courage

When was the last time you celebrated you?

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It’s finally here, the time of year when we see if we have staying power or not.

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Twelve days of January have gone and those who set big resolutions are asking themselves, “What was I thinking?”

Those, like myself, who didn’t even think about resolutions, are breathing a sigh of relief and celebrating the season for what it really is, a time of reflecting and rejuvenating in order to approach 2016 with new vitality and focus. Now is the time to make the first two or three months of this new year really meaningful.

Here is one thing that should get you geared up for a successful 2016.

Honor yourself.

You made it through 2015. Things may not have gone exactly the way you planned, or maybe they did. Still you made it. Give yourself a pat on the back. This is the time of year to pause and celebrate the person you are today. Yes, there are still changes you want to make, but for now, celebrate and honor you.

For those of you who journal, take the time to memorialize what the past 12 month journey of 2015 was like. Write about the highs and the lows, the ups and the downs, the setbacks and steps forward. Embrace it all. Those experiences have allowed growing and excelling to take place.

What about your expectations, goals, and aspirations for 2016. Yes, now is the time to write them down and plan out what it will take to make 2016 the year of expansion and accelerated growth.

For those of you who blog, then share your story with us. Teach us how you did it; what you learned, and show us how we too can achieve great success through, dare I say it, hard work and determination.

Share your stores of how important it is to be kind and generous, thinking of others as much as yourself. Let us know where you came from and how far you have journeyed. Yes, it doesn’t hurt at all to remember your roots.

Finally, tell us who gave you love and support during this time of change or growth. Who were those influencers and supporters of all you accomplished? Hey, having an attitude of gratitude can propel you way faster than you ever dreamed.

Indulge yourself. You have a full year ahead of you. Take this time to focus and plan. You owe it to yourself.

“Let go of the past and go for the future. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you imagined.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Change is Inevitable

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I wanted to share these words of encouragement from a fellow blogger whose mission is to inspire and motivate those who land on their page.

Change is our biggest fear, but it is also a part of living.  At the end of the day change is going to come. How we react to that change will determine the outcome. It will be positive if we embrace it and negative if we fight it.

Courage means taking action.

Aminellie says when change comes, “Do not crumble” and “Hold on“. I am in total agreement with that.

Now then take these words of inspiration and motivation from Aminellie and Kick Fear Now.

Kick Fear Now and Choose Life

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Have you ever felt like you just are just existing?

Do you know what I mean?

You feel that you have no goals, dreams or ambitions.

Your life lacks motivation.  You see no sense in going on.  In fact, the future looks pretty bleak from where you are standing.

Many people feel this way after experiencing a devastating loss.  The loss of a loved one – a spouse, child, parent, sibling, close friend, partner – can leave you so numbed that you can’t do anything.

What now?  Who will be there for you?  The one person, that filled a big place in your life, has suddenly gone.

Any type of loss is overwhelming.  The fear of living again almost always follows that loss.  Days, weeks, months, and even years go by and you just can’t find the willpower to get back to the act of living.

Yet, live you must, even if only one day at a time.

You have to find the determination that moves you forward to your future.  Your loved one’s greatest request is that you carry on living.  It is not easy, but you can be happy again.  You can have dreams.  You can set goals and you can pursue high ambitions.  Even if you never fully accomplish them, they will allow you to feel again.

To get you on the process of being again, find like-minded people who have also experienced loss of someone close.  Find a group that you feel comfortable with and start to attend their gathering.  If a group does not work for you then find one or two close friends to share with.  There is nothing more comforting than sharing stories and communicating your feelings to get you through the grieving process.

When you are ready move on to the next process of doing something that reminds you the world has not stopped turning.  This could be something small like going for a walk, attending a social function, or reviving a “put on the back burner” hobby.  It could be something big, like learning something new or going someplace different.

The key is to keep the momentum going.  Don’t stay stagnant and whatever you do don’t lock yourself away.

Cherish the memory of your loved one by living your life, to the fullest, one day at a time.

You are not forgetting them.  Rather, you are choosing to embrace life for you — and for them.

Kick Fear Now and choose life.

Graduates, Get Ready to Soar

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The graduates are coming!

 

One by one they walk up the steps, move across the stage, and accept their diploma.

The time it took to accomplish this wonderful goal, whether 2 years, 4 years, or even more, will now be fully sealed and secured by this rolled up piece of paper.

All those late nights, tests and papers, essays and presentations are now behind.

No more pulling your hair out or burning the midnight oil while you guzzle down cans of energy drinks.

The hard work is done.  Your labor was not in vain.  The years of sacrifice is evidenced by this beautifully embossed diploma.

Some graduates walk across the stage looking very serious. With determination and purpose, their minds are already mapping out the next five years of their lives.  Others walk with a smile on their face, a little bit of disbelief still in their eyes. They are pleased with their accomplishment, yet unsure of what to do next.  Nevertheless, they are satisfied with a job well done.  Then there are those that strut across the stage, big grins on their faces.

One turns and looks at the crowd, pumps a fist in the air and lets out a big “Yes”.  A cheer comes from where family and friends are seated.  It was a rough ride, so victory is all the more sweet.

Many of you have wanted to give up along the way. The assignments were hard, the pressure too high, and the setbacks just never seemed to stop.

For you who stayed the course and did not throw in the towel, you have earned this milestone celebration.  You are people on purpose.  Fear once held a big place in your life, but not now.  You will accomplish anything you set your mind to because courage is now a part of who you are.

For you who stepped off for a moment, but stepped back on, I’m proud of you. You’ve come a long way in keeping unrealistic fear from taking its grip and hold.  You have truly earned your diploma.  You are a champion because of your determination and perseverance.

For you who have stopped and started, screamed and shouted, thrown in the towel and picked it up again to complete this course. I salute you. Go on and raise your hands in triumph because you did it.

Now, my question to you is – What’s Next?

Well, I say that it’s time to expand your vision, raise your sights higher, and move to the next level. Chapter 2 is about to begin.

You have your plans and goals, your dreams and visions. It’s all about moving forward courageously one action step after another.

Now, with that degree in your hand step triumphantly off the stage.  It’s time to step forward to success — your success!

Watch out world!  The fearless Graduates are getting ready to soar.

Curb Your Dog – Curb Your Fear

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You know what makes me angry, people who don’t curb their dogs. Believe you me, I don’t have anything against dogs or their owners. Dogs are wonderful companions.  Many a pooch has passed through my life at one time or another.  In fact, at one point we had 4 of them at home, all running around and causing havoc. No, what gets me mad is dog poop.

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Yes, you got it, dog poop. And not just dog poop, but dog poop that is in the middle of the sidewalk. You know the kind, dog poop that you have to dance around or jump over in order to get to the curb without stepping into it.  I get even angrier if I’m not looking down and step right into a pile of dog poop.  Oh yes that has happened to me. Why don’t people just curb their dogs as the sign says, and — because it is the law.

Unrealistic fear, like dog poop, gets me real angry.  That’s why I wrote the book Kick Fear to the Curb: 5 Action Steps for a Courageous You.  Fear used to get in my way of doing the things I wanted to do and you know what, that made me angry, so angry that I decided to do something about it.

In her book, Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion, Carol Tavris explains that fear and anger aren’t that different. She says that “any event that is unfamiliar, intrusive and compelling – and that potentially requires you to respond – will stimulate the production of adrenaline, and, to a varying extent, noradrenalin as well.” What differs, she informs us, is each individual’s reaction and behavior.

I don’t know about you, but stepping in a pile of dog poop is very intrusive and so is living a life filled with unrealistic fear.  Poop and unrealistic fear need to be curbed, out of your way of moving forward.

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Why did I choose the curb as the place where unrealistic fear should eventually end up? The curb is an edge built along the street to form a gutter. It’s a raised edge that is meant to confine or strengthen the sidewalk. The gutter is recessed underneath the curb.

Anything that gets to the curb will eventually end up in the gutter.

There are so many of us that allow fear to be the center of attention in our life experiences. Every time you’re ready to do something, be it great or small, here comes unrealistic fear. First, it triggers your memory to search for a similar, long ago experience.  Then, it forces you to dwell on the bad feelings that took place with that situation.  Next, it uses those same emotions to put doubt and fear in your mind.  Before you know it you are hesitant, reluctant to take that chance of feeling that way again. But, this should not be how you react.

Just like bypassing that dog poop, with unrealistic fear you have to take action.  Do everything possible not to allow it to throw you off your path.  Move around it, jump over it, dance if you must, just don’t let it stop you from moving forward.  For me, I put unrealistic fear where it belongs — below, not above; underneath, not on top.

You should be the one looking down and gloating at fear, not the other way around.

So, if you are ready for a change and unrealistic fear is blocking your way, kick fear now and keep on stepping right into the life you always dreamed of living.

 

Kick Fear and Love Again

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“When we know what love is, when we love, we are able to search our memories and see the past with new eyes; we are able to transform the present and dream the future.  Such is love’s power. Love heals.”

 Bell Hooks, Sisters of the Yam, Black Women and Self-Recovery

 

We Will Never Forget

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These past 4 weeks have taken me away from my weekly blog.  Mainly it has been a time of regrouping, refreshing, and revisioning of where my life is heading.

Over the past few months I have lost many beloved friends.  I am also dealing with an aged mother who has been extremely ill.  As you can imagine it has all taken its toll on me.  So when my daughter asked me to come down to visit her and watch my granddaughter for her spring break, I jumped at the opportunity.

My daughter lives in Wellington, Florida and in between taking care of my granddaughter I was able to do a little sightseeing of this beautiful community located in the West Palm Beach area.  It was during my wanderings that I came upon the Wellington Patriot Memorial.

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From the moment I looked upon the tall piece of steel beckoning me to come and see, I knew I was stepping into a special place.

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While here in New York City the work is diligently moving along on the World Trade Center project, the town of Wellington completed this memorial in 2011.

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The focus of my attention was a donated piece of steel from one of the World Trade Center Twin Towers. The steel, which is divided into three pieces, once stood between the 69th and 71st floor of the second Twin Tower. It was an exterior column panel seven floors below where United Airlines flight 175 impacted.  Its number is steel beam C-46.

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On December 4th, 2010 the beam, covered with the American flag, arrived in Wellington after being ceremoniously and loving brought from New York .

Vice Mayor Matt Willhite told Sun Sentinel Reporters, “In December 2010 we brought the beam to Florida from New York. The whole time treating the experience with great pride and dignity.” He continued, “It has cost us more than we thought. But, it is an investment into our community.”

The flag now stands at the entrance of the Wellington Patriot Memorial.

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Beside the oxidized piece of steel, in the center of the memorial, is the fountain. Its sparkling, clear water steadily flows down at points around the circumference.  If you look carefully, on top of the fountain you can see the eternal flame. On Sunday, September 11, 2011 the eternal flame was lit, has continued and will continue to burn 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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Along the opposite side of the memorial stands 4 etched glass panes.  Beautiful and elegant, the names of the nearly 3,000 victims of the World Trade Center attacks can be seen.  Below the glass in bold black letters on a white background are the times of the attacks. In front of each of the glass panels is a seat where one can sit and reflect.

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Willhite told the Sun-Sentinel. “This will be a place where generations to come will be able to learn about this piece of history.”  He was absolutely correct.

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On the ground of the memorial are bricks with the names of the First Responders who courageously lost their lives while in the line of duty.  As I stooped over to take the pictures of the names the sun shone so bright that my shadow covered them over.  Perhaps, when you visit this place you will see them for yourselves.

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Just as the names are etched in the bricks and in the clear glass panels, so too the memory of that day on September 11, 2001.  Everyone of us can remember exactly where we were, what we were doing and what we were thinking.

As my daughter, granddaughter and I moved around the Patriot Memorial we spoke about that morning.  It was a strange day for the two of us because only 2 hours earlier, on that September morning, my daughter was sitting on an American Airline plane at John F. Kennedy Airport.  The plane she had traveled on from London to Jamaica had engine trouble and had to make an emergency landing in New York.  They moved the passengers onto an American Airlines plane because no other Air Jamaica plane was available.

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In the bright sunshine we also spoke about the loved ones that we have lost throughout the years and those most recently gone.  I also reflected on the health of my aging mother.

The serenity and peacefulness of the space allowed me to gather my thoughts and process the events in our circle of life.  I came away with a heightened sense of gratitude for life and each new day that I see.

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” ~ Aristotle.

The quote on the plaque given by the Navarro Family is powerful.

This year 2014, as we work to Kick Fear Now, let us move on with hope for a bright tomorrow. For me, it is a time to re-vision my life and chart new and different journeys.  What about you?

Today is a good day to reflect on the life you still have to live. It’s good to embrace the good memories and the joys of the past, but you should never linger there for too long.  Life is filled with both joy and pain, love and hate, sadness and happiness.  It is interesting how we tend to focus on the negative more than the positive.

Can you find one reason to get up every morning and one thing that you can be grateful for in your life.  If so, then you are already on your way to living the courageous life.

To help you further along your journey take a look at the book that started it all, Kick Fear to the Curb: 5 Actions Steps for a Courageous You, and don’t forget to send me an e-mail if you would like to read the first chapter for free.