Money Problems in Hard Times: 9 Must-Do Steps!

Money Problems in Hard Times: 9 Must-Do Steps!

When economic strife hits do these 9 must-do steps to squash your money problems. There is no way in predicting tragic storms, destructive earthquakes, virus pandemics, a house fire, sudden death of a loved one, or unemployment. If we could tell our money ‘a tornado is coming, hang on tight’, life would be so much easier. In fact, we can tell our money to do that, but what if we weren’t ready this go around?

First things first

First and foremost, remember these times of despair are just that, a time. It’s not forever, it’s not the end of the world; it’s just a season that is visiting for a while. It may seem like an eternity but it will pass like all our other seasons. The hard part is getting through it without much pain. Right?

Your 1st priority

Your first priority is to take care of yourself and your family. If it’s a spreading sickness, do everything in your power to protect you and your family from getting sick. Did a storm hit your house? Then get your family to safer shelter. If you lost your job, then start looking for a replacement job, even it pays less than the work you had before, just get something going so you have a little income.

When the overall shock has faded, this is usually about 3-7 days depending on the severity, you can start working on these 9 must-do steps to get your life back on track and to put your money problems behind you.

1. Clean up the unnecessary subscriptions

Get rid of unnecessary subscriptions: magazines, gyms (unless you’re using it more than once week), weight loss programs (check out My Wellness Way instead), and might I even say cable TV? Look at the numbers and the amount of time you use these things. Is it worth it?

2. Work on your budget

Work on your budget. This is real people. Money problems happen when a budget is not in place. A budget can help you find the holes and to see what holes need to be filled. Think of a budget as a treasure hunt. It doesn’t need to be restrictive, tedious, or confusing. Use this easy to fill-in excel worksheet to help you get organized. Go to Freebies to get yours.

If you want something beefier that has printable reports I highly recommend Quicken. We use it.

Scale down and only focus on your necessities. This may be hard but look at it with a survival perspective. What can I, or we as a family, live without for two months?

These types of tragedies will happen again, be prepared next time. Emergency fund, mental preparedness, essentials in the home, but don’t hoard (enough for two weeks) and reduce debt. Here’s another post about budgeting to checkout. #1 Cause of Money Problems, plus 4 tools to solve it

3. Make extra money

Wipe your money problems away by making extra money. Grocery-store job, shop for others, delivery food, checkout other delivery services like Amazon, UPS, FedEx, food processing jobs, gas station attendant, fast food industry.

Heads-up: Many other blog posts say to start a blog, I do not recommend this. You’ll be spending more money on starting it than making any money on it. They are only telling you to start a blog to sell their blog building tools or to exercise their affiliate programs. Building a profitable blog takes time and money, it’s not impossible, but it is a lot of hard work, especially starting from scratch.

Simply look at what businesses are booming in tough times and then go there and inquire about opportunities. For instance, some call centers for services I mentioned above, or health care.

4. DIY (Do It Yourself)

Do things yourself. Ideas in this arena include selling your crafts and creations on Etsy, cleaning your own house, mowing your own yard, and for minor fixes around the home hopping on YouTube to find ways to fix things yourself. Doing things yourself brings a ton of gratification and confidence too!

5. Cut Costs

This can be kind of fun to figure out where you can cut back yet still be content. Things to try and look at are to tone down the number of hair salon visits, color your own hair, try the natural look for nails and forgo the polish…your nails need a breather anyway, wash your own car, shop at a lower-priced grocery store, be mindful of your utilities: shower or bathe once a day instead of two, turn off the lights when not using that room, turn the thermostat down one or two notches, ‘when it’s yellow let it mellow when it’s brown flush it down’, turn the water off while scrubbing those pearly whites. Things like that.

6. Sell stuff

Sell stuff through Facebook Marketplace. This is a great time to declutter your home and really ask yourself if you need certain things. Selling your things is a lot easier these days too. If you don’t want to hassle with a garage sale, sell things online. I have done well using both methods, and I feel so much lighter! In my last garage sale, I squashed a money problem using my profits. It felt so good!

7. Be smart

Make smarter buying decisions on the necessities. Okay, this toilet paper thing baffles me, unless you have an underlying condition like Crohn’s, colitis, or cancer, cool your jets on the TP. Simply take what you need for two weeks then manage the toilet paper you have in the house. Another idea is to get some cotton handkerchiefs and use those in a pinch. And guess what? You can wash them and use them again! Genius.

8. Whoa-back on large money deals

It’s human to be uneasy during times like these, but only allow yourself a day to ‘freak out’. After that, get your battle face on and make adjustments. However, the one caveat to making change is to not make any major financial decisions in the first 7-14 days. For instance, don’t cash in your 401K or buy a new car/house, or rank up your credit cards. Put your mind to work and figure out some ways how to adjust in ways that help you and not hurt.

9. Emergency fund

When all is back up to speed, start to build your emergency fund for the next time something like that sucker-punches again. One way to do this is to put a little bit away every paycheck. Some people do 10%, others 5%, and so forth. You will be amazed at how quickly this adds up, especially if you put it in a savings account that accumulates interest.

In closing

I believe in you. You totally got this. Just remember your first priority is to take care of yourself and your family, what that looks like is up to you. However, please keep your cool around your kids. There is no sense in getting them stressed out and confused. It’s okay to share with them some small details about money problems so they learn how to manage, but don’t tell them your real fears.

One last thing: ask God for help and protection, He’ll guide you through it if you’re willing to listen. Hugs to you.

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly All Rights Reserved.

#1 Cause of Money Problems, Plus 4 Tools to Solve It!

#1 Cause of Money Problems, Plus 4 Tools to Solve It!

money problems woman with hands crossed

I’ll reveal to you the #1 cause of our money management problems and give you a quick review of four different tools to stay on top of our cash flow. You’ll also get a free downloadable cash flow worksheet to get you started! As you know, there are massive loads of information about how to manage money, how to budget, how to save money, and how to live a debt-free life. It can be overwhelming and paralyzing! Let’s keep it simple and focus on the top four ways to go about cash flow.

What’s the #1 Mistake?

When we leave the house, we make one big mistake. I’m going to make this simple for you. The very first step to doing anything with your money is to know what to do with it before you leave home or get online.

When it comes to keeping track of our money you either love it, hate it, or are half-*ssed about it. And for most Americans, this can be a real pain in the butt. It’s not really the task at hand, but it’s the mind that messes with us. We know we need to do budget, but we just don’t want to. Hence, we find ourselves in a hole deeper than we want to be.

A survey, conducted by Slickdeals.com asked 2,000 adults last August about their money habits. Topping the list of categories where respondents overspend is online shopping, followed by grocery shopping and subscription services. Take a look at their list, you may find some things surprising.

TOP 10 BUDGET KILLERS:

  • Online shopping 40%
  • Grocery shopping 39%
  • Subscription services 37%
  • Technology products 36%
  • Buying lunch everyday 35%
  • Household essentials 32%
  • Coffee 32%
  • Food delivery 32%
  • Gym memberships 30%
  • Entertainment (movies, concerts, etc.) 29%

Source: SlickDeals.net

Budget? Isn’t there a different word?

Trusting your brain with all the figures is not a good idea. We get distracted; we cheat and lie to ourselves. Then we hear the forbidden word “Budget”. Whether you make $30,000/year to $1,000,000/year everyone needs a budget, no one is excluded, not even a homeless person. To make this more fun I’m not going to use the word ‘budget’, it sounds super boring.  Instead, I’m going to use “harmony”…that’s sounds kind of corny but when there is harmony in our finances, everything works together. And gosh, when we get jammin’, financial freedom will be a #1 hit for years! Isn’t that what we’re all aiming for? On a side note, no pun intended, when you go off-key you’ll TRY to believe the harmony still sounds nice, but in reality it stink-ith. Stop lying to yourself. Developing a routine saves us a lot of hard-earned cash.

How do we fine-tune our money?

First and foremost, I want to make this clear, a ‘harmonic wallet’ (B-word) isn’t created to punish us and hold us captive; it’s here to simplify life and set us free.

Money management has a few different layers. One layer is keeping a record of every single expense. This may sound tedious, but it’s the most important step to understand where the cash flow holes are and where the money mountains prevail. However, keeping track is where most people fall. WARNING! People will manage money for a few days then stop. Just like a diet. Listen up friend, you’re not a quitter. If you want this bad enough, you’ll make it happen. I believe in you. Keep up the good work, it will literally pay-off. This is the difference between living debt-free and frugal living. There is nothing wrong with frugal living, but when you depend on it to live every day it can be an exhausting life.

Which leads me to the know-hows. Over the years my husband and I have used a few techniques that have helped us manage our money. Most importantly money management helps us understand what’s going on. Our money management techniques kind of mimics our camping life. We started with a tent, then we moved to a small camper, yet got a little larger trailer, and now we have a 5th Wheel. We’ve learned something in every phase until we found our jam. In which our jam got us a 5th Wheel! Below are the four tools we’ve benefited from over the years.

eric roberge quote

Tracking Tool #1: Old School

The Tent

Good old pencil & paper. There are LOADS of downloadable printables online; finding one that fits your needs is the hard part. It’s overwhelming. My rule of thumb: Keep It Simple. Think of your finances like a business, in fact, treat it like a business. All businesses start out with pen and paper. Grab the old college-ruled notebook and a No. 2 pencil to get started. You can also get a Budget Planner which brings a little ‘pretty’.

5 Steps with Old School

Step 1: Dust off the old notebook; rip-out your old psychology notes, sharpen your pencil and jot down all the categories that take your money. For instance: groceries, autogas, utilities, insurance, phone, memberships or subscriptions. This is the first step. Just list the categories in one column.

Step 2: Start saving receipts and keeping track of what is EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer every month). Even if you’re putting these things on a credit card, keep the receipt. Remember this is a gradual approach to finding harmony.

Step 3: Pick a regular time once a week to go through the receipts and bills that were collected. Maybe Sunday afternoon or Thursday night. Write alongside the category of how much you spent that week. Keep the list going for the whole month.

Below is an example of what your paper might look like…this is for one month. Note the tallies for coffee.

keeping a budget with paper and pencil

Step 4: Don’t forget your income! You can put your income on the top or bottom of your sheet. List all your paychecks for the month.

Step 5: It’s math time! Add up all the amounts from each category (row) and write in the total for that specific category. Then the scary part happens; add all the expenses together (column), then subtract that from your income.

PRO: Anyone can do it. All you need is a calculator.

CON: This method takes a bit of time. Generating a report would take forever and require a lot of math.

Here is a nice budgeting book if you’d like to go this route. Click the picture to check out more details.

Tracking Tool #2: graduate to desktop

The Small Camper

After we mastered the pencil & paper method, my husband and I decided to move up to a computer accounting program. I’m not talking Excel Spreadsheets or Google Docs, which is a really great way to keep track; many of my friends use Excel these days. Do what fits your lifestyle.

PRO: If you want to print a report or reconcile your account, an accounting program makes it so much easier…especially for taxes. Essentially it’s a glorified check register with the ability to print reports. Another feature I really like is that you can have multiple accounts. For instance, we have our personal checking, savings, health savings, and our son’s account all in one program. And they are from all different banks! We use Quicken Starter. It’s a simple way to start. Unfortunately, you do have to pay for it, but they have a 30-day free trial.

In our household, I’m the one who updates “the books”. I pay the bills, I keep the receipts, I reconcile the account. My husband analyzes the reports and strategizes. We have our roles figured out…SUPER IMPORTANT! With Quicken Starter I have enjoyed the program; it’s easy and clear.

CON: It doesn’t automatically update your account in real-time. So if you go to Taco Bob’s for lunch, Quicken doesn’t know that right away. Plus you have to pay for it but it’s not that much for what it does.

Click on the picture for more details.

Tracking Tool #3: now to an app

The Little Bit Bigger Camper

We then experimented with Mint. It’s an online-only app for managing your money. Mint is FREE! But it’s a bit more complicated. You can see all your transitions, but in order to itemize them, you need to wait until they clear. It’s great for budgeting, tracking, and bill reminders, but it doesn’t have the reconciliation feature and reports can be a bit tricky. Again, do what fits your lifestyle, but please keep it simple. Other Apps to checkout are YNAB (You Need A Budget), nerdwallet, and mvelopes.

PRO: It’s free and on your phone.

CON: It’s free and on your phone. No reconciliation option or easy access to reports.

Tracking Tool #4: The best of both

The 5th Wheel

We’ve now moved up to Quickbooks Online. If you’re looking for the best of both worlds, do it the simple way with this program. It’s an online check register, with reports, and account reconciliation. My husband and I have been using it and are loving it! I can’t believe how much fun he has with this program. The downside of this program is that you have to pay for it. But, don’t look at that as an expense because the program and its capabilities can actually save you a lot of money. Worth it.

Click on the picture for more details.

PRO: You got it all here. You can access from phone or computer. Reconciles on its own. Captures expenses. Has budgeting tools…oops…I meant ‘harmony’ tools. And it’s easy to use. Many businesses use this program.

CON: You have to pay for it. You can only use accounts from one bank. It can be kind of confusing.

Become debt free for good

The Bottom-line

To create harmony is to understand where your money is going and how you will process that information. What needs to change? And how are you going to do that?

David Bach says, “The solution to your money problems isn’t more money; it’s new habits.” 

Make harmony with your money by looking at your habits and experimenting with new ways on how to change them without losing your lifestyle.

Here’s a free Excel cash flow worksheet to help you get started. Simply click on the link and it will download automatically. Then in the lower-left corner, click the up arrow and click ‘Open’. You can then save it on your computer and start pluggin away! Har-Money Worksheet.

By Christy Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved. 

Life Purpose Hack: 4 Letters

Life Purpose Hack: 4 Letters

If we looked at life purpose on a smaller scale, how do you think that would affect the way we’re living each day? Would you even allow a little time in your schedule to work on it? I have two questions to guide you to answers.

In case you missed it

In my last post I asked 3 insightful questions pertaining to our life purpose: What was it that blindsided you to lose sight? What are you putting into your mind that affects your actions?  What motivates you? Life purpose is an enormous and sometime’s a sensitive topic to undertake. Many times people make it more complicated than it needs to be…I’m guilty of that…however when we break it down into smaller discoveries our own individual purpose has a chance to bloom.

Jesus said in Matthew 22:30-31 that the greatest commandment was to: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 

How to understand Love.

The question of “What is love?”comes into being here. Golly, love is another massive topic! This is probably why ‘life purpose’ can be complicated. There are many different facets of love. According to the ancient Greeks there are eight different kinds: Unconditional, Romantic, Affectionate, Self-love, Familiar Love, Enduring, Playful, and Obsessive Love. But when it comes to life purpose which one of those ‘loves’ is greater? What one will people remember most? What one will have the biggest impact on your life and others?

If there is anyone who knows how to educate us on life purpose it’s Rick Warren, Pastor of Saddleback Church. He wrote “Purpose Driven Life” and “What On Earth Am I Here For?” Excellent reads. Over 50 million copies have been sold. He goes to the Bible on this topic and gives understanding in a down to earth approach. Pastor Rick says, “When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of their life that you will never get back.”

Click for more details.

The ultimate hack to life purpose

This quote gives us a clue to life’s purpose. It’s TIME. The greatest gift you can give someone is your time, says Rick. Time is the most precious aspect of life because, without time, we don’t exist. Yet, without love, we feel like we don’t exist. And when we feel like we don’t exist, we lose sight of our identity and become somebody we’re not meant to be. This is some pretty deep stuff, but this piece of our lives is more important than anything else. Because it’s love that gives us life and giving your time is love. In 1 Corinthians 13:13 Paul says, “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Gosh, what does that look like? I could go into the “Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, but he does a better job of explaining it than I do. Again, another must-read for strengthening relationships and understanding love. Let’s switch gears for a minute to get more clues.

Click for more details.

Two questions for your life purpose:

1- What do you already know that you were made to do? Think about what you’re really good at. What do you do in-which you lose track of time because you’re enjoying yourself so much? What exercises your gifts and skills? If you don’t know, ask someone to help you. Look back on your life or even your day and write down the things that gave you joy and a sense of meaning. It doesn’t need to be big events or accomplishments, it can be as small as producing a smile from a store clerk. My recommendation is to check out this book “S.H.A.P.E” to see if there are any clues that surface. It’s actually really fun.

Click for more details.

2- What audience do you connect with most? Younger generations, middle-aged, or seniors? You could go further with demographics but think about the people you have a heart for, or that you can relate to, or that stimulates your emotions. This helps you find ‘your people’ to love on.

What is life purpose?

The way I see it is if we made someone else’s day a little brighter by giving them our time and gifted touch, then we lived our purpose for that day. In other words, Life purpose is loving others with your time while using your God-given gifts. Ask your Creator to give you more clues on moving forward with your life purpose, but don’t be afraid to step out in faith. This is not a destination, it’s a daily practice. I hope I got you thinking. Below are the books I mentioned. Simply click on the pictures for more details.

There may be affiliate links on this page.

By CT Copyright © 2019 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved.

Life Purpose? 3 Insightful Questions.

Life Purpose? 3 Insightful Questions.

Life purpose is an enormous topic. The best way to approach it is step-by-step. Many of us think that when we figure it out, we’ll have this euphoric experience; I know I have thought so, but it isn’t necessarily like that. ‘Purpose’ is truly a passion of mine. And my goal is to help people navigate their way to ‘meaning’. This is by no means a blog post to answer life purpose, gosh, I can’t answer that; but today you will get a good start on figuring it out.

Timing

There is no special timing on diving in on this topic, but this time of year is strange. When I did a keyword search on the word “purpose”, the month of November was the highest month people searched for it. Maybe it’s because summer fun is over and the winter holidays are coming? I don’t know. So how do we get our drive back?

The first thing we’re going to want to ask is: what does purpose mean to me? Let me help you by narrowing it down by category. What area do you feel you need more purpose?

  • Career?
  • Big Picture?
  • Identity?
  • Serving?
  • Other? Define___________

You may have more than one answer, that’s okay, it’s normal. Just write down the most pressing and ask yourself these three insightful questions:

The Blindside – Question 1

What was it that blindsided you? When we get stuck, there is something that caused us to get off the road. We just get stuck from nothing. Identify what contributed to where you are now. Was it an illness, a loss of a loved one, a financial dropout, a divorce, an injury, abuse, car accident, demotion, addiction, or a career change?

When we can identify what happened and when it happened, we’ll get a better understanding of the mind shift that occurred. Knowing this information we can now approach our immobilization with a different tactic to free ourselves of the muck. And most of the time that is with the opposite effect you felt. For instance, if an illness changed your game, wellness and good health need to fill that hole. If abuse was the factor, love and trust come to heal the wound. Here’s the money of it all: we must not let the event win. Our goal is to use the event to better ourselves and others. God never wastes a hurt.

man standing alone on a straight paved road with mountains in the background

The Mind Games – Question 2

With this being said, let’s get started to overcome. Paying attention to our thinking is a huge jumpstart. Rick Warren says, “The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel determines the way you act.” This is so true.

Question 2 is: What are you putting into your mind? Are you replaying the trigger? Watching the news? Listening to BS? How is what you’re hearing and watching affecting how you treat others? How is it impacting your health?

If you want to feel better, that’s right, you need to want to feel better, then replace what you put in your mind with better memories, positive shows, good conversations and amazing music. Part 2 of 2 is when we start working on the mind, we can begin working on the body. I’m an advocate for a healthy body, a happy size, and a simple menu. When we look good, we feel good and that’s motivation in itself. But it first begins in your head. If you want to learn an easy way to do this without the overwhelm, enroll in the My Wellness Way course today.

The Stimulant – Question 3

Speaking of motivation. What motivates you? When I’m done sulking in my stuck-ness…yes, its okay to have a pity party but for only one day…1 DAY! As for motivation, I need something or someone to motivate me to move. Self-motivation is a hard thing to do. It’s not impossible it’s just harder to train for the marathon, stick to the diet, meet the work goals, go after the dreams, etc. If you can’t find someone to hold you accountable or to keep you on track, turn to motivational speakers. Here are two short videos I thought you might like:

Okay, so we know what area we want to work in. We know what our turning point was. We know that our mind plays a big role in moving forward. Let’s shift and ask what is missing in all these things?

The Foundation of Purpose

Drum-roll please: Do you see what is missing? Even if you think you know, look under that layer.

In 1 John 4:8, John says “God is love.” Whether you’re conscious of it or not. Love is the bottom line. Love for ourselves, love for others, and the love to embrace our gifts to make things happen. God created you out of love and wants you to pass it on. Do you see it? Think about that for a minute.

It’s love that leaves a legacy. Look at Mother Teresa, John Muir, Nelson Mandela, and the people who have influenced you in your life. They didn’t spend their time on you because they were selfish, they poured into you out of love. I’ll leave you to think about it. Until next time, answer those questions and ask God to reveal a clue to your unique path.  

Be sure to subscribe to the email to get the latest deals, posts, and freebies!

By CT Copyright © 2019 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved.

5 Easy Ways to Build Courage & Confidence

5 Easy Ways to Build Courage & Confidence

In 2007 my courage collapsed and my heart panted for fullness. My independence, which I held on to so tightly, attached to others. The attitude to do more than exist went to merely existing. But most of all my confidence and courage seeped further away from my core. Have you ever felt this way? Did you wonder how you were going to pull through? Our adversities are not only confusing but paralyzing. However, there are five antidotes to help resurrect us.

white dog running across bridge with courage and confidence

A little background

My hardship started in September of 2007 with a pregnancy disease that birthed at five weeks and proceeded to torment me for 31 weeks thereafter. During that anguish my skin was pale green, my mind a twisted mess of nausea, and relief was too far to be seen; I literally was fighting to just exist. Being dependent on others to help me function, let alone trust, made me feel like a failure. Things like I can’t even take care of myself, swarmed my thoughts. Any physical excursion or consumption, or even water, was a cautious and fear-provoked decision. My ribs pierced from wrenching, and dehydration was the foremost threat.

The instant my healthy 7.1 pound baby boy was born, the sickness disappeared. Yet, the mental anguish was far from healing. Have you experienced an event like this in your life? Was it an illness, an unexpected break-up, a massive hit to your bank account, or a loss of something that meant so dear to you? I think the worse of it all is when it’s done, when we think we made it through, after-shocks sucker-punch us with unforeseen triggers we didn’t see coming.

When things don’t go our way

Those days still impress on my psyche today, how can it not? Yet immediately following the birth of my son, the fear of pregnancy halted our family plan. Two years later I knew I had to fight it. I knew I had to give it one more try; after all, every pregnancy is different. This is where I’d like to tell you the second time around was easier, but friend, it was far from that and left our arms empty.

Answers to ‘how was I going to recover my confidence and courage’ slowly inflated my hope. Those answers didn’t come from a special diet, therapist, or medical doctor. The true answers came from one source, Jesus. He had a plan that didn’t match up with ours and I had to trust Him.

You see when I prayed before our second pregnancy, I didn’t hear a “Yes” as I did with our first. With our first baby, my husband and I waited eight years before I drummed up the courage to even pray about it. And when I did pray, I heard a clear “Yes!” But the second go around, I heard a solid “No”. Of course, I didn’t want to believe it, a no to another child? That doesn’t make sense! So I took my destiny into my own hands. And it didn’t turn out as planned

Subtle answers

Bit by bit I had to rebuild my confidence and courage using my anguish as building blocks and my faith as mortar. Jesus didn’t come down from a cloud and profoundly say, “You are healed child”. I certainly would have accepted that if He did! It was through His followers who physically passed His love on. He used other people in subtle ways to comfort my broken heart and body. Jesus equips us to love, and honestly, that’s all he wants us to do, is love. In 1 Corinthians 13:7-8 Paul says, “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (NIV)  

I needed to not only learn to love who I was now, but I needed to learn how to use love to become the confident and courageous person I sought out to be. Moving from just existing to living a life of fullness isn’t about accomplishing amazing feats or earning a special degree, and so forth; it’s about loving others the way Jesus does. It sounds easy, but it’s the doing that’s hard.

Five easy additions to building courage & confidence

Since God is love. Who do you think we need to connect with to learn how to love? Rick Warren says, “When you are disconnected from God, you’re not really living; you just exist.”

So, how do we connect with our Heavenly Father? How do we hear clear answers? I go to church. I pray. Isn’t that connecting? Yes, friend, it is. But there are some easy additions which can lead us to live a do-more-than-exist kind of life. Let me share with you what I have learned so far in this journey:

1 – Emotion. When clarity is the question, I don’t hold the emotion back. I pray with strong emotion, whether it be anger, sadness, joy, or excitement. Expressing it to Him helps keep things real. Emotion develops a relationship with Him, a trust.

2 – Music. Listening, singing, humming, and dancing to music that is good for our souls, brings us closer to our Creator. In this day and age Christian music isn’t just hymns. It has developed to feed all our genres. The writers and bands have done a great job at helping us fend off the Enemy and open our hearts for answers and comfort. Give it a try.

3 – Nature. Our beloved Anne Frank says, “The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy amidst the simple beauty of nature. …I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.”  Numerous studies show that… simply sitting looking at the trees reduces stress-related hormones. And the University of Minnesota says there’s “a growing prevalence of depression caused by ‘nature deprivation’.” Maybe we should think about spending more time in God’s creation.

4 – Church.  There is something to be said about being around other Christ-followers. It’s kind of like a family reunion. Being surrounded by a common denominator encourages us, comforts us, and brings us closer to Him. We all have the same goal so-to-speak. The hard part is finding a church that fits you and your worship style. Keep hunting until you find it, you’ll know when you found it.

5 – Gratefulness. Being grateful changed my game. For me to love myself and to pass the love on to others, I had to learn how to be grateful even when it didn’t make sense. Gratefulness brought me out of adversity. Before we move forward, understand I’m not grateful for the hardships we face in life. I’m talking about the little things that surround us, those things we don’t even notice; like clean water out of our faucets, cozy beds to rest our bodies, medical help at our fingertips, and grocery stores to feed us. I’m talking about the love He gives us in delicate ways like music, flowers, and comforting smells.

Yet, what about those moments when you step-out and help someone? When you smile at someone even though you don’t feel like it…and they smile back? Sometimes to get what we want we have to give it first. I’m grateful for those promptings where we use our gifts to brighten someone’s day even when our life is a mess. It takes courage and confidence to make those things happen. And I’m grateful for our time He gives us and the freedom to choose how to use it, especially if it involves our calling.

If you’re hurting in a specific area of your life I encourage you to begin with being thankful for each comfort you receive every day. When we recognize the little things, the small achievements, the flickers of love passed hand to hand, then our courage and confidence surfaces and we begin to see what life is all about…love.  Download my favorite affirmations to help make you stronger. You can get them here.

By CT Copyright © 2019 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved. 

Top 4 Sabotages to Our Goals? You’ll Never Guess Them.

Top 4 Sabotages to Our Goals? You’ll Never Guess Them.

man sitting overlooking land

Off-track? When our goals and declarations stutter to a stop, our proactive-self immediately turns to a reactive-being. We get into a vicious cycle of reacting to our circumstances instead of making things happen. I’m here to help you prevent that from happening. Learn my 4 repair tricks!

What ain’t gonna work

Forward is the right direction, no? As with anything in moving forward it’s a lot easier to use a flashlight than to stumble in the dark. Understanding our triggers and how to defeat them is one key to victory. Picture this; we start the year off strong. The first week we’re super motivated. The second week it gets a little harder. The third week something happens; we’re not sure what…but we veer off course; so much so we decide to set-up camp. I’ve personally been there many times. Frankly, my old patterns are comfortable, they’re easy. But friend, there is something else I’ve learned; “comfortable” and “easy” ain’t gonna getcha where ya want ta go. So let’s learn more about what trips us up in the first place.

focus on goal

Here are the top stumbling blocks:

L = LIES we believe.

It’s too hard. Let’s face it, when things are hard ‘quitting’ comes to mind. This year quitting is not an option. Your goals need to be challenging, but they don’t need to be hard. There’s a difference. It’s called pace and workload. It’s too hard is a lie. When actions are taken step-by-step anything is possible.

THE FIX: Breakdown your resolution and put a plan in place. Write down what you want to do every week, then every day, then every morning and evening. Just make sure you win. I don’t care how small the step is, you’re still moving forward. Make the day count.

A = ACTIONS WE DON’T TAKE.

There’s a lack of motivation. When I’m unmotivated I procrastinate. I wait until I FEEL like it. Well if I waited until I FELT like it all the time, nothing would move forward. There are a couple of things I’m talking about. The first is to understand the purpose. Why must this get done? What space does it fill? What piece of my goal does this satisfy? The second is the FEEL part. This is a time when you pull-up your boot-straps and put the emotions aside.

THE FIX: Ask yourself, “How am I going to feel when I get this done?” If your answer is ‘relief, amazing, good, a load off’, then that means it needs to happen…make it so.

Z = ZOMBIE GOALS.

Our goal is not specific. It’s like we’re walking around like zombies. Let’s say my resolution is to manage my finances better; I declare “I’m going to save money this year.” Then what? Ask yourself these questions: Who? What? When? Where? How? Who is going to help me? What changes am I going to do? When am I going to review these things? Where am I going to go if I need help? How am I going to succeed? When you have the answers to these questions you have a better view of how it’s going to happen.

THE FIX: be specific when writing your goals, something like this: “I’m going to review my cash flow and budget every Thursday after work.” To help you out in the goal department I created a printable on the Freebies page.

Y-YELLERS get our attention.

We get distracted. When our focus isn’t on our end goal we flounder around in circles. Some people get stuck in this pattern and find it harder and harder to break free. To breakthrough this twister, we must intentionally turn away from the distracting force and focus on what lies ahead. I read an article a few years ago about the power behind just seeing the word “FOCUS”; it said that it can mysteriously snap us back on track. It sounds crazy, but I tried it, and it worked for me. 

THE FIX: when you find yourself getting distracted, recognize what is happening and remove yourself from the distracting environment. Write the word “focus” and place it in areas where distractions linger.

And…there it is

If you haven’t quite figured it out yet, the acronym I used was LAZY. Our resolutions fail because we get lazy. Been there, done that! We are human ya know. Another way to look at it, it that you might say we get “lazy eye”, not physically, but mentally. We lose sight of our WHY, why am I doing this anyway, we might ask.

The word “lazy” means: unwilling to work or use energy. Talk about a knife in the wound. Lazy isn’t a bad word, especially on your day off. But it can be used against you in all other states of affairs.

bulls eye dart board

My perspective about personal goals and resolutions is this: no one is going to do it for you. If you want it, YOU have to go get it. Staying reactive to things in life isn’t life, that’s existence…you just exist. But when you use your knowledge, resources, talents, strength, and creativity to go after your own goals…that’s not only productive, that’s doing more than existing.

This is YOUR year; take things step-by-step, check your motivation, use specifics when setting goals, and FOCUS. May your year be filled with dreams, plans, and amazing goals for your soul.

By CT Copyright © 2019 More Than Existence, All Rights Reserved

Your Baby Picture Can Do What for Your Identity?

Your Baby Picture Can Do What for Your Identity?

baby sitting

Have you ever looked at your baby picture and asked yourself, “Am I the person you thought I was going to be?” I know that sounds weird asking a baby picture a question, but what do you think your answer would be? Identity, or lack of, affects not only your own well-being but the goodness of others.

Back in 2006, I had one of those “clarity moments”. I’d been in corporate life for a few years; I had a nice paycheck and benefits. Yet I was anxious. I remember looking around the office and asking myself, “Is this what I want my life to look like?” Windowless office, sitting, doing more work than my superior, sitting, trying to look busy on slow days, and sitting. My eyes were tired, my butt was sore, and I felt underappreciated. The worst part was I started to feel disconnected from myself. My abilities and gifts were not being used the way I imagined them to be. Have you been there?

I wanted to blame someone else

I wanted to blame someone else for my circumstance, but I couldn’t because I owned it. You see, I’m NOT a desk-sitting-for-8-hours kind of person, but I didn’t know that then. In fact, I didn’t know who I was anymore. I just went through the motions, identifying myself with my job like everyone else. Get this; more than 70% of people in the workforce aren’t satisfied with their career choices. Well, I was certainly one of those people.*

“Oh Dear God, what do I do?” I prayed. I wasn’t expecting to hear anything back; I just prayed to get it off my shoulders and put it on His.

About a day after that prayer I felt a thump, thump, thump. Something was trying to get my attention. “Who’s there?” A few days went by and again I heard the thumping. On that particular weekend, my parents cleaned their bookshelves and gave me my old photo album. I used to look through this album all the time as a kid. But that evening after I got home, I sat quietly on my bed and flipped through the pages with adult eyes. As I looked inside myself through the pigtails, dirt scuffed knees, and dress-up clothes; I could sense God talking to me but I wasn’t sure what He was saying. So I left it.

‘eh, no big deal’

In 2007 I memorized a few Bible verses thinking ‘eh, no big deal’, but before I knew it I was sitting in my boss’s office reciting the verses and giving up my desk chair! It wasn’t all unicorns and rainbows after I left. In fact, the funny thing was…it didn’t solve my core problem at all, but I now knew what my problem was. My whole obstacle in finding Joy in my journey was my lack of validation that I even existed! 

Back to the photo album, I went to look specifically at my baby picture. I wanted to see what God saw when He created me. As my eyes warmed, my heart dropped a little. After a catch of my breath, I squinted deeply into the picture. My heart thumped, like that thumping, I felt earlier. And I whispered, “I see you. Don’t go anywhere. I’ll catch up.”

My blog started from an identity crisis.

music notes

It’s taken me a while to understand that Identity isn’t a fixed ‘thing’. It isn’t a job, label, health issue, birth order, or past event ‘deal’. Identity isn’t something perfect in its right place. It’s a breathing beat that influences our choices. At times we hear the beat clearly and in a rhythmic pattern; other times it’s faint and conflicting.

During those faint times, life can be frustrating, stressful, and a bit depressing. I’ve been there. And to think this crisis only affects you, is wrong. The people around you feel it too. From that point on I was on a quest to figure out how to make harmony with my identity and what the world throws at it. It’s been a fun ride and an eye-opening venture; I can’t wait to share all I’ve learned and experienced. So I made it my mission to help people find value in themselves and for them to live a life that brings value to others.

One of the ways to do this is to get a better understanding of our identity. Not just by searching within, but looking up. We were made for a reason, so why not ask Him what it is? I want to play my unique beat in a way that sends an inspiring message for the world to hear and learn from. Don’t you? So when you feel the thumping; I hope you know where to look to find out ‘Who’s there’ because without your unique beat, the world suffers a little bit more. Take a look at your baby picture this weekend and ask it a question.

*For more reading about your career and shocking statistics Forbes has a good article here.

By CT Copyright © 2018 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved.

3 Great Tricks to Navigate Circumstance

3 Great Tricks to Navigate Circumstance

I may not be able to control the circumstance, but I can adjust how I react to it. Years ago, I went sailing in a Butterfly sailboat. This wasn’t just for leisure, but for clarity. Engaging in the outdoors helps me put things in perspective. This particular solo sail was different than my previous marine quests. Gray skies, inconsistent wind, and cool temperatures circled me, but I went anyway.

My husband was working on his computer while I ventured out on the water. “Honey, please keep an eye on me. If I tip over, I might need your help,” I said to him. “Yeah, no problem,” he replied back.

sailboat
This is the actual sailboat I was on.

Off I went. The wind pressed my face. The sound of the wake soothed my spirit. This is just what I needed, then WHOOSH! A gust of wind caught the sail. I quickly loosened my grip on the rope. My skin pricked as I stood vertical for a few seconds; then the boat crashed back down where I almost tipped over backward! “That was a close one,” I said out loud. I continued to get random gusts. My grip on the rope ached.

Circumstance defined

A circumstance is a condition that accompanies a fact or an event. We all face circumstances in life. And we all are challenged by how we react to them. We can throw a fit, fight it, or blame everyone…but ourselves; however, our other choice is to tighten our belt, accept the challenge, and work through it.

In Psalm 16:8 David says this about circumstance, “I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” (NIV) If only I practiced this throughout my life. I’ve been through many circumstances where I did fight it, I threw fits, and I blamed others…not proud moments of mine. But when I gave the circumstance to God for him to figure it out, I stopped fighting, whining, and blaming. I became a better person.

“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.”

Martha Washington

When the wind blows

With the wind howling and my grip weakening, I started to head back to shore. WHOOSH! The boom shot out! The rope burned my palms. I couldn’t control it. “Oh crap!” Into the water I went.

After fully realizing what just happened, and seeing that the wind was pushing the boat. I looked to the shore for my husband. Eck-em’…I looked to the shore for my husband. Hmm.

“Okay, I can do this,” I coached.

With all my might, I shimmied up the daggerboard with my lifejacket on…this is a lot harder than it seems. From past experiences, I knew I had to stand on the board and lean back to get the sail out of the water. The only problem was that I was by myself and was worried the wind would grab hold of the sail and take off. As soon as the boat filled up-right, I clinched the edge of the boat. Sure enough, the wind got a hold of the sail and I quickly got my body back in the middle. I took hold of the rudder and carefully managed the sail, but the wind gusts yelled at me. This was a bad idea.

My mind raced. I was about 150 yards from the dock. Whitecaps were forming. Darker clouds were approaching. And there was no way I could sail without tipping again. I looked to the shore for my husband. Hmm.

“Oh help me God,” I prayed.

Then I got an idea, take the sail down and swim back.

sailing

Managing a circumstance is being able to know when to stop fighting it and when to give it to God.

Here are 3 powerful tacking tricks to help stay afloat

  1. Discern. How is this making me feel? Who is this affecting besides me? What values do I have that are above this circumstance? What can I learn of this?
  2. Discipline. “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV) We discipline our tongues. We feed on goodness…good music, positive movies, healthy conversations, eat clean food, and read the Word. In a world like today, this needs discipline before depression sets-in.
  3. Do. We pray and ask for help while we try everything in our power to manage the circumstance. If this doesn’t work, then we give it all to God and let God be who He is, our Savior. Some might argue on the order…why not give it to God first? Because God gave us the power, the heart, and the brains to move. He’s not a genie, He’s a father. Have you heard, “If we do our part, then He will do His”?

“You can’t be a prisoner of your circumstances.” Joyce Meyer

I swam the boat back to the dock that day. I faced my circumstance; in fact, I jumped right into it. It was humbling, it was cold, and it was hard, but I used what God gave me and saw Him help me through it.

This sailboat experience is just a small physical example of how we cannot control our circumstances. I know my sailing event doesn’t compare to unemployment, infertility, sickness and disease, loss of a loved one, unexpected expenses, and broken relationships…or does it?

What is one small step you can do to manage a circumstance you’re facing now?

By CT Copyright © 2017 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved.

Stuck? 5 Essential Tools To Break Free

Stuck? 5 Essential Tools To Break Free

There is nothing worse than being stuck in life. The hard part is knowing you’re stuck and not being able to rock back n forth to break free from the mud. Stuck. Let me help push you out with five essential tools that have helped me gain traction.

My Lesson

In the autumn of 1998, I took a mountaineering class near Vail, Colorado. Back then I was a big outdoor girl hence the backpacking trip. This experience was awesome and changed the course of my life. But it also taught me something I didn’t expect.

My group consisted of eight people. The dynamics were a bit of a mishmash…many personalities, many opinions. What more can you ask for? Other than knowing you’ll be with these people for three weeks. During the course, we were given a variety of challenges on top of our normal survival tasks, which weren’t easy. We didn’t have coffee, a tent, or a fire! Filtered water, a tarp to sleep under, and a sleeping bag were what we got. I survived, but SO appreciate the comforts of my home.

A few challenges we embarked on were rock climbing, summiting a 12,500 ft. mountain, and we even learned how to do a survival search n’ rescue. On this particular day, our task was to follow a topographical map and use a compass to get to the next camp. Sounds simple, yet it was to be done without our guide and to not follow a trail. According to our instructors is was a six-hour trip. Easy peasy.

We got this, right?

The day started crisp yet sunny, things were looking good. However, the first snag we ran into, was the group dynamics. During our hike, each person was to take a turn to lead the group. Oh boy. You can only imagine. They should have added a rule for everyone to shut their mouth too! That wasn’t the worst of it though. After five hours into our trek, the sky began to darken. A bit of panic settled into some folks, including me. We’re in the mountains remember. I pointed out the dark clouds and no one said a word. We knew what was coming, we just didn’t know how powerful it would be.

Within minutes rain, hail, and wind pounded our bodies. We thought about stopping but that could cause us to get cold and maybe a little hyperthermic, a ‘no’ on that choice. It was hard to see and hear for that matter. The calm of quietness before the storm was no more. Exhausted from arguments, confusion, and complaining we all wanted to give up and signal our guides to find us. Our backpacks felt like cinder blocks and our feet were wet. We felt stuck. Looking forward looked bleak, and backward no different. We wanted to stay put and give up.

vision is a clear picture

When out of nowhere, someone yelled, “Come on Nina, hot drinks. Christy, dry socks. Seth, spaghetti!” As silly as this sounds, that person was genius. He rocked us from ‘stuck’ to ‘moving forward’, and all it took was a little visionary picture. We pictured ourselves eating a warm meal, sipping hot tea, and wearing dry socks. As we continued to hike, we kept talking about how good the spaghetti was going to taste and how cozy our feet would be in warm dry socks. This picture naturally encouraged us. Our attitudes shifted. We got along, laughed, and grew stronger. Two hours later we made it to camp. Our goal of being cozy became a reality. There was so much relief we made it through.

The power of the mind

Having a picture to focus on pulls us forward to break free from being stuck. The backpacking trip is a small example of what vision can do.

No matter how short or long, having a forward-thinking picture for our future is one of the keys to surviving in this complicated world, most importantly through our personal storms. Why? Because it’s the storms that have the greatest power to derail us, to distract us, and to make us want to quit. Which leads me to share with you how to simplify the process and to prevent being stuck.

5 essential tools to break free from being stuck

  1. Get focused.
    • Take a few minutes each day and think “big picture”. How are your decisions today going to affect tomorrow; and who will it impact? What is the one thing you absolutely want in life?
  2. Pray about it.
    • Ask God to help you see the big picture of your life. Most importantly in the storm, “Help me see beyond this storm. Help me to be strong, focused, and…yes…thankful no matter what.”
  3. Line your vision up with your values, passions, and strengths.
    • Ask yourself these questions: What is important to me? What do I love to do? Values play such a big role in our happiness.
  4. Talk with someone who understands your big picture or what you’re aiming for.
    • This is huge. Just talking with someone who genuinely listens and asks the right questions can be a game-changer. Contact me for a Jam Session.
  5. Create a vision board or “Big Picture Board”
    • There is power in ‘seeing is believing’. This is a fun tool. Here’s a free guide.

In conclusion

Daniel Harkavy says, “Vision defines what you stand for, why you exist, and who you will become.” Having vision in a storm will not only get you through it, but it will make you stronger, wiser, and clearer about how to move forward.

This isn’t new news friends. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:19 to not put out the Spirit’s fire. Vision is bringing the picture out of our minds and hearts and experiencing it with our senses and neighbors.

Maybe all you need to do to get unstuck is to simplify the picture and aim for one thing at a time. For me, that was dry socks!

By CT Copyright © 2017 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved.

4 Must-Haves to Start Anything – Gotta Start Somewhere

4 Must-Haves to Start Anything – Gotta Start Somewhere

Mark Twain says it this way, “The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” Getting started is probably the most difficult task of them all. We know what we want to do, we can see where we want to go, but we don’t necessarily know how to start. In this post, I’m going to share with you the top three must-haves in starting your goal, business idea, or task at hand. Let’s get started.

1. Have a plan.

Of course, I was going to say that. If there is no plan, there is no map. When the map isn’t in front of our faces, we won’t know what direction we’re going in. We could be going in circles for all we know…which has happened to me. In fact, I was going so fast around the circle that I actually thought I was going somewhere.

Take things one step at a time. The first step is the write everything down. I know all these ideas have been in your head and you may think that is enough, but get it down on paper. For some of us, this might even be scary. “What if it doesn’t look as good on paper as it does in my head?” This might be true for starters. But keep working on it. Draw pictures, use details, it can be hard to transform information from our brains to the paper. But at least we can see it now. When it is down on paper, your idea becomes real. Now that’s really scary. But if you really want this to happen, it starts with paper and a pencil.

2. Get organized

The next step is to take all those things you wrote down and organize them in categories or to-dos. I personally wouldn’t do this on the same day as step one. You just puked out your idea on paper, if that was hard, let it sit there overnight and start step two the next day. One exception to this rule is if you are on a roll and are ready to break it down, then go for it.

Organizing your ideas, the steps you need to take, the research that needs to happen, the tools you need to acquire is critical to your success. Think of anything and everything you think you need to make this dream happen. You won’t know if all, but you need someplace to start.

click for details

Lastly, break down these tasks into doable steps. I know you’re going to want to go fast, but there is no sense in going fast if you don’t know what the heck you’re doing. Step by step. In fact, when you take a step by step approach, you may find you will go faster than expected. Most importantly, with each step, we get a little more confident in what we’re doing. And with more confidence, comes the next step, then the next, and so on. I have a freebie on goals if you want to check it out. Head over to Powerful Products for a ‘Step by Step’ necklace. I wear mine when I’m overwhelmed; it really does helps to have a little reminder around my neck. I hang on to it and say, “I got this”.

3. Seek encouragement – this is a big one!

“Gotta start somewhere” is a great weapon to protect you from judgment. When you’re trying to describe your dream or idea to someone and they just don’t get it, you’re probably going to get some weird looks and unasked opinions. Remember this with your kids. When they come to you and say, “Hey Mom! I’ve got this great idea to make popcorn bowls out of my old basketballs!” If you want your child to come to ask for your opinion in the future, you better choose how you react wisely. The idea may stink, but they need to figure that out on their own.

Lesson one: tell someone you trust, who will give you encouragement, more on this in a minute. Lesson two; don’t say a thing to someone who may bash your idea into liver pudding. Remember, if someone comes to you to share an idea, this person came to you, they feel safe with you. They are seeking a green-light. No matter what the idea they tell you, give them a high-five! Anyone who drums-up the courage to tell someone something dear to their heart deserves a five.

My Story

This happened to me many times before I finally learned my valuable lesson of ‘pick who you share with’. The most hurting time was when I shared some ideas with someone I loved. You’d think that is the right person to share with, and sometimes it is, but those loved ones can be very critical. They don’t mean to be critical. They love you so much they don’t want you to fail. So to ‘protect’ you, they blast constructive criticism from the gate. Parents, spouses, best friends listen to me, please. You may think you’re helping, but you’re not. At this point, think before you speak, this isn’t your spotlight to steel with knowledge or ego, it isn’t a time to ask a million questions of how they’re going to do it, again, just be excited for them, let them have this moment and give them encouragement.

Getting worked up

The embarrassing time when I shared my idea was at a dinner party with my husband and his colleagues. Wrong time. I panicked really. Of course, at any work function, one of the questions people asked is, “Where do you work?” I should have known better. Why wouldn’t they ask this, we’re all curious to know what people do and secretly compare our lives to theirs. We’re all guilty of that. Anyway…while we were sitting at the dinner table waiting for our salads, the butterflies started to flutter in my belly.

Here I was a stay-at-mom-home who was trying to start a blog. I wanted to say something important like I’m launching a new product. Everyone else has these big fancy things they were doing. My blog was just starting out and wasn’t too confident about it. I guess I could say I’m a stay-at-home-mom, which I’m very proud of doing, but I got stupid. My hands were getting sweaty as the person next to me told us what she did. These people have awesome jobs. Me? I had a hobby. And the annoying part of this experience was that it was loud in the restaurant so you had to yell for anyone to hear you. Go figure.

“Christy, what do you do?”

Yikes! My turn. Oh boy. “I’m starting a new blog to help people go after their true dream in life and do more than exist.” At the time my blog was domorethanexist.com. From my answer people just stared at me, which seemed like five minutes. Because no one said anything I felt like I had to explain myself. I should have stopped there. Not really knowing what I was saying I went on and fumbled, but tried to catch myself. Big “L” to the forehead.

When I was trying to explain the blog their expression on their faces made me feel so out of place like I had a bug on my face and they were trying to figure out if they should smack it or let it crawl in my mouth and choke me. All this was going through my head until I said my magic words “Gotta start somewhere, right?”  All of a sudden, the bug jumped off my face and into their mouths, they couldn’t argue, they couldn’t judge. Those four words made all the difference, and who knows maybe they were jealous they weren’t in a position I was. Toast to that! Wipe to the brow.

Two quick lessons at the dinner party:

  1. Know your pitch before you go to a dinner party
  2. When you get that ‘bug on your face look’ use “Gotta start somewhere, right?”, they’ll simply nod their head and repeat, “Gotta start somewhere.” Try it, it’s funny.

Where do you get true encouragement?

Know who to go to.

This goes back to some of the things I just said. If you know the person you’re going to is going to be critical, don’t talk to that person. I know that’s going to be hard, because sometimes we have this weird emotional acceptance thing that goes something like this, “if Sally (the critical person) approves of my idea then it’s gotta be a good one. I’ll just keep asking her opinion on my ideas until I get a thumbs-up from her.” STOP IT! You’re playing the acceptance game, fold your hand and leave the table. If you continue to go to this person your self-esteem will tank. Don’t have anyone? Talk to me! Schedule a Jam Session, I’d love to hear from you!

The Bible.

The Bible is full of encouragement. In a weird way, the Bible is not dated, meaning God speaks to us individually through His words no matter what year it is. One verse may mean something one day, then a year later that same verse may mean something totally different. He knows what you need to hear and when you need to hear it. You just have to willing to read the pages. One of my favorite verses is Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid? (NIV).

Teachers, mentors, coaches, our kids.

Teachers are great encouragers, so are mentors, coaches, and even your own children. When I tell my son an idea I get a ‘high five’ right away. Kids are pretty smart, they’re extremely observant. On a side note, just the other day, I was trying to figure out a new plugin for the website and it took me forever to figure it out, when in fact, I couldn’t get it to work. My son had asked how my day went and I told him I had wasted it on a silly plugin, nothing got done. His response surprised me, “Mom, you didn’t waste your day, you learned what not to do!” I laughed, smiled, and said, “Right On! I needed to hear that. Thanks, bud.”

Yourself.

If anyone can encourage you, it can be yourself. Gotta start somewhere. With that said, head over to my Freebies and download my top favorite affirmations.

click for details

Random places.

More sources of encouragement come from non-fiction books, YouTube videos of motivational speakers, stories from those TV talent shows, music, and even a stranger. When I first started out I got encouragement from Holley Gerth’s book, “You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream“. I still reference it today. So good!

4. And lastly, tap into courage.

In 2008 I started blogging. I had no idea what I was doing or how to do it for that matter. Note the dinner party. All I knew was that I needed to start somewhere. In the various books and ‘how to blog’ posts I read over the years, I’ve noticed a common denominator; nothing happens until Courage is invited (make picture quote).

I had to get the guts to try. “Gotta start somewhere” gives us permission to take a step forward, to try it on for a bit. They say, “You don’t know what the hell you’re doing, but you gotta at least try. So if you fall, it’s because you didn’t know what you’re doing. And that’s okay. Now stand the hell back up and figure it out.”  

What is courage?

It’s the moment in time where we take a step of faith not knowing what will come of it but do it anyway. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (NIV) Gotta start somewhere.

When we put ourselves out there, people are going to judge. The magical element of courage is that we don’t care what other people think, we have a vision and we’re going to try our hardest to see that vision become part of the big picture. When people watch, give them a show. Show them how to move forward, how to stand back up, and how to fight.

Those bug-on-your-face looks are beaming with curiosity or maybe jealously. Remember, everyone has their own opinion, and they are only opinions; it’s you who you need to believe in.

How do we ‘start somewhere’?

  • Pray. Daily. In Jesus’s name. “Lord, light my fire within. What is my next step?”
  • Plan. Step by step.
  • Practice. Try your dream on, take it off, try it on again.

You stepping out in faith may not only help you but others who want to do the same. “Gotta start somewhere” isn’t just permission to try; it’s also to inspire others to do the same.

By CT Copyright © 2017 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

Pin It on Pinterest