Daily Inspiration is Necessary in Our World Gone Mad

Daily Inspiration is Necessary in Our World Gone Mad

Years ago, I lived on a sailboat with several other people, which probably sounds more romantic than it actually was. Quarters were tight, belongings were minimal, and privacy was almost non-existent. Part of me relished this experience, though–racing across the water with the wind in my face was glorious. Still, one of the biggest challenges during this phase of my life was struggling to find any private time. It was hard to find the space to think, or daydream or just wonder about the world. As someone who needs a great deal of privacy, I found this to be a real difficulty. Perhaps it was this training that makes it easy for me now to find daily inspiration, despite the chaos of our world, because I’ve become good at tuning things out.

One morning from this period of my life stands out in my mind as nearly perfect.

One quiet morning I slipped off of the boat before dawn, careful not to awaken anyone either on my boat, or on the boats around me. I carried a large bottle of very cold orange juice. I don’t remember where it came from–whether I took it off of our boat, or purchased it at the ship’s store. My feet silently padded down the dock, and then dangled over the dark, swirling water as I sat on the end of the pier. Overhead, the stars wheeled towards daybreak, and I smelled the beginning of a new day. There’s a certain smell, beyond the salt water, that accompanies the birth of a new day on our beautiful planet, and I drew it in, deeply. The breeze shifted as the night ended, and birds around me gently started to stir.

The air felt like velvet, and one by one, the twinkling stars went dark as the sun began to reveal itself. The water quietly lapped beneath my feet. It revealed barnacles on the ebb, and foamy bubbles on the flow,as it gently whirled around the posts of the pier. The universe around me was totally silent, and only the stars were my companions. Then quietly, the magnificent symphony of our awakening world began. Greedily, I drank from the ice-cold orange juice, and its tart sweetness is something I remember, still. All five of my senses were alight  that beautiful morning, and filled my heart to overflowing with the simple gratitude of being alive.

Have you ever had such a profound appreciation for a dawning day?

Perhaps not. We get too busy, don’t we? All around us, this very day, millions of people will open their eyes to a world just as glorious as the one I saw that day long ago. In dusty villages, in bustling towns, in noisy cities–in places all over this planet–human beings will wake up to another day.How will they respond, do you think? Many will be surly, resentful either that they have to stop sleeping, or have to start working. They’ll be grouchy and rude, and miss entirely the magic of this gift of life, because they choose to focus on something that makes them unhappy. They’ll wake up anticipating a conflict with someone, or a presentation they need to make, or worrying about a problem they they have in their personal life. Sadly, they’ll focus on something negative that pulls them away from their slumber, and the realization they have been given another day.

Others will wake up distracted and over committed. They’ll rush past the sunrise gently glimmering outside of their window, race past the people they love and live beside, and then start their day in a complete panic. They’ll already feel late for something, even though they may have gotten up before their alarm.

There are dozens of ways to start your day, and you, my friend, are in control of them all.

Our world, unfortunately, now thrives on urgency. We are surrounded by relentless noise, especially from the media. The media tells us both how to think and how to react to world events. Most times, the crises they shout about are far outside of our immediate circle, and don’t actually involve us. We still allow them to create a frightening sense of urgency in us, though. Willingly, we inherit the panic of the survivors they interview.

More often than not, the free time we spend with our loved ones is overtaken by the worry we feel about the changing states of our nation, and world.  Most nights during dinner, instead of talking about family goals or memories, we ask one another if we saw that day’s horrific video.

The reality is that many of us have become isolated by our electronics. We are now tethered both to our workplaces, and our relationships, by our telephones.

During my childhood, when a parent came home, his or her workday was over. As soon as the front door closed, the family unit was there–intact. Some families were healthy and some weren’t, but once the door shut–the workday was over. Everyone was connected, to do the best they could as a family. Sadly, in today’s world, work doesn’t stop just because someone has arrived home. Emails usually don’t cease, and parents frequently answer work correspondence while their child bathes after dinner. Bedtime stories are often squeezed in after a parent has scanned work emails, in a desperate attempt to set up the next day’s productivity.

Even though I no longer have a standard office job, I confess I can be guilty of this, too.

As my readership continues to grow, my electronic tools often chirp in response. Whether it’s a comment someone has left, or a new follower on social media, I’ll receive some kind of alert on my phone. It’s happening more and more, and I’m not sure it’s healthy for me, to be honest. I’m afraid that if I actively work for those alerts, I’ll lose the purity of my writing voice.

My writing goal is both simple, and very solid. I want my words to touch a neglected part of your soul, and bring it back to life.  I want you to read one of my pieces, and think–for even just a moment–about how you can spread kindness. Or define changes that will actively bring joy to those you love.

To do that, I must fight for a sense of balance. I need to live in our outside world, among the sorrow and brokenness we all face. I’m human, after all, and subject to the same joys and pains you share, too. Yet–I need to maintain the purity of both my introspection and observation. in order to write words of impact.

So starting now, I’m going to put my phone away, outside of my writing hours. I want to spend my time engaging with my husband, because he is precious to me, and helps me find the point of healthy balance that I need.

This morning, I arose again before dawn.

I sat in the safety of my big chair, where I write, and watched the stain of daybreak as our world came to life. I thought about that morning on the pier, when I guzzled my orange juice and listened to the slow heartbeat of creation. Countless people came to my mind this morning as I listened to our day begin. I wondered about these friends from long ago, and where they have landed in life. I wondered about others I know, people who are managing too much, in our world of frenzy.

Importantly, I promised myself that I will take more time to focus on the quiet, despite living in a world that caters to anxiety.

I’m not sure where you are in the world, Friend. I don’t know your specific battles that you face each day, as you try to provide safety and comfort to your loved ones. But I encourage you to join me in this pledge.

Whether you live in a dusty village in a developing nation, or a bustling city in the center of our world’s financial center–you are part of great fellowship.  As a human being, you belong to a  magnificent group of dreamers, creators and doers.

Despite being one of millions on this glorious planet, you bring to us a beautiful soul and a set of gifts that are unique.

Put away your phone, Friend.

Look up at the sky.

Feel the breeze as it rustles the leaves of the trees nearby.

Get up extra early tomorrow morning, and enjoy–for just an extra moment–the beautiful recognition that you are alive.

You are here, Beautiful.

And we need you.

Blessings.

***Subscribe to receive your free TeamJeffers Life Balance Wheel, a monthly tool you can download to help manage a healthy work-life balance. ***

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**Chanler Jeffers has seen many extraordinary things over her lifetime. An adventurer, survivor, overachiever and advocate of kindness in all instances, she has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), and is a member of their Circle of Champions. She has had the good fortune to live and travel all over the world, grew up as a military dependent and was a single parent for many years. She has survived cancer, and gently shaped countless people over her years on this little planet we call home. Follow along as she shares her knowledge, her experience and her love. Oh, by the way–one more thing. She’s married to a Bass playing rock star, lucky girl.

on grieving the death of a friend

On Grieving the Death of a Friend.

Our friend’s name was Trey. He was tall, and friendly and kind. He and my husband grew up together, kindred spirits in a world that doesn’t really exist anymore. Theirs was a small Southern town, where it was easy to be known, and relationships still tend to last through generations. Grieving the death of a friend is never easy, and the sudden loss of Trey seems especially unfair. He and my husband had just reunited, you see, after several years apart. They had picked right back up where they left off, sharing a closeness that arched across the years.

That’s how it is with some friends. 

Sometimes, in life, you are able to connect with another human being in a way that will survive the changes regularly thrown your way. Despite school, or marriage, or jobs–jobs either gained or lost–sometimes we make connections deep enough to survive a sort of benign neglect.

Then years later, we can pick up a phone, or meet somewhere for coffee, and time magically melts away. Simply the voice, or the laugh or the touch of the other person strikes a chord in our soul, and we are back in the world we once shared with them.

So it was with Trey and my husband, Fred.

I’m not exactly sure how they reconnected. Somehow they found each other through the dust of lived years, and with mutual respect, honored the battle scars of life earned during their time apart. Regularly, they talked and visited over the last year or so.

And then…one difficult day last week…it was over.

Trey had suddenly died.

Without warning, justice or fanfare–he died.

It’s not fair, how suddenly we are silenced by death.

It’s such a difficult dance we navigate throughout our lives, isn’t it? We know that death awaits, but that’s all. We don’t know the date, or the manner or anything specific about our endings–especially not what happens after death. So throughout life, we surround ourselves with things to hide the mysteries. Whether faith, tradition, excess or denial–each of us picks up a shield against the inevitable.

Deep down, though–we each know that we’re going to lose the fight, don’t we?

We get closer to this flame of loss the older we get.

Life is marked by events–have you noticed? It starts with our physical changes, little things like potty training and the Tooth Fairy. Then our events are marked by things involving other people, as we are socialized. We celebrate occasions like our first slumber party, or graduations and prom dates.

Then, the round of parties begin.

Graduation parties, engagement parties, bridal showers, baby showers, open houses, weddings–there comes a time in our lives when we are bombarded by invitations acknowledging the turns in our journeys. As the people we love celebrate the milestones of life,  we can feel overwhelmed, especially if we’re running at a different speed. (Being a bridesmaid is great, but not more than three times or so. Then it just gets awkward). Then things quiet down for a little bit, but the second round comes at us quickly, with the christenings, brises and birthday parties of our friends’ children.

Occasionally, during this season of our lives, we’re startled by a sudden death. Random things like car accidents, suicides–things that clearly go against the expected life plans for those we love. We struggle to make sense of these events, and support the people suffering through them, but mostly we decide to distract ourselves with the busyness of living. It’s easier to hide the thoughts of mortality with to-do lists and chatter.

Then one day, we quietly round a corner, and realize that our journey has somehow reversed.  

We recognize our social life has started to become quieter, and our physical well being has started to decline.

We’re on the other side of life’s arch.

Sounds pretty grim, doesn’t it? It probably is. The truth is that life is both unfair and uncertain, and all along the way we have to make choices. Every day we live, we have endless decisions about our time, our resources and the people we love.

But in yet another attempt to hide the significance of our daily minutiae, we choose to be distracted by the world’s noise. We choose  to look the other way, instead of recognizing the value of our time on the planet, and how we spend each moment.

That’s one of our biggest mistakes.

A couple of days after Trey died, my husband asked on his Facebook page, “What if the last thing you posted was really the last thing you posted? Would you be okay with that?”

I’m not sure I can think of  a better question to ask of you.

Would your last post be a rant about bad service somewhere? Or a complaint about politics? Would the last thing you shared from your heart be critical, or loving? Would you be fighting for the underdog, or just fighting in general?

Those who have suffered a sudden loss understand what I mean.

Sadly, there are many of us who understand the profound gut kick of a loved one’s sudden death.  To be honest, during the writing of this very piece, a friend of mine from high school lost her husband. I’m still debating about publishing this, out of respect to my friend Amy.

Then I quietly wonder–would it be more respectful to also honor her husband David? Would it be more insensitive to remain silent, and ignore the profound suffering she is going through?

I have been planning this piece ever since we lost Trey, so would it be fair to his memory, and the suffering of my husband, to withhold it?

I don’t know, yet.

The arch in my life has turned, you see. I’m on the other side.

I don’t expect many more invitations to baby showers, unless I’m there with the grandmothers.

My mail will no longer be filled with invitations to the engagement parties of my peers, or requests to be someone’s bridesmaid.

The wheel of my life is turning, so I’ll now be attending more funerals, instead of weddings. My husband and I will quietly share memories of people who mattered to us, instead of talking about the new babies of our peers. We will, more often than we used to, be startled by the deaths of the people we love.

My overwhelming urge during this new part of my life is to hug close people like my friend Amy, because despite my fluidity with words–I don’t have anything to say that will make things better for her.

I want to gather–physically gather–the people I love, and look them deeply in the eyes.

“Do you know how magnificent you are?” I want to say. “Do you have any idea how much you bring to the world, and the difference you have made to me?”

Yet the bills come due. The wearying responsibilities and expectations of life continue to crowd into my day, and cut into the time I have to spend with those I cherish.

Somehow, I must learn to juggle this new social calendar of sorrow. I must continue to promote in all forms available to me the messages of kindness, patience and respect. I must learn how to welcome this new phase of my life, because I see how it can be richer, and intensely more genuine, as I get rid of the things to make room for the people.

So today…while grieving the deaths of now two friends…I will be gentle.

I will save the cookie cutter, trite phrases that many share in times such as this, simply because we don’t know what else to say.

Instead, I will offer compassion. Not only to my friend Amy, but to those who loved her husband, David.

I’ll share tenderness. Not just with my grieving husband, who so genuinely misses his friend Trey, but with the others who knew and loved that kind man.

I’ll offer encouragement, to all of us, who are either in this phase of life, or know it is awaiting us in the hazy distance.

Because life is tough, Friends.

So in all things–be kind.

No matter what–be kind.

It’s really our only defense in this world of uncertainty.

Blessings.

***Subscribe to receive your free TeamJeffers Life Balance Wheel, a monthly tool you can download to help manage a healthy work-life balance. ***

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**Chanler Jeffers has seen many extraordinary things over her lifetime. An adventurer, survivor, overachiever and advocate of kindness in all instances, she has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), and is a member of their Circle of Champions. She has had the good fortune to live and travel all over the world, grew up as a military dependent and was a single parent for many years. She has survived cancer, and gently shaped countless people over her years on this little planet we call home. Follow along as she shares her knowledge, her experience and her love. Oh, by the way–one more thing. She’s married to a Bass playing rock star, lucky girl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

how to increase self image

How to Increase Self Image–5 Tips to Loving Yourself More

Remember being a child? It was easy to be cheerful back then. You could mix and match clothes with abandon. You could have messy hair, peanut butter on your face and skinned knees. No one really cared about all of that too much–they laughed with delight at you, and the happiness you brought them.  Over time though, you were shaped.

 messy childSome of this molding was good.

You learned right from wrong, and social skills such as how to introduce yourself.

Others taught you the value of work, play and balance.

You developed an appreciation for family, community and country.

Overall, you became a pretty decent human being.

But then there were the bad lessons.

You know…the negative things you were told, all focused on the things you can’t change about yourself.schoolgirl

Things like gender, race or age.

Lessons that told you girls aren’t good at math, and boys always have to be tough.

Messages that skin color has something to do with anything.

Lessons that  older people need to move out-of-the-way for younger ones, because their work somehow less value.

This is why we can get stuck in life.

We have competing messages in the hard-wiring of our minds and souls.

On the one hand, we know we have value, and can make others happy simply by being part of their lives.

We understand we’re part of a greater community, and can contribute to the well-being of those around us.

cowboyBut…maybe we’re not as smart as we thought we were.

Or maybe we’re not supposed to show compassion when we’re upset at the plight of                                            another.

We’re supposed to be ‘tough’, remember?

All of these competing messages wear you down, and dilute the power you have to make the world better place.

They’ll make you hesitate, instead of act, because you don’t really believe you can make a difference.

The bad messages you’ve learned will eventually overtake the good ones, because fear and inertia will take root in your soul.

Don’t let this happen to you, okay? You’re better than that.

Here’s how to increase self image, if you have lost a sense of your true value.

I’m telling you in advance: it won’t be easy. Society is too noisy right now, and negativity rampages across all of our platforms.

Sadly, negativity makes more money than other outlooks, so it’s taken over everywhere.

But you can beat it.

Step One: Cut out as much of the media as you can.                                                        

Commercials, talk shows, new programs–all of them will tell you something is wrong with   you.  cell phone

They’ll say you are too heavy, too old, too unattractive, too unorganized, too poor, too something.

Pssst–it’s because they want you to buy something.

A cream, a program, a service–they’re telling you that something about you is bad, and what they offer will make you good.

Turn it off. Seriously–turn it off.

Step Two: Stop comparing yourself to other people.

Whether its people you know in real life, or people you want to know in real life–stop comparing yourself to them, because every single one of us is different.

We each have different skills, goals and capabilities.

Here’s a personal example.

I remember crying one day in Kindergarten because I couldn’t draw a triangle.

Seriously. It just wouldn’t come out of my fingers, no matter how hard I tried. All around me, kids were zipping off their triangles, and then racing off to recess. Meanwhile, I couldn’t go until I made my triangle, and I ended up crying with frustration. Drawing triangles just wasn’t my thing.

However.

I can rapidly string a collection of words together– that out of nowhere–will make you burst into tears.

My gift is with words, not triangles.

Stop crying about the triangles you can’t make in your own life, and give us more of your special gift, whatever it is.

That’s what we need more of.

Honestly. The world has enough triangles.

Step Three: Look at old pictures of yourself.

college
This is an old photo taken of me during college that I treasure.

Yup. This is super-cheesy.

Here’s the thing, though.

Remember that messy kid with peanut-butter, and clothes that didn’t match?

Probably not.

You should, though.

That’s the free-spirited, inner-magic-making person we need more of.

I have a photo of myself from college that I keep on a bulletin board near where I write.

It reminds me of the optimism I felt back then.

When I look at this picture, I immediately recall my late-night study sessions, part-time jobs, and clumsy entry into adulthood.

I remember being surrounded by people who held me accountable for goals, gave me benchmarks to mark my progress, and mentors who told me my potential was unlimited.

No wonder my smile is so big in this picture.

Go find your own picture from the past.

Find a picture that makes you feel good about yourself, and reminds you that your potential is unlimited, too.

Then put it up, and look at it regularly.

Gosh, you’re beautiful…

Step Four: List all of the drama you’ve survived.

Seriously–sit down with a cup of coffee and a notepad.

Write down all of the things you’ve survived.

Stuff like your divorce. Did you think you’d ever get through it? Remind yourself of your bankruptcy, layoff, medical crisis, kid in rehab–all of the things where Life kicked at you, but you kicked back.

And you won.

Put all of this ugliness down on a piece of paper, and marvel–seriously marvel–at this incredible list of drama you’ve survived.

You’re incredible, You.

 

Step Five: Look at the people around you.
friends

Because they love you.

Your spouse, your children, your coworkers, your friends–others care for you a great deal,                               even if they don’t tell it to you enough.

You provide them with something they can’t get from anyone else in this whole, wide world.

 

For just this moment–absorb every bit of love being sent to you from around the world.

It’s yours, Friend.

Isn’t is awesome?

Life is harder than it should be, huh?

It’s really easy to be ugly to people.

It’s easiest, though–to be ugly to ourselves.

This minute–stop your negative self-talk, because you are a beautiful, valuable and

powerful human being.

You may not like where you are in life right now, and that’s perfectly okay.Renovation

We’re all on a journey of personal evolution, so we can’t mark our progress by

looking at the paths of others.

Instead, we have to focus on our own goal. Then take a deep breath, put on a big smile and keep

putting one foot after the other, until we get there.

Wherever that is.

I’d love to hear where you are headed. Please feel free to leave a note below, and then remember to

subscribe, so we can stay connected.

Blessings!

 

You may also enjoy:

Telescope Use When Studying Your Soul

Self-Esteem Help:  Keeping Your Eyes on Your Own Paper

Social Media Stinks and the Internet Has Changed Us

 

***Subscribe to receive your free TeamJeffers Life Balance Wheel, a monthly tool you can download to help manage a healthy work-life balance. ***

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

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**Chanler Jeffers has seen many extraordinary things over her lifetime. An adventurer, survivor, overachiever and advocate of kindness in all instances, she has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), and is a member of their Circle of Champions. She has had the good fortune to live and travel all over the world, grew up as a military dependent and was a single parent for many years. She has survived cancer, and gently shaped countless people over her years on this little planet we call home. Follow along as she shares her knowledge, her experience and her love. Oh, by the way–one more thing. She’s married to a Bass playing rock star, lucky girl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Want a Career Change

“I Want a Career Change”–Your Struggle is Real, Friend

 

Many people I know feel stuck at work. Young people, midlife people, professionals and hourly workers–tons of us feel like we’re on an endless treadmill from our job to our sofa, with no life in between. I regularly hear things like, “I want a career change”, or “Man, I’ve gotta find another job!” both from people I know, and people I meet. Feeling like you’re stuck is very discouraging, really–especially for those of us in midlife.

treadmill

When you’re young, it’s much easier to start things over.

You have less time invested in a given industry, and new workplaces will see you with more latitude. Your skills are still being defined, so people are more willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, and place you in jobs where you don’t have much experience.

It’s harder once you get a few years of work experience behind you, though.

You have become known for something over the years–Sales, Administration, Human Resources, whatever–so wanting to branch out becomes more difficult. If, like many Americans, you are an older worker looking for a job, it’s even harder to change your career.

So what to do?

I found a brilliant article I want to share with you.

It’s by Dana Rousmaniere, and was published in the Harvard Business Review. Titled What to Do If You Feel Stuck in the Wrong Career”it offers sound advice from Patty McCord, who headed up HR at Netflix for many years. Seriously–it offers tons of encouragement, as well as a healthy dose of solid thinking about our changing job market. It’s a good read for both older and younger workers who find themselves dissatisfied with their work lives.

Okay, I’ll read it. Forget about my work life, though–what about my real life?father with child

Ah, yes–the ol’ work/life balance struggle. I know it well. Regrettably, no matter where you work, your job will take away from the time you have with friends and family. I wish I could change this, really I do–but this is something we all have to struggle with.

To help you, I’ve found a list of books on work life balance. Any of them will be a good resource to help you learn more about navigating positive changes in your time management.

Thanks for all that, but I want to hear from TeamJeffers.

Aw, thanks, Friend. I love you, too! In bullet form, here are ways I personally suggest to get a better handle on things.

  • Make lists of tasks–both personal and professional. This will narrow down the clutter. If you’re struggling at work, everyday tasks can become overwhelming. Put things down on paper, so they can be managed more easily.
  • Get up out of bed earlier. Seriously–even just ten minutes. You’re sending a message to your brain that you are in charge of your day. Enough racing around spilling coffee while trying to find your earrings.time management
  • Drink more water, eat better food and get your body moving. (Mom’s already telling you this, right?)
  • TURN OFF THE TELEVISION. Seriously–we’ve had this talk. Read a book (even better–write one, because I know you’ve always wanted to), go for a walk, take cupcakes to a senior–do something to get moving and thinking about your time on this beautiful planet.
  • Drill down and find out what matters to you in life. Here’s an article I wrote awhile ago to help you do just that. Time passes more quickly as our life advances,so don’t waste anymore of it, okay?
  • Seek counsel. Find a friend, talk to your spouse, set up an appointment with clergy or a mental health professional–talk to someone, and get an outsiders perspective. Things probably aren’t as bad as they seem, and your job may be better than you think.
  • Be kind to yourself. Seriously–if you’re unhappy at work, it can easily filter down to other parts of your life. Stop comparing yourself, your job or your life to anyone else. You are a unique and vibrant person. Your journey has merit. Be proud of the work you have done, and stop taking away from your own accomplishments.
  • Be kind to others. The world is broken, yes–but you can help fix it. Here’s how to get started, if you need some ideas.
  • Remember to laugh. A lot, especially at yourself. I know that can be hard, but remember you are more than your job title, so have some fun.

What if you’re still saying, “I want a career change”?

Then make it happen. Quit whining, Sport–and find a new career. Yes–this will be very uncomfortable. You may have to go back to school, or start somewhere at entry-level. There may be awkward conversations ahead with former co-workers about the dramatic deceleration in your career, or you might have to fight back feelings of jealousy when you see others around you advance. Very realistically, you may cripple your earning power. There may be lots of painful changes if you change tracks midway.

But here’s the thing: you only get one shot at this thing called Life.

Every day you’re up and at it–you have the power to make a difference. You are a beautiful, creative creature. You bring untold gifts, talents and magic to our world.

We need those things, Friend. All of them.

If you’re just cubicle pew fodder in an office somewhere, you’re probably stifling the purpose for which you were created.

Isn’t that a heartbreaking thought?…

Friend–only you can make the choice to stay put, or dive into the deep end of life. Don’t be stupid–you still have to provide for yourself and those around you. I totally get that.

But there is more to life than the cubicle. life

And–it’s waiting. I encourage you to start looking for it. Are you brave enough to start the search?…

I’d love to hear your thoughts, so feel free to comment below. Also, please remember to subscribe, so we can stay connected.

Blessings!

***Subscribe to receive your free TeamJeffers Life Balance Wheel, a monthly tool you can download to help manage a healthy work-life balance. ***

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**Chanler Jeffers has seen many extraordinary things over her lifetime. An adventurer, survivor, overachiever and advocate of kindness in all instances, she has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), and is a member of their Circle of Champions. She has had the good fortune to live and travel all over the world, grew up as a military dependent and was a single parent for many years. She has survived cancer, and gently shaped countless people over her years on this little planet we call home. Follow along as she shares her knowledge, her experience and her love. Oh, by the way–one more thing. She’s married to a Bass playing rock star, lucky girl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

looking for friends

Looking for Friends Gets Harder In Life, But It’s OK.

I bet, if I asked, you could tell me about your best friend in elementary school. You could tell me all about this person, and why the two of you were close. I’d most likely hear about fun times you had, and many things you did together. Are you still close to this person, though? Are you still connected? Possibly, but more likely than not,  memories are all you have, not a current friendship. Sadly, I’ve found that looking for friends becomes becomes harder to do as life goes on.

chalk

 

My first best friend when I was younger was  named Leslie. She lived around the corner, and we had countless sleepovers and play dates. Then she moved, and we lost touch. Life continued on, and while in high school I picked up many of the friendships I maintain to this day. During the chaos of recent months, I’ve found myself leaning more heavily on my high school friendships. This is a good thing though, and here’s why.

Your chances to connect with people on a personal level are harder to find as you adopt more responsibility in life.

Once you become an adult, you spend more time at work than anyplace else. It becomes easy to let people in your office setting fill your natural need for friendship. They may or may not share personal interests with you, but since you’re surrounded by them all day, they become your friends.

This isn’t always a good idea.

Boundaries easily get blurred at work. Your workmates might hear about your family dramas, snark sessions regarding the boss, complaints about terrible customers–all sorts of things you should probably leave unsaid. People get confused, though. By spending so much time together, it’s easy to spill your guts, and feel  a false sense of intimacy with each other.

Oversharing leaves you vulnerable to office politics, changes in leadership and jealousy from coworkers. Regrettably, our workplaces are becoming more and more competitive, so keeping your personal life more private is a wiser business movoffice friendse.

 

Be kind, be friendly, be helpful and resourceful at work–but don’t be the one without boundaries. Don’t be fooled into a false sense of friendship with the people you work with, because things could easily change.

By investing too heavily in work relationships, you could be left without friends if things ever evolve in your employment status.

This is something I noticed in my own life.

I’ve been pretty public about my transition out of the traditional work force. I used to have a solid core of people I considered to be  friends, but when I left my workplace, I stopped hearing from any of them. 

This was a painful transition, to be honest. I was startled by how little these people seemed to care about me, when for years, our daily interactions seemed to be so solid.  Their lack of interest was painful, since we had been so connected when sitting by side by side.

Many of these were friendships, it turns out, were friendships of convenience.

They were relationships based upon proximity, just like my relationship with Leslie was all of those years ago. Once I left the geography of our workplace, I wasn’t part of the stream that connected all of us, so I became irrelevant.

Gently examine your own list of friends, and see if they come from your job, or your life. You know–your real life–the one that doesn’t change once your paycheck does.

 One of the changes you’ll discover as you age is that fewer people matter to you. 

Getting older has helped me crystallize what really matters most. People now matter to me more than things, and the friendships from my past have become incredibly important. These friendships were formed before my days in the cubicle, and came out of my passions, not my work. So the girls I played high school tennis with, the kids I spent hours with in the auditorium during play rehearsal–these are the friendships I now cherish, because they are based upon my passions.

As my long-term friends and I age together, we enjoy a common bond based upon our hearts–not our paychecks. Our shared memories connect us into a solid community of people. 

old friends

We cheer each other on through health issues, job losses, the deaths of our spouses and children–all the things that affect us as human beings, not corporate workers.

Because my friendship circle is becoming smaller, it’s becoming stronger. As I drop the people from my life who are part of my ‘geographical friendship’ list, I’m bringing closer the people who know me for my soul, not my earning power.

This is a refreshing change for me, and very liberating.

I’m not the only person who thinks this way.

Sharon Greenthal, a fellow blogger I’ve discovered, did a post called ‘What Does Midlife Really Mean’. Here’s a sentence from her article that really caught my attention: “For many at midlife, being part of a crowd isn’t nearly as important as having a few meaningful, deep relationships to sustain them.”

Yes. This is exactly what I’m talking about.

During midlife, we decide the people around us must be good people. We’re tired of fake, we’re tired of backstabbing and we’re tired of office politics. We recognize our friends must be closely aligned to what we want in life, because our time has become more limited.

Midlifers recognize conversations of the heart are more important than gossip sessions in the break room. We treasure the people who remember our young ambitions, and offer only polite nods to those more interested in our resume.

Looking for friends as we get older may be as simple as looking back, not just ahead.

No matter where you are in life, I encourage you to tenderly examine your list of friends.

Stop thinking your solid friendships are with the people you work with. Seek instead people who love you for your heart’s desires, no matter your age. Join book clubs, or adult sports teams. Volunteer for issues you care about about. Track down people on Facebook you haven’t spoken to in years. Yes, I agree–you may find a true friend in your office, but chances are–that relationship will go away once the job does.

Look instead, for people outside of the office, who really love you for you. Reignite some of your old relationships. Connect with people who share some of your personal history. Then– tell me all about it. I’d love to hear you tracked down an old friend, or even renewed a romantic relationship.

There’s room below to leave your note, and please remember to subscribe, so we can stay connected.

Blessings!

***Subscribe to receive your free TeamJeffers Life Balance Wheel, a monthly tool you can download to help manage a healthy work-life balance. ***

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**Chanler Jeffers has seen many extraordinary things over her lifetime. An adventurer, survivor, overachiever and advocate of kindness in all instances, she has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), and is a member of their Circle of Champions. She has had the good fortune to live and travel all over the world, grew up as a military dependent and was a single parent for many years. She has survived cancer, and gently shaped countless people over her years on this little planet we call home. Follow along as she shares her knowledge, her experience and her love. Oh, by the way–one more thing. She’s married to a Bass playing rock star, lucky girl.

 

 

survival guide

Survival Guide for Our Changing World

It’s happened again. Another police shooting. So the headlines are screaming, the nation is in mourning, the fear is intensifying and everything around us continues to unwind. Both our nation and our world are dangerously turbulent. It’s scary, Friend. For all of us. Because there seem to be no rules anymore, and no one is sure what’s ahead. We all assume it’s more violence and chaos, and that’s horrifying, since we are better than this. Genuinely, Friend–we are better than this. In response, I’ve created a survival guide for our changing world. Not the kind that tells you how to live in the mountains somewhere, off the grid. This survival guide will tell you how to stay firmly a part of things, because we need you, right here. Making a positive difference.

First things first: cut down on screen time.

Whether its social media, or big media, most of what’s being published right now is inflammatory. People are afraid, so rumors are spreading, and emotions are being widely shared. Rants, fights, videos of violence–all of this is zipping across our universe with incredible ease. People who feel angry and victimized are shouting through their fingertips, and arguments are starting among strangers. These arguments are getting shared and commented upon by thousands. As if that weren’t enough, extreme views are now easily broadcast through things like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. So an obscure nutjob can gain not only credibility but exposure, which starts the cycle all over again.

Here’s the answer: cut down on your screen time, Friends. Turn it off. Tune it out. Stop clicking, sharing and commenting. Unfollow people who incite any kind of anxiety or anger in you. Whether they are national figures or your neighbor next door–stop listening to the things that upset you.

Selectively choose a minimum number of news sources to stay posted on necessary updates, and ignore the rest.

I am not telling you to completely unplug. Our world has become incredibly electronic and interconnected, so staying part of the feed is necessary. You just have to find a balance. Find news sources you trust, which align to your world view, and then just scan headlines. You’ll know what’s going on, you’ll  be made aware of major events, but you won’t be dragged into the minutiae. News outlets make money based upon how long you’re on their site. This is a metric they share with their advertisers, to determine advertising rates. The longer a viewer is on their site, the more money they can charge. So they will do anything they can to draw you in, and keep you online. Watching, listening or whatever it is–they want to keep you there. Stop giving them this power over you. Learn enough to empower you and the decisions you make for your family, but not so much that you are overwhelmed or weakened by the things you learn.

Stop over sharing.

Whether it’s information about your family’s activities, location, photos or everyday life–pay attention to your boundaries. Yes–it’s great to connect with people. That’s one of the beauties of our modern world. Not everyone is so user-friendly, however. Don’t be paranoid, be aware.

 Do whatever makes sense, in your situation, to help your family feel safe.

This will vary widely among families. There are no hard and fast rules about this, but it’s a critical step. Some families might want to change locks and take self-defense courses. Others might want to set up regular family prayer times. Still others might want to have Disney marathons with pizza, and everyone cuddling on the couch. There are no limits, because every family is unique. Just do something that fits your family’s situation to establish a sense of unity, safety and cohesiveness. Keep connected as a unit, know you’re a team, and feel the safety you offer each other through both physical and emotional support.

Reach out to the people you love.

We should never be too busy for the people who matter most to us, but many times–we are. Our digital world has taken over so thoroughly, that many times–we don’t connect in a real way. Use your voice, Friend–your real voice. Pick up the phone, meet in person for a coffee–make time to look the person you love in the eye. It’s become incredibly easy to feel isolated, because we lack a great deal of genuine interaction in today’s world. You have to make genuine connection a priority. This will help you feel stronger and safer, and is a powerful part of a successful survival guide.

Stop reacting to everything.

Remember–those sneaky advertising rates are lurking in the background–so headlines are designed to draw you in, and keep you there. By reacting, to anything, you’re giving yourself the chance to get wrapped up emotionally in something that really has nothing to do with you. Every time you react, you’re taking the focus off of the things in your life that genuinely matter, and giving it to the things that don’t. Stop buying in to the panic, the manufactured celebrity dramas, the situations taking place thousands of miles away from you and the things over which you have no control. These things will corrode your soul like battery acid. Instead, reduce your focus, reduce your concerns and let go of the things that don’t genuinely concern you.

Pause. Always–pause.

Pause before you speak. Pause before you click. Pause before you react. Decide, before it comes out of your mouth or your fingers, if it will help. If it won’t–don’t share it. Whatever it is, just pause, and let it go. If every single one of us committed to being more responsible about the things that we say and share, we’d have a great start to cleaning up the mess that is our current world. We no longer seem to have either filters or boundaries, and to have lost a great deal of respect for each other. This has to change. So pause. Before everything–pause. Evaluate what you want to say or do, and then proceed with the gentle conviction that what you are contributing will help create positive change. If it’s not going to help in some way, then stop.

Remember what your mama said? “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”.

Let’s all start that back up, shall we?

Be aware but not paranoid.

Shootings are happening in random places, terrorist attacks are happening all over the world and everywhere you look–you see mayhem.

Stop looking so intently, Friend. Yes–be aware of what is happening around the world. Yes, understand that the world has changed significantly over the years, and things are dangerous in ways they never were before.

However.

The world is still beautiful.

There are still many, many good people among us.

The sun still arches overhead every morning, and not a single star in the sky has moved.

Here’s a little trick I have when things become overwhelming: I look at the moon. I’ve been all over the world–literally–even to Africa–but the moon has always looked exactly the same, no matter where I’ve been.

So tonight, go look at the moon. It’s exactly the same moon you looked at when you were a child. Then remember this: every single person alive sees the same moon you do, no matter who they are, or where they live on our beautiful planet.

We are all connected by our humanity, despite everything that’s going on.

Isn’t that amazing perspective?

Actively fight your feelings of fear.

Draw close the people around you who matter. Speak, often and lovingly, to the people who are good. Eat well, exercise, get plenty of sleep–do all of the things you know to do to stay healthy. You are an important, vital part of our world, and we need you. You have to take care of yourself physically if you are going to survive the stress that has become part of modern life. We are on high alert more often than not, and making sure you are physically healthy is an important part of any survival guide. If it all gets to be too much, ask for help. Seek a counselor, pastor or doctor if necessary–there’s no shame in taking care of yourself in our world gone mad.

Look at it from another point of view.

Our world, and our nation, is splintering. Everyone is shouting their own point of view. Everyone wants to be heard. Everyone feels they are right. Here’s the thing: some part of almost every argument is right. Even the most outlandish viewpoint has to start from a basic that is shared by many. So work to find that starting point, and try to see it from the other side’s point of view. Try to understand the other person’s perspective. Agree to disagree, respect the differences that add vibrant texture to the beauty of our world, and operate from a place of gratitude instead of anger. Understand we will never all think the same way, and that’s okay. We don’t need to. We just need to treat one another with courtesy, grace and respect.

Be grateful.

Be thankful for the good you see around you. Some of it is big–you have a roof over your head, you have money to feed your family with and you have people who love you. These things are of epic importance, and not to be taken lightly. There’s more, though. The way the light shines on a child’s hair. The way your loved one silently sits next to you in the quiet of the evening, as the day is winding down. The way the breeze feels on your cheek. These are all tiny blessings, and we forget them.

We shouldn’t. Instead, we should celebrate them. We should magnify their importance. We should pay attention to them, instead of the poison and fear we are surrounded by.

Be thankful, deeply thankful, for what is good in the world. Whether it is big or small, any light in this broken world is a gift, and needs to be celebrated. Too many people miss the beauty because their complaints are too loud.

So be still. Be quiet. And be thankful.

This survival guide is just a start.

A tiny start, to address a huge problem.

And it’s not comprehensive, because there’s no way it could be.

I hope, in this broken world, it has given you a moment’s pause. A bit of comfort, re-orientation and renewed perspective.

Every single one of us has more control than we feel. Each one of us can affect the people around us in positive ways, and individually make a tiny difference in the world.

That is my challenge to you, Friend.

Go forth with gentle courage, fearless kindness and tender optimism.

Be a light in the darkness, and a voice to the powerless.

I’d love to hear your suggestions to add to this survival guide. Please feel free to comment below, and please remember to subscribe, so we can stay connected.

Be well, Friend. We’re going to make it.

Blessings.

***Subscribe to receive your free TeamJeffers Life Balance Wheel, a monthly tool you can download to help manage a healthy work-life balance. ***

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**Chanler Jeffers has seen many extraordinary things over her lifetime. An adventurer, survivor, overachiever and advocate of kindness in all instances, she has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), and is a member of their Circle of Champions. She has had the good fortune to live and travel all over the world, grew up as a military dependent and was a single parent for many years. She has survived cancer, and gently shaped countless people over her years on this little planet we call home. Follow along as she shares her knowledge, her experience and her love. Oh, by the way–one more thing. She’s married to a Bass playing rock star, lucky girl.

 

 

 

 

 

goal setter quiet introvert happy birthday

Goal Setter & Quiet Introvert: Happy Birthday to Me

 

Hello, Friends. What a year it’s been. I started this journey exactly a year ago today, when I released my tiny book, The Little Bottle: A Bedtime Story for Grownups”.  In the year since, I’ve gone viral on the Huffington Post, been featured on the BlogHer network, developed a crew of small but fiercely devoted readers and taught myself an entirely new industry. Not bad. It’s not enough, though. For a goal setter and quiet introvert such as myself, there are so many more things I want to accomplish.

I can’t help, on this anniversary of my birth, to look back at how far I’ve come. 

Normally I look forward, because setting goals is pretty much what keeps me going. I love having things to look forward to, and tangible milestones that measure my time spent on the planet. Because of my introversion though, I’m usually very quiet about what those goals are. I’ll have a template in my mind for what success will look like to me, and then I’ll figure out how to make it happen. When my goal is met, I’ll quietly check it off in my mind, and then move on to the next thing. Being on Huffington was a big goal for me; going viral was an unexpected and very welcome bonus.

Are you ready for some candor? My life has been extraordinarily difficult. I’ve had to overcome many things that others couldn’t imagine. I’m not complaining about this though, or denying that you have suffered, too–I’m just quietly observing the path I’ve traveled. Over the past several weeks, memories have quietly slipped into my mind of things I’ve survived. People I’ve met, places I’ve lived–the past has gently invaded my present, to remind me of things from long ago. I’ve remembered times of fear, of loneliness, of loss–opportunities to get swamped by the horrors of our broken world. I’ve made it, though. Not sure why, but I’ve made it. So today, on the 51st anniversary of my entry into the world, I allow myself to look at the overall picture, and not just the goals I have for the future. Here are some truth bombs.

Being a goal setter can be exhausting.

People sometimes don’t understand the focus necessary. They sometimes don’t ‘get’ the devotion, the work, the behind-the-scenes stuff that is required to make your goals happen. Or–they mistake your dedication for something else, because they don’t understand what you’re doing. Tough. We need your magic, Friend. You were created for something specific. You have gifts, you have talents, you have passions–you are a unique individual with something to share. So whatever it is–share it. Make it happen. Turn off the noise, turn away from the distractions–show us why you’re here. We need you.

Being an introvert is a mixed blessing.

I have trouble speaking out loud. Not because of any physiological deficit–my vocal chords work just fine. I just…don’t like to talk. I prefer to listen. I prefer to observe. I prefer to sit quietly, and think. This doesn’t make sense in our world. Our world, especially now, is based upon input and attention. People are rewarded for being noticed. People are expected to not only have an opinion, but to share it–frequently and loudly. I prefer to not say anything around others, and my ‘voice’ comes out of my fingers,instead of my mouth. This imbalance is difficult though, for those who are around me in real life. It’s really only a reward for those who know me solely through my essays and articles.

We mostly suck as people.

In my year of writing, I’ve worked like mad to change things. I’ve written thousands of words to encourage, to inspire and to change. Obviously, we’re still terrible to each other, and most likely always will be. I avoid the news as much as possible, because I’m frequently torn down emotionally by reports of abuse, violence, downright stupidity and excess. I find our media makes it easy to lose faith in both our systems and people, and narrowing my focus is necessary to keep my voice pure. My goal is to develop kindness and encouragement in the world, and it’s hard to do if I listen to the garbage around me. So I don’t. You shouldn’t either. Turn off the news, Friend. Shut down the drama. They’re just trying to reach into your wallet with all that crap anyway–you know that, right?

I’m disappointed.

I’m disappointed in my life, in my career, in our nation and in our world. As a child, I had an extremely vivid imagination. I spent hours alone, telling myself stories about the trees and animals around me. I named the birds I saw, I read everything I could get my hands on, and had a vivid play life with dolls. I had an inherent appreciation for the magic in the world around me, and a strong belief that it was a beautiful place. I still operate this way, but it’s getting harder. I require time alone, especially outside, to recapture this sense of balance, and sometimes fight to retain my childish optimism. I’m often disappointed that we are so ugly to one another on such a regular basis, because our beautiful world doesn’t deserve this kind of treatment.

I don’t like how our world is changing.

I don’t like that we send thousands of our best young men and women to foreign lands, where they are blown to pieces, and then often ignored once they come back home to us. I don’t like that politicians from every side shout at each other for media attention, and then lie to us on a regular basis. I don’t like that many young people today look for the easiest ways to make the most money, and don’t find merit in jobs that aren’t glamorous, or based upon social media. I don’t like that my value as a worker or as a woman declines each day that I live, because youth is considered a virtue instead of a circumstance. I don’t like that respect, for anything, is out of favor. Respect for flag, uniform, authority, institution, experience–respect is an old school virtue, and I’m starting to miss it in our world.

I often struggle more than you know.

I regularly hide my personal struggles in my work, because the world has enough sadness. My goal in carving out this space is to provide you, My Beloved Reader, with an oasis of encouragement and tranquility. A place to bring me your own difficult experiences and disappointments, and leave our time together uplifted. In real life, though–I need the encouragement I provide as much as you do. Funny, huh?

And now the swing–we’re somehow gonna make it.

Human nature is resilient, and things going wrong in your personal life are not often not as bad as they seem. To survive, you must intentionally gather people close around you. People who love you, people who ‘get’ you, and people who are also having a tough time. To survive, you must create a community of people to share things with, both good and bad. You have to dive deep into your heart, and figure out what really matters most to you. Then you have to focus on that. 

You have a limited time on the planet Friend, so stop wasting it on crap.

Put down the remote, open the window and look outside. There are trees, birds, clouds–an entire galaxy is waiting beyond the Kardashian’s yoga pants, but you have to be willing to see them. Take it from a goal setter and quiet introvert–the outside noise can kill you, so you must stop listening.

I’m proud of me.

Others may be not be though, because I’ve often been told my potential has been wasted. I’ve been told that I could have been more, done more or reached higher levels of success. It hurts to hear those things, and even more sadly– I’ve sometimes thought them myself. (You know–that whole goal setter thing). However–I’m here. I’ve made it. I’m standing, when many others around me have fallen.

I’m unhappy with our new world, but I’m figuring it out.

Yes–I’m working three menial part-time jobs. My heart aches every moment I’m clocked in at them. I’m spoken to rudely by people half my age in real life, and treated in ways that are completely demeaning. Both by my coworkers, and the general public.

All of this hurts, and sometimes I cry. However, the words silently streaming from my fingers when I’m home are being read, and then shared, across continents.  This has to matter. Somehow, this has to matter.

Yes–I have more goals. Lots of them. I won’t list them here, because that’s not my style. I’m afraid though, that I will be stuck in this hell of crappy part-time jobs for the rest of my life. I’m afraid I will age in place as children continue to yell at me. I’m afraid my goals won’t be reached, and my voice won’t make a difference, after all. I want to continue offering you loving truth, positive encouragement and the oasis of tranquility we talked about a minute ago.

I want to reach even more people, and further develop our TeamJeffers community. My hope is that you find merit in my work, and will continue to share it, and then invite others to subscribe, because this site part of my community to draw upon, for support and encouragement. Thank you in advance for helping me further develop TeamJeffers.

Being a goal setter and quiet introvert is really all I know how to do.

So…I will continue to do it, to the best of my ability. I will enter my 51st year with a strong appreciation of my broken and battered past. I will open my heart and mind to the possibilities for my tomorrows, and hope for more of the magic I believe is possible in the world. I will recognize I can’t fix everything, but still try to fix some of it. I will try to keep for myself some of the gentleness and love I regularly give out to others, because I need these things more than you know. I will continue to believe in the future I can see for me and my family, and put in the hard and necessary work required to get us there.

I will try to stand strong in the face of criticism about me and the things I hold dear, knowing that I’m doing the best I can in a world where rules no longer apply. I will continue to offer love to those who are bullied, lonely or sad, knowing that they also have value in our world that values appearance over substance. I will continue to appreciate the invisible more than the things that can be seen, and offer gentleness to all, despite how much it hurts when someone responds to me with force.

Finally–softly, quietly and tenderly–I will marvel at the incredible site I have created out of nothing.

I will gently wonder at the changes made all around the globe, because of words I have quietly crafted. I will recall the hours I’ve spent hiding behind my locked door, as I silently typed out words of strength and love to those who might not otherwise get them. And finally–I will continue to believe. In myself, in you, and in us.

Yes. Indeed, World.

Happy Birthday to me.

You haven’t broken me, yet.

Blessings. xo

***Subscribe to receive your free TeamJeffers Life Balance Wheel, a monthly tool you can download to help manage a healthy work-life balance. ***

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Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

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**Chanler Jeffers has seen many extraordinary things over her lifetime. An adventurer, survivor, overachiever and advocate of kindness in all instances, she has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), and is a member of their Circle of Champions. She has had the good fortune to live and travel all over the world, grew up as a military dependent and was a single parent for many years. She has survived cancer, and gently shaped countless people over her years on this little planet we call home. Follow along as she shares her knowledge, her experience and her love. Oh, by the way–one more thing. She’s married to a Bass playing rock star, lucky girl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

motherhood

Motherhood Won’t Go Away, Even When the Child Does

 

“Mama– I’m sleeping” came my daughter’s voice through the telephone. I accidentally woke her up the other morning, and magically–I was transported to an earlier time in my life. In that inexplicable moment, I felt my daughter’s tiny head tucked under my chin. Somehow I felt her little arms wrapped around me. I felt the silkiness of her hair against my neck, and the weight of her tiny body in my arms. And somehow I smelled her–that indefinable and extraordinarily beautiful mark of the child I created. She’s an adult now, but motherhood is still part of my DNA.

How do we do it, Friend? How do we create, from nothing, a vibrant human being, and then tenderly let that magnificent creature go? Once it’s time, how do we gently allow motherhood to take second place, and pick back up other pieces of our identity that have been slumbering over the years?

It’s hard to do, isn’t it? Motherhood somehow doesn’t go away, even when the child does.

I confess I sometimes struggle with this balance. Now that my child is an adult, I find myself gasping at moments of unexpected pain, when a memory, or a longing for some kind of do-over jumps out at me. Motherhood is one of the most powerful parts of my identity. I will never be able to let it go, even though it’s sometimes dormant. I will never be able to ignore the pull of my child’s voice, no matter how old she becomes. I will never stop being her mom, even though she has grown up.

Do you remember bringing your baby home, Friend? How terrifying it was? We drive away from our birthing experience without being given any kind of manual, instructions or warranty. We watch our partner as he silently bites the inside of his lip, constantly checking the mirror as he drives his new family home. Then we look back at the new human that came out of us, nestled like some sleepy little raisin in the car seat. Quietly, we wonder what we’ve gotten ourselves into. Once we’re home, we read, and re-read the instructions on everything baby-related, because we’re terrified of making a mistake. Suddenly–everyone’s schedules revolve around the sleepy raisin.

Then somehow the years race by, in an endless stream of demands and decisions. The profound is hidden by the relentless volume of life. One day we look up, and with a start–realize a beautiful adult is staring back at us. How does this happen? Where does the time go? What happened to our sleepy little raisin? I don’t know, Friend. I don’t know.

Right now, I find myself in the middle of things, because motherhood is no longer my primary role. I’ve realized it’s time for me to start changing my self-image, because I have to survive this new place in my life.

My baby is now managing the big and scary world on her own, and only occasionally asks for advice or guidance. My career has stalled,  and I am occasionally startled by sharp regrets about choices, decisions or unmet desires for my life. I recognize there’s now more time behind me than there is ahead, and it’s time to start prioritizing the things I want to accomplish. I find myself wanting to stay relevant, but unwilling to waste time on things that don’t matter. Painfully, I’m discovering I have fewer friends than I thought. It turns out I have plenty of acquaintances, but fewer friends. There’s a difference, and I’m learning that I have somehow surrounded myself with many people who care less about me than I care about them.

I’m learning our world values immediacy, youth and speed. There’s less respect now, for relationship, and more demand for results. My personal value of person over profit seems quaint by today’s standards, and I sometimes fight to feel a sense of worth  in today’s new marketplace. My accomplishments, all noble and legitimate, are now held up against my age and gender, and somehow aren’t enough to overcome the barriers I meet.

I struggle, in this new world, to find a place I am comfortable.

I fight to feel a sense of value and relevancy. My heart and mind compete with the lessons I was taught  as a young woman, and the messages I am now being given as an older one. I’m neither emotionally nor financially ready to retire into a rocking chair and watch the sunset, but confess that many days–doing so sounds delightful, simply because of how tired I am from fighting these battles.

I can’t find anyone to hire me full-time, and so instead–have three menial part-time jobs. Jobs where I come home bruised, exhausted and sad, because I know I am capable of more, and am spoken to by the public in ways that wound. My writing is my passion, and what keeps me going, but sadly–it hasn’t taken off the way I’d hoped. I continue to pour my heart and soul into it, though–because I can’t help but feel it must resonate with someone who has a path similar to mine. Someone who has different gifts, and can’t express him- or herself as easily, and could find comfort from reading my thoughts.

So I keep going.

I keep facing each morning with hope. I keep praying that I have mattered during the days I’ve lived, and gently wipe away tears on those that I want to quit. I wash my many uniforms, praying I won’t see someone I used to work with while clocked in at one of my menial jobs, and take it on the chin when someone I love causes me pain. I keep fighting for other women in my position, who also find themselves straddling the economy, motherhood and self-image, and like me, don’t know how to come out ahead.

I try hard not to compare my youthful expectations against my reality, because women my age were promised a great deal. Sadly, it seems that many of us put in all of the work, but haven’t been able to reap the rewards we were told would be waiting. We’re still fighting hard, but many of us are tiring.

Is there an answer to all of this? I hope so. In my own world, I will continue to write. I will continue to believe. I will continue to pause, reflect and pray for us all. I will draw my circle tighter, continue to treat all with respect and kindness, and face each day with optimism. I’m going to let myself feel the pain of my broken situation, though. My distress is both genuine and deserved. I won’t let it be silenced.

What about You, Friend?

Are you in a similar place? Have you recognized that things in your life are not as you might wish? I’m sorry. Will you please tell me your story? Each of us has our own beautiful journey, and it’s by drawing together we can find strength. Please share your thoughts in the comment section below, and then remember to subscribe, so we can stay connected. Do one of your friends a favor, and share this post, so others can benefit from the encouragement, too. We all have so much to learn from one another, and I’m willing to start the discussion, but people have to know this resource is available to them. Thank you in advance for making them aware.

And before you go, there’s one more important thing, Beautiful:

Life is tough. But you’re tougher.

Never forget it. 

Okay?…

Blessings.

***Subscribe to receive your free TeamJeffers Life Balance Wheel, a monthly tool you can download to help manage a healthy work-life balance. ***

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

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**Chanler Jeffers has seen many extraordinary things over her lifetime. An adventurer, survivor, overachiever and advocate of kindness in all instances, she has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), and is a member of their Circle of Champions. She has had the good fortune to live and travel all over the world, grew up as a military dependent and was a single parent for many years. She has survived cancer, and gently shaped countless people over her years on this little planet we call home. Follow along as she shares her knowledge, her experience and her love. Oh, by the way–one more thing. She’s married to a Bass playing rock star, lucky girl.

You may also enjoy:

“And Just Like That, They’re Gone”

“10 Ways to Survive Your Empty Nest”

“Do You Believe a Happiness Lie?”

 

 

 

3 Reasons Meg Ryan's Face is None of Our Business

3 Reasons Meg Ryan’s Face Is None of Our Business

Poor Meg Ryan. The other night, she did her hair, put on some lipstick, and went to a party. As a result, the internet blew up. Twitter went crazy with snarky comments about her appearance, and now there are lots of articles shouting, “What happened to Meg Ryan?”  People, really. Is this the best we can do? See…hours before Ms. Ryan destroyed Twitter simply by smiling, forty-nine people were shot to death at a nightclub.  Human beings suffered and died because of yet another act of terrorism on American soil, and our best response at the time seemed to be commenting about someone’s face, simply because the face in question didn’t look the way we wanted it to.

Are you kidding me, ‘Murica? I find three things madly objectionable about this entire situation, and I’m rolling up my sleeves, so get ready.

First. Meg Ryan’s Face is None of Our Business.

Just like anybody else’s face is none of our business. Especially in our current ‘do anything you like’ culture, where we’re told that people are allowed to pierce themselves, tattoo themselves, and otherwise modify themselves however they’d like. And it’s all cool. (You know–self-expression and all that). So a kid can wear jeans that drag on the ground, (so I can even see his underwear), and it’s okay. I’m supposed to accept it. A young woman can dye her hair green, ram a piece of metal through her lip, and it’s okay. I’m supposed to accept it. Ms. Ryan might have worked up the nerve to see a medical professional for some help against gravity, (although she says she hasn’t, so whatever) and all of a sudden, it’s the end of the world. Suddenly, everyone is allowed to bully her.

That’s wrong. We’re not allowed to bully Meg Ryan just because she is a famous woman who is getting older, any more than we are allowed to bully anyone else.

Online bullying is something everyone gets crazy about when you’re talking about high schoolers, but it seems to be okay when you’re talking about celebrities just going through life. But it’s not. Bullying is bullying. I don’t care your age, orientation, gender, whether you have droopy pants and green hair–whatever. That famous person you’re shredding online is still a human being, with deep value and genuine emotions. Sitting anonymously behind a computer screen in your underpants with chips and a beverage doesn’t give you the right to tear anyone else’s self-image down, simply because you think you’re being funny. You’re not. You’re being a harmful cyberbully, and you must stop. This is probably a good time to bring up Carrie Fisher, isn’t it? She had the nerve to age, too. When the last Star Wars movie came out, she also blew up the internet, and her haters pulled out bikini shots that were decades old from her first appearance as Princess Leia. This leads me to point two.

Just Because Meg Ryan is a Woman Doesn’t Mean She Can’t Age Like the Rest of Us.

Meg Ryan, Carrie Fisher and many other female celebrities magnify for us one of the double standards we not-famous women also have to wrestle with: women are penalized for the aging process. As we age, we find it harder to land jobs, while our male counterparts are not only recruited, but paid more as a reward for their ‘experience’. We have entire segments of the beauty industry dedicated to deny our aging process, while men are told they are becoming more ‘rugged’. The standard understanding is that women are replaced with ‘trophy wives’ as part of a man’s midlife crisis, because our sex appeal has gone away, not because he’s flaking out on a commitment he made years ago when our body parts were still perky. Listen here, Sparky–all of this is insulting. What this does is give  a women a shelf-life as a valuable human being, because she is suddenly being defined, essentially, by her skin. Whether it sags, whether it wrinkles, whether it’s bumpy with the stretch marks she earned by creating another human being–we as women get to a point where we are essentially defined simply by the appearance of our skin.

Ummmm….I thought you weren’t allowed to do that, right?… I thought we’re not supposed to define someone by the appearance of their skin?…

A woman’s skin, whether it’s droopy, wrinkled or dewy fresh as a newborn, simply encases the magic, the beauty and power of the individual woman living and breathing inside of it. Whether she has had a career, raised a family, or a combination of the two, the older woman you see has made an incredible impact upon the world, and defining her by crow’s-feet or laugh lines is terrible. IF a woman, (any woman, not just Meg Ryan), chooses to do anything with her skin–that’s her business. She can put cream into it, she can prevent it from tanning, she can see a medical professional and have it lifted–it’s her skin. Ideally, she will do these things because she wants to, not because our culture tells her she must. Which is where the bullying comes back in. Women are held to higher beauty standards, by both genders, and I’m saying we should know better. There’s so much more that we should focus on in the world than someone’s skin, and whether it’s wrinkled or not. Which leads me to point three.

Why Were You Worried About Meg Ryan’s Face While People Were Dying?

No lie. As Meg Ryan’s face was taking over Twitter, 49 members of the LGBT community were being slaughtered in an Orlando night club. Lemme say that again: people were dying from what has now been determined to be a domestic terror attack, and the biggest thing we could talk about at the time was Meg Ryan’s lips. AND–it wasn’t just the standard internet haters who regularly complain about everything who were commenting that night. I actually saw a comment that said, “I gay-gasped” in reference to Ms. Ryan’s face. Huh? This young fellow is part of the community being slaughtered while he typed, but he was more horrified by Meg Ryan’s appearance than by the shooting?…Seriously. This is messed up.

Listen ,’Murica–we must refocus on the things that matter.

We must buckle down as a nation, and figure things out. We are currently in the middle of a Presidential election that gives me complete gastric distress, and is the laughingstock of the world. We currently seem to be more interested in someone’s face than in human lives, and we currently seem to be more distracted by crap than we are in figuring out the substantial parts of being a decent human being. I have never met Meg Ryan, so I can’t speak for her, but if I were in her shoes, I’d not only be angry about the unnecessary bullying, I’d be seriously p.o.’d that it was taking over the seriousness of what happened in Orlando.

So What’s the Answer?

Same things as I always say. Operate out of a place of kindness–and show it to all people. Whatever a person looks like is just that–what the person looks like. Someone’s looks do not define their soul, their spirit or their intention. The biggest, scariest guy you could ever see may have a truly tender heart, and the dainty young lady you see could have a personality made of ice. It’s the inside of a person that matters–not the outside. A person who is aging has the same value as a person who is still young. A person who is female has the same value as the person who is male. A person who is famous has the same value as the person who is not. What matters is the inside, Friend.

So stop being bullies, and start paying attention to the important stuff. Start trying to make your mama proud (because she already taught you all of this–I know she did) instead of trying to be funny online. Start trying to be kind, instead of getting ‘like’ notifications from people you will never, ever meet.

This stuff matters, Friend.

It really matters. So please figure it out, okay?…

Blessings.

 

You may also enjoy:

‘I Don’t Have the Answers. But We Can Start With This’.

‘Why Coffee Creamer and Black Socks Made Me Cry

‘Turning Fifty as a Woman–What Wasn’t Meant to Be’

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**Chanler Jeffers has seen many extraordinary things over her lifetime. An adventurer, survivor, overachiever and advocate of kindness in all instances, she has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), and is a member of their Circle of Champions. She has had the good fortune to live and travel all over the world, grew up as a military dependent and was a single parent for many years. She has survived cancer, and gently shaped countless people over her years on this little planet we call home. Follow along as she shares her knowledge, her experience and her love. Oh, by the way–one more thing. She’s married to a Bass playing rock star, lucky girl.

 

 

Two women in medicine share wisdom on career choices, life transitions and balancing innate talent against the requirements of their job.

Voices of Power–Women in Medicine

In this Voices of Power piece, we’re going to hear from some women in medicine. I find people who practice medicine to be fascinating, because this career choice nurtures both the mind and the soul. Mathematics and science dominate this field, but you still need compassion and empathy for the moments of suffering and loss you’ll see everyday. Old-school thinking says men are better with the math and science angle, and women are better with the nurturing part, but the truth is that both genders need to be very strong with each element in order to succeed. So what about the modern-day woman in medicine? How does she overcome any lingering stereotypes, and balance her personal demands within such a complex profession? To find out, we’re going to meet an emergency room nurse and then a physician’s assistant. Please remember I’ve conducted these interviews by email, in order to get the true personalities and honest feedback from these great women, without the danger of any misquotes.

I asked Christine Manget to share her official job title, which she described as RN III; Registered Nurse who has worked to be a resource, subject expert and leader in the unit (Clinical Ladder track). Then I asked her to explain her main responsibilities at work. Here’s her answer:

“Bedside care in a 31 bed Level I trauma center Pediatric Emergency room, that sees in excess of 6000 visits per month” .

Christine Manget, pediatric emergency room nurse during a recent holiday.
Christine Manget, pediatric emergency room nurse during a recent holiday.

Can you imagine, Friend? Being a pediatric emergency room nurse with over 6,000 patients per month? Can you imagine the suffering? Can you imagine the fear of the parents she must deal with? Can you imagine the noise?…Jeepers. Who would willingly choose all of that? So I asked. Specifically, I asked how she positioned herself as a young person for her current success. Here’s what she said:

“Growing up all I ever wanted to be (aside from a 6 month obsession with flight attendants until I found out how much money they made) was a veterinarian. Unfortunately, my inability to focus on my first year of college (read too much fun at parties here) and an inability to grasp calculus, despite 3 tries at it, put a kibosh on those plans. I then set my mind on banking and in the process of taking business classes decided that I needed some extracurricular activities, so I joined a business fraternity–a marketing business fraternity. I hate selling things, so I decided I needed to run the fraternity so that no one would expect me to sell anything, and that is how I became co-president of Pi Sigma Epsilon. About this time, our faculty adviser brought me into his office and asked me when I planned to graduate. I was on the 4.5 year plan! He and I examined my options. It was not planned but I worked for Toys R Us, and at the time they had one of the best management training programs in any industry. Really, it was one of the only jobs that would have me with my GPA upon graduating college. But the conscious way I positioned myself was when I was looking for a job in nursing school that would get me a job as a nurse. I applied for and obtained a position as a unit secretary on the unit I would work for as a nurse”. 

So…just a note here…this showed huge resiliency. Ms. Manget had lifelong plans that didn’t work out because….well….let’s trace it back to Calculus and personality, to be honest. Yes–she could have drilled down and focused more stringently on grades, and higher grades could have opened more doors. That would have gone against her social, people-driven personality though. This is an example of accepting who she is as a person, and still making it work. Since she’s showing herself to be a bit of a rebel, I wanted to know her biggest professional challenge so far, and how she ended up creating success. I’m really glad I asked. First, because she’s had more than one challenge. Second, because her answer is so insightful:

“I have had 2 major challenges: this first was at Toys R Us. I was sabotaged by someone I hired and that led to my leaving the company. I went to work for a couple of smaller companies after that, but I wasn’t happy, I was actually bored. I felt the need to help people and after a soul-searching conversation with my college roommate, I went back to school and got my AS and then my BS in nursing.

The second challenge was the elimination of my management position 4 years ago. I had spent the previous 15 years working towards being a manager or director (after starting as the unit secretary while in nursing school) and it was taken away on a technicality–the other person in the same position had been with the hospital district 11 months longer than I. (Side note–this restructuring was because of budget cuts). It was a blessing in disguise because my job was killing me. I was stressed, overweight and miserable, but unable to admit it to myself. My friends were very relieved and they helped me see the window opening and took my focus off the door closing. Now, I enjoy being an informal leader on my unit. I get just the right mix of management without being in charge and I still get to take care of patients (the reason I got into nursing); I work 3 twelve-hour shifts, am able to leave work at work, and no one calls me on my days off to problem solve”.

I asked Ms. Manget what specific tool or training she would recommend to anyone interested in her demanding field:

“I would recommend volunteering in order to get a real understanding of what nurses do and the pace at which they are expected to do it”.

Then I wanted to know how she inspires people around her in the workplace, which is filled with stress, sorrow and fear. What a simple, and effective answer she gave me–we can all do this, Friends:

“I always made sure I never asked anyone to do anything I couldn’t do myself. In fact, I always made to sure to show my people I was willing and able to be in the trenches, working alongside them when the proverbial poopy hit the fan.  And I’ve always made a point to smile and engage every one on the team, even if I wasn’t their supervisor, i.e. housekeeping, registration, radiology, etc”. 

In other words–just be nice, everyone. Do your job, and be nice while you’re doing it.

Then, (and this is always my favorite part in these leadership profiles) I wanted her to explain something special. I asked her to share some wisdom that I wouldn’t know to ask for on my own, that was unique to her life’s experience. Here’s her response:

“Being a leader takes a lot of courage–I know that sounds like a cliché, but it’s true. The courage comes when you try something and end up looking like a fool; you have to be able to laugh at yourself–it keeps people from laughing at you. This works with staff and families. It takes courage to care about your staff, you’ll have your heart-broken, but your people will follow you into a war zone and ‘die’ for you, protecting you when they know you care about them. It takes courage to smile and nod and even hug a parent who is reaming you out because they are terrified of losing their child and are yelling at you because it’s easier to yell at a person than it is to yell at God or whatever higher power they believe in. It takes courage to not take the death, dying and suffering home to your families, courage to leave that negativity in the car and courage to get up the next day (night), pull on your scrubs and go do it all again. It takes courage to be fair and treat every one of your staff equally,because they deserve your fairness. I mentor by being encouraging to someone about making mistakes (as long as no one is endangered by them) and then getting them to explain what the mistake was. We truly do learn from our mistakes. I am tough and have high expectations, but if the bar isn’t raised occasionally, how will you grow?”

So here’s what we’ve learned in a nutshell. Be flexible, because what you always dreamed of doing might not be a good fit for your personality, skills or desired life style. Be nice, work hard, roll with the punches, and perhaps most importantly: being a leader isn’t defined by your title–it’s defined by your behavior.

Kelly Smith, a physician’s assistant, has similar wisdom to share. She works in a busy dermatological practice in Connecticut, and says this about her position:

“I treat 20-25 patients per day with a variety of skin issues from acne to rashes to skin cancer. A small portion of my time is spent on cosmetic skin issues such as skin care and anti aging”.

Kelly Smith, physicians assistant.
Kelly Smith, physicians assistant.

I wanted to know how she positioned herself for success as a younger person, and love how she answered me. It’s a good balance of sharing credit, and then something a lot of women struggle with–giving themselves credit:

“I was lucky enough to be born in the United States.  Other than that stroke of luck, most of my accomplishments are the end product of discipline, hard work and not being afraid to ask a lot of questions.  This is not to suggest that I haven’t benefited from the insight and efforts of many people. There are several teachers, family members and business associates that were instrumental in shaping my path both personally and professionally”.

So how about challenges? What has she found to be her biggest challenge, and what did she do to achieve a sense of victory?

“The toughest professional challenge for me was the 3+ years I spent in primary care. I was fortunate to work for an extremely smart and kind boss who valued patient care over bottom line.  He also valued family above all else.  Even working in that kind of ideal environment, the challenge of primary care was quite often overwhelming. The patients are often very complicated. The life and death nature of the work left me with many sleepless nights. The paperwork courtesy of the government and insurance industry is completely out of control and getting worse by the day. It is getting harder and harder to attract providers to primary care for these reasons.  I did not overcome the challenge. Instead I recognized that it was not a good fit for me. I eventually moved in to dermatology where I sleep better but am still able to make a difference for patients by providing quality medical care”.

How beautiful is that, Friend? Mrs. Smith recognized the challenge for what it was–unsolvable. Due to her personality, due to the nature of the changing industry and due to the requirements of the job itself–she recognized it would never get better and left before it overcame her. Isn’t that wise? So many people never figure that out. They will suffer for years, trying to make a situation better, instead of realizing that they can’t.  Not because of a personal shortcoming, but because of the nature of the challenge itself. Kindness is lacking in our world, especially self-kindness. Ms. Smith recognized that fighting a losing battle was doing her no good whatsoever, and wisely chose a different battle. She picked one she could win, and then hit it, full force.

I wanted to know what Mrs. Smith would suggest to someone interested in becoming physician’s assistant, or even just pursuing medicine in the first place. Here’s how she responded:

“The one thing I didn’t fully appreciate when I pursued a career in medicine (and I was almost 40 when I decided to go down this road) was how my personality was somewhat at odds with modern medicine. I am thoughtful and methodical and detail oriented and a perfectionist. Medicine is fast paced with a new problem to solve every 10-20 minutes.  So I would encourage people to take a good inventory of their strengths and weaknesses as they contemplate a career in medicine”.

Whoa. Hold the phone. Two thoughts here. She was almost 40 years old when she entered the medical field. You caught that, right?

This very moment, every single excuse you have for not pursuing your dream, Beloved Reader, has just flown out the window. So whatever that dream is, get to it.  Pronto. Quit whining, quit complaining, quit making excuses. Sign up, sign in, and get busy. Even if it’s medicine.

 

Okay, next–we’re right back to the point we learned with Ms. Manget–how important personality is in determining your best career path. Ms. Manget’s personality is more social, and Mrs. Smith’s more analytical. Over time, they both learned not only to recognize their individual strengths, but to then use them to their advantage in finding work-life balance. Ms. Manget’s exit from management allowed for more patient care, and Mrs. Smith’s exit from primary medicine freed her from an environment where she couldn’t perform with the level of focused precision she treasures.

So how does Mrs. Smith inspire the people around her? More easy, doable stuff, Friends:

“Inspiring people I work with?  Hmmm. I guess it’s as simple as providing compassionate quality care. I try very hard to listen to my patients, to educate them and to treat them with respect“.

Again–doing your job, and being a nice person. Why do people try to make this so complicated, when it’s not?

Reflecting on these two interviews, I come away with these primary thoughts:

  • Personality is more important than you may realize in your career choice, so don’t forget to seriously examine your own when considering a good work fit.
  • Recognizing, and accepting failure, is one of the wisest things you can do. Whether it’s your GPA or a work environment you can’t overcome–it’s okay to accept defeat, and then move on to another place where you will succeed.
  • Your personal time matters a great deal, and you will have to work hard to figure out a way to preserve it. Many people, women especially, are told that they can (and should) have it all, but they’re not really taught how to make that happen. Here’s how to start: respect your time away from your work setting. Ms. Manget values not being called on her days off. Mrs. Smith values being able to sleep better. They have both recognized that time away from the office is valuable, and then made adjustments to honor that space in their lives.

 

How about YOU, Friend?

Let’s examine you, for a moment. Let’s talk about your work environment. Are you working against your inherent strengths and inclinations? Are you being asked to do tasks that go against your natural wiring? How about your free time? Is it consumed with work, or the stress created by your professional position?

These may be tough questions for you to face, but they matter a great deal. I encourage you to create a quiet time in your schedule. Take a walk, close your office door, leave the ear buds out when you’re at the gym–intentionally create a quiet space, and critically examine how your work life balances with your home life. Brutally look at your goals. Are they in line with who you are as a person? Do they align with your natural talents?

It’s okay if this examination reveals flaws, either in you or your mindset. Life– beautiful, messy and imperfect– is all about change. Our world is complicated and always moving, so it’s okay to recognize that it might be time to switch lanes.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, Friend. Have these two women, generous with their time and insights, inspired you to take a hard look at yourself? Have they challenged you to embrace change? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to comment below, and then make sure to subscribe, so we can stay connected.

Blessings!

***Subscribe to receive your free TeamJeffers Life Balance Wheel, a monthly tool you can download to help manage a healthy work-life balance. ***

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

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**Chanler Jeffers has seen many extraordinary things over her lifetime. An adventurer, survivor, overachiever and advocate of kindness in all instances, she has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), and is a member of their Circle of Champions. She has had the good fortune to live and travel all over the world, grew up as a military dependent and was a single parent for many years. She has survived cancer, and gently shaped countless people over her years on this little planet we call home. Follow along as she shares her knowledge, her experience and her love. Oh, by the way–one more thing. She’s married to a Bass playing rock star, lucky girl.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

 

 

goals

Examples of Tiny Goals to Help Make a Better Life

 

Do you have any goals, Friend? Do you have some defined things you want to accomplish, or are you just floating along, day after day? Goals are important, because they serve as milestones for the time that passes in our lives. We set goals to improve who we are as people, and stretch us beyond what we think we can do. Ideally, we’ll set goals for both our personal and work lives, to help us achieve a sense of balance. Many people set their goals incorrectly, though. They think goal setting means saying things like, “I want to finish medical school and be a successful physician”, but they don’t recognize that successful goal setting comes from setting up tiny action steps beforehand. It’s the tiny things we do day after day that lead us to success in the long-term. Here are examples of small goals you can make that will help you create big changes for a higher quality of life.

Your Goal is “To Have a Better Work Life”. Here are Five Small Action Steps to Help Get You There.
  1.  Arrive fifteen minutes earlier than necessary so you can gracefully enter the workday. Who needs that frantic rush?
  2. Dedicate one afternoon to clearing away clutter and dealing with things you’ve been putting off.
  3. Ask your boss for feedback on your performance. Gather this information now, and follow-up on any recommendations. Don’t wait for a bad review–set yourself up for success, instead.
  4. Bring in new photos of your loved ones. Updated pictures will remind you of their love, since you’re probably tuning out the old images you’ve had for months, or even years.
  5. Invite a different coworker to lunch. Learn more about them, and develop that friendship.
Your Goal is “To Have a More Satisfying Personal Life”. Here are Five Easy Action Steps to Help Get You There.
  1. Cut down screen time. Whether it’s a TV or your phone, reduce your use by thirty minutes each day, and spend those thirty minutes outside.
  2. Go through your list of friends. Decide which ones are good for you, and which ones aren’t. Phone the ones who are good for you, and schedule a time to visit. Delete the ones from your phone or Facebook account who aren’t good for you. Seriously. I dare you. It feels great.
  3. Apologize to someone you’ve hurt.
  4. Ask someone you trust for feedback about yourself. Do they feel you have a quick temper, don’t take compliments well, or are stubborn? Look at yourself from an outsider’s perspective. Do you like what you see?
  5. Schedule a consistent time to spend with your significant other. For my husband and me, it’s Sunday mornings. You can read more about ways we put our relationship first here. (And here’s why I call it ‘TeamJeffers” in the first place. It’s because we’re a team).
Your Goal is “To Be More Healthy”. Here Are Five Small Action Steps to Help Get You There.
  1. Drink more water. Take your body weight, divide by two, and drink that many ounces per day.
  2. Go to bed at least 30 minutes earlier each night.
  3. Get a step counter, and aim for 10,000 steps per day.
  4. Take a multivitamin appropriate for your stage of life.
  5. Start using sunscreen daily, no matter the season.
What about it, Friend? Achieving goals feels great, and it’s one way to ensure that we use the time we’re given in good ways.

We get one shot at this thing called life. Do you want to look back and regret the time you wasted, or do you want to look back and admire the beautiful things you did while you were here?  My goal in this piece is to help you refocus, and take at least one small action to re-steer your life’s path. So feel free to drop me a note. I’m here on Facebook, or you can use the hashtag #TeamJeffersGoals on Twitter. I’d love to be a source of encouragement and praise for you. You can also leave a comment below, and be sure to subscribe for more updates.

So whaddya think? Get to it, Friend–make something good happen, because life is short.

Let’s live it well, okay?

Blessings!

Psst–you may also enjoy these related posts:

Making a Difference Isn’t That Hard

Creating a Work Life Balance

Bonus Post For Your Bonus Day

 

***Subscribe to receive your free TeamJeffers Life Balance Wheel, a monthly tool you can download to help manage a healthy work-life balance. ***

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**Chanler Jeffers has seen many extraordinary things over her lifetime. An adventurer, survivor, overachiever and advocate of kindness in all instances, she has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), and is a member of their Circle of Champions. She has had the good fortune to live and travel all over the world, grew up as a military dependent and was a single parent for many years. She has survived cancer, and gently shaped countless people over her years on this little planet we call home. Follow along as she shares her knowledge, her experience and her love. Oh, by the way–one more thing. She’s married to a Bass playing rock star, lucky girl.

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