Nothing Says #MidweekMotivation Like the Olympic Games

Have you been watching the Olympic games, too? I get sucked in every time. And really, nothing inspires like the Olympics–seeing so many people in one place pursuing their dreams and giving it their all.

There’s no doubt that it takes an incredible amount of determination, hard work and confidence to make it to the world’s stage. And although we may not all be Olympians (or heck, athletes, even) these same traits and practices can be applied to your strengths as well.

Take a look at some quotes from famous Olympians and you’ll notice a recurring theme– the ability to envision greatness. To block out the haters. To truly dream big.

GABBY DOUGLAS never give up 8.10.16

Do you have a goal that you’ve been keeping quiet? A big dream that you’re worried might be too big?

Channel your inner Olympian today. Envision success. Really let yourself see what achieving your dream will look like. Commit to making a sincere effort to bring that goal to life.

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Ask For Your Worth: Four Tips to Get Your Next Raise

Ask for your worth 8.3.16 blog

What are you really worth and how can you start asking for it? This week’s #MidweekMotivation is here to help you get that raise, lady!

According to a 2013 iVillage career survey, only 35% of women have ever asked for a raise, and even less than that, only 19% surveyed have ever asked for a promotion.

The stats are startling. I get it. The fear that sweeps in when you’re about to have a review can make you freeze in your tracks. But unless you’re at a company that awards systematic annual salary increases–fewer and farther between these days–it’s important to plan ahead.

Here are a four tips to help you negotiate your next salary bump:

Do your homework.

Don’t go into the conversation unprepared. Thanks to the wild world of the internet, you can check out sites like Glassdoor to find out salary information. If you’ve been with a company for a while, you might not realize how much the rate of pay for the type of work that you do has changed. Know the type of salary that you can find elsewhere.

Own your accomplishments!

Make a list of all the totally awesome sauce things you’ve done since your last review, and start the list well in advance of your meeting. More and more things will pop up for you once you put it front of mind. Got a work bestie? If you feel comfortable, ask him/her to weigh in. Often it’s so much easier for us to recognize the accomplishments of others than ourselves.

If you can, tie your successes to the ways that the company wants to grow. This will show your boss that you’re a key component in that growth and that you have the skills and know-how to implement. BOOM.

Separate you from your position.

This is one that I personally have struggled with, and I’ve seen it be tough for other women as well. We have a tendency to let our feelings way into the equation more than they should. Maybe you feel guilty asking for more. Or maybe you worry that you won’t be able to prove your worth in the year ahead. Nope! Resist the negative. It’s not high school yearbook drama, it’s a job. You  deserve to be paid your worth and not a dime less.

Use your creativity in the event of a “No.”

If you have the conversation with your boss and raises are not an option, how else can you be compensated? Get creative and know what alternatives are available before you go into the conversation. A bonus. Vacation pay. Flex hours. Start with what you want the most. And, don’t leave the meeting without a clear path from your boss on what goals need to be met to make the salary increase happen. Don’t wait for the money to hopefully fall upon you one day, ask for what you need to accomplish and by when to lock it down.

When you ask for a salary increase, it shows confidence. Even if your employer isn’t able to give you a raise, you’ve shown that you have your eyes on the prize.Having the conversation about your accomplishments also reminds your boss of what a stellar employee you are *and* lets him/her know that you’ve done your research on what else is out there. They will have more incentive to do what they need to do to keep you on board and happy.

Remember, you won’t get what you don’t ask for. Is it awkward to have the conversation? Yes, it can feel a little uncomfortable at first. But that awkwardness isn’t lasting. It will fade within minutes, and if you do get a yes, just think about how amazing you’ll feel. Think about the success you’ll feel, the pride in yourself for asking for what you deserve.

Got more tips? Share them in the comments below.

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What We Can All Learn From Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama 7.28.16 blog

Clearly there are a lot of reasons that you could choose to admire Michelle Obama. She’s intelligent, classy, always fashionable. She’s got it goin’ on, no question. Those in the public eye tend to face a lot scrutiny in all that they do, but in her eight years as First Lady, Michelle has consistently received high approval ratings.

In part, Michelle has a really strong presence and great presentation skills. And, as we’ve all seen, these things make her a wonderful speaker. But on top of that, Michelle has passion. If you’ve had a chance to check out her speech at the DNC Monday night, you’ll see this in action (and if not, check it out here). So what can we learn from this amazing woman?

During her speech, Michelle shared her family motto: when they go low, we go high.

There’s no question in Michelle’s actions that this motto informs her life choices. What if you adopted this motto into your own life?

It can be easy to go low, it’s always tempting when somebody’s really rattled you. The easier thing to do tends to be to criticize them back, to point out their low points and to veer toward the negative. But what if you choose to go high instead? It’s the good ol’ killin’ ’em with kindness recipe. Treating those who judge you with a smile, making an effort to see the good, always choosing kindness.

How will it change your life if you consistently choose to go high?

Right now, the press is still buzzing about her speech, and Michelle has been credited with changing the tide of the Democratic Party. In one 15 minute speech, Michelle manage to get her point across clearly and emphatically without ever actually mentioning the opponent’s name. Regardless of your politics, this impact is pretty impressive.

Michelle was effective because of her grace, her heart and the way that she made a conscious choice not to go low.

This week, think about how things could be different for you if when others go low, you choose to go high. Take a page from the First Lady’s playbook and see where it leads you.

Photo credit: Joe Raedle, Getty Images

Don’t Forget Your Vacation

Don't Forget Vacation blog 7.19.16

We’re already halfway through summer.

Did that phrase just make you gasp? Panic? Take a deep sigh? It might be time to schedule a break.

Back when you were a kid in school, you got a built in summer break. Even as a college student, you likely didn’t have many year-long commitments, so it felt easier to really shut your mind off. As an adult, you work year-round. You work hard. You have a lot on your plate.

I get it, it can be tough to find the time for a break. But seriously now, will the world really stop spinning if you take a few days to relax and unwind?

Over the weekend, I said yes to vacation and booked a beach trip for Labor Day weekend. For about a full week before clicking ‘confirm’ on my ticket, I watched the flights. I looked at a bunch of itineraries. I got frustrated because I had a credit I wanted to use and couldn’t find a flight to make it work. I wondered if the tickets would get any cheaper. You get the idea– I was doing a lot of second guessing. Then, I realized that it was the only weekend I had available to take a longer trip. Why squander it? I made the commitment to take a break.

Before you know it, autumn will be here. Devote a few minutes today to finding a time in your schedule for a break. Whether it’s a long weekend or a week away, you’ll start to feel a sense of relief even just knowing that you can make it happen. It’s practicing self-care, and helping you rejuvenate before the summer flies by.

And, you don’t have to travel far and wide to gain peace of mind. Think about places that bring you joy: the beach, the mountains or a big city. Choose your destination, and find a way to make it happen.

Commit to taking one step to starting your summer vacation plan today. Share it below in the comments and help motivate others to take action.

Remember, there will always be a reason to say no. Say yes to yourself instead. You deserve that break. Enjoy it.

Ten Easy Self-Care Tips You Can Try Today

10 self-care tips 7.13.16

Self-care seems to be a big buzzword lately. It’s this thing that we all should be paying attention to, and yet we’re all having trouble finding the time to devote to it. For some, the idea of self-care may seem too overwhelming and time-consuming. For others, maybe it sounds expensive or selfish.

Self-care doesn’t have to be complicated. And it’s certainly not something you should feel guilty about. It’s about taking moments for yourself to help you unwind. While a day at the spa sounds glorious, there are plenty of cheaper, simpler options that you can easily implement in your everyday life. Here are Ten Easy Self-Care Tips You Can Try Today:

  1. Go outside: A little fresh air will do you good. Tired of sitting at your desk? Take 10 minutes for an outside break. Even a walk around the block can help you feel recharged.
  2. Get hydrated: Like 99% of pretty much everyone, you’re probably guilty of not drinking as much water as doctors say we should. If you’re feeling tired, have a cool glass of water. It can help you rehydrate and perk up your senses.
  3. Unplug for a while: Try going computer free for a couple of hours today. No smartphone, no internet, no social media.
  4. Take some deep breaths: Stop what you’re doing and take 5 deep breaths. Close your eyes and put your hand over your heart so you can really feel them. Breathe deep, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Be present.
  5. Take 10 minutes to de-clutter at home: Cleaning up your whole home can feel overwhelming. Devote 10 minutes today to some quick de-cluttering in the room you use the most. Even just 10 minutes can make a dent and help improve your mood.
  6. Stretch: Reach for the sky and stretch it out. Taking just a minute or two to get up from your desk and stretch it out can help you feel refreshed.
  7. Actually call a friend: Not text, not Facebook, actually *call* a friend. Don’t have enough time to catch-up? Call to say hi and to set a phone date for the near future.
  8. Make a cup of tea: What a pleasant little treat a cup of tea can be in the morning, in the evening, heck at any time! Stop to inhale the smell, really feel the warmth of the glass. Enjoy it.
  9. Read 20 pages: Got a book that’s been on your nightstand for far too long? Help clear your mind and commit to reading 20 pages. Want to keep reading, why not?
  10. Get sleep: Cut the Netflix binge short tonight and get to bed. Even just 20 minutes earlier than you’d normally hit the hay can help you feel refreshed in the AM.

Got more ideas on how to show yourself some self-care love today? Leave a comment below. And remember, don’t get overwhelmed. Trying out any one of these things today is progress, and we’re striving for #progressnotperfection.

PS If you’d like to up your self-care game, consider coaching! Contact me today for a free discovery session and find out how coaching can help.

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Why the Benefit of the Doubt Goes a Long Way

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Recently, I worked with a team experiencing some internal conflict. As we sat together, circled up, I immediately noticed one person taking up less space than the others. Her body language was small, and she held her knees closely to her chest. The group decided that it would be best to air their grievances before moving on to anything else.

She breathed out deeply then said, “What really bothers me about the whole thing is that I feel like I wasn’t given the benefit of the doubt.”

A colleague had felt unsupported by her recently, and she had no idea until a third party let her know that they had been talking about the incident. She was hurt.

What goes through our minds when we don’t give others the benefit of the doubt?

The human brain is amazingly creative. You can come up with seemingly endless reasons why something did or didn’t happen. Excuses and lies that you make up for yourself, mostly to help you make sense of things.

Sometimes, you need these excuses. They can help you move beyond painful situations. Other times, the reality that you create can be quite hurtful to those you care about when the matter isn’t openly discussed.

When you give someone the benefit of the doubt, you’re saying, “You’ve got my back, and I know that you support me. I trust your intentions.” When fear and doubt get in the way, you might find yourself jumping to other conclusions. “She wanted to see me fail. She’s jealous. She never liked me anyway.” These are all dangerous stories that we tell ourselves…. But they’re just that: stories.

The next time that you find yourself annoyed with a friend or colleague, stop to consider another possibility. Maybe your coworker wasn’t trying to sabotage the project or make you look bad in front of the boss. Maybe she’s working two jobs and she’s overtired. Or not feeling well. Or otherwise distracted. Give them the benefit of the doubt, have a conversation and save yourself the story spinning.

Have you fallen into the story spinning trap recently? Share your experience in the comments.

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