Tuesday, January 19, 2016

3 Steps To Practicing Radical Self-Care

Tough to give what you don't have, practice radical self-care

Radical self-care is critical and should be at the top of your to-do list every day.

What is radical self-care? My definition is the unshakable, nonnegotiable regular care of oneself. This looks different from person to person but ultimately is rooted the belief that in order to love and care for others in our lives, we must, first, love and care for ourselves. Radically.

I already know there are many reading this whose eyes have rolled to the back of their heads and are barely hanging into this third paragraph, but stay with me. Yes, you've heard this before. No, it's not a joke. Many of you already know this but have struggled to implement any form of regular self-care in your life. You cringe in guilt at the very thought or you throw your hands up not believing you can ever find the time to do anything for just you. You can begin a journey to radical self care and there are three critical things you must do to initiate and create space in your life for radical self-care.

Start Small

In order to grow to radical self-care as I defined, you have do baby steps self-care first. It is indeed impossible to dive into "radical anything"  if you don't have the basics first. Add something that you alone enjoy to your calendar each week. It can be a phone date with a friend. Coffee at your favorite cafe alone. 20 minutes of reading time. We all get 10,080 minutes in every week we live, you can carve out 30 of those to yourself starting right away. And don't forget to add it to your calendar and you get bonus points for putting it on a shared calendar. One of the most important ways to keep the commitment is to write it down and make others in your life see it's importance.

Build On Your Start

Once you've gone 6 straight weeks of a small commitment, you must up the stakes in some way. Again, this is entirely up to you but it must a) be more than your initial step at self-care and b) be shared with an accountability partner.  Now, pick your partner wisely. Don't call your flaky sister or flimsy friend who won't remind you or will indulge your excuses for missing your self-care. You need to call the person you don't want to tell because that's precisely who you need to push you. Remember, we all get 365 days in a year, so taking one full day or more per month is not unreasonable. And especially if you are building that day or two onto 30 minutes of weekly self-care. It will not feel like a big leap nor will you feel any guilt. In order to keep the momentum, you have to build on the initial self-care routine which will set you up for what's next.

Go Big

Identify something big you want to do for yourself and do it. This could be an overnight stay alone in a hotel.  Or this could be a weekend trip with your girlfriends or a guys weekend in Atlantic City but it must be big and follow your building stage.  Once you do this once, it will get easier and you will get really good at finding ways to up your self-care game in between big self-care events.  The biggest bonus of going big, is when life throws you big curves, you can combat it with radical rest and respite. Without question, my habitual radical self-care has made my latest valley not seem so deep. I was also able to activate courage to raise my self-care game to the need in my life and I'll be enjoying a weekend away, just me, very soon to fuel me through a tough season.

Taking care of yourself well is not optional, it's imperative.

What will you do today to start your journey to radical self-care?

Monday, January 11, 2016

When's The Last Time You Bet On You?

All in - when was the last time you were "all in" for yourself

I'm heading to Las Vegas in a few weeks for a trip that is very much part of my 2016 Recalibrate agenda. The process of exploring the opportunity, weighing my options and finally making my move was not very different than previous bets I'd placed on myself but this time the stakes were higher and it felt different.

When was the last time you bet on yourself? You know, all in, all or nothing -  100% betting on you.

I've come to realize that for most people it is not very often at all and I want to change that. Here are three reasons to go all out and bet on you in 2016.

You Are Worthy

I have no idea what's brewing in your mind. A relationship change? A business idea? A promotion at your job? A move across country or the world? Whatever it is, I want to tell you are worthy of that "thing" you want. You are deserving of the love you desire. Your idea needs air. Your company needs your perspective. You should see that place you've dreamed about. Too many times we talk ourselves out of our true desires because we don't feel we are capable, deserving or worthy of such a big change. Some of us can barely form our lips to say it for fear of what others may say in response further cementing our sense of inadequacy about our desires. Know that the nagging in your mind and spirit is your indication that this is important and that you should pay attention. Give yourself permission to imagine yourself in your dream, whatever it is.

People Want To Help You

This is a tough one to digest for all types. Think about it. If you are a natural collaborator - most likely you are always willing to help and contribute to the ideas of others. And if you are a disruptor, like me, you often go alone and the idea of others helping makes you laugh. When you bet on yourself and talk about your dream, you ignite passion and ideas in others, ideas to help you. This also applies for tough challenges you have to face; when you allow others to share the burden, it really is lighter. Sharing my journey of how depression wrecked my marriage and the consequences of that wreckage has been an amazing experience. From the outpouring of offers of help and encouragement to the cries of camaraderie of others suffering now, I don't regret sharing my pain. We must reach out and invite others into our dreams and our journey.

Snowball Effect

We all know what happens to a snow ball as it rolls down a hill. It gains both material and momentum.  The same occurs when you bet on yourself. Too scared to bet on yourself for that Big Hairy Audacious Goal? Then bet on yourself small today. On anything. Trust you gut. Give yourself the "ok" on little things. As I look back on when I started betting on myself, it was a long time ago. Since I was a teenager, I have always stepped out and bet on me. Some times it worked out and every time I learned. Lately, in the last 8 years, as my kids grew and needed me in different ways, I returned some focus to me, my career and my deepest desires to lead. Each of those small bets led me to bigger bets and in a few years quite possibly the biggest career bet I've ever made. But it is not an isolated thing. I've now been betting on me -both personally and professionally consistently. And the snow ball effect is real. Stay tuned if you don't believe me.

So I ask again, when was the last time you bet on you? When did you last push through your fear and go after something or someone you wanted? If it was longer than yesterday,  you have some work to do.


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Time To Recalibrate

Every year since I started Relationships Matter Now, I've picked a theme to focus myself and the business around. Originally, it was simply an exercise in gratitude to the universe for allowing me the opportunity to work for myself. Then, each year after 2012, I have carefully crafted my theme based on both happenings and desires in my work and personal life.

This year is no different.

Perhaps for the first time since I started the themes, my personal life is impacting the theme way more than my professional life. 2016 will certainly usher in a completely different personal life for me. While business has been phenomenal, my marriage has not faired as well and will be coming to an end. If you know me at all, you know how huge a shift for me this will be. It will require a complete rebranding and recalibration of my very being.

Parallel to that, I stepped out of public office in July 2015. The very inspiration for my business was my elected office role in Lake in the Hills, Il. My love and desire to serve the public has not diminished but I've had to recalibrate how I do that. Former IL Governor Pat Quinn appointed me to a statewide business council and I was recently tapped by IL Comptroller Leslie Munger to serve in another capacity on a statewide advisory board. Again, these opportunities are pushing me to recalibrate my public service.

My motherhood is changing. Clearly, motherhood shifts and moves as your children grow but nothing prepares you to face motherhood alone when you've banked on and worked hard on a marriage partnership to bring the kids to "completion." With a high school freshman and fifth grader and a pending separation, my motherhood will need recalibration.

My business is adding an employee. Until now, we've grown only with project based contractors. 2016 sees me making the commitment to a dedicated team member and it's freaking me out to have "people" overhead expenses. I need to quickly recalibrate my thoughts around this or I'm gonna waste all the productivity gains this new addition will afford me and the business.

Dictionary defines calibrate, the root word of recalibrate as  - to plan or devise (something) carefully so as to have a precise use, application, appeal, etc.

Recalibrating my womanhood,  in light of moving from wife back to single woman.
Recalibrating my public service.
Recalibrating my motherhood
Recalibrating my business.

I am excited for 2016.