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When I look back at my life, I look at all the time I wasted living my life on other people’s opinions of me. In hindsight, the things I feared and the things I was uncomfortable with and worried about, were in reality often rooted in other people’s insecurities not mine.  I needlessly ruminated over what I wasn’t, instead of focusing on my strengths and good qualities. I essentially criticised myself for other people, and they probably didn’t even give it or me a second thought. The truth is, most of us are way too hard on ourselves and get caught up in self-doubt and others’ opinions of us, but here’s what I would like you to ask yourself: when is enough living your life for other people and for their opinions’? When are you going to take positive ownership of your own life and your own happiness? Time is ticking and it’s up to you to do something about it.

It’s time to love and accept yourself for you – all of you!

Do you really think who you compare yourself to is perfect or has a perfect life? They don’t. We all wake up frazzled in the morning, with a nest-like ball of dishevelled hair on our heads and we all have bits of us that we’d prefer not to highlight. You know, yesterday I took my 4 year old son to school in his lovely clothes and what did he decide to do half way? He used his sleeve to wipe his snotty nose, like literally half way up his arm. I had no idea so much snot could fit inside a child! The strange thing is that one of the mothers at the school looked horrified when he did it– probably because she has a child that does not produce snot or maybe it’s just because she has been conditioned to societal perfection. The thing is I could have felt bad about it, based on her reaction, but I didn’t because I no longer live in a space of having to be accepted.

The truth is we are all imperfect so why pretend otherwise? Embrace every part of you, the physical and the emotional. And if you find yourself comparing yourself to a perfection standard, just remember my child’s snotty nose! 

Kindness is a word everyone understands but not something that everyone practices often. This is usually because life gets in the way. We live in a fast paced society so it’s easy for us to get distracted and to forget the importance of kindness. However, the simplest act of kindness has the ability to change someone’s life, even if we don’t see it immediately.  Please consciously create a habit of kindness by using this free Women's Empowerment Summit Kindness Calendar. Simply click the drop down arrow to the right of the article to print, Then share this article link so others can do the same. 

Should You Follow Your Heart or Your Head?

You've probably heard it so many times "Follow your heart". It’s a common advisory phrase that we have all received or given at some point when deciding about a relationship, a career, a place to live, what to do in a current situation or a possible future situation. "Follow your heart" essentially means "do what feels right".

On the surface following your heart seems like a great idea. It seems like the most natural thing to do because we are by our very nature driven by our emotions. However, the tough bit about following your heart is that sometimes your heart can take you to places you shouldn't be and because feelings are faster than logic, it can take you to that place very quickly. The heart does not come from a place of logic or reason. Its purpose is to love, and it draws to us the people and things we desire, not necessarily those that will lead to a better life.

On the flip side, your brain has for the most part been programmed by your environment over time and it is based on a belief system, a belief system that most of us were too young to make a choice in whether to accept or not. This can lead to making choices that are not good for us either. That said, do not let your heart or your head do the decision making alone. It is only when your heart and your intellect work together in unison that you will live an authentic peaceful life.

You could liken your heart to your inner GPS system. Imagine driving down a road and you are having a great time. It feels right and you go forward with ease and joy. Then you come to a sign that says there is a very dangerous oil spill ahead. Imagine that sign to be your logical brain. Your heart wants to continue but your brain tells you that if you take that route, you could put yourself in danger. What do you do, listen to your heart or listen to your head?

If you were in an abusive relationship, for example, and your heart is in love with your partner, your natural inclination might be to gravitate to the part of the relationship that felt good. But when your brain raises a flag that tells you to question the quality of your relationship and your safety, it would be wise to listen to your head, not just your heart, wouldn’t it?  

Your happiness is your responsibility and your happiness will ultimately be determined by the decisions you make. Lead with your heart but take your brain with you! Here are a few tips to get your heart and your head to work in unison.

Listen to your heart’s intuition but pause before making any decision.

Take time out and allow yourself to become relaxed and silent. Breathing slowly in the comfort of a relaxing space will help you do this. Allow at least twenty minutes of relaxation before you think about your decision. In the space of silence your heart and your head will consult with each other productively. The following questions are great questions to ask:

  • “Do I feel good around this choice or person?”
  • “Does this situation or person give me or take my energy?”
  • “Do I feel empowered or disempowered?”
  • “Am I going toward an adventure or running from fear?”
  • “Am I listening to my lessons learned from the past?”
  • “Would I make the same choice if I had a million Euros in my pocket now?”
  • “Do I feel respected and valued?”
  • “Am I trying to control the situation or am I leaving room for expansion?”

 

Write out the pros and cons of making the decision.

A great way to approach a decision-making situation is to write out the pros and cons. Get a page and divide it into two columns. In column 1 write “Consequences of doing X” (X indicates the decision to be made) and in the second column put “Consequences of Not Doing X” Writing it out will allow the logical part of your brain to activate as you “feel” your decision. Then when you’ve filled in your two columns, read what you’ve written aloud. Reading them aloud will give you a very real and possibly different perspective of your situation and decision.

Sleep On it!

When we sleep our brain naturally organises and files information and emotion. It will, through a metaphorical dream process, try to resolve any intense emotion you experience day-to-day, allowing you to wake up with a clear head.

Approach the situation from someone else’s point of view.

Think of someone you respect and ask yourself what they would do and how they would do it. A different perspective can change everything. If you need extra help, ask for it.

Surround Yourself with Productive Positive Thinkers.

If you have a decision to make and you are surrounded by negativity, it will be very difficult for you to make a good decision. Negativity fogs the mind. Being around people who are positive can be much more helpful. It is a known fact that positive thinking allows for clarity, focus and productive decision making. If you’re not where to find such people, consider attending the Women’s Empowerment Summit. Full details at http://wesummit.ie

Let’s face it, most women, even the most gorgeous, talented and apparently perfect women, don’t feel beautiful at some point. When media puts apparent perfection in our faces it’s easy to see why. We have become a society of comparisons. Instead of loving ourselves for who we are, we focus on our imperfections- the wobbly bits, the crooked bits, the too-big bits, the too-small bits etc., and we criticise ourselves brutally in the process, leading to a feeling of absolute inadequacy when we don’t measure up.

For the purposes of this article, I’d like you to imagine someone standing next to a refuse truck with a box in their hands. The box is made of pure gold and inside the box is €1 million in clean cash. Now imagine that same person dumping the box and its contents straight into the truck and walking away empty handed, just because. Most people would consider them crazy, right?

Striking a balance between work and your personal life can be challenging in today’s fast paced society. Here are some ways to get that necessary balance.

Take Time Out

The best performers and the happiest people in this world are not those who work all the time – they know the importance of balance and taking time out. You are not superhuman, no matter what you think you are capable of doing, and no matter how much you think that you are the only one who can do a job right. Like us all, you need time to rest, time to play, and time to do absolutely nothing. When you work, give it your all and work smart, but take time to step back, relax and unwind. You are more than work - you have a life with many aspects to it, all of which are equally important.

It can be very frustrating when you put all your energy into a business only to see it plod along, especially if the business is something you believe in. We’ve all been there. We have the makings of a fantastic business but we just can’t get it to gather momentum. The idea is innovative, current and well thought out, the passion and determination are there, but no matter how hard we try, it just plods along. If this sounds familiar, you need to understand the 80/20 rule!

Have you ever experienced challenges in your life — those times when you felt stuck and had no idea how to move forward? The reality is we all have. At some point in life, we all meet obstacles that seem insurmountable. How great would it be to feel able to overcome those obstacles? How great would it be to know that no matter what comes your way you can deal with it?

You know the feeling of excitement you get when you set a goal and you know that you are capable of achieving it, the feeling of knowing you are going to make your dream a reality? It’s a great feeling isn’t it! But as life might have it, sometimes our plans don’t always turn out the way we want or expect. Things get in the way and we become disheartened, we get side-tracked and ultimately give up on what could have been something wonderful. Below are some tips to help you stay focused and motivated to achieve your goal no matter what life may throw at you.

No one likes to “fail” but the fact is we all mess up at various times in our lives. So what! Nobody who ever achieved anything great never made a mistake. In fact successful people make loads of mistakes. Failure is just a concept; an illusion we beat ourselves up with when we don’t get the result we would like. Think about this: how much better would your results be if you saw failure as successful people see failure? Successful people do not see a mistake as failure - it’s seen as feedback that a new approach is needed. To achieve your goal you may just need to refine your strategy or perhaps you may need to adopt a new one. Learn from what didn’t work out and move on. It is much more useful. When we see “failures” as feedback results improve dramatically. So let’s bring things into perspective and help you bounce back from whatever difficulty you are experiencing! Below are some tips to help you.

Change is inevitable, whether it relates to a relationship, the death of a loved one, job loss, moving to a new house or a change in something that we thought would always remain constant. Life is ever evolving. Below are some tips to help you deal with change.

Being a good leader can enhance your life in so many ways. It allows you to gain respect both at home and in business. Now I’m not talking about a high powered official here, I’m referring to the type of leader that develops loyal followers, a leader who is positive, inspiring and empowering, motivating people to perform better and feel good about performing better. Below are some ways you can become a good leader!

 

  1. Stop Comparing

What do they have? What do I have?”, “How do they look? How do I look?”, “What have they achieved? What have I achieved?” – We have become a fast-paced society of comparisons, benchmarking our value against others’ performance. This is a shame because no matter how much we compare ourselves to others, we will always pull the short straw. To empower ourselves we must embrace the fact that no two people, even identical twins, are the same. We are all unique and we all have something unique to offer. You have something to offer! When was the last time you focused on and embraced your unique self? When was the last time you stopped to think about how you could hone in on your unique strengths to improve both your life and your business? Now is a great time to do it! You are an amazing human being that is capable of so much, if only you would accept yourself for who you truly are as a unique individual.

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