Tag Archives: Finishing Strong

Recipe for Resilience

There are times when it appears the tide has washed ashore.  Your boat has sprung a leak. The sun has set in your backyard.

During these temporary dark periods it appears that no matter how quickly you bail out water, paddle up stream, reach for safer ground, you still get nowhere.

You may widely open the window; nevertheless, it is you who refuses to let in the sunlight.  No one else is refusing to count the multiple blessings, nor adopt an attitude of gratitude.

Snap out of it I say. Pronto! Press the reset button. Take action immediately.

Stop watching the same old movie. No more complaining!  Sing a different song. The pity party ends right here, right now!

Instead, laugh yourself silly. Put the spring back in your walk. Get your groove back. Put the smile back on your face. You have the power. It’s sticky.  It will catch up with the rest of you, promise.

Start over immediately. There isn’t a second to lose. Why not start the day with a fresh new attitude?

I was reminded of this and the power of resilience by my children. I taught them that no problem is insurmountable. All issues large or small, simple or complex, common knowledge or private, could be handled collectively. They were raised to believe not much could not be cured at the dinner table, or through my home baked chocolate chip cookies, a pot of meatballs, and a large dose of laughter.

Years have progressed, problems have multiplied and grown in complexity; nevertheless, the rules of engagement, secrecy and comfort via the dinner table still apply. Last week my son relayed a story of such intense magnitude my hair practically stood up on end. My daughter’s reaction: “That is horrible”, visibly shaken. “So sad”, (Compassion)! Next, “We really dodged a bullet.”(No codependency there). Finally, “Pass the kale”. (Movin’ On)

I taught them well.  Be compassionate. Know what is yours. Move on.

Foodie that I am, here is my RECIPE for Resilience. Thanks for the inspiration, kids.

R is for Response, Reaction & Relationships:

Your response and reaction to any given situation makes a world of difference in how things will turn out. Some people love a good challenge. Other people’s reaction: why me?

My rule of thumb:

Adversity = Opportunity

I say seize the opportunity. What is the nugget you can grab to learn, grow or prosper?

Can you turn adversity into a stepping stone for personal growth and greatness?

Connections are the heart of my world. My relationships run deep.

In relationships I used to only show up as my personal best. Now I understand that is utter nonsense. It’s exhausting! It is only by allowing ourselves to expose our imperfections, flaws and weakness, that one can fully explore, gain insight and restore emotional equilibrium.  Love me or leave me I say. That’s how I sort out the excess.

Choose your confidants wisely.

Rule of thumb:

To have a friend you need to be a friend.

You can learn a lot hanging around the playground.

E is for ENTHUSIASM:

I truly have a zest for life.

It has been said that my mood and attitude on my worst days resemble that of the average person on their best.

I dance like no one is watching. I sing at the top of my lungs, anywhere, always.  I have no business singing anywhere, ever. Every song is my favorite, ask my kids.  I dress everyday as if I am going to a party. I always wear matching undergarments, in case of accidents. I will try any, I mean any, exercise craze, check out my basement.  I begin each project with total commitment.  I enter all relationships with my whole heart and total abandon.

This is how I roll. This is how I am wired. This is my genetic default button.

How does this help build resilience?

I fake it till I make it.  I never let them see me sweat.  I set the mood and hope the rest of me catches up. Eventually it does.

There are times in life when you will be presented with obstacles. You can view these as challenges or fight to the finish line. Or sing, dance, and look great doing it. Your choice! J

C is for CYCLES & CHANGE

This too shall pass. What goes around comes around. What seems life altering today will not raise your blood pressure six months down the line.

This is hard to fathom when you are swimming upstream in the muck. It is true.

I have heard it said if you round up your friends, colleagues, and even a random stranger or two; put your problems in a hat, you would most likely take back your own.

It is also likely true that the dream job, home, boss and romances unrequited; were really nightmares and bullets dodged.  We just didn’t realize it at the time.

Change is inevitable. I never like to get too comfortable in life because as soon as I do, boom, disaster.   Nine out of ten times the change is good. I just didn’t realize it at the time.

Chin up. Keep the faith. Retain your attitude of gratitude.

For this I keep a Gratitude List:

Every night before I got to sleep I write down at LEAST three things I have to be grateful for.

Even in our darkest periods, we still can count our blessings. Try it and see how quickly the cycles turn in your favor.

I is for INDEPENDENCE:

You were brought onto this planet alone and you will leave it alone.

The truth is, no one is going to save you but YOU.

I spent the first half of my life waiting for my ship to come in; unfortunately I was at the airport.

There was no knight in shining armor for me.  No quick fix. No magic bullets. No happily ever after. Thank goodness!

That is what built grit. The perfect playing field for transformation. When the hard work was necessary the magic could begin!

You can lean on your family and friends. You can read, download, mainline and listen to self-help audiobooks till you become the foremost authority on inner strength or your eyes and ears bleed. Attend all the latest and greatest “kick life in the butt” seminars and workshops. Do yoga, meditate, and stand on you head till you are centered yet blue on the face. In the end it is YOU who will need to take control of your destiny.

Vow to wake up tomorrow knowing that YOU have all the ingredients YOU need to have a fabulous life. YOU have the power to be and do anything YOU want. YOU will be, and do anything YOU want, provided YOU are willing to do the work.

P is for PREPARATION & PLAN B

You can never be too prepared in life; nor should you be without a carefully drafted backup plan. I fondly refer to this as a Plan B.  Doesn’t hurt to have a Plan C and D just in case.

Don’t wait till the floor drops out beneath you, you are gasping for air, have your finger in the dam, while balancing on the ledge by your pinky toe.  The time to spring into action is now!

It will not help if you wait till you are down-sized to update your resume, Bio, and LinkedIn Profile. Update them today! Keep your coach and recruiters closely on hand too.

Don’t continue to linger in negative relationships.  Take control and ask for what you want. Do the soul searching required. Have the confidence necessary to get what you need, or move on.

Don’t wait to go on a diet. Go back to school. Sign up for the webinar. Update your computer skills, or get a new haircut. DO IT NOW!

Whatever you want to be, do, and have, is in your grasp.   If you are willing to put in the work.

I always have my back up plan at the ready. I pack my parachute with a plan B and C.  I keep a plan D and E tucked up my sleeve and shoved in my back pocket, just in case. Life has dealt me an interesting hand. I revel in it. Think of me as a Resiliency Eagle Scout.

Having a backup plan takes commitment and energy.

I work at it hard. I set challenges and hurdles beyond my grasp. I envision the outcomes. I imagine I have already achieved the goal and initiative. My credo, “Failure isn’t an Option”.  In my case it really wasn’t.  It was a matter of life or death. Eat or be eaten. Feeding your kids or not feeding you kids.

I recommend getting an Accountability Partner.  Someone to share your goals and aspirations with.  Someone to send your weekly goals to, who will hold you accountable. They will listen to you when you lose faith. Steer you back on track when you turn left instead or right. Become your confidant, guidepost and most trusted advisor. Most importantly they celebrate your wins!

Second tip, do three things a day toward your goals each day.  It does not matter how big or small.

What happens when you fail to take action?

Answer: Nothing

E is for ENERGY

Energy is the life force of the universe. Since this is a business blog I will spare you my spiritual mambo jumbo  and hide my Zen a bit.  I will not pontificate on the point.

Simple stated, what you put out into the universe will return. The earth is a cosmic boomerang. Like attracts like. Positive attracts positive.   Kind acts will beget more kind acts.  Compassion and empathy the same.

Careful here folks. In Reverse, evil will attract evil. Negative thoughts will bring on more negative thoughts. Disasterous thinking can bring on catastrophe.

What’s a girl to do? Change you attitude, obviously. Tall order. Difficult at best. Not impossible.

Here’s my trick.  Think of yourself as a bucket of energy.  Grab a piece of paper and make a line down the middle. On one side jot down all of the things that zap your energy; on the other side write down all the things that restore your energy reserves.  The goal is to always keep the bucket balanced. This will restore you to sanity.

SWAT and Guerilla Restoration Tactics

Some weeks are harder than others.  It feels the elements have conspired against you. G-d has thrown down the gauntlet.

For these times you must strap on the heavy artillery. Dig deep into your bag of tricks. Create a recovery Pu-Pu Platter of sorts, if you are to find your way back home.

These are the Sundays I play my Fight Song, dance with abandon, and sing along at the top of my lungs.  Your Fight Song is the song you keep on your iPod that revives your energy stores. Makes you want to pump your fists. You know the one that makes you know you can fight another day.  If you do not have one, get one immediately.  I have a whole playlist!

Take your Fight Song on the road. Walk, run, jump, cycle, spin in circles for all I care, MOVE.  I do yoga till my muscles shake at these times. I breathe, release, I MOVE ON!

Once depleted, I dance barefoot in my kitchen while donning a facemask, in between cleaning out closets. Multitasking is as essential as self-care during times of stress.  I will do this while stirring a pot of meatballs, and baking a fresh batch of cookies.  As the sauce simmers and the sweet smell of baked goods wafts through the house, it further settles any residue stress.  I then calmly prepare for the week ahead. I am ready.

As I gather my family back at the dinner table to share a meal and solve the world’s problems; I am now ready willing and able.  Resilience restored, they can hit me with their best shot.

We have gone full circle my dear readers.

As my son gathers his things to drive off into the sunset, I know all is well in my world.

I hope you too digested this recipe and are full of hope and new possibilities.

 

The Finish Line is really a Dotted Line?

The Finish Line is a Dotted Line

 

 

Why is it from the time we are children we are always striving to reach the next milestone. We can’t wait to lose our baby teeth, only to find we look silly and can’t successfully chew.

Reaching double digits comes next accompanied by gaining entry to a coveted seat at the grown up table. Where consequently we are introduced to chores and responsibilities and often where the conversation is quite boring!

Fast forward, we speed through our high school years. Our new focus becomes getting accepted into to the college of our dreams. We are warned by our family, teachers and trusted advisers that these are the best times of our lives. We do not heed their warnings and fail to truly savor the simplicity of the time.

We then become excited for college graduation. This is when real life will begin! We will build up our resumes, network and interview like a madman and woman. The next thing we know we are drones on the train station platform, ordering coffee on auto pilot, and entering the Monday morning rat race.

Finally comes grown up life. True independence; life on one’s own terms. In reality this means mortgages, bills, car payments and more. Often this is followed by cohabitation or marriage. “If only I was in a relationship and had kids then my life would really start,” might become the next goalpost or mantra. Like all other milestones, does anything truly prepare you for this? Who provides you with the warning labels and fine print?

So net net my dear reader is this; whether you are 10, 20, 30, 40, or 50, in Childhood, Adolescence, Young Adulthood, Marriage, Divorce, Parenthood or Old-Age, the one thing you can undoubtedly count on is that life will continue to raise the stakes.

What are you going to do when life throws you a curve ball? Are you going to lie down and take it or are you going to raise the bar?

One can never truly know what life has in store; nevertheless, you need to be prepared to face each challenge head on. Always bear in mind that adversity bares vast opportunity.

Here are my favorite tips for dealing with life’s ebbs, flows, curve balls and bombshells while continuing to raising the bar:

1. Recognize the signs:

Get real, life does not usually fall apart overnight. There are signs. Do not ignore the red flashing lights from the runway.

2. Read between the lines:

Look for the hidden signs. They are there, you just might not be looking hard enough.

3. Be realistic:

Face reality. Whatever the facts are deal with them head on.

4. Get some rest:

Change is exhausting. Get some rest and by all means schedule in some fun!

5. Save yourself first:

When you get on a plane they tell you to put on your oxygen mask first. This is good advice. If you are ok, you will have the strength to do what needs to be done. You can then help those around you get up to pace and follow your lead.

6. Practice Self-Care:

This is no time to let yourself go! Make sure to continue or adopt self-care rituals that helps revive and rebuild your energy stores. Exercise, Eat Well, Walk with a friend, Spend time outdoors, get a massage, and fill in the blank:_______!
7. Fake it till you make it:

My late Aunt Phyllis taught me that if I did not know how to play tennis to get a great tennis outfit, learn how to jump over the net and then get lessons. “You will catch on” she explained.

I do this with everything in life. I decide what I want to do or be next and then I the figure it out in the trenches. Consequently I always get there!
8. Be Your Personal Best:

Learn, Explore, Read, Stay Relevant, Repeat …………
9. Outsourcing and Lifelines:

If someone offers to help you thank them and say yes! You do not have to be a hero. I have not done a load of laundry or a stich of housework in the two years that I went back to school to change my career. Relinquishing control is difficult, but necessary. Something has to give!
10. Let go:

There are things that you will need to let go of along your journey. These may be people, places and things. You cannot be all things to all people. You cannot divide yourself too thin or you will lose focus and you may not succeed. Remember you are the one on the Journey and you are the one that is undergoing Transformation. Trust the process. Let others catch up.

11. Contact & Thank your Supporters & Personal Board:
You put a Personal Board together for a reason – this is it! During times of transformation you need your closest supporters and accountability partners the most. They will keep you going, talk you off the ledge, cheer you on, and be your best sounding boards. All this, while keeping you honest and sane.

My grandfather taught me at a young age the importance of finding the people you admired the most in life and your career and bringing them into your inner circle. More importantly I learned on my own that in order to have a good friend you needed to be a good friend. I value my close relationships above all else in life, and give relationships my all. I treasure each and every one of you. You all know who you and I know you are reading this. Thank you, Thank you, Thank You!
12. Welcome New and Fabulous Fellow Travelers!

Wow, the people you will meet! Doctor Seuss might have said this first but boy was he right. I have met the greatest people during my transition into my new career. When I walked into NYU that first Sunday morning two years ago I did not realize the door I was truly opening. I have met the greatest people, some I believe to be lifelong friends. Through opening up to new networking opportunities I have again met fabulous people, joined a board and again made fantastic new friends. I have had lunches and coffee dates that have been like warm comfortable sweaters and long deep exhales. Yes, there are people out there that will truly get you, and get what you are going through. Be open to them and let them in. Your will expand and new opportunities will be endless.

13. Steal and savor all and any Peaceful Connected Moment:

I coined the phrase Peaceful Connected Moment when I had small children. By definition a Peaceful Connected Moment, is a very small window of time when the wheels stop, the noise in your mind slows if only for a moment, and you can savor a moment of quiet peace and contemplation.

You will know when one arises. Learn to recognize it, and enjoy.

14. Be willing to take a risk:

At the end of the day, when the preparation, contemplation, and analyzing is over, you must be willing to roll the dice. (I can’t take credit for this, it came from a board member)

You must trust the “Net Will Appear” -Zen Saying

or

“Learn to Swim or Build a Boat” me

15. Let go of dead weight (kindly), but beware of the carnage:
.
When you emerge from the rubble and dust yourself off, not everyone will be there to cheer you when you take your victory lap. This is ok. The ones that are supposed to be there will and the ones that aren’t won’t. That’s life.
You will survive.
My life has imploded and I have reinvented myself so many times, I can hardly recognize myself. This is a good thing; adversity has brought me great opportunity! I have been knocked down and have gotten up each time from my face down in the ring moments stronger, wiser and more resilient from the fight. I have faced adversity and won. I have raised the bar each time and clearly understand there is no finish line or end game in sight. There are only targets, goals and lots and lots of surprises. I am excited for every new challenge. Bring them on, I’m ready willing and able!

I challenge you to do the same.

It’s Not Too Late To Finish Strong!

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Since I was a little girl, Labor Day has always been my favorite holiday.

I love the summer. Longer days, casual Friday’s, activity filled weekends, vacation, casual reads and days at the beach. Nevertheless, by the time August rolls around I am ready to hang up my flip flops, put away my gardening tools, roll up my sleeves and get back to work!

As I woke up this morning, poured my coffee and sat down to check my e-mails I was thrilled to discover my new syllabus in my inbox. Just as I felt growing up I experienced the same jolt of excitement I remember so vividly when discovering my school supply list had arrived in my mailbox. I could hardly wait to download my text books, sharpen my pencils and grab a clean sheet of paper and get to work!

Another summer concluded and a fresh new quarter to make my mark in 2015.

I am an optimist. Definitely a glass is half full person, yet, as I laced up my sneakers to take my morning run I began to ponder what changes I may fail to make this year? What resolutions might I not follow through on? On which commitments will I miss the mark? What stones might I leave UN-turned?

As I opened the door I took the first breath of morning air. Imagined or not, there was a marked change in temperature. Perhaps I wondered is this analogous with changes to come? A symbol of possibility and movement ever so slight peeking out around the corner? Is it synonymous with slight shifts in behavior and perception? A doorway to transformation?

As my pace hastened so did my determination. There is still time to cross the finish line a winner. The opportunity to reach my goals, mountains yet to climb, issues left to resolve.

Where to start? Somewhere and now!

Here is my top 10 list of strategies to finish strong:

1. Don’t ignore the signs:

If something need addressing, face it, handle it and move on. If you need help or support then ask for it.

2. Stay relevant:

If you do not stay up to date someone else will. Only you are responsible for how your story will unfold or end!

3. Update your resume/social media profile:

Even if you are in the most secure position, you should update your resume, bio, profile and head-shot once a year. It is moreover a great way to see what you have accomplished each year. It can additionally be a measure of work still needed to be done.

4. Update your resolutions and goal list:

If you don’t have goal list then create one immediately! Putting your aspirations on paper is a form of commitment. It is the first and most critical step to creating a successful strategic action plan.

5. Buddy Up:

Everyone needs a goal buddy. Sharing your goals with  trusted advisers makes them hard to ignore. No one wants to be the slacker that starts an exercise routine and fails to follow through.

6. Call a Board Meeting, or simply call your Personal Board:

If you don’t have a Personal Board them make it part of your goal list to get one. Defined; your Personal Board members are mindfully chosen advisers and confidants that will help you rise through the ranks. They will become your accountability partners on your road to success. Furthermore, they are a perfect pool of candidates from which to choose a goal buddy.

7. Let go:

Are you holding on to something that you need to let go? Is anger or resentment holding you back? Why not consider letting bygones be bygones? The energy you are putting into plotting your revenge could be energy better spent toward crafting your future success story.

8. Reconnect:

Get back in touch with the people and relationships that slipped through your fingers this summer. Get some lunch dates on the books and dinners on your calendar. Consider joining a new networking group.

9. Finish something you started:

Vow to finally sign up for the last two classes required to complete your masters. Buckle down and complete the work project that you keep pushing to the back of your list. Get the roof at home repaired before the winter kicks in. Fill in the blanks?

10. Prepare the Field:

The best way to get back in the game and finish strong is to get organized. Clean up your desk, inbox, closet, night-table, kitchen, garage, brief case, car or whatever is making you feel out of sorts. Do whatsoever is necessary to clear the field so you can plot your strategy and finish strong.

We all have our favored time honored traditions, mine is the last run of the summer. I take this run each year at the beach on Fire Island. I grew up on the beach. Weekends spent at my grandparents’ house in Rockaways followed by summers in Fire Island. The beach helped teach me persistence and fearlessness. As early as two, I remember being knocked over by waves, tumbled upside down, losing my breath and landing far off track. Yet I ran right back in and did it again! The vastness of the ocean as I run along the shore similarly reminds me of the endless possibilities that are available to meet my goals, objectives and dreams. Each year when I finish this run, I take a little extra time to sit on the shore savoring the sights, sounds and distinctive smells of the ocean. I steel one last minute of serenity, as I paint a mental picture of the scene. I will conjure this image in times I get discouraged.

As I walk back up the stairs to pack up our summer home, I know I am ready. When I ferry back to shore, I am confident that I will end the year victorious. How will you do the same?

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