Defining Success….What Does It Mean to You?

I recently heard from a colleague that was feeling “down” to use her word, after being recently terminated from her job. Later that day, I talked to a friend that was feeling a sense of low self-esteem.  Those two situations got me thinking about success, failure, and mindset.

Your mindset is critical for you to become the best Self-Empowered YOU possible.  It is important to have a clear definition of what success means to you. Most people want to be successful without knowing exactly what that means. When pushed to define success, often we provide vague responses. Defining success depends on many factors such as your age, development stage in life, and your family background. Success defined by a young woman in her 20’s is different than a woman in her 40’s, or 60’s.

Family background is one of the most important influences on how women define individual success. Our family values, traditions, religious orientations, and family dynamics serve as the backdrop against which success is often measured.

“Success” in one family can have a different meaning than in another, it can even be viewed as failure in another person’s home environment. Most of us rarely ever realize the unconscious conditioning which influences the way we respond to challenges in life, the risks we take, and the goals we set for ourselves. Oftentimes, once we experience a significant emotional event, the influences suddenly become a part of our self-awareness.

To be a self-empowered woman requires an awareness of self and the situations that trigger negative chatter and self-talk we experience. It requires a mindset shift in our belief systems.

Years ago, when I decided to leave a position in Corporate America to start my business, I remember a family member encouraging me to stay because she felt it was foolish to leave a good paying job in the San Francisco financial district. This relative was well meaning, but, the problem with this line of thought creates a cycle of beliefs that oftentimes gets passed down from one generation to the next without any awareness of if it’ll serve us well later on in life.

Think about the limiting and dis-empowering beliefs you’ve had to wrestle with in your adult life as the result of messages you have received about what you can or can’t accomplish. Messages about what you can’t do once you turn a certain age, past school experiences that cast doubt on your abilities to achieve success, (ie. that teacher or counselor that told you, “you’re not college material”), or messages about what women can’t do.  What about messages you received about leaving your job, going back to school for a higher level degree, and starting your woman-owned business.

Have you been pushed into taking a certain career path succumbing to family, societal, or peer pressure? A woman I interviewed that is in her 90’s told me, years ago when she attended a vocational high school, girls were enrolled in cooking, sewing, and nutrition classes while boys attended auto repair and construction programs. What messages do you think she received?

Here is a suggestion…. When you feel you are not successful, TAP-IN to the following more self-empowering beliefs and replace the negative self-talk with the following 5 mind-shifting beliefs and watch what happens:

1. My Success is DEFINED Only by ME.

2. Success is My PERCEPTION about where I am, where I want to go, and the progress I am making. My Perception can be changed.

3. Success is a PROCESS. It is my continued efforts of defining and redefining who I am, the things I learn, the challenges I overcome, and the personal goals I achieve.

4.  Success is determined by the PROGRESS I make, my mastery increases as I maintain momentum.

5: Achieving Success is something I can LEARN. I can learn the skills and behaviors it takes to be successful at accomplishing my goals, then…. apply what I learn, and build my confidence along the way.

In the process of self-empowerment and realizing our dreams, it is critical to specifically define success for ourselves and not leave it up to others.

Questions: (You are encouraged to share your thoughts with our group members.)

  • How do you think your life would be different if you adopted these beliefs?
  • What beliefs do you have about success that serve you well?
  • What tips or comments do you have to offer that relate to this topic?

Stay Safe, Healthy, and TAPPED-IN,

Dr. Myra

P.S. Join me in my next 7 Part Virtual TAP-IN Women’s Self-Empowerment Mastermind Program (Contact me for details if you are interested in attending)

Words Matter, Now More Than Ever: Easy Ways to Encourage and Uplift Others

 

Sign of Encouragement
Supporting the Neighborhood and Small Business

 

Your words of encouragement to a loved one, a friend or colleague can mean a lot to them. In fact, in times of despair and gloom, your words may be the most important things for them to cling to. Don’t shy away from expressing hope and inspiration to people around you. You may be in need of them at some point in your life as well.

Kindness starts with one person, in this case two people.  I am fortunate to be friends with the husband and wife that took the time and spent the money to have the BE BRAVE, BE KIND sign made and placed near their driveway to encourage their neighbors. Always thoughtful of others, my friend said, “We were so happy how it turned out, the company we hired nailed what I wanted.” With this gesture, they supported both the neighborhood and a grateful small business owner who told them, “You really way overpaid me.” Whether you are a neighbor, parent, friend, co-worker, company executive, or someone that others look up to for any reason, words hold immense power and impact. That’s why it’s critical that your words build others up.

 

“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.” – Mahatma Gandhi

 

There are plenty of opportunities to provide support to others. Here are a few for you to consider:

  1. Personal Check-ins

Let others know you care about the things that are important to them. Take the time to learn about their family, interests, fears, challenges, and goals and provide them with the opportunity to talk about it.

Pick a different person every day and send them a quick email or text to check in with them. It’s not as personal as a phone call, but it is the thought that counts. Even if you make an effort to do this just once a week for one person, notice how your connections respond to the encouragement.

  1. Add Words of Encouragement to Introductions

Undoubtedly, you will have an opportunity to bring people into your circle of friends and influence. When you introduce someone, add a few words of acknowledgement for their abilities, experience and accomplishments. This is an expression of appreciation for the specific value that person offers.

Promote a friend or acquaintance for the things they do. Share how they have helped you or why they are “special”.  It’s encourages people when they are personally recognized and supported.

  1. Celebrate the Important “Moments”

Acknowledge the victories and accomplishments of others with a personal note, a congratulatory phone call or virtual card. Nothing is too small or insignificant. If appropriate, share their success with others.

  1. Pray for Others

Let people know that you’re praying for them. Tell them what specifically you’re praying for them so they know you understand their needs. It makes your words of encouragement more sincere and concrete. Don’t forget to check back with them to see how they are doing.

  1. Tell People the Way They Have Encouraged You

Encouragement works two ways. Let them know how much you appreciated their encouragement and how it made a difference in your life.

  1. Acknowledge Positive Treatment of Others

Recognize someone for the positive way they treat others. If you have noticed that someone has treated others with sensitivity, kindness, compassion, generosity, etc., mention it and let them know you noticed. Not long ago I did this at the hairdresser. I complimented the supervisor on the kind way she interacted with the stylists she was training. I gave her specific examples of the behavior I observed that was impressive to me.  My comments took her by surprise, she was thankful I took the time to say something.

  1. Support Others On Social Media

If you are on social media, use it to encourage others. Whether your connections are celebrating an anniversary, a job promotion, the start of a new business, or dealing with a challenge, take time to comment on their updates with sincere words of encouragement. It’s not the number of people that respond that is important, but, the genuineness of the responses received.

  1. Encourage Strangers

You can be the one to brighten a person’s day. You never know what is going on in someone’s life. Make a point to positively engage others. Ask them, “How is your day going?” then listen before you respond. A kind word from you at the right time could make a positive impact on the rest of their day…..and yours.

  1. Demonstrate Acts of Kindness

Extend neighborly kindness and encouragement. Support an elderly neighbor, rake leaves, take their garbage to the street each week and return the empty can after pick-up. Share fruit from your fruit trees and vegetables from your garden.

  1. Encourage the Youth

Listen to young people, encourage them to talk, and let them know you care about their concerns and value their  opinions. We can all learn something from children and young adults.

  1. Send Gift Cards

For your friends out of work or with small businesses that are suffering, send a special gift card or send customers their way.  Make sure the gift card is for something they need or could use during the rough time they are experiencing.

  1. Create a Culture of Encouragement

At work, at home, even at the grocery store, words matter. Your words can have a profound impact on the people in your life. Something that seems of no consequence to you can lift another person’s spirits.

Let me hear from you. What are you currently doing to encourage others? What are some other ways you can offer encouragement? Who can you encourage right now?

Stay Healthy and Tapped In to What Life Has to Offer…………

Dr. Myra

Women’s Self-Empowerment Strategist

Author of Empowering Yourself to Embrace Change, Experience Leaves Clues, and the Upcoming Book: TAP IN®: Elevating Women’s Self-Empowerment

 

A Dynamic and engaging speaker, Dr. Myra Hubbard is available for Keynote Presentations, Conferences, Retreats, Training, and Consulting engagements. She can be reached at myrahub@aol.com or 707-481-2268. http://www.tapin2success.com

Emerging Stronger: 18 Strategies to Bounce Back from Heightened Stress and Worry

Maui Sunset with Sailboat

 

Stressed? Worried? Wishing you could sail away into the sunset?

If you are like me, your email inbox has been flooded by communications from companies detailing their responses to the coronavirus.

The challenge that this outbreak represents to you, your family, friends, and colleagues is likely not similar to anything you have experienced before. All of us currently find ourselves having to process our way through uncertainty, understandable anxiety and heightened stress. At some point though, hopefully sooner rather than later, the world will return to what we refer to as “normal”. Throughout history, people have always risen to meet whatever challenges have been thrown their way — usually emerging stronger than ever.

I want to take a moment to share with you some optimism and actions you can take to remain self-empowered and cope with the day-to-day challenges we are all currently dealing with, but, before I do here is how I see stress and worry defined:

What is Stress?

People often use the word stress interchangeably with anxiety, feeling anxious, fearful, nervous, overwhelmed, or panic. Stress is a biological response that is a normal part of our lives. It is a physiological response usually connected to some kind of external event or circumstance, like the coronavirus we are currently dealing with. In order for the cycle of stress to begin, there must be a stressor.

What is Worry?

Worry is a state of intensified concern over uncertainty of actual or potential problems. It is what happens when your mind dwells on negative thoughts, uncertain outcomes or things that could go wrong. Numerous studies have shown that worry not only puts a strain on our mental health, but on our physical health, as well. Too much worry can lead to anxiety, which can have a lasting impact on health and happiness. For instance, research has shown that anxiety can take a toll on your sleep, tax your immune system, and even affect your risk of dying from disease.

All that being said, we have good reason to remain on top of conditions that cause stress and worry in our lives. Here are 18 practical and easy actions you can take starting today:

1.Stay Active

Exercise may not completely make your stress disappear, but it will reduce some of the emotional intensity that you may be feeling, clearing your thoughts and letting you deal with your situation more calmly. Try taking a walk, go for a run, work in your garden, or clean out the garage. Personally, I love dancing in the kitchen, you can ask my husband. Exercise and movement is a way for your body to release endorphins, and recover from the increase of adrenaline and cortisol.

2. Adjust Your Sleep Habits

One effect of stress is that it can cause sleep deprivation. Frequently being in a heightened state of alertness can delay the onset of sleep and cause rapid, anxious thoughts to occur at night. Insufficient sleep can then cause further stress.

Sleep is a powerful stress reducer, when you follow a regular sleep routine it calms and restores the body, improves concentration, regulates mood, and sharpens judgment and decision-making. You are a better problem solver and are better able to cope with stress when you’re well-rested.

3. Drink Herbal Tea

There are hundreds of different herbal teas you can drink, all with varying tastes and benefits. These benefits can range from treating a cold to relieving stress, to anti-aging properties. Try these stress and anxiety reducing teas:  Chamomile, lavender, peppermint, Ginger and Passionflower. It is amazing what a hot cup of tea can do, don’t forget to take the time to appreciate the aroma.

4. Add Essential Oils & Candles to Your Environment

Using scents to treat your mood is called aromatherapy. Several studies show that aromatherapy can decrease anxiety and improve sleep. It is thought to help activate certain receptors in your brain, potentially easing anxiety. Try adding a few drops of oil into your bathtub water, into a basket of dried flowers, and into an aromatherapy diffuser.

Here are a few scents I have found calming:

  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Eucalyptus
  • Peppermint
  • Chamomile
  • Frankincense
  • Sandalwood
  • Orange blossom

Whether they’re in oil form or a candle, scents like lavender, chamomile, and sandalwood can be very soothing.

5. Keep a Journal

One way to handle stress is to write things down. You can focus on what you’re stressed about, you can focus on problem solving, and you can write about what you’re grateful for.

Sometimes when things feel overwhelming it is difficult to identify what is going well. At the end of every day, try writing down 3 things that went well, or for which you’re grateful.  Keeping a journal with a focus on gratitude may help relieve your stress and anxiety especially if you focus your thoughts on what’s positive in your life and finding solutions for the things you can control.

6.   Take Control

The feeling of loss of control is one of the main causes of stress and anxiety. If you remain passive, your stress can get worse.  The act of taking control is self-empowering and is a crucial part of finding a solution to a given situation.

Changing a situation such as the coronavirus may not be possible for you personally. You may not have total control of the situation, so get clear on what you can and can’t control. Then focus your energy on what you can control, the actions you can take to ease the impact, and accept what you can’t.

7. Self-Educate

Spend time on self-education to learn new skills.  Take online courses you’ve been interested in but have been putting them off.  Complete those home study sessions that can help you achieve your career or personal goals. Many businesses are transitioning to increased remote work, and moving events onto digital platforms, this being the case, they could be more receptive to supporting you financially to attend online professional development and training.

8. Take Advantage of Teleworking and Telecommuting Opportunities

Sometimes you have a choice to work from home. When dealing with stressful situations, you may find working from home is just what you need and where you have the most control. However, if you haven’t done it before, you will discover working in your home environment requires a unique set of skills. Teleworkers or virtual employees have additional challenges created by not being in a centralized office setting.

The Hubbard Online Learning Institute offers many online programs. With COVID-19 on the rise and people starting to work from home, the institute has released our Telework and Telecommuting eLearning course free for individuals should they feel the need for training on the differences of working from home.

To access this course yourself, use the following link:

https://www.softskillslms.com/hubbard_and_hubbard_inc/reg/95025

 

9. Connect with People

A good network of support including friends and family can help you get through stressful times and help you see things from different perspectives. Being part of a friend network gives you a sense of belonging and self-worth, which can help you in difficult times.

One study found that for women in particular, spending time with friends helps release oxytocin, a natural stress reliever. However, both men and women benefit from friendship.

When practicing social distancing, connect with friends and loved ones through video chats, phone calls, texting, and email. It really helps to feel the strength of your connections to your friends and loved ones, even though you may not be with them in person.

A free app you may want to try is Google Duo video calling which works on Android and iOS smartphones, tablets, and computers. It allows you to connect with your friends and family as well as do face-to-face group calling with up to 8 people.

For more information: https://duo.google.com/about/

10. Find Humor

It’s hard to feel anxious when you’re laughing. In the long term, laughter is good for your health can help improve your immune system and mood. Try watching a funny movie or a game show, read a humorous book, or communicate with a friend or relative that makes you laugh. Sometimes all you can do is laugh.

11. Chew Gum

This may sound funny but, for a super easy and quick stress reliever, try chewing a stick of gum. One study showed that people who chewed gum had a greater sense of wellbeing and lower stress. One possible explanation is that chewing gum causes brain waves similar to those of relaxed people. Another is that chewing gum promotes blood flow to your brain.

12. Practice Prayer and Meditation

Many studies have shown that daily prayer has a profound impact on your physical health. There are a few reasons for this. Daily prayer has been shown to lower stress rates, which positively impacts many aspects of your physical health: from your blood pressure, to your heart rate, to your immune system.

Whatever your religion may be, daily prayer and meditation are calming and wonderful ways to cultivate strength during challenging times.

13. Listen to Soothing Music

Listening to music can have a very relaxing effect on the body. Slow-paced instrumental music can induce the relaxation response by helping lower blood pressure and heart rate as well as stress hormones.

Some types of classical, jazz, and Native American music can be particularly soothing, but, simply listening to the music you enjoy is effective too. I am a huge fan of smooth jazz, two musicians I recommend to listen to when you need to calm down and “chill” are:

Peter White, an awesome smooth jazz and jazz fusion guitarist. He is my number one stress releasing musician. Here is what one of his fans had to say, “He makes life worth listening to, no matter how rough your day is, Peter can take you somewhere to chill. My mind and body thank you Peter.”

Paul Hardcastle, a multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist. Paul’s tune entitled “No Stress at All” is wonderful. When I listen to the sounds and sway to the rhythm of this instrumental, it takes me back to sitting on the lanai looking at the Kaanapali Beach at sunset in Maui, Hawaii. One of his fans had this to say about Paul, “Where ever you want to be at, take Paul Hardcastle with you, his music will babysit your moods”.

Nature sounds can also be very calming. This is why they’re often incorporated into relaxation, spa and meditation music. Experiment, find out what nature sounds and music provide you with the level of comfort you are looking for.

14. Try Deep Breathing

Mental stress activates your sympathetic nervous system, signaling your body to go into “fight-or-flight” mode. During this reaction, stress hormones are released and you experience physical symptoms such as a faster heartbeat, quicker breathing and constricted blood vessels.

The goal of deep breathing is to focus your awareness on your breath, making it slower and deeper. When you breathe in deeply through your nose, your lungs fully expand and your belly rises.

Try breathing in for 4 counts and breathing out for 4 counts for 5 minutes total. By evening out your breath, you’ll slow your heart rate which should help calm you down and allow you to feel more peaceful.

15. Find Comfort from Your Pet

Having a pet may help reduce stress and improve your mood. Interacting with pets may help release oxytocin, a brain chemical that promotes a positive mood. Having a pet may also help relieve stress by giving you purpose, keeping you active and providing companionship — all qualities that help reduce anxiety.

16. Limit Your Worry Time

Give yourself a worry “budget,” an amount of time in which you allow yourself to worry about a problem. Set aside a designated “worry time”. Instead of worrying all day, every day, designate a 20-minute period of time where you can think about your problems. Penn State researchers found in a study that a four-step stimulus control program could help seriously stressed people take control of their anxieties.

Step One: Identify the object of worry.

Step Two: Come up with a time and place to think about your worry.

Step Three: If you catch yourself worrying at a time other than your designated worry time, STOP, then make a point to think of something else.

Step Four: Use your “worry time” productively by thinking of solutions to the worries.

 

17. Stick to Credible Sources of Information

Stick with sources of credible information, so you can avoid misrepresentation. So as not to overdose, if you want to stay informed, try getting regular updates from credible sources in the morning and check again briefly toward the end of the day. There’s no need to stay tuned in 24/7 — it can actually make your anxiety much, much worse.

Ultimately, there are two ways in which stress and worry go away: When Circumstances Change or When You Change.

18. Emerge Stronger

Emerge from stress and worry stronger as a result. You may have developed new skills, became a super creative problem solver, are more resilient and self-empowered as a result. Taking words from Kelly Clarkson’s song, Stronger, What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger.

Although stress and anxiety may arise in your workplace and personal life, there are many simple ways to reduce the pressure and emerge stronger. I hope these tips help you with the source of your stress and worry. Exercise, scents, music and meditation can all be beneficial. According to Dr. Luana Marques, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, “In some ways, anxiety is what happens when you’re dealing with a lot of worry and a lot of stress.” Let’s all work to reduce them.

 

Let Us Hear From You!

We pray for everyone’s health and safety during these turbulent times. Let us hear from you. Tell us which of the tips and recommendations you find most useful and why? Share with us, based on your personal experiences, advice you would offer to others to manage their worry, stress or anxiety?

 

“And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.” __ Author Unknown

 

Stay Tapped In……

Dr. Myra

Women’s Self-Empowerment Strategist

Author of Empowering Yourself to Embrace Change, Experience Leaves Clues, and the Upcoming Book: TAP IN: Elevating Women’s Self-Empowerment

A Dynamic and engaging speaker, Dr. Myra Hubbard is available for Keynote Presentations, Conferences, Retreats, Training, and Consulting engagements. She can be reached at myrahub@aol.com or 707-481-2268.

Using Your Voice: Tool or Weapon

Women's Day

 

As we spring forward into a new season, March is also the month we take time to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD).

 

“Have you ever wondered which hurts the most, saying something and wishing you had not, or saying nothing and wishing you had.”

The Right

Self-empowerment includes springing forward and taking steps to speak up on your own behalf. It can be uncomfortable and even frightening at times. I know, your heart can start to beat fast before you can get the first word out. You search for the three “rights”, the right Words, the right Time, and the right Place. In the moment, may not always be the right time or place, however, it could be your empowering moment. The point is that you have a right to respond or not.

 

wrecking-ball-

You don’t have to use the wrecking ball approach to break your wall of silence if you decide to respond. The wrecking ball symbolizes a hard approach, where you behave in an abrasive, “tell it like it is, in-your-face”, attacking way. It can do serious damage to your relationships and your professional reputation. Finding your voice and speaking up for yourself in an effective and respectful way is a talent you can develop as you build your self-empowerment muscles.

 

“The greatest talent one can have is learning when to speak and when to not.”
― Bryant A. Loney

 

TPC Dynamics

Management consultant, Noel Tichy’s TPC Conceptual Framework can be a useful tool. The framework suggests there are three major dynamics to consider before you make the move to spring forward and make the decision to speak up.  Each dynamic raises questions about the situation:

Technical Dynamic:  Can I do this? Do I have the skills and ability to speak up for myself in a respectful way?

Power Dynamic:  What is the power structure of the relationship? Who am I dealing with? Whose power is being challenged? What do I have to lose or gain by speaking up at this time and place?

Cultural Dynamic: In this type of situation and at this place, what is seen as acceptable behavior?  What values and traditions are you challenging by speaking up? Is expressing yourself valued? Are you in a “safe to say” working environment? Traditionally, has it been okay for some individuals but not others to confront offensive comments directed at them?

You may be shy, you want to avoid conflict, or may not know the words to say, but sometimes staying silent can be more damaging than speaking up. Whether it’s to stick up for yourself or intervene when you see wrong doing, have the courage to say what needs to be said.   It could be when your coworker, manager, parent, spouse, sibling or a peer has made a demeaning comment to you or about someone else. In the past, you felt you should have said something, but, for various reasons you didn’t.

When you are an authentic, self-empowered woman with integrity, your goal is to keep the relationship on a positive level, while being true to yourself and your feelings. This takes  a gathering your thoughts.

Your opinion has value and you have every right and sometimes an obligation to express it. Whether you are angry or calm, the challenge is responding with respect when you don’t feel respected by the person or environment you find yourself in.

OUCH Technique

Author, Leslie C. Aguilar recommends use of an Ouch technique when responding to demeaning comments. My adaption of the OUCH technique can be beneficial in confronting challenging situations. Ouch indicates to the other person, their words had a negative and sometimes hurtful impact on you. With this technique, you model the respect you would like to receive by speaking up in a positive way. After all, you might unintentionally step on someone’s toes someday and would like the same courteous behavior shown to you.

Here is how it works…..

O – Recognize the OPPORTUNITY you have to speak up. Say “Ouch!”, then explain why you said it and the impact the comment had on you. Acknowledge that the person(s) may not have intended to offend you.

U – Seek to UNDERSTAND the rationale behind the comment while maintaining a positive good faith effort without blaming or attacking the other person(s).

C – CLARIFY by asking open-ended questions.

H – HARNESS the areas where there is agreement, lessons learned from the interaction and how you can address these situations in the future.

This technique is a way to remain self-empowered, express yourself, and maintain the self-esteem of others involved. You can use it with an individual, with-in a group, at work or at home. Use the TPC Framework to determine the dynamics of the situation, the time and place to speak up. If the timing isn’t right, you can find a more appropriate time to address something that was said earlier.

Using your voice can be self-empowering, give it a try.

 

“It’s not about finding your voice, it’s about giving yourself permission to use your voice.”__ Kris Carr 

 

“Stay Tapped In to the wonderful things life has to offer.”

Dr. Myra

 

A Dynamic and engaging speaker, Dr. Myra Hubbard is available for Presentations, Conferences, Retreats, Training, and Consulting engagements. She can be reached at myrahub@aol.com or 707-481-2268.

 

Making Your Birthday a Self-Empowering Experience

Happy Birthday

Each month we’re celebrating someone’s birthday, if it is your birthday this month, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! If it isn’t, your month will be here before you know it.

“Your birthday is the beginning of your own personal new year. Your first birthday was a beginning, and each new birthday is a chance to begin again, to start over, to take a new grip on life.” __ Wilfred Peterson

I believe birthdays are special and are to be acknowledged and celebrated.  They don’t have to be about expensive dinners, exotic trips or elaborate gifts. No matter what birthday you are celebrating, whether you are in your teens, turning 21, hitting 30, approaching 50, getting sassy in your 70’s, reaching 80’s, 90’s and beyond, consider this…….there are people that never made it to your age. You have friends and/or relatives that never celebrated the birthday you get to celebrate.  My good friend, Dessie, never made it. My cousins, Debbie, Diane, Rita, Irene, and Clarence never made it to my age.  Wow, how sobering.  I mention this not to make you sad, but, to encourage you to reflect on your gift of life.

“Don’t just count your years, make your years count.” __ George Meredith

Each birthday is a blessing and awesome gift in itself. The older I get the longer my husband and I celebrate. We use to celebrate the day, then a weekend, advanced to a week, and we have reached the point where we now celebrate an entire birthday month.  I love it! How is that for acknowledging our gift of life?

You are probably asking, “What do you do to celebrate for an entire month?” It takes imagination and frequently telling the person, Happy Birthday during the month. This year, we enjoyed a great birthday month for my husband.  The month started with a surprise jazz weekend get-a-way, our friends met us at the event and shocked him with his favorite cake topped off with glowing candles for him to blow out. We had multiple dinner dates with friends at surprise locations. Each time we went out to eat during his birthday month, the restaurant staff sang Happy Birthday. The Italian restaurant sang in Italian and the Mexican restaurant sang in Spanish. The bonus was a yummy dessert with a candle.

Birthdays can be an empowering experience. By taking the path of self-empowered birthdays, we can push back against the loss of purpose that too often comes as our years advance.

What Are Self-Empowered Birthdays?

A Self-empowered birthday means taking control of one’s life, learning, updating and improving skills, taking risks, building confidence, assuming power over personal circumstances, and developing the resilience to overcome inevitable challenges to come. Self-empowered birthdays improve your odds to accomplish life goals that others may discount, and to enjoy self-esteem and satisfaction that others may lack.

“It is only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it were the only one we had.” __Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

The positive self-perception of birthdays that can flow from self-empowerment may actually save lives. An article in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology reported that individuals with more positive self-perceptions of aging outlived those with less positive self-perceptions of aging by seven and a half years.

There are many roads to self-empowerment, depending upon an individual’s personal goals, beliefs, and values. Here are just a few……LIVE

Live a Life of Learning

Lifelong learning should be a personal commitment for us all. Whether learning takes place in a classroom or online, it stimulates, engages, and empowers. It increases knowledge and refreshes skills. Education enhances confidence. It presents new challenges and goals. It provides an information base and a new relationship network from which to advance a current career, pursue a new career, or begin an entrepreneurial venture.

Live Your Dream, Take More Risks

Make your dreams a reality. Start your own business, go back to school or seek a new career, etc. Entrepreneurship may not be for everyone, but increased experience, perspective, and problem-solving skills that comes with each birthday enhances your chances of success.

Live a Life with Flexibility

The person with the most flexibility will have more choices in life. Having a choice is better than no choice and more choices are certainly better than less choices. Similarly, if what you are doing is not working, you need to do something else. This highlights the need to change your behavior and do something else, again and again if need be, until your desired outcome is achieved.

Live a Life with Humor

With the confidence that comes from self-empowerment and the experience to know that all paths in life have twists and turns, we all need to take the opportunities presented by birthdays seriously. At the same time, we must try to maintain perspective and a sense of humor, even in the face of frustration and fear.

Appreciate that longer lives are a great gift. Past generations would be awestruck by the extent of our longevity and the possibilities. Embrace with gratitude the experience each birthday brings and the challenge of taking on each through self-empowerment.

“Life isn’t about your age. Life is about living. So when your birthday comes be thankful for the year that has just past and anticipate with a happy heart what the coming year will bring.” __Catherine Pulsifer

A Dynamic and engaging speaker, Dr. Myra Hubbard is available for Presentations, Conferences, Retreats, Training, and Consulting engagements. She can be reached at myrahub@aol.com or 707-481-2268.

 

 

Tenacity: Hang in There, Never Give Up!

Keep-Going

Have you been told, “hang in there”, “never give up”, “stick to it”, or “keep on going”?  When you are struggling, people may say these well-meaning words of encouragement.  Most people will tell you that tenacity is a great quality to have, especially if you’re trying something new and challenging that takes a while to complete.

Odds are, the people you admire have shown real tenacity in achieving their goals. Anything really worth doing takes persistence, perseverance, and stubborn determination. Being an accomplished writer requires real gifts, no doubt, but even the most gifted writer won’t make it to the best seller list without the tenacity required to make the long, hard journey from struggling to write the first few sentences, paragraphs, pages, chapters and progressing to writing entire books.

Tenacity is the quality displayed by someone who just won’t quit — who keeps trying until they reach their goal. Tenacity is more important than the degree of talent you have. You can learn anything, accomplish anything, if you’re tenacious enough, if you’re willing to hang in there long enough, willing to do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes.

Are you? If not, let me tell you about a woman by the name of Ida Keeling, perhaps she will inspire you as she has me. Ida Keeling was having a difficult time dealing with major losses in her life. Her husband passed away some years ago and both of her sons died tragically. She felt the pain of losing her sons was just too much to bear. Her daughter, Cheryl was worried about her, the smile had left Ida’s face and the light inside of her seemed to have gone off.

Cheryl owned a fitness business and often ran in races. She decided to ask her mother to attend a cross-country race with her held in Brooklyn, New York, not as a spectator but to actually run 3.1 miles.  Reluctantly, Ida, finally agreed.  I need to tell you that at this time Ida was 67 years old running in her very first race. Does this sound impressive?  It gets better.

Ida is 103 years old, born May 15, 1915! Yes, and she now holds Masters records in 60 meter and 100 meter distances for women in the 95-99 and 100-plus age groups.   Ida set the fastest known time by a 99-year-old woman for the 100 -meter dash at 59.80.

On April 30, 2016, Ida became the first woman in history to complete a 100-meter run at the age of 100. Her time of 1:17.33, was the best ever recorded in the 100-meter dash for any female age 100 or older.

On July 17, 2018, Ida appeared on TV and received an honorary Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award. The ESPY honors the top athletes every year, and now 103-year-old Ida Keeling is one of them.

Tenacity is about a mindset and approach to maintaining the momentum needed to accomplish what you want in life and then the cycle continues, completing one race at a time and continuing to practice skill building on a continuous basis, like Ida.

“Stay Tapped In to the wonderful things life has to offer.”

Dr. Myra