept of loving come alive. Think about it. How often have you said something with your words, but your attitude, facial expression, and behavior said something different?

How often has someone said “I love you” to you, but his or her behavior spoke of something really different? When you love people, you treat them in a way that shows you care about, cherish, treasure, respect, and honor them. And charity begins at home.

How easy is it to say you love yourself, you treat your mind, body, and spirit with disrespect, or allow others to do the same. If love is really an action word, how do you express self-love?  Some people believe standing in front of the mirror repeating “I love me” is an expression of self-love. Others believe if you we are beautiful, stylish, and wear expensive clothes, you love yourself. Still others buy into the notion that if you live in the right neighborhood, are attached to the right person, send your kids to right school, have the right credentials behind your name, or drive the right car, you show the world how much you love yourself. If that were the case, every rich person would feel good about who he or she is.

I am a firm believer that self-love starts with having the courage to be ourselves, under all conditions – to not compromise who we are in order to be liked by others. How easy it is to live a lie, live as others would have you live, at whatever cost. One of my uncles died young. He was only 43. While he knew he was gay for many years, he never quite came to terms with who he was.  He allowed other people to define him. It didn’t work. Now he is dead.

Self-love is having the courage to live our dreams and do what makes us happy in life, so that we don’t wake up one day and say, “I wish I would have…” Self-love is about practicing self-care and making our health a priority. It’s hard to say we love ourselves when we don’t take care of our health, which includes eating properly, exercising, and maintaining emotional balance. When we love ourselves, we are willing to set boundaries and protect them, knowing that “no” is a complete sentence all by itself. When we love ourselves, we are willing to make amends with ourselves and keep them. Self-love is demonstrated in the choices we make in relationships, money management, and careers. Indeed, self-love is very much about the things we do, more than about the things we say.

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. Feel free to subscribe to my newsletter.