NEVER Underestimate…new post series!

NEVERUNDERESTIMATE

I am so excited to announce a series of blog posts I’m calling “NEVER Underestimate.” What does underestimate mean? It means not realizing or seeing the true value or importance of something. There are many things, people, places (?), and practices which in our initial evaluation we underestimate. These posts will be short, fun, serious, meaningful, random and hopefully inspiring!

That being said, I will be trying to be a more faithful blogger– things have been busy! I started a second job (I call my Euro-trip fund) working as a Barista (bright and early mornings…eessh! But making coffee and tea specialty drinks is awesome!), and I have been editing, writing and rewriting my novel series. WHEW! It’s been crazy!

Without further ado…

Never underestimate the power of YOU, and what you can accomplish.

It seems fitting way to start. We underestimate ourselves and what we can accomplish all the time. Some of the most amazing people in the world that I have such respect and admiration for are people who have disabilities and become athletes or achieve some other great accomplishment. These people are living, breathing proof that with hard work, a good attitude, and refusing to quit, we can accomplish things said to be impossible.

Accomplishing anything great takes hard work…so the road ahead is going to be tuff, but YOU can do it. You can accomplish that thing that you were meant to do.

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“You should settle down”

When you become a certain age you will often have people tell you, “It is time for you to start thinking about settling down.” Or maybe you start to think about this idea of “settling down” yourself.

What comes to mind when you hear the words, “settling down”? Sadly, right when I hear the words settle down the first thing that comes to mind is BORING. No more sporadic fun adventures. Life is OVER. I think a lot of other people might just feel this way too.

very bored

The good news is we are wrong about this notion that settling down means our lives are getting boring. People…we just make it boring.

What settling down actually means….

You are starting to take certain things more seriously in life….maybe you aren’t as “wild & crazy” as you once were. Things that weren’t as important to you are things that are becoming important. Maybe you are tired of renting and want to own a house or buy a piece of land, maybe you want to get married, get a job that will turn into a career…whatever it is, you are ready for a step that is more permanent than ever before.

There are AWESOME things that happen when you settle down:

  1. You realize to reach certain goals or if you hope to retire you must DO SOMETHING! YOU become a MOTIVATED individual. Motivated people have purpose!
  2. You are trying…and succeeding! People who succeed at things are confident!
  3. You are fulfilling dreams! Umm…who doesn’t love fulfilling dreams!?
  4. You are finding things or people that are AWESOME and hey, not just a one-time deal! Diamonds or crystal?
  5. You are probably earning more money than you ever have before in your life!! Do I need to say anything?

Why do so many us adults, who after we settle down, seem so miserable or our lives very boring?

I think it’s because when we think of “settling down” we literally throw all fun out the door with it. We literally think, or even tell ourselves, “My life is about to get boring. All fun and games are OVER.” We have this attitude, this belief that life is no longer going to be carefree and fun. And if we think that way…I think things will turn out that way.

Yeah, maybe settling down means you are “growing up” and you do have to take certain things seriously. But why do we think we can’t enjoy life, laugh a ton and have fun?

Instead of thinking we are “settling down” why don’t we think of it as “settling up”?

Tips for SETTLING UP (but of course can be used at any time in life!)

be awesome

Stay in shape. Please, please don’t let yourself go. It isn’t fair to who you are with or to yourself! Make being healthy a priority…you will NEVER REGRET IT!

Become an adventurer. An adventure honestly is just doing new things for the sake of doing them. Go to a new coffee shop, hike up a mountain, stay in a ritzy hotel, camp in the backyard, help out at the soup kitchen, read a book, travel to a new spot… be active!

Don’t OVER-SPEND! Over-spending or biting off more than you can chew and getting in debt leads us down a dark spiral straight to adulthood misery. We have this the bigger the better mindset…always thinking THINGS buy us happiness. Nope! If you have less money troubles and a smaller house you will be less stressed out and hey…happier. You don’t need to bury yourself in a half a million dollar loan (unless you can afford it, awesome!). There is beauty in simplicity.

If you get married…marry someone who has common interests. Not everything of course…what is the fun in that!!?? But big things like religion, attitude (I think the other person’s attitude about life should be a top priority! Don’t marry someone who is often very, very negative!), and similar life goals are all things you should have close to the same ideas about.

Learn not to “Sweat the Small Stuff.” Why do we make a big deal about stupid things? There is a great book about this topic, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…And It’s All Small Stuff.” If you have time…read it!

Make time for people. You don’t need a million friends to be happy, just a good little group. Be a good friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, mom or dad, spouse by giving people time, really listening and making them feel important and special.

All about attitude. A good life really is all about your attitude. Your attitude will affect how you view and live your life. YOUR ATTITUDE MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE. Your attitude will affect your marriage, job, kids, and YOU. Your attitude will get you through the bad times and make the good times better.

Don’t settle down. Settle UP!

HAPPY MONDAY!!!

You are just too nice

Have people ever told you, “You know what your problem is, you are just too nice!” ?
Is there really such a thing as being too nice?

No. 

Before you start writing your rebuttal please continue reading.

I am not talking about being fake and nice…that’s called CHEESE. It’s awful!! Cheesy people are the worst! No I’m talking about nice people that are just genuinely nice. Those people you bump into or meet that leave you smiling and thinking, Gosh! That person was super awesome! I believe striving to be overflowing with kindness changes and impacts the world around you in huge ways. I believe there is enormous power in nicest….and that you are influencing and bettering a lot of lives with your kindness….and as an added bonus nice people tend to be happy people.

But…still…can one be too nice? No…but there is such a thing as allowing yourself to be taken advantage of

People call it “being too nice” but I call it the fear of confrontation and not believing or knowing your worth. 

The fear of confrontation can be a huge problem. The good news is you aren’t one of those people that pick and search for fights and cause a lot of grief to not only others but themselves as well–the bad news is you often feel unappreciated, used, like people don’t listen to or value your work or opinions, and you might just have very low self esteem. The fear of confrontation can take over your life and lead you to down a destructive path. It breaks up friendships, relationships, and opportunity. And in the long run it turns genuinely nice people in to bitter and very mean people.

How do you break the fear of confrontation?

Know your worth. You are valuable! Do you believe that? Really believe it?You have to believe that about yourself. And because you are valuable you have to learn to stand up for yourself…because you owe that to yourself. No one should be taken advantage of…but more importantly no one should allow themselves to be taken advantage of. 

Confrontation is part of life…it will happen at work, in your home, with strangers or with friends and family ….confrontation is everywhere. I hate it…it’s uncomfortable but it’s just gonna happen. If something bothers you say something…be nice (you should be good at that! 🙂 ) but say something. More often than not you will discover people don’t realize they are hurting you or know you are feeling unappreciated. And when you say something? It will clear the air, open a door, sometimes close a door, and most importantly you will be glad you said something. 

I hope this post helps someone out there! I am one of those people who wants to run and hide at the first sign of confrontation…it scares me to death! But I had to realize in the end my lack of being able to stand up or speak up about things was really, really hurting me. The more I faced confrontational situations the easier and less scary it became and the better I felt inside. I was still nice and kind but I felt stronger and more valued! 

Stand up, speak up, be nice and know your worth! 

Have a great saturday! 😊 

Just Keep Writing

Dear Writers,

Just because someone you know has not been able to publish any of their 20 manuscripts….does not mean you won’t be able to publish your 1 manuscript.

I finally met a fellow writer…in person. I feel like most of the writers I know are trapped in the glass, plastic and metal components of my cell phone or laptop, in the world of social media. Every now and then I think to myself I wish some of these writer people lived nearbywhat great friends we’d be! It’s strange because sometimes it’s hard to imagine these people (often in different countries!) are actually real. And I am sure Pennsylvania has writers…I just need to get out more… visit more coffee shops perhaps.

But finally, I was able to sit face to face, shake the hand of an actual fellow writer. Let me just say, it is awesome to be chatting with someone and discover they are a writer too!

I was in Colorado last week, at an interview. You know me, it seems lately when I am not writing I spend my time either at interviews or preparing for interviews. LOL. I even have an interview later today (wish me luck)!  A blog post may be coming soon about interviews, What I have Learned So Far or Interviews and Introverts (Although I don’t know if I’m exactly an introvert…just SCARED SILLY when it comes to interviewing!). I have now had Skype, Government, interviews in front of a board of 5+ people, phone interviews, interviews with presentations, interviews with literary agents (the MOST terrifying!), interviews in which the interviewers pretended to be students misbehaving (the latest)….and more. So definitely have had a broad range of experiences, some very positive and some not so much! So stay tuned for this future post!

Anyway, back in Colorado. The writer I met was a History Teacher and let me just say the man was intelligent.I'm Brilliant It wasn’t that he was one of those people who tries to shove their intelligence in your face, “BTW…I’m brilliant!” He was one of those people whose words, mannerisms, and whole persona spoke of genius.

Like without trying the intelligence would pop out of him in little bursts. Anyway, SUPER, SUPER nice guy! In conversation he hears me say that I’m a writer/working on writing a Historic Romantic Suspense series. We get to talking and he has written a several books. Boy was I excited to hear from this more seasoned writer’s experiences. One of my favorite comments he told me (while laughing) he received from an agent rejection letter was, “Loved your characters, but the end of the book was like an empty room with white walls.” As he told me more and more about his experience he said he could probably fill a small room with the number of letters, emails and notes of the times he’s been rejected. I felt my stomach twist.

I’ve always believed that some way, some how if I don’t give up I will find an agent, I will get published. It may take a LONG time and a lot of rejections but I believed that if I didn’t quit it would pay off. Hearing that this amount of rejection happened to a man who doesn’t quit easily, who is incredibly brilliant, and his book had yet to been published… was discouraging.

But then…

That is his story.

Not mine. (NOT YET anyway!)

I just want to tell all of you writers out there it can get discouraging when you hear about the failures and rejections other writers have experienced. (Especially when those writers are brilliant and creative and good at what they do!) But just because they got rejected does not mean YOU will.

DON’T GIVE UP. KEEP WRITING!

Change 

Change. 

It’s a word that makes me excited and strikes fear into my heart all at the same time. 

There’s lots of different types of change. I like to categorize them into four general groups.

The GOOD- This is the kind of change that all, any human welcomes eagerly. This change in life’s story involves something awesome happening that you’ve only dreamed of happening. And you embrace it, with all your heart. For example: You just won the lottery! 

The BAD- this change isn’t actually bad…it’s a great thing. Its change that is saving you from something bad–your saving grace. This second group of change is tough but it’s necessary. This type of change usually involves our willpower. We don’t eagerly accept it.  We fight through it because if we realize if we don’t change we are headed for disaster. Example: losing weight, getting out of a bad relationship, overcoming an addiction.

The UGLY- This type of change refers to situations in which we have no control over. It is thrust upon us without our choice.This change is usually very unexpected and often unpleasant (at first). Example: losing a job, getting bit by a super spider and becoming Spider-Man.

And then there’s that last category of change–the one the bulk of this post is about.

The CHOICE. This category of change is  when in life you find yourself facing a path which leads two, five, or seventeen different ways. Each one of them means change, you just have to decide which path to take. You know you can’t just stand there and not ever choose. These are the changes that you are in control of but often leave you with questions and the dreaded task of making a decision and sticking to it. This type of change involves taking a risk or a chance. And sometimes you don’t know how it will turn out. Haha! Can you guess which category of change I am facing right now!? 😉 

As I was thinking about change and making a decision, this thought hit me. 

What really makes a good life? 

You do. 

It’s not money or a perfect job or a house on the beach…you make your life good. It’s up to you. Even though I’d love all those things….I can still be happy without them. There’s nothing more dangerous than waiting for something to happen to live and fully enjoy life. You’ve got to choose happiness where you’re at, you’ve got to choose to make the most of your life now. If you live each day to its fullest–smiling, thankful, laughing, building good relationships, loving people, helping people, exploring, etc., no matter where life takes you…rich or poor, moving here or there…you will have a good life. There are so many things we have no control over in life, but what we do have control over is our attitudes and actions. 

What’s the point of all of this? 

Change happens. Sometimes it’s good sometimes it’s bad. Sometimes you have a say in the matter and sometimes you don’t. But no matter what change brings your way…you can always be in charge of how you face it or reacte to it.

Stay positive! Do good! Make people know they matter! Try your best! Be the best possible version of yourself! Enjoy the little things! If you’re doing that…no matter what path you take, what change you embrace…it will be okay!

Kindness Counts

One of my favorite quotes has always been:

Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.

And let me just say…from personal experience…IT MATTERS.

You never know when your smiling at a stranger saved their day, or when writing someone a note or complimenting them was something they actually desperately needed. I try my best to be as kind as possible to people…it just makes me happy! But sometimes I’ve wondered if being kind or going out of my way to be nice actually mattered. I knew it made me feel good inside, but was it doing much of anything for the other person?

There’s many circumstances where we will never know what doing something nice accomplished in someone else’s life…but…I just want to say, I’ve had a rough several weeks. I feel like I’m standing on the edge of a cliff–on the verge of everything changing. I’m sure in the end it will be good and sunny, but it may be rather gray and stormy for a while before I see the sunlight break through.  I’ve been trying to smile while facing a very uncertain future, but it’s been really, really hard.

What I want to say is that even though it has been hard, I’ve bumped into some incredibly nice, nice people that have helped me hold onto hope, made me smile or helped me believe everything was going to be okay. Oh my goodness, they were my heroes and some of them had no idea!

So THANK YOU to the kind people of the world! Your niceness and kindness counts…so don’t ever stop! You are making a bigger difference in the world than you know!

=)

JUST ASK

One of the biggest things I’ve learned in life so far as a twenty something year old (and still learning) is the power the following phrase has: JUST ASK 

How many times do we analyze, ponder, worry our brains out for hours…days…months…even years because of situations that have happened in our lives? A friend turning suddenly distant, never getting the promotion, that relationship we want to happen never happening…

We rack our brains trying to handle these situations…figure them out–but we never dare ask. 

We end up wondering around for far too long in a gray space of uncertainty and often insecurity. And if it goes on for too long we get bitter.

But what if we just had asked? 

Just asking can be scary–It is absolutely scary because the answer will leave you no longer hovering in the gray area. The answer is black and white…it has the potential to fulfill your dreams or take them away. Out of fear we often tell ourselves we like the gray area because at least there’s hope there. We tell ourselves things will sort themselves out!

Let me tell you from experience the gray area of unasked questions is an exhausting area to be. It steals your energy, joy and confidence. It robs you of your own potential and growth in life. The gray area is a thief of dreams, and we don’t even realize it. The gray area is a life of what ifs. 

Just asking opens doors, windows, those dusty old closets and let’s the fresh air of certainty in. 

Just asking also closes doors, sometimes with a painful slam that leaves us reeling for days. But after that door closes and we pick ourselves up, something amazing happens: We start to search for a new door or we finally see the door right next to the one that is locked for eternity, wide open with sunlight streaming through it. 

Just asking will lead you to new friendships, amazing adventures and to where you are supposed to be in life. It will lead you to moving on to something better for you or will show you how to unlock that door you so badly want to open. 

Kiss the gray area of uncertainty and what ifs goodbye and JUST ASK. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful Saturday! 😀