Personal Growth…Where Do I Start?

Personal Growth is a phrase that often brings a sense of excitement and may generate feelings of positive forward motion. We grab the thought and think holistically how we can have the best life we can hope for once we take this leap. Or is it a side step. No wait, maybe it resembles a salsa.

Basically, we like the sound of it, but few of us know exactly where or how to begin.

To which I reply, start with a basic inventory…

How connected are YOU?

Getting rightly connected starts as we begin to consider…;

* Who and what is pouring into you? Godly friends and role models? Small group ministry? Supportive family and friends? Or are you receiving most of the info that is poured in via TV,  internet, negative people or unwholesome reading?

* What do your reciprocal relationships look like? With whom do you enjoy “give-and-take” status? Reciprocal relationships involve those who know you and love and accept you as you are. They bring over the pizza or ice cream to share while watching old movies when you may feel a little down. Or maybe they grab the tools and come hangout and work on a water heater in the garage and listen so you can share your frustrations.  The ones you would do anything for and at the drop of a hat. They are the best buds you could hope for.

* Where are you pouring out? Helping? Or rescuing, enabling? On a scale of 1-10, how balanced are your connections? Do you give in to, rescue or support others on a regular basis without requiring much in return? Or perhaps, it is you who constantly needs rescuing?

It is beneficial to bring the balance of who/what pours in — who you reciprocate with — and how and to whom you pour into — as close to equal numbers as possible. It’s not in your best interest to receive at a Level 1, have reciprocals at Level 3 and pour out at Level 10 on a regular basis.  Slide the scale into a happy median and feel the refreshment begin!

How are You with Time Management? 

* Are you consistently stressed or feel you can’t get everything together to get out the door in time, consider going to bed 15 minutes earlier and getting up 15 minutes earlier.  Just move the monitor a bit more into your favor so you can set yourself up to succeed. It really is about being mindful and intentional. (Ouch, I resemble this!)

* Are you someone who mostly works to keep or complete your appointments with life? Or make excuses for not enjoying the best of life? When life isn’t so great, do you accept your responsibility in the process or is it consistently, “someone else’s fault”?

* How would you rate your ability to enjoy a healthy balance of saying “no” to some good things, in order to say “yes” to some things that are best? I.e… Are you trading off ‘best’ for ‘good’?  Life can be compared to baseball cards… always focus on making choices that allow you to trade up! 

How Would You Describe the Speed in which YOU Do Life?

* Life balance isn’t about having it all or how many plates you can juggle, but more about relinquishing what doesn’t work for you so that you can be rightly aligned and fully intentional with what does.

Resisting the Hindrance of Resistance…

* Growth requires becoming an expert at navigating inevitable life change by accepting what you cannot change as well as eliminating the excuses for not changing the things you can.

* Where can you be more open to new ideas and not so attached to old habits?

You Are What’s Eating You

* How much sleep are you losing, or how many ways are you indulging yourself over unresolved issues, relationships or projects? The more baggage we carry, the sooner we show signs of aging.  So travel light to find the fountain of youth.

Live Free…

* Give of your resources generously. The level of your ability to freely give is directly proportionate to how ‘free’ you truly are. We can’t do everything, but we can do something.

* Avoid the temptation to  clutter your life or schedule with unnecessary weight. To the one who has much, much will be required.

Live Out Your Passion…

* Find ways to do and enjoy what you love and share it with others.

* Express love as often as you are able.

* Do all that you do as if God were your employer.

Remember God’s Presence is all around you. Be intentional to stop and enjoy the fragrance of roses, the beauty of a sunset or the warm hug of a dear friend.   The day may come, sooner than you think, that you will be very glad that you made the effort!

Sheri Geyer is a Mentor, Writer, Realtor, Wife & Mom

Today is my Favorite Day!

Perhaps, you’ve said or thought that happiness is something that must be achieved:

“When this is done, I’ll be happy.”

“When I own that, I’ll be happy.”

“When I weigh less, I’ll be happy.”

As I’ve chosen my path to growing in intimacy with God, I’ve learned that I can choose happiness in any given moment. In working to take control of my thoughts and actions based on truths from Scripture, I have become much more satisfied with my life.

Some actions were obvious good choices: going to bed earlier, exercising routinely, being in the moment and enjoying now, singing to my favorite music in the shower…

A few other actions were counterintuitive at first: handling a nagging task, looking for the lessons in failed efforts, avoiding the temptation to gossip, and decluttering my home, life and schedule.

Adopting a mindset to “Enjoy this Moment,” has made one of the biggest differences in transforming my thinking.

I find pleasure in gradual progress and not just the moment of crossing a finish line. To my favorite mantra, “Life is Good”, I’ve even added, “Today is my favorite day.” It helps me to remember to enjoy this moment. 

If a task can be done in under a minute I avoid the temptation to postpone it. I use a five to ten-minute guideline to tidy up my ‘world’, wherever needed, each morning and evening. Putting things in order is very calming and helps me sleep better. And since I work from home, my mornings are more pleasant when things are in order.

My husband and I have our own business, so for me order and routine are golden!

To enjoy the moments I am given, clearing clutter, taking life in a lighthearted manner, getting more sleep, and responding to daily challenges in love, have brought much joy and happiness to my moments and therefore, ‘Today’, is my favorite Day!

Adding to my purposeful daily habits, I actively seek and find fun as often as I can in life, work and especially in play. It’s okay to be silly and to go off the path and do the unexpected. These are key sources of enjoying this moment.

Choosing happiness is about both actions and attitudes. If my attitude isn’t one of joy, I evaluate what I need to do: do I need to laugh more, be kinder, stop being critical, be more cheerful? And even when I don’t FEEL like it, I take control of my emotions and do the next basic ‘right’ thing, like it or not. And my feelings eventually catch up!

On a routine basis, I make the choice to appreciate my life right now, just as it is, and that makes me happy and allows me to have joy regardless of my circumstances or how I feel. 

Every day you can choose happiness. Today can be your favorite day!

Sheri Geyer is a Mentor, Writer, Realtor, Wife & Mom

Essentialism: The Simple Explanation of Minimalism

Essentialism is best described as pursuing the Right Things so that we are able to Focus More on the things we Enjoy Most!

I’ve been writing about the value of simplicity for nearly 20 years. I enjoy breaking down certain mindsets of positive thinking or actions into bite-sized pieces to gain a deeper understanding of the terms or phrases that may present a new way of thinking. I’m a 60s baby and in the last 30 years, we’ve observed our music, vocabulary, schools of thought and even our food change in rather drastic ways!

I recently stumbled across the word “essentialism” during an Internet search.  It is highly possible that Essentialism just might be a new and better way of describing what so many of us seek when pursuing minimalism or a simple life. I recently noted a book on Essentialism that defines it as “The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg McKeown. I read a summary of it that could certainly be the statement of the way I do life.

So what is Essentialism? Simply put, it is the identification, and then the continual choice, of living (doing, buying, seeking) ONLY what is essential. Quite similar to a life of simplicity, Essentialism elaborates on the saying, “less is more” to make it a declaration that “less is better.”

I have considered myself a “minimalist” since 1999. Something about the all around scare-tactics etc., of what Y2K may bring or cause, got me to thinking that I wanted to focus on making better and more meaningful choices in my life. Homeschooling offered my girls and me the opportunity to have a Cottage Industry that provided various income streams to fund the interests we had as well as wonderful opportunities to add much-needed skillsets equating to an interesting and well-rounded educational experience. 

After a divorce in 2003, and armed with a belief that God has and always will have a plan for me that is better than I could ever design for myself, I set out to learn what was most important, most enjoyable, and most aligned with God’s best for me. My goal was to best utilize what He had taught me in my life up to that point.

The biggest obstacle I faced was determining what defined me and what would be the important pursuits of my life going forward. Basically I learned to ask myself often, “Based on where I am and what I’m facing, what is the next basic right thing that will lead to the outcome that will positively impact me and everything / everyone I hold dear?”

Here is what I have learned: The Most Important Thing I Can Do is to Develop Healthy Boundaries, which basically means: Self-Control. Boundaries provide a Structure for Success in Life & Work.

Here is what that looks like:

I have been given the privilege and responsibility to prioritize my life! If I avoid doing it, someone else may step in and take on that role in a way that serves their needs best.  As we all know, those we surround ourselves with may act as if they know best how we should be living and what we should be doing, especially if they observe us mostly flying by the seat of our pants. Taking the time to prioritize our life and choices eliminates our being tied and / or obligated to others expectations.

I continually ask myself, whether I am at work or play, “Is this the most important thing I should be doing with my time and resources right now?” It helps me to zero in on what is most important in the moment. If it isn’t important to me at the present time, I  simply choose to redirect my focus to what matters and what will have the most impact on the purpose I am seeking to achieve.

I want to live a life of Essentialism by design and, therefore, not default to living based on what is happening to me. I want to effectively learn to master my response to situations, good and bad, and be able to turn things around, and gain a positive outcome, if at all possible. This requires that I continually choose to focus on what is most important in any given moment and then act accordingly. Therefore, if unexpected circumstances attempt to throw me off balance, I have reserved my emotional energy to quickly and easily return to my “design” of living life, based on pursuing the right thing and focusing on what I enjoy most.

I don’t want to have it all and I don’t need to do it all. At one time, I actually believed  that I could and would do and have it all. Over time, I learned that this kind of thinking actually eliminates and distracts me from experiencing the highly desirable choices and experiences that I most enjoy. I find it to be critical to first clarify and then be willing to make the necessary trade-offs in order to pursue what is most important to me. One of the things I remind myself when I am struggling to stick with my plan is this: “I choose to NOT trade off what I want MOST for what I want right NOW!”

I have learned that I do not need to be ‘plugged into’ all that is happening either virtually or globally all of the time. Rather I have decided that the most important thing for me to focus on is what’s front and center of my actual world at the present time. I continually find that focusing on the few essential ideas right in front of me is typically more rewarding, and offers greater potential, than the many that may be trying to distract me.

The best form of Self-Control (Healthy Personal Boundaries), is learning to say no to the nonessentials so I can say yes to the things that really matter. It is an ongoing temptation to say ‘Yes’ to far too much and end up sacrificing time and energy on things that don’t really improve the quality of  life. I find it easier not to commit if I’m not certain that I can give 100%. And, it is always easier to turn a ‘No” into a “Yes’, if I find that I can jump in and do what is requested of me. This requires me to have the courage to say no firmly, resolutely and gracefully so that I can say “yes” to those things that I truly value and where I know I can purposefully make a difference.

The effectual pursuit of simplicity (essentialism / minimalism) is about arriving at a deep understanding of what leads to a happy and meaningful life for each of us personally. It has never just been about sacrificing or getting rid of stuff.

Sheri Geyer is a Mentor, Writer, Realtor, Wife & Mom

Begin with the End in Mind

How often do we neglect developing new habits because we think a positive outcome will take too much effort? Or maybe we start to improve our lifestyle only to give up prematurely because we don’t get what we want fast enough. It’s easy to allow today’s challenges to become tomorrow’s excuses.

Have you wondered how you became  a member of the Start-Big-Finish-Small-if-at-All-Club? Perhaps, you’ve set targets that are difficult to reach. Often, the pain of disappointment may leave you feeling burned out with little desire to follow through. Remember, you do have options. The breakthrough you’ve needed could be to practice thinking small to help you transform your life.

Often, we may be full of ideas and eager to establish a new plan. We may soon realize it’s easy to bite off more than we can chew. We want rapid success and no hitches. The size of the task and the time it takes to get there may make it tempting to throw in the towel. It may be frustrating trying to determine the best steps as opposed to just doing more believing this equates to doing better. By focusing more on the here and now, it is easier to find a steady pace that is easier to adjust to. Besides, it worked for the tortoise!

Whatever you hope to gain in your endeavors, you need to decide precisely what it is you want, and be specific as you define what exactly it is you hope to achieve. Reflect in why you desire this outcome. Goals are often more “real” if they are written. Decide what is a reasonable length of time to realize your desire and be realistic. Make it measurable so you will have a target at which to aim. Once you have a clearly defined idea of the what, why and how long to reach your goal, you can break down the entire process.

Here are a few tips for breaking it down into bite-size pieces:

1. Brainstorm all of your options and determine what can be divided into smaller, detailed steps. Each task is a stepping stone towards achieving your end result.

2. Simplify the action plan. Think of the steps as actions. When you understand what actions are needed to achieve your desired result, you can pull these together into a plan.

3. Establish daily and weekly tasks. When you create your action plan, work out a series of targets that you believe are possible to reach on the way to your goal. Keep it simple with many small victories to keep the momentum.

4. Keep on track. The small-scale approach is flexible and allows for instant changes.  Continue tweaking and completing the simple tasks so the end result will be well within your grasp.

5. Focus on your daily actions plans and not so much on the end date. Like the tortoise, concentrate on one small step and repeat consistently.

6. Master the art of delaying gratification. Though you may be tempted, avoid trying to rush things and bite off more than you can chew. Refer to the reasons why you want the desired goal. Concentrate on where you are in the journey, and not on what’s next. Reflect on how far you’ve come and what a waste it would be to throw in the towel.

In order for us to grow, we will need to allow ourselves to be stretched at times. In most endeavors, if we don’t grow, our plans and goals won’t either. Long-lasting lifestyle change requires an investment of your time and effort, as well as some patience. The road to achieving great things is much less intimidating when you break down the end result into smaller steps.

And absolutely nothing can compare to how you will feel when you finally make it to the place you wanted to be.

Sheri Geyer is a Realtor & Life Coach

If you’ve enjoyed this, please share! @Sheri_Geyer

Roll with it, Baby!

Each day brings a variety of events. Some routine and anticipated things and some possible surprises. There is a strong temptation to judge the unanticipated happenings as bad or negative. We may feel it necessary to try to fight or run from these situations rather than embrace them for the good we can learn from them. 

We are unable to control or have advance notice on all that happens. We do have the advantage of controlling what we choose to think and do about everything that does happen. 

Even when we face negative situations, we can respond in ways that are helpful and beneficial. Developing a resolve to follow our purpose can be a strong motivator to not let our circumstances deter us from what we deem to be worthy of our most firm commitments. 

While the wind will vary its direction, by changing our sails we can allow our ship to maintain its course.

We can make a determination of what we will do with each day and the purpose we will follow for our life, and decide to live true to these choices. We will be surprised what we can do when we have the ‘want to’!

Sheri Geyer is a Realtor and Life Coach. 

If this has been an encouragement to you, please share @Sheri_Geyer. Thank you! 

Life: A Balancing Act?

Sometimes it seems that life balance means simply juggling plates and successfully keeping them all up in the air. Consider what balance means in other processes. In accounting, things must add up. In physics, what goes up, must come down. In life, we can’t live like a gazelle being chased by a cheetah all the time — we’d be a code red, high adrenaline, super stress, possible heart attack or stroke waiting for a place to happen. 

Balance is more about a calm and stable mindset that allows us to make decisions based on personal values helping us learn to be intentional in the moment. Life balance may best be defined as the calmness and security of being able to manage the things we treasure, i.e. feelings, thoughts, talents, attitudes, behavior, personal well-being, etc. so in effect, we are able to assertively confront issues in life without a perpetual feeling of being overwhelmed. 

For me, personally, it’s about owning my life and choosing who and what to allow into it. This has made what is most important in my life — my relationships — more peaceful, loving and respectful. I don’t want to stress over things I’m unable to change. I want to have the energy I need when I’m required to manage necessary stress … and for the adventures I want to jump into with both feet! 

I want to focus on the truth that God will never allow more in my life than what I need to be all He desires for me. He will provide the resources, support and accountability I need. My job is to routinely take the initiative to renew my mind with His truth and love, and gain strength from those who support, encourage and hold me accountable to do what I say and finish what I start.

A consistent balance allows our lives to continually improve, not necessarily with more money or more stuff, but by simply having an awareness that every day holds challenges and successes, and that truly what we look for is what we will find, be it good or bad. 

As for me, I choose to live with the mantra, that indeed, Life is Good and, I’ve got the tee shirt to prove it! 

Sheri Geyer is a Christian Life Coach, Realtor, Writer, Wife & Mom

Empowered by Solitude

Consider the benefit of solitude… In our fast-paced, high performing lifestyles, it is often very hard to find a time for solitude, and most of us try to avoid it anyway. 

Why do we attempt to avoid it? I believe people may think of solitude as “loneliness” But they are two very different mindsets.
Loneliness brings to mind times when we have been down or have felt overlooked, unloved or rejected. Not so with solitude. 

Solitude is a purposeful choice that we make to come apart, if you will, before we “come a-part”. It is a place where we recognize that we need to take a breather, to get a second wind in facing our lives and circumstances.

Isaiah, a major prophet in the Old Testament reported that …”in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” [Isaiah 30:15b] Solitude can be a divine appointment with ourselves in the presence of God only. It can be a place where we can determine our purpose for the here and now.

Be warned that there are many distractions that seek to monopolize our time and to prevent us from this wonderful opportunity for renewal that we find in separating ourselves to gain perspective.

Our dealings with difficult situations [or people] can best be put in proper perspective when we move away from the circumstance or person and evaluate the true issues of conflict or division, something that is rarely accomplished in a head-to-head debate.

Nothing good comes without cost, and solitude is no exception. The cost is that of separation and commitment to the effort of trading off some “good” plans or events for some in our “best” interest. 

To attain the best from our times of solitude, we need to make it a priority. It is important that we learn to take care of ourselves, in order that we are best prepared to handle the other “important” issues of our lives. It is okay to prepare and equip yourself for difficult or stressful times.

A major benefit of solitude, when practiced on a regular basis, is good health [it’s fat free as well]. It de-stresses and energizes us when we make it a habit. We can experience better productivity in our work and projects and often, receive clarity, because our mind is cleared, concerning a problem that we have been perplexed by or perhaps just haven’t had the time to deal with appropriately.

Solitude helps repair the “noise” that we endure in so much of our waking lives. It brings a quietness and a calmness that will be a comfort to us as well as to others. Overall, solitude brings us to a place of peace and communion with our Creator, and can restore our hope to press on through rough times.

Do not underestimate the empowering characteristics of solitude. One final benefit, you will be in good company!

Sheri Geyer is a Christian Life Coach, Realtor, Writer, Wife & Mom