I Believed. Now For Love.

Believe.

That was my primary oneword365.com focus for 2016.  As I went to remove my 2016 wall calendar, I couldn’t help but smile when I read December’s message: “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” A reminder that the journey is mostly mental.

The word “believe” served me well throughout the year. I learned to believe that I could trust myself again and I watched as incredible opportunities surfaced. Even when I wavered, deep inside, I understood that waiting, impatiently, was just a manifestation of not being able to control the Universe’s timing.  Like clockwork, an inanimate reminder of the word, on a pillow or wall plaque at Home Goods, or a quote on social media would draw my attention back. Believe. One word. A simple idea with boundless application.

But alas, it’s time is almost up.  A new year, a new beginning. I tuck the word away in my memory portal as the new arrival gently beckons for my attention. I curate a new word, just four letters, and I welcome its debut.

“Hello 2017; you look so inviting. This year will be all about ‘LOVE.’”

Living Purposefully and Achieving Personal Mastery

Personal mastery is the result of setting goals and achieving success and is rooted in continuous self-improvement, especially towards gaining a competency in skill or knowledge.  Some people have large lofty goals like surpassing Bill Gates’ net worth of $79.2 billion or creating an Oprah-sized media empire. Others may have specific target goals like losing five pounds, getting into shape or having a peaceful home life.

Regardless of one’s goal, an important fundamental task for achieving personal mastery is purposeful living.  Or establishing clarity around what you are doing, why you are doing it, and understanding the greater benefit of what you are doing. The best way to get that type of clarity is through a personal vision.

Creating A Personal Vision

A personal vision is basically big picture thinking.  It’s the concept behind your goal setting because it shows you where you are headed and can provide all of the possibilities of many directions that you can travel.  If you don’t already have a vision for your life, the best way to identify one is connect with yourself, your inner being, and began to picture an image of the future that you would like to have.

Here’s a very quick mindfulness exercise to try: Try closing your eyes and actually seeing yourself as the person you want to be. What are you doing?  What can you see? How do you feel? Are you alone or with others? How are people relating to you?  Embrace this image and when you are ready, open your eyes. Now back in the present moment is where the real work begins.  This is often the hardest thing for many people to do, but write down what you saw.  Doesn’t have to be fancy words, just describe it in your own words, and this is the beginning of crafting a vision for your life.

If you ask anyone you admire how they accomplished their level of success, and they will emphatically tell you they set a goal for themselves, created a plan, and worked hard at mastering specific tasks. At the core of their goal was a personal vision with an anticipated outcome. Yes, there may have been some life detours, but the vision remained constant, and this is a person who is living on purpose.

Committing to Self-Discipline

Another key element of personal mastery is self-discipline. Just like a runner preparing for a marathon, one must be disciplined enough to follow an exercise and running regimen to ensure their body is trained and prepared to endure the rigors of the race.  That’s the same type of motivation required for mastering personal success.

I recall sharing my vision of running as an example of goal setting in a study skills class of high school students. I told them that in my mind I see myself running, but I never take action. I have the vision and can see me running but I lack the self-discipline to commit to running. I explained that self-discipline is holding yourself accountable to do what is right to meet your goals and objectives in life.  It motivates the action that is necessary to fulfill your personal vision and stay the course.

On a personal note, I still hold steadfast to the vision of running, and have begun small steps to motivate myself towards that end. Your approach towards achieving self-discipline may be to just jump in and just do it, as the Nike slogan suggests.  But always do what works best for you.  No one else is the best indicator of your heart’s desire, capabilities or personal circumstances. It’s better to feel good about your vision, goals and progress than set up false expectations and later abandon the vision forever. When you stay the course, no matter how long it takes, that’s personal mastery.  And in time, you will also have a great story to share about overcoming obstacles to achieve personal mastery that will be a motivator for someone else.  That’s real purposeful living when your experiences positively impact change in someone else.

personal masteryIn Summary

The desire for personal mastery begins with awareness of purposeful living.  Next, a personal vision is the roadmap to guide your living.  And lastly, self-discipline promotes the action that is necessary to achieve success.  Wishing you all the best towards your own discovery of personal mastery.

Enjoy (And Visualize)!

Just What is An “Odd” Emotion?

embrace your emotionsWhile performing social media consulting work for a child psychologist, my eyes were drawn to a Psychology Today magazine sitting in the office lobby.  The headline for the cover story read “Odd Emotions:  Master The Feelings You Can’t Name.” The title alone was intriguing enough to stoke my interest because, well, I’m a “highly sensitive person” and I often experience emotions that I can’t quite name or explain.

There Are Just No Adequate Words, Or Are There?

So-o-o…not too long ago, I struggled with understanding some emotions that I can best describe as a ball of intertwined feelings occurring simultaneously. It felt like an explosive double roundhouse kick to the gut from mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey that left me dazed, confused, hurt, angry, scared, humiliated, and traumatized.  And those are just a few of the emotions that converged upon my spirit in one fell swoop. But the worst part was not being able to explain or comprehend the emotions, nor that no one else seemed to understand it, either.

Fast forward to the other side of my multifarious emotions, I discover that these “odd” feelings really don’t have one name.  When artist and writer John Koenig was not able to label his emotions of pending death, he just invented one, “moriturism,” and says “it [his emotions] felt somehow okay.” He then created a website that serves as a dictionary describing emotions that have no name using a combination of creativity, linguistic research, and etymology to assign a name and meaning. For instance, “exulansis,” he has determined is a noun which means

“the tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because people are unable to relate to it—whether through envy or pity or simple foreignness—which allows it to drift away from the rest of your life story, until the memory itself feels out of place, almost mythical, wandering restlessly in the fog, no longer even looking for a place to land.”

The word is a present verb from its Latin root exulō, which means “to exile, banish.”

Fluff or For Real?

You may be wondering, if people really remember or use these words. Highly likely not, but psychologists suggest in the article that naming or labeling an emotion “might make it more manageable,” “allow us the opportunity to choose our response,” and “help to put a frame around more complex emotions.” I would agree with them, because I believe being able to name what I was previously feeling would have helped to redirect my energy because I spent a lot of time just processing my emotions and the experience.

Others may see it as a pointless exercise that probably won’t be useful, but Koenig believes it helps individuals to understand that the same indescribable emotions they are feeling have been felt by others. The experience may also encourage the practice of honoring one’s sensitivity and personal emotions in a constructive manner. That’s a lot less exhausting than the alternative, which is running from or suppressing emotions in hopes of an exulansis.

What do you think about “odd” emotions?  Are there inventive words you’ve heard or used to describe an emotion or even an experience, whether good or bad?  Would love to read your thoughts in the comments.

51 Weeks To Go and Counting

BELIEVEWith one full week of 2016 in the bag, I’ve noticed the trend in my social media circles to claim one “power word” rather than resolutions.  It actually makes a lot of sense to me, and hopefully to you, too.

With good intention, people make resolutions they plan to commit to in a new year. But once the holiday season is done and people get back into their daily grinds, resolutions can often fall by the wayside. Some people have become so disappointed with making resolutions, that they don’t even make them anymore; they just roll into the new year hoping for the best.

As my 23-year-old son pointed out to me, “People can resolve to improve at any time of the year, so it’s not a big thing.”  Responding with Mother Wisdom, I told him, “Yes, young wise one but the new year is like an automatic reset for many people to try again to accomplish something meaningful.”  Then I shared with him the trend of the Power Words, and he actually agreed with me that doing this seems more intentional, purposeful, and easier to commit.

The thing with identifying a Power Word is it can transcend any moment or area of your life.  For instance, if you choose “Thrive” as your power word, it can apply to goals for eating healthier and exercise.  Even if you messed up on a diet, your power word can be a constant reminder that any small accomplishment, like walking the stairs, is a move in the right direction. Thrive may even mean seeking a better paying job because you learned a new skill, or spending more time with a loved one just because.  It’s all thriving and you set the bar for what that means in your life.

So I picked two words that resonated with my spirit, BELIEVE (for the good that flows all around me) and FREEDOM (from anything that doesn’t serve me).  It is my intention and purpose to believe in the possibility of whatever my heart desires, because I know it’s poimg_2317ssible, and to be free from ANY thing, person, idea or thought that doesn’t serve my highest and best. Ironically, after I christened my words as part of my 2016 mantra, the word “BELIEVE” surfaced immediately in an image that adequately expressed my sentiments.

So what is your Power Word for 2016?  It’s never too late to pick one, or even change or add words. It’s for your personal edification to serve as a “compass that directs your decisions and guides your steps,” according to the One Word 365 community.  I recently learned about this social media community as I began to research the purpose behind the movement, and am sharing for anyone who may be interested (preview at http://oneword365.com/).

So here’s to your highest and best throughout 2016, to live with intention and purpose ALWAYS.

A Story Unsung: Getting Started

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There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story.  ~Maya Angelou

Yes, everyone has a story inside of them, especially women. Some stories are subtle, some are encouraging and empowering. Some explain and others teach. But all great stories have some level of conflict. You know when things didn’t work out exactly the way you originally planned. That’s usually your backstory.

So why would anyone really care about your story? Why does it matter?

While we all have our own stuff, it is never unique to just us. Our unique life experiences are what shape us into who we are in the moment, and there is always someone that can relate on some level.  More notably, Shonda Rhimes, creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, and executive producer of How To Get Away With Murder, recently shared her story.  In Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person, Rhimes recounts her personal struggles with weight and moments of insecurity and fear. While her story offers perspective into who she is and what shapes her creative edge as a storyteller, it is also a relatable story with many layers that speak to all women.

So, yes, your story does matter, and you don’t have to be a prolific storyteller, TV show creator and executive producer like Shonda Rhimes to have merit. Hundreds of thousands of people successfully write and self-publish books, a few who come to mind are Shelley Hitz with Author Audience and Kristen Joy of The Book Ninja, both of whom I met at a marketing conference last year. Some people use editors, like me, to help relate their story of life, love, fear, loss, betrayal, opportunity and discovery.  I’m sure this sounds familiar?

The key for you, however, is recognizing the merits of your experiences so you can begin shaping your story. Here are a few ideas that can help you get started:

  • Journal writing. You may not be quite ready to share your story with the world.  However, journaling providefemale-865110_1280s a more intimate and private option for expressing emotions and experiences. This can often be therapeutic and help to shape ideas for self-analysis and self-discovery.
  • Freewriting. You have to begin somewhere so just begin documenting your story in your own words. Grammar and spelling is not important. Just begin writing whatever thoughts/ideas emerge. Generally, freewriting involves a set time to write continuously without interruption.  Through this process, an unintended story may emerge that may have more impact than your original writing goals.
  • Outlining. If you require a little more structure, an outline will help to organize the flow of your writing, especially if you already know the story you want to tell.

So counting on you to get started with your story. Happy writing and let me know if you get stuck writing and need some help @divaninawrites or email me at divaninawrites@gmail.com.

Love and Peace Always….Ann