The Positive Side of Loss

Losing loved ones is extremely difficult. After losing my father, a daughter, and several pregnancies I experienced bouts of deep depression and pure sadness. Other times I was angry at how unfair life can be. Grief can be consuming, and everyone deals with it in different ways. I found that I dealt with my grief in different ways as time passed. People told me that the pain would heal with time. Our daughter passed 8 years ago today. I can tell you that the pain has not healed. I honestly do not believe it will. The thing that has changed is my ability to deal with the pain. This morning as I reflect and honor Elise, I felt the strength of Purple Power and I was struck with several new thoughts about the positive side of loss.

  • I am still alive, so I must live!

The reason we feel loss is because someone is gone while we are still here. But wait! That means we are still here! If we are here we still have the ability to live and to live BIG. Loss is hard but not living is harder. Each of us has a finite amount of time on earth. I plan to honor the ones I lost by living. I know they wouldn’t want less for me.

  • I have known true love and I still have love to give!

We feel loss because someone we love is no longer with us on earth. The bigger our love, the bigger our loss. But wait! That means we were lucky enough to have someone in our life to love! I am so fortunate to know how to feel and show BIG love. Loss does not mean our ability to love and be loved is gone as well. We can grieve the loss but we should be proud of our capacity to love. There are so many people on earth that are worthy of our love and it feels really good to share it. Don’t feel guilty about sharing your love with new people. Tapping back into our loving hearts helps us to cope with the pain of loss. I know the loved ones we’ve lost wouldn’t want us to live without love.

  • I am a survivor and I have more to do!

Losing a loved one is very hard. It seems harder when the person we lost was young. This feels very unfair and it can lead to questions such as Why? Truth is, we will never truly know why, so I stopped asking the why question a long time ago. I finally realized that there are some things in life that I will never understand. I made the decision to accept the things I cannot control and to kick butt at the things I can. I am a survivor! I have more to do while I am fortunate enough to still be here. I want to make my lost loved ones and the loved ones still with me proud. I plan to make the most out of the life I have left!

This morning as I honor our sweet girl, Elise, I am both smiling and crying. She changed me forever and I thank her for the wonderful impact she had on our lives. I miss her and I grieve her loss. Of course, I wish she were still here, but she’s not. I can choose to focus on the negative or I can choose to focus on the positive. I choose the positive. PURPLE POWER!

Happy 46th to me! It’s time for my 2nd half!

It’s time to give myself another birthday gift!

If you follow my blog you know that two years ago I gave myself the gift of happiness for my 44th birthday. I had found myself in an ironic state. Materially my life was wonderful but internally I was miserable. I had hit emotional rock bottom and was determined to claw my way out. At that time, I had no idea how I would do it or what my journey would be, but I was ready to get moving. I won’t rehash the details as you can see those in my previous posts but to sum things up, in less than 12 months I left my job as a CEO, sold our home and downsized, became a certified professional coach and launched a new business, Soluna Strategies. It was CRAZY but the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. The path I took involved a deep dive personally to identify my core values and determine why I was or was not honoring them. Now I live each day focused on making decisions that honor the things I find truly valuable. I feel as though I have been rewarded for those efforts. Not only have I found personal peace and happiness, but the universe has rewarded me with a new daughter and the ability to live my dream of coaching and teaching entrepreneurship on a college level. I now have a very clear vision of how I will live the rest of my life and know everything I want is possible.

The gift of happiness I gave myself on my 44th birthday was so transformative that I decided I to give myself a gift every year. It couldn’t be any gift. It had to be a gift that would change my life, a gift that would keep on giving. Last year for my 45th birthday, I gave myself the gift of health. I want to live a long life and I want to live it in a body that is still capable of being active and enjoying all the things I like to do. I want to be able to run and play with my children and eventually my grandchildren. I want to travel, sail, swim, and snorkel up to the day I die. I knew that if I was going to make that happen I needed to start taking better care of my health. Since my 45th birthday I have begun to eat healthy 95% of the time (everything is good in moderation! I enjoy the 5% with no guilt!) and I exercise regularly. I feel better than I have felt in years. I’ve lost almost 15 pounds and I have abs again! Let me be clear, I did not give myself the gift of health because I was focused on how I look. I do feel better when I am happy with the way I look, but this was bigger than that. I want to live a long time and I want to be active my whole life. When I focus on that goal rather than how I look, it makes sticking with a healthy meal and exercise plan so much easier.  It was a great gift and it keeps on giving!

It’s time to give myself another gift! I just celebrated my 46th birthday! I’m happy (44th) and I’m fit (45th) so for the big four six, I am giving myself the gift of control. I giggled when I typed that because my friends and family know I am a control freak so why in the world would I need to give myself more control??!!! I am giving myself the gift of control because I want to take charge of my habits and how I spend my time. I do some things that I consider bad habits. I want to stop the circle of bad habits and create new circles of good habits. For example, I spend too much time on social media. I don’t want to quit social media because I love it but I need to control the amount of time I dedicate to it. Another example is that I drink too much wine. I love a good, deep bodied Malbec. In keeping with the gift of health I need to drink less so I am giving myself control over that bad habit. I have plenty of other bad habits that if I take control over will result in the type of long-lasting transformation that I want in my life. I plan to live to at least 90 which means I have started the second half of my life. I am going to play the second half as strong as the first. I have no intention of slowing down or maintaining. I am winning and I plan to run up the score! So stay tuned! I will share my journey’s ups and downs! Hopefully I can provide some hope and motivation to those of you wanting to make changes but if not, I certainly hope I can provide you a few laughs!

Happy Birthday to me!

 

-Gina Simpson is a certified professional coach and founder of Soluna Strategies. If you are interested in working with Gina to reach your full potential, email her at gina@solunastrategies.com. Her passion is your success!

 

My Dad was J-Bird (and he was awesome!)

My Dad was J-Bird. He was quite a large personality in the small town in which we lived. J-Bird was the fire chief, an ambulance driver, a county commissioner, and unwavering public servant. As one of 17 children, he learned from necessity how to provide for himself and others. (Yes, 17 children from one mom and dad!) I love my father very much and miss him daily. He lost his battle with diabetes twelve years ago today.

I credit my Dad with helping me to become the woman I am today. As we head into Father’s Day and I honor the anniversary of his passing, I would like to spend some time sharing with you the example he set for me and some of the best advice he gave to me over the years. A lot of you knew him, but for those that did not have the pleasure of meeting him please allow me to tell you about him.

Ray “J-Bird” Westbrooks grew up in a small town in a poor, very large family and as such, never had the opportunity to go to school. His time was spent working to provide for himself and family. He never told me anything first-hand about the difficulties he faced growing up. Complaining about it wasn’t his style. I saw the person he became though. He was a man with ambition and strong work ethic. He seemed to have unlimited energy and a great passion for serving others. Over the years, I have been amazed at the number of stories I’ve heard about ways that my dad helped others. Somehow, he had time for almost everyone and the willingness to help. He loved to have fun too. I have fond memories from my childhood of time spent at the softball park as he played, Sunday afternoons at the lake water skiing, and the numerous fish fries he loved to have for our large extended family or for the city employees and their families. He enjoyed fishing and sharing his catch with pretty much anyone that would eat what he cooked. His food was good, but his company was better. He was a fantastic story teller, funny, and quick-witted.

As my Dad, he was strict and ruled with an iron fist. I tested his patience many times with the strong-willed personality I inherited from him. But, he was also my safe place and my supporter. I always knew I could count on him. If work allowed, he was always there while I cheered or played softball. He would drive us to cheer camp and happily load and offload all our stuff. He had nicknames for all my friends and I think he got a kick out of our antics. My dad was always there when I needed to talk. I valued his advice and level-headed thinking more than he knew. He always shot me straight and helped me to face the world with a pragmatic view. Dad was not an educated person but was one the smartest men I’ve ever known.

J-Bird was infamous for his quotes. Truth be told, he had quite a potty mouth and I won’t share most of his sayings with you as good as they are! There are a few though that are my favorites and I reflect back to on a regular basis. These nuggets of advice have helped me more than I can articulate and continue to help me as I face struggles or obstacles in life. I can’t call my Dad anymore but I can still hear him clearly telling me the following:

“You didn’t think they’d just give it to you, did you?”  My Dad asked me this so many times over the years. It was usually his way of bringing me out of a pity party because things were difficult or weren’t going my way. It was his way of reminding me that I needed to get over myself and get back to work at achieving my goals.

“Time is all you have.”  This was so simple, but so profound. I tend to over commit myself and then get frazzled at what I perceive as my lack of time management skills. I’d call my Dad to give some excuse for missing a family event, not performing to my expectations, etc… and talk about how busy I was. He’d shoot back to me that time is all I have. This would trigger me to stop complaining about my busyness because I chose it. It would also help me to prioritize my commitments. At the heart of this is that we have a limited amount of time each day, each year, and in our lives. We must choose wisely how we use it. We all have time, it is the one thing we all have. What we do with it is up to us.

“It’s like a fart. The more you fan it the worse it smells.” This is seriously my favorite piece of advice from my Dad! The world is full of drama, insecurities, and competitive situations. I’ve had my share of being the target of the mean girls, the mean moms, the work cliques, and politics. I’ve also been on the other side when I’ve been urged to take sides, gossip, leave others out, or tempted to stir the proverbial pot. As I talked to my Dad about whatever was happening at the time, he’d tell me, “It’s like a fart. The more you fan it the worse it smells.” Bahahaha! Instinctively I laughed but it is so true. There are so many situations that we should just walk away from and not engage. If we do, we make the situation worse. The older I get, it is easier to take this advice.

Twelve years ago today, the last thing my Dad communicated with me was a thumbs-up. He wasn’t perfect, but he was extraordinary. He had lived a thumbs-up life. He still inspires me and motivates me. I am grateful for the example he set in persistence, how to overcome, and the importance of serving others while never losing his ability to have fun. He made me the woman I am proud to be. I still hear his voice and feel his strength. Thank you, J-Bird. Love and miss you!

 

 

Happy Birthday to Me!

Happy Birthday to me! I recently celebrated my 45th birthday. This year I feel completely different than on my last birthday. Last year I was in a rut and looking for an escape from the hamster wheel in which I had found myself trapped. If you have followed my blog over the last year, you know that for my 44th birthday I decided to give myself the gift of happiness. As I set out on my journey, I wasn’t sure exactly what I was looking for but I knew I needed something different. I had achieved what most would consider a successful life. I have a fantastic husband and daughter, I was a CEO, and I had all the material possessions I wanted. I could travel and enjoy the things that make me happy. The trouble is I wasn’t happy. In fact, I was downright miserable. From the outside looking in, I can imagine that most people thought I was crazy when I began discussing how unhappy I was. I laugh when I think about some of the phone calls I received as friends were checking on me to make sure I was “alright”.  I was and always have been “alright” but that didn’t mean I was happy. Last September I set out on a journey to find my happiness and what a journey it has been! I am thrilled to say that I have my inner joy again! Happy birthday to me, indeed!

If you are seeking the path to inner joy, I invite you to join me as I tell you my story. I do not propose to know all the answers, but I did find my answers. My journey is just that – my journey. I want to share everything I have learned about finding inner peace with you in hopes that you can use nuggets from it to help you with your journey. I don’t think that anyone should or will follow in my exact footsteps because each person’s path to inner joy is different. However, I do believe there are some important truths that can apply to most people.

I have made huge changes in the last twelve months including leaving my position as a CEO, downsizing my home and possessions, working to become a certified professional coach, and launching a new business. I have learned so much about myself and others. I look forward to sharing with you and hearing from you as you have questions and comments.

The burning question I sought to answer was “Why am I so unhappy?” There are times in our lives when it is very easy to pinpoint reasons that we are not feeling as joyful as we’d like. Other times, it isn’t as clear. For me, I was dumbfounded as to my lack of joy. I was living the life that society says should be wonderful.  The answer turned out to be fairly simple – I was not honoring my core values.  As such, I was living each day in inner turmoil.

Core values are guiding principles or qualities that represent our highest priorities, deeply held beliefs, and driving forces. Your core values form the foundation from which you should make all decisions. If you are living a life that upholds your core values, you feel a sense of fulfillment and joy. When your core values are not being honored, it leads to feelings of frustration, anger, and a lack of happiness. Our core values are the basis for how we define success. My problem was that I had made the mistake of assuming that society’s definition of success was my definition of success. I had never taken the time to explore my core values in depth and to truly articulate my definition of success. Man, that mistake has caused me a ton of gray hairs!

As I look over the past year, I am extremely grateful for the wonderful people in my life that have been and still are supportive of me. I’m excited to say I feel joy and a sense of fulfillment again. I have a clear understanding of what I value, how I define success, and what my future holds. I look forward to sharing this with you.

I wish I had known then what I know now! -part 2

If you could go back in time and change some of your decisions, would you? If you did, how do you think your life in the here and now would be different?  There are times in all our pasts that we wish we had made a different decision. We get lost in dreaming about the “what ifs” – What if I had done this rather than that? It’s completely normal to reflect on our past and realize some of our decisions weren’t optimal.

In my previous blog, I introduced the concept of bounded rationality, which explains that individuals make decisions based upon the limited information and resources available at any given moment in time. As we age, further our education, and gain life experiences our level of bounded rationality increases. This allows us to look back in time and evaluate our past decisions. Our past decisions weren’t mistakes. They were reflections of our level of bounded rationality.

The awareness of bounded rationality gives us permission to be more forgiving of ourselves and others when decisions prove to be less than optimal. We make decisions based upon the best possible information we have at that moment. Maybe it is a good decision and maybe it isn’t, but it is the best one based upon what we know. If it proves to be the wrong decision, that doesn’t make it a mistake. It’s only a mistake if we do not seek out “good information” from others that could have helped us.

Hopefully, understanding the concept of bounded rationality motivates us to continually try to increase what is contained within ours. One of my favorite quotes is by Mark Twain. He said, “A man that does not read has no advantage over a man that cannot read.” I interpret this as continually expanding my bounded rationality. If I do that, I will be more successful than those that do not. There are numerous articles out there that talk about the reading habits of the most successful people in the world. They understand that life-long learning is crucial to their success.

Now that you know past decisions are not necessarily mistakes and the importance of increasing your bounded rationality, we can explore practical ways to apply your new-found wisdom. In my next blog, I talk about practical ways to apply the knowledge of our bounded rationality to increase our probability of success as well as possible pitfalls to avoid.

-Gina Simpson is a professional business and entrepreneurship coach and founder of Soluna Strategies. If you are interested in working with Gina to reach your full potential, email her at gina@freelunchkid.com. Her passion is your success!

I wish I had known then, what I know now!

I wish I had known then what I know now. How many times have you heard someone say this or said it yourself? Recently I made the decision to leave my CEO position to pursue full time coaching. I’m an entrepreneur at heart, so owning my own business again is very appealing to me. Also, I’m very passionate about helping people, especially budding entrepreneurs. This is going to allow me a more flexible schedule so that I can spend more time with my daughter. It’s a complete win-win for me. In my heart, I know this is the right decision but I can’t help but wonder if a few years from now I’ll look back and feel the same way. As those thoughts pop into my head, they create fear and self-doubt. I’m sure you can all think of a time when you’ve faced a decision that has left you feeling afraid and second guessing yourself or of decisions you’ve made in the past that you wish you could do over. I’m excited about my decision, so I don’t want to let negative thoughts and feelings take over.

I’ve been fortunate in my career with many great opportunities in both the public and private sectors. As I look back on my time as an entrepreneur, professor, consultant, and CEO I can see times that if I had known then what I know now I would’ve made different decisions. I can see that there are things I could’ve done to be more successful and to help those around me more. Hindsight is always 20/20, right?! Instead of looking back on things with regret, I look back and analyze why I made certain decisions so that I can better ones in the future.

In graduate school, I learned about a concept that changed me forever. It is called Bounded Rationality. In 1947, Herbert Simon introduced this idea to explain decision making. Simon believed that individuals face limitations when making decisions in terms of information, cognitive capacity, and time. I think about it like this: get a piece of paper and draw a stick person in the middle. Then draw a big circle around the stick figure.

The stick figure is faced with a decision. Maybe it’s a managerial decision, job change decision, an entrepreneurial decision, or something as simple as what to have for dinner. The circle around the stick figure represents everything this individual knows based upon several things such as education level, life experiences, and known resources available. Every person’s circle, or bounded rationality, is a different size and contains different information. We all make decisions based upon what is contained within our bounded rationality. Hopefully as we age, continue to learn, and have more life experiences our circle grows larger. We can try to increase the size of our circle by diving into educational tools, seeking out mentors, and getting involved in more activities. There is a component of time associated with the size of our bounded rationality as well. It makes sense that the older we get the more time we have to increase our bounded rationality. This helps to explain why we hopefully get wiser as we get older or why we say I wish I had known then what I know now. It also explains why hindsight is 20/20. I like the idea of bounded rationality because it helps to alleviate regret in past decisions. We all make decisions based upon the amount of information we have at the time the decision is made. Some of those decisions were good ones and some were bad ones, but there’s no reason to beat ourselves up over the bad ones. We all do the best we can in the moment. After I was exposed to this idea, it helped me to understand myself and others better.

Five years from now, will I look back and think I wish I had known then what I know now? I certainly hope so because this will mean that I’ve learned something. But will I regret my decision? HECK NO! If I am aware of my bounded rationality, emotions and personality and use that information to make a decision, I can never make a mistake. Wow, that’s a powerful statement, isn’t it?! You don’t have to make any more mistakes either.

In my next several blogs, I’m going to dive head first into this with you. I’ll start with discussing bounded rationality. The power associated with this concept is one of the key factors of success – in everything! Stay tuned!

We do not see things as they are. We see things as WE are.

 

Every morning I watch the news while I enjoy my coffee. Most times I’m listening to keep up with things that are going on in the world. This morning I heard something different. I heard a lot of talk about pain. Interestingly enough, it wasn’t the news that triggered this thought. Rather it was the commercials. The majority of the advertisements were either personal injury lawyers or some type of pharmaceutical product. As I listened to their messages, I could tell they were going for the same target market – vulnerable people in pain. Please know that I think there is a need for attorneys and pharmaceutical products. However, I am troubled at the message the commercials are sending to a group of people that obviously need help. The message sounds like this, “If you are hurting, I have the quick answer.” “I’ll make you feel better with either money or medicine.” Perhaps this is true, but what if it’s not? If it’s not, then what is the answer for helping vulnerable people in need? I’ve thought about this quite a bit. I’ve tried to pinpoint the mentality of those giving the message and of those receiving it.   I don’t know these people personally and can’t tell you definitively what their mindset is. The truth is it doesn’t matter. It only matters that someone is in pain and/or unhappy and looking for an answer. What is the answer? The answer is different for everyone and regardless of who you are, the solution begins internally.

Every person endures some type of pain in their lifetime. We all process and handle the pain in different ways. There is truly no right or wrong way to feel or react to tough circumstances. Each person is unique and feels things in their own manner. Individuals cope with pain in different ways too. We’ve all noticed the person that seems to be strong. We also notice the people that seem to lash out or struggle more with overcoming. What is the reason that people respond in varied ways? What makes one person more resilient than the next? There are many reasons for this and a full discussion is beyond the scope of this blog. I would like to touch upon one idea that is worth thinking about. That is that an individual’s ability to cope with pain is directly related to their level of self-awareness and willingness to improve.

Self-awareness and the willingness to improve are key to success in all aspects of one’s life. Taking true stock of one’s self is a beneficial exercise.  A simple way to do this is to pay close attention to how we respond to people going through a hardship. Are you compassionate or judgmental? Do you respond in love and understanding or do you critique how they are handling the situation? Do you assume the best or the worst? One of my favorite quotes is “We don’t see things as they are. We see things as WE are.” This simple quote lets us know that we judge others based upon things happening in OUR minds, hearts, and lives. Once we internalize this concept, we can achieve better self-awareness. If we are seeking to improve ourselves, we can make a change in how we respond to others. The practice of increasing self-awareness and adjusting behavior for the best outcome is one way individuals become more successful and resilient in all situations. It takes practice, but certainly is achievable.

Most of my blogs are about self-realizations and growth that I have experienced. This morning I responded to a series of commercials in a much different manner than I have in the past. I tried to remember how I used to respond. The honest answer is I would make fun of the commercials with no true thought as to what they were saying or to whom they were appealing, then I’d turn the channel. I responded this way because I was looking for a way to build my self-esteem. I was putting others down and thinking less of them so that I could feel better about myself. Ouch. This morning I realized I felt true compassion for both the advertiser and their target market. Why was this morning different? The last six months have been fantastic for me in terms of personal development. I was ready to grow and not at the expense of others. I have freely shared my pain, progress, and successes with you in hopes that you can relate and find your own path to happiness.  Today, I’d like to leave you with a challenge – pay attention to how you respond to people. Are you the vulnerable person I mentioned earlier? Are you the one judging others? Are you the one responding with true compassion? You’re answer to this question will give you some great insight on yourself and how you might handle challenges. I hope you find this useful. Have a fantastic week!

If you have questions or thoughts on coaching and how it can help you with personal development, please visit my website at www.FreeLunchKid.com or email me at Gina@FreeLunchKid.com.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. What Can A Coach Do For You?

If you’ve read my blog, you know that I credit coaching as the best personal development I’ve ever done. I firmly believe that all change occurs internally first and externally second. So, I’ve always been a student of leadership and motivational theories. Maintaining a positive mindset and energy to be productive in all aspects of your life takes work. It’s akin to becoming and staying physically fit. One must be disciplined and dedicated to sustain a healthy body. If we need help with this, we know that we can hire a personal trainer or sign up for a class at a local gym. A coach works in much the same way. As we make goals for our life and/or personal development, sometimes we need help with motivation, making a plan, and accountability. I know I did. I was overwhelmed with the many aspects of life that needed to be tamed to achieve my goals. My life coach has helped me sort those out and empowered me to take action. In a nutshell, she has helped me to name my fears and find my courage to overcome. Now she is holding me accountable to take the necessary steps to work towards success. I can’t stress enough to you how life changing and fulfilling this has been for me.

What can a coach do for you? The real answer is – that’s up to you! Each person has different goals and areas of personal development upon which they’d like to focus. In turn, there are coaches with various specializations to allow you to choose the best one for you.

I’ve found confusion surrounds the distinction between coaches and consultants. A coach is not a consultant. The best way for me to describe the difference for you is with an example. Let’s pretend you are hungry and want fish for dinner. You are eager to learn to fish and to prepare them yourself, but have no idea how to start. You meet with a consultant and a coach for help in achieving this. A consultant will give you a written plan on the best places to fish, a list of equipment needed, and a recipe for how to cook them. Acting upon this plan will be up to you solely.  Alternatively, a coach will help you learn to do the research for finding the best places to fish, the best equipment, and finding the recipes you like best. Further, a coach will walk with you through the entire process to provide guidance and accountability as you learn to cast, reel in the fish, and prepare it to cook. You and your coach will celebrate together after you’ve enjoyed a wonderful meal. Now, let’s pretend you are hungry again, but this time you want to fish in a different area of the world and prepare it differently. If you used the services of a consultant, chances are you must hire the consultant again. However, if you hired a coach, you will have learned how to do things yourself. A consultant finds the answers for you, while a coach helps you find the answers yourself. It is much like the proverb, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Consultants provide, and coaches teach. There are appropriate situations for both consultants and coaches. I have been fortunate to have done both consulting and coaching in my career. I value the services provided by consultants and fully understand their importance. Personally, I find coaching more fulfilling. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide which is best for helping you reach the success you seek.

If you have further questions about coaching and how it can benefit you, please email me at gina@freelunchkid.com. I’d love to help you succeed!

Are You Stuck?

You know how sometimes you feel stuck in either your life or your job? It’s a helpless feeling. You get lost in the humdrum of daily activities trying to make sure that you finish everything you are supposed to do. You go to bed exhausted and wake up the next day to do it all over again. Is this what life is really like? You work hard to get to a point in your life that is where you thought you should be. Now you realize you feel unfulfilled in some way. You want more but for some reason you can’t take the steps to move forward. You are stuck. We’ve all been there at some point in our lives.

Perhaps you feel stuck in your personal life. Is it that you can’t seem to get the healthy lifestyle you long for started? Has your relationship with your significant other become stagnant? Are you beating yourself up over your parenting skills? Are you struggling with self-esteem issues? Has there been a tragedy in your life that you can’t seem to get past?

If you feel stuck in your job, it could be that you feel hostage to your income or you don’t feel as though you have the skills to obtain another job. Maybe you have been in your job for quite some time and do not want to start over or give up some benefits you’ve earned. Do you have a difficult co-worker and you can’t find common ground?

There are lots of reasons you might perceive you can’t move past the situation that has you feeling stuck. The truth is that you CAN move past it. Maybe not tomorrow, but with a solid plan, good guidance, and continued support, you can achieve most anything in an acceptable time frame. Circumstances should not control you, you can control your circumstances. You have the power to move past any situation. The only question remaining is are you ready?

If you have been following my blog, then you know I have been at a place in my life that had me feeling stuck. I decided last September on my 44th birthday to do something about it. As I tried to sort through my current circumstances and set goals to where I want to head, I realized I needed some help with planning and empowerment. I decided to seek out a life coach.  This decision has changed my life dramatically. My goals are more clear. My plan for reaching them is taking shape. I feel more alive and empowered than I have in a long time. I no longer feel stuck! Life coaching has been so powerful and fulfilling for me that I have decided to become a certified life coach. This is something I will do outside of my job at TTS. If you would like to talk about how a coach could help you, email me at gina@freelunchkid.com. I’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have, just know that I will get back to you after 5:00. Remember, the only person holding you back is you.

Have a great day and get moving! I hope to hear from you!

I’m Ready for 2017!

I love to read social media. It allows me to stay up to date on news stories, research, and most importantly – my friends. As 2016 comes to an end, it is interesting to see how many people want this year to go away. They’re so ready for this year to come to an end and for a new one to begin. The reasons vary. Some are depressed at the loss of popular icons this year such as Prince, George Michael, and Carrie Fisher. That’s very understandable – heck, I’m devastated that I never saw Prince in concert and never will. Other people are ready for the year to be over because they’ve lost loved ones. The pain of loss can be debilitating and most are seeking a way to overcome it as quickly as possible. I also see some friends wanting the year to end because things just haven’t gone their way lately. The common denominator in every one’s wish to end this year and start next year is the yearning for a fresh start. We’ve all faced times in our lives when we need an era to end and a new one begin. The end of a year and the beginning of a new one seems to be the most logical time to hope for change. The idea of New Year Resolutions has been imbedded in us our entire lives. We have been conditioned to reflect on our lives at the end of the year and look for ways to improve it in the new year. This is truly a good practice but statistics tell us that 88% of people fail at keeping their resolutions. Over the years, my opinions of NY resolutions have changed from setting them to not setting them. The years that I did set them, I chose the most popular ones like losing weight and exercising more. I failed too! This year I find myself at a different place in life. A few months ago, I began a journey to find true happiness in my life. I have dedicated myself to genuine change. I suppose one could say I began the same process of a resolution, but I started on my 44th birthday. I feel the same as everyone that wants 2016 to be over. The difference for me this year is that I realize a day on the calendar is not enough to instigate true change. The only thing strong enough to cause the positive change I am seeking is ME! If I wanted, I could look back at the past year and fall into a pity party. I’ve experienced some crappy things this past year from the loss of an adoption opportunity to a second neck surgery. I’ve gained 10 pounds and I’m more out of shape than I’ve ever been. It would be easy to play victim and whine about all of this. It would be just as easy to be angry and lash out. Every circumstance and situation creates energy. It is our choice how we use that energy. It can be negative energy or positive energy. The energy doesn’t decide – we do. When we make the decision to be optimistic regardless of situations, we create more positive energy and force the negative energy out. This is the key to success in all things, including resolutions. If we begin our resolutions with a negative outlook such as I’m fat and need to fix it, we will fail. Instead, take the positive approach and empower yourself. Your resolution could sound more like this – I will reward my body with healthy food and exercise this year. If you do that, weight loss will come. Learning how to harness energy and focus it in a positive direction takes practice. I know because I’m learning how to do it myself! It is making a huge difference in my life and well-being. I am looking forward to 2017! I hope you are as well! I wish you all the best year of many yet to come!