Hit the Reset Button

I am not certain how it happened so quickly, but June is here! In a few weeks, it will officially be summer and half way through the year.

So how do you feel about that?!

Maybe you feel excited about how much you have done thus far – and you should be proud of those accomplishments! Or you could now be breathing into a paper bag trying to stave off an anxiety attack because you haven’t even started to think about goals for this year.

Either way, this is actually an excellent time to pause and assess how the first half of 2015 is shaping up. With several months completed, you probably have a good idea of how your year is going so far. You also still have plenty of time to go beyond your initial intentions or turn things around to achieve your goals before December rolls around.

ResetButton - EmilyMarko.com

I found myself Ready.To.Go. in early January – revamping my website content, establishing new service offerings – I was optimistic and excited about 2015! I even gave my year a name: The Year of Action. There definitely was action, but I could feel myself slipping. By mid-April, I was starting to panic (me + paper bag!). Since then, I have taken some time to pause and think about what my goals should be and how I can meet them.

I just finished up a visual review session (with myself) and feel confident I can move back into action. I know what I need for accountability (Propelle’s Virtual Summer Camp) and also know what I am working to complete (my first e-newsletter ever!). It is official – I am hitting the Reset Button!

How about you?!

What did the first half of 2015 look like for you?
What are the highlights?
Did you have any unexpected challenges?
Have you reviewed your goals lately?
Do they still resonate with you?
Are you a little late on setting your goals?
Why not take the next 5 minutes and set a goal?
What will you reset 

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Mind Over Matter

MindOverMatter - EmilyMarko.com
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.”
– Henry Ford

I have been on a challenge kick lately. Last month I signed up for a 35-day Jazzercise Challenge AND Propelle’s 21-day Affirmation for Success Challenge. It seems I am on the search for even more challenges too because last week I jumped into Propelle’s 7-day Visibility Challenge and I am patiently (sort of) waiting for the summer challenge to begin at Jazzercise!

It amazes me at how effective and addictive these challenges are for me. I think it is a mix of my need to succeed once I commit and feeling a need to not “let down” the other participants and challenge hosts. So I basically feel accountable to myself and anyone else who knows I made the commitment.

Of course, that is the point – to stay committed and form a habit from the challenge. Long ago in my cubicle job, I participated in a Franklin Covey training course pertaining to time management and forming habits. I learned that it takes a person 21 days to make or break a habit. So all those arbitrary number of day challenges aren’t so random after all – there is actual science behind it.

Success Affirmations - EmilyMarko.com
Summary of my Affirmations for Success Challenge

Either way, the coolest part about these challenges is how fun and easy it was to succeed. The pessimist in the back of my mind may have started to say “I never could do that…” but when I really thought about it – what was the worst thing that could happen?! The risk was super low and the reward was high!

I finished my challenges feeling pretty darn good, physically and mentally. I gained some muscle, lost some winter weight and received a new workout shirt. Instagram isn’t so mysterious to me anymore, plus I have a more positive mindset on my success. Best of all, I am still hooked on attending Jazzercise classes as much as possible and I have been brainstorming ways I can use Instagram and other social media for my business success.

It really is about Mind over Matter – you just need to let the positive voices in your mind do the talking. To continue these habits does take some reminders so I posted a summary of my Success Affirmations at my desk and I started to schedule my Jazzercise classes on all my calendars (digital and paper) to infuse it into my days.

How do you practice Mind over Matter?
Are there any challenges that have worked for you?
What have you learned from those challenges?
Why not try a new challenge out? Let me know how it goes!

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Reverse Selfishness

Selfishness: having or showing concern only for yourself and not for the needs or feelings of others

If someone called you selfish you would probably be offended, right? I surely would! I pride myself on being empathetic and caring about others. I love to help others figure out their problems, it gives me a rush of accomplishment and a big old pat on the back.

Well this month I had some “Lightbulb Moments” about selfishness and realized that I am Reverse Selfish. Huh?! I wouldn’t say selfless or unselfish because I interpret those words in a positive way. Reverse Selfishness is putting all your time and energy into others and completely neglecting YOU. It means that caring for our own self is misinterpreted as selfishness. The worst part is Reverse Selfishness seems to be a very common trait.

From a visual review session with a mom who was having trouble finding time to meet her basic self care needs, to a truly inspiring one day event with the Women and Girls Foundation last week and most recently yesterday’s comment thread from Propelle’s Rock It Visibility Challenge – Reverse Selfishness is running rampant!

Crossroads Visual Notes - EmilyMarko.com

Yes, apparently we (and that does include myself) think being able to brush our teeth before leaving the house is asking too much. Couldn’t we be putting those two minutes to something more productive?!

This month, I struggled with some serious resentment and anger towards my husband. Long story short…he was in a similar situation that I find myself in quite often and he handled it MUCH differently than I did. It took a few days of struggling with my feelings to realize I was misdirecting them – the arrow actually should have been pointing at me! I was angry and resentful at myself for not putting my passions and needs first and yet my husband had no troubles at all doing this. Could this possibly just be a female trait?

As I created Visual Notes during the Crossroads: Conference for Women last week, I heard one inspiring story after another. Lauren Morelli, a writer for Orange is the New Black, spoke of how she was such a pro at taking care of everyone else in her life that she forgot to take a good look at who she was and what she needed. Somehow she got hung up on the expectations of others. (Shocking, right?!)

Lauren Morelli visual notes - EmilyMarko.com

So how do we stop this Reverse Selfishness? Lauren and several other women at the conference shared some lessons they learned such as:

  • Get to know who you are – take yourself out on a date
  • Build a support system – you need cheerleaders
  • Let go of perfection – its okay to get a B-
  • Move yourself to the top of the list
  • Recognize that Self Love is not Selfishness
  • Invest in yourself
  • Own your story
Crossroads Visual Notes2 - EmilyMarko.com

I also wonder if this Reverse Selfishness somehow stems from core beliefs around our value or worth. An interesting point was brought up at the conference that we spend time, energy and money on taking care of our material possessions and yet rattle off excuses as to why we don’t have enough time or money to take care of ourselves. One of the Rock It members posted a comment stating “if she treated her friends like she treated herself, she wouldn’t have any friends.” Wow – gets you thinking more about where our priorities fall!

Closing Panel visual notes - EmilyMarko.com

The good thing is I am aware (and now you are too) so now I just need to practice taking care of myself and shedding that Reverse Selfishness trait. With traces of spring popping up I think now is as good a time as any!

What about you? How do you avoid reverse selfishness? Do you think this is just a female trait?
Does anything resonate with you from the Crossroads visual notes?

Start the Conversation

Some days (especially gray, cold and rainy days) I begin to feel very overwhelmed.

There are too many “tabs” open and my brain can’t seem to manage all of them. I want to get my thoughts out, but they seem incomplete or just too big. Waves of helplessness hit me when I see something that needs fixed, but I don’t have direct control over the fixing. I feel so small compared to the massive population of Earth – how can I make a dent?

Start the Conversation - EmilyMarko.com

I have been involved in some great dialogue lately that has helped to shrink the feelings of helplessness. That dialogue has occurred because someone decided to Start the Conversation. Seems easy enough, but then things come knocking at your door – fear, guilt, procrastination, perfection, vulnerability, etc.

The only way to push past this is to open the door – and your mouth.

1 – Talk (or draw) it out with yourself. Look in the mirror and start talking. Or grab a sheet of paper and create a mind map of all those “tabs” that are open. I do this on a regular basis and it helps me tremendously.

2 – Find a listening ear – someone else to hear you if you don’t like talking to your reflection. It can be informal conversations with a friend or coworker or more structured discussions. Some of the best dialogues recently have been with my clients. This is what I LOVE most about my work – I can literally help people see all those “tabs”. Once you empty your brain it is amazing how simple everything seems and a path forms right before you.

3 – Find an organization that has similar thoughts and share it with them. Maybe they have a workshop, meeting or networking event you could attend. Do they have a website or social media page where you could share your comments. I started this post (conversation) because of a thread started in the Rock It network I belong to.

4 – Can’t find an organization you jive with? Well then start your own platform to share the thoughts near and dear to you. I can guarantee there will be at least one other person who was thinking the same thing. All they needed was someone to Start the Conversation.

Sometimes we just need to feel heard and then the Idea Seeds we planted begin to grow WILD!

Lately I have worked with some great individuals and organizations that are open to hearing thoughts and collaborating with their communities to make the world a little better. These are just two examples of visuals I created to help others Start the Conversation.

NIFI Map NCDD 2014 - EmilyMarko.com

The NCDD, National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation, is all about dialogue – its even in their name. This map is part of the 2014 Field Mapping Project which literally started a conversation at their annual conference.

5 Things Paeyc - EmilyMarko.com

Paeyc, The Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children, is the voice of education for Pittsburgh youth. This infographic summarizes what they heard from a local neighborhood and promotes some available resources.

Thank You Universe – I Finally Got It!

I have found it to be true in my life that when I am ready to move forward (whether I know it or not) the Universe will throw signs at me from every direction. I normally breeze by the first few signs and then one smacks me square in the face.

  • First Sign
    Started with a blog post from Britt Reints a few weeks ago. Great post, but I initially thought to myself “Who me? I don’t have any stories I need to let go of.”
  •  Second Sign
    Came in several potential projects that were thrown at me which required clarity on my list of services.
  • Third Sign
    Was jumping up and down in front of me while I discussed the direction of my list of services with a friend.
  • Fourth and Final Sign
    Showed up in the form of a virtual event through Propelle [which was awesome – check out the recorded video and the visual notes below] that touched on a topic I try to avoid or at least I used to – Public Speaking. It didn’t hit me while I was listening to the event, but rather when I was editing the visual notes I created from the event.
ValHead_Tips - EmilyMarko.comValHead_QA - EmilyMarko.com

My Old Story: I do not and cannot successfully speak in public.

Val Head’s #5 Tip – Start Small to Build Confidence really resonated with me. I always seem to want to take GIANT leaps. Sometimes it is best to test the waters and gain some skills and confidence. Push forward BUT be smart!

I have all these ‘rules’ in my head on what I can and cannot do – whether it is a physical thing or some particular way I think I should create my work. These ‘rules’ are seriously limiting what I should be doing.

My New Story: I can and have spoke in public and it has gone well – when I was prepared, when I was passionate on what I was speaking about and when it was a smaller group.

I made the mistake of thinking ‘for real’ public speaking is standing at a podium in front of 300 people. I have bombed so many presentations or formal discussions – and they haunt me or at least create a story that does not have to be true any more.

So thank you Universe. You should be proud – it only took 4 signs!

Has the Universe been trying to tell you something lately?