Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Living with Intention

I talk a lot on here about lessons I've learned and books I've read. Lately, I've been doing a lot of blog reading as I work on growing my own blogs and starting a new business with Hubby.

One of the great sources I've found focuses on setting an intention for each day. I've heard Oprah talk about intention for years and tried to live my life focused on intention at all times. I haven't always been successful and often lose my intention for starting a project along the way. Enter Jess Constable at Make Under My Life. I found her blog through her company, Jess LC. In addition to owning an accessory company, she also does business consulting and recently moved into life consulting. For the masses who aren't using her services, she posts to her blog. Everyday is connected to intention in some way. It's great stuff. Be sure to check it out when you have a chance.

My intention for this week is to focus on meeting the goal and not the bumps along the way. I find that if I am bogged down by the bumps in the road, I lose sight of the purpose for the journey. What are your intentions for this week?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Midnight Hustler

I saw the term "midnight hustler" in a blog post last week about following your passion while still working your day job. I like the term a lot because it fits my life right now. For the past month or so, around midnight you can find me and Hubby making or designing jewelry, coming up with photo shoot concepts, working on our website and preparing to launch our new business. I don't begrudge any of it because it feels right. It is passion driven to the point that I don't feel tired or burned out when I am doing that.

That said, I need to realize that I am burning the candle at both ends and there isn't much space left in the middle to breathe, meditate, pray, play or rest. Now, I have a major cold that just slammed me out of nowhere. I took some time to rest over the weekend but this week, I plan to try to set aside 10 minutes a night (I know it's not much but I have trouble dedicating time to doing nothing) to unwind and relax between the transition from work to dinner and back to work.

Last week, I tried using a relaxation app to play calming sounds for 30 minutes. That worked for one night. Then I tried a 20 minute spoken meditation app on Hubby's phone. That also worked for one night. For the rest of the week, we worked and were up until about 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. on average. Tonight, I'm going to try a hot shower after work to shake off the day before falling into my midnight hustle.

What do you to to relax when you find that you are working too hard?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Resolution Redux

At the beginning of the year, I said I wasn't going to make resolutions this year. I was going to set bite-sized goals and try to chug along little by little. But yesterday, as someone was talking over me during a conference call and I was letting them (for the umpteenth time), I decided I need to be more assertive/confident in 2012 (and thereafter obviously). Trust me that I am not a wilted wall flower cowering in the corner. I like meeting and talking to people. I just have trouble with self promotion. I feel like I am searching for a pat on the back. I don't like people like that so I don't want to be one of those people.

Now, I am in a place where that ridiculous twisted thinking has to change. There is so much that hubby and I want to do this year (chief among them is fully launching (we're already on Etsy) and growing our business) and to do any of them well, I am going to have to come from behind the keyboard and say "I made this necklace I'm wearing. This is why it's great. Please sell it in your boutique, put it in your magazine, or treat yourself by buying one online."

The first step for me was telling friends and family about our business plans. They were all excited for me and just talking about it helped me become more confident. Beyond that--self help consumer extraordinaire that I am--I am trying different exercises to put myself out there. I'll keep you posted and feel free to share your tips for being more assertive and acting with confidence.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

On the Horse Farm

I overheard a conversation recently where colleagues were talking about a former colleague that moved away to open a farm. One said "We're here working and he's hanging out with his horses." The response was "He followed his dream, we followed a paycheck." The conversation immediately sparked a memory. When I stared this blog, there were tons of entries about finding my passion and following my purpose rather than chasing a paycheck. At points over the past 2+ years, I've struggled with that based on a need for stability and healthcare vs. the need to do something that fills me with joy. I found a sense of peace by carving out time to volunteer. I found relief and possibly an alternate form of paycheck by working on my jewelry and starting to sell it.

In all of it the tension between the need for money and the hunger for doing something you love is a lesson that I learned when I was immersed in Oprah's lifeclass. Earning a paycheck and following your passion don't have to be mutually exclusive. You can work a job that provides you with pay and you can take time out to follow the passion that makes you tick. If you are lucky, you can do what you love for a paycheck and earn enough to support the needs of your life. My ultimate hope is that I will be able to do just that. In the meantime, I think I have to keep following my paycheck (and my medical coverage) as I follow my dreams. Eventually, I will get to the "lucky" category. Great expectations!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year, New Opportunities

As the clock struck midnight on New Year's Eve, I was out at a lounge with hubby, my sister and her best friend. It was one of the best times I've had in a long time. At midnight, I made a plan to spend my year being just as I was at it's start: happy, healthy and excited for what's to come. To that end, I didn't make formal resolutions this year. Usually, I do a formal list and share it with my best friend so we can hold each other accountable. We usually start to falter (starting with anything connected to diet and exercise) sometime in February and we usually stop holding each other accountable around June. The same goals end up on the list year after year. Last year, I found setting small goals during the year worked best for me. I was accountable to myself and to anyone I chose to share the goal with. It worked for me and as resolutions go, that's really the point. Find what works and gives you the highest chance of success and go with that. This year, I have some things I want to do and I plan to get there by breaking the goal into bite sized pieces. Here they are:

1. Continue working towards optimal health. Last year, I converted to a vegan diet. This year, I will try to exercise more often. The small goal is to go to the gym, do an exercise video or take a walk 3 days this week. Reality says it will likely be gym or video considering that it is about 14 degrees outside.

2. Meditate more often. I started meditating last year by taking anywhere from 1 minute to 10 minutes a couple of times a week to just sit quietly with myself to either breathe, pray or think. My short term goal is to do that at least 5 times a week--preferably in the morning so I can clear my head before starting the day rather than waking up with my mind racing through a laundry list of the meetings I have that day, the outfit I'll wear, the obligations I have after work, etc. Another short term goal is to meditate with hubby at least twice a week.

3. Spend more time with family. Hubby and I live in NY. We have family in Brooklyn, Queens, Atlanta and North Carolina and we don't see any of them nearly enough. We are all going through our lives thinking of each other but not really taking the time to set aside a Saturday or Sunday to have dinner or drinks. It is always a special occasion and every time, we say, we should hang out more. This year, I plan to be the driving force behind that. I can't force people to hang out but I can make the opportunity available. The short term goal is to plan a summer vacation where we will rent a house and just barbecue, swim, play games and relax for a week. I'll get the options together and send it out. We'll see who bites.

4. Date Night!! Hubby and I have been doing date night for over a year now. Our marriage was on solid footing before but this has done wonders to bringing us closer and deepening our friendship. We sit, eat, drink and talk for hours. We might occasionally go to a movie but generally, we go somewhere where we can talk. Admittedly, we don't have children yet and I hear that will change things drastically. My short terms goal is to keep date night sacred no matter what.

5. Pursue other interests. I have a lot of things other than the law that I am passionate about. Cooking, writing and making jewelry make me tick in a way that the law just can't. Yet, most of the time, I feel like I am devoting my life to my profession. When I am pursuing my hobbies, I am happy. Based on that happy feeling, I am constantly reminding myself that life can't be all about the work that provides the paycheck. It is the lesson I learned and talked about when I first started this blog and it is one that I am still constantly reminding myself of. Because of it, last year, I was able to write a script that hubby is going to direct, write a cookbook and start a small Etsy shop with hubby. This year is going to be about shooting the film, publishing the cookbook and growing the Etsy business. Fingers crossed!

6. Accept whatever comes. There are a lot of other changes that I think this year will bring based on my own plans and what I'm putting out to the universe in prayer. I don't need to detail them here but the plan is to find peace (through some of my other goals like optimal health and meditation) so I can accept whatever life has for me. Worry less, expect good outcomes. That's the plan.

I'd venture to say my posts this year will be about some part of these goals...not so much a report card as a here's what's going on with me. Here's to manageable goals and forward movement. Feel free to comment and share your goals for the new year. Cheers!