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A friend and entrepreneur wanted to rant: She had a particularly tough customer who wanted to change something she created at the last minute. My friend, who prides herself on being accommodating and nice, agreed to jump through hoops to make this customer happy. Meanwhile she was angry and resentful because it was going to end up costing her a lot of time and money.
Here’s what I said: Honey, honor your business.
Of course we want customer satisfaction. We want repeat business, referrals, people to rave about us, etc., because let’s face it — we need the money. And especially for us women, we’re wired to be “nice” and bend over backward to please. But this has nothing to do with being nice. It’s about practicing integrity, and it’s about how you and your work command respect. It’s about the soul you want your business to have and the energy you want it to vibrate in.
It’s OK to set up guidelines and rules of what you’ll do and won’t do and how you’ll be compensated for it. It’s OK to make clear what you stand for. It’s OK to walk away from a miserable situation. It’s OK and healthy to set boundaries!
I mean, do we think twice about how we treat and compensate plumbers, accountants, doctors, etc?
And here is where it gets more interesting: If you’re not creating a space of integrity and honor in your work, where else is that happening in your life? How else are you neglecting or mistreating yourself? What are you giving away that you don’t want to anymore? How much longer are you going to allow these patterns to exist?
So my challenge to my friend — and YOU — is what is the first thing you are going to do to honor your business?
Actually I have two scales in my downstairs bathroom. One was made of clear glass with just a simple digital number panel. Don’t ask me why, but later I decided I needed one that could measure body fat.
Some days my mood was determined by the number that popped up. If I didn’t like the number, I’d tilt slightly to one side to see if went down. Or I just knew that taking my socks off would shave off o.1 pounds.
Can you say scale slave? I was trapped in an all or nothing mode, letting a machine decide whether I’ll have a good day or a crappy one. I let the scale determine how much I was going to beat myself up for sneaking in that bowl of ice cream the night before. I allowed my scale immense power over me, and you know what? IT DIDN’T HELP!
It didn’t get me to consistently eat less or healthier. It didn’t push to get to the gym more often. I still “cheated” on my diet and made excuses for why I did.
Here’s what I didn’t pay any attention to: HOW MY BODY FELT.
Like millions of others on diet programs, I read all the material and followed the directions. That turned me into a food robot. I was so busy counting fat grams, weighing my food and inputting everything I ate into a spreadsheet that I didn’t allow myself to assess how I was physically feeling.
I’m proposing a new focus for you: TO FEEL GOOD.
Let your body be the guide to that. Start learning to be intuitive. After you eat something, listen for your body’s response. Are you sluggish, wired, overly thirsty, bloated, still hungry? Mentally keep track of these messages. The amazing thing is that your body is really programmed to want to be fed well — like a well-oiled machine.
What will not be well-oiled right now are my scales. They will sit, broken and untouched — powerless.
Now tell me, how will you start applying body intuition?
No, I didn’t go prospecting in a Texas field, but I want to share with you something that’s enriching my health big time.
Most of us go through our lives reaching for over-the-counter remedies any time we have an ache, pain or discomfort. I thought nothing of taking a pill for this or a syrup for that. I popped ibuprofen like they were candy. Any small twinge and I’d reach for some chemical concoction.
Well, I’m fighting back with essential oils. Essential oils are derived from flowers, seeds, shrubs, trees, roots and bushes. The aromatic oils are extracted from these plants and distributed to us in concentrated form.
I’ll admit I was very skeptical at first because how could oils take the place of stuff I get at the drug store? And if they were so great, why aren’t more people using them?
Well, I did find out a lot of people do use essential oils, and it just takes spreading the word about the awesome benefits.
Here are some of mine:
- I haven’t had to use allergy medicine since I started taking lavender.
- Ibuprofen and I are no longer buddies.
- A drop or two of lemon oil in a glass of water is super refreshing — goodbye soda!
- I sleep like a baby after using a combination of oils for peace and calming.
- Oils have taken the edge off stress.
- Peppermint eases my stomach, unclogs a stuffy nose and gives me a natural jolt — without the caffeine.
It feels so good to slowly begin to detoxify and knowing I have a choice of trying something that Mother Nature/God provided for us first before resorting to something created in a lab.
If you decide to try essential oils, go for quality. I use Young Living.
Take charge of what you put in and on your body — your organs will thank you.
For some people, the answer is that they never have. The images, comments and the peer pressure of having the perfect (whatever that means) body is so overwhelming. We’ve been trained from a young age to loathe certain parts of us, to live in fix-it mode and to be in conflict with our bodies.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating sitting on the couch all day, filling your body with crappy food and mentally zoning out.
What I AM saying is that you are a LIVING MASTERPIECE. Emphasis on the word LIVING.
Just like an artist, we can fine tune, emphasize, tone down or however you want to tweak, but this all takes place WHILE you are living — in the present.
WHILE you work on making a career change.
WHILE you say yes to speaking in front of an audience.
WHILE you make plans to go dancing.
WHILE you shop for clothes that fit and flatter (forget about the number on the label)
WHILE you put up a picture and profile on a dating site.
WHILE you are doing your best loving between the sheets.
We are in the habit of putting ourselves down in front of our friends and family. The thought that we can never do enough or be enough has become second nature. Then we justify putting our lives on hold until we get to just the right number on the scale or until we can squeeze into a pair of jeans we’ve been saving as “inspiration.”
I’ve been there, done that — until I figured out how much it was costing me: time, happiness, freedom, fun, opportunities, connections, deeper friendships, career changes.
What are you giving up while you’re waiting for just the “right” moment?
Let me help you be hot, happy and healthy. My coaching is supportive, clarifying and empowering. I offer a free 30-minute consultation, so you’ve got everything to gain!
Write me at email@example.com.
We’re always on the run.
Rushing to get to work on time. Chaperoning kids from one activity to the next. Figuring out what to make for dinner. Finding time to work out. And of course all the stuff that needs to be done around the house.
We check off our to-do lists and I suppose that’s one way to measure accomplishment, but I want to suggest another gauge: HOW DO YOU FEEL?
Do you feel good at the end of the day? Do you feel good about the direction you’re heading in life? In your career? In your relationships? In your health? In your spirit?
In our harried lives, we’ve forgotten what makes us feel good. We put our desires aside. We tell ourselves there’s plenty of time later on to focus on our needs. Maybe the better question to ask yourself is HOW DO YOU WANT TO FEEL?
Do you even know? I didn’t, until I sat down and thought about it. It was powerful. You’ll see.
Right now, think of 5 ways you want to feel.
I’ll do it with you.
My 5 are: healthy, present, connected, sexy and purposeful.
Now try to match them up with what your day is like. Any alignments? If you said no, I bet you’re in the majority. But the beauty of this exercise is that you are now aware of what you want to feel, so start doing WHATEVER IT TAKES to get there.
Walk or bike to the store. Leave a lunchbox love note for your spouse or children. Spritz on your favorite perfume. Eat fruit instead of cookies for dessert. Ask that person out on a date. Start planning your spring and summer garden. Freshen up your resume because you can’t stand your current job. Take a 20-minute nap — the dishes aren’t going anywhere. Make love in the afternoon.
Let me know what you are going to do to feel good.
Wellness is about feeling good — mind, body and soul. It’s the path where you’ll begin to attract people and success with ease. Give me 90 days and I’ll help get you to your place of wellness. We can kick off with a free 30-minute session. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ve been conditioned to hang on to the hurts, the pains — whether it’s been inflicted on us or something we generated.
Those feelings stay with us, gnaw at us and sometimes eat us alive. They slow us down, make us think what we want is impossible, and then we’re stalled and afraid to break out of imaginary boxes.
What would it be like if we forgave ourselves — even just one little bit in one little area?
- For taking on more than you want to handle
- For eating that second helping of dessert when you were already full
- For yelling at your kids because you were exhausted and impatient
- For not speaking up when someone said something discriminatory or tasteless
- For hurting someone’s feelings
- For saying yes when you meant no
- For breaking your diet for the 23rd time
- For going along with something because you didn’t want to be the odd person out
- For saying nasty things about yourself that you wouldn’t say to your best friend
So please release the crud that’s weighing you down. Choose to let bygones be bygones and start over. New beginnings are always waiting for you.
Free yourself because the mental, physical and spiritual costs are just too high.
I recently saw a young woman who was doing her job of answering phones and running between offices while I was in a waiting area. She wore a pretty top accessorized with a trendy silver necklace, tight jeans and high heels. Her long wavy hair flowed nicely. Her makeup was maybe just a tad overdone, but overall she was fairly well put together.
But it was something else she was “wearing” that caught my eye more than anything else: Insecurity. Her self-consciousness stuck out like a now-gross pink neon shirt from the ’80s.
She was aiming for cool and sexy. She was everything but.
She walked a little too slow, like she was having a hard time balancing in her shoes. She was fidgety, straightening her shirt and adjusting her jewelry just one too many times. And she never smiled.
I felt bad for her because haven’t we all been there? Where we tried too hard, put a persona, or concentrated our energy on sucking our gut in.
Can we blame her?
The images all around us are dizzying: Bony models, diet plans, “skinny” foods, boob jobs, nips and tucks, etc. All in the name of being the “right” size, having a certain look, and finding the magic that will finally make you happy.
Is it any wonder that so many of us — especially women — are feeling screwed up about our body image?
How many times has our warped sense of the perfect human form stopped us in our tracks, kept us from pursuing our dream career and made us feel afraid to go up to someone and start a conversation?
I wanted to tell her: Darling, attraction begins on the inside. It’s that glow from within that makes you sexy. What are you holding on to that’s covering that light? What’s the one thing you can do to free yourself from your misguided expectations and beliefs?
Because sweetheart, you may catch someone’s eye with flash, but it’s your heart and soul that seals the deal.
The conversation goes like this:
Me: (in my head) That’s it? Didn’t she notice I got a haircut? Plus, my eyeliner went on perfect today, and the scale said I lost 1.2 pounds!
Me: I love you.
Boyfriend, husband, significant other: Aww, that’s really sweet.
Me: (in my head) What?! Why didn’t he say I love you back? Did I do something wrong? But he said I love you yesterday??
Me: I just put up a blog post I worked really hard on.
FB and Twitter: Dead silence.
You see what I was doing, right?
I was desperately looking for a return on my investment.
I was whoring for compliments.
I needed a little sugar, but all I tasted was the bitterness of my own insecurities.
You see, there was a time I wasn’t genuine in my giving. I was giving just to get. The truth is that depending on other people to validate you is an emotional coaster you don’t want to get on. The co-dependency can be downright crippling. You look good only when someone says you look good. You think you are effective after you get a certain amount of social media attention. When you feel needy, you want to hear I love you just to make sure you’re worth those three words.
Like a junkie, I was looking everywhere for the high. It was hard to believe me on my own. But my darlings, here’s another truth: you have the power to meet your own needs. Exercising that power takes time and practice.
Start practicing: What if you, for one day, your intention is to PURELY dole out your love, spirit, kindness and joy?
What if you let go of seeking a response? What if you unchained yourself from needing approval?
Feels good, right?
Breath it in, baby.
I kicked off the “My Story” page telling you I am a daughter of immigrants. I didn’t expand on it there because at the time I considered it is a small — although unique — identifier. But the more I thought about it, the more it I realize that my experiences deserve some time and space.
They had a much greater impact than I want to give them credit for.
My parents were born in China. My dad arrived in the United States when he was a boy so he became fluent in English. On the other hand, my mom made it here after my father returned to China to marry her so her language skills have always lagged.
They settled in New York City and raised five children. I am the oldest. I was sent to parochial school (I wasn’t Catholic) where, for a while, I was the only Asian student in the entire school. My folks did what they thought was best — that private school offered a better education — not knowing the potential stress of putting me and my siblings in a situation where not only were we ethnically different, but religiously. I was there for eight years.
My childhood was filled with instances of being mocked at school, on the streets, in stores, etc. I’ve been called it all — name the slur or stereotype and it’s been aimed at me.
I wanted to spit at them.
But this isn’t a sob story.
It’s about how I learned to live and love, and refused to internalize all the hate that was flung at me.
It’s about how I chose to stay REAL.
Resilience. The truth is that if we allow other people’s opinions, ideas and rants to get under our skin for too long, then we’ll start to believe it. It will fester, clear a path for negativity to course through your soul and erode the beautiful person you are. What people say is about their own securities, their own problems. It’s not a reflection of your true who. Therefore, I let hateful talk bounce off me, and I pray that the perpetrators will release the darkness within themselves.
Embrace. If you love something, embrace it. If it feels just right, embrace it. Hold your friends close. Hang on to your values. Put your arms around whatever it is that makes you feel alive and healthy. I’ve learned to weed out people, places, ideas and expectations and get to the CORE.
Am. I am. You are. That’s it. Just be, my darlings. Pretending sucks up way too much energy. You don’t have to work that hard. I used to want to be blonde with blue eyes. I used to want to impress people for my own ego. I used to say yes when I really meant no.
Love. Love extends, transcends. I’m not talking mushy love — although that has its place. I mean kindness, compassion, joy, listening, extending a hand. People often take their cues from how you treat them. So if I act from a place of suspicion, closemindedness, hate, anger, insecurity or fear, guess what I’ll get in return? Let go and let love, baby.
Can I tell you how awesome January is?
It’s month No. 1, new beginnings, fresh starts, clean slate, first steps — new, new new.
A time to shed any of the yuckiness you may have experienced in 2011.
A time when there are NO excuses to postpone projects, whether you want to kick ass at a new health regimen or kick ass launching a business. JUST KICK ASS!
A time to say YES to living how you truly want to.
This is not the time to SHRINK back from what you are meant to do. I know you feel it in your gut. Your grand plan really wants to come into the light but your fear is keeping it in the dark. That fear is telling you that you might fail, that you’ve got too much to lose, that not enough people are going to support you, etc. etc.
BUT … What would it be like if did not hand YOUR POWER over to the fear?
You OWN the power — don’t even think about giving it away.
Be selfish with YOUR power.
USE that power to propel you.
Now that’s what I call hot living.
I’m also thinking about …: Yes, I am on a health kick like everyone else since that is also what January is about! I’m currently going through the book “Crazy Sexy Diet” by Kris Carr. You can read up on her at www.crazysexylife.com. She’s got an incredible story, and it motivated her to reevaluate her food choices. Now, she practices a vegan lifestyle.
Has anyone read her book or done her cleanse?