Posts Tagged ‘Priorities’

The Joy of Saying No

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learning to say no

There is so much JOY in saying no sometimes, right? But conversely, saying no is often one of the hardest things we do. It is really difficult when good and exciting opportunities present themselves to you and you think “I HAVE to say yes to this”, but you know you really don’t have the bandwidth to take it on. You’ve been there, haven’t you? I know, me too!

And then sometimes even when our gut tells us we don’t want to do something, it’s still hard to say no. We feel guilty or obligated or uncomfortable in these situations, don’t we?

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I have a life philosophy that says “Say no to the good so you can say YES to the great”. But sometimes in the moment you can’t tell the difference. Especially when it’s someone you love or admire or respect that is doing the asking.

I have been working with my team, my family and my therapist (yes, I have one and I think everyone should, but that’s a whole different blog post) to continue to clean out and declutter my life and my to do list. I know this is the only way to find more joy and to love myself more–which are my only 2 goals for this year.

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But even at that, it is SOOOO hard sometimes to get rid of things or say no to new opportunities. Or for me, the hardest is probably NOT launching new ideas and endeavors because I am an idea girl, a visionary, a big thinker, a dreamer. And cutting out all of that brainstorming of new ideas is killing me in the short run. But for my long term goals, simplifying is the only way to true peace and joy.

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So this week, my therapist and I came up with a great analogy or plan and I think is something to which many of you can relate, so I wanted to share it with you here. We were talking about my workaholic tendencies and my chronic over-achiever personality. And trust me, over-achiever sounds like a good thing but that’s not always the case. It can be exhausting and hard on you both mentally and physically. And we noticed that my workload was still out of balance, even with all the pruning I’ve been doing. I have “too much on my plate” as we say.  My therapist said my plate looks like a Thanksgiving feast piled to the top and over-flowing and we got a good laugh at that. But it also gave me a HUGE Ah-ha moment.

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You see, she suggested my “plate” look healthy with 3-5 dollops of work on it TOTAL.  You can imagine a healthy plate of food with a little protein, a little carb, a lot of green veggies–you get the point. And you know what I realized? When my proverbial “plate” is overloaded like the Thanksgiving feast, so is my real plate because my personality type and habits include emotional eating or eating lots of sugar and carbs. I know for many of you stress equals an unhealthy existence for you too.

So for the first time in my life I think I really “got it” that for me an overloaded plate of commitments means weight gain, fatigue, stress, and many other unhealthy things. And this really clicked with me. In fact it sort of scared me.

super soul

So I am back to my mission of saying no to the good and saying yes to my best self. And there is so much JOY in this way of thinking and even more in the results I will be getting including more time for all the things that are most important to me and feeling healthy enough to enjoy those blessings.

Here’s to the JOY of saying no more this year and saying YES to the best version of you!

Joyfully yours,

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Soulful Sunday: Life is Short, Practice Gratitude

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I am in the middle of a weekend of total replenishment and relaxation. I have not officially “dressed” or put on makeup since Thursday. THURSDAY!!!! And this is Sunday. I can’t tell you how much my soul needed to be filled. My face needed to be free and my body needed to lay in bed or on the sofa and do absolutely nothing but exactly what I wanted to do!!!!

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I have spent hours cuddling my daughter, building tents in the middle of the living room that she could nap in while she recovers from being sick and I have cooked her all sorts of comfort food from beignets, to buttered pasta, to chocolate chip cookies. Not too healthy but full of mommy’s loving kindness. And for me cooking also fills my soul. I’m a Southern girl, for me feeding people equals loving people.

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Today, I am bringing this weekend full circle watching back-to-back episodes of Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday with Brene Brown. We have spoken about Brene here before and her amazing TED talk. She is genius and I SO needed to hear her today.

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She is talking about so many profound things, but here is what really resonated with me today. Gratitude….Gratitude is NOT an Attitude. Gratitude is a Practice. Did you hear that? It’s not enough to have a grateful heart, but you MUST PRACTICE gratitude. You must tell people you are grateful for them. You must write it down in a journal daily to make it real in your mind and your heart. What is keeping you from PRACTICING gratitude? Stop waiting, you don’t have to be perfect in your gratitude. You just have to be consistent. Remember my post on Life Practice, not Life Perfect? Well start today with Gratitude Practice, not Gratitude Perfect.

Do you know what Brene says is the hardest emotion for people to deal with? JOY! WOW…really? We can’t accept the good things in our life. Sounds crazy, right? But I think for many people, this is true. We can rally around and totally get into the drama of all the challenges in our life. But when Joy shows up we don’t know what the heck to do with it. And Berne even took it a step further. She said so many people live their life not able to accept the joy in their life because it seems too good to be true. They are always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

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I am an optimist, so I don’t really struggle with this as much as some. I love to see the world through “Rose-colored glasses”. But my husband is exactly this. Understandably so, because he lost his mom to breast cancer at age 17. So he has experienced great loss and vulnerability. Brene told a story of a man who went through is life never being too happy or getting too excited because he would “rather be pleasantly surprised than eternally disappointed!” WOW…my husband has been using THIS EXACT PHRASE as his life’s philosophy the entire time I have known him. And in Brene’s story, the man lost his wife in his late 50’s and came to realize that no amount of protecting himself by “waiting for the other shoe to drop” prevented the pain and devastation of losing his wife. So he went on to say that he wasted SO many times when he should have been happy and grateful for the joy and abundance in his life, when he should have been relishing the moment and living in the present instead of wondering what bad thing would happen next. He should have told his wife every day that he loved how she set the table, or how her laughter or her smile filled his soul.

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Brene put it this way…”We are trying to dress rehearse tragedy so we can beat vulnerability to the punch.” But guess what…It doesn’t work. And only gratitude, practiced daily, can help you really experience the joy in your life and survive the pain. I’m speechless…What a gut check for my husband and me!

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What does this say to you? Does this give you perspective on what is really important in life. Just yesterday, my friend and Mastermind Group Member Lisa Mende, shared this amazing post on her blog about the last moments with her son, Walker. I know Lisa knows exactly what the man in the story above feels. I know she now cherishes every moment in life with a completely different set of eyes than before. And she struggles with the regret of not living in the moment with her son while she still had time.

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So this weekend, as I work to get back on track with my self-care, my meditation practice, my healthy eating and exercise that fell by the way-side with all my travels this year, I now realize that the most important thing that fell by the wayside was a PRACTICE of gratitude and perspective on what is really important in my life. So as of today, my schedule for summer looks completely different than it did a few days ago. Photo shoots are pushed back, work is eliminated or delayed, and the next 3 months while my daughter is out of school will be FILLED with living in the moment with her and practicing gratitude for it all the while.

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Will you join me in re-prioritizing your life and practicing gratitude? Will you start today? I said it yesterday and I will say it again…Life it Short.

xo,

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