Extraordinary You

“You are such a special boy. There is no one in the world just like you. Do you know how amazing that is? Your heart is kind and that is one of the most important things a person can have. I’m so proud of you. Be you. Be proud of who you are.”

I spoke those words to my son just last week. He has started a new school year that has had a bit of a bumpy road. As he gets older, my husband and I worry. All parents worry. We want him to stay true to who he is. We want to support him, give him the tools to exist in this world all while being proud of who he is and all of the magnificent traits that make him, well, him.

In a world where being different is harder than anything, we must learn to support one another- but most importantly ourselves- for being who we really are. The fact of the matter is that yes, we are all different and isn’t that beautiful.

Believe in you. Beautiful, special, extraordinary you. There isn’t another you in the whole world and isn’t that awesome?

I think it is.

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The Facebook Version of Life

 

Photo Courtesy of Geralt on Pixabay

Photo Courtesy of Geralt on Pixabay

We have seen the articles. Discussions around how we all compare our lives to others on Facebook, or really any of those social networks. Picture perfect dinners snapped on Instagram, that craft that you can hand-make for a fraction of the cost on Pinterest, the immense number of followers on Twitter, the super cute kids that always seem to be behaving well on Facebook. Oh I know. We sit there reading this and we compare our hair, our meals, our kids, or our crafts (or in my case, the lack thereof. Hell, I don’t even own glue let alone a glue gun. I am a living breathing Pinterest fail.). We compare our ‘everything’ to what we are seeing each day. I’m right there with you.

And then a friend made a comment to me last week while we were talking about something I was annoyed about and she then said something that I found really interesting, “You couldn’t have felt that way. You? Miss Positive About Everything makes the rest of us feel like we aren’t positive enough.” I get what she meant and if the shoe, er rather Havaiana flip flop, fits I’ll wear it.

Here’s the thing, on social media, and many times here, I choose to be positive. It’s that simple. There is a whole lot in life that we can all complain about but the fact of the matter is I woke up this morning and if you are reading this, you did to. That’s one less thing to complain about.

I was giving someone I love advice on how to manipulate Facebook so you can unfollow people so that you can’t see what they are writing about. They were lamenting how much they hated Facebook negative people but they were missing pictures from family. The conundrums of social media.

I enjoy social media. I believe it can be used for good in many, many ways. I have tweaked my feeds so that the information and socializing I do within the feeds gives me what I need- information, connection, positivity and humor (Hello, Jimmy Fallon). Throw in a few pictures of Justin Timberlake and I’ve got myself a perfect feed.

Overtime I have learned that what we ingest into our brain really determines where we go.  Do you want to get smarter? Follow smart people. Do you want to complain and whine and see your glass half empty? Then great, read those books and follow those people. That’s your choice. Just this week I was attacked by someone on twitter. They choose to do that. I choose differently.

My whole purpose in writing these words on this space, and eventually bring you audio in the form of a podcast, is to show you that you can be a dreamer and make that dream, or better yet dreams, happen in your life. I believe it to my core. Life is so precious and frankly I don’t believe we are brought here to be miserable and die thinking “what if”. I just don’t. I read books from people who believe the same thing. I strive to get better, be kinder, be more authentic, laugh more, stress less, say no to obligations and yes to joy. That is my quest for you, for me and every other woman on this planet. Choose joy. Choose you.

If you were to glance at my personal Instagram feed the majority of what you will now see are trips to Walt Disney World (choosing joy), positive quotes (get better), selfies with my son at lunch (stress less) and, as my friend pointed out, pictures of my feet at the beach (happiness!). You won’t see the meltdowns, the wait in lines for a ride, the dishes in my sink all day because I am writing or my trip to Publix. We all experience those things and that’s my reality too. It’s yours as well. There is plenty of that in the world. You did see me lamenting about cleaning my bathroom because well, I’m normal.

I choose to try and inspire you to dream bigger, believe in you, see what’s possible and enjoy the hell out of this ride called life. And I’m going to share every single positive bit of it and you should too. As women, many of us are nervous to be our authentic and true self- whether it be in real life or on social media. Well, I’m giving us all permission, including myself, to just be whatever we want to be. I choose to be positive and sassy while wearing my Havaianas. I hope you will join me.

We can talk about our dirty dishes and misbehaving kids anytime. No guilt allowed.

 

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“The Happiness of Pursuit”

Discontent is the first necessity of progress- Thomas Edison

I just read a book that explained so well and so succinctly why the quest to go after my dream was so amazing and why I felt the way I did. That book is “The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Purpose to Your Life” by Chris Guillebeau and it comes out today. Chris was kind enough to send me an advance copy of the book. A pleasant surprise seeing since I was planning on buying it anyways. The art of surprise- an art that few do nowadays.

If you have a yearning to go after something, yet you want to appreciate the adventure of getting there, this book is for you.

First off, Chris has a way with words that I enjoy. He has written two other books, “The Art of Non-Conformity” and “The $100 Start Up”. I am a lover and a follower of Chris’ blog. He is a natural storyteller with an ease in his writing that is a pleasure to read. (And the humorous footnotes in his latest book are a great part of the book.)

You see, Chris went on a quest of epic proportions. He traveled to every single country in the world. A quest is one way of putting it. Some may think that is impossible, but he did it.  In this book Chris urges us through his story, and the stories of other interesting people, to take a quest and gain happiness as you go through the process of the quest.

This hit home for me. I see dreams as quests. Sometimes they seem like they are impossible and then one day you take steps, actions and motion in the direction of going after that dream and you find yourself on the quest. One may not be able to pinpoint what makes them start, but one day you just do. Many times people just focus on the end goal- the dream and they forget to enjoy the journey along the way. The small, and big, moments that propel you forward. The moments that test you to stop- but you keep going.

Chris breaks the book up in sections that flow through examples and stories and just plain make sense. First up- Beginnings. You know this one. It’s the feeling. The gut instinct. Something is in there. Maybe you are sick of the same old same old. Maybe you get an idea. Maybe you just want to turn your life on its head. He writes; “A real dream requires investment, and often it calls for sacrifice- yet when you feel excited about something, even if it doesn’t make sense to others, the journey will produce its own rewards.”

Many times we may get stuck in beginnings until a defining moment happens and we realize we are pulled to action. Just like that Chris leads us to the section on Journey. This is the part of the journey where shit gets real really fast. People will doubt you, many times money comes into play, we are putting time and energy and passion into this quest and we may begin to doubt our ‘why’. I really enjoyed this part of the book because of all of the different examples of people and their quests. The man who decided to walk everywhere and then took a vow a silence, a woman who took on a quest of cooking cuisine from all over the world every day, or the man who decided to take, process and edit one million photos. Through their stories we see what it takes to be on a journey, stay there and keep going. Sometimes this is the hardest part of the journey, yet many times the most rewarding. Lesson here; “Find what troubles you about the world, then fix it for the rest of us.”

The final section is called Destination. Chris writes the lesson is “As you make progress towards a small goal, the bigger vision expands.” For sure. You reach the end, but is it really the end? There may be a let-down, you may feel proud- you may feel so many different things. Yet, the questions remains, what are you going to do with it? As Chris writes- “The end is the beginning.”

Going after dreams and living our lives the way we want to live them is a beautiful and sometimes a hard way to live life. Chris paints the picture in real stories, real facts and honest words. Yet, the simplicity of the idea that happiness and purpose in life can be found in the quest – or as I like to see it on the road to achieving the life of our dreams.

With each passing day I feel more and more determined to live my life with purpose- making the world a better place for others while creating my own happiness. This book was just the inspiration I needed for the next quest I am headed on. I am grateful to Chris for his words. I will be meeting Chris next week at his book event here in Tampa. He may be coming to a city near you as well.

Live your life with purpose. Live it with passion. Most importantly, live it the way you want to live it.

“When a great adventure is offered, you don’t refuse it.”- Amelia Earhart (via “The Happiness of Pursuit”)

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