30-day-blogging-challenge

Day 4: Your Dream Job

This one is tough because I don’t want to sound ridiculous. The fact is that I actually have my dream job. For the last five years, I’ve been dreaming of becoming a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM)/photographer and here I am, doing just that. I don’t give a hoot what anyone says, being a mother & a homemaker…

livelovesimple.com

Firefly Jar Photography

If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you’re probably aware that I am way into photography. Taking pictures has been a passion of mine forever. As a little girl, I would frame images in my mind and think, “That would make a great photograph.” When I was twelve-years-old, I started shooting…

I Am a Motivational Speaker

With time, and saliva, the ant will devour the elephant.” —Ancient Chinese proverb I spent the first half of my life between forty and seventy pounds overweight. I’ve never told anyone this before, but most nights before I went to sleep, I would lie in bed praying. Dear God, Please let me wake up and…

Carousel — 06.18.10

Every Friday, I post my favourite links, posts, & resources from around the Web. Expect to learn, grow, & be inspired. – – – – – – – – – 1. TRANSITIONS & FEAR AND PERMISSION: Two must-read post’s about dealing with change & overcoming fear from my new crush, Chris Guillebeau. We make these…

Tired of Conflict Bringing You Down?

Dealing With Conflict

Conflict takes many forms—misunderstanding, frustration, ignorance, hatred, envy, and so on—but despite the cause, the result is largely the same: someone walks away with hurt feelings.

The truth is, however, that this is not necessary. You can choose to be unaffected by conflict. It is not an easy thing to accomplish. You have, after all, lived your life believing that conflict equals pain. But with practice & patience you can learn to live above conflict in a place of true peace.

“True peace can not be disturbed by gain or loss.”

The reason that conflict hurts us is because we allow it to. Most pain comes from another person(s) or from our own minds. The key to being unaffected by conflict is to understand that anything that another person says to us (out of anger, frustration, etc.) is actually a reflection of her feelings about herself and is rooted in fear. Likewise, anything that our mind says to us (self-criticism, self-hatred, etc.) is also rooted in fear. All forms of discomfort—sadness, anxiety, worry, rage, hatred, envy, and so on—are rooted in fear.

When you accept that angry words are actually reflections of fear, it makes them much less painful to tolerate. Even the angriest and most cruel of arguments is based in fear & insecurity.

For example, you have a large project due at work. You bring it into your boss’s office an hour prior to the deadline. She notices that it is riddled with errors. Her face turns red and she begins to scream. “You idiot! How could you be so stupid? This is unacceptable. I can not believe I ever hired you. Get out!”

On one hand, you are devastated. Her words have stung you at your core. You are insulted, sad, angry, afraid. But if you really stop to analyze the situation, why do you think she acted this way? Most likely, she is afraid. Most likely, she is terrified about the way that your “failure” is going to reflect on her. After all, wasn’t it her who hired you, gave you this assignment, failed to give you proper instruction, and so on? What will her boss think when she turns this project into him? Her explosion was based in fear.

Another example, it is Saturday afternoon and you are sitting on the couch. Your husband comes in the door and notices that you have not swept the floors. He begins to speak angrily, “Haven’t you swept the floors? Didn’t you see this dirt? You’ve been so lazy recently.” You are crushed and devastated. How could he be so mean? But then again, you stop and analyze. The lawn is not mowed, the gutters are uncleaned, there are piles of crap strewn about the yard. Your husband is insecure about all of his unfinished chores and is projecting his self-frustration onto you. His remarks were based in fear and insecurity.

If you take the time to truly analyze, you will find that almost every conflict is rooted in fear. Therefore, the vast majority of hurtful things that are ever said to you actually have absolutely nothing to do with you. This is an incredibly liberating concept (not to be confused with the rare scenario when you are actually wrong by the way). Still, just because the other person’s (or even your own self-inflicted) anger is based in fear, that still doesn’t make it right. Yes, perhaps both your boss and your husband were entirely out of line. It is alright for you to tell them so, but what is more important is the way that you process the conflict within yourself.

Most people internalize the conflict. In any case, you take what was said and push it deep within yourself. Perhaps you believe the other person words. “Yes, I am lazy, stupid, ugly, etc.” The conflict turns into emotional pain and festers within you eventually becoming depression, anxiety, and so on. But as I mentioned at the start, none of that is necessary.

You must accept the conflict (words) for what they are—someone else’s (or even your own mind’s) fears and insecurities. Fear is nothing to be afraid of or affected by. Most fear is completely unnecessary (read more about that).

After the conflict, words, and judgments have passed, simply allow all of it to pass through and around you like water or air. Understand that it is something outside of you, that has nothing to do with you at all. It is not inside of you, it did not come from you, and you do not have to absorb it. Simply let it pass and then move on.

Holding onto the pain of conflict is insane and unnatural. What do the birds do after the great storm has passed? They sing, of course! You will never hear the birds singing so sweetly and so loudly as they do after the storm has passed and the sun shines again. They do not mourn the broken nest, the wet feathers, or the lost supper. They simply sing and praise the light in gratitude. They rejoice that the sun has come again.

In his book, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, Eckhart Tolle talks about his observation of duck fights. Two ducks approach one another. They squawk in anger for mere seconds. Then they turn away from one another, flap their great wings a few times, and swim on as if it never happened. This is true wisdom, true peace, in action. There is so much that we can learn from this simple observation.

There is really no need to hold onto anger or discomfort. There is really no need to suffer. In life, you will find many reason to suffer. But a good reason to suffer, you will never find. Let conflicts pass through and around you. Do not hold onto them. You will almost always find that it never has anything to do with you anyway.

Review: Tribes by Seth Godin

On a recent flight, I began reading Seth Godin’s Tribes. On the return flight, I finished it. It was my introduction to Seth Godin—no idea why I hadn’t found him sooner!—and what an introduction it was. The book blew me away. It is the best book on leadership and change management that I’ve ever read. While the content is sure to inspire change of the greatest sort within any organization—from business to church, non-profit to learning institution—it is also of incredible value to individuals.

In this post I want to share some of my favourite pieces from Tribes as well as some of my own insights.

Whether you want to create positive change in the world, in the workplace, or simply in your own, I recommend that you read the book for yourself. It is a relatively easy read, spliced up into short, digestible chapters. I got through it in a few hours. But it is absolutely packed with revolutionary ideas, suggestions, and real-life examples of people making a difference and leading tribes in today’s world.

Many people are starting to realize that they work a lot and that working on stuff they believe in (and making things happen) is much more satisfying then just getting a paycheck and waiting to get fired (or die).

I’ve begun to think of my generation as the Fight Club generation. Tyler Durden said it best, “We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.” I think Tyler and Seth’s sentiments are one and the same. Our parents (or maybe you) were raised to believe that you needed to grow up, go to school, get a job, and stay there. Work hard, save money, vacation once a year, and retire as soon as possible.

Well, the Fight Club generation doesn’t want to hear that nonsense. We want gratification now. We don’t want to spend 40 hours a week miserable just so that we can collect a paycheck twice a month. We don’t want to spend half a lifetime at a job that we hate just so we can get fired or die one day! We believe that we can be happy now. We can pursue our passions, make a difference in the world, live out our dreams, and be successful all at once. And… we are right. We can do it. There are people doing it every single day. I love Tribes because it tells the stories of those people and more importantly, how they got there and how we can do it, too.

Somewhere along the way, perhaps when twenty thousand Ford workers lost their jobs in one day, or when it became clear that soft drink companies were losing all their growth to upstarts, the factory advantage began to fade.

The reason why the “school-job-suffer-retire” model worked for so long was because it was safe, it was comfortable. Human beings like to feel safe. It feels good to know that you will get a check once every couple weeks. It feels safe to know that you can walk into the office every morning and the lights will turn on and the computer will turn on. The peace of mind in trading your hours for dollars seems worth it when you have to put food on a table and a roof over someone’s head. But, guess what, that model isn’t really proving to be so safe after all.

The recent tanking of the economy has really shaken things up. People are losing their jobs at rapid rates, unemployment is way up. Ethics have been violated, corruption runs rampant, and people don’t feel safe anymore. We want to take matters into our own hands. We want to create the lives of our dreams and be completely independent. We are doing it every day.

In unstable times, growth comes from leaders who create change and engage their organizations, instead of from mangers who push their employees to do more for less.

Now, more than ever, each of us has an opportunity obligation to become a leader, to create change, and to make a positive difference. The ever-evolving world of social media and the Web—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, Google—give us instant access to an unthinkable quantity of information and resources. When we learn how to leverage those resources we can become unstoppable. When we teach others to leverage those resources our tribes can become unstoppable. It is a great time to be a leader, and it is also the right time.

Leadership is scarce because few people are willing to go through the discomfort required to lead. This scarcity makes leadership valuable. It’s uncomfortable to propose an idea that might fail. If you’re not uncomfortable in your work as a leader, it’s almost certain you’re not reaching your potential as a leader.

Change = pain. If there is anything that I have learned over the past three years, it is this. Human beings are creatures of habit. When asked why things are done a certain way, most people will always respond the same way: “Because that’s the way we’ve always done it.” It is safe, it is comfortable. Our profits may be plummeting, our staff may be miserable, our customers may be disgusted—but this is the way we’ve always done it! Don’t try to mess with our traditions! Right? Wrong!

Success takes dedication, hard work, persistence, and change. Dedication, hard work, and persistence can be painful. Some people are cut out for it and some people aren’t. The people that are, are the leaders. Being a leader is not comfortable and it’s not supposed to be. Being a leader takes character.

Believe it or not, anyone can do it. “No one is born charismatic. It’s a choice, not a gift” (Tribes).

Change almost never fails because it’s too early. It almost always fails because it’s too late.

The time for change is now, my friends. If not now, when? There has never been a time where the need for positive change was more urgent. If you do not realize that this moment is all you have, then you do not have anything. This is it. After this moment, nothing is promised—not tomorrow, not next week, not your 81st birthday. You have this moment and you alone get to decide what you do with it. Yes, you can surf Facebook for a few more hours and stalk out your ex-boyfriend’s life for awhile more. You can also sit on the couch with a six-pack and watch The Jersey Shore marathon on MTV. …But if you asked me, I’d tell you that you’ve got more important things to do. Whether you’ve been waiting to pitch a great idea to your boss, waiting to take a proactive approach to your health, or waiting to embark on that 6 month “vagablogging” journey; stop waiting!

There is really nothing in your way. There are no problems and no obstacles. Any anxiety that you might have stems from your past or your future; but your past and your future are not real! The only thing that is real is this moment, right now. The past and the future are in your head. No matter what you think is standing in your way, you can find a way around it. If you can’t get on the next flight to Melbourne (to start your career as a kangaroo-catcher) then sit down and figure out how you are going to make it happen. Right now.

I’m frequently asked about getting credit. People want to know how to be sure they get credit for an idea, especially when they have a boss who wants to steal it. Or they want to know how to be sure to give me credit for an idea in a book or a blog post of their own.

Real leaders don’t care.

If it’s about your mission, about spreading faith, about seeing something happen, not only do you not care about credit, you actually want other people to take credit.

There’s no record of Martin Luther King, Jr., or Gandhi whining about credit. Credit isn’t the point. Change is.

Stop worrying about the obstacles and start taking action. Stop worrying about who is going to get credit and start making a difference.

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What I loved most about Tribes is that it left me feeling like anything and everything is possible. The book is full of stories about ordinary people who did (and do) extraordinary things every single day. These people don’t let fear stop them. They become leaders and they create & inspire change. Every person is capable of this. You are capable of this! What do you want to do? Are you ready to become a leader? I say yes. Yes you are!

Let Go of Your Goals & Unleash Your Dreams

Dreams are Just as Important as Goals

I’ve written quite a bit about setting & accomplishing goals; overcoming fears; and making the best out of difficult situations. But what I haven’t written enough about is flat out—unleashing your dreams.

Goal setting is a very mathematical process. It goes something like this: Define your goal. Map out the steps necessary to achieve it. Research, develop, act. Work until you get there. This is great, it makes sense, it gets things done. However, goals are full of limitations. In order to accomplish Z, first I need to do X and Y. If I want to be in this place by this date, then I’ve got to accomplish X, Y, and Z by this date. And so on and so forth it goes. We plan and work and strive.

Yes, goal-setting & goal accomplishment are crucial elements to success; but sometimes we have to just let go of our goals and start unleashing our dreams! Throw caution to the wind and go for it. But how?, you ask. Well, you start by defining your dreams & broadcasting them to the world. Today I am going to define my wildest dreams & share them with you.

“Achieving life is not the equivalent of avoiding death.” –Ayn Rand

Why Are We Afraid to Expose Our Dreams?

To be honest, I am a bit nervous about this. I feel like I am exposing a part of myself that I’ve kept hidden. When you keep your wildest dreams to yourself, you’re safe. If no one knows what you want, then no one can hold you accountable. For example, if your best friend has no idea that you dream of moving to Costa Rica to collect butterflies in the rain forest—then she isn’t going to check in with you once a month and ask where you’re at. If you’re father doesn’t know that you dream of quitting your job to build collectible trains and sell them on Ebay—then he isn’t going to be hounding you with questions about it at the holidays. And when you are not faced with those questions you are safe. Your dreams can stay on the back burner while your life passes you by. You are not held accountable. You don’t experience pressure. But, my friend, today is the day that you must realize something critical: It is pressure that makes diamonds!

Broadcast Your Desires to the Universe

Steve Pavlina recently wrote a post called Broadcast Your Desires. In the post, he explains why broadcasting our desires & dreams to the world is the best way to make them a reality. If you can’t broadcast your desires, it’s fair to say that you don’t own them yet. In order to make your desires become real, you’ve got to speak up about them. If you’re going to receive them, then let it be known. If you find it necessary to hide what you desire, that suggests you aren’t ready to receive.

Well, I am ready to receive! I hope that by taking this step in my own life, I will inspire you to take it in your own. Here I go…!

My Dreams

1. Grow evolution you
I want to take this blog to great heights, attract thousands of readers, inspire people around the world. I want to monetize it so that I can devote myself to improving people’s lives full-time. And as a result, I want to become location independent so that I can travel the world, spreading love & light where ever I go.

2. Write a book
I haven’t quite worked out the details of this one yet—it’s a bit ever-evolving. I’ll pin it down soon enough, for now I am just dreaming wildly!

3. Travel to the Great Pyramids in Egypt
I feel intimately connected to the people of ancient Egypt. Perhaps it is the beautiful & mysterious way that Ancient Egypt is depicted in films & literature, whatever the cause, the very idea of it thrills me. I have long dreamed of visiting & exploring the ancient pyramids for myself.

4. Learn to speak French

5. Spend time living & working in Europe
Italy, France, and Belgium all seem such lovely places to me. I’d like to spend at least a few months in each place.

6. Safari in Africa
This is the only dream on the list that I already accomplished. In the Summer of 2006 I studied abroad in Kenya, studying, on safari, and touring. It was a truly incredible experience and I’ll be making a post about it soon.

7. Live in the wilderness
I am insanely attracted to nature. In fact, I am quite convinced that I am a tigress/she-wolf/mermaid trapped in the body of a human woman. I feel most at home in nature—in the mountains, near the sea, anywhere wild. I’ve long dreamed of escaping the civilization circa Into the Wild. It would certainly not be a permanent thing; but I’d love to experience it at least for a few weeks to see how long I’d last.

8. Have or adopt a baby
Last February my sister gave birth to me beautiful Godson, Brian. Ever since then, I’ve heard the ticking of my own biological clock a tad louder than before. I am not in any rush, as you can see I’ve got a lot I want to do before I am quite ready to “settle down” but it is definitely an enormous dream of mine, some day.

9. Spend time on a Native American reservation
I’d like to spend some time living or at least working/volunteering on a reservation. I am passionate about Native American culture and it would be a great honor to serve the Native American people in some capacity and to learn first-hand their cultures, traditions, and needs.

10. Serve on the Board of Directors for a prominent wildlife conservation foundation

11. Visit a Buddhist monastery in Tibet

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These are not all of my dreams, not nearly, but the list could go on and on. For now, these are the ones that I am working toward—in the near & distant—future. It was not nearly as difficult to share them as I thought it would be! This list will be ever-evolving and I will update it as my dreams are accomplished and as they change.

Alright, I did my part. Now it’s your turn! I would love to hear about your big dreams in the comments or if you make your own big dream post please let me know about it.