en Risk, Reward and Taking the First Step Toward Your Goals <div class="field field-type-text field-field-question"> <div class="field-label">Question:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter-->If I take a chance to chase a dream it won't affect just me. How can I take the plunge in a smart way? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-short-answer"> <div class="field-label">Short Answer:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Take <em>calculated risks</em>. Hopefully taking the first step out of your cocoon will lead you toward your dreams. Read my story to learn how I overcame my fears and found exactly what I was looking for.</p> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>I remember when my husband jumped out of a plane. He had set a clear goal of making it to the ground alive and given that he was going to hurl himself through the sky to get there, I didn’t think his goal too lofty. When he landed, he claimed to have loved the adventure and said that seeing the earth while falling through its atmosphere made him reach a level of consciousness he had never before attained.</p> <p>I was three months pregnant with our first child and I thought he had lost his mind; thank goodness he had enough sense to have a parachute <i>and</i> an instructor strapped to his back. Honestly, I probably would have jumped right after him if it had been a year earlier, but there was something about the life-changing event called, “impending motherhood” that had me sure my risk-taking days were over. I’m happy to tell you I was wrong about that.</p> <p><center><img src="" /></center> </p><p>It took me a few married-with-children years to feel comfortable sticking my neck out though. Maybe it was because we had two premature babies and life itself had become a perilous journey. I wasn’t wrapped up in making sure my kids would grow to be happy, healthy and well-adjusted, but that they would make it to the next day, or the next hour. Sometimes with my son, I had to focus on getting him to the next minute; rare heart defects will do that to you.</p> <p>Once we started a family I was no longer the only person in the equation and having two sick kids who depended on my every move turned me into someone who never took chances. Seriously, I wouldn’t even change my hair color.</p> <p>But, the thing about not taking chances means that you miss out on a lot. You can’t gain life experiences by staying inside your comfort zone, and I spent most of my 30s trying to create a cocoon so cozy that it might as well have been a pair of footie pajamas.</p> <p>A couple of years ago I shook off those PJs when I took a leap from a job as a school cook to a self-taught job in social media. I let go of everything to which I had held tight, took leave of familiarity and started a whole new career. It was scary, and uncertain, and also fantastic, invigorating and one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done. I would still be serving tater tots if I hadn’t put myself out there via Twitter, willing to be disappointed by the reaction my forwardness might generate.</p> <p>I’m not advising willy-nilly. I’m saying that it’s possible to make calculated advances to meet your goals. Sure, that doesn’t sound like much of a gamble, but you can’t move forward without first taking a step. For a lot of people, including me and my husband, that first one was a doozy!</p> <p>Not every chance you take will pay off, but when you let yourself be vulnerable and open to change, it’s possible that you might find exactly what you were looking for, even if you didn’t realize you were searching.</p> <p>Have you ever challenged yourself to take a risk? How did you take the first step?</p> <p><em>Diane Lang is the Social Media Manager for BlogHer, the largest community of women who blog with 43 million unique visitors per month (Nielsen Site Census, July 2012) where she compiles metrics, dabbles in public relations, runs a very active and influential Twitter stream and does not serve tater tots. She has been posting frequently, honestly and, occasionally, humorously at her personal blog: <a href="">Momo Fali</a> since 2007.</em></p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Getting Happy Thu, 30 Aug 2012 16:00:20 +0000 Diane Lang 811112 at Don't Give Up On Your Goals <div class="field field-type-text field-field-question"> <div class="field-label">Question:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter-->I want to take my writing to the next level and write a book. But I'm terrified. Do you have any advice? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-short-answer"> <div class="field-label">Short Answer:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter-->There comes a time in every writer's life when she needs to take stock. I'm here to tell you this: Your friends and family will still love you even if you never publish. There is no one in this world who will care whether or not you publish but you. </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Sound shocking?</p> <p>It's true.Your friends and family are for sure in your corner. They want you to succeed. They'll cheer you on, attend your readings, buy your books, whatever it takes. But no one -- <i>no one</i> will care whether or not you publish as much as you do. Which is why this whole publishing thing has to be a labor of love -- for YOU.</p> <p><center><img src="" /> <p>Image Credit: <a href="">kennymatic</a> via Flickr</p> <p></p></center> </p><p>It was sort of a shocking realization to me when weeks and months passed while I waited for a response from potential literary agents or small presses or Big Six editors that no one around me seemed to notice my angst. While I woke up every day wondering <i>is today the day that I get the book deal?</i> my loved ones prattled on about what to make for dinner or when we should change the oil in the car. When I began the whole trying-to-publish journey in 2006, this lack of concern for my placement in the Library of Congress was very disconcerting. Why were they not as obsessed as I was? These days, with my novel in the hands of a few editors and an agent actually answering my emails, I often forget to tell my husband when an editor gives me feedback. It's not because it's not as exciting and nerve-wracking and heart-shattering as it was six years ago. It's that after my first book came out, I fully realized this publishing journey was my thing and my thing only. The people who love me don't care if I publish. And not in a bad way -- in a good way. They won't love me less if I don't.</p> <p><b>It made me want to publish more.</b></p> <p>There are few things in life that you do entirely for yourself. Once you fully understand that no one -- NO ONE -- cares as much as you do about publishing, you can begin to take ownership of your writing life. After all, you don't owe anything to anyone. Maybe you publish, maybe you don't, but it's not like someone's going to be disappointed in you if you don't. It was only after I sat on my back deck and got over the hurt that my loved ones really went on with their days without giving one thought to whether or not my book was coming out that I learned to own my own work. I'm not saying I never get frustrated or I never wish things would move faster or I never wish it were just a little bit easier ... but I know these challenges are <i>my</i> challenges, and I can take them at the speed at which I am comfortable. This is my life, my publishing career, my timeline. There is no *should* here.</p> <p>I want to get my words out into the world, and I will. But when I do, I'll be the one who cares the most.</p> <p>How do you motivate yourself to keep pushing towards achieving your goals?</p> <p><em>Author Rita Arens blogs at <a href="">Surrender, Dorothy</a></em></p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Getting Happy Thu, 30 Aug 2012 15:00:35 +0000 Rita Arens 811110 at 3 Steps to Bliss! <div class="field field-type-text field-field-question"> <div class="field-label">Question:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter-->I have been practicing the happiness exercises you've shared over the past year, Dr. Aymee. How can I take my happiness practice to the next level? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-short-answer"> <div class="field-label">Short Answer:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter-->I have three additional exercises that will help you achieve what I call advanced happiness and experience feelings of bliss and joy! </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>We have come a long way in our time together as we have focused on being in control of your own happiness, learned methods to increase your happiness, learned tools to cope with everyday life challenges and even methods to obtain inner contentment and peace. We have worked up to what I would call advanced happiness. Bliss and Joy.</p> <p> Before being able to cultivate the feelings of bliss and joy, you first have to take control of your own happiness, experience frequent positive mood, cultivate resiliency in challenging situations, and focused on your inner peace. Doing this work will help you experience the best of what happiness has to offer us!</p> <p>Imagine skipping through a field of sunflowers with smiley face balloons in your hand feeling no care in the world. </p> <p> I am going to give you a few exercises that will help you achieve this feeling wherever you are and whomever you are with. These exercises will show you how you can experience a variety of blissful feelings from effervescent joy, light bliss and peaceful divine bliss. </p> <p> To experience effervescent bliss, we are going to inject your upward spiral* with a five happy jumps!</p> <p> These ‘I am happy jumps’ are the quickest and easiest way to bliss!</p> <p> Let’s do some right now to get started, put one hand in the air, jump up and say “I am happy!” </p> <p> I am happy! I am happy! I am happy! I am happy! I am happy!</p> <p> YES! Effervescent Bliss!</p> <p>That ZESTFUL sensation in your body is what I am talking about! Hopefully you were able to achieve states of effervescent bliss without even having to think yourself there! <br /> You can do these any time anywhere.</p> <p> To experience light bliss, replace fear with faith. Look the unknown right in the face and project a positive future by choosing faith over fear. Faith meaning Trust*. Trust that if you put out positive you will get back positive. Plus you can create realistic optimism when you identify a realistic goal, create an achievable plan and believe in yourself to achieve the plan. </p> <p><center><img src="" /></center> </p><p> Right now picture the traffic you will have to deal with after work.... You imagine: it's going to be bad....</p> <p> Now choose faith.</p> <p> Picture the traffic moving easily and quickly and getting home before your normal time. Trust you will find a new route.</p> <p> Which one felt better?</p> <p> Faith, of course.</p> <p> This is LIGHT bliss.</p> <p> This way, you build trust in yourself by choosing faith over fear.</p> <p> Beyond effervescent bliss and light bliss is peaceful divine bliss.</p> <p> The next method for achieving a state of peaceful divine bliss is through connecting with the divine through emptiness. This is a spiritual concept anyone of any religion can adopt.</p> <p> Do this meditation; it will just take a few moments of your time.</p> <p>Close your eyes, take a deep breath, sit comfortably. Take another deep breath and relax. Go ahead and see your thoughts, honor them, see them dissipate and let them go. Feel your emotions honor them, see them dissipate and let them go. Feel your physical sensations, honor them, see them dissipate and let them go. Again, see your thoughts, dissipate and let them go, see your emotions dissipate and let them go, feel your physical sensations and let them go. Zero thoughts, zero emotions, zero physical sensations. Go through this process until you feel emptiness. When you notice you are feeling this emptiness, put the corners of your mouth toward your cheekbones. Hold that position for as long as you like.</p> <p>There you have it peaceful divine bliss. You took away your human experience of thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations so you were able to reach a peaceful feeling and divine connection. YES!</p> <p>You can master your own happiness through the tools I have outlined for you, aiming for empowerment, positive mood, resiliency, contentment and bliss.</p> <p>Thank you for reading my blogs and I trust you have had more happiness added to your life because of it and THAT makes ME happy!!!</p> <p>Please share your best tips for achieving Bliss and Joy in your life.</p> <p><i>Dr. Aymee Coget, Sustainable Happiness Expert and founder of The Happiness Makeover™ Training Program, offers services and products on how to become happier at her website <a href="" class="external-link"></a>. Ask questions and <a href="" target="_blank" class="external-link external-link">visit her on Facebook</a> or <a href="" target="_blank" class="external-link external-link">Twitter (@draymee)</a>, or on her blog <a href="" class="external-link"></a>.</i></p> <p><i><em>*Please visit our <a href="">Life Well Lived Glossary</a> for more information about terms used in this post.</em></i></p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Getting Happy Wed, 29 Aug 2012 06:52:15 +0000 Dr. Aymee 811079 at Five Things Not to Do When You're Making a Really Big Change <div class="field field-type-text field-field-question"> <div class="field-label">Question:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter-->I'm planning to make a major change in my life but I'm afraid I'm going to make mistakes that will leave me unhappy. How can I increase my chances of getting it right and feel more secure about my fresh start? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-short-answer"> <div class="field-label">Short Answer:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter-->Several months into my life change I realize there are some things I wish I had seen before I made my leap. Read on for five suggestions for what not to do and lessons from what I got right. </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>I left my job as a community college counselor in May of this year. I resigned on Leap Day, following a difficult series of events in my life which left me feeling that this was the sanest, best option. </p> <p>I'd returned to work three years prior after a leave of absence to finish a journalism master's and, with every semester, things got worse. My environment and I were more at odds every day. The bad looked worse and the good was mostly invisible. I was using my paycheck to fund my writing and photography efforts, a side career to which I couldn't devote the appropriate time and focus because, besides the minimum 40-hour weekly commitment to my job? There was the extra chunk of hours devoted to recovering from, complaining about, and psyching myself up to go back to it every Monday. My health started to suffer, and so did my relationships. </p> <p>Out out, damned job. Out. In in with this new life, in the new media world that I wanted to go for like I never had before. But how? I just didn't know. It seemed impossible and also stupid to walk away from the stability, but when I made my list of pros and cons, that was the only pro. </p> <p>It turns out that things have to get pretty bad for me to make the jump, and in February, that is what they got. So I quit, after weeks of agonizing and cashing in listening favors with the people who love me the most that I’ll be paying off until I die. </p> <p>It is now the start of the first shiny new academic year in a very long time in which I will be neither a student nor a teacher. I have had three months to let the first layer of dust settle on my decision, and I honestly don't know a whole lot more than when I started. But what I can share are a few hints from the very early exits on this road of career change, early, anecdotal knowledge that I've gained mostly by screwing up royally.</p> <p>I promise you that it’s more helpful than it sounds. Call it counterintuition, or a cautionary tale: these are absolutely the things I know now that I should have done that I didn't, that would have set me up for more success in even the short run of a brand new start.</p> <p><center><img src="" alt="Laurie White taking photographs" height="287" width="486" /> <p>Image Credit:By <a href="">GoonSquadSarah</a> via Flickr (used with permission)</p> <p></p></center> </p><p>1. <b>Do not wait until things totally fall apart to make a decision about major life change.</b></p> <p>It took me way too long to do what I did, and by the time I did it, I was fried. You? Are probably smarter. I mean it. I’m smart, too, and also fairly intuitive, but I often like to ignore my brain and my gut. I could yell about not seeing a burning bush that told me what to do, but let's face it: there are tiny shrubs on fire at our feet that we step around in our most challenging situations, so we can keep plugging away on our underwhelming path just one more day.</p> <p>Dear, sweet little creatures of habit, aren't we? </p> <p>When you start to feel rumbles of discontent? Listen to them. You know you. Sow your seeds. Do your research. Go to therapy. Take some leave. Learn to trust yourself. Act. Do what you can with the resources you have. </p> <p>My job was my safety net in my mind even more strongly than it was in reality, even though I knew better. A trusted colleague said to me when I returned from my graduate program that he had really hoped I'd find a way to get out and stay out. Hello? I should have heeded that message, because it turns out the people around me were a lot more clear on what needed to happen then I was. Pay attention. Leaves and twigs are on fire all over the place, and it's a lot easier to deal with them before things get really bad. </p> <p>2. <b>Educate yourself about your worst fears before you leap, especially if it involves your rent and food</b>. I don't know what brings you the most anxiety, but for me it's money. It's a sticky subject that makes me really nervous and talk faster than normal and avert my eyes. Unfortunately it's also rather important and necessary to live. It has come to my attention, in fact, that most establishments will not accept bartering in the form of Yelp reviews, retweets, or beads, to name a few things that I think are perfectly valuable and good.</p> <p>I made my leap with not nearly the information I needed about my financial situation -- budget, what? Taxes, huh? -- which is partially to blame on my own anxieties, and the final gravity of the situation that I described in #1. I couldn't plan adequately because I was essentially in crisis when the time came to get out or…get out, and I can talk myself into anything when my goal is avoiding immediate pain.</p> <p>There are things I could have been doing for the past few years to set myself up for better results, but I was afraid of the topic and embarrassed by my situation, so I dragged my feet. This is as much of a drag to research and put into motion as it sounds like. It is confusing and there are lots of people on the other side of many complicated telephone menus who may not make it much easier. I should have done it anyway. I'm doing it now, but it's a lot more difficult. Do it. </p> <p>3. <b>When you quit, quit</b>. <b>Really. Just stop</b>. I was really enthusiastic about all that lay on the other side of quitting my job, until the first day I didn't have to go to work. I slept late for a few days, and woke up to a raging case of existential panic.</p> <p>I had nowhere to go. I had all of this time to fill. What in the world was I thinking? </p> <p>No one tells you the big secret: that you can miss the structure of something, along with its old expectations and anesthetizing comforts, even if you don't miss the contents <b>at all</b>. We are creatures of habit and assumed identities, for real. If not a dissatisfied teacher with a five-minute commute, what was I? I had no idea. So instead of doing what I said I was going to do -- driving south to my happy place on a beach with a book for a week, specifically, to mark the time and clear my head -- I decided that I needed to get busy, right away. </p> <p>So I took on task after task with no central theme, things I thought I ought to do either because they had financial or networking benefits, or because they sounded fun. It wasn't terrible. Some of the projects went really well, and some of them went...not so well. (It happens.)</p> <p>There is nothing wrong with trying new things, or with working, obviously. It was simply too much too soon, for me. When I woke up to this a few weeks ago, I realized that I'd burned my way through the summer, through all of the time since my last day, in fact, without a true period of reflection on the 11 years in my job, then focused thinking and active planning of what needed to happen next. I was repeating years-old patterns, already, with a particular nod to self-sabotage that made me very unhappy to recognize.</p> <p>So I slowed down. I'm getting serious about the infrastructure. I'm revisiting my initial plans and what excited me about this in the first place. It's more difficult, but it's less panic-inducing, for sure. </p> <p><b>4. If you want things to change, you have to do things differently</b>. I said I was busy, but mostly in familiar territory. I generally surf the same websites, obsess over the same grocery lists, and wonder about similar things in the same time frame every day. Quitting my job didn't guarantee new opportunities were going to come my way. I know that I need to use my newfound control over my time to cultivate new connections and build new habits.</p> <p> I cannot sit in the same spot and expect change to come to me, which doesn't mean that I want to move. Comfort is...comforting, but it doesn't serve growth or change. It turns out that the idea that we <a href="" target="_blank">only use ten percent of our brains may not be so true</a>, but I need to use my hundred percent just a little bit differently than I have since May. Shaking it up to a different tempo is turning out to be crucial, so I'm trying to reach out to people in different industries and different places, with new ideas and offers. So far, so good. I'm still working on this one. Change is hard! (But necessary. Do something new today. I will if you do.)</p> <p>5. <b>Seriously? Give yourself a break.</b> Kicking yourself around for doing any of the dumb things I just told you I did will not serve you. It hasn’t served me, which is why I’m going to stop right now. No one embarks upon major, voluntary life change without a certain measure of discomfort, because it is hard. Objects in mirrors are indeed larger than they appear, but they don't have to loom over your shoulder and freak you out, either. Remind yourself of the good stuff and what you do right, too. It helps. </p> <p><b><i>So what have I done right? </i></b></p> <p>I have gotten out of the house every day, pretty much. I have admitted when I've been wrong, and immediately tried to correct my course. I've tried several new things, already, with varying results. I have worked really hard. I've surrounded myself with positive risk takers, people who, even though they may have thought I was crazy to do what I've done, have been willing to hang out with me and talk me through some of the more difficult parts of what is really just the beginning. I am learning to ask for help, because I need it.</p> <p>We all make mistakes and we all do astoundingly correct things, too. Do -- or don't do, I love free will! -- these things I’ve suggested in good health, and let me know how it works out.</p> <p>Just know that if you're staring into the fluorescent light of a really tough decision related to changing your work and your life? I get it. Don't wait. Plan. Make space for your brain to work better, change for good, and, yes -- try, try again. </p> <p><i>What fresh start do you want to make? What do you need to do the most to make sure it's successful?</i></p> <p><i>Laurie White is a writer, editor, and photographer -- and probably also always a teacher, like it or not. Find her online at <a href="">LaurieWrites</a>, and on Twitter @lauriewrites.</i></p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Getting Happy Tue, 28 Aug 2012 15:05:59 +0000 lauriewrites 810630 at Face Your Fears, Dare Yourself to Take a Risk and Change Your Life <div class="field field-type-text field-field-question"> <div class="field-label">Question:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter-->My life is pretty good right now. I'm afraid that if I risk changing, I will fail. Why should I give it all up to chase a dream? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-short-answer"> <div class="field-label">Short Answer:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--> I've found that facing my fears and pursuing my dreams has rewarded me in so many ways. Failure would be giving up on my dreams. Continue reading to learn how I changed my life and how much I've gained from the experience. </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>These days, after hours of manual labor book-ended by online work demands, I sleep <i>hard</i>. So deeply embedded am I into the subconscious and my usual rabid, epic dreaming, that when I finally wake to the tune of rumbling tractors, I must remind myself who I am, where I live and what I’m supposed to be doing.</p> <p><i>“Oh, yeah. I’m a single woman, in the year 2012, living in a North Dakota camper, trying to learn what I can about organic farming and the realities of Big Ag. I remember now.” </i></p> <p>It’s like ’50 First Dates’ with myself every dadgum morning.</p> <p>***</p> <p>Like many people these days, I have deep concerns about our nation’s food supply. <i>Unlike</i> many people these days, I have direct access to farmland and the world of agriculture. My mother’s family homesteaded 560 acres in North Dakota, which is far – we’re talking farther-than-Fargo far. Let’s put it this way, from our land, I can jog to Canada and I’m no athlete. Why my Scottish great-grandfather, Adam Paton, did not homestead in Santa Barbara, California in the late 1800s just to make my 2012 life more convenient, I have no idea.</p> <p>The decision to uproot my comfortable urban life, set in a cozy cohousing community in Denver, and try my hand at homesteading on the family land, was not an impulse. In fact, I had been daring myself to do exactly this for a solid 15+ years, but fear always held me back. In my head, it sounded something like this:</p> <p><i>“SHUT UP. You can’t do that. You’re from LA, for god’s sake, you can’t farm! Hell, you’ve only been gardening for six years, which doesn’t really count. Your ability to absorb entertainment trivia will not help you in the fields. Crush this fantasy now before you make a fool of yourself while going bankrupt.” </i></p> <p><center><img src="" /></center> </p><p>But the vision would stubbornly resurface like vainly trying to submerge a bar of soap and I’d be back at the beginning. So here I am, at age 46, growing my own food, fetching my own water, gathering my own firewood, and getting online through my iPhone, just like Laura Ingalls. While I don’t expect my organic crops from my 35’x75’ plot to change the world, I do expect it to change <i>my</i> world, and that’s a start. </p> <p>I’m not really out to prove anything to anyone but myself but I am a woman driven by an insatiable curiosity. And I now have a life in which, I learn something new every day, which makes me feel vital, alive and fresh, like a student. My brain even feels kinda spongy again; must be all that fresh air.</p> <p>Just a week ago, I harvested a field of barley with a giant combine, under the gentle guidance of a local farmer – not an experience I would have had otherwise. And I’m learning more about food production by physically doing than a hundred articles could ever teach me.</p> <p>So, in early June of this year, I took the leap, bought a camper and made the move northward, myriad fears be damned. A very good friend and I planted my entire organic garden in a single day and the humbling lessons began. Without sprays, machines, mules or ongoing help. I had put a stake in the ground of my good intentions, several in fact. For my new experiment, I kept my expectations low (“I’ll be happy if I can just feed myself”) and prepared to fail spectacularly, if need be.</p> <p>From there, it’s been sheer hard work – physically exhausting, emotionally draining, spiritually deepening – like I had never experienced. Growing up in suburban LA in a loving, middle-class home, the hardest physical experience of my youth was cheer practice. As an adult, I’d tracked gorillas in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) for three days, my toughest physical task to date. Until now.</p> <p>One night, in my camper, trying to stay awake long enough to cook dinner, I had a moment of clarity: ‘Hey! I think I may have kicked my own butt. I’m here! I had done what I said I would do! Look at that! Whether or not my crops succeed (fingers crossed) or fail, I have most definitely won, hands down. Oh yeah! My fears could fly right on off, I tell you what.’ I laughed maniacally for a long time that night.</p> <p>And, though I sit here now, typing this while simultaneously praying for rain, I realize that this feeling is really what I was after. Sure, it’s about investigation of food and agriculture, and maybe about a bucket list and avoiding old-age regrets, but it mainly, it was about listening to that inner voice, that naggy one that is seemingly always right, which is why it never shuts up.</p> <p>Of course, I now have other fears:</p> <p>When is it going to rain?<br />Am I going to become another failed farm statistic?<br />Where do I sell all this food?<br />How can I have a normal relationship in this life?<br />Where would I even find a partner?<br />How can I have animals if I’m not living here in the winter?<br />How the hell do you write a book anyway?</p> <p>But, still freshly inspired by own sheer nerve, I will wrestle those bastards to the ground too. Because some clichés are just true – the only true fail is not trying at all.</p> <p>Are you afraid to risk changing your life to pursue your dreams? What lessons have you learned and how has your life been better when you've taken a chance?</p> <p><em>Heather Clisby is a blogger, farmer and fundraiser, with a big toe in corporate communications for global tech firms. You can read more about her strange life at <a href="">Second Chance Ranch</a> and sometimes, <a href="">ClizBiz</a>.</em></p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Work & Life Getting Happy Fri, 24 Aug 2012 23:31:25 +0000 Heather Clisby 808539 at Fashion And Make Up Can Change Your Life. Even if You're Not a Super Model. <div class="field field-type-text field-field-question"> <div class="field-label">Question:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter-->I don't care much about makeup or fashion. I'm comfortable with my style. Why should I care about just so others can judge me? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-short-answer"> <div class="field-label">Short Answer:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter-->Getting in touch with your inner diva through makeup and clothing can provide a surprising confidence boost as I recently found out. Read on to find out how! </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p class="Body">“They want you to be a model?”</p> <p class="Body">Those were the words that echoed through my mind as I read the invitation from Elisa Camahort Page and Kathryn Finney to be in the <a href="">BlogHer '12 Fashion Show</a>. The words weren’t my own. Do you remember the episode of Sex and The City when Carrie ripped the runway (and became fashion roadkill) as a “non-model”? It’s one of my favorites, and sadly, I played the episode over and over again to avoid any unfortunate situations.</p> <p class="Body">As a blogger who has been to many a New York Fashion Week show, I had my assumptions made. We’d be getting our makeup done while hands and feet were getting primed, and hair being tugged and curled. I couldn’t have been more wrong. We would only be fed a capful of water and would ignore each other. That couldn’t have been further from the truth.</p> <p class="Body">Over the last few weeks, I have been obsessing about my body. I’d get out of the shower and think, “wait, can I grab my own back?” and “umm, is that another dimple in my thighs?” I’m no longer the perky 21 year old with the outstanding curves and killer flat stomach. I’m the girl that adjusts her jeans while sitting down to avoid my obvious muffin top. How the heck was I supposed to confidently walk the runway feeling like this?!</p> <p class="Body">But when I looked in the mirror that night, hair and makeup done, lovely gown flowing on my body, I had never felt more beautiful. Most of us went through huge transformations that night. You look in the mirror and can’t believe the figure staring back at you. I’ve saved every image of myself that I found so I can relive that moment.</p> <p><center><img src="" /> <p>Photo Credit: Danielle Tsi &amp; Manhattan Group Photographers</p> <p></p></center><br /> </p><p class="Body">As showtime approached, the butterflies in my stomach were annoying me to no end. A woman came over to <a href="">interview me</a> while getting my makeup done, and I felt like I gave her the worst answers. I could barely think! We lined up and saw the crowd of people, and by then, I couldn’t even concentrate.</p> <p class="Body">Kathryn made her speech, and she made it look like so much fun to be up there. She set the tone, and set it well. As Laura (the first model) walked out, and the crowd was cheering and screaming; all I could do is fight the tears. It was such an uplifting moment to hear other women cheering us on, rooting for us, even though they didn’t know the personal “battles” we might have been facing. It tears me up to even write it. If any of us were fashion roadkill like Carrie Bradshaw had been so many years before, the crowd would have cheered for us even harder.</p> <p class="Body">I’ve said this on several other occasions, but I can’t even express how happy I am to be a part of the BlogHer family. I never felt judged and didn’t feel like the “uncool kid” in the group. I was amongst real women with real lives and real values. I couldn’t have been more proud to rip the runway with such awesome chicks.</p> <p class="Body">How do makeup, dressing up and strutting your stuff help you feel fabulous, confident and ready to rock the world? Have you had moments that reminded you why you love your look?</p> <p class="Body"><i>Erin Bailey is Founder &amp; Editor-In-Chief of <a href="" class="external-link">Scandalous Beauty: "The Urban Beauty Blog"</a></i> </p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Fashion & Beauty Looking Your Best Mon, 20 Aug 2012 23:52:51 +0000 erinbaynham 807503 at 3 Steps to Overcoming Fear in Firsts <div class="field field-type-text field-field-question"> <div class="field-label">Question:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter-->Next week I'll have my first day at my new job. I've put together an outfit and look that helps me feel confident but I still have some nerves. How can I get past them so I can arrive feeling unafraid of this new experience? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-short-answer"> <div class="field-label">Short Answer:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter-->Practice approaching routine activities with awe, gratitude and trust so that you can build those muscles. Then when you encounter new experiences you can call on your muscle memory to help overcome your fears. </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Fear of the unknown and paralysis in firsts can be overcome through creating a new understanding of awe, gratitude, and faith. </p> <p><strong>Step One: Create a Sense of Awe</strong></p> <p>Close your eyes. You about to set the stage for newness. You are going to understand when you open your eyes that you will experience everything for the first time. </p> <p>When you notice the dresser in front of you, the person in front of you, the view you are about to see, it will be entirely new. New landscape, new smell, new feel, new meaning and understanding.</p> <p>You can open your eyes to everything and see it as if you are seeing it for the very first time. Imagine putting a case on a pillow for the first time. Imagine washing a dish for the first time. Each and every activity you do can be enhanced with your engagement on a level of newness. Expansion of your awareness occurs at the point of doing the same thing yet having new experiences created from your thoughts and emotions. </p> <p>Challenge yourself to find a place of awe before you open your eyes. Allow yourself to look forward to the deeper sensations behind whatever it is you are about to experience. Come into a place of acceptance of whatever it is you may be experiencing, wherever you are and whomever you are with. </p> <p><center><img src="" /></center> </p><p>When we can generate a new understanding of our often mundane lives by viewing it through a lens of awe it helps stimulate our souls into new understanding of the same experience even if we have have had the same experience for years. You probably will continue to have many of the same daily experiences no matter what, yet it is up to you to bring life to the monotony of everyday life. </p> <p>This inspiration of new thoughts, new meanings and new understandings will increase your awareness and increase your consciousness. </p> <p>Take a look at something you have seen everyday. Take five minutes to describe it. See how many different dimensions you can see in that one object. If you can do it for a pencil, a picture frame, anything simple, it will help you see the people around you in a new light, too and inspire awe.</p> <p><strong>Second Step: Appreciation and Gratitude</strong></p> <p>You can increase your happiness by starting with awareness. Awareness that you can creatine your own experience through the thoughts in your mind. The second step of increasing your happiness is adding a piece of happiness science. {big smile!}</p> <p>In this case, you want to come into appreciation for whatever it may be you are experiencing for the first time. Think of something to be grateful for regarding this action. Even if it is as simple as putting on a pillow case for the first time. </p> <p>You choose to bring yourself to this experience. You can create this experience through your thoughts. Close your eyes, then open them with a sense of awe and newness. See something you have never seen before and bring in a sense of appreciation for something new even if the experience is old – gratitude will naturally follow the sense of appreciation.</p> <p><strong>Step three: Faith*</strong></p> <p>You may approach the ‘new’ with fear. You may be paralyzed at the thought of doing something new. You may find comfort in the ‘same’ thing every day. You may even seek the mundane and get excited in routine, day in and day out.</p> <p>What do you do if something unexpected happens? What if you are planning on something new in the future and have anxiety about it? What is your relationship to the ‘new’ of life? What is your relationship to overcoming fear and anxiety of the unknown?</p> <p>May I offer this as a solution. </p> <p>Faith*.</p> <p>Simple. May I offer you a perspective that whatever is happening, it is happening with your best interest at heart. No matter what it is. Even if it is ‘bad’ it is ‘good’. I believe in a notion of "faith," that ultimately only good will come from a situation.</p> <p>As you approach the first day of school, the first day of a relationship, the first day at a new job, the first day in a new city greet it with a sense of awe, gratitude and faith. </p> <p>This will help you to grow comfortable in your ‘new’ experiences, releasing you of nervousness, anxiety, and fear. </p> <p>Practice makes perfect. You have to practice. At any moment you can close your eyes and open them to see something new. Any moment you are approaching a ‘first’, you can choose, awe, gratitude, and faith, with the confidence and comfort that whatever zest you want to add to your life, whatever ‘first’ you want to rock, you can do it! Using awe, gratitude and faith you can overcome any sense of fear, anxiety or discomfort in the experience.</p> <p>Remember to say YES! to life, no matter what the first may be. Show up with a sense of deeper meaning and purpose and hold a sense of gratitude for every aspect of your life whether you are creating a sense of ‘new’ from the ‘old’ or a sense of excitement for the unknown. </p> <p>You can shape your experiences. So next time you are experiencing a 'first' approach it with a sense of awe, gratitude, and faith. This will help you to create sustainable happiness in your life. </p> <p>How do you overcome your fears the first time you do something or on the first day of a new experience?</p> <p><i>Dr. Aymee Coget, Sustainable Happiness Expert, founder of The Happiness Makeover™ Training Program offers services and products on how to become happier at her website <a href="" class="external-link"></a>. Ask questions and <a href="" target="_blank" class="external-link">visit her on Facebook</a> or <a href="" target="_blank" class="external-link">Twitter (@draymee)</a>, or her blog <a href="" class="external-link"></a>.<br /></i></p> <p><i><em>*Please visit our <a href="">Life Well Lived Glossary</a> for more information about terms used in this post.</em></i></p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Getting Happy Wed, 15 Aug 2012 17:29:27 +0000 Dr. Aymee 804797 at Look Your Best on the First Day <div class="field field-type-text field-field-question"> <div class="field-label">Question:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter-->I am getting ready for the first day and I am wondering how I can update my look for my new environment.What are my best choices for freshening up my make-up and style? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-short-answer"> <div class="field-label">Short Answer:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter-->Simple, classic and light are all great options for a first interview or day on the job. But you might choose something more bold for a first date. Read on for five easy tips for creating a look that will work for just about any fabulous first! </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p class="Body">Ahh, famous firsts: First kiss. First job. First day of school. First Oscar award. It’s true what they say. First impressions set the stage for everything that is to come so it’s vital to bring your “A” game!</p> <p class="Body">I remember an interview I had for a popular, funky, makeup company. I did my makeup impeccably (or so I thought). One of the biggest trends at the time was orange, and I figured that embracing the newest orange eye shadow would give me triple points. I wore a soft orange shadow on the lid, and smoked it out with a dark brown crease. I spent boat loads of time blending and polishing the look. Apparently, my strategy wasn’t good enough. The manager greeted me, sat me down, asked me one question, then thanked me for coming. Needless to say, I didn’t get the job.</p> <p class="Body">So, what about the everyday first? First interview? First day on the job? First day of class? First day as head of the PTA?</p> <p class="Body">Here are five tips to help you out:</p> <p><strong>1. Wear what makes you comfortable.</strong></p> <p>If you don’t typically wear your hair in a up-do, don’t try it an hour before you leave the house. If you never wear makeup, don’t teach yourself while in the car. You want to make the absolute best impression, of course!</p> <p><strong>2. No need for trends.</strong></p> <p>This isn’t the time to try that new silver eye shadow that you saw in Elle Magazine. Did you see blue lipstick on the runway? Don’t wear it during your first. If you decide to try something new and trendy, wear it out and about before the big day. And if you get crazy stares when you try it, it might be a good idea to try something different.</p> <p><strong>3. Keep it light.</strong></p> <p>If you try to go full coverage, you might get that awkward “not staring at you, but staring at your makeup” look. It’s so uncomfortable. For your first interview, try wearing the “everyday” mascara instead of the “super plush fake lash” mascara. However, for your first date, you can ditch the “everyday” mascara and draw him in with the “sexy lash” mascara!</p> <p><center><img style="max-width: 800px;" src="" /></center> </p><p><strong>4. When in doubt, go neutral. </strong></p> <p>This rule of thumb will work at virtually any job--office, retail, hospitality and everything in between. I can’t stress the simplicity and effectiveness of mascara, a little eyeliner, blush and/or bronzer and gloss. A sheer pink gloss is almost always a great way to go, in any situation. Blushes that are close to your skin tone give your cheeks a little something extra without a circus look. All is happy in beauty-ville when you don’t overdo it!</p> <p>If you wear a fragrance, don’t aim too high. No need to choke everyone in sight. Keep it classy. Let them get curious about what you’re wearing. The key? Spray the back of your knees once.</p> <p class="Body">As you already know, all of these rules can be modified depending on your situation. Be yourself and do your best. Whatever your first will be, you’ll knock it out of the park!</p> <p class="Body">What is your favorite way to style your look so you feel confident and ready to rock your first?</p> <p class="Body"><i>Erin Bailey is Founder &amp; Editor-In-Chief of <a href="" class="external-link">Scandalous Beauty: "The Urban Beauty Blog"</a></i></p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Fashion & Beauty Looking Your Best Wed, 15 Aug 2012 03:20:34 +0000 erinbaynham 804749 at How To Combat First Day Fashion Worries <div class="field field-type-text field-field-question"> <div class="field-label">Question:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter-->I'm starting a new job soon and I'm having flashbacks to the first day of school. I'm nervous that I will show up and stand out for all the wrong reasons. What should I wear? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-short-answer"> <div class="field-label">Short Answer:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter-->Read on for five easy and painless tips that will have you comfortable, confident and prepared to show everyone that you are ready to shine on day one! </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>I remember the excitement and absolute fear that swirled in my brain and body at the end of Summer and how nervous I was the morning of the first day back to school. I couldn't wait to see all my friends again after 3 months of fun in the sun but first day back also conjured up fears of embarrassment over not wearing the right thing, having green hair from swimming too much or even not having the right shoes or backpack. I wore a uniform to school for much of my life, so it wasn't so much about trendy clothes, but more worries of not fitting in, or, for instance, wearing my uniform when it was a uniform free day. The last ten minutes of the drive to school were the worst for me. I'd start worrying endlessly about it not actually being the first day back or that I was wearing the wrong uniform and I'd ask my mom to pull up slowly until I saw someone else wearing their uniform. Then I could finally relax, say I love you and leave the car and all my fears behind. I'm not sure why but the fear of standing out in a negative way and being mocked was a huge anxiety for me as a child and admittedly, hints of it have traveled along with me to adulthood.</p> <p><center><a href=""><img border="0" src="" width="465" /></a><br /> <i>photo via Shutterstock</i></center></p> <p>Even in this time of fashion where individual style rules and almost anything is acceptable and "in style," the first day of anything is riddled with enough fears and doubts that worrying about what to wear shouldn't be one of them. Even though it was always the most worrisome factor for me, I think that maybe it was just my way of transferring my fear to something that mattered less than the anxiety of of first day failure and my worries about not being able to make friends at school or fit in at a new job.</p> <p>So, to combat this particular part of the process, here are 5 tips to getting your first day fashion ready without the worry.</p> <p><strong>1. Plan and prepare your outfit ahead of time</strong></p> <p>... and not just the night before. If this is a big opportunity like a new job or as a member of a new group or committee, start a week in advance. It may sound trite, but it will leave you feeling confident knowing what you're going to wear. If you wait until the night before, you may not have the right garments to pair with each other or worse, they may not fit right, adding to your stress and lowering your confidence level all the way around.</p> <p><strong>2. Stick to basics</strong></p> <p>Whether you're too fashion forward or timid about your style and fashion choices, or even just worried about wearing the right thing on the first day, it's always best to stick with your basic wardrobe building blocks like crisp white button down shirts, clean blazers, a pencil skirt or well-fitting trousers or slacks with simple black or neutral beige pumps. It's always great to have these items on hand in a pinch as a go-to style that will look classic, classy, and timeless. </p> <p><strong>3. Get confident!</strong></p> <p>Choose items that make you feel good about yourself like pieces that are conservative and flattering at the same time. Fitted is to hugging your curves as skintight is to squeezing them so they ooze out of your garments. Not attractive.</p> <p><center><img src="" /></center> </p><p><strong>4. Keep it simple</strong></p> <p>Don't overwhelm your look with accessories and crazy shoes. Keep your makeup more natural and your hair sleek and sophisticated.</p> <p><strong>5. Be prepared</strong></p> <p>Since you may not be aware of a dress code, better be safe than sorry by wearing closed-toed shoes, pants, or stockings or tights if you're wearing a skirt. Also, bring a cardigan or wear layered pieces in case of wacky temperatures.</p> <p>After your first day fears and worries subside, and you've gotten a feeling for your new environment, you can let your style personality shine through a little more, keeping any dress code in mind, of course. First day jitters are best quelled with confidence and sophistication.</p> <p>How do you dress for success on your first day?</p> <p><i>BlogHer Style Editor Maegan Tintari {<a href="" target="_blank" class="external-link external-link">@loveMaegan</a>} is a Fashion, Home &amp; Lifestyle blogger in Los Angeles. Go to <a href="" class="external-link"> Maegan</a> for your daily dose of inspiration!</i></p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Fashion & Beauty Looking Your Best Mon, 13 Aug 2012 23:57:21 +0000 Maegan Tintari 804197 at Four Lessons on Dealing With Disappointment <div class="field field-type-text field-field-question"> <div class="field-label">Question:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter-->I thought I had an amazing opportunity to do something I've dreamed of for a long time. And then that opportunity fell through and I'm feeling crushed. How do I deal with the disappointment? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-short-answer"> <div class="field-label">Short Answer:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter-->I know how it feels when a lost opportunity just crushes your spirit completely. But I've learned a few things from experiences like these. Let me share four lessons I've learned the hard way, on dealing with disappointment. </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>A friend I care about very much hit me up recently. She had been promised an amazing opportunity, the kind of thing she was aching to do to further herself personally and professionally. And then at the last minute, the opportunity fell through. "I'm trying not to cry at my desk," she admitted. I knew exactly how she felt. At my old job, there were many days where I had to shed tears in the bathroom, or in the parking lot, crouched down between two cars (before I had a car of my own to cry in). Yes. I've been there and I know how it feels, when a lost opportunity just crushes your spirit completely. I've learned a few things from experiences like these. Let me share four lessons I've learned the hard way, on dealing with disappointment.</p> <p><center><img src="" /></center><br /> <center>Image Credit:<a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link">Cristiano Betta</a> via Flickr</center></p> <p><strong>Lesson number ONE</strong> -- don't let them <a href="">see you cry</a>. And by "them," I mean the folks in your professional life. Coworkers, bosses, authority figures, the general public. I'm a very emotional Pisces and when I'm hurt or sad or angry, you can see it in my eyes. I can't help it. Never have been able to hide my emotions well, but I've had to learn how to through the years. I worked in office environments for years before fleeing office life, traditional bosses and coworkers altogether. Having to hide your disappointment at losing an opportunity that could potentially take you away from your drudgery and closer to your dreams, is TOUGH. It will take all your acting skills. But it's for the best. And don't let people who have disappointed you know how much they've affected your emotions, if you hope to maintain a professional relationship with them. It's super hard. But truly necessary.</p> <p><strong>Lesson number TWO </strong>-- don't share what might happen. Share what HAS happened. So many times I see folks tweet about a phone call they got, or an e mail promising an amazing possibility. As much as you may want to shout it from the rooftops... trust me when I tell you, it's probably best to keep your cards close to your chest until the thing's actually HAPPENING. I learned this the hard way in 2007, when I did my first interview for a major magazine. I told my family and friends back home and word spread and everyone was excited for me....and then that feature never ran. Being asked about that wasn't fun when I returned. That taught me to protect my possibilities.</p> <p>I've had offers for incredible opportunities come my way throughout my career. Like, crazy stuff. If I told you about some of them, you might not even believe me. I'm talking trips around the world, television appearances, up close access to celebrities, hosting events in amazing locations - crazy crazy stuff that I've wanted to shout from the mountain tops as soon as I got the word. I generally don't talk about this stuff because it isn't my style, but also, I've learned through painful experience that these things don't always come to fruition. In my experience, it's best to share these things with no more than five people -- and four of those are in my immediate family. And when the awesome thing has happened and I can post pictures and write about what's happened, I shout it from the rooftops then and bask in the glory.</p> <p><strong>Lesson number THREE </strong>-- What is for you, is for YOU. And your day will come. &nbsp;Know that.&nbsp;OK, so an opportunity fell through. You're feeling devastated and disappointed. But if you've truly worked hard to achieve the thing you were going after or hoping to get, opportunity will come around again. But when it comes around it will be the right thing at the time under the right circumstances with the right people. And you'll deserve it just as much then. And you might even appreciate the opportunity more, because you know how hard you worked for it, how much you wanted it, and how far you're gonna knock it out the park because this time is the RIGHT time.</p> <p><strong>Lesson number FOUR</strong> -- This is what life is all about, peaks and valleys, joy and sorrow, doing the best you can to achieve your goals and dreams. The most important lesson I've learned is to know your worth, and don't let disappointment defeat you. Allow yourself to feel your feelings, never deny yourself that. But you have to stay positive, and not allow life to make you bitter and angry. Always ask yourself -- what lessons can I learn from this experience?</p> <p>Tell me, bellas -- how do you deal with disappointment, and what lessons do you have to share from those experiences?</p> <p><i>Patrice Grell Yursik is the creator of <a href=""></a></i></p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Work & Life Getting Happy Fri, 13 Jul 2012 17:35:23 +0000 AfroBella 784550 at