Why You Should Say “Yes” to More Opportunities

Do you want to be unstoppable?

Then say “Yes” to more opportunities.

Choosing to say “yes” to more opportunities makes you embrace the unknown, reach beyond your comfort zone, and ultimately allows you to grow in ways you wouldn’t otherwise. Opportunities are presented to us constantly in many different forms. The easiest type of opportunity to recognize is in the form of a question or statement from others such as: “We really need someone to take the lead on this new project initiative. Any volunteers?”, or “Although we can’t meet your salary requirements, we’d love to offer you this job, will you join our team?”, or “We’re going to start an annual conference to bring together speakers and thought leaders. If anyone has any ideas, let us know.”

When you are presented with a new opportunity, it’s common that many are immediately dismissed: “No way, I am not speaking in front of 500 people at a conference“, you think to yourself. “I’m not volunteering to lead the project, I can’t do that. People won’t listen to me anyway”, you tell yourself. 

For the opportunities you don’t immediately dismiss, you go back and forth in your mind for hours, days, sometimes weeks on whether or not you should do it. Ultimately we turn down 90% of most opportunities for one excuse or another, but essentially it comes down to fear; the fear of failure, fear of looking stupid, fear of losing money, fear of wasting time, or the fear of not having the answers keeps us from our dreams or goals.

If you want to be unstoppable and live a more personally and professionally satisfying life, then start saying “yes” to the opportunities that align with your values, goals, and dreams. What I have learned from turning down and accepting so many opportunities and later reflecting on them, is that part of being unstoppable is knowing when to recognize those opportunities and saying “yes!” to them. 

Remember these 5 things when facing a new opportunity

Unstoppable people are not motivated by money or anything external.

It’s not a matter of money, but a matter of how the opportunity will grow you in other ways. When you can see an opportunity for the intrinsic value it will provide you and not as a $ sign, you will make better decisions for yourself in the long-run. If the only thing keeping you from saying “yes” is pay, you’ve already lost.

Unstoppable people have clear goals and those goals exceed their current capabilities. 

Having a clear understanding of your personal values and dreams allows you to create specific goals. Not easy-to-reach goals, but goals that push you in new ways and deeply motivate you. And by knowing these specific goals you will have an easier time recognizing and seeking opportunities that will help you get there.

“You need to aim beyond what you are capable of. You need to develop a complete disregard for where your abilities end. Make your vision of where you want to be a reality. Nothing is impossible.”

Paul Arden

Unstoppable people work on their mental strength.

Saying “yes” to more opportunities allows you to work on your mental toughness. These means you can do things even though you are uncomfortable, even though so-and-so may think whatever it is they think (which they will regardless), and even though you may be nervous.

“Wherever your mind goes, your body follows. Wherever your thoughts go, your life follows.”

SUCCESS magazine

Unstoppable people start before their ready.

This one is exceedingly important. One can never be fully ready for anything in life. And if you spend all of those hours, days, weeks, months, or years “preparing”, a million opportunities will have passed by. You may not have it all figured out, but no one ever does. Life is a “learn as you go” kind of journey. If your “why” for this opportunity is strong enough, the “how” will work itself out over time. 

“The best time to plan a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

Chinese Proverb

Unstoppable people take the shot every time.

You miss every shot that you don’t take. And you better believe someone else will be taking that shot that could be yours. Embrace “failure”, it’s the only way to get better. The only way.

“If I fail more than you, I win.”

Seth Godin

If you can remember those 5 things the next time you are presented with an opportunity, you’ll be in good shape. I know first-hand that new opportunities can be scary. If we’re living by our self-limiting beliefs, it makes it easy for us to think of excuses and dismiss everything that comes our way, no matter how satisfying or fulfilling an opportunity it is.

However, if you can recognize an opportunity that allows you to enrich your life in a way that aligns with your values and goals, say “yes” and you’ll be on the fast track to becoming completely unstoppable. Re-write your beliefs. Make decisions based on your values and dreams. Don’t let things get in your way and embrace the unknown. After all, if it’s unknown, you have the opportunity to write the ending. Who wouldn’t say “yes” to that?

Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

A Love Letter to all of My Haters

Dear Haters,

You know who you are.

You’re the ones who think about me a little too much. The ones who spend your precious time and energy that could be used elsewhere, on me. You’re the ones who don’t like me, because of this-or-that reason. I’m sure they are “good reasons”, or so you tell yourself. But really, you know those reasons make no sense at all. It’s jealousy, really. Unless I have done something absolutely god-awful terrible to you, which you know I haven’t, then it’s jealousy.

But still, you continue to hate. Using all of that energy to dislike me. Day in and day out, you make your disapproval, disagreements, and dislike known. Sometimes in subtle ways and other times in very obvious ways. You are a crafty one, I’ll give you that. You sometimes throw me for a loop, making me think you’re being sincere and then your true colors come out and my hopeful moment comes crashing down.

But let me tell you something, oh dear crafty hater: If you think for one second that you can beat me, you can’t.

If you think that you hating on me is going to make me quit and give up, it won’t.

If you think that your mockery, your judgment, and your disagreement is going to make me think I am wrong or change my mind, you are out of your mind.

If you think you are the one winning, I can tell you with absolute certainty, you are sadly mistaken.

The same time you are using for your contempt of me is the same time I am using to out-do you. The energy you exert in thinking of how you can deliver another sly remark or a passive-aggressive comment, I am using to work on my goals and am planning ahead. You take up no space in my mind. I give you no thought.

You see, if I stopped to care what everyone thought of me, I wouldn’t be where I was right now. I am faster, smarter, and closer to my goals than you ever will be because that’s where my time and energy goes.

The sad truth is whatever it is that you claim to “hate” about me, you actually hate about yourself. Mhmm. Because your perception of me, your view of me, is really a mirror of how you perceive yourself. Maybe not literally, but there are deep similarities there. That’s how our realities are created. So really, you spending day after day disliking me, is quite literally a waste for you. But it’s not for me.

What I am trying to say is this: Thank You.

For your time.

For your energy.

For your doubting me.

For your gossip and judgments.

For your worrying.

For your disbelief.

For telling me I would fail.

For saying that I can’t.

For saying that I shouldn’t.

For disagreeing with everything I ever say.

For hating on me.

You see, the thing is you fuel me. You are responsible for pushing me to new limits. For motivating me to work harder, get back up, and persevere through even my most trying of times. You inspire me to be better. Do more. Keep going. In fact, I often set such lofty goals because of you and what’s crazy is I achieve them! I achieve more than I think is possible because of your contempt. I am driven with a desire to be my best and the best because of your hate and disbelief.

Anything you have ever said I couldn’t do, I did.

Anything you have ever said I wouldn’t do, I did.

Anything you have ever believed about me, I proved wrong.

Anything you ever disagreed with me on, I proved right.

So, keep your dislike game strong. I’ll be far ahead of you, while you stay exactly the same.

Your biggest fan,
Me.

 

 

Photo by John-Mark Smith from Pexels

How to Get Over Your Own BS

It’s all about the stories (lies) we tell ourselves.

If you were to write down your perfect day, what would it look like? Who would be in it? What would you be doing? Where would you be? Maybe you’re at home, curled up with 4 books piled around you, a to-do-list is non-existent, and the only thing you take a break to do is to have gourmet food served to you on a platter by the fire. And maybe chat it up over the phone with a few super smart friends about the meaning of life, latest stock market trends, and leadership techniques while you make your own house wine. Perhaps your day is filled to the brim with one adventure after another, planned snorkeling in the Maldives followed by zip lining and attending an exclusive beach party where you mingle with some of the wealthiest people you’ve ever met. And yet, maybe it looks like a day with your family taking a leisurely road trip to a local landmark and singing along to songs with everyone. You have a picnic in the fall leaves and play games and laugh until your bellies hurt.

Now think bigger. What about your life? Who would you be? What would you have? Where would you be? Go ahead, get wild and really put it all out there.

Would you have the short hairstyle that you’ve always wanted but are too afraid to try, wear fancy hats regardless of what anyone else thinks, have a different look every single day because you are so diverse in your tastes and in what inspires you or expresses who you are and why the hell not? Maybe you would be 20 lbs lighter or happy with your current size because you volunteer your time to more nobler causes than body-image and #donthavetimeforthat so everyone who thinks you could stand to lose a few pounds can go kick rocks. You know who you are.

Would you have a million friends or none at all? What would these friends and you do together?

Would you be a CEO of a Fortune 500 company or a freelance artist (a very successful one, of course)? Is your dream job a stay-at-home ____ (mom, wife, just a stay-at-home person, for all we care). Do you want to jump ship and make a major career change into something you have no experience in and sort of no idea exactly what it entails, but you just want to do it anyway?

Would you have two homes, one in Naples where you spend your summers, and one in Montana in the mountains because you’ve always loved ranches and dreamed of having a horse, or 4. Would you live overseas, a new place every 6 months so you can explore and immerse yourself in cultures across the globe? Would you make a killing in this lifestyle and be a travel journalist? Or food Vlogger? Would you be exactly where you are now, but maybe just upgrade the design style of your home, invest in some fancy-ass furniture that you keep eyeballing at West Elm, finally build out a master suite above the garage, and throw away all the ratty old things you keep holding on because “you have to”?

By now you’re probably smiling, feeling a little inspired, and totally ready to tell me to just shut up and tell you how to make this all happen already, amiright?

You can have everything you want, be your truest self, see all of the things you want to see, do all of the things you want to do, and live the life of your dreams

How?

Just stop getting in your own way. Stop feeding yourself B.S with all of these stories and lies that keep you from living out your life.

The stories that we tell ourselves (aka, the lies) are what is preventing us from doing anything we want in life. Sometimes, we do things we want, right? But how much of a struggle is it to get to that point? How hard was it for you to do something you wanted, the last time you did it? And was it a small thing, or was it actually a big thing that really made an impact on yourself or your life? Chances are, it was a small, little baby want. But if it was in fact, a big want and you did it, AWESOME – how did it feel? I bet you felt pretty BOSS-like, huh? Wouldn’t you like to carry out that fire and passion and act on your wants and manifest your dreams into reality every single day?

Many of us want to call out our BS and say goodbye to it forever, but we lack doing what we need to do in order to be successful.

Do you tell yourself that you really want to be the new Director at your current job, the position is open, and you have the natural skillset to absolutely crush it, but you tell yourself (pay attention, this is the B.S; the story, the lies) that you’re not qualified enough or don’t have the right experience and likely won’t get it anyways, so you don’t even bother for it? This is what I’m talking about.

So often when we say we’re not qualified for something, what we’re really saying is that we’re too scared to try it, not that we can’t do it – Jen Sincero

Maybe you want lots of friends, but right now you have none. You tell yourself you’ll never have any friends because there isn’t anyone out there who “gets you”, you’re too misunderstood so everyone gets too offended by you or doesn’t invite you to do anything. This is the story you tell yourself, so guess what happens? You likely use it as an excuse to not try to put yourself out there, meet new people, hang out where smart people go, insert yourself into conversations, or invite other people to do things with you. Ergo, you are friendless and your story remains “true”.

We don’t have the things we want, the life we want or are not the people we want to be is because we tell ourselves that we can’t, shouldn’t, won’t, or aren’t enough

That, and we don’t do the things we need to do in order to make them happen

This ends today.

Start making progress towards the life you want by paying attention to your current stories. Why don’t you have the things you want today? Why are you not being who you really are? Why aren’t you in the job that you want? Spend some good time thinking about these stories and write them down.

How do these stories benefit you? There is a reason we tell ourselves these things. Do you tell yourself, in the case of the job instance, that you are underqualified or not well-liked enough to get the job? That you don’t measure up to their ideals, or that people won’t like it if you got it. How does this benefit you? Well, if you don’t go after the job and you stay in the job you have, you don’t have to deal with change, you get to stay nice and comfortable. If you don’t go for the job, you won’t have to work any harder than you do now, so you get to keep your cushy work schedule.

In most situations, the stories or lies we tell ourselves are for the purpose of protecting us, keeping us safe, and for lessening the chances of anything negative happening. But if we don’t face fear, get a little uncomfortable, and change our stories, we risk being miserable sacs for the rest of our lives, never fully living out our dreams or expressing who we really are. That is a heck of a lot sadder, dontcha think? So once you know your stories and know why you’ve been telling yourself these things all along, get rid of them! Literally and metaphorically.  Throw out the paper, rip it to shreds, wipe the slate clean. Then write some new stories. What do you want to start telling yourself instead for each of these?

Once you’ve settled on your new stories and you’re feeling a little inspired and motivated, set a plan to get out of your routine. You will risk telling your old stories to yourself again and continue to have a hard time living out your new stories if you keep the same old routine. If you keep not going after a job, if you keep putting off furthering your education, if you keep avoiding places where you know successful people hang out, if you don’t make small talk with people who interest you, etc. Really work at it. The universe will make it hard for you, but that means you’re making a big, positive change and are on the right track. Don’t be a quitter, new stories are not an overnight thing. You need to start living it and keep at it every single day until they become your habit, your truth.

Lastly, don’t fall prey to the downward spiral. When something goes array (because it almost certainly will at some point), whatever you do, do not go into a drama-filled suckfest with every area of your life, just because the one is off today or this week. Meaning, no doing this: This meeting new people is too hard. I have been out 3 times each week for 2 weeks and still didn’t meet any good new people. I will never find any good friends to have deep connections with. It’s likely why I can’t find a partner either. Nobody gets me. I’ll likely end up alone for the rest of my life, never get married, and never have kids. And because I am so pathetic with people, there’s no way I’ll ever go on my dream vacations because that involves other people, but that’s just as well since I can’t get a high-enough paying job for those trips since no one likes me at work. I’m the last person they would think of to promote. Yeah, none of that, please. Let it be what it is in the moment for the one thing, and move on.

You have the power to control your own life. You can change it anytime you want and you can keep changing it as often as you’d like. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you can’t have what you want, that you can’t be who you want, or any other excuse-laden reason to not fulfill your deepest passions. We can manifest anything we want into reality by calling out our BS, and rewriting our own stories.

Photo by Min An from Pexels

Do You Know What Your Beliefs Are?

I recently started reading You Are A Badass, by Jen Sincero and immediately am in love with her writing style and her insights. More specifically, it’s her explanation of our conscious and subconscious minds that I want to share. Jen starts her book off with helping us understand how the heck we even got the way we are today, taking a deep dive of our minds, both our conscious mind and our subconscious mind. The part of our brain that does the thinking, tells us we want to change ________(fill in change), and the part of our brain that actually drives what we do (or don’t do) is the subconscious mind. These two parts are completely separate from one another and most of us don’t understand that we have two parts and if we get that, we lack the awareness of our subconscious minds and the beliefs responsible for our behavior day in and day out.

Because we aren’t fully aware of our beliefs and why these are the stories we tell ourselves, we have the impossible time of trying to implement real, lasting change in our lives. This keeps us from living our truest lives and creating our own versions of happiness.

The conscious mind is where we do all of our thinking, analyzing, worrying, etc. This part of your mind thinks it is in control, but it is sooooo not. And our subconscious mind doesn’t do any thinking, but is really the one in control; that dictates all of our actions and holds our beliefs. The kicker? The beliefs you have are likely not your own! You’ve been living a life according to someone else’s beliefs and that’s why you are so frustrated and unhappy.

So many of us are living our lives based on beliefs in our subconscious that aren’t our own. If we can wake up to these beliefs, we can have the power to change them and live the lives we’ve always dreamed of for ourselves.

If you’ve ever told yourself that’s it, I am doing this once and for all. I am going to __________, only to find that yet again, putting action to those thoughts is nearly impossible and no matter how many times you try, you can’t just seem to stick to it or make it happen, it’s because we are living our lives based on beliefs that we have held onto for our entire lives. Most of us are unaware of them so we continue to go about our days acting in accordance with our beliefs, of which are not our own, no matter what you say you want or will finally do or change once and for all. These are the beliefs you have about money, about careers, about family, about fitness, about food, etc. These are learned from childhood and through your adolescence that family and friends have taught you through their words or even actions; things that they believe and now they’ve passed them onto you, which has you thinking they are your beliefs. But, are they?

When we aren’t aware of why we are doing what we are doing and the stories we are telling ourselves, our behavior stays the same and we spiral in the thoughts and frustration of why can’t I ever seem to have more money; why can’t I lose these 25 lbs if I know that I need to be healthier; why aren’t I pursuing my deepest dreams if I know that they are truly what I want?

If you do not run your subconscious mind yourself, someone else will run it for you. – Florence Scovel Shinn

The key to breaking through is to dedicate time to start analyzing your own beliefs. Take a look at some of your less than impressive areas of life and start thinking about some of the underlying beliefs that could have created them.

If you are feeling a constant up and down relationship with money, for example, and no matter what you do, cannot seem to get a grasp on making more money or having more money? Grab a journal, notebook, piece of paper – whatever floats your boat – and write the first 5 things that come to mind that you think of when you think about money. Answer additional questions to help you understand these stories you have about money (aka your beliefs). What was your parent’s relationship like with their money? What about others you were around, how did they handle money? What were your friend’s beliefs with money and how was their relationship with money? And even take a look at people in your life now. How are the relationships with money of the people that you surround yourself with every day? Are there any correlations between these beliefs and relationships and your own?

Once you go through this exercise with a key few areas of your life that you truly want to see change, you’ll have the awareness and understanding of what your beliefs are and where they came from. This gives you the power to change those beliefs. You have to go from wanting to change them to deciding to change them. It all starts with awareness.

What have you learned about your beliefs today? What will you believe in now? How will you rewrite your beliefs?

There Never Seems to be ‘Enough Time’

Once upon a time (1.5 months ago), I was working a full-time desk job. I was spending “all of my time” at work. When I wasn’t at work, I was thinking about work. When I wasn’t thinking about work, I was dreaming about work (yes, scary). It seemed my life was ruled by this work. I enjoyed the field I was in, but not the work I did. It ate up “too much” of my time and left me “no time” for anything else I wanted to do.

Does this sound like something you can relate to? If it’s not your job taking up your time, it’s something else. I am fascinated by how we see TIME. How much value we place on it. How we talk about it, think about it. How very little we understand it. It’s the most precious thing we have as humans and yet we have no idea how to manage it properly because we have such a small lens into what time is or does for us. Really here, in my scenario, which is a very true depiction of how I felt is not a result of there not actually being enough time. How can you say something takes too much time at the same time you say you have not enough time? See how silly this is? The issue is me blaming how I felt on time itself, which can’t actually be responsible for anything, because it doesn’t control anything. We are the ones in control.

In reality, I am just struggling to manage myself.

Not convinced? The story goes on…

I left my job (for many reasons), so now I should have all the time in the world, yes? Great! Only, I still was (am) feeling as though I don’t have “enough time” to get “everything done”.

How is this possible?

Let’s address what we’re really doing when we are using phrases such as “I don’t have enough time for that”. We have the tendency of needing to connect how we feel to some concrete piece of what we think is evidence of our feelings, but really, the “time”, or lack thereof, in this particular instance is just a scapegoat. Instead of allowing feelings to pass through us and just be felt for what they are, we need to anchor them to something else in order to essentially lay blame on something other than ourselves. In this case, it’s the lack of time that I am blaming my not getting to other things I wanted to do, which made me feel burnt out and frustrated. 

It’s not a matter of managing time, but managing ourselves. You cannot manage time, because you cannot change time, but you can change yourself. Until we can learn to manage ourselves, we can manage nothing else.

Why do people think they don’t have enough time?

Now, let’s talk about some reasons as to why people may feel as though they don’t have “enough time”. Essentially, these reasons can be attributed to a feeling of a lack of control. Those feelings cause us to then blame something for our lack of control. Again, it ends up being ‘time’. Here are the top reasons why people think they don’t have enough time.

  • They lack focus
  • They lack direction
  • They multi-task
  • They are not organized
  • They don’t prioritize
  • They don’t have a routine
  • They are unsure of their goals
  • They are negative and have poor attitudes
  • They focus on urgent rather than important

To sum it up: they don’t know how to manage themselves. That lack of control is a feeling. If we allow the feeling to be more than just that, it can become our reality. The good news is that we have the power to become in control. All we have to do is get a little better at managing ourselves. If it seems overwhelming, there’s really nothing to it! Once you have a clearer understanding of yourself, your goals, your priorities, your needs vs wants, etc, you will manage yourself, and thus your “time”, with ease.

Check out my other posts on dreams, self-reflection, and positive thoughts to gain inspiration!

Can you manage yourself? What will you do differently today?

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Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover Photo by Moose Photos from Pexels

Stuck in A Rut: Ways to Shake Up Your Routine

The same thing happens day in and day out. You awake at the same time every day, perform the same morning ritual, take the same route to work, work on the same projects, and have the same evening activities waiting for you when you get home. Boring!

There is both good and bad in routines. On one hand, a morning routine, in particular, helps us stay on track and keeps us focused on the first part of the day. We as humans find comfort in knowing exactly what we will be doing at any given time. Uncertainty is not our friend (more on this in another post). And it is true that routines can help us all be a little more productive, right? On the other hand, when unforeseen circumstances throw our beloved morning routine out of whack, we have an urgent need to fix the problem. We’re not agile and oft find ourselves having more difficulty in dealing with these small changes. What do you mean I overslept. Now my entire morning is thrown off and my day will be bad. See what I mean?

Although habits that lead us towards long-term objectives are rewarding and beneficial, all too often we find ourselves partaking in our routines simply out of habit and not out of gain. Avoiding new situations can hold us back.

If you find that your routines have started to lose their luster, or let’s be honest, have lost their luster years ago, it’s time to do something different. Why? Because any routine you have that creates additional stress, unnecessary pressure or has just become stale and unfathomably boring, is not doing you any favors. 

Never underestimate the power of small changes. Hence, the term: shake-up.

So now the question becomes, how do I shake up my routine? Good news: it is not necessary to completely change everything you have done up until this point. In fact, having routines in place is very strategic and helpful to reach goals. For example, if you want to become less stressed and made a promise to yourself to meditate daily, then by all means, keep that routine. It is only necessary to make small and subtle changes and tiny shifts in your current perspective and mindset. If you have been meditating for 10 minutes right when you get out of bed, try brewing your cup of coffee first and sitting by a window instead of your usual spot besides your bed.

Try to remember why these routines or habits started.

Do you remember why you wanted to start waking up at 5AM? Or why you chose to dedicate 2 hours each weekend to practicing your instrument? Try this: get a piece of paper and pen. Write out all of your current routines or habits – yes all of them. Next to this, write out your “whyThe purpose: You may find that some or even many of your current routines are stale and boring simply because they no longer serve your key values or goals in life. And that’s ok! We are human. We change our paths constantly and we want different things for ourselves. It’s part of growing (and no, we never stop growing). This exercise may help you realize that not only do you need to shake up your routine but maybe it’s time to retire some current ones completely.

Don’t be afraid to get creative and maybe start from scratch.

Just as we are constantly evolving, who we may have been 5 years ago may be different to who we are today – in terms of our preferences and at the very least, our situations. So while you may have previously been a morning person, maybe now your schedule works in favor of you sleeping in, so in fact, there is no need to force your routine of 5 AM when you can adjust and stay up an hour or two later and try that on for size. Or vice-versa. If you eat the same thing for lunch every day, you could either make a small change and tweak some ingredients or condiments for that lunch, or get really crazy and do something completely different for lunch every day. Watch out world! Whatever you decide to do, it’s important to keep it manageable for you. There is no benefit or point really, in changing something so drastically that trying to manage this new routine is actually more stressful than the boring, old, stale one you had. Beware of decision-fatigue! Don’t make it harder on yourself.

Alright…

Have you analyzed your current routines? Did you check to make sure they still serve a greater purpose or help propel you to a specific goal of yours? Great – you’re on the right track! What’s left is just thinking through your current situation and finding where you can be a little more flexible or creative in your approach to these routines. You may find that you just need a small, subtle change in order to fall in love with your routine again. Or you may find that you need to abandon all hope, say goodbye to a routine and completely re-invent it. That’s ok, too. Sometimes when we do that, we come back to our original routine with a fresh perspective and appreciation. And sometimes, we find something entirely new that ignites a new fiery passion within us that keeps us going.

And when you find that it’s not working again, keep tweaking. This is the beauty of our lives. We are not meant for static, stale lives. Yes, we are creatures of habit, but that doesn’t mean the habits have to be boring.

Hearing Things We Don’t Want to Hear

There are times when we all hear it, words from our friends, family, or even coworkers about ourselves that we sometimes don’t want to hear. Who wants to be told that there are things they should work on? Who wants to hear our problems might be our own fault, or that we aren’t right about something? Often times, these things are told to us in roundabout ways, hidden beneath passive-aggressive comments and remarks, that we know are meant to mean something other than how they come out. Other times, they may be direct, gut-wrenching, blood-boiling statements about ourselves that we are uncomfortable listening to.

Think to a recent conversation you have had – with a family member, friend, boss, stranger, even – that maybe didn’t go the way you intended and maybe you felt as though you were being personally attacked. Maybe someone had brought up a topic that you feel they have no business bringing up (that is an entirely different thing). Or perhaps, you brought up a particular topic or situation or idea and had solicited someone’s thoughts or advice on the matter. Regardless, you ended up on the topic of “X”, and you just did not care for the way “so and so” was speaking to you, or the things that they said. It could have felt they were talking at you, telling you what you should have done, should have said, should have acted, or should do now. You ended the conversation feeling a little frazzled, somewhat hurt, and definitely judged.

Sound like a conversation you can recall easily?

Don’t fret. We all have those from time to time. Here, we’ll talk about the good, the bad and the ugly. The good is that you’re not alone in feeling these things after some conversations and in fact, many of us experience these on a daily basis or every time we speak to “so and so”. The bad is that we don’t realize, but we often put ourselves in those situations or conversations ourselves (even by not removing ourselves from it or ending the conversation, we are participating and allowing it to continue to happen), and the ugly: These are good conversations that can ultimately lead to better versions of ourselves and better relationships with others. Yes – they can – if we can work to be a little less “sensitive”, or at the very least, learn to deal with “tough love” from others.

How to Deal with Tough Love from Others

 

First things first, if you asked for someone’s advice or opinion or what they thought, etc, then be prepared to hear what they have to say. You can’t expect people to tip-toe around your feelings if you are outwardly asking for their honest feedback. Not to mention, what good would it do anyone if people were not fully honest? How would we grow as people if we didn’t have someone who cared enough or was willing enough to be honest and bring a fresh perspective to things? Those are the kinds of people in our lives that we all need to work on appreciating more.

But secondly, use this as a learning experience to grow and also put yourselves in their shoes too. When you are on the receiving end of these hard-to-hear conversations, don’t take everything personally. Sure, it can feel personal, but the giver of the hard-to-hear advice or opinions may not be communicating what he or she means, very well. So while they have good intentions, it may be coming off a way that had not intended. This is because tough-love is called that for a reason – it’s tough to give. Often times, the person having these conversations with you or being honest with you is having a more difficult time telling you these things than you are listening to it. It’s important to listen to them, but also important to participate in these conversations to better understand their perspective, intent and advice.

And lastly, remember that these people care about you otherwise they wouldn’t be trying to help you – even if it may not seem like they are “helping”. They want you to be happy and do whatever that means you need to do. So although the words may not come out in the best way sometimes (do they always?), they have your back and want to see you succeed in life. Never assume they meant to burn you with that comment, or that they don’t like you because they are criticizing you.  Many things can be mistakenly taken out of context, or misconstrued.Think of the people in your life who just tell you what they think you want to hear. Those people do not truly care about you and would not be there for you if/when you really needed it. The people who can say it like it is; those are the people to keep around.

Why Tough Love is so Important

Many of the things we are told by those who love us and know us best are exactly what we need to hear. Often times we are lying to ourselves and are unable to see a situation for how it really is, or solve a problem on our own with our bias lenses. Those who bring to us those criticisms or hard truths about ourselves aren’t usually way off base, if we really think about it. In reality, they are quite often pretty spot on, if we can admit that to ourselves. Without hearing these truths or having someone call us out on our BS, we would forever spiral on our own misery. These wonderful truths can be just the wake up call we need. They force us to take accountability for ourselves and our lives and by realizing that we are accountable, we can realize that we are in control. And when we can realize we are in control, we have the power to make changes!

Recall a few recent conversations in which you received a little tough love from someone else. Did you open your heart and mind and really listen to what your friend had to offer? Were you accepting of their advice or their words, even if you disagreed with some points? Did you have a good, open dialect with them or did you quickly and instinctively become defensive and closed-off, changing the subject or ending the conversation abruptly? The next time you see or catch up with these people or person, give them a hug and thank them. Let them know how truly you value them and how you know they mean well in their intentions. Thank them for always listening to you, even when it’s tough, and for giving you the honest advice and tough-love that you need to hear. Then, don’t stop there – do them and mostly yourself a favor and take accountability for your situations and take action my friend!