March has been a challenging month. This month, we’ve talked about how to meet those challenges in the face of ongoing adversity. And in the past weeks, there has been much that has been identified that would cause great strife and sorrow. Not simply the ongoing war that we hear of daily from a faraway place, but the struggles that we face here and in our personal lives as we wrestle with decisions that can affect our lives or our loved ones down the road.
Some people have health challenges, others may have pressing family problems caused from other people or from those who are close to us. Financial struggles, and worry about what might have been or what could be are all a part of our list of things to worry about each day!
The Growing Group cannot help us to relieve those worries by creating instant solutions to end all of our problems. However, those of us who are in the group can relate and feel empathy and even suggest solutions that may help alleviate some of the worry and fear that is generated and may be unwarranted in many cases.
Here are some of the nuggets that have been pulled for you from the list of suggested articles by experts this month. They have already served to help me in my own quest to find closure and solace as part of an extended family that is grieving the loss of someone we loved dearly and has recently died.
To use when you need a boost and motivational encouragement for those hard tasks that all of us sometimes face!
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, Not ABSENCE of Fear– Mark Twain
Do one thing every day that scares you–Eleanor Roosevelt
I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles– Christopher Reeve
You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you are going to go to bed with Satisfaction– George Horace Lorimer
If you are not willing to risk the usual, you will have to settle for the Ordinary- Jim Rohn
The first step in getting what you want is to have the courage to get ride of what you don’t–Zig Ziglar
Some quotes to use when we have discouragements, setbacks, and sorrows, and need to encourage ourselves to move on!
Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go-Hermann Hesse
Your Past does not equal your future-Tony Robbins
I’ve had a lot of success; I’ve had failures, so I LEARN from the failure– Gordon Ramsey
We can throw stones, complain about them, stumble on them, climb over them, or build with them- William Arthur Ward
Virtual Mentoring: Upgrade your Life
Mentors- Do you have them? I have always been able to embrace the good advice and words of wisdom that my real-life mentors have given to me. But at times, we find ourselves in need of critical advice and may not have the practical and caring encouragement that we need from our friends and family.
One of the newest guidelines that has intrigued me, as someone who has known the value of books all my life, is that we may adopt ‘virtual’ mentors. One way to do this is to simply research a subject that we need well-meaning and focused advice about, and then use the expert you need as a kind of virtual mentor.
Doing this expands your horizons to those who are experts, who have lived and have experienced hardships or succeeded in difficult circumstances, and they are brilliant and wise mentors who can help you in a focused way.
One piece of advice: Read a book carefully. Take your time and focus on the guided categories that will pertain to your specific needs. Find the time to take notes and take it all in. And if you are careful and can use the information to your advantage, who knows? You may be the expert writing advice on this subject someday!
Don’t be afraid/ Have Faith/ Trust the Journey
The advice you receive in this article is about ways to manage your expectations in life. And realize that sometimes, we build things up in our minds and have ideas of what our own success and failures can bring and that may cause more real emotional damage than simply allowing things to unfold.
Letting go of expectations of what things are ‘supposed to be’ and living in the here and now is some of the best advice that anyone can give you. And coping with life as it is-challenges and all/ warts and all- is the only way we can allow ourselves to grow.
What to say to ourselves more often
Here is a list of some things that we need to say to ourselves more often. I have a journal, (and I advise all of my friends and Growing Group members to keep one too!), that is full of the types of self-encouragement that we need to expand on and use in our lives daily.
There is a phrase called “self-love” that I am not as comfortable with. It is meant to convey the type of motivation and encouragement we all need to use for ourselves. But rather, I like to talk about our inner strengths, our own voice and spiritual guidance that is part of the whole that makes up your faith and your inner core of values and wisdom. Love is key to all we do and of course, we can never be truly happy and free without love for ourselves as well as others. Here are some key phrases to use and to keep in your personal journal:
*I can’t control everything that happens I can control the way I RESPOND to what happens
*I will not get caught up in what could or should have been… Look at the here and NOW
*Accept it for what it is; whatever comes my way; Meet it with the best I can give
*Making mistakes over FAKING perfection!
*I am never as good as people say when I succeed nor will I ever be as bad as I think when I’m LOSING….
*Stop just managing problems ; Learn to manage your MINDSET and focus on the POSITIVE
*Challenges are obstacles when you allow them to be and give in or bow down to them
*I WILL pick myself up when I fall down. Again….Recover faster, get back in the game faster
*Don’t hide from your fears anymore….If it’s worth it, it’s worthy of allowing you to sweat over it
*Don’t try to build your reputation on what you just dream of doing someday…
*Peace comes from within….
4 Traits of High Emotional Intelligence
Some of these traits or tendencies are those we talk about each week. And for those of us who are looking to grow in order to open a business-a second act in life, or to change careers or simply to start a project with fire in the belly and inspirational spirit, these are all the things you will need going forward.
- Self Awareness (Know Thyself): We talk of this each week-the ability to look in the mirror, to know our strengths as well as our weaknesses, and to build upon them.
- Self Management/ Control: This is something that is a learned response. We know when we lose our temper that we can do better next time! It is something that we hear in business a lot-‘never let them see you sweat!’ But more than that, when we deal with others, and when we know that things go wrong, we must be able to keep our cool and rationally accept what is before us in order to deal with problems and everyday challenges.
- Empathy: Emotional intelligence to read the room!: This one is so important when we recall others who have an innate ability to be able to talk people down from a tirade or to reason with the unreasonable at times. There is an emotional temperature and we have to be able to empathize with those who are passionate, those who have different motivations and desires and goals than we do, and to be able to relate and to accept them.
4. Ability to Build relationships: Helping others manage emotions: This hearkens back to the ability to read the room. To empathize with others, and then go beyond and to be able to build on those qualities in others that may be wonderful if properly harnessed!
Create Good Habits/Break Bad ones
This is one that can be a kind of follow-up to our annual January list of good intentions that is usually thrown to the wayside by the second quarter! It’s a way of looking at those habits, good and bad, that we all have.
If we use our Creative Capacity to the fullest, we can learn to put our brain on autopilot and prioritize those decisions that need to be made. We can maintain our motivation by encouraging those habits we have that promote success.
The bad habits are those we need to list and to work on. For example, if we drink caffeine or sodas, we may make a pledge to replace it with herbal tea. We can list our triggers-those things that exacerbate and create some of our worst habits.
If we have cues that create these habits, we can use the power of our own creative capacity to identify the triggers and adjust accordingly.
We can also visualize just what success looks like. In each case, if we close our eyes and focus, we can begin to imagine the reality of the best possible outcome that we can envision.
And finally, we can use our creative capacity to substitute some of the most harmful negative self-talk that is defeating and at times holding us back. There is a key word to this we need to use. It’s the word “But!”
For example: I know I have failed in doing this so many times before…BUT!…I did not know then all the things that I now know, and the practice and advice I have acquired is going to change the outcome!
As mentioned, these are the methods I have used for my own benefit to help me through the recent crisis in my own life. I know these are ideas that can help all of us!
Mantras are usually short statements that we can remember. I have used that word to create a weekly type of Mantra Guide that incorporates more than one sentence. And I’ve been aware that as we know it, it’s not a ‘true’ mantra list. But the guides we use are ways to help us each week. These are specific mantras to keep in our journal and to use as needed in our lives.
- I will begin with Quiet Awareness/(Meditate on Breath): Of course, meditation is one of the tools that so many use in their search for meaning and for empowerment. Prayer is also a powerful tool. When we have spiritual guidance and fulfillment, then the idea of using both is something that can take us through the difficult days.
- I will say YES to Change: Of all the things, this may be the hardest. It’s simple to say, and always difficult when we cannot accept a change. With death, we are forced to look at change. And there are so many instances in my own life where I was aware that no matter how good the situation, (and at times how bad!), that this was something that could not last. We know our lives are about change. Embracing and preparing ourselves for change is something we need to be mindful of each day.
- I will focus on Gratitude: Here is another short mantra that we have addressed almost every week in the Growing Group. For there is almost always something to be grateful for in our lives. We need to focus on the awareness of how much gratitude can shape us and mentally strengthen us as we go through the days.
4 Invaluable Secrets to Happiness:
One of my mentors for the business that is currently part of the Growing Group is Gretchen Rubin. She is a kind of ‘guru’ of self-help entrepreneurs, and she focuses mainly on the pursuit of happiness. It is something that we have seen so frequently these days in topical essays and in business literature as well.
The pursuit of happiness is a business, but it is also a personal quest that we all must embark upon in our lives. There is no one category or definition of the meaning of happiness in our lives. However, there are those who study it quite intensively, and they have a working definition of the four categories that are necessary to bring us happiness in our lives:
The categories include Faith/Family/Friendship/& Meaningful Work. But to break it down further, the article goes on to list three ways that these categories may be defined.
- 1) Enjoyment: And of course, this is intensely personal, but usually may be identified by the simplest of things. If we have an expectation of eating a fresh, ripe, juicy peach, and we enjoy our experience, we may achieve happiness perhaps tenfold from those who are sailing on mega-yachts!
- 2) Satisfaction: Satisfaction may be in achieving those goals that we speak of weekly. Everyone has a different goal-in achieving weight loss, or taking a trip on their bucket list, or watching their children or grand-children graduate or be married! Satisfaction comes in so many flavors….
- 3) Purpose: Your Faith, your family, your friendships, and the meaningful work of your life is all bound in this category. If you have faith in yourself and others, you may find the inner strength you need.
- Those of us who do have strong faith, and bonds of family & friends, it gives us purpose to go forward each day. The Meaningful work that you do may be a volunteer project that comes late in life. It may be something you are not caught up in until your retirement! Or it could be a hobby or a part-time gig. Whatever the meaningful work is that you do, it is part of who you are and one of your reasons for living!
Here is the end of our round-up for the month. And we are going to offer a journal that you may purchase, if you don’t have one! The reason for offering the journal is that we recommend everyone who follows us in the Growing Group to keep their own personal lists that we send to our members each week and to use the exercises to build on as we go forward.
Send your thoughts and comments please if you are new to the Growing Group family of friends! We welcome all ideas and suggestions from you. Until next time…
Mary-The Monday Muse and your Growing Group Editor!