Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tragedy and Pearls

Today is 9/11. Everyone is remembering in their own way. Some wear black. Some light candles. A co-worker of mine wears a business suit in our business casual environment to honor those lost.

I wear pearls.

Years, ago, I attended a church service after the Lockerbie tragedy. The priest gave the most profound sermon about, of all things, pearls.

In order for a beautiful pearl to exist, an irritant must somehow get into an oyster. To protect itself, the oyster covers that irritant with layers and layers of nacre. The nacre creates a beautiful pearl.


No matter how beautiful a pearl is, the irritant will always be there.

As I wear my pearls today, I am reminded of the horrible tragedy as well as the outpouring of love and support and hope that came in the minutes, hours, days and years after.

Monday, September 10, 2012

"The First Draft is Never the Final Draft"

I just started reading the October 2012 issue of the Oprah magazine. I got to the "The Question" section where readers send in their response to a monthly question. This month's question was, "What's the best advice you've ever received?"

As I was reading each response, I thought of a few of the rich nuggets I've received. "Don't ask how. Allow" from my friend, Alyssa. I always remember this when I question the good things that happen. "Fall off the horse. You get right back on" from my Grandpa. I never really got that one until I actually fell off of a horse and heard his voice telling me to get back on that horse, literally.

Then, the I got to Jan Weeks' response, "The first draft is never the final draft." That quote rocked my world. 

For the past few weeks I have been toying with the idea of getting back into the professional organizing game. It seems crazy after I had tried once and it didn't work out but something is pulling me there.

In the context of, "The first draft isn't the final draft" trying my hand at getting back to professional organizing doesn't seem so crazy after all. The first attempt was just a first draft. Now I can play with this new draft and see where it leads.
I then got to thinking about other areas in my life that seem "final," like my seemingly stalled weight loss. Instead of accepting that this is the way things are, I can tweak things in a 2nd or 3rd or 10th draft until I get it just right.

Where in your life can you start writing the next draft?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Inner Brat vs Inner Grown Up - Lunchtime Battle Royale

It never fails. I packed my lunch this morning and even remembered to bring it to work. I was quite smug with myself the entire morning. When lunch time rolled around, the "inner brat" took over and I started looking at online menus to buy lunch instead of eating the lunch I brought.

I was justifying EVERY click of the mouse:
  • It's Friday. Treat yourself and go out.
  • It's the same lunch you've had 3 days before.
  • Give that new food truck a try.
Ultimately, I got frustrated with too many choices. I am now eating the lunch I brought.

The "inner grown up" won.

The "inner brat" is pouting.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Why Wait to Be Grateful?

I admit it. I have a huge Pinterest "habit." I get so much inspiration and entertainment from that site.

Tonight, a "head scratcher" showed up. There was a pin showing a journal titled, " 365 Things to be Grateful for in 2013.

Next year? REALLY????!!!!!

I then thought to myself, "For what am I grateful now?"

I then came up with the following in the few minutes before writing this blog.

  • The great weekend with my boyfriend that included: checking out the blue moon with my telescope, my very first ride on the Long Beach Transit Aqua Link water taxi, a great bike ride, a fabulous day at Belmont Shore, a tough spin class, great lunch where we had our first date ever, remembering back to that fateful night almost 2 years ago, yummy ice cream, a nice long walk and so much more.
  • The "basics": my home, my health, and my job.
Instead of waiting for 2013, or Thankgiving to roll around, I am going to start exploring my gratitude every day that remains of 2012.

What are you waiting for?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Chicken Tikka Masala with a Side Order of Anchor

A few days ago I posted about having a serious case of the IDCs (I Don't Cares). I'm happy to report that this latest bout has passed and I'm even happier to share that I lost .2 pounds at yesterday's Weight Watchers weigh-in.

Sadly, this loss did nothing to get me closer to figuring out my motivation or anchor or mantra or whatever that would get me to my goal weight. Serendipitously, the anchor came to me yesterday after a seemingly unconnected chain of events.

This last Friday, I had lunch with a group of work colleagues and in between bites of chicken tikka masala and garlic naan one person shared that they were going to start working out with a fellow employee. One by one others at the table commented, some with awe and some with respect, on how fit this fellow employee was.

Little did I know how much of an impact that lunch time topic would have on me.

Yesterday, after returning home from my post-Weight Watchers meeting bike ride, it dawned on me that my body shape didn't match my fitness level. I regularly get in 5-7 hours of exercise a week in spin classes, outdoor bike rides, walking and Nike Training Club circuit training workouts. My body shape doesn't reflect all of this activity because of my suspect food choices and lack of sufficient sleep.

Then it clicked and the anchor was born. All of my decisions and actions will be run through the filter of "Is this supporting my goal to have my body shape match my fitness level?"

Thank you, Esther, for planning this lunch. You not only kept us connected, but you also helped me get back my mojo!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Dealing With a Serious Case of the "I Don't Cares"

Today, a co-worker was suffering from a cold. Summer colds are the worst because you want to enjoy the summer instead of dealing with a cold. I wish her a speedy recovery, especially with her summer vacation right around the corner.

I am fortunately not suffering from a cold. I'm suffering from a serious case of the "I don't cares." You see, I am a member of Weight Watchers and after just over 3 years I haven't yet hit my goal weight. I've successfully lost 56.6 pounds and I'm currently 15 pounds away from my goal, this ever elusive goal. Last year, in June, I was 6.6 pounds away. SIX POUNDS people! We are talking single digits here. Since that time, I've gone up and down and up and down and currently up.

Just like a cold, there really isn't a cure for the IDCs. With a cold, you can pick up over-the-counter meds to treat the symptoms but you have to let the cold run its course. Sometimes you can shorten the length of the cold but you still have the cold.

With IDCs, you can't buy anything over the counter to treat the symptoms. Now, some would argue that alcohol might help but a hangover with IDCs is not a pretty combination.

Possible "treatments" for IDCs are:
  • Read inspirational quotes. (Pinterest has loads.)
  • Talk it out with a trusted friend or family member. 
  • Remind yourself of how far you have come.
  • Create a plan of action to get your head back in the game.
  • Go for a hard workout and leave it all on the floor or take it out on the machines.
Sometimes the best treatment to kick IDCs (or a cold) can be the simplest: go to bed and sleep it off. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Seminar Revisit #1: Create a Personal Board of Directors

I have the great fortune at my job that there is a women's affinity group that has an amazing speaker series where people from inside and outsid the company share their wisdom and greatness.

As I was doing some spring cleaning I found notes for an amazing presentation from last June. I quickly typed my notes into my Evernote account. I then came across many other Evernote entries from other seminars and realized that those themes and actions have laid dormant for months, and sometimes years.

It got me wondering, what would my life and career look like if I took action and kept those themes and ideas fresh?

Thus, the plan of sharing, on The Jaxtastic Life, one of the themes or actions every week so that they are fresh for me and are useful to you.

Action #1 - Create a Personal Board of Directors

I received this wonderful nugget from a seminar led by Cindy Yantis, author of Cashmere Glove: The Feminine Approach to Business   http://cashmereapproach.com/glove.htm

What is a personal board of directors?
A personal board of directors is a group of people you identify as those who can support and guide you to your goals, both personal and professional.

Your board of directors can consist of people who:
  • have strengths in areas where you want to grow
  • are very wise
  • are successful in something you want to be doing
  • are just plain, down right, honest  
  • want to see you succeed
  • will be your accountability "coach"
The exciting thing about creating your very own personal board of directors is that YOU get to chose the people. The "scary" thing is that YOU have to do the work.

Start identifying the people who will make up your personal board of directors today. Then start talking to them and sharing your struggles, goals, hopes and dreams. More importantly, share what actions you are going to take regarding those struggles, goals, hopes and dreams.

They will be your wisest advisors, biggest cheerleaders and toughest coaches.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

MINI SPRING CLEANING: 15-Minute 3 Areas Challenge

Now that spring will be here this week, what about taking on a mini spring cleaning plan?

This past Sunday I decided to take on something from my Professional Organizer days. I would advise my clients to only work on projects/areas for 15 minutes in a given day, no more, no less. They thought I was crazy until I shared the below benefits.

Why only 15 minutes?
#1 - It's a nice small chunk of time.
#2 - It's enough time to make an impact on what you are working.
#3 - It's better than 16 and luckier than 13.
#4 - You avoid burn out.

I chose 3 areas of my home life that were in need of some attention: paperwork, housekeeping and self-pampering. You'd be amazed at what doesn't get done when you live alone and no one sees your space.

I then set my alarm for 15 minutes and tackled each area. When the duck quacked I stopped. I wanted to continue but I stopped. I was on a roll but I stopped.

Last night, I did the same thing. 15 minutes in each area and stopped. I wanted to do more but I stopped. I realized that in the past 2 nights, I got more done in each area in those two nights than I might do in a month of avoiding the work.

Be aware that when you start this you will encounter the following:
-Life will get in the way. People will show up and want your time. Other "things" will vie for your attention. Stay the course.
-You'll want to go longer than 15 minutes. DON'T do it. Avoid the burn out of a 2-hour "marathon" session.
-You might even get sick. Be gentle with yourself, heal and resume the plan once you are physically better.

Leave comments on how you are progressing and what is showing up. I guarantee that you will get more done in these small chunks of time than "marathon" sessions that will just burn you out.

Good luck and great success!!!!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Quotes That Make You Think and Think and Think Again

"If your dreams don't scare you they're not big enough."

I saw this quote this morning on Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/pin/234750199296391163/)

At first I smiled and thought, "Awesome." Since that first "awesome," I can't get that quote out of my head.

I realize that I don't have any "scary" dreams and it makes me sad. I'm sad because I know that I am "playing it safe."

Each time I try create a "scary" dream I come up with nothing. This makes me think and think and think again to figure out why I'm stopped.

That is a VERY good thing.

I wish you many "scary" dreams.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Have Too Much Stuff? - Get Rid of It!!!

Commercials on day-time TV are interesting. This morning, the "suck vac bag" commercial came on and the opening question was "Do you have too much stuff?" The answer from the commercial was "buy the new suck vac bag."

My answer was "GET RID OF IT!" Yes, I actually yelled at the TV. Yes, I felt like an idiot. I couldn't help it. It's was the professional organizer inside of me doing the yelling.

It's like the old adage, "If you have to ask the price then you can't afford it."

In this context, "If you have to ask if you have too much stuff then you have too much stuff."

The funny thing is that when people think organizing they think "keep all my stuff but in a smaller space."

True organizing is only keeping the things that are useful and serve you. Please note, bringing joy or good feelings can be a service. So, you don't have to get rid of your favorite painting when you are seeking to be organized.

If you are looking to be organized in this fabulous new year, then I have a 3 pass system to go through your stuff and get rid of it. You can apply it to any area of your life (office, closet, garage, etc).

Step 1 - Create a holding area.
Step 2 - Move items to the holding area in 3 passes or phases.
  • PASS #1 - Remove anything that you haven't used/worn in the past year.
  • PASS #2 - Remove anything that no longer fits (your body or decor or lifestyle).
  • PASS #3 - Remove anything that is broken.
Step 3 - Keep things in the holding area for at least a week.
Step 4 - Make decisions about items in the holding area. The "I might use it someday" excuse doesn't cut it!!!
  • Trash
  • Donate
  • Keep

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Less Watching More Doing

It's my lunch hour and I am surfing the Internet looking at my favorite sites for inspiration:
I've been a fan of these blogs for the past few years and they contain such great ideas for the home, tech and kitchen. Today, for some reason, it feels more like I'm looking at other peoples' lives/homes/tech/kitchens and avoiding of dealing with my own life/home/tech/kitchen.

Yes, this is a recurring theme. This September 2011 Watching Other People Do looks at my past addiction to HGTV shows. I still love HGTV. I just watch a whole lot less of it.

I have no idea why this is showing up now. Perhaps it's the whole "new years resolution/fresh start" lens through which I am currently viewing the world. Regardless, I'm going to let go of figuring out the why and just do.

Perhaps Yoda had it right all along.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Efficiency or Coldness - My Love Afair With My DVR

Have I shared how much I love my DVR (well any DVR)? I love it but I don't "llllloooovvveeee" it. (Bonus points to whoever can name that movie reference.)

It was today as I was watching the recorded Rose parade that I found myself fast forwarding through the "dead spots" between floats and bands. I also fast forwarded through the marching bands. I admit zooming past the bands was a bit cold but there is a limit to how many times I want to hear about the fundraising done by the bands to make it to the parade. I was on the dance drill team in my high school days so "been there done that" in the area of band fundraisers. I did watch the dogs surfing. I'm not made of stone.

After I finished the parade, I thought back to the other lllooonnnggg event of recent times, the royal wedding of the Duke & Duchess of Camberidge. I recorded that bad boy. Watching the wedding was fantastic. Procession of the Queen...fast forward. Procession of the bride and her father. Opening hymn...fast forward. You get the gist.

I watched the Rose Parade in less than an hour.

I watched the royal wedding in 35 minutes.

Effeciency or coldness?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Being a Blogger & Learning to Type

I've started and stopped this blog with the high expectations of "being a blogger." I always typed ideas and thoughts and would occasionally post a blog entry.

Seth Godin, author of Lynchpin and other excellent books, plainly said that if you want to be a blogger then write everyday, no matter how good or bad.

This reminds me of when I was going to learn to type. I didn't go to typing class in school but I had gotten my hands on a typewriting class book. I started following the lessons one day at a time. My dad walked in on one of my lessons and asked what I was doing. After I told him I was learning to type he looked at the book And said, "This doesn't have real words."

He left the room and returned with my favorite magazine. I asked what was going on. He asked, "How do you think secretaries become good at typing documents? They type real words all the time"

So here I am typing real words in a real blog.