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Category: Purposeful Living

Your Past Does Not Define You, It Shapes You

Can ripping off a rear view mirror really make you never look back?

A news story came out a couple of days ago about Jimmy Butler, the Chicago Bulls basketball player. He said he literally pulled the rear view mirror off his car because he doesn’t want to look back. He stated, “It’s because I don’t ever want [the past] to define me.”

The concept is great in theory. Ripping your rear view mirror off of your car so you cannot look back does not work in reality. If anything, he just made himself a hazard to other drivers when he is on the road.

Your past does not define you, it shapes you. Every experience you have shapes you to be the person you are and the person you are becoming.

Your past does not define you, it shapes you. Click To Tweet

Every person has a worldview. A loose definition of a worldview is your framework or ideas about the world. It is one’s background, beliefs, experiences, values, and inherited characteristics combined together that makes your worldview.

Your past does not define you, it shapes you. It shapes the person you are becoming. Are you who you want to be-

Your past, your worldview, shapes you.

Jimmy Butler may not want to look back or remember his past, but it is a part of who he is. And that is a good thing.

Your past is a part of who you are. But it does not define who you are. If you had a rough past and you do as Jimmy Butler did, your past can shape you to become a better version of yourself. As Jimmy stated, he worked hard to get where he is here. His past shaped his actions which in turn has helped him get to the place he is in.

Your past shapes your behaviors and actions. If you don’t like who you were or who you are, then you can choose to rewrite your future. You can take steps and make goals to become the person you want to be.

Your past does not define you, it shapes you. It shapes the person you are becoming.

Are you becoming who you want to be?

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

P.S.- Continue the conversation on Facebook! I would love to hear how I can help you on your journey. To receive up to date content, sign up to receive my free 7 Steps to a Prioritized Life on the home page and posts will be delivered right to your inbox.  If Facebook isn’t your favorite social media site, you can connect with me on Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

You Can’t Do It All: Live a Prioritized, Purposeful Life

I am excited to be sharing over at She Is Fierce HQ!

We often think we have to find the perfect balance in life. The reality is, you do not need to do it all. Instead, you need to figure out what is important to you and then create a life around those priorities. In this post, I discuss why you can’t and shouldn’t do it all.

Head on over to check out You Can’t Do It All: Live a Purposeful, Prioritized Life.

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

 

P.S.- Continue the conversation on Facebook! I would love to hear how I can help you on your journey. To receive up to date content, sign up to receive my free 7 Steps to a Prioritized Life on the home page and posts will be delivered right to your inbox.  If Facebook isn’t your favorite social media site, you can connect with me on Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

The Misconception of Multi-Tasking: 3 Steps to Prioritize Your Tasks

Multi-tasking. The ultimate skill stated at every job interview. Up until recently, it was believed that multi-tasking increased productivity. Studies now show multitasking wastes a significant amount of time.

The definition of multi-tasking: performing two or more tasks simultaneously

The idea is great in theory, but not in practice.

A great example, one that affects my kids, is when I’m trying to do something on my phone the same time my 4 year old is asking me for something. Usually the end result is me saying “what did you just ask?”

Multitasking does not allow for you to focus all of your attention at the task, or person, at hand. This is especially true if you are trying to listen to someone and simultaneously trying to write. Your brain does not have the ability to do comprehend both at the same time. You go back and forth between the two tasks at hand.

Overwhelmed. Drained. Disoriented.

These are words that can describe how you feel after you finish “multi-tasking.”

The good news is, we have the ability to move between multiple tasks and then come back to the task we were already doing. That is indeed impressive. Where we get it wrong is when we go back and forth between tasks without accomplishing any one particular task. It takes longer to complete each task when you go between tasks. When you focus on one task and then move to the next, it does not take as much time.

To be more efficient with your time, prioritize your tasks at hand.

The Misconception of Multi-Tasking- 3 Steps to Prioritize Your Tasks

3 Steps to Prioritize Your Tasks and Time

  1. Make a list of what needs to be accomplished.

Having a list will help you to see the entire picture. I have a running tab of to-do’s at work. When I look at that list, I can determine what is most important and focus on that one task at hand.

I sit down every morning, whether at work or at home, and create my to-do list. This helps me focus on what must get done.

  1. Decide what needs to be done first

Look at your list. If it takes less than 2 minutes, do it right away.

Now that those items are off your list, you have a list before you that needs to be accomplished. Every item on your list has a level of importance. Re-order your list in regards to when it needs to be completed and order of importance.

  1. Get ‘er done

Go through your list one by one and

Get. It. Done.

Focus on one task at hand and accomplish it efficiently.

I’ve heard lately from many people that they dread making phone calls, for any reason. If that is you, put those calls first on your list so you can cross them off.

In Conclusion…

The idea and concept of multi-tasking is held on a pedestal as one of the best qualities to have, especially in an interview. When looking at how to manage your time, to be the most efficient, focusing on one task until it is complete is the most efficient.

Do you normally “multi-task”? If so, what does that normally look like for you? Share below!

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

P.S.- Continue the conversation on Facebook! I would love to hear how I can help you on your journey. To receive up to date content, sign up to receive my free 7 Steps to a Prioritized Life on the home page and posts will be delivered right to your inbox.  If Facebook isn’t your favorite social media site, you can connect with me on Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

Why You Won’t Succeed

The world we live in is all about instant gratification.

You want the food warmed fast so you put it in the microwave. You are hungry so you stop at that drive through. You send the text, email, or leave a voice message and you expect to hear back from the person in a short amount of time. This becomes even truer if you see that they have read the text message or email.

All around you see people succeeding. You see the fruits of their labor, but you never see their labor. You see the success that they have and you want it. When it doesn’t happen in the amount of time you think it should take, you give up.

Everyone is looking for success but no one is willing to put in the effort to succeed. Click To Tweet

That is why you won’t succeed.

It isn’t that you are not talented, smart, or capable. You most likely know that there is this thing inside of you that you must achieve. The reality is that you are more than capable but when you fail once or hit a bump in the road, you will most likely give up. Failing is tough. Failing, not learning from your mistakes, and giving up may seem easier in the short term. The reality is, it will lead to further dissatisfaction.

“We must believe that we are gifted for

When you find yourself in a place of discouragement and pending failure, remember these three things:

1. Your Why

You started out on this project, business, or weight loss journey for a reason. You had a very specific reason why you were going to put forth the effort. Placing your “why” in visible place will help you stay focused on the goal that you have established.

I have my “why” placed in a couple of places, one in my house and one in my car. This is a daily reminder of where I want to be and why I want to accomplish it.

If your “why” is not compelling enough, then you will give up on your goal. Your “why” needs to be motivating enough to keep going when the going gets tough.

2. Success takes effort

Success takes great effort, and sacrifice.

As I said above, you see the success of others, especially now that we all consume so much information in a day through social media.

You think if you work out for a week you will drop twenty pounds. That you blog for a couple of months and you should have a large following. When you have that product developed it should “fly” off the shelf.

When you hear the stories behind the success, you will hear of the sacrifice of sleep. You will hear that the person got up at 5 am everyday and worked on their dream while everyone else slept. You will see the sacrifice of doing what was “fun” in the eyes of their family and friends, for a time. You will hear of the consistent sacrifices to achieve what they knew they were to achieve.

3. Personal Development

Success often depends on putting forth the resources and time for personal development in your specific area. If your goal is to lose weight, this could mean a financial cost and cost of time for a gym membership, or a workout program that you know can help you achieve the results you want. It may mean purchasing that course on how to become a freelance writer. It may mean reading up on all of the latest information on how to start a business or self-publish a book.

Make your personal development a priority.

In Conclusion…

Pursuing your dream and passion is noble and right. It is also extremely difficult and comes with ups and downs along the journey. When you know without a shadow of a doubt the thing you are to pursue, pursue it and don’t give up until you have become successful. As we have discussed before, success can look different to each person. Define what success means to you, establish your why, and don’t give up until you have reached success.

What is one of your big, audacious goals? Let me know below!

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

P.S.- Continue the conversation on Facebook! I would love to hear how I can help you on your journey. To receive up to date content, sign up to receive my free 7 Steps to a Prioritized Life on the home page and posts will be delivered right to your inbox.  If Facebook isn’t your favorite social media site, you can connect with me on Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

Permission to Let Go

I was at the end of my rope, emotionally, mentally and physically. I realized I couldn’t do it anymore.

How often do you push and push yourself, only to end up in an extremely unhealthy place? For those with dreams and plans, a lot of time and effort goes into accomplishing goals that are outside normal, everyday responsibilities. I seem to do that all too often. I have dreams, plans, and goals. I want to do and accomplish much in this life.

So I push.

And push.

And push.

Until I am at a breaking point.

When You Are At Your Breaking Point

Emotionally, one can only take so much. The car breaking down. The air conditioner breaking. Our daughter having surgery. My grandma passing away. Job interviews for jobs that meant a major family move. We have had one occurrence after another this summer. When I thought we were done with one situation, another presented itself.

Emotions play into our physical and mental well-being. When we are struggling emotionally, we struggle physically and mentally. The inverse of that is true as well. Physically, I was pushing myself to write a blog post a week, continue with coaching clients, and work as an adjunct professor. This was on top of my full time job, a husband, kids, and a house to manage.

Three weeks ago, I decided to give myself permission to let go.

Give yourself permission to let go of the

Granting Permission

The drive to do certain things comes from my “achiever” strength. I set goals for myself and I find fulfillment in achieving those goals. I create to-do lists so I can mark the items off of my list. I will even add something on to my to-do list after I have done it so I can cross it off (weird, right?). Yet I know this about myself which is extremely helpful.

Three weeks ago I decided to let everything go that wasn’t a top priority and to simplify my time. I had to go to work and I committed to adjunct; those couldn’t be put aside. What I could put aside was the pressure to write every night, to edit my book, to put that perfect graphic on the blog post, and to have my house spotless.

I had to give myself permission to have a messy house and to not give the baby a bath every night.

Give yourself permission to not do that one thing you feel you need to do. Click To Tweet

I gave myself permission to be a wife. I gave myself permission to be a mom, to play games with my big girl and giggle with my baby. I gave myself permission to just sit. I never just sit. Oh how this was so good for my soul. I also gave myself permission to be spontaneous and head out of town with my family for the day.

Give yourself permission to let go of the things that are not important. The things that take your time from what truly matters to you. When you know your priorities, you can begin to say no or put aside the items on the to-do list that do not matter.

The Right Action at the Right Time

I realized the amount of information I was consuming a day was not helpful either. Everyone is trying to sell something these days. 8 days to a more beautiful you. 6 steps to make $300k a year. How to double your Instagram followers. We are told by big names like Michael Hyatt that to be a success you have to do x, y, z.

The internet makes everything look so easy. The reality is, it takes hard work and networking to become successful. There is no magic formula. Being bombarded with these messages is not helpful nor healthy.

The internet makes everything look easy. The reality is, it's hard work. Click To Tweet

Limiting how much time I spent online and with the tv on took a burden off of me that I did not realize I was carrying.

In Conclusion…

Life can be extremely stressful. There are stresses that we can’t get rid of and unexpected situations that cause emotional turmoil. Playing with your kids, spending time with your family, these are the things that you can never get back. Once time is gone, it is gone. Give yourself permission to not do that one thing you feel you need to do. Cleaning the house or writing that blog? There will be time for that, but don’t let it consume you like it almost did to me.

What is something you can let go of?

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

P.S.- Continue the conversation on Facebook! I would love to hear how I can help you on your journey. To receive up to date content, sign up to receive my free 7 Steps to a Prioritized Life on the home page and posts will be delivered right to your inbox.  If Facebook isn’t your favorite social media site, you can connect with me on Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

How I Lost an Hour of My Life

When I looked up at the clock, I could not believe an hour had passed.

Not often do I get time alone to do whatever I want. However, when I do, I usually utilize the time to be productive or participate in some self-care. I have a to-do list a mile long. This list includes things that have to be done and things I want to do. Some of these items on my list are important yet extremely not urgent that I don’t often have time to do them.

I was excited to have some time to myself.

How I Lost an Hour of My Life

Then It Happened

I had plenty of time on Monday night as the kids were in bed and my husband went out with a friend. I had two small items to accomplish and my third item was to read a book that I have wanted to read for a long time, yet continued to put off.

I really thought this time was going to be awesome. No kids climbing on me or asking me for anything. No husband climbing on me and asking me for things. Just me!

After the two items were completed, I sat down to quickly check social media.

First I checked out Instagram, looking at the great quotes and cute pictures of my friends kids.

I then went on to Twitter and even scheduled some tweets for later in the week.

Then I landed on Facebook. I am a part of a few online communities so I made sure to check out the posts in those groups along with my normal news feed. I commented and got caught up. Before I knew it, an hour had passed.  I had unintentionally lost an hour of my life.

For someone who prides them self on being a good with time I sure screwed that one up.

iphone social media

The Reality

Then I started thinking about how often I am on social media and how much time it consumes. I find that if I am bored or simply need a mind numbing break I grab my phone. In all honesty, I know that I have been on my phone too much if my thumb is hurting at the end of the day.

In a report from 2009 published in the New York Times, the average American consumes 34 gigabytes of content and 100,000 words of information in a single day. If the amount of bytes consumed has increased six percent each year, which means today the average American consumes 48 gigabytes of content in a day. This will continue to increase with the use of technology and social media use increases with Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, and Periscope.

What does this mean? It means I am consuming a lot of mind numbing information each day. Everyone has a message or is trying to sell something. That is great, and the “world” needs to hear your message. But not every single person needs to hear your message. I don’t need to hear everyone’s message. At times I think I do, but the reality is that taking in all of that information is all consuming, and not in a good way.

Everyone has a message to share, but not every message is for you. Click To Tweet

The Plan

To try to combat the time suck that social media can be, I am going to put limits on when I can be on social media. I know this will be hard as my go-to when there is down time or when I am bored is to grab my phone to see what everyone else is doing.

This is my very loose, and modifiable, plan.

-If I am at home with my family, I plan on not being on social media from 6:00-8:00 pm on weeknights.

-I am going to limit when I am on social media during the day.

-On Sunday and Wednesday nights I will plan social media posts (automation so I don’t lose more track of time).

-I am going to limit when I am social media, and my phone in general, on the weekends.

In Conclusion…

I do not have this figured out in any way, shape or form. I know I need to work on it so that is where I start. A greater level of self-awareness and a plan to move forward. The online world should never be a replacement for real life that is going on in front of you. Hopefully, next time I have some time alone, I won’t be wondering how I lost an hour of my life to social media.

Do you find yourself “wasting” time on social media? Share below how you combat social media as a time sucker!

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

P.S.- Continue the conversation on Facebook! I would love to hear how I can help you on your journey. To receive up to date content, sign up to receive my free 7 Steps to a Prioritized Life on the home page and posts will be delivered right to your inbox.  If Facebook isn’t your favorite social media site, you can connect with me on Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

How to Avoid Fire Drills: 3 Steps to Plan the Urgent and Important into Your Life

Have you ever had a situation at work where you have to drop everything you are doing due to the urgency of the item at hand?

How about at home?

Do you feel like you are constantly taking care of the crises that arise on a daily basis?

I know there have been many times that the urgent items in my day overtake the important and it feels like I am constantly scrambling.

Take Sunday night for example.

The urgent items of getting everything ready for my child to start pre-k overtook the items that I deemed important. I had planned on writing that evening. Instead, I prepped lunches for the week and filled out registration paperwork for 45 minutes. In retrospect this was important for me to do, but it became urgent when I didn’t plan out my time appropriately.  This was both important and urgent for me to complete.

Often we confuse what is important and what is urgent.

Urgent items require immediate attention. They have to be accomplished or taken care of within a certain timeframe.

Important items help you move towards accomplishing your goals and vision. When you schedule the important it creates a level of intentionality in your day and week.

Schedule the Important and Urgent. This isn't an exact science, but an art. It will help you move in the right direction. Click To Tweet

Decision Matrix

President Eisenhower developed a decision matrix that was made popular by Steven Covey. It helps one distinguish the difference between what is urgent and what is important. There are four quadrants as listed below:

Important and Urgent: These items can be foreseen or unforeseen, as stated above. I had an important and urgent task to complete. In hindsight, it was so important that I should have scheduled it into this category to begin with.

These tasks can be deadline driven, crises, or problems.

Important and Non-urgent: These items help you further your goals and mission.

These tasks could include personal and professional development as well as recreation.

Non-important and Urgent: This area is what I like to refer to as the “fire drill” zone. It is a phone call or email that has to be taken care of immediately. If you do not have scheduled time to focus on the other areas, everything can begin to be lumped into the non-important and urgent.

These tasks include meetings, activities, and any interruptions.

Non-important and Non-urgent: The items that fall into this category are normally time wasters. It is ok to relax, watch tv, or play on your computer, but you can still be intentional about the time you spend doing such things.

These tasks include time wasters, trivial matters, and busy work.

How does this play out in real life? There are three ways you can approach this; your work life, your home life, or your whole life. The good news is, whichever approach you take, you can utilize these 3 steps to plan the urgent and important into your life.

Urgent and Important

1. Think Through Your Life in light of the Matrix

Think through your life. If you want to focus only on work, think through a typical day and week. If you want to focus on hours outside of work, think about your home life. I would suggest you think through this exercise in a whole life approach, especially if there are people and goals that are important for you to accomplish.

2. Place Items in the Appropriate Boxes

Now that you have thought through your specific areas, write them down in the corresponding quadrant.

The items that fall into the first quadrant, important and urgent, do those.

The items that fall into the second quadrant, important and non-urgent, plan to do those.

The items that fall into the third quadrant, not important and urgent, delegate those tasks (if possible).

The items that fall into the fourth quadrant, not important and not urgent, drop those tasks.

 

Urgent Non-Urgent
Important

DO IT

PLAN IT

Not-Important

DELEGATE IT

DROP IT

 

3. Schedule It

This is the most important step. Pull out your calendar and place the items on your calendar that fall into quadrant one and two. Those are the items that have to get done. You really want to schedule time for the important and non-urgent, as those are the items that are important but often are overlooked because of the urgent items that come up.

In Conclusion…

Life can seem like a giant fire drill. Knowing where your different responsibilities and priorities lands in regards to important vs urgent can help you plan out your day and week. It all starts with an understanding of the decision matrix, thinking through your life, and then planning according to the important and urgent, also known as your priorities. This isn’t an exact science, but an art. It will help you move in the right direction.

Have you ever completed this exercise? If not, what is stopping you? Share below!

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

Mini Goal Monday

Is there something in your life that you want to accomplish but you continue to push off?

You come up with excuse after excuse as to why you can’t accomplish the goal?

I have a list of things I want to accomplish. But they usually stay on that list unless I set aside time and put forth effort.

How about you?

It’s easy to get bogged down with all the things we want to do and then never accomplishing them.

Every Monday I want to help you take an action step to accomplish a goal that is important to you.

This could be as simple as cleaning out a closet that you have been putting off week after week. It could be a goal focusing on exercising (which is something I need to get back into doing!). It could be a goal to begin meal planning. It may be even be a goal to read a couple chapters in a book that you been putting off.

The goal has to be something that’s important to you, otherwise you will never work towards accomplishing that goal.

Nothing in your life will change unless you choose to change it.

Nothing in your life will change unless you choose to change it. Click To Tweet

The only way we change or accomplish anything is to state that goal and then have accountability.

That’s where I come in.

mini goal monday

Every Monday I want you to come up with an action step towards a goal you want to take. Something you want to accomplish.

Think about a S.M.A.R.T. goal. A S.M.A.R.T. goal is a goal that is

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Realistic

Time specific

What does this really mean? It means establishing a goal that you can really accomplish!

Once you know what you want to accomplish, head on over to www.facebook.com/stephaniegerman, find the Mini Goal Monday post, and let me know what you want to accomplish for that week. I’ll check in with you periodically to see how you are doing.

Again, this doesn’t have to be a huge goal. Small victories lead to continued success.

I want to help you live a prioritized, purposeful life. And this is one small step in that direction.

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

3 Areas to Prepare Beforehand to Make the Most of Your Vacation

Vacation.

It is now the middle of summer and you most likely have either gone on a vacation or are planning on going on your summer vacation soon. The excitement of getting away from it all can often be overshadowed by all that has to be accomplished before you leave.

There are different types of vacations that we take. It’s different when it’s just you going somewhere and when it’s you and your kids and your entire family. When I go on vacation with my husband, we stay up late and sleep in and lay out on lounge chairs with a drink in hand. Vacationing with kids is the same as being at home except they are more tired because they miss naps. And they get up at 5:45 am instead of their usual 6:30 wake up time. Although it can be exhausting, it is also a lot of fun.

3 Areas to Prepare to make the most of vacation (2)

I love to vacation. We have been in a stressful season of our family life, with one thing happening after another. Luckily, I have a great partner in this life who is my rock and together we navigate as obstacles arise. I couldn’t be more thankful for him.

To vacation means to vacate your life. Unless you are able to take a long vacation, often this isn’t possible. You still think about your job or something at home or if people are going to come look at the house you are selling. At the same time, you so desperately need a break from your life.

How can you ensure you have the best vacation possible? Make the most of your vacation. Here are 3 areas to prepare beforehand to make the most of your vacation.

1. Work

Before you leave work for your vacation, try to wrap up as many loose ends as possible. Make the phone calls you have been putting off and return emails. Tell your boss where you are at with different projects. Hand off any assignments to co-workers who might be overseeing your projects while you are gone. Write down any pending items you need to take care of when you return. You won’t worry as much if you know it’s being taken care of or if you have a plan to take care of it when you return.

2. Home

The best thing we do in preparing for vacation is hiring a house sitter. It is usually our neighbors son (who happens to be an old co-worker) who watches our house and dogs. The first time he watched the house and dogs I kept asking my husband to check in with him to make sure everything was ok. Now that he has done it so many times I don’t have to worry about it. I know it is being taken care of by a reliable college student. Having a house sitter lined up ensures items at home are being tended to.

3. Plan

Know what there is to do.

If you are going on a vacation to a location you go often, then you know what there is to do. If it’s a new town or a different part of town that you are staying, do some research beforehand to see how you can spend your time. If you happen to know someone who lives in the town you are visiting you might be able to get some insider information from a local on things to do and places to go. With kids, we do a day of planned activity (like the zoo or theme park) and then a low key day (like the beach) so we can ensure they get a nap in their beds. This helps for all of our sanity.

And While You are on Vacation

Be all there.

It can be easy to focus on the things back home or get sucked into social media. You will only have that one vacation at this age in your life with your family. My girls will only be this exact age once. Focus on the time you have to spend with them. Give each other grace while living in close quarters while also lacking sleep. If it’s just you and your spouse, I’m sure you are getting plenty of rest without the kids. Make lasting memories with your family. The hustle and bustle of life and responsibility will return soon enough. Embrace the time together.

Responsibility will return soon enough. Embrace the time together. Click To Tweet

In conclusion…

Vacations can be stressful. I’m in the thick of an awesome vacation with my husband, kids, my parents, sister, bro-in-law, and niece. There are 9 people living together in extremely close quarters. Since vacations can be stressful, get rid of as much stress as possible before you leave home and embrace all that your vacation has to offer.

How do you prepare when going on vacation? Let me know what I missed!

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)