Embrace the Unknown and Enjoy It

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I’ve found that regardless of age, many people are worried or stressed out about their future. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a 20-something young professional or if you’re a 45 year old mother of 3 because life is stressful. You may worry about whether you’re on the right track professionally, whether you’re making smart financial decisions, or if you’re living up to your full potential.

But you know what? It’s okay not to know what lies ahead of you because of these reasons:

1.) Nobody else knows: Simple yet true. Nobody knows what their future holds so take solace in knowing that you’re definitely not alone. We’re all in this together – Muddling through the confusion and waiting to get to the point in our lives where we find that we’re okay with the unknown.

Secret: The sooner you discover that you can’t control or plan your future, the sooner you’ll be able to embrace what’s to come with open arms…

2.) Life would be boring if we knew: Sometimes the greatest moments in life are those
moments that are completely and totally unexpected. If you knew EXACTLY what your future held, would you still wake up every day with enthusiasm and excitement? I mean, really… You’d know when you’re going to meet important people, when you were going to find a soulmate, when you were going to get a job promotions, etc.

You wouldn’t be excited for the day at all… In fact, you’d probably wake up and think “Alright, today I’m going to meet someone who is going to become my best friend. Better put on some perfume even though it doesn’t matter… We’re destined to be friends regardless of how I smell.” Boooooooringggggggg.

3.) You wouldn’t learn: If you always knew the outcome of situations, you’d probably avoid those that would cause you pain. Now, this doesn’t seem like a bad thing right away but think about it for a second. Some of the greatest lessons I’ve ever learned have come from jobs I shouldn’t have taken, boys I shouldn’t have dated, and friends I shouldn’t have hung out with. If I knew that all of those situations wouldn’t have worked out in the long run, I probably would’ve avoided them.

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

– Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Take a deep breath and smile because you’re doing alright kiddo. Enjoy each day to the fullest rather than riddling it with worry and stress over things you simply can’t control. All you need to do is do your best, follow your heart, and try to make smart decisions (Note: I didn’t say RIGHT decisions because even the wrong ones are okay).

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You Have the Power to Choose Happiness and Love

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Nothing I’m about to say is going to be a surprise to you. Honestly, you’ve heard (or read) it all before, or at least I know I have, but what I hope to accomplish through this post is to say it in a way that legitimately resonates with you….

Please, please, please take this to heart:
You need to stop reading all of the bullsh*t online articles that are trying to tell you how to change, act, and live to become more desirable to somebody else.

Because I couldn’t fall asleep, I grabbed my phone and opened up my Facebook app. I only scrolled down for a few minutes and in those few minutes, I saw two articles that upset me –

“40 People on the Worst Trait a Significant Other Can Have”

“23 Little Things that Let You Know You’re in the Right Relationship”

This upset me because you know what? Plain and simple – Life is hard enough as it is.

When we’re constantly bombarded by “advice” like this written by “experts,” we start to get this skewed perspective of ourselves and of life in general.

Don’t worry yourself with what other people think is right, wrong, desirable, or undesirable.Don’t second guess your gut even if you see people leaving comments like, “ZOMG YOU’RE RIGHT! This is SO me!”

This advice might resonate with them.
It doesn’t have to resonate with you.

There’s always something telling us that we’re not as skinny as that model, we’re not as happy as this celebrity who was just given expensive diamond jewelry, or as ______ as _________.

I decided then and there that I needed to unlike that Facebook page and I want to challenge you to do the same. You have the power to accept this “advice” OR you can say, “You know what? I’m happy. I’m healthy. I’m not perfect and thank goodness for that.”

You have the power to close the magazine, unlike the social network, or separate yourself from whatever isn’t filling your life with positivity.

The thing to remember is that people are going to keep writing these articles; however, once you realize that these sources don’t define you, your life, or your happiness then you can rid yourself that judgmental negativity.

You have the power to decide for yourself if you’re in the right relationship.
You have the power to decide that you’re happy with your life.
You have the power to love yourself despite whether some article thinks your quirks or traits are undesirable.

You don’t need to read 400 words written by a stranger to decide whether or not you’re living your life right.

It’s simple – You have the power to choose what you put into your eyeballs and into your head. Stop reading articles that make you feel like you’re not good enough, successful enough, or pretty enough. Instead of reading this judgmental crapolla written by people you’ll never meet, take a minute to appreciate your quirks, your uniqueness, your freckles and those laugh lines. If you’re in a relationship and you’re happy, then be happy and stop trying to look for faults. If you ‘re in one and you don’t want to be anymore, get out.

Forget these “advice” columns and do me this one favor – Embrace who you are, learn to love that person, and do what makes you happy ❤

Say ‘Yes’ and Figure Out the Rest Later

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So, I’m going to come right out and say this –
I REALLY hope this blog post turns out to be more than just a glorified synopsis of that weird Jim Carrey movie “Yes Man.”

I’ve never seen “Yes Man” but I can assume the premise of it is pretty gosh darn close to what I’m about to write about; HOWEVER, stick with me on this one… mmmk?
I’ll give it the Live Inspired spin and it’ll be good. Pinky promise.

*cough cough*

Lately, I’ve been going through a bit of a funk. Not a bad funk or anything like that but more of the, “Welp… now what” type of funk. Moving to a new city, starting a new job, being recently single, blah blah blah… All of that was great.

It was exhilarating. It was refreshing. It was exciting.

But now… Well, now what?

I sat and pondered this for a while (no I didn’t, that was a lie) and I realized that I can’t rely on anybody else to make excitement in my life. No, this was up to me.

I decided that the first step to finding this newfound excitement was that I’m going to start saying, “Yep” instead of saying “Nope” in regards to situations/invites/whatever.

I know that it doesn’t seem like much but to me, it was.

I tend to get stuck in my ways and honestly, I over-analyze situations that haven’t even happened yet. It’s not that I’m being a Negative Nancy but sometimes, I just avoid situations if I think they won’t end up being THE BEST SITUATION EVER. It’s ridiculous. I know this.

For example: I was asked to go out on a date.

My head was telling me, “Nah, don’t bother. You guys aren’t going to click because of _____ and _____. Plus, what if you run out of things to talk about? Awkward.”

But it took me only a few quick moments to realize that I was going against my own plan; therefore, I accepted the invite.

I said yes and you know what, we’re going out later this week and it might be awkward. We might run out of things to talk about. I might end up really disliking this guy but you know what? I’d never know if I said no right away.

For me, this idea of saying yes is more than just getting outside of my comfort zone. It’s about allowing myself to experience new things and meet new people. When you immediately shut down an idea or refuse to give someone a chance, you’re not hurting anybody but yourself.

It’s true – When you deny yourself the chance to go outside of your comfort zone, you’re denying yourself the possibility of something amazing.

As humans, we’re not meant to live a boring and stable life. I’m reminded of that cliche saying, “If your life doesn’t have ups or downs, you’re dead” and it’s true. You can’t experience incredible if you settle for safe and mediocre.

Get out of your own way and allow yourself to do something new ❤

Your Emotions are Valid

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This topic is kind of a difficult one for me to write about; however, I firmly believe it’s an important one to discuss: The validity of your emotions.

Now, this topic is difficult because I’d be blatantly lying to you if I said that I wasn’t a “proud” person. I don’t want anybody to think that I’m weak or I’m not in control of my own emotions. I want others to think that I have it all together even when life gets hard and I feel as if everything is falling apart.

This pride was tested earlier when I had a bit of a breakdown. Yes, I just admitted it to the world… I had a breakdown and believe me, it definitely wasn’t a pretty one. It was one of those ugly crying, drippy/snotty nosed, squeaky voiced breakdowns.

So, what did I do? Well, I did what any girl should do – I called my best friend.

As I was explaining to her why I was upset and more importantly, why I felt like I shouldn’t be upset because of x,y, and z – She cut me off.

She said, “Stop right there. You’re allowed to be upset because what happened is upsetting. You’re allowed to be mad because any person in your shoes would be mad. You’re allowed to feel everything that your feeling. Let yourself feel these things, it’s healthy for you heart and mind.”

This may seem simple idea but honestly, it’s something that caught me off-guard.

A few hours later (with a clearer mind) I thought about this… She was absolutely right – Of course, I was allowed to be upset and mad and angry and furious and everything else.

I just didn’t let myself feel these things because to me, these emotions made me seem weak.

Looking back, I realized that I kept giving reasons as to why I shouldn’t be upset:
– That things will work themselves out and life will go on
– People are having worse days than this. I should just suck it up and realize that my day isn’t so bad in the grand scheme of things.
– I should be over this by now. I shouldn’t still be hurt.

It was as if I didn’t have a RIGHT to feel everything I was feeling but guess what, I did have a right and so do you.

We don’t always have to put on a happy face if we’re not happy. We don’t always have to pretend as if things are okay when they’re not. Feeling sad, angry, or any other emotion is just as important as feeling a positive emotion.

Life isn’t always happy and sometimes, life is really hard. Sometimes we’ll get treated unfairly by those we trusted most. Sometimes we’ll have our heart broken by someone that we thought we’d be with forever. Sometimes we’ll get passed up for that promotion or sometimes we won’t get an invite to that party. Sometimes ___________ happens. Sometimes things just downright suck but you know what? It’s okay to recognize that and it’s okay to feel hurt, upset, disappointed – Even if you know that life goes on, there will be more promotions, etc.

In addition, you know what else is important? The fact that we shouldn’t put deadlines on how long we’re SUPPOSED to feel a certain way. Sometimes certain feelings can take a while to get out of our system but if we ignore them or refuse to feel them, they’ll keep growing and festering silently.

Goodness, I’m 99.9% sure that’s why I had my snotty nosed breakdown. I kept telling myself that everything was fine and that I shouldn’t still be upset. I kept trying to put these feelings I was having on the back burner but ignoring them didn’t do me any good when they came bubbling back up.

If you’re angry, then be angry. If you’re sad, then be sad. If you’re hurt, then be hurt.

It’s healthy for you to cope with the good and the bad in life. You need to let yourself work through whatever you’re feeling (in a healthy way, of course) and then once you’re ready, move the heck on. After a while, the strength of these feelings will disappear and by letting yourself feel and cope, you’ll truly be able to move forward.

Fact: Our emotions are valid and they’re 110% legit, regardless of what they are and why we’re feeling them. We don’t need to make excuses or feel bad about it. We don’t need to put a timeline and say, “I’ll be over this in a week” or even worse, “I can’t deal with this. I’m just going to pretend like it didn’t happen.”

Let yourself be human, take time to deal with whatever situation is happening in your life, and then put it behind you darling because there are great things ahead ❤

 

Live Inspired Hiatus

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It has been months (seriously… MONTHS) since I’ve updated the Live Inspired blog. For a while, I wasn’t sure what to say but more recently, it has been more of… how do I say this? How do I explain that my absence online isn’t because I don’t care about this site/my fans but rather, I have to step back, take a deep breath, and focus on other things?

Well… Here we go: There has been SO much going on in my life and as much as I hated to admit it, Live Inspired was put on the back burner.

In a nutshell:
– I made the decision that it was time to quit my job
– I was interviewing for other positions across the state
– I went to North Carolina for a long weekend to consult a band about social media
– I snagged my dream job in Detroit (about 2 1/2 hours from where I was living)
– I packed up and moved away from friends, my boyfriend, and comfort in Grand Rapids
– My grandfather passed away which was hard on all of us
– annnd I just completed my first week at a big ad agency
(complete with a 6am wake up call and an hour+ commute each way)

Whew!

Now that things have kind of calmed down with my move across state and starting my new position, I’ve been able to breathe a little easier. I’m hoping to not only find my groove in this new chapter of life but also to find my groove when it comes to updating/writing/posting on this blog and the Live Inspired Facebook page.

Because I’m not working from home anymore, unfortunately I’m not going to be able to update it as much as I was; however, I hope to at least post 1 or 2 things a day during the week day. In addition, I hope to update this blog during the weekends.

Even though things might be a little quieter for a minute here, I hope that you continue to make a difference and lead a positive life.

Okay, what am I saying? Of course you will... You don’t need me to remind you of how wonderful life is 😉

With this being said, I love you all and my absence was not because I was losing sight of Live Inspired. I just needed a few weeks to organize my life and get back to a less stressful place 😉

Do Something Today for Your Future

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I may be writing this post for you just as much as I’m writing it for myself.

I need to kick myself in the pants because right now, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not really living the life I want to end up living. I’m caught in the routine of day in and day out and it’s silly… Why should my life be average and ultimately routine?

Wake up, make coffee, sit down at my desk, work (truth bomb: I even perform my daily work tasks in the same order every day), make dinner, hang out with the boyfriend, then I go to bed.  Wake up, repeat order.

Today, I decided to walk to the post office and I’m not sure if it’s the pot of coffee I drank or just being in the sunshine but whatever it was, it got me thinking…

If we keep following these routines every day, when do we get to start living the life we ultimately want?

What am I doing TODAY to get me closer to my dream life?

It’s time to hit you with a cliché attack:

–       Nobody wants to live a mediocre life but many settle for it.

–       If you never try, you’ll never know.

–       A year from now, you’ll wish you started today

–       You have exactly ONE LIFE in which to do everything you’ll ever do. Act accordingly.

That last quote especially gets me… We have ONE life and if we’re lucky, we’ll live a long one filled with many, many years but it’s not about quantity – It’s about quality.

I have one life for accomplishing SO many things – Publishing my novel, becoming an expert in my field of marketing, volunteering, opening up a quaint little coffee shop, move and travel as much as possible, etc. – live, love, and act like a fool 😉

I personally think I hold myself back because of fear and the unknown. I don’t like screwing up, I don’t like being wrong, and I don’t like making the wrong choice. But really, I can’t be alone in thinking this way.

This fear is holding me back and I’m just going to come out and say it… it might just be holding you back as well.

If you’re not afraid of your dreams then are they REALLY worth it?

Let’s make a pact today to set some goals and even more, let’s both chart out some steps that will help us get there. I’m a big believer in writing out and outlining my plans… Just ask any of my coworkers. You don’t even want to see the Google docs I use when prepping for a new client project 😉

I’ll get started:

Publishing my novel

–       Do initial read through and make notes

–       Make edits based off of notes

–       Let it sit for a few weeks

–       Read again

–       Hire an editor

–       Hire a graphic designer to create the cover

–       Change copy to fit a certain format (I’ll need to look more into this)

–       Submit to Amazon.com or send copies to publishers (Not sure what I want to do yet)

When you see it all laid out in front of you, somehow it makes your tasks seem a bit less daunting and confusing. I can do this if I take it one step at a time and if I know where to go next.

You can too.

Stop being average. Stop being boring. Stop following some mindless routine. Stop just existing and start living the life you dream of.  Believe me – You CAN do this!

You don’t have an infinite amount of time so why wait until tomorrow or a week from now to start working towards the things you really want in life?

Start now and break free of a thoughtless routine.

Life is too short and your dreams are too priceless. 

Best and Worst Advice Ever Given

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Yesterday, I was working on a new Live Inspired project (I know, I know… I just can’t sit still) and I was thinking about some of the worst advice I have ever been given.

When loved ones offer some unsolicited advice, I’m going to guess that 99.9% of the time they mean well. They REALLY do but sometimes… Yikes… Sometimes, their advice is just plain awful.

After graduating college and while on the job hunt, an older friend of mine told me that I should just find a well paying job. He said, “Jobs aren’t meant to be fun, jobs are meant to pay the bills. It’s just nice if you can tolerate what you do.”

At the time, I was having an extremely hard time finding something in my field and I seriously contemplated this idea. I thought, well… maybe he’s right. Maybe I just need to  work at a place I probably won’t like but if there’s job security in the position and if it pays well…

I mean, a job is a job… right?

I toyed around with this idea for a while and I even applied for a few jobs that weren’t in my field but would give me a decent paycheck.

But one day, I just stopped applying to these jobs. I thought “Why am I trying to do something I’m 86.3% sure I’ll hate?”

Why would I risk my happiness just for a paycheck?

Like I mentioned in “Success,” I understand completely why you need to do this if you have a family or others to support financially but I didn’t. It was just me and I knew that I would do what I had to do to pay my bills.

So, I waited it out a little bit and I worked part time retail to pay the bills. I didn’t settle for some career that I would’ve disliked because for me, it wasn’t worth it. I waited, I got my feet wet in the field in my free time and it paid off. I ended up finding a job that I love… It took a while but I didn’t give up.

Sometimes, you just have to take little steps to get to where you want to be. Sure, I would’ve loved to have graduated and found a well paying career in my field a week later but it didn’t work out that way.

I knew where I wanted to be and I didn’t give up on that. It didn’t happen right away and so, I took little steps (working part time, doing free social media work, etc.) until I found what worked for ME and what would get ME to where I wanted to end up.

Since this got me thinking, I decided to ask a few of my friends about the worst advice they’ve ever been given that actually ended up being good advice…

“My parents told me to stay in my degree because I could get a job, not because I actually liked my degree. My grades suffered and I struggled just to get by my last 2 years in college because I was in a degree that was way too hard for me.

The bad advice worked out because I pushed myself and found what I was capable of. In the end, I actually got a really great job and I like what I’m doing (for the most part)… Plus, I know now that I’m capable of doing whatever I put my mind to ” – Corina L

 

“The worst advice I was ever given actually turned out to be the best …I just didn’t realize it at the time… young, naive… the usual. I was in a terrible relationship with a guy that I THOUGHT I loved at the time. My Dad’s friend Keith told me, “Rachel, what are you doing? You are such a smart girl, don’t you realize that by being with this person you could be missing the opportunity to be with your soulmate? You need to dump this guy and free yourself to be with the one for you.”

At the time, I thought my soulmate and one true love was the guy I was with… but for some reason his words haunted me. Maybe he was right? Well, fast forward about 6 months later and my TRUE soulmate (and now husband) fell right onto my lap when I wasn’t expecting him to. Looking back, I wished I would have taken Keith’s advice sooner and gotten rid of that other guy sooner!” – Rachel E.

 

Turns out, some of the worst advice we’ve been given can help us open our eyes. Whether that advice pushes us to do more, to get rid of the bad people in our lives, to just moving forward towards our dreams, or whatever.

Take that advice and make it work for YOU 🙂