Are Your Standards Solid?

Happy Monday!

LLJ is resolute. I have known her for over 30-something years! And I repeat, she is resolute. She knows who she is, what she believes, what she will tolerate, and what she finds intolerable. Her clarity is stunning. She is solid. She is fearless as she stands steadfast.

image of a rocky peak overlooking ocean

It is her steadfastness, along with her intense sense of loyalty, that I love and admire most about her.

Now, if you are beginning to think, LLJ sounds like an insufferable know-it-all. I must state that you would be absolutely wrong.

She listens and observes quietly. Then, she deliberates carefully. Next, she chooses a course of action that makes sense to her and is true to who she wants to be in this world. Once her mind is set, she does not waver unless presented with some damn good evidence to change her mind.

To me, LLJ is like a fierce, intrepid heroine. And best of all, you are never in the dark where you stand with her. You know. You know you can trust her. And in this day and age, honestly, how many trustworthy souls do you know?!

Today, most of us wobble back and forth between yes, maybe, no… no, maybe, yes… maybe, no, yes… with feeble attempts to avoid pissing anyone off. (Stop! I’m dizzy!) This is not strength. It is weakness. Because it takes inner courage to say definitively, “This is what I believe today” or  “This is what I will stand for today,” or “I believed that yesterday, but today I totally don’t.”

So let us all STOP the wobbling. I encourage us to deliberate and decide with great care what we will stand for, what we believe to be acceptable and unacceptable. Deliberate and decide with all the fairness, compassion, and empathy we can muster. Then, like my friend LLJ, let us stand steadfast and do not waver unless we’ve been presented with some damn good evidence.

Call to action: In the comment section below, I urge you to give tribute to a steadfast person in your life or to ask yourself: Am I courageous enough to stand steadfast?

If you enjoyed this post, check out Why You Should Say “No?” and Scandalous Redefined… My Way.

Where did wonderful go?!

Happy Friday!

Can you believe it?! We are already nearing the end of the first month of 2015. Crazy!

But we still have time to get busy and get down to the real business of making this year — 2015 — a scandalous success in whatever way you’ve decided that means to you.

Unfortunately, along the way, life will throw a bucket full of marbles in your path to slip you up and land you flat on your arse — deflated, discouraged, and defeated! Truth is, I have already had three such instances this month alone where I threw my hands up in the air and fell to the floor in a sobbing heap of hopelessness. Why is life so freaking hard?!

So when times get tough and it seems that life is “like a mountain railroad,” we all need to be encouraged and remember this nugget from an Unknown Wise Person:

something-wonderful

One of the reasons I started this blog was as way to keep these kind of thoughts at the forefront of my mind and heart everyday. Every. Day. I try to remember that something wonderful could happen. It could! And I look for it. It might be the tiniest of events, like an impromptu encounter of understanding with another soul or being unexpectedly in the presence of a beautiful, curious child.

In our busy, bigger is better world, these seem like inconsequential things, I know. But when you stop and think about it, isn’t it these little things that add wonder and beauty to life — (dramatic pause) if we let them?!

So when you feel battered by the vicissitudes of life, hold on to this thought: Tomorrow, or even later today, something wonderful could happen!

Call to action: How do you plan to re-design your life so that the belief in this possibility is permanently written in your heart and on the pre-frontal cortex of your brain no matter how hard life slaps you down? Please, share your strategy in the comments below.

3 “Pretty” Ways to Say No

Happy Monday!

We live in a culture of “nice.” Apparently, it’s not nice to say “No.” ~ Janine Helligar

No, thank you. That won't work from me. I'm not interested.

By now, you know that I’m a little obsessed with the word “No.” But, hey, I understand that saying “No” is hard, maybe even impossible, for most of us. Well, I’ve got you covered.

Ta-da: Here are three “pretty” ways to say “No” when you want to be honest, but, frankly, you are feeling just a little Pee Wee Herman, or for those instances when a flat-out “No” just ain’t right:

  1. Make it pretty with a simple “No, thank you.” The trick here is to keep your tone low but firm.
  2. Make it pretty with a direct “That won’t work for me.” This one works best if you look them in the eye and do your sincerest beauty contestant smile.
  3. Make it pretty with a forthright “I’m not interested.” OK, be careful with this one. Again, begin with that smile, and then follow-up immediately with “Please, pass the gravy” or something similarly mundane.

But here’s the real clincher: The key to successfully using any of the strategies above, or even saying a simple “No,” is that you have to will yourself to shut up after you utter the key word(s.) Zip. Zilch. Nada. I mean it.

Because the minute you start explaining, you’ve lost your power. Please, I beg you. After all the internal angst it took for you to finally take the leap into the pool of “my thoughts matter and I value my feelings,” don’t ruin every thing!”

Quite frankly, I think these are marvelous stand ins for the simple “No,” don’t you think?! You are still “nice” and you’ve stood up for yourself. This is win-win.

Of course, the appropriateness of each technique will depend on the place, time, and person you are engaging with. Listen to your gut and choose wisely.

Call-to-action: Chime in, please. Do you have another way to a pretty “No?”

If you like this, check out these related posts:

Is this a dirty word?
Why You Should Say No

Knock! Knock! It’s me!

Happy Wednesday!

It’s hard getting older. It is harder still in a world that seems to only value those souls that are newly arrived or those that haven’t yet lost their sparkle of newness.

If we are still hare, then we are still relevant and we owe it to ourselves and others to show up and engage.

And some days, it seems like I have to shame myself into showing up and engaging. But what’s the alternative: a rut or a coffin. Today, neither!

Call to action: Get up. Show up. Engage. Oh, and don’t forget to share below your 411 on showing up and engaging.

What’s in a name?

arose

Happy Monday!

OK. I have few posts under my belt now. And, hopefully, by now you are getting a sense of who I am if you’ve read them. You have read them, right?! If not, I’ll wait right here until you come back. Take your time.

Back already?! Good. Now, let me be frank.

I’m no rose, so my name mispronounced ain’t sweet. Outside of my immediate family, one or two aunts, one uncle, and my true friends (a very small circle), no one pronounces my name correctly!

Yes, that means that Every. Single. Day. of my life since I have been old enough to understand the sound of my name I cringe inwardly when others address me. Multiple. Times. Every. Single. Day. And for me, it is like Raptor claws on a chalk board. That’s a lot of psychic pain.

There are two particularly memorable instances where my simple two syllable first name created “drama.” One manager told me, “Go back to your country if you want your name pronounced correctly!” and another person asked me, “What would you like your name to be if you could choose any name?” Well, my answer to the first was the cold retort, “I will no longer respond to you as long as you continue to mispronounce my name” and to the second, “My name pronounced correctly.”

In my little corner of the ‘net, I am hoping to make real connections, so I thought I would take this time early on to share this huge peeve of mine with you: My name is J.A.N.I.N.E. It consists of just two syllables.

If you can pronounce JAN or JANET or JANICE, then you have the correct sound for the first three letters and the first syllable of my name. Oh, and please, say it softly — no unnecessary harsh enunciation. All together now: Jan-neen. Now, that wasn’t so hard, was it?!

Call to action: Taking the time to address someone by their name and pronounce it correctly is a sign of respect and caring. Do you agree or disagree?

P.S. And no, you may NOT call me Jan or Miss J.

Scandalous Redefined… My Way!

Happy Friday!

For years, my mum has told me, “You are scandalous” in reference to my sometimes “shocking” directness and expression of self. At first, I was a little hurt and took it negatively. And I would immediately go into defense mode. But with time, understanding and self-acceptance, I have come to love this word and I believe it speaks to the truest part of who I am.

the word scandalous redefined: putting yourself out there with great daring.

I’ve embraced it so much so that my word for this year is (drum roll, please): SCANDALOUS. But I’ve redefined it. (Yes, you can redefine a word.)

I am scandalous! And that’s a good thing in my book.

So this year no more hiding my “light under a bushel.” I am coming out scandalously!

Call to Action: Can you feel me on this? Are you struggling with letting your scandalous self shine? Or are you already scandalous? Please share your stories below. I’d love hear them.

Priced Above Rubies

Happy Monday!

A new year is almost upon us, so I think it is the proper time to decide what our value will be in the coming year and thereafter…

Let’s talk about your heart, your body, and your self; about you deciding your own worth, and then only sharing the most precious parts of your SELF with those who have proven themselves worthy of the gift of you.

A worthy woman who can find? For her price is far above rubies. ~ Proverbs 31:10

It’s about being so strong mentally and emotionally that when life makes you feel desperate – and it will – with missing in action dads, I’m not pretty/talented/young/smart/rich/whatever enough, and so forth – you will still be strong enough, powerful enough to choose from a position of strength — not desperation or pain or hopelessness.

I believe that we women are the key to a better, kinder, gentler world. But only if we DECIDE to no longer throw away our power on the worthless.

If you do nothing else this year, remember that you are worthy! And then, honor that with all your heart, mind, and body. That’s an order!

Call to action: Think about your life past, present, and future. Where have you cast your rubies before swine? What state of mind allowed that to happen? How can you love yourself enough to honor your value, starting TODAY? Are you strong enough to patiently wait to share your valuable self with those who have proven themselves worthy? And if not, what steps can you take right now to start strengthening your inner self?

Everyone, this idea of valuing our selves is uber important! So please join the conversation and share your wisdom, your journey with everyone on what has worked for you in “pricing your SELF above rubies!”

A bull, a horse, and a fool

Happy Friday!

It is the day after Christmas. And I bet I can guess what most of you are up to… I hope those customer service return lines move swiftly.

Anyhoo, wanted to leave you with something to ponder this weekend:

Never approach a bull from the front, horse from the rear, and a fool from any direction.

Call to action: Sigh. Fools are inevitable. How do you handle the fools that litter your path in life? Are you still weeping and gnashing your teeth? Or have you finally discovered a way to peacefully co-exist with fools and the foolish?

If you are going to fail epically, dare greatly!

president theodore roosevelt

Happy Friday.

I really love it when wisdom just falls into my brain and heart serendipitously. This morning, I was lurking on the ‘net for something, anything, inspired, when BAM! I read something President Theodore “Bear” Roosevelt said over 100 freaking years ago that, well, made me go aah. Here it is (the emphasis is mine):

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

~ Teddy Roosevelt, speaking at the Sorbonne in Paris, April 23, 1910

Call to action: This is a fitting second post! I will come back to this when it gets hard and sweaty and the critics speak. So tell me are you are a critic or a doer? Are you courageous enough to dare failing epically?

Today, I made my mommy cry…

sunrise

Happy Monday.

This is my very first post and I think it is a fitting one. Frankly, it has always been a real struggle for me to stay positive. But this morning,  I got to thinking hard about what I could be grateful for and decided to make it my job to have a change of attitude today! And once I started, it was like the heavens opened and the angels began to sing. So I sent this via email to my lovely mum:

Today, I am grateful for the following:

  • That both my mum and dad adore me
  • That I am not hungry at this moment
  • That I have clean water to drink and bathe in
  • That I can be warm indoors when it is BRRR outside
  • That I have a reliable car to drive and I don’t have to take public transportation
  • That I have health insurance, Dr. Chandler, and Dr. Veronica
  • That I have a new laptop and 40+ Mbps of Internet speed to type this email and start my blog
  • That I have a niffy tablet
  • That I have a great point-and-shoot camera to take amazing pictures for my blog
  • That I am getting an awesome hobby/sewing table soon
  • That I can sew my dreams
  • That I STILL have dreams I want to make and flaunt
  • That I have true blue friends — David, Michael, LaShawn, and Catalin — who have chosen to love and stay in the trenches with me all these years

And I am super grateful for all the unfailing support, belief, and love you have showered me with since the beginning. Everything I am and will be is largely because of you.

Your crazy, loving daughter,

Janine

Call to action: So do me a favor, will you? Stop whatever it is you are doing right now, and take a moment to ponder what it is you can truly be thankful for as 2014 comes to an end. And then share it with someone — anyone. You might just make someone weep sweet tears.