Just Live Mindfully


Author: jennmullenhc (page 2 of 8)

Time IS On My Side

Is time on your side?  Do you find yourself saying “Better late than never” a lot?  If so, you might want to think about how you are spending your time.

I am one of those people that despises being late for anything.  But every now and then, life catches up with me.  I’m sure you can relate.  Most of us are always busy, going from one place to another and living life an the most spontaneous way.  But is that always a good thing?

You might have days where you only have a few things to do, but they take you all day to do them.  And those tasks, no matter how big, may take you all day to do them because of the distractions in your life.  Recently this happened to me and it made me stop and take a minute to realize just how I was spending my time and how some of my time is spent on things that aren’t really priorities.

As a woman, I think I struggle with this concept of trying to do everything for everyone all the time.  Women of the world, do you agree with me?  Yes, I think men experience this too, but not nearly as often as women.  Think of the things women feel like we have to do – manicures, pedicures, dying our hair, shopping for things we don’t necessarily need.  The list can go on and on and on!  Finding a balance between these things and what we really should be doing is where scheduling comes in.

This is my baby.  It comes with me just about everywhere and helps me find balance in life.  It helps me plan the things we have to do and the things I want to do.  It’s a Day Designer and it’s the planner that’s helped me fit everything in that I need to do.

I literally plan out everything.  Work at my full time job, activities on the weekend, doctor’s appointments and especially, downtime.  This is coming from a Type A personality, but it helps me figure out how I can manage everything I do.  I have a ton of people ask me how I fit in so much and this is how I do it.  This is how I control my time rather than my time control me.

Now if planning is not right for you, that’s ok.  But you  might experience your time controlling you a lot more than you’d want it to.  So how do you do the opposite and control your time?  Get a system in place that works for YOU!  Only you can figure out what system works for you, but here are few ideas to help you get started.

Use what you already have! – Most people in the world today have a smart phone.  That smart phone typically has a calendar already built in.  Do you use it?  If not, start now!  On the iPhone, I use my calendar religiously.  And I have separate calendars for the activities in my life – work, home life and my business.  They’re color coded, which helps with easy reference when I’m looking at a particular day and need to know what’s going on.  This is probably the quickest way to help you get started.

Get a planner or notebook you can carry with you. – Now if you don’t have a smart phone or don’t want to use it for planning your time, get yourself a small planner or notebook you can carry with you.  There are HUNDREDS out there so you might have to play around until you find the one that works for you.  I’ve tried a bunch of different brands and the Day Designer is the one that works best for me.  You  might want more room for creativity too and if that’s the case, just get a simple notebook or journal and set up a bullet journal.  For each day, you just bullet out the things you need to get done and voila!  You’re on your way to making your time work for you.

Do a self-audit. – What’s a self-audit?  Well, it’s basically a check of all the things you do in life and you rank them to see how much of a priority those things are.  You probably have to work so that’s going to stay on the list.  But you might not really need to go get weekly manicures.  You could probably do them yourself at home.  Doing that one little change will save you time and money.  And if you’re married, you’ll make the other half happy.  If you’re not into manicures but love to go golfing, do a check of how often you went this past season.  Regardless of the activities you examine, only you can really say if they’re the right ones to remove from your schedules.

These three actions are just the tip of the iceberg.  As you go through the process of beginning to take back control over your time, you might find other areas to evaluate and other ways to make the clock work for you.  Which one are you going to start with?

Wow…What a Week…

Wow!  What a week, right?  Yea, it’s been a crazy one for me and it’s only Tuesday!  I honestly don’t think my emotions can’t handle anymore.  It all exploded after my workout tonight.

This is what I looked like.  Not pretty right?  But honestly, who cares.  I totally broke down.  I’m was done.  Exhausted – mentally,  physically and emotionally.

First, I’ve got a TON going on at my full time job.  I’m in the middle of my normal monthly project and then an even bigger project gets thrown in.  I mean, it’s one where you’d have to drop everything if you got an email.  This one…mental stress.

Then, in the wake of what happened in Las Vegas, I was literally torn apart.  No, I didn’t know anyone attending the concert, but honestly I don’t think that matters.  The fact that this event even took place is devastating for anyone.  I’ve been to Las Vegas and loved it.  I’ve stayed at Mandalay Bay before.  I’ve been to outdoor concerts.  I have never had something this awful happen in my life.  However, the fact that it CAN happen, scares the crap out of me.  Over the past few days so many questions have been running through my mind (and I’m sure yours too) but some of them I can’t answer.  All I can do is tell my loved ones how much I love them and give them all hugs next time I see them.  This one…emotional stress.

Lastly, tonight’s workout was a challenging one.  It was the last straw, if you will.  Tonight we (my husband/accountability partner/workout buddy) did a 45 minute kickboxing workout.  It’s one of my favorites because the music gets you amped, the moves are fun to do because they make you feel like a true fighter and at the end, you’re sweating buckets.  It might not be the workout for everyone, but it’s the workout for me.  There are a few tracks that literally leave you breathless.  Like crazy breathing.  Out your ears breathing.  Whenever I do this workout, it makes me think back to 5 years ago when I first started my journey.  Back then, I would have never been able to get through this workout without pausing the DVD.  This one was not only physical stress but it was emotional stress too.

So what do I do with all this stress?  Well, I could do a few things:

•  I could cry my eyes out every day.

•  I could bottle it up and just harbor all that energy.

•   I could decide not to leave my house because it’s too scary of world out.

•   I could go see someone and get things off my chest.

Granted, I do the first one maybe once a month but that’s not so fun.  Harboring energy, whether good or bad energy is never a good thing so I think I’ll pass on that one.  Leaving my house is just not an option.  But, I can get help.  And listen, it’s not a bad thing to ask for help.  It might feel like you’re failing, but trust me…you’re not.  Getting help is one of the best things you can do for yourself because it’s part of self-care.  There are many, many people out there that swear by therapy because you’re getting feedback from unbiased parties.  It can be as simple as that.

So has your week been stressful like mine?  If so, how are you handling it?  Stress management can happen in a variety of ways and I love to hear what you’re doing to get through it.  Leave me a comment and share!  You  just might be helping someone else in the process.


When I Grow Up…

When you’re a kid, adults always ask you what you want to be when you grow up.  Some some an astronaut, some say a fireman and some say a veterinarian.

When I was little, I didn’t want to be any of these.  I wanted to be a marine biologist.  But not just any marine biologist, one that was a helper.  I wanted to work at Discovery Cove, a place that allowed children with disabilities to swim with dolphins.  Now I’m not sure if they do this anymore, but the reason I wanted this job was because it was a magical place.  The act of swimming with dolphins had healing properties and while the children that swam with the dolphins wouldn’t necessarily be cured, they would improve.  Most importantly, I wanted this job because I knew it would make me happy.

As I’ve gotten older, that’s one thing I’ve noticed one important thing about this question that gets asked.  Not many people say they want to be happy.  It’s sad but I have a feeling many people don’t even know what happy really means.  As kids, we have it made!  We gt to play with our friends, learn new things in school and don’t have to get up and go to work every day.  But part of America’s culture is that we have to grow up, get a job and start making money to better yourself.  I know this is how it was for me.  And now looking back, I realize it was a good thing, but it was also a downfall too.

I think we grow up too fast in America and as a result, we don’t get to know what happy really feels like.  We all have our own definition of happy but as I get older, I am realizing that’s my ultimate goal.  And for me, that’s living a life that has more meaning.  It’s about giving back to my community and leaving my footprint on this planet.

So here’s my question to you.  What do you want to be when you grow up?  You might still say a profession, but whatever it is make sure you really go after it.  Give it everything you’ve got to truly be what you want in life and don’t let anything stop you!  If you don’t know the answer to this question, do some personal digging.  find out what you love and what you wanted to do when you were little.  See how that relates to you as an adult.  Remember, you only have one life to live so live it to the fullest!

And please, share with my what you wanted to be when you grew up!  I’d love to hear your childhood dream and help you relate it to your life today.

Cut Down on the Plastic

Listen, I was a plastic user for years.  But since I became a health and wellness coach, I realized I need to change.  I grew up, like many of you, in a household chock full of Tupperware and Rubbermaid, just to name a few.  The containers worked for food storage and household storage.  Back then, what I didn’t realize is that plastics have chemicals in them that increase the risk of cancer and may cause hormonal imbalances in some.  Slowly, over time, I’ve been able to almost fully transition to a cleaner storage container.  And I want to help you do the same!

My first tip, and the one I think is the easiest, is to switch to stainless steel or glass water bottles.  The reason this is my number one tip is because plastic breaks down over time.  Even if you’re drinking from a BPA-free bottle, it could still have other chemicals in it that you aren’t aware of.  My favorite bottles to drink from are the Sip by Swell bottles.  You can find them at Target and they come in a variety of sizes.  They’re not insanely expensive either, which is great!  Next time you’re there, swing down the aisle and check them out.  The fun prints might just make you want to pick one up.

When it comes to leftovers, we have to store them somewhere, right?  I used to use Rubbermaid containers and would carry them to work, reheat them in the microwave and even use a fork and knife right in them, making scratches on the inside.  Totally bad news bears!  My husband always used to yell at me for it and I knew deep down he was right, but that’s what we had so that’s what we used.  Now we use these glass containers.  And that’s my second tip – use glass (or porcelain) containers to store and reheat your leftovers.  Using these types of containers is better because in the heat, plastic breaks down even faster.  The food that is in the plastic container, when heated up, will absorb some of the chemicals released from the plastic.  Are you somewhat grossed out yet?  I imagined creepy bugs crawling into my food from the plastic.  Eww!  Ok, let’s move on…

My third tip is to toss those plastic containers you have now that you know you’ve put in the microwave or run through the dishwasher.  Again, heat breaks down the plastic and releases those chemical components, allowing them to get into your food.  Remember those bugs I imagined?  Yup, same reason here.  But hey, if you are old school and hand wash your dishes, you might be safe.  But only if you haven’t microwaved them.  This will be helpful too because you can make room for your new glass or porcelain containers.

If you’re in a position where you really can’t toss all your plastic goods, that’s ok, but I still want you to be safe.  Tip four is to check the number on your BPA-free plastics.  Even if it says it’s BPA-free, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s chemical free.  Phthalates is one chemical group that can be found in plastics that are BPA-free.  They make plastics more flexible and harder to break, which is why companies use them.  So what numbers do you look for?  The numbers will range from 1 to 7 and if you see 1, 2, 4 or 5, that plastic is a safer choice.  The ones you want to avoid at all costs are 3, 6 or 7.

My last tip I think you’re going to love.  When you go shopping, you typically get a plastic bag for your purchased goods, right?  What do you do with those bags?  Most people, use them around the house or toss them.  But they pile up.  Especially after grocery shopping.  That’s why my last tip is to get reusable bags to use when you’re shopping.  When I’m grocery shopping, I literally get stopped every trip and get asked where I got my bags.  In the past my response has been “Oh, I don’t know, I found them online somewhere.”  Well, I really did find them online…and in the most magical place on earth (just kidding)…AMAZON!  Seriously, though, love that site!  The bags I have are called Pack-N-Tote grocery cart helper bags because they hook onto the sides of the cart and you can fill them as you go through the store.  It’s easier at checkout and we usually fit everything in just two bags.  As for non-grocery related shopping, those huge TJ Maxx bags are awesome.  But if you want one a little more classy, you can pick up the Market Tote from Vera Bradley for less than $10.  Their Painted Medallions is my newest favorite print.

Now that you’ve got the tips, what’s your plan?  My suggestion, start slow.  Baby steps make this transition much, much easier.  And do the swaps as you can.  It can be a lot of money to completely revamp everything you’ve been doing for the last, oh I don’t know, 10+ years but if you go slow, it will be much easier.  If you need more suggestions or help with the transitions, you know where to find me!

Lost…But I’m Found

Have you ever felt lost?  I know I have.   And believe it or not, I currently do.  Lately I’ve been looking at my life and realizing how crazy things are.  And despite how busy I feel, I’ve been feeling very alone lately.  Let me explain.

I grew up surrounded by people, and always seemed to have a lot of friends.  My circle may have been small, but it was there all through high school and college.  As I got older, I started to work more and I ultimately found a job that I liked.  I even made friends at that job.  We’d make plans, hang out on the weekends and life was good.  Now, most of these friends have kids.  I don’t.  And part of me feels left out.  Because I don’t have kids, I’m not included in a lot of things anymore.  Instead, my “kid” is my business and it’s in the toddler stage, which means it needs a lot of attention.  And finding a balance can be tough.

As I work on building my business, and work toward my ultimate goal of freedom, I have realized that this is, and will be, a lonely process.  My business is me, myself and I.  That means working my full time job 13+ hours a day plus working on my passion 2-3 hours a day.  Then factor in sleep and you’ve got the entire day accounted for.  Where does that leave time for relationships?  It barely does.  As a result, my circle of friends has shrunk.  Am I ok with it?  Not really.  But then I think about it and realize that the people who are still with me are my true supporters.  They are in my tribe and will always have a place next to me.  And the others that have faded away, well they’re still in my mind, but not in the forefront anymore.

The relationship that means the most to me is the one that I have with my direct support – my husband.  And I’ve noticed, my relationship with him is starting to suffer.  And I don’t like it…not one bit.  I said to him just last night that I feel like I never see him anymore.  Like ever!  Because I’m working so much, I try to set aside one night a week to have some us time.  It’s usually Fridays because at the end of the week, we all need a break.  Sometimes I try to plan something and it doesn’t actually work out.  Last night, that’s exactly what happened.  And for some reason, it destroyed me.  I cried, I was angry, I was fed up with my life and I broke down.  I told him I couldn’t live like this anymore because I felt like it was breaking me down to the point where I couldn’t handle anything anymore.  We didn’t talk almost all night.  I hated it.

Today, was better.  We talked and agreed that I can’t keep going like this because it is breaking me.  I mean, we all experience times where our relationships struggle, but to continue down the same path means going to the dark side.  So how do I fix it?  Together we formed a plan, created a timeline and took a breath.   The breather was the best part.  It was needed…desperately.  It helped me realize not everything is as bad as it seems.  Instead of being bad, it’s more of an uphill challenge.  So my journey toward freedom and a better life for me and my husband might take longer and my circle of friends might get smaller but in the end, it is mine and is being done my way.  Just like your journey is yours and only yours.

In the meantime, how will I handle the anxiety and stress along the way?  It won’t be easy, but I know I’ll be able to manage it.  By using meditation, self-care techniques, proper nutrition, scheduling my time and taking time off, I’ll be able to work through the challenges ahead of me.  Bring it on obstacles, I’m ready for you!

Short Girl Problems

Has any of this ever happened to you?

If the answer is yes, then you must be a short girl like me.  I’m only 4’10” and trust me, I’ve heard all the sayings…”God only lets things grow until they’re perfect”…”Good things come in small packages”…

But do I really believe it?  Not so much.  Years ago I hated being short.  My pants would never fit, I could never reach anything on the top shelf, I’d get my ID checked everywhere because they thought I was 12 and yes, I wouldn’t be tall enough to ride certain rides at amusement parks.  Being short caused so much anxiety in my life but I hid it from people because it was easier.  I’d get every short joke in the book thrown at me, I’d have friends think it was “cute” to pick on me because I am so little and I’d even have nicknames like Shortie, Little Jenn or Squirt.

But it’s ok.  Over the years, I’ve learned to embrace my height.  And trust me, you can too!  Being short can be challenging.  It can also be really rewarding.  You’re probably thinking I’ve totally lost my mind.  Well, let give you my top 5 tips for managing being little and then tell me if you think I’m still crazy.

Tip# 1 – Have a stool close by.  This one is kind of obvious, but it has to be said.  In my house, I have one in the most common places I’d use it – my kitchen and my upstairs bathroom.  And the stools stay there.  Why?  Because then I can do whatever I need to myself and not rely on someone else.  Yes, it’s nice to have someone else around, but it’s also nice to be independent.

Tip# 2 – Be strategic.  In your home, try to put things within arm’s reach away.  Don’t put shelves too high if you don’t have to.  If you commute to work, wear comfortable shoes and don’t worry about the high heels.  They aren’t good for your alignment and back muscles anyway.  And don’t be afraid to talk to strangers.  You never know when you’re going to have to ask for help.

Tip# 3 – Don’t be defensive, be receptive.  When you meet people for the first time, you can tell if the height comment is coming or not.  And if it does, don’t be defensive.  Be receptive to the fact that people are acknowledging you.  I’ve been in situations where people literally don’t even see me and that can be much worse.

Tip# 4 – Check out the kid’s department.  No, I’m not kidding.  You may be able to save money on clothes and shoes just because you’re smaller.  Take advantage of that!  Athletic shoes for example in the women’s department can range in price from $55 to over $100.  But in the kid’s department, the same brand and style can be priced at less than $50.  Even if you save $10, it adds up over time.

Tip# 5 – Be proud of YOU!  It can be tough at first but remember those sayings?  They were created for a reason.  Yes we may be small, but we have heart and that can mean way more than your size.  My favorite saying is “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog” and it’s totally true!  So stand tall and be proud of you’re perfect petiteness.

Ok, so do you still think I’m crazy?  Heck, even if you do I’m ok with that.  But we’ve all got a little crazy in us, right?!  Especially the little ones.  😉


Looking for health and wellness vendors?

Yesterday I was able to participate in an event north of Boston and let me tell you, it was amazing!  The event was the Health and Wellness Fall 2017 Show and there was all types of organizations there.  From meditation and relaxation, to nutrition and healthy eating to physical fitness.  Each organization had something different to offer and although I was there representing Just Live Mindfully, I got a chance to interact with a few. There were that stood out for me and I wanted to showcase them today.

The first was my neighbor – Wicked Healthy Vending.  They are exactly what the name says, healthier options offered in a vending machine.  So cool, right?  I think their concept is great because when you’re on the go, you want something quick and is easy to access but sometimes, healthier options aren’t always available.  That’s where Wicked Healthy Vending comes in.  They offer both beverages and snacks and at yesterday’s event had some of my favorites!  Think Simply Lemonade, Polar Seltzer, Clif Bars, Kind Bars and Food Should Taste Good products.  Tina, the founder and CEO was so kind and you could tell genuinely loved being able to offer healthier options to people on the go.  They’re already in a number of corporations and growing.  If you’re in the market for this kind of service, I would highly recommend Tina and her team.

Next, I connected with a couple of lovely ladies from Curves in Topsfield, MA.  Karen and Meg were terrific!  Full of energy and you could tell they loved what they did!  If you don’t know about Curves, let me tell you about it.  Curves is a a place to get in a quick 30-minute workout that involves cardio and strength training.  I used to go to a Curves with my mom and honestly loved it!  Keep in mind, that was years ago!  But today they’re so much more than just the 30-minute workout.  Curves has classes from Jillian Michaels to boxing to balance and even more.  And I love the fact that Curves is specifically designed for women of any age and any body size.  You can feel comfortable at Curves because of the support system that you can sense the minute you walk in the door.  I can attest to that…especially after meeting Karen and Meg.  If you’re looking for a gym that can give you a complete solution, and live in the Topsfield area, definitely check Curves out.

The third company I had a chance to interact with was LizzyJays.  They offer a variety of cold pressed juices and cleanses.

If you haven’t had a cold pressed juice, you really don’t know what you’re missing.  It’s a great way to get in your veggies without having to eat a ton of food.  I personally love to get my veggies in this way and I find when I have a cold pressed juice, almost immediately I find a surge in energy.  It’s amazing!  I was able to meet Steve, the VP of Sales, and was able to taste the Crisp Greens.  It was delicious and Steve was great in explaining the story behind the company.  Having found there weren’t many options available to eat and drink raw, live-energy foods, the founder Casey Sabol, began juicing.  While juicing is becoming more and more mainstream, the quality of ingredients is what’s important.  My favorite part is that LizzyJays even ships direct to you!  For me, that’s a win-win!  Definitely check them out and see what juicing can do for you!

These three weren’t the only vendors at the Health and Wellness Fall 2017 Show yesterday, but they were the three that I connected with.  And that connection is what’s important at these types of events.  Each person’s health and wellness journey is different and unique and as such, you have to seek out the companies that will work for you.

If you were at the Show yesterday, I’d love to hear about your experience!  What companies did you stop by?  What was your biggest takeaway?  And what actions do you plan to put into play for your health and wellness journey?

Why is Everyone Always Rushing???

Seriously?  Why does everyone always seem to be rushing?

I work in the city right now, at a full time job that seems to be so fast paced.  Everyone works through their lunch and never seems to stop.  But why?  I’ve been asking myself this question more and more lately and I’m not sure I’ve found a true answer.  What I have found is this…

When you think of it, we only have a finite period of time on this planet.  Many don’t look at it that way, but it’s true.  And maybe, just maybe, that’s why people cram a lot into their days.  But here’s my follow up question, why do we spend so much time during our days doing things we are not passionate about?  Let me give you an example.

Monday through Friday, my days are pretty crazy.  I wake up at 5am, get to my desk at my full time job by 7:30am, leave at 3:30pm, get home around 6pm and then, and only then, do I get to start doing something I love.  During the day, I’m working because I have to.  Don’t get me wrong, I like what I do…but I don’t love what I do.  I work because right now, that pays the bills.  And if you noticed in my shortened timeline, there isn’t any room to do anything I love.  I’m rushing around doing something that is just a job.

As I continue to ask myself this question, I realize that it’s not healthy to be doing this.  Not mentally and not physically.  Feeling rushed can add a lot to our stress levels and slowly bring us down.  This is why we have to take advantage of the time we have.  Right now, I take advantage of the time I have on the train rides to work.  I spend the time reading, connecting with my followers and clients, meditating or listening to podcasts or planning my day.  And it helps ease some of that stress.  You may not be someone who has that kind of time so what else can you do?  Here are a few steps you can take to slow down and use your time wisely.

Step 1 – Find 15 minutes in your work day.

Yup, just 15 minutes.  This can see like a really short amount of time, but I guarantee if you plan it right, you can get a lot of things accomplished.  You could use this time to sneak away from your desk job and make a few phone calls for your personal life.  You could read that new book you’ve been dying to get to.  Or you could find a quiet space and meditate.  The choice is yours, but getting away for 15 minutes can help you clear your head and stay productive.

Step 2 – Get a journal.

You can use this journal in a number of ways – actual journaling, list writing or doodling.  Either way, carry the journal with you everywhere and the you have something pop in your head or get inspiration, pull it out and get to work.  I have one (well, I have a few) and use it as my way to destress throughout the day.  If something challenging comes up, I pull it out and just start writing.  Even if I’m at my full time job, I take the time to sit and write.  It helps to refocus the mind and continue with my day.  And my ego isn’t harmed!

Step 3 – Consciously make a decision to slow down.

Yes, I know it’s super hard to do.  Even for me who is always on the go.  It seems like every weekend I have something to do.  But by making a conscious effort to slow down, I remember to go at a pace that can work for me.  Every few weeks I take a little “me time” and go for a massage, have reiki, paint my nails or just stay in my pajamas all day.  Don’t even leave the house if you don’t want to.  Just slow day, say no and make time for you!

So how will these three steps help you to stop rushing around?  You’ll start to form habit and create patterns in your life that allow you to realize there is more important things in life than doing things that do not bring you joy!

First thing’s first…find a spot and make your plan.  I think I’ll start right here…

I Am What You Might Call…Weird…

Weird?  Yup.  That is self-proclaimed too.  Now, you might think two things:

A. She’s crazy!  She looks like she’s got her shit together!


B. I get it.  I’m like her.

If you’re thinking A, well, I’m going to fill you in and trust me…I do not have all my shit together.  If you’re thinking B, I’m glad you’re with me because we’re not alone in this world.

Let’s start with all you A-ers out there.  You may follow me regularly, here or on my social media accounts and see a lot of good things being posted.  Listen, I like to spout positivity because it helps me feel better and I think what I have to share can be of value for some one you.  I’ve got a lot of ideas crammed in this tiny, little head of mine and I’ve gotta get them out.  The thing is, you don’t see a lot of pictures of my messy house, my exhaustingly long work days or what I look like in the morning.  Trust me, you don’t want to see that.  It ain’t pretty.  I may look like I have my shit together but behind the scenes, I’m a hot mess.

For the B-ers, you and I can probably relate on a lot of things.  My bed isn’t made every morning, sometimes I leave dirty dishes in the sink and even sometimes I skip an event because, let’s be honest, I’ve got better things to do.  You get me, right?  We fall into a category that I call weird because we live outside of what others call normal.  We may want things that others don’t want and some of us may even be working hard (like really hard) to follow our dreams and the normal folks don’t understand us.  Us weird people are dreamers.  And trust me, that’s ok.

Now why did I tell want to tell you this story and air my dirty laundry?  Well, I want to be real…like really real…with you.  Part of my story was posted on Insta on Thursday and as I typed out the caption, I started to cry because I realized I was finally beginning to realize that it’s ok to be weird and different and want things you friends and family don’t.  I mean, I tell my husband all the time that I’m the Black Sheep of my family because I want a l life that’s full of freedom, not traveling and being able to make choices not decision.  And sadly, I think I may have lost some friends and family along the way because of my choices.  But yesterday I realized that that’s ok because my Tribe has found me on my path and we’ve locked arms and said “We’re doing this together!”

So if you’re feeling weird, like you’re the Black Sheep of your family and like you’re totally alone, don’t worry…you’re not.  There are tons of people out there that will understand you.  Including me.

Now, let’s all air our hot mess life together!  Comment with your hot mess moment and be proud of it.  Remember, things happen and they happen for a reason.

Sorry…Not Sorry…

We say sorry a lot.  Maybe not all of us out there, but a lot of women say “I’m sorry”…a lot.

I am one of those women that used to say it all the time.  We say it for bumping into someone, when we don’t pass in a project on time, when the look on another person’s face shows we upset them…the list goes on.  I mean, how many things can we say “I’m sorry” for each day?  And how many times do we use that phrase and really mean it?

I still say that phrase from time to time, but more and more I catch myself.  I’ll tell you how I figured out I was using that word a lot and how I stopped myself, but before I do that I want to share a bit more on this dangerous phrase first.

As a woman, we try to people please.  A lot.  And that can mean doing or saying something that someone else might now like.  Now, this is a generality and it can go both way, but how many men do you see saying sorry on a regular basis?  Not many, I bet.  The thing is, being a people pleaser can be a good thing.  But overusing this phrase can be harmful.

Using this phrase too often can make us look like we’re vulnerable, like we are saying it just to say it and like we’re not confident.  I’ve experienced this first hand at work.  I said “I’m sorry” for messing up a situation at work, or so I thought.  And really did mean it.  The problem is, it made me look like I didn’t know how to do my job.  It was a hard reality check, but it’s the exact smack in the face I needed.  Thankfully, it came from someone I’m close to.  But using the phrase too often can be harmful if people are paying attention.

So how did I realize I was saying it too often and how did I fix it?  I listened to myself and made a conscious effort to pay attention to when I said the phrase and what was going on when I said it.  Having context surrounding my use of this phrase was helpful because then I could see if the use of the phrase even fit.  Learning how to fix it was a trickier process.  Which is why I’m going to give you a few tips for changing your behavior surrounding the phrase “I’m sorry”.

Tip #1 – Take a breathe

Before you even go to say the phrase, take a breathe.  Think about what’s happening, why you want to say the phrase and how it will be portrayed.  It’s a lot to think about in a split second, but our brains work fast so I’m sure you can do it.  Taking this breathe will let you gather your thoughts and then continue the conversation.

Tip #2 – Don’t apologize if you’re not really sure why you’re saying it

The majority of the time the phrase “I’m sorry” is used, it’s not even really necessary.  If you’re late to a luncheon with your friends, you don’t necessarily need to use the phrase.  They don’t know why you’re late and may not even be upset that you are.  Or if someone asks you to watch their kids but you can’t because you have plans, the phrase isn’t needed.  It’s not wrong that you already had plans, is it?  You didn’t do anything wrong.  If you’re not sure that using the phrase will fit, it probably doesn’t.

Tip #3 – Don’t say “I’m sorry” just to fill the gap

One thing I hate is that uncomfortable tension gap.  I used to fill that gap with some word or phrase just to cut the tension and make things ok again.  Filling the gap with the phrase “I’m sorry” doesn’t always make sense.  You may be saying it just to take up space and if that’s the case, the words have been wasted and do not really mean anything.

Now that you’ve read this, here’s my challenge for you.  Over the next week, take a note of how many times you say “I’m sorry”.

Is it less than 5?  Is it more than 10?  Is it more than 50?

And in what context are you saying it?  At work?  At home?  With your child’s day care provider?

This challenge is not to make you stressed or upset that you may or may not use the phrase often.  Rather, it’s to help you understand where you can improve.  It’s to help you understand the meaning of the phrase and how to use it better.  Report back and let’s see if we can get you to stop using the phrase “I’m sorry” when it doesn’t fit.  Go get ’em!

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