Category Archives: Uncategorized

The start of a New Year

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The start of a New Year puts many in the mood for a lifestyle inventory. Looking back on the past year and looking forward to the future. Making resolutions. Some people make impossibly unobtainable goals, many fueled my Madison Avenue’s fire. The message? Be the perfect consumer. However, being the perfect consumer hardly fires me up. What does fire me up however is feeling happy, healthy and empowered as an individual. And that got me thinking of the word DREAM because the word dream is thrown around a lot. Do your dream! Live your dream! The American Dream. But what is a dream? It seems so ethereal, so… out there. That is why I do not prefer that word. I want the thought to be grounded. I want to bring it to the here and now. Bring it down to goals. Goals reached by answering the following questions:

  • What do I want to show up in my life?
  • What actions do I need to take to get me there?
  • What action can I accomplish now?
  • If my goal is bigger than me, who do I need to have on my team to help me reach my goal?

That is how you reach a goal and live a dream. That is what successful people do. Here is where the voice of doubt says “But there are outside influences on my life that I cannot control!” and that is perfectly true. I think this is where many people get lost. Because things don’t happen on the timeline they expected and because of that the feeling is that they have somehow failed. This is where the cliche KEEP TRYING comes in. Because in my experience, nothing happened in the time frame I wished or expected. But it happened or is in the process of happening. To achieve a goal it is important to set deadlines, however it is just as important if a deadline is not met to set another deadline and keep working. Perfectionists that think it needs to be perfect the first time if it is meant to be have got to let go of that notion and must allow steps toward progress to count for something or else there is the risk of becoming paralyzed as any task can become overwhelming when a person doesn’t take joy in the little successes on the way to the larger goal.

So in these sometimes self-critical moments of resolution making remember to choose obtainable goals that mean something to you, create a to-do map of action items that you can accomplish in one day and get to it. It feels great on the other side. Success is addictive!

Happy New Year!

Healthy Choices

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So long as you have food in your mouth, you have solved all questions for the time being. Franz Kafka

There’s a lot of talk about food lately. It’s strange that humans ever decided to create food that works counter to survival. It’s difficult for many to get into all the fad diet stuff. I’m no exception. Yet, today change came to my kitchen when I put together a pretty good sandwich wrap. It was a busy day and my husband took the kids on an outing, so it was vital to fill the time with writing and other mental activities that are best done in solitude. I was in the midst of a flurry of productivity when my body gave me that grumbling reminder of the limits of mortality and the dire need for sustenance. This bio-alarm inevitably leads to a dash to the pantry a handful of chips or cookies as ransom pay to the growl in my stomach. Then back to work. Not Today. Today instead of grabbing some chips or cookies  I cracked open a can of tuna, a bag of salad I had previously prepared, some Kraft Fat Free Italian dressing and a tortilla. I sprinkled the colorful salad, watching the white circle of the tortilla fill up with deep greens, crisp orange, juicy reds and then added the drained Tuna Wraptuna on top of it. A little shake of salt and pepper, some garlic powder for good measure and a splash of Italian dressing wrapped that baby up and I was in business! That was a great, fast lunch on the go. Most importantly it was a action of self-love and care. Something that is important to a happy life. Those little choice add up. Eat something that brings pleasure in the moment. Take it that next step by making it something that honors the temple of the body, because a body that works well can do amazing things.

Make a list, do your list, make your dreams come true.

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A goal is a dream with a deadline ~Napoleon Hill

Many people have great ideas and very few do anything with them. Ideas are an energy, but like electricity, energy doesn’t do anything useful unless it has a conduit to focus it to complete a task. Unless dreams/ideas are wrapped in the conduit of a to-do list, not much happens with them because the energy is scattered- not focused.

This becomes even more vital for those who are doing work at home, or are attempting to balance parenthood and a career as a freelancer or other home-based business. It’s easy to get distracted by chores, kids, partners and their need to be loved, entertained, and cared for. However, without balance nothing gets done. Enter the to do list.

Write out all that comes to mind when you ask “What needs to be done today?”. It can become an extensive list. Now go through the list again asking “What are the consequences of this item?” Meaning, if it doesn’t get done today what would happen? Some things hold little consequence like a chore that doesn’t happen, some holds great consequence like not making an important business call when the client is expecting you to. Write these high consequence items on a small magnetic dry erase board and place them somewhere you go to get distracted–say the refrigerator–if it is a work environment, place it in line of sight. Write the top five things that need to happen on the dry erase board and remove each task as it is done. Make sure this top five happens every day. If it absolutely can’t happen –extenuating circumstances–add it to the top of tomorrow’s list and get it done. This feeling of accomplishment encourages more accomplishment. Especially for long projects and for chores like dishes and laundry that are eternal, it feels good to be done, at least for now 🙂

By structuring the day into the conduit of a to-do list, with consequences and deadlines things get done. There will still be occasion to look back at the end of the week and say “Where the heck did that week go?” Only with a to-do list done, that feeling comes with a sense of satisfaction about all that was accomplished during that time. Todo List

Only you could have done that.

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On October 5, 2011 the world lost Steve Jobs, Apple Founder and technological visionary to his battle with pancreatic cancer. On the same day the world also lost Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth a hero in the battle for Civil Rights in America. One of my friends on Facebook and I were discussing the fact that in some ways Rev. Shuttlesworth may have contributed more to society than Steve Jobs did, but that his passing is going relatively unnoticed because it was overshadowed by Jobs.

The argument was that maybe Steve Jobs didn’t do as much as he could in the way of philanthropy or by helping society the way the Reverend did. I took that information and I meditated with it in mind. Was one man’s contribution in some way more valuable than the other man? What came back to me was this, “Do what you can. Do what only you can do. ”

The thing is there are many people who are not able to come up with the idea of the Macintosh, the iPod, the iPhone, Pixar  or any of the amazing other things that Jobs came up with. The fact is there are other people who are capable of doing the many philanthropic things that need to be done. Now this isn’t meant to be a scapegoat for people to shirk off something they should be doing. This isn’t to say “Someone else will take care of that.” because I think there is too much of that going on in society right now. What I mean to say is, that no one else BUT Steve Jobs could have invented those things, could have inspired others, could have made the technological miracles happen that he created. Many interviews with people who are in the industry say “Only Steve could have done that.”

The fact is our time on Earth is finite. We only have so much of it. No one is able to do all there is available to do in life we have to be discerning with the precious resource of time. In the blog What are you doing? Manage your time, manage your life discussed the importance of time management.

It’s important to take some time to ask “What is it that only I can do?” and not get distracted from that point. Because only you can do that. We should do the best we can to be an asset to the global community but that can manifest itself in many ways and each way is valuable. Only Rev. Shuttlesworth could have withstood the tribulations he did in the fight for civil rights and only Steve Jobs could have done what he did which ended up providing the tools for the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall St., and other revolutions that have taken place because of the iPhone, Google, Facebook and Twitter all things that Jobs in some way influenced.

Be your own kind of hero. Maybe its writing a song, or a blog, or being an awesome mentor to a young person, or inventing technology, or standing up for the civil rights of another. Maybe it will be by creating  a moving piece of art, or just by being that helpful person at work that made life better for others. Find your own version of hero. Do what you can. Do what only you can do.  And in the end when your time on Earth is up people can remember you and the miracles you made happen in your own unique way because only YOU could have done that.

What are you doing? Manage your time, manage your life.

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Have you ever stopped to ask yourself  “What am I doing?”  Why are you doing a specific action at a particular time?

It’s interesting to break-down how people use time.  What is the difference in actions between the way a transient person uses time and a billionaire? The way a stay-at-home parent uses time and how a corporate executive uses time? How a celebrity uses time and how an office worker uses time?  The way we use our time ultimately defines what kind of life we have to look back on, when we reflect on the life created by these consecutive moments, how time is used can have a major impact in the arena of material success, how a person uses their time is a fundamental  factor in a person’s chances of success.

In the poem I Was Going to Live My Dream But… I illustrate the many little time takers a person encounters in their day. This is written from the point of view of  a wife and mother, however it’s easily transferable to any life and the specific fill-in-the-blanks tasks that make up a  day’s worth of time.

Time is a precious commodity. As we get older time practically vaporizes before us, and once in awhile a moment will happen that causes a person to take note of just how many years have flown by. Those years, all made up of tiny moments, are reflected on, and the question inevitably comes “What did I do with that time?”

So what’s the point? What is the point of the tasks that take up a day? What goals do these actions make happen? What results come from these actions? Is it what you want? Are you happy? It’s  good  to be mindful of questions like these as the day goes by to make sure you are getting the most of every moment. Especially in today’s world of technology with literally thousands of methods of distraction available to us in an instant a person can lose a lot of time without a satisfying return on investment from how that time was spent.  It takes discipline, discipline  in thought and action in order to have satisfying experience of life.  Discipline becomes at the same time the most difficult thing to do and the most important thing to do when achieving goals to live a satisfying life.

Discipline has a negative connotation, as if something is being taken away– Freedom stolen.  This is not the case. Discipline is simply a path, like digging a canal that flows to the life a person wants, time can be much like water. Water can cause a lot of damage when it’s not channeled through a canal, at best it lazily floods and makes a big mess, at its worst it can be highly destructive, but all of that can be avoided with proper channeling of the water flow. Once water is channeled within a canal, it can irrigate a field, or serve as a water source, even create power if attached to a hydro-electric device.  Channeling the water makes it productive and the same is true with time. Daily schedules help combat distraction, and when teamed with a reasonable to-do list which is  marked by priority, a day’s worth of time begins to take shape. Much like a canal,  the schedule gives a path to time that causes something to be produced with it. Consulting  schedules and to-do lists  lends  guidance to decide what activity should be going on in a particular moment in order to reach a goal and feel satisfied at the end of the day.

These are merely guidelines of course,  as the day unfolds its undoubted that the schedule and list will go through alterations,  however there is still a course that can be returned to and priority tasks can be completed.

Make a list of all the time stealers in your schedule. Which stealers can be removed from your schedule by either delegating them, deleting them or managing them more effectively. For example social media like Facebook and Twitter can steal a lot of time if you let it, but with a timer beeping when allotted time is over, and by limiting access to it by only checking at designated times of day (this can apply to email as well), one can have more time for productive work with a good return on time invested.

It is important to make not only financial or material goals but also personal and social goals as well. Spending time with family, having fun, self improvement and care time are included in the list of what must be done. With the guide of a schedule and to-do list and with discipline to channel the use of time, one’s daily actions can produce a very happy and satisfying life.

Sophia Tesch’s blog becomes Summary of a Happy Life

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When I started this blog it was essentially my random thoughts. It will continue to be to some extent however now the blog will be taken to the next level. I will be inviting some guest writers in, sharing resources and opportunities for self-empowerment and creating a more satisfying and fulfilling life. As such the blog has changed from Sophia Tesch’s Blog to Summary of a Happy Life. I hope you enjoy it and find some inspiration from it.
Peace.

F is for Freedom

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Sixth installment in the A-Z series. F is for Freedom.

Freedom is something that is talked about a lot however rarely accomplished. People have different ideas about Freedom. How Free are we? Often a phrase from the movie Wayne’s World comes to mind “It costs a lot to live this free.”

Are you free? How many of the decisions of the day have already been made for you before you even wake up? What you will be doing today? Who you will interact with? What you believe to be true? Is it possibly all part of a pre-packaged thought package you bought into as a child? Is your life truly made up of authentic thoughts and deductions made from personal experiences and desires?

This became clear to me when I worked in a position that didn’t allow me as an adult to go to the bathroom without asking permission. Although I understood where the employer was coming from, an upper management supervisor wanted to be sure that the phones were covered by a person at all times. However, something about having to ask permission for something so basic and fundamental began to weigh on me.

Then the inventory began which revealed that I was being told, when to wake up, when to eat, when to sleep, when to go to the bathroom, when I could spend time with my children, when I could take a vacation. All this is already decided for me. For my friend at the time who was religious and had children in sports her weekends and thoughts about many subjects had already been decided for her. She really had little to no room for free thought or decisions at all.

This seemed odd to me that so much of identity especially as an American is about Freedom. Yet, so few are actually free. Are you happy with the level of Freedom in your life?

Of course one could say that a homeless man on the street is free yet many would not choose that lifestyle. We trade freedom for security. We trade freedom for a luxurious cage. The movie Madagascar touches on this where the lion enjoys his pampering, the giraffe wants his prescription medication, the hippo doesn’t mind being taken care of if that means she can’t be free. The zebra isn’t happy though and wants to see the wild. I am the zebra type. It’s much more challenging yet also rewarding.

As long as what you are is authentic to your chosen experience it’s all good. However if there is a feeling of frustration and dissatisfaction. It may be that blank gaps of freedom time needs to be put into your schedule. These are wonderful times of spontaneousness that Life can fill in with the most wonderful and surprising experiences. Enjoy Freedom it is one of the miracles of being alive.