By Jackie White
What most people don’t get about life is that it is all about taking chances. It’s a pathway riddled with choices, options, and possibilities. The pathway may be clear and at other times, not so much. One thing is that the summary of life is that it is all a result of the choices you make or don’t make and the chances you take or don’t take.
Some things will be easy choices and that road will be easy to follow. Sometimes you will have to face some tough choices and the biggest enemy you will ever face will be looking to block you from your next right choice. That enemy is called fear. Remember this cliff note on life: fear will always try to block you from happiness. Fear can paralyze you and rob you of your dreams. Don’t let that happen.
That leads us to a very important thing you should know. You were born with a set of gifts that you uniquely possess. These gifts are to be lived out and shared with others. Don’t let distractions and wrong choices keep you from your gifts, your passions and ultimately your purpose. Your dreams reside within your gifts. Pursuing them will bring happiness and contentment in your life. Whereas if you choose to ignore that which lights up your Soul, life will feel dim and flat.
This excerpt is about the best description I have found of how to know what your purpose in life is:
That thing you do, after your day job, in your free time, too early in the morning, too late at night. That thing you read about, write about, fantasize about, That thing you do when you’re all alone and there’s no one to impress, nothing to prove, no money to be made, simply a passion to pursue. That’s it. That’s your thing. That’s your heart, your guide. That’s the thing you must, must do.
To follow a dream requires a few important traits:
Persistence, courage, truth, character, love, determination, and creativity.
You must persist even when times get tough. Stepping out of your comfort zone will be required, that’s called courage. You must trust in yourself to be able to handle the challenges. You will do that by knowing your truth, that is what you stand for. That’s your character, the foundation of who you are. This foundation should be steeped in love. Determination will carry you through when you might feel like quitting. Don’t quit. Life is too important to abandon your dreams and passions in your Soul. Creativity will always be necessary to break through tough problems or just to make life interesting.
Life is a book you are writing. Consider the ending and what your legacy will be. Imagine what that looks like and spend your days building your legacy.
There are a couple more important things you need to know about life:
Love: Life is about love. Loving all that you see and do. Loving yourself with strength and truth. It’s about loving others and letting them know. Love is the glue in the world.
Gratitude: Know that life is not guaranteed to be happy, fun, sparkles, and rainbows all the time, but when you choose to be grateful, you will find contentment in all the good in your life. Don’t forget to be grateful.
Fun: Fun, it’s underrated, especially by adults. Don’t let the fun and silliness fall from your life. Fun brings people together and makes your heart smile.
Connections: You likely already know this, but friends and connections with others are important. They help to spark positive energy in your life and with you, they make the memories you will want to collect.
Spirituality: Importantly, I want to encourage you to find a place of spirituality in your life. When you connect with God or the Universe or whatever you want to call it, you will find strength that you never knew you had. You will never be alone and you will be guided where you need to go. Spirituality encompasses knowing what’s deep in your heart and soul. There lies your truth and authentic self. Take the time to get to know what’s in your soul and you will know yourself.
Life is a gift and adventure. It’s your book and you will write every chapter. You don’t always know what’s around the next corner, but that’s the fun, the challenge and the way the ride rolls.
I wish you a fantastic adventure and journey. B joyful and choose to be kind. Choose to live your gifts and don’t forget to take chances.
Oh, and Shine On!
By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
If you asked me where I have gotten stuck, I will tell you many, many times. That’s the interesting thing about living your Best Life and getting out of your comfort zone, you will find yourself hitting plateaus, feeling overwhelmed, losing your mojo or motivation…all signs that you are stuck! Let me take you back, way back, to a pivotal time I was stuck…a time I didn’t even realize I was stuck.
When I was in kindergarten and was asked “what do you want to be when you grow up”, I said I was going to be a doctor. This came out of absolutely nowhere other than the fact I really liked my doctor, his white coat, and his stethoscope. (These are really awesome bases for your life’s work…lol.) The interesting thing is that this really got ingrained into my brain…it became my automatic answer for many years and actually became a part of the future identity I had created for myself.
Fast forward to college, I was on the pre-medicine track with a major in microbiology and immunology. I was working as the tutoring program coordinator for the undergraduate physiology course. The professor of the course had become a friend and valued mentor to me. An important side note is that he taught physiology to undergraduates as well as the medical school.
During the time I was working with him, several major medical events happened in my family in a few short months. These events gave me close, first hand experience with different roles of the medical profession. After these life-changing events happened, I started having this nagging feeling that I wasn’t on the right path…that, perhaps, this dream of becoming a doctor wasn’t exactly the path to the greatest fulfillment. But, I kept pushing that away…I was caught in this dilemma of it not feeling right but afraid I would disappoint everyone. I mean…I had been saying forever that I was going to be a doctor!
Over the semester, this came out in conversation with my professor mentor. I will forever be grateful for what he said to me. He asked permission to weigh in on my internal struggle. He started by joking about how being a doctor isn’t as grand as I was making it out to be…they are just people. He said he had no doubt I could and would be a great doctor if I wanted to be one. Then, and here’s the clincher that gave me the jolt I needed to snap me out of the stuckness, he said I was destined to do great things. He said not to chase after a title and look for something that would give me purpose and fulfillment…that it didn’t matter what anyone else thought about what I decided to do with my life. The only person who gets to weigh in on this and whose opinion matters is my own. He also reminded me that pre-medicine was an intention and I could pick any major I wanted; therefore, I should pick something I would enjoy doing if I changed my mind about medical school. Finally, above all, I should trust my instincts. If it doesn’t feel right, it isn’t.
I still vividly remember the freedom those words gave me! It was like a weight was lifted from my shoulders. Guess what? Although medical microbiology and immunology was super fascinating and fun (remember, I’m a weird science person), I could not see myself working in a lab studying bacteria and viruses the rest of my life. Instead, I applied to nursing school and finished my pre-medicine requirements to keep my options open. It was in nursing school that I realized the philosophy of nursing was what fit me best. That, DreamChasers, is how I accidentally became a nurse!
Know what else? No one that I loved and truly loved me batted an eye when I decided not to become a doctor. Well, except one of my grandpas…lol…but, he just always wanted a doctor in the family.
Why do I bring this blast from the past up? Have I been stuck since then? Yes, many times, in many ways. I bring this up because this lesson served me each time I found myself stuck in my career, feeling unfulfilled, antsy, ready for something else, feeling that tug. Instead of keeping in the comfort zone, I had learned to listen to that feeling, get curious, and explore. Some decisions, like going back to graduate school, were pretty easy while others, like deciding the traditional nurse practitioner role was not my true purpose, were much scarier. Each time, though, I recognized I was stuck by the unsettled feeling, followed my instincts to be curious, and remembered I am the only opinion that matters about what I do with this one, beautiful life.
Spoiler alert, DreamChaser. You will find yourself getting stuck on your Best Life journey. Instead of resisting, welcome the stuckness! Getting stuck is often a clue you are onto something great or, perhaps, need to reset the sails for a different course. Take a deep breath and get curious, dive into the real reason behind the stuckness. And, when you feel the pull towards a certain path or answer, trust yourself enough to follow. You've got this!
By Jackie White
I am a possibilities kind of person. I wake up most days so excited about life because there is so much to do, and I mean that in a good way! I have goals and things I want to accomplish. Big things and little. Some of the things are significant and others are not so much, but to me, the invitation to live life full out is one I cannot pass up. So, if everything is so happy-happy joy-joy how did I find myself stuck?
I was perplexed by it when this stuckness hit me. How? Why? In fact, I have stuff I have to get done, I can’t be stalled out wallowing in stuckness! I tried to shake it off. I tried to ignore it oh, and hey, news flash, that doesn’t work! I was getting frustrated and wondered if there was something wrong with me.
Being stuck sucks. You can feel paralyzed to make a move in your life. Sometimes feeling stuck feels really heavy and in my case, I didn’t even feel like myself. I found myself chatting with a friend about this expressing my desperation to just get going on just one of the ideas I had. My friend was quiet for a moment and then said to me, it seems to me that someone like Oprah has more irons in the fire than you. She has her own network, books, magazines, television shows etc and she gets it all done. If she can do it, you can too. I thought, is this a challenge or some sort of psychological play my friend has dealt me? In that case, I am competitive, I’ll take the challenge! I am not going to let Oprah win! My friend, interjected and calmed me and my competitive side down enough to explain that she wasn’t proposing a competition against Oprah. She was merely pointing out that it is possible for a person to take on a lot and succeed.
Once I cooled my competitive jets, I began to see the light. Oprah is one of my heroes and to see the adversity she has overcome and the success she has achieved, that in itself should be enough to inspire me to do more. However, as I got to thinking just how many things she has achieved in her life, it became clear that I could also put all my dreams into motion, one dream at a time!
I was creating my stuckness by trying to figure out a way to do everything right now and that became overwhelming. Now, we all know doing everything righ now is a ridiculous thought, but limiting beliefs show up to throw you off the path of what you want in life very easily, even when the belief is kind of crazy!
So, after looking at my “problem” I saw that my only problem was myself and my limiting beliefs that I didn’t have enough time to get it all done. I finally realized that without actually making a move I wasn’t going to get anything done. Lesson learned here was that you just have to start. Jon Acuff from his book Start says “Regardless of your age or station in life, it all comes down to one simple truth: you just have to start.”
Here is another thing many of us forget when we get in the repetitive cycle of being stuck, we just have to make a move! Get started! Start by making a move rather than the thinking about it. Tony Robbins categorizes execution as more powerful than even knowledge.
Knowledge isn't power; it's potential power. Execution trumps knowledge any day of the week. - Tony Robbins
Bite Size or Massive Action Gets It Done: So when you find yourself stuck find one thing you can just do to get you started. After you complete that one task, then do another. Don’t try to do everything at once. These bite-sized pieces of progress will add up and soon you will be so far away from the Land of Stuck, you’ll wonder why you waited so long to get started! And, hey, if you are ready, no one is saying you can’t make a big move! Massive action will get massive progress moving, so know you have an option, if you are ready to jump in with both feet!
The thing with being stuck is that it can rear its ugly head time and time again, so it’s important to check in with yourself to make sure you aren’t succumbing to those old patterns of limited thinking. When you see those thoughts sneaking back in, then you need to make a move to release yourself from the resistance!
Stuckness can be paralyzing, but when you realize all it takes is for you to just do something, then you will begin to oil the machine and soon you will be getting it done and checking those tasks and goals off your to do list!
By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
Gretchen Rubin coined this quote in her book The Happiness Project when reflecting on parenting her kids. Rubin was describing how tiring and, at times, endless a single day can feel when you are in the thick of parenting. Then, you look up, and BAM! A whole year has passed. You are putting away the baby toys. The snuggles and cuddles get less and less. Your son starts calling you “Bruh” instead of Mom, and “Mommy” has long been erased from the vocabulary. It’s no wonder that this quote has become so popular…it describes the parenting experience to a tee.
I find this quote popping into my head more frequently lately. My oldest son just turned 14 and is just a few weeks away from finishing the 8th grade. High School is on the close horizon, and I know those four years are going to go by in the blink of an eye. My other son is finishing up 4th grade, and I can see the beginnings of the “preteen” stage coming…I’m not “Bruh” yet but it’s close. And, Lucy is 3 already…and I just want to freeze her right where she is! Who am I kidding? I kinda want to freeze them all or slow it down just a little. Sigh. Since this is the end of school year and graduation season, I know I am not alone in this feeling.
Time is a funny thing. The younger you are, the s-l-o-w-e-r time seems to go. It takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r for your birthday, Christmas, summer break. And, the reverse happens the older you get. Then, you become a parent and you literally see time passing before you as your child learns new things and literally grows and changes before your eyes. Time marches at the same pace, yet, somehow it feels so different.
What if I could give you the gift of time? Before you start thinking I have magical powers, I don't…sorry to disappoint! Here's what I do have…3 simple tricks to change your perception of time. These tricks will boost your feelings of fulfillment in relation to where your time deposits are going.
#1 - Transform the Mundane: Wouldn’t it be great to spend all our time doing the fun adventures? But, alas, as parents, there's much more time spent chauffeuring kids from place to place, waiting for practice to get done, and evenings spent traveling to sporting events than a special family vacation. It's easy to get caught up in the busyness and mundane routine. Before you know it, the season is over. Here's a simple way to transform the mundane…infuse these tasks with gratitude. Finish this sentence, "I am grateful to…because…". For example, I am grateful to drive my son to practice because we get to spend 10 minutes together in the car to chat about his day. Gratitude helps you to be present in the moment and boost the moment from mundane to special.
#2 - Create Memories with Intention: Life is for living and enjoying everyday, not just on holidays, birthdays or vacation. Block time to spend with your kids as a family or one-on-one. It doesn't have to be a huge event…the point is time together. You could go for a walk or hike, play games, or go for a bike ride. Truthbomb…you need to be intentional in reserving this time, planning something to do, and protecting it fiercely or these opportunities, and precious time, will slip away. (And, make sure to silence those phones😉)
#3 - Practice Your Best Yes: Repeat after me, it's okay to say no. Sometimes, your best yes starts with saying no. Huh? Whenever you say yes to something, it means you are saying no to something else. To use your time to the fullest, you want to save your 'yes' for your Best Yes…depositing your time in the areas that are your priorities, bring joy to your life, and leave you feeling the most fulfilled.
The years we have with our children may continue to be faster than we like. Changing our perception of time with the benefits of gratitude, intention and our Best Yes results in being more present in the moment and feeling more fulfilled in how your time is being spent. In turn, as time goes by, even the most ordinary time deposit can transform to the most cherished moments.
✔️4 Yahoo!! Know what today is?!?
That's right…SoulShine Personal Inventory Day! Join your Inspiration Catalysts at NOON on Facebook for this week's SoulShine State of Mind.
P.S. Oh! If you don't have your copy of this Best Life tool, check the files tab located on the SoulShine DreamChaser's Academy on Facebook.
Jackie White has been writing about life and its ups and downs for many years. With a degree in Industrial Psychology and a life-long student of personal development she is intrigued by how each individual chooses to live their life. Jackie feels strongly that truly living your best life is imperative to attaining peace and fulfillment. SoulShine was borne of her desire to inspire and teach others to live their best life. This is her mission and her dream.