Ways Of Accepting Failure And Using It As An Opportunity To Better Yourself

When you fail on anything, it is usual that you get worked up and regret why you didn’t push yourself more. You can go on feeling disappointed in yourself, and if the trend goes on, your mind starts working around not taking any more challenges. However, what you don’t know is that it is normal not to live up to expectations, thus disappointing yourself or other people. If only you use the opportunity to realize how much potential you have, then you can perform better in the future. Outlined below are ways to help you through the whole process. Also, they shape and prepare you to perform better in future tasks.

Put It On Paper.

Analyze the whole situation in writing to get a clear perspective. Write down everything that you did both the correct and incorrect. Highlight all the wrong moves, and then make another list for all the proper steps you think could bear better results. Such an approach will help you to learn from your mistakes. Evaluate every decision that led to your present situation and the factors that made you think in that line. In such a case, you will realize what you did wrong and also a better idea will present itself. It is easier to use your mistakes as a learning point. If you have the chance to take up the same task, you will go through it in a more significant and smarter way.

Avoid Comparing Yourself To Others.

Understanding that life is not a competition for human beings will help build your confidence in a short spun. Whenever you fail on anything, do not make your first move to start comparing your performance with other people who did better on the same subject. You are unique and possess different skills and capabilities. Your line of thinking can never be the same as anyone else’s. Consider your journey from when you began to the heights you have conquered, not forgetting where you are going. Therefore when failure comes your way, don’t focus much attention on what happened before, but rather pick yourself up and move on swiftly. Your only competition is yourself; thus, you should strive to be a better person tomorrow.

Failure is healthy since it gets you out of your comfort zone. Make no effort to wallow in sympathy; instead, use the opportunity to grasp all the lessons it has given you.

This article was written by one of the members of utility locators in Hawaii.

On Purpose: Bringing Your Highest Self

Prior to speaking at the women’s entrepreneurial event a few weeks back I attended a yoga class with the incredible Nicolas of Brahman Yoga in Harlem. I’ll admit, I’m a yoga snob, having taught it for a few years, and studied it in India. But Nicolas is infamous for his inventive flow and measured pace, which was the perfect way to amp up and get control of my mind and breath before major events.

At the end of his class, he thanked everyone for showing up, and for bringing their ‘highest selves’ to class. I laughed thinking “highest self? That was not my highest self falling out of flipped-down-dog.”
But later, after class, I realized he was right. It’s not a perfect performance that indicates our highest self showed up. Our bodies and minds and hearts are still being trained, but it’s the highest self that asks all our working parts to keep showing up at the mat, to keep working, to try harder.

And that’s exactly what I said to the women in my speech. Thank you for bringing your highest self. Because even though it might not be your highest self performing in your day job every morning, or on the yoga mat, or in your relationships, its the highest self that’s showing up to keep learning and conditioning.
In that way, every time we work to better ourselves physically or emotionally is training. It’s all conditioning work to get our current selves to meet with our highest self.

Every little thing we do, from reading a book on how to improve our productivity to trying-and falling out of- a yoga pose to having an inspiring conversation with a friend or mentor.

As long as it pushes us toward our goal, it can be considered conditioning work, so that someday our conditioned, trained current selves will unite with our highest self.

This is especially true in work such as meditation. The first few tries are rough, and even seasoned practitioners don’t always get long periods of clarity. But it’s all training, it’s all practicing. It’s all getting us closer to our highest self so we can spend a little time there, and use what it has to say in our day-to-day actions.

The hardest part about working toward your highest self isn’t the conditioning itself. If you’re looking for it, inspiration is everywhere. It’s allowing the process to take place that’s hard. We live in a society in which, for some irrational reason, it’s embarrassing to be a novice. Some how we’ve built up the stigma that we need to be experts, not students. Which makes enjoying the process, especially in the beginning, all the more difficulty.

But as we’ve talked about before on HerAfter in this article, all you must do is allow yourself the beautiful opportunity to learn. To not be perfect. To not be an expert. Allow yourself the gift of time, the gift of being new to something (which is, ironically, a beautiful and rare sensation for most).

Allow yourself the opportunity to experience every part of the journey toward your best self.

It’s the steps of the journey that will matter most at the end of your life. Those are the moments you’ll be sharing with your grandkids about how to live well and move past obstacles.

It’s ok to be a beginner. Enjoy it.

Packing Tips for Solo Travel to ‘Find Yourself’

If you’re inspired by movies like Wild, Tracks, or plan to eat-pray-love your way to purpose and contentment this spring break, you’re going to need a few survival essentials. The path to finding your purpose is a steep one, both challenging and revelatory, unique to every individual yet universal in certain lessons and necessities. So regardless of whether you’re planning a one year trip around the world, or just ramping up to finally make that cross-country move or climb the corporate ladder at your dream job, these are the tools you’ll need.

Disclaimer: This is not for the weak of heart. This is not for anyone looking for quick fixes, or ways to bypass struggle to reach success. These are not life hacks, because you can’t cheat your way into happiness and fulfillment. This is for people who truly, whole-heartedly desire to become the best and most authentic versions of themselves. And if you’ve made it this far into the article, this is for you.

Solo Travel and Exploration of the Self

What to Pack:

Your doubts, fears, and insecurities
Pack these right on top. Put them at the front of your mind where you can’t avoid them. Even if you don’t realize it now, you’re toting these bangles and shackles around with you all day, every day. They are present in your decision making, your conversations, even your body language.
In your journey toward becoming your best self, you’ll need to confront your fears and doubts and break them down so you can break through them. You won’t be able to pretend they aren’t there, and you won’t be able to overcome them if you are denying their existence. At times, acknowledging your fears and doubts will be as simple as saying “What am I scared will happen? What am I insecure about right now?”
Working through and facing fear will make you stronger, more aware, and happier. Why? Because when you take your power back from fear, you outgrow fear’s cage and step back into your own potential.

Your dreams
Not just your ambitions, not just your goals, not just a list of to-dos along the way. Bring your dreams. Bring your wildest fantasies about how magical life could be and all that you’re capable of doing, healing from, creating, or overcoming. Do not be afraid of your dreams, and do not be scared to share your dreams with others. Do not downplay your dreams. It’s the difference of packing a map of your hometown or a map of the entire world. Go big.

Patience
Not everything happens overnight. Remember, though, that everything happening right now, struggle or success, is all part of the process. Success only happens in it’s rightful time, when everything lines up.

Openness and Willingness
Part of going on the journey toward finding yourself or living up to your potential is realizing that chances to learn and evolve are absolutely everywhere. As such, anyone and anything can be your teacher. You do not have all the answers, which might be a damning position to take in terms of social circles, but it’s a liberating position to take in life.
Be open to messages from the universe that will guide you along the path. Be receptive to lessons and wisdom that comes from unlikely places. And remember: you are always a student of life first. There is always something to learn, something to see, something to admire.

What to leave back at home:

Other People’s Opinions
And their best friend, your perception of other people’s opinions. What you think another person is thinking is typically wrong, ill-informed, or leads you to do stupid things with the expectation of approval from others. And none of it does you any good.

A Hope For Fame or Recognition
On my solo-trip to India, my digital camera lost all battery power during my flight. I had no way of taking pictures with it, which in the end served me to open my eyes, pay attention, and make memories only for myself, not for Facebook. This seemingly challenging mistake that turned out to be a life-changing lesson in presence.
Humility does much more than greed ever will. Remembering that you are part of a whole, that your actions should benefit or inspire another, and that no one gets to the top without the help of other people will keep you humble, connected, and moral. A want for glory or praise will only get your loneliness.

Excuses
Excuses take much more work than action ever does. To have an excuse, you must first come up with the excuse, then subscribe to it, and finally, say it out loud over and over in all the areas you’d otherwise be getting sh#t done. Creating, believing and speaking excuses are a waste of your precious energy, the energy you will need on this wondrous journey forward. If you want it, go after it.

A Reliance on Comfort
You will have to become comfortable with discomfort. You will have to make friends with struggle, pain, and welcome exhaustion. You will have to invite the feelings of fear, doubt, uncertainty, and newness with open arms. You will have to work very hard, and you will have to give up you want to be lazy and comfortable in your old ways. In other words, you will have to come to terms with the fact that hardship is a blessing, especially the hardship of examining your true self because it’s where the greatest and most profound truths about your true self and your power is revealed.

Expectations
It will not turn out the way you expect it to. It will not feel the way you expect it to. It will not look, taste, or smell the way you predict it to. This is one of the many incredible gifts of life: that everything is always, continually a surprise. Have no expectations, except the expectation of yourself to do your absolute best. Let everything else unfold in the miraculous experience we call living.

Have an upcoming trip planned, or a particularly interesting tale about self-exploration and solo travel? Share it in your comments below, or tweet them!

PSST: Love this article? Check out more, and be sure to share it with friends! Spreading the word helps us reach more people, and change more lives!

6 Ways to Be More Productive in the Morning

Wanting to be more productive in the morning is a buzz term on everyone’s lips, because research is revealing that having a productive day starts with the habits you implore at the start of your day. If mornings are not your forte, don’t be alarmed, productivity is something a lot people struggle with. The morning is a hectic time for women, but especially if you’re a mom or busy professional, and have people in your home needing you to help them prepare for the day (making school lunches, helping a spouse get ready for a big day, or just making sure everyone gets a good breakfast!).

What changed my idea of morning was two fold: first, when I was in chemo as a teen realizing that the morning was the only time of my day before treatment that was my own. It was the precious time that I had to get all my supplies, priorities and intentions in order so that my physical and mental health were at their optimal levels for the taxing work of chemo. I had to have my head right, my heart right, and my backpack of supplies right! From inspirational reading materials to snacks that would boost my mood. For me, to be more productive in the morning meant to help myself create the kind of mindset that could stay motivated and positive at the hospital.

Second was at an ashram in India realizing how beautiful the morning is. It’s not just the time that we wake up, its the time our aspirations and ambitions can wake up too. It’s the time of beginning, of newness, of a clean mental state. But to be more productive in the morning, we have to prepare for it, and like anything else, make a routine of it.

6 Ways to Be More Productive in the Morning

(And set yourself up for a great day!)

1- Don’t snooze!

Snoozing actually makes you feel groggier during the day, according to the medical director at the Sleep Disorder Centers of Prescott Valley. This is because it starts your mind off into a new sleep cycle, one that you can’t actually complete. (via) So no matter how hard, get up. If you find you’re always tired in the morning, try going to bed earlier or adopting better practices before bedtime to get more restful sleep.

2- Choose an intention

If you have a hard time finding motivation to get up, then start with an intention. The moment your alarm goes off, take a moment to choose an intention, and try to make it one word if possible. It doesn’t have to be an end result or project, like getting a presentation ready; instead go for a feeling or emotion. Things like: Peace, Gratitude, Openness, Detachment; any word that helps you create a mindset for the kind of day you want to have.It can also be helpful to get out of bed, write that intention down on a post-it, and pin the post it to your front door. That way not only have you written it down, you’ve placed in in a spot you’ll have to see right before you face the day.

3- Start with a meditation

Meditation is a great tool to clear your head and give you a feeling of centeredness and gratitude. We have a new series of meditation audio guides on iTunes and Podomatic to try if you’re new to meditation! And check out these beginner tips too! Meditation can help you be more productive in the morning by helping you create a mindset for cool, calm ambition.

4- Grab a banana

Or an apple. Or a granola bar. Any healthy snack you can have around 11 am at the office when you start to feel peckish. What you might not realize is that your morning coffee run might actually be harming your health and productivity. Not only because the sugar in popular coffee drinks will perk you up but then make you crash, but because drinks can’t replace food (via); in other words, when your body needs fuel, you can’t replace food with drinks to make it feel energized. So save the time and the money, give yourself more energy and focus with a brought-from-home snack instead.

5- Take Stressers out of your own way

If there’s something that always stresses you out in the morning, get it out of the way! For instance, if picking your outfit sends you in a half-hour body shaming rant in front of the mirror, take the guess work out and pick the night before. If you tend to get agitated waiting for coffee, set the timer to brew before you even get up. If the kids like to wait till it’s time to leave to look for school supplies, implement a routine the night before.The point is this: you have to be in control of your morning to make it work for you. If you know, without doubt, something will bring you anxiety, do what you need to do to get it out of the way.

6- Take a ‘Contrast Shower’

Contrast showers are a term fitness professionals and gym buffs like to use for taking a hot shower, interspersed with periods of cold water. It’s used to alleviate muscle soreness, but also because the hot water followed by cold water increases blood flow, it’s sure to give you a morning burst. (via) Different people like different intervals of hot and cold, but I typically go for a minute of hot, followed by 10-30 seconds of cold. While in the cold water, try to keep the breath steady and not avoid the cold; it’s a great practice in mindfulness, keeping calm, and controlling your emotions (which will definitely help you in the board room later!).

Plus, try our new e-course in mantra meditation! It’s a great way to start every morning, and takes less than 10 minutes a day!

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How to Stop Apologizing

I stopped apologizing before I was forced to stop apologizing:

“Can you break a $20? Sorry, I know you’re busy.” I said to my coworker on an especially busy afternoon.

He stopped what he was doing and turned his entire body to me.

“Stop apologizing” he said, eyes locked on mine. Then he took the bill from my hands.

I hadn’t been at all aware that I’d been apologizing often, let alone to a point that someone might be annoyed by it. This particular coworker was a friend, and I immediately understood his point: I had no reason to use an apology as a plea for getting what I wanted. After all, as a self-help writer, I’m abreast of all the reasons why apologizing unnecessarily diminishes credibility and authority. So I heeded the advice.
Once I vowed to stop apologizing (unless I’d done something wrong or hurt someone), my life took a drastic turn. I wouldn’t have thought it before, but it wasn’t how other people saw me that changed – it was how I saw myself.

How the Vow to Stop Apologizing Changed My Life:

I gained confidence, and started getting what I wanted

I didn’t realize that the habit of starting sentences with “Sorry, but could you…” actually made me present my own needs as weaknesses. It was probably clear to the other person, but the reason it wasn’t clear to me was because the word ‘sorry’ had subconsciously made me feel as if I was constantly bothering other people. Once I stopped using the world ‘sorry’ in my approach to ask for things, I started realizing that confidence is a much better tool for getting what you want than neediness. The more I practiced this, the more confident I became, and the more doors my confidence started opening.

I realized my wants have worth

I’m being honest when I saw that saying sorry so often was totally unintentional, but the intentional practice of not apologizing did more than change a bad habit. When I stopped apologizing for my wants, beliefs, and actions I started to hold my own wants up to the worthiness of other people’s. When I didn’t say ‘I’m sorry’ for expressing a need or want, I was forced to realize I’d been compromising my own needs because I thought they were selfish. The truth is, unless I fulfill my own needs, I can’t do anything for anyone else. Unless I love myself, believe in myself, and take care of myself, I can’t offer those actions to other people. When my wants and needs became as big of a priority to me as everyone else’s wants and needs, I became a more capable, compassionate and empowered woman.
Additionally, apologizing for my opinion (such as “I’m sorry, I just think that…”) had built in a belief system within me of my opinion being unwanted. In not apologizing, I started holding other people accountable as people who might want to help and support me, while empowering myself to speak up.

I realized other ways I’d been blocking myself

Once my friend had made clear to me that I apologized too often, I started to wonder other areas that I had subconscious habits that affected my personal wellbeing. After removing ‘I’m sorry’ from my vocabulary, I noticed a few other unhealthy, limiting messages I repeated (some out loud, and some to myself). Phrases like “I can’t” and “I’m not good enough for” were running through my head on a daily basis, and keeping me in a cage of fear, even when I didn’t admit these messages out loud to anyone else. I started meditating with more positive mantras for confidence (I teach a class on positive affirmation meditation) and started seeing immediate results.

I made one last apology to the most important person of all: MYSELF

There was only one person all along that needed an apology, and that was myself. I had to take a long hard look at how I had been conducting myself, and it was embarrassing to realize I’d willingly been diminishing my own authority that way. The only person I truly needed to apologize to was me. Apologizing to myself, my worth, and my potential gave me the strength to be my own advocate, and go after what I wanted.

How to Stop Apologizing:

– Realize your wants and needs have worth

– Remember that Confidence opens more doors than Neediness

– Assume the best in others – that they will support and help you

– Keep in mind that confidence and believing in yourself are habits that need practice: the more you do it, the easier it will be

How to Spring Clean Your Mind & Heart

Welcome to the second day of spring! With a new season upon us, one focused on renewal, rebirth, and awakening, let us take the time to cleanse our minds and hearts this week.

We often say on HerAfter – or attempt to say, and to stress upon, and to say again – how important it is to accept certain responsibilities in one’s life: being your own advocate for success and happiness, being the kind voice in the back of your own mind, undertaking the duty of surrounding yourself with positivity. As we divulge into this new season today, let us take special care to create strong foundations for these responsibilities. It may be easier to leave the dust in the attics in spring, or blame the weather or the bad night’s sleep or a coworker who brought the office mood down to a dull hum. But that would be avoiding our potential.

As they say, one must break down to break through. A break down does not always mean crying on the floor hysterically. Sometimes it means breaking down the elemental components of your own life, analyzing and doing any necessary cleaning with the precision of a mechanic’s hand on each bolt of the engine.

It is, after all, the budding of spring around us. The trees taking on an angelic white bloom to prepare us for the ballet of color to come. The wind of change blowing in every direction. The soil ripe and fertile and ready for the planting of new projects, new intentions, new phases, which we can especially embrace just after the new moon bid us to do so. Without further ado, let us break down our habits, and break through to a bright and blossoming season ahead.

Four Essential Areas to Cleanse for Spring

Your Daily Routine

Break that down step by step. The daily routine does not start the moment you wake up. It actually starts the moment you go to bed; a great day tomorrow depends on what you do the night before. A good night’s sleep will help you feel rested both mentally and physically, ready to take on the office and the gym with equal vigor. Be sure you are honoring your body’s time for sleep by whatever means necessary. A sleep mask, a rain song on repeat, and even gentle melatonin can help you fall asleep faster.

Then after waking up, as we’ve discussed in this article about Becoming a Morning Person, make sure your morning is a routine that sets you up for success. Give yourself enough time so as not to be rushed out the door, as inevitably you will feel rushed the rest of the day. This first intention of the day, the first vibration we send out in to the world is the one that resonates until the day ends. Be sure you are beginning your day in a peaceful mood, and the world will vibrate with you on such a level until bedtime.

Another tip, be sure that you are not filling your morning with negative messages. Don’t spend your coffee time dwelling over intimidating meetings to come. Don’t stew in the anxiousness or resentment of your office job. You are not a victim of your circumstance, and everything you do to do is absolutely by choice; never forget that.

I find the makeup routine to be a perfect place to instill personal appreciation. We’ll be doing a beauty week soon, which will dive into this more, but for now, read this article on the Zen of Makeup and see why a look in the mirror and a loving touch is all you need to see your unique beauty.

Your down time, rest and relaxation

For some reason, we’ve developed a definition of downtime as being synonymous distracted, desensitized, disconnected. Those hours after work when we sit numbly in front of a television screen or computer screen, filling our heads with the drama of unsatisfied characters in fictional stories. How is that supposed to relax us, to watch a married man cheat on his wife with Olivia Pope? Or to watch murder and violence in any other primetime show?

No amount of this will make you actually feel rested, not mentally in any case. But a session with an uplifting book, a few TEDTalks, an hour spent on Brainpickings.org, or just journaling will. The point isn’t that you avoid TV. It’s that you take your time to rejuvenate to do rejuvenating things. It’s important to use this time, when the body and brain are totally exhausted and so totally willing to absorb anything like a sponge, to put something good in front of them. Tea instead of chips. A Marianne Williamson lecture – which are available online! –  instead of Empire. A bath instead of scrolls down your ex’s Facebook. Whatever it is, if the answer to the question “is this good for me?” isn’t yes, don’t do it.

Your thought process and motivation

Everything we do in life has a ‘because’ to it. We eat because we want to survive. We work because we have bills. We love because it feels good. We workout because…well…bikinis. In any case, every action has a reasoning to go with it, but it’s important how we define the basis of such reasoning.

Take this example: you are out to happy hour with friends after a particularly stressing day at work. After a glass or two of wine, you start to feel hungry, and though you hadn’t planned on eating dinner out, everyone agrees to order. You have the option of indulging in the Mac and Cheese and Truffle Fries that are on everyone else’s wants, or ordering something healthier.

The reasons behind what you do in this moment will follow one of two paths: it will look to the past, or it will look to the future.

If your ‘because’ is looking backward, it will tell you that you’ve had a bad day, that you deserve a reward (another issue we talk about in this article about healthy eating and the myth of food as reward), and that you need the emotional comfort because of everything that has already happened.

If your ‘because’ is looking forward, it will tell you that you don’t want the guilt or inevitable stomach ache of inhaling a bowl of cheese noodles, and how terrible it will make you feel tomorrow. It will tell you that what you don’t want is to sit and justify negative things that have happened in the past, things that are over now and that have no control over you in the present, and that what you do want is to prepare for a better tomorrow, to feel healthy and good, and to move forward. In other words, it will tell you that what is best for you is the Kale salad.

We cannot stop the cycle of because-reasoning behind our actions, but we can direct it in a way that is positive, constructive, and forward focused, so that it takes us where we want to go, instead of trying to solve problems of a non-existent time: the past.

‘Because’ reasoning that looks forward is a step toward where you want to go. Because reasoning that looks behind is a constant reaction that keeps us continually facing backward.

Your seeds of Intention

Sometimes we begin projects with the best of intentions, and end up being dragged down by them, frustrated with our own self-imposed responsibilities. What seeds did you sew in the past seasons that no longer suit your purpose of moving forward? What seeds and intentions should you sew today in order to reap a better crop tomorrow?

These seeds come in many forms. They come in the form of thoughts. They come in the form of social activities, of friends, of projects in and outside of work. The come in the form of what we want to do and where we want to go.

It is ok to let go of any project or responsibility that is no longer healthy for you. Is an unreasonable standard you’ve set for yourself only making you feel guilty? Is a commitment, like a book club or a weekly happy hour, no longer bringing you joy but instead bringing you angst or anger?

Now is the time to till the soil of your intentions and actions, and come face to face with any responsibilities that are not allowing you to be your best self.

The Secret to Success You Don’t Realize You Have

The secret to success is:
Evolving with challenges to get the most out of life

So you show up to work one day to find that you’ve been fired or laid off. You hate the job, and yet still feel guilty somehow.

Or you show up on Saturday night empty handed, dressed for a casual house party, only to find it’s an exclusive invite dinner party. You’re under-dressed and overly embarrassed.

What can we do when life hands us a new challenge (as it always does), just a the moment we find ourselves at our most vulnerable, our must under-prepared? Subscribing to the truth that we all agree, life’s challenges will inevitably find us. But it is those among us who use these keys to unlock new, unexpected successes in areas of new, unexpected challenges.

It is said that a powerful man knows how to build an empire with the same stones thrown at us. This is much the same, but instead of an empire, we’re building a simple (tres chic marble) zen temple inside.

The Secret to Success: Adaptability

Step 1: Expect the worst…and the best

Any of my fellow cancer fighters will know this lesson hard and fast and true down to their cell-stricken bones:

When a doctor tells you that you have cancer, you must immediately prepare for the worst while knowing that this may be your only opportunity to also experience the best. That means prepare to hear (more) words you fear the most, while remaining present and peaceful enough hear the words you need and enjoy the most. That means embracing bad news and good news. That means expecting the battle to be awful, yet beautiful and full of light. That means hearing “you have cancer” while also hearing “I love you” “I’m grateful for you”.

They say it is always darkest before the dawn. In these terrible challenges when we can see no light and no hope, it is up to us to manifest our own. It is up to us to see, create, and hope for the possibility of beauty in the dark. The faith in us must come out in full force. Because just like the hero that must defeat the dragon, sizing up the opponent doesn’t make it any easier. You just have to grab your sword, and hope that the view is spectacular once he’s not looming over it. You’ll get hurt, but also expect to feel accomplishment and pride like you’ve never known.

Step 2: Express Confidence

One slip up, one bad outfit, or one misspoken statement isn’t enough to kill your entire credibility and sense of integrity. Undoubtedly it feels like the end of the world when it happened, but that’s simply not the case.

Raise up the other elements of your personality that you are proud of, that you have developed and cultivated, such as your ability to heal, to show compassion, to forgive (even yourself in this moment), and to drop that which no longer serves you. This dropping act should include your self consciousness.

Keep your head up high. This is an opportunity to show the fullness of your character, and that it needs not simple devices that other individuals might need in order to feel comfortable, in control, powerful, and impactful. Furthermore, it’s your chance to increase the vibrancy of your confidence. If you can harness it and outwardly express it in moments like these, you will only build it’s muscles stronger. So what if everyone is looking at you. Everyone doesn’t know you…yet.

Step 3: Remain Open and Joyful

Life is challenging, life is hard. Life is full of obstacles. Life is life. But none of these clichés about the nature or functioning of the universe negates our ability to be open, joyful, and full of gratitude. In fact, in the face of challenge is actually our greatest opportunity to reach enlightenment. That’s another secret to success, it typically requires challenge. But every time we diminish our chance to rise to the occasion, to evolve into a higher being, to learn a profound lesson through profound turmoil, we in turn diminish ourselves and everyone around us.

We can lyrically gather together all these qualities: openness, joyfulness, gratitude, under one umbrella action: embracing what is already happening. The secret to success in life lies in embracing the challenge without victimizing ourselves (the: ‘it’s not fair’sand ‘it’s not right’s ) without villainizing life,, we open up new possibilities. We meet the most compassionate person in the room, the one who was the first to talk to us in our underdressed state. We see the dissatisfaction we were hiding deep down inside, we return to our individual selves when we allow a former lover to leave and the heartbreak to take place, ultimately healing. We see the guilt and worry we were carrying around unnecessarily when life hands us a challenge that is actually an unshackling from our own mental chains. Life is never spiteful, it is never cruel. It is only bluntly honest with it’s teaching methods.

In this Pinterest-esque era of media make-believe, when we’re all pretending to have beautiful, happy lives online, it is becoming increasingly harder to be honest about and to face struggle. But great happiness and success requires great risk, and every time we put ourselves out there – professionally, socially, romantically, artistically, – we must remember that all the great minds throughout time faced the same equation: allow difficulty to be a liberation or a cage. The secret to success is already within you.

On Passion: The Director of Your Own St

We’ve decided to share this post again for two reasons: because denim is a huge trend this spring(then again, when isn’t denim in?).
And second, because of a recent tweet from Sandra, a beautiful soul and reader of the site. She shared that after a hard day, HerAfter is where she goes to recharge. We couldn’t be more touched by her kind words, but also inspired by her commitment to positively fuel herself when she needs it. As we’ll talk about in this article, it’s important to intentionally fill your life with inspiration. And it’s important to have a place to go when your day goes wrong, or your spirit slumps. Like Sandra, I hope HerAfter can be that place for you too…

On a recent episode of SheDoes podcast, in which Elaine Sheldon and Sarah Ginsburg brilliantly and compassionately interview women working in various media roles, interviewee Kat Cizek likened being a director to being quality-control. The essential function is to make sure every little working part and element is up to snuff.

This description works as a metaphor for the rest of our lives. If we are director of our own stories, we must inspect the goods. Everything from what we put in our brains to what we put in our stomachs to what we put on our legs; it all matters. When we lose sight of our original message and purpose, it’s important to have something, someone, or somewhere to go to that will help reconnect us with our center.
In this respect, we’re not only in charge of the quality of life, we’re in charge of the collection of our life experience as a whole. Life is not unlike individual curation. The decorations in our house, the music we listen to. We’re curating directors. We’re writing our own stories through our every little elemental choice.

On HerAfter, we often talk about the power of beauty from an internal source. We’ve talked about being bald and glowing. We’ve talked a lot about all the ways and places there are to find inspiration in our everyday lives. But none of that negates the fact that sometimes even just looking like yourself takes a lot of guts.
In our old article High Heels High Hopes, I shared that high heels were one of the things I was most excited to indulge in after cancer. It wasn’t because I couldn’t wear heels to chemo (thought decidedly not advisable), it was because I had simply been too scared to wear heels. But when little freedoms such as this suddenly took on a profound new importance, the power of choice was clear. If I could find the courage to look how I wanted, I could find the courage to say what I mean. With the courage to say what I mean comes the courage to ask for what I want. And with that courage comes the ability to get the life I dream of, unique to me, personal to my ambitions, beliefs, and desires.

It takes guts to be the most authentic version of yourself in everything from how you dress to how you speak to what you believe.

It’s not easy to stand up and say what you believe, to take ownership of something that doesn’t fit popular opinion of ‘beautiful’ or ‘accepted.’

It requires bravery to be open about your individual perspective in the world, because you’ll be the only one defending those choices. Cizek faced the same battles when she had to stand by her directorial decisions against popular opinion. Being individual is a solo mission. You’re the only you in the world. I won’t say individuality is a lonely mission, but I will say it requires cultivating a lot of strength and assurance in yourself, so that not only can you be the only you, but so you can also appreciate others as individuals too. Different, but together. That’s where this featured Denim jumpsuit comes in:

It was one of those ultimate online shopping finds. Girl finds jumpsuit. Girl loves jumpsuit. Girl takes too long to decide that it’s worth every penny. It fits like a 70’s dream, tight on the curves and flared in all the right ways. Like denim velvet, I love this thing, as much as I love the dress from “How to Look Great in Everything You Own”. I feel myself. I feel empowered. It’s about as me as the freckles on my cheeks. It has become a uniform, a tool in my life like the pen in my hand, something that allows me to embody the courage required to make my difference. It’s part of my collection. Like Sandra, it’s what I wear on days I’m not so sure how to be the best version of myself.

You are the curator of your life. You are solely in charge of making the best decisions for yourself, from what you wear to what you create.

The moral is, if you’re in the market for a new sense of self pride, if you’ve been longing for the courage and inspiration to be yourself, don’t be afraid of where you might find it. It might not be a jumpsuit, it might be in a form of expression you’ve yet to open up to. In moments big and small, there is opportunity for presence, for enlightenment, for gratitude of the chance to express your truth.

In a book, in the closet, in a photograph, in an artistic endeavor, find your inspiration. Embrace it, cherish it, and do your best to keep it up, keep seeking it, adding more of it to your collection, your daily experience. You won’t always feel brave enough to be unabashedly yourself, but the easier you make it on yourself, the more effective you’ll be. When you lose sight of what your believe in, have a place to go to recharge.

A well curated life, one that speaks to your soul in every way, is a fulfilled life.

And if you’re looking for tips on how to build bravery (because it’s a muscle that needs strengthening, not an inherent trait!) than head over to this article.

5 Principles That Will Help You Be Successful

For many success stories, it’s all in the mindset: staying dedicated, keeping focused, and not allowing doubt and fear to be greater than your sense of conviction. But in the age of the start-up with so many people starting businesses, it can be hard to stay confident on your path.

The bottom line is: obstacles will always come in your path, a life of no resistance is simply not possible. Whether you’re planning on starting a business, a blog, or a new career, keep these things in mind:

A Healthy Mind is Essential

Many successful people, from entrepreneurs to film directors, practice mindfulness in the form of meditation and other focusing exercises. Meditation is an incredibly powerful tool for boosting creativity, confidence, and awareness. If you’ve been curious about this, check out my online course that teaches how to meditate with positive affirmations (a foundational element to attracting success and joy) here.

Adaptability is key

Being prepared is fantastic, but no amount of preparation can 100% guarantee your expected outcome. Instead of being too rigid, remember that being adaptableis just as important, so that when changes or new factors or even new people come into play, your open to working with them and collaborating in unexpected ways to still get the job done.

Everyone has value

Thinking that there are people who are “better” than others doesn’t empower your teammates. Remember that in work and life, everyone has value andpotential to create something great. Sometimes that value feels negative (someone who constantly criticizes or has a bad attitude), but they still add the value of showcasing weaknesses that could use improvement. Every person, no matter what their role or position, has value. Respect that, you’ll get respect back.

Being a student is more important than being a master

Humility is a huge factor in all success. No successful person masters their respective industry or skill and reaches a peak; an interest in growth and learning is essential to stay at the forefront of what you create. Remember that there are opportunities to learn everywhere, and that being a student and continuing to learn and improve is much more valuable than running on hubris and being cocky.

Even leaders are only part of the team

It’s the old adage: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. Community is important, and remember that you are part of the whole not only fosters connection and teamwork, but protects you from taking on responsibility for the performance of other people. You are part of a whole, not a singular entity; no man is an island.

Failure is not the end

Some great projects and ideas never take off, and others will get their start but never make an impact. Successful people know not to see disappointment as a roadblock, but instead an opportunity to learn. In fact, there is saying that there’s no such thing as failing, you can only succeed or learn…

Have your own tips for success, or truths a boss or mentor taught you? Share in the comments!

How to Take a Healthier View of Your Life

“Am I good enough?”

“Do I deserve to get what I want?”

“Is it too late now to say sorry??”

Beibs aside, these are probably questions you ask yourself daily, even subconsciously to gain perspective of yourself and your life…The word ‘perspective’ is used so broadly these days. We’ve dumbed down perspective to simply someone’s point of view, or opinion about a situation or object. In the name of conscious awareness, let’s open ourselves to the mathematical and artistic definitions of this word to help us more fully understand our own perspective, how changing perspectives works, and how to add a third dimension to our perspective that could enhance our entire experience.

What are perspectives?

Perspective is defined as: “the art of drawing solid objects on a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other when viewed from a particular point.�? (Oxford Dictionary)

This definition of perspective like giving context, such as details that allow us to understand a certain object based on what’s around it. It also means making a judgment about that object based on what surrounds it. When we think of perspectives in terms of opinions and feelings, it’s much the same; we take into consideration the context to gain perspective. We use what’s around it (typically our story, our fears, etc) to make judgments about a situation or person.

For the purposes of understanding the power of perspective, look at life as a two-dimensional work as well. In this two-dimensional world, the dimensions aren’t simply height and width, but similarly dimensions of oppositions, on a plane. The dimensions are things like time: past and present. They can be physicality: here or not here, alive or dead. There is a right and a wrong, a good and a bad. The dimensions can be just is a thing visible or not, tangible or not. The two dimensions of perspective in life typically boil down to a scale of existence or non-existence. What adds the third dimension in art to a drawing? Depth. To get to a third dimension in life perspectives, we need to add the same facet of depth.

What does depth add to our perspective of life? It adds opinions like how important or how unimportant, how close, how far. So an object is not measured only by here or not here, but with depth could be: here but not yet. It adds a measure of scale that brings things towards us or away from us by their emotional and physical significance.

How do you change perspective?

True depth, however, comes from stepping back, back, back out of our physical realities, out of the two dimensional world our bodies reside in. Here’s a quick way to get into this perspective of depth, from Deepak Chopra’s incredible talk on awareness:

Looking at your entire life, through all the years and experiences you’ve been, who was present for all of it? You were. Not just your body; your body aged, changed. The energy of you was still there, though, unchanging. The earth turned, grade school turned to college, boyfriends came and went, your physical form evolved, but the essence of you timelessly remained behind it all. By realizing the timeless being that you are deep inside, the one that witnesses your whole life but is intangible, you become aware of the limitless energy that is truly you. You are not the childhood you, that physical shape of you is long gone. You are not the future you, that aged you has not yet come. Yet you are there through all that, and even now. Stepping into that being, that part of you that’s been there through it all and yet has not been affected by the physical world, what’s around you? Awareness, and endless possibility.

That is a you free of your stories about your past, free of your circumstances in your reality. It’s unaffected by the wounds of this physical world. It has no scars, it has no hurts. It simply is. If you want to dive deeper into realizing this part of yourself, watch this complete video by Chopra to help you widen your perspective on your reality.

What does this new perspective look like?

This is only one area in which we can add true depth, and thus true perspectives into your life. Without the restraints of a two-dimensional existence: good or bad, here or not here, past and present; life can take on new meanings that are infinite in depth. There is no longer one perspective that can be judged as right or wrong. You can see things from every angle. You can start to treat others as their limitless self bound by their two-dimensional beliefs and experiences, and you can forgive your enemies for acting from their limited perspective, and feel sympathy that they deny themselves this beautiful view. You can have peace even amidst physical struggle. You can view your own life with the kind of depth and understanding that allows you to see miracles at work, to love everything and everyone, to respect circumstances as just that, only circumstances of a two-dimensional reality, and to see the divine powers of the universe at work through absolutely everything in life. Most importantly you can see how you can bring about your limitless self, your endless love and peace and acceptance, into every single moment and every single action throughout your entire life.
The dimension of depth changes everything.

At any moment, you have the power to stop, look around, and assess where your perspective is coming from. Is it coming from a two-dimensional world where things are bound by judgments of good or bad, real or not real, valid or not? Is it on the linear plane of this physical world from past to present to future? And can you step back, add depth, reach into your infinite self that expands beyond your physical experience, and gain a new perspective that can include endless love, peace, and awareness?

Your perspective is so incredibly powerful if you allow yourself to access it. A perspective that acts not from the fearful you, from the past you that was hurt allows you to love more, reach higher, and respect yourself more. Don’t deny yourself a life in which you truly love and appreciate your own spirit.

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