Welcome to Bringing Back Awesome, where we hope to enrich your life every single day with a dash of excitement and a punch of awesomeness!

A year about you

take a year

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my future. Where I want to be in life in a year, in five years, etc.

Suddenly it’s dawned on me (or maybe not so suddenly – it’s probably been coming on for a while now) that time is passing whether I do anything or whether I do nothing, and I’m not getting any younger.

This probably all came about as I realized that my daughter is going to be starting her final year of college and my son will be starting high school in the fall.

While it used to feel like these things were years away, they’re now around the corner. And what does that really mean for me?

In a year, my daughter will be finished with college and I won’t have quite the financial burden that I’ve been carrying for the past three years. This will free me up to begin addressing some of my own financial goals.

And in four years – which will go by very quickly if the last four are any indicator – my son will be finished with high school and I will no longer be tied to my current location/school district.

All of this got me thinking that I really need to start making some serious plans and set some goals for the next year so that I’m ready for the changes that are coming.

I need to make plans and set goals for my…

  • Finances
  • House
  • Career
  • Health and wellness

These are all areas that I’ve considered and would like to look different one year from now, or at least in the process of growth toward looking different.

None of these are small changes, yet I’ve begun to realize that to make changes we need to affect small changes on a daily or weekly basis that will add up to a greater whole over a period of time. So I will need to set some small daily and weekly goals that will hopefully bring me closer to my larger, long-term goals.

 This is no small undertaking. Especially for someone like me, who, to be quite honest, has resisted goal-setting in the past. I’ve had enough real life happen to me that I’ve had a bit of a fatalistic attitude toward setting goals. Along the lines of life is going to intervene in my plans anyway, so why make plans?

Well, with what I hope to be a bit of maturity finally setting in, I realize now that this has probably been a self-sabotaging attitude. That’s not to say that life won’t intervene and change my plans – I’m guessing that it always will.

But to avoid setting goals just because life might intervene and change up some of your plans – well, that’s probably a bit rebellious and foolhearty.

Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be writing about setting goals and following through. We can work through the process together.

So start to think about the changes you would like to make in this #SummerOfAwesome and things you would like to accomplish over the next year. Imagine what you would like your life to look like one year from now. Then we’ll work together to start setting some small, meaningful goals that will get us closer to where we want to be a year from now.

Because whether we do something to move toward our goals or whether we do nothing, time marches on, with us or without us. Let’s not let it leave us behind! Begin to take care of you. Make the next 365 days a year about you.

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Newsflash :: the planets aren’t aligned

solar-system-110511I hate to be the one to break this to you, but the planets aren’t going to align.

What the hell am I talking about?

The planets. And how we think they need to be perfectly aligned before we can jump into a new and scary venture in life.

But guess what? They’re not going to align. They’re going to be all jumbled and messy and crowded, just like our little human lives.

It’s not like the lights dim, the audience hushes, the spotlight shines on center stage, and all of a sudden everyone holds their breath while you begin your soft shoe routine. Unless you’re Gregory Hines. Then that might happen. But for most of us, this is not how it works.

Nope.

It’s more like a loud, ethnic family at the holiday dinner table, and if you want to be heard – if you dare to be heard – you need to jump in, interrupt, and shout your way to the top of the conversation! (Ask me how I know about this analogy!)

Life’s not waiting for you. The kids on the playground aren’t slowing down the merry-go-’round for you to delicately climb on. You need to jump into the fray!

If there’s something that you want to do or accomplish in life, today is the day to start the process of achieving that goal. While I’m not suggesting that you go into a situation unprepared, I am suggesting that we can get way too comfortable telling ourselves that we’re not ready yet or the world isn’t ready yet, and I can almost guarantee that both of those statements are true. Also true is that you and the world may never be truly and completely ready, so most of the time we just have to gather our courage and jump in!

So don’t sit around waiting your whole life for the planets to align in all of their astronomical glory. Be honest with yourself – it ain’t gonna happen!

Let go of your desire for the perfect moment to come along and create the perfect moment. Kick those planets into alignment! Starting right now.

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The journey of strength

journeyWhenever you’re having feelings of doubt and questioning your life in general – and we all do this from time to time – think about where you were a year ago.

I’m betting that you are stronger and wiser than you were a year ago. Even if your situation has changed for the worse – even if your finances are worse or your relationships aren’t where  you want them to be.

Because if you are on a path of growth and introspection, I’m guessing that you’ve learned from your experiences and that you’re in a better, stronger place.

When I look back just one year, I see that I have grown into a completely different person. Someone unwilling to tolerate a lot of things that I would have just last year – and that’s a good thing. Has it been an easy journey? Can’t say it has been, but I’m proud of the person I’ve become.

So when you’re having thoughts of doubt or wondering where life is taking you, think back to who you were a year ago and give yourself some credit for the changes you’ve made and for the amazing person you’ve become. Acknowledge that you’re on a path of growth – a journey of strength. Bet that makes you feel a helluva lot better about your wanderings through life!

Becoming confident :: 10 simple steps

confidence-road-sign

A couple of weeks ago someone told me that I was one of the most confident people that they’ve ever met. Needless to say, I took that as a huge compliment!

It got me thinking…what does it mean to be confident and how can we grow our confidence if we aren’t as comfortable with being confident as we would like to be?

Here are 10 ways to grow your confidence…

1. Do you.

The first key to becoming confident is just being you. No matter how quirky or different or wacky you are, just do you. If you are constantly trying to be something or someone other than who you really are, there will be a disconnect there. Embrace your own personal set of quirks and weirdnesses. Practice loving them. Allow yourself to let out your entire glorious self. Do you.

2. Stop comparing.

When we compare ourselves to someone else, we immediately undermine our own confidence and sense of self. We’re looking at what we perceive to be the best in someone else and comparing it to something in us, and then finding that we’re somehow deficient. Or superior.

Either way, it’s an apples to oranges comparison, because we are not comparing the full scope of that person to the full scope of ourselves. We never know what that other person has gone through to get to this point in time, and they don’t know what we’ve gone through. And never are two stories ever the same. We’ve each had our own unique set of hurdles and victories, so of course no two people will ever be in exactly the same place in their lives. So why compare? Yeah, that’s right…don’t.

 3. When you’re having negative thoughts or feeling insecure, let it pass.

Everyone has times when they feel insecure or have negative thoughts. That’s part of being a thinking human being and the nature of the human mind.

But you have a choice about how you deal with those negative thoughts. Do you believe them and begin to obsess about them? Not a good plan. The best thing to do is to recognize that you’re feeling crappy and insecure and acknowledge that these are just feelings. Observe them and reassure yourself that these feelings will eventually pass. Then go about your business.

Try not to give negative thoughts power by trying to counter them or convince yourself that they’re wrong. What happens when I tell you not to think about ice cream? Exactly! You think about ice cream!

As with the ice cream analogy, if you focus on your negative thoughts in an effort to get rid of your negative thoughts, you’ll just be focusing on your negative thoughts. A bit circular, don’t you think?

Don’t give these thoughts that much power over you. Acknowledge them and move along.

4. Allow yourself to be vulnerable.

Being confident is not just a show of bravado. It also means getting OK with showing your softer side. Vulnerability and confidence are two sides to one coin. Yin and yang.

Perhaps this seems counter intuitive…show your vulnerability to become more confident? Yup, it’s true. Because being confident is about not being afraid. Not being afraid to show your bold side or your softer side.

While it may be scary to be vulnerable, it’s such a beautiful human quality. Learn to share your vulnerabilities with people you cherish and with whom you feel safe. It makes it easier. And if you don’t have those people in your life, it’s time to branch out and find them.

5. Don’t be afraid to apologize when you’re wrong.

When you realize that somehow you’ve hurt or wronged someone else, it’s so very important to let them know that you understand how you’ve affected or hurt them. How to do that? By sincerely apologizing.

It is never easy to swallow your pride and say you’re sorry, yet it’s one of the most compelling ways to show someone that you care enough about them and are comfortable enough with yourself to make amends.

It goes back to allowing yourself to vulnerable. Letting down your guard and showing how very human you are. That is a mark of true confidence.

6. Forgive yourself.

It’s difficult to be confident when you’re constantly berating yourself internally for something you did in the past. Unless you find a way to forgive yourself, that event will begin to own you because you’re giving it your focus.

It’s critically important to acknowledge that you maybe you blew it, make amends with the other person if there is one, and do your level best not to carry it forward with you into the future.

There is no magic forgiveness pill. The best you can do is tell yourself that you’ll do better in the future and then do it.

7. Find your voice. And use it.

Sometimes it might feel easier to be invisible. To slip quietly into the anonymity of the crowd. But that’s the opposite of confidence.

Figure out what you want or need to say, and then say it. And don’t be quiet or mousy about it. Because no one will hear you. Say it loud and say it proud.

If you’re naturally soft-spoken or shy, this may not be easy. Practice at home in front of the mirror. Observe other people and notice how the simple difference between someone speaking quietly and passively and another speaking definitively, firmly, assertively and with a fair amount of volume to their voice – it’s like night and day.

It makes a difference and people will begin to listen to you when you do this.

8. Fake it ’til you make it.

You’ve heard it here before…the brain believes what you tell it, so you might as well tell it what you want it to know. So, in the case of confidence, just fake it ’til you make it. Act confident until you begin to feel confident. Lather, rinse, repeat. One day you’ll wake up feeling and being confident. And that’s what we’re looking for.

9. Get OK with it.

Finally, you need to get OK with feeling and being confident. We live in a society that often makes us feel as if we are somehow arrogant if we feel good about ourselves and that is just nonsense.

Give yourself permission to change from the old way of doing things to becoming a more confident version of you. It will help you to blossom and grow in ways that you never might have imagined.

It’s OK…you deserve it. Hell, we all deserve it.

10. Don’t be afraid.

Easier said than done, but the truth is, confidence and fear can’t really live in the same space. To be confident we must put aside our fears and just jump into life. Just like the kid about to jump off the high dive for the first time. We may cower for a few minutes while we contemplate our options, but the reality is we just have to take a running jump into the pool of life!

These are just some of the ways you can grow your confidence. Over the #SummerOfAwesome we will explore these ideas further and expand on some of them. So set your mind on growing your confidence this summer. What a perfect goal for the #SummerOfAwesome…becoming confident!

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What Are You Grateful For?

It’s Friday!

As we enter the weekend, take a moment to think about something you are grateful for in your life.

And if you are so inclined, share your thoughts with us.

I am grateful for the people who read and share this blog. Thank you!

Have an awesome weekend!

#SummerofAwesome

I am grateful for our glorious AZ sunsets

I am grateful for our glorious AZ sunsets

7.5 questions :: Jani Franck

jani-profile-pic-300x300Jani Franck is an artist, blogger, creativity mentor and founder of The Art House, an arts cafe in Southampton, UK, and a worldwide online creativity circle.

Jani has been working with people from all walks of life in playshops, groups, and online courses for over a decade and has helped thousands of people find their own unique path to creativity. She uses simple, fun, and down-to-earth exercises in creative living to help people access their inner artist, for a fuller and more colorful experience of life.

We think that Jani is absolutely adorable and brings some amazing gifts to the world through her online courses. (That’s the beauty of the internets, isn’t it? Makes the world a smaller place so that any of us can learn and share and grow and have fun together!)

Jani was kind enough to answer our 7.5 questions. We love her answers and hope you will too! Enjoy!

1. Who do you think is awesome and why?

This will sound silly, but I think everyone is awesome once you take the time to get to know them. People are just so interesting, so diverse, and there’s so much more than meets the eye with most humans I get to know!

2. Do you believe in the power of positive thinking and how do you apply it in your everyday life?

I think it’s powerful to focus on the positive side of things, but it’s important to balance that with being real.

Sometimes, things aren’t positive, or don’t seem to be at least – and sometimes it’s just a case of experiencing what’s really happening, even if it isn’t all sparkles and rainbows! To me, that is positive – accepting life with all its bumps and mess.

3. If money and time were no object, what one thing would you love to do?

Money and time ARE no object. I’m very lucky in that I am doing what I love to do and what I dreamed of, and I managed this by realising that you can’t wait for the right time, enough money, or anything else – you just have to allow it to happen.

4. What’s the biggest struggle you’ve dealt with and how did you overcome it?

The biggest struggle for me, always, is staying switched on and engaged with life. It’s an everyday challenge and I overcome it by showing up as often as I can, even when it feels impossible and I just want to numb or hide from all the realness of it.

I guess I just find the alternative – play acting through life and missing all the depth of it – worse than the sometimes painful, uncertain and scary stuff that comes through when you step up to experience life in all it’s wild glory!

5. What makes you get out of bed in the morning?

Hunger.

Seriously though, I feel a very strong sense of purpose, and feel very useful in the jobs I do, so it’s pretty easy to get up and at ‘em most days!

If I ever really don’t feel like getting out of bed, and it does happen, I usually just go with that.

6. What is the best compliment you have ever received?

That I’ve brought out the inner artist in people. That just blows my mind – it’s such a powerful thing to be a part of!

7. What is your best summer memory?

Today is pretty good! Sunshine, parrot learning to whistle “The sun has got his hat on,” getting lots done whilst getting to wear a sarong as I’m working from home. This will do very nicely, very nicely indeed!

7.5 When it comes to hijinks, instigator or implementer?

Instigator, implementer, whatever I need to be to get the hijinks going, I am THERE!

Thanks so much to Jani for sharing a little of what makes her and her life awesome! (And I must admit that Jani’s answer to #6 is so inspiring! How wonderful it must be for her to know that she has helped people along in their journey in such a wonderful and meaningful way!)

Every now and then…

ass kickingEvery now and then, the universe sends you a day that just kicks your ass. Things don’t go well and there’s not really anything you can do about it.

Well, I suppose there are a couple of things…

First, you can be open. Hear what is being said, and learn from it. Even if it’s a hard pill to swallow.

Second, be present and sit with it, whatever it is.

Finally, accept it and move on with your day and your life. Let it go.

And if those things don’t work, at the end of the day, climb into bed with a good book and treat yourself to some soothing down time.

This, too, shall pass.

 

Be Present

WL-you-are-here-be-present-color-low-res-fresh-words-marketBe where you are today.

Accept it. Embrace it.

Don’t be afraid of this place where you are right now. Although it may seem like a scary place, you are meant to be right there.

You may cry, you may be angry, you may be happy. Allow the emotions take their course. You deserve it.

Trust yourself, you are right where you are for a reason.

Be present, be awesome.

#SummerofAwesome

What have you done for you lately?

be your own heroNow that we’ve kicked off the #SummerOfAwesome, I’m wondering, what have you done for you lately?

Have you started to come out of your shell? Has it felt scary or liberating, or maybe a little of both?

Have you pushed yourself to learn how to work a room? This one may sound intimidating at first, but like anything else, it gets easier once you get used to it.

Have you started to chat people up? Met anyone interesting? One of the people I chatted up was a hostess in a restaurant in Dayton, Ohio, and learned that she would be going to the Aveda Institute in Columbus in the fall to become a hair stylist. She seemed so thrilled that someone was interested. And it’s fascinating to learn little snippets about people. It’s like taking a quick peek into their lives.

Have you begun to recognize your own inner awesomeness? And begun to let go of the old way of thinking that feeling you’re awesome might in some way be arrogant?

And have you begun to identify how independent you really are?

If you have begun to take these steps, more power to you! Keep up the good work!

If you haven’t, why not start today? There’s no time like the present to become a more awesome version of the already awesome you!

Remember, sometimes you have to be your own hero.

Now get out there and save yourself!

Independence Day

independence day kidsToday is Independence Day in the US. The day when we celebrate our independence as a nation.

And it got me thinking and wondering…how independent are we really?

Now I’m not talking about politics here, but rather how strong and independent we are as individuals. We often think we’re so independent because we wear our own unique style of clothing or perhaps may be a bit quirky.

But what about the big stuff…are we independent?

Consider these questions…

Do you answer to your own conscience, not some meme that society has fed you?

Do you think for yourself about the big things and the little things, or do you find yourself influenced heavily by the opinions and wants of others and change your mind to please them or to smooth things over – people like your parents, spouse, boss, kids, or friends?

Are you doing what you want to be doing, not what you think you should be doing? Whether we’re talking about a job, hobbies, relationships, or how you choose to spend your free time, is it what you want to be doing?

Do you even know how you want to spend the time you have in your life?

Do you find yourself making others happy before yourself, or maybe not making yourself happy at all?

Just some food for thought…questions to ask ourselves for a gut check on how independent we really are.

Let’s not just celebrate our independence today. Let’s be independent today and every day!