Because I Have it all Together, and Other Lies I Want You to Believe About Me
2020 has been a year of exhaustion, refocus, more exhaustion, more refocus. Pivoting. Being paralyzed. Stressing. Relaxing. Sleeping more. Stressing more. And frankly wondering what in the heck I’m doing.
In quarantine I’ve been like hamster on a wheel. 1,000% in a cage. Going a hundred miles an hour with nowhere to go. The industry I work in vanished overnight. I found the need to create a new “income stream”. Hence the pivoting, refocus, paralysis….At the end, I’ve accomplished very little.
I “should” have handled it better. After all, I know how to do this. Embrace change. Deal with elements I’m not in control of. Live with the fear of losing a lot. I got this down.
And I do “handle it” considering I’ve been down this road before. With all my lack of grace and competency in 2020, I have remembered and held on to something very important.
The greatest lesson I learned in my past trek of getting sick, almost dying, living in financial straits, having PTSD and struggling with depression (how’s that for a positive sentence) is this:
In the abundance of fear, illness, lack of control, and stress, many of us have had to face scarcity for the first time in our lives. Scarcity of toilet paper beginning in March, scarcity of space in our homes, scarcity of jobs, scarcity of time, scarcity of support and scarcity of security/stability.
The tendency to hoard, to hold on, to hide out when things are scarce is a natural reaction. Recognizing the abundance you still have is a way to release some of the fear. Release some of the stress.
Abundance helps you release that tight grasp. Abundance helps you move towards a more open heart. A more open hand to give.
In the old days (pre-2020) we didn’t recognize all that we had. It was almost grotesque how much we took for granted. We walked into grocery store and got whatever we wanted, paid our bills, sent our kids to school while we worked, met with friends, watched sports, ate out on Tuesday…Wednesday…pretty much any day so we didn’t have to cook.
Yet we complained because, with all we had, we were still discontent.
Then came 2020. With it came scarcity. We crammed into our houses and had to look at the people we lived with in the eye. Some for the first time in a long time. We looked at the décor on our walls and the items shoved in the back of our closets. We looked at our emails and the news wondering if our jobs were next. We looked at the food we ate, the shows we watched, and the photos of the people we missed. We took a long hard look at our life.
With the lack of space, time, friendships and freedom we began to learn a very important lesson. A lesson contrary to every success book, every entrepreneur “secrets to being amazing”, every advertisement trying to entice us to buy more. A lesson I learned in a hospital bed.
Let me repeat that: Life happens in the small.
-Homeschooling your kids while you worked and finding that little bit of heaven when nobody bothered you in the bathroom for 10 whole minutes. A small thing that meant so much.
-When loneliness crept in and your dog or cat hopped on your lap and looked you in the eye telling you there’s not just you. With him or her there’s always two.
-When taking a walk in the fresh air and open spaces lifted our butts off the bed and our mood in ways we never noticed before. A small thing that changed our whole day.
-When your paycheck came it held more significance. That job you hated was a lifeline you didn’t know you had.
-The phone or zoom call from family or friends – now took top priority.
-When the holidays came and you remembered eating your Grandma’s meal as a child. A small moment in the grand scheme of your life. But now the memories and the meaning hold such sweet abundance.
-Your health meant more. Having 8 rolls of toilet paper meant more. Watching your kids actually grow in front of your literal eyes. It all means more.
-There’s been abundance in our scarcity. Because we are forced to notice all the things we took for granted and missed.
When you think of the happiest moments of your life-most are in the small. Playing outside with your friends until dark. Driving in the front seat of your dad’s pick-up truck. The first time he or she caught your eye. Playing in the snow. Watching the waves. Getting your first small promotion. Laughing uncontrollably with someone you loved. This is where life happened. In the small.
In 2020 we’ve been faced with scarcity which has caused us to live in the small. This is where the abundance of real life-the good, the bad, and meaningful- all happens.
My hope is as life moves forward into 2021 and we find ourselves in something new, yet all too familiar, that we each remember the lessons we’ve learned. For so long we blindly believed the lie that more is always better. Bigger house, better job, more money, better body. Push harder. Be more. Do more.
May we remember what it meant to be squashed in a house full of people we loved and hated and loved some more. May we remember the value of having a small bowl of soup with someone special that far outweighs a fancy meal in a room full of people we don’t know. May we remember the value of a paycheck our hard work brings. May we remember the feeling of gratitude of having good health. May we remember all the small moments, all the small gifts, that made our life abundant in all the scarcity.
May we remember that a good, happy, abundant and meaningful life always hapens in the small.Click to tweet
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Stacy Pederson is a funny motivational Keynote Speaker, who’s almost died a bunch.
Quarantine has been a challenge for many of us. If you are feeling lonely during quarantine, I made this video for you.
Been home a while? Wondering why you haven’t lost that weight, started that side hustle or wrote that book? This quick video explains why.
Photo of My Sister and I.
I wasn’t myself last Friday. I was too blunt. I didn’t listen. I felt restless. Most of all I felt tired. So, I slept for 12 hours straight.
Yep. In a world that idolizes productivity, I laid like a slug and did nothing but sucked up time.
Sunday, I felt sad and restless. Monday even sadder. What?! Me? A motivational speaker who teaches people how to be happy? Yep. And I was fine with it.
You can’t love without loss.
I walked outside a lot Sunday and Monday thinking about daffodils and little girls in Easter dresses. Boys running rampant grabbing candy filled eggs. Grandparents in their Sunday best asking, “What?” every 5 seconds on the sofa.
How different this year will be.
No half-eaten ham left on the table. No tiny colorful candy wrappers scattered on the floor where the kids counted their candy. No shoving the leftover deviled eggs in the refrigerator, so no one gets food poisoning. No fruit filled jello mold-which truthfully, I’m fine with.
We all have rituals this time of year. Whether it’s celebrating the Passover, listening to elderly “Mrs. So and So” sing hymns way to loud at the back of the choir, or listening to your drunk Uncle’s conspiracy theory tangents for a pleasant holiday meal.
We come together this time of year, different cultures, races, religions, and celebrate traditions that make us unique- but also make us one.
Yet-here we are. April 2020.
Now every blog writer, motivational speaker, etc., knows here is where I insert the BUT and spin everything into a positive take away for you in order to keep you reading.
But I’m not going to do that….yet. I’m going to take it a step further.
Stay with me. (I promise this gets to be about you soon.)
As I said, life is about love. You can’t love without loss.
When you hear older people reflect on their regrets in life, it’s usually about chasing after things that didn’t matter or choosing the safer route in their day to day living. Choosing career over children. Choosing protection over pursuit. Choosing being right over relationship.
Looking back, they know something many of us don’t know. It’s something you won’t hear about from those with a “success mindset”, either.
Life is really about love. Love is a driving force in all of our lives from birth to death.
We long to be loved despite our flaws. We strive to love other people despite their flaws…or the cost. We long for a loving community. A loving world.
Real religion is about love. Relationships are about love. We are born needing, wanting, and thriving on love.
This is not wishful thinking. Most of the choices we make are bound by one thing-to be loved or to display our love.
We want to be beautiful, successful, thinner, wealthier. Why? So that we’re “easier to love”.
We work, we sacrifice. Why? For those we love.
Love risks, and most often, requires loss. Loss of self. Loss of security. Loss of time. Loss of control. Loss of the ability to prevent ourselves from experiencing pain.
In my faith as a Christian, we celebrate Easter as the ultimate example of love-Jesus’ love. A love that displayed the ultimate loss – life itself on a cross.
Real love is a unique combination of sorrow and satisfaction. Service and sacrifice. Beauty and brokenness. Loyalty and freedom. Life giving and soul wrenching.
We’ve experienced this perhaps with a parent or grandparent. In loving a child. A spouse. The military. A neighbor. A friend.
And now by healthcare workers across the globe.
Many of us are experiencing loss right now. Loss of stability. Loss of routines. Loss of a job. Loss of face to face relationships. Loss of identity. Loss of a sense of purpose. Unfortunately, some are also facing the heart wrenching loss of a loved one.
Now truer than ever is the ol’ line, “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.”
If you are experiencing the feelings of loss or grief-it may be because you loved something you didn’t even know you loved.
Loss is often mixed with sorrow. I looked up the origins of word “sorrow” and according to etymononline.com, it comes from words meaning, “grief, regret, anxiety” and “illness”.
If you find yourself-especially during this time of celebration-struggling with anxiety, grief, regret, or a sense of loss, it may be a sign that shows you- you loved.
You loved your family despite how maddening they are. You love the work involved in setting up a holiday and celebrating it. You loved the traditions that make it uniquely yours.
You loved your job even though you thought you hated it. You loved your freedom to walk among people without fear. You loved your friends. You loved your family. You loved a lot of things about your life.
You loved. And this is a good thing.
When people say to focus on the positive but you find yourself with unexplainable sadness or feelings of anxiety or loss, this means you are a human who has loved fully and for a time- have lost much. And this is ok.
Now, for the part I promised-the bright side. Back to my Christian faith-Jesus loved to the point of losing His life. He did it to bring life-a more abundant life.
During this season we may struggle with loss but it is just a season.
Next year, when the daffodils bloom, the brightly colored candy jar is filled, children are running amuck, and people are arguing in the living room, we will have a new take-a new life on old traditions.
We will have the gift of gratitude. We often discover gratitude during loss. Studies show gratitude is a key ingredient to a living a long-term happy life.
All of the things we took for granted will appear different now. Things that aren’t meaningful fall to wayside. Appreciating the small will become a large part of who we as individuals and even a nation can become.
You’ve lost because you’ve loved. With loss comes gratitude. With gratitude comes love.
This is the cycle that makes life both rich and beautiful.
This is why when I go for my walks I am ok with being a little sad. I recognize it’s a part of the process. Because with death of the old comes new life. Life more abundant.
My Easter prayer this year is that you will discover:
What it is you have loved.
What it is you have lost.
What it is you have to be grateful for.
So that this time next year-you will have a more abundant, happy, rich, and meaningful life.
Stacy Pederson is a Funny Motivational Speaker who has almost died a bunch.
I’ve almost died before. I don’t recommend trying it. It’s not that fun.
I’ve also lost a marriage, a job, a home, and support system all in three week’s time. I also don’t recommend that.
Due to tremendous rapid loss, as well as almost dying a bunch more, I was diagnosed with PTSD and went through severe depression.
Yet here we are where many people are, or will be, experiencing exactly what I’ve been through with job loss, health crisis, and life altering circumstances in an extremely short amount of time.
Right now is a being touted as a “perfect time” to write a book, develop a course, start a hobby, and a myriad of other things to “start doing”.
I see a little of what’s to come from learning what is now mostly behind me.
Here’s why I’m not trying to be productive during Covid-19.
Keeping things simple means less stress. Stress suppresses the immune system and can trigger a whole host of other problems. It can make you physically, mentally and emotionally sick.
To say most people are experiencing an unprecedented amount of stress right now is probably an understatement.
Three weeks ago we were lapping up our lattes while our kids were galivanting around in a thing called, “school”.
Now we’re counting cases, tripping over toys, wondering what to sell, and debating if we should divorce now or wait and see if Covid strikes.
Too much change, with too little time to process, and too much uncertainty is more than enough to switch on the ol’ fight or flight response.
We are all fighting for normalcy, getting a grasp on the unknown, fear of illness or death for ourselves or our loved ones, and fear of financial instability for basic needs. It’s a fight for life.
When people say, “don’t panic”, they’re basically saying, “don’t be human”. It’s normal to be stressed, anxious or afraid. It’s ok to have those feelings-as long as you don’t stay in that mental or emotional space for too long.
Acknowledge your negative feelings. Take a moment to feel them. Then move forward or take a step back. (Fight-or flight.) Whatever you need to do to gain a better sense of control.
You can’t be “productive” if you’re stressed. You also won’t make sound, logical decisions which are important when taking on new projects. (Hence insane toilet paper hoarding. Not logical. Hoarding cheese, wine and chocolate-now that’s a different story in my book.)
I’ve learned to listen to my body’s AND my mind’s alarm bells. I’m a flighter. I’ll be the first to run and hide under the covers. When my body or emotions are sending me signals, I take a step back. I don’t push forward. Productivity requires pushing forward.
Some people want to work and be productive for a sense of normalcy and also something to look forward to. A goal, project, new things to focus on to help detract and distract from what’s going on around them.
I did that. For a very long time. Here’s why I don’t recommend it:
When you constantly remain distracted or bulldoze through-when you do finally fall apart-it’s brutal. Disastrous. You’ll find yourself completely unprepared mentally or emotionally for the flood of pent up feelings or thoughts you refused to allow yourself to deal with as it was happening.
Instead, I recommend sticking your toe in the water EVERY morning. If you’re feeling good, and working on a new project brings you peace or joy, then move forward.
If you’re pushing yourself emotionally, mentally, or physically-STOP. Listen to your body and mind. What does it need to process what is happening around you? Quiet? Rest? An intense workout? Socializing? A Plan? Then do that instead.
Slow your productivity so that you can forge out a new trail of living. You’re used to producing on a well paved highway that requires little thought or adaption. You were most likely living on autopilot.
You’ve suddenly been forced to now stare at an “off the beaten path” of what daily life looks like. A path that’s not forged yet. You can’t run full speed on an ungroomed trail. It takes time and work to build the trail first.
Build the trail of your new normal first. Don’t clutter it up with projects that will cause you new stress or even more levels of uncertainty.
There’s a lot of mental work, physical strain, and emotional re-routing that takes place when dealing with a lot of change. Give your body and mind grace with this.
Rather than focusing on new projects or getting “caught up” I’ve focused my energy elsewhere. First and most important, I’m taking care of my mind and body. Second, I’m experimenting on trying new routines, priorities, and giving myself grace through all of it.
Here’s some ways I’m doing that to put myself in the best possible state of mind to handle the physical stress of uncertainty and change.
1. I stopped setting my alarm until my kids’ online school starts. Stress is hard on the body. Your body needs healing time. Most days I still wake up around the normal time but a few of those days I slept 10 hours straight.
2. I walk outside every day. Sunshine and nature calm the stress response beautifully. It rejuvenates me and boosts my creativity.
3. I make relationships the #1 priority. My family and people I care about come first. It’s not always this way, but in times of crisis, this is THE thing that matters most. Everything else can wait.
4. I’ve whittled down my work priorities to just three things and only three things. These things are what’s required, what brings me the most satisfaction, and what I’m the best at. Everything else will wait. (Yes! In times of crisis in your business you “should” focus on what brings you money now. When you’re laying in a hospital bed, as I have, money doesn’t matter much. You need your health, your mind, your relationships to get through. Period.)
5. I don’t think about what “needs to get done”. Instead I test out certain times of day to try different things. My focus is more on my “training” (like an athlete). I’m working on the skills of working vs running the race now. After just under 2 weeks, I have a good handle on what’s working for me. Things are kicking in easier, as well as being more balanced and focused.
6. I do what’s right for me, so I can do right by my friends, work and family. You can’t do right when it comes to others if you’re stressed, angry, anxious, or sick. You need to focus on your own health in all areas so that you’re available and ready for those who need you.
7. I don’t freak out over being inconvenienced. Most of the time we as humans, get frustrated or angry because someone has inconvenienced us. You get mad at your kids because they inconvenienced you. Same with your significant other. The person at the grocery store, etc. It’s a waste of negative energy on your end. So they got in your way or caused you more work. In the grand scope of what’s happening right now, who cares??? You’re going to have to work harder and deal with more for a time. Your comfort or convenience is not your “end all” right now. Getting through it the best you can is. You’ll be a better person for it.
The truth is, when 2020 is over, the world is not going to “return to normal” and hopefully you won’t either. Instead, there will be a “new normal”.
The quicker you can learn the skills to adapt by taking the time to process your feelings and emotions as they come, experimenting with your routine, and embracing rapid change instead of fighting it, the better for you.
If you want to be healthy and productive in the long run,
Yes, I could be richer financially if I pushed out a new project, but at what cost? I’m focusing instead on being richer in wisdom, relationships, health and skill of living. You can’t make money lying in a hospital bed. Trust me. I’ve been there.
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Stacy Pederson is a funny motivational Keynote Speaker, who’s almost died a bunch.
Let’s be honest, life has taken a sharp turn from where we were just a few short weeks ago. Many of us find ourselves working from home for the first time WITH our kids underfoot.
If you find yourself tripping over laundry, sharing a desk with your three-year-old’s cheerios, and seething quietly at your significant other, all while getting nonstop texts from your boss or co-worker-these work from home tips are for you.
First, I’ve worked from home for several years with a plethora of children. I normally scoff at “work from home” articles because they make too many assumptions.
“Create a Workspace”. “Minimize Distractions”. “Turn the TV off”. “Create a set schedule.” This is great if you’re a robot or live alone. Many of us don’t have time, space, or silence in our homes.
Here’s some real work from home tips you won’t hear anywhere else.
1a. Ignore the idea of “morning me time” and “set schedules” if you are not wired that way.
Morning people have no problem making “me time” in the mornings. Night people do. If we asked morning people to make 8-10 pm the time to do their most difficult tasks of the day, they’d think we’re nuts. Yet this work from home tip is touted everywhere in regards to making early mornings the time to do your most productive work.
“Set” your schedule to what works best for your own body and your own family life. If you know you are completely worthless between the hours of 2pm-4pm, embrace it. Do other tasks. Go for a walk. Prep dinner. Take a 20-minute nap. Don’t plow through. It’s a waste of your time and your company’s money because you won’t be productive.
“Set hours” from 8 am -5 pm also may not work for your kids. If you know they fall apart and start fighting around 3 pm-(Ok more like 8:00 am, 8:10 am, 8:35am…) there’s no point in yelling for the next 45 minutes. (I’ve tried it with zero positive results.) Instead, stop working during that time each day and engage with them.
1b. You’ll Struggle with Motivating Yourself to Work- Especially with the World Burning Down Around You.
If you are a person who is super chill or freaking out, you may find yourself waking up at 11 am after binge watching, “Baby Ballroom” and crying yourself to sleep in the wee hours of the morning. You’re going to need some motivation. Like a paycheck as your motivation.
Here’s the simplest motivation mantra you can use, “I’m never going to want to work-so I might as well do it anyway.”
So easy. Totally works. “I’m never going to want to exercise, eat healthy…be your friend…”
In addition, give yourself grace because you will be under a tremendous amount of new stress. You are unable to think clearly and be “productive” when you are stressed.
You hear this advice over and over again, but it works. Take a deep breath. Several. All the time. Anytime you start to feel anxious or angry. Breathe.
AND, get outside in the fresh air if you can for at least 20 minutes. (That’s easy for me to say since I live in Colorado.) However, if you have a balcony, rooftop-anything, get outside. It boosts your vitamin D, your serotonin levels, and will calm you down.
If you can’t go outside, I love the “Calm” app.
Do yoga…with the dog and your kids in your face-it works great. Just don’t be shocked when you’re doing a “Downward Facing Dog” and you get a glimpse of what’s living under your couch.
2. Communicate with Your Boss Regarding Expectations, Boundaries, Etc.
In a perfect world, because this is a unique time, there should be some flexibility and space for growth, failure and adjustments. If your boss has no idea how to manage remotely here are some great questions to ask:
-Can I adapt the hours I work to find the right rhythm for my job while balancing my family? I think these times work best….
-Can I adapt the times if we find they are not working?
-What is the best way to communicate? (Text, email, phone call, Slack, etc.)
-If I get a text or email from you at random hours when I’m not scheduled to work, are you expecting an immediate reply, or can I respond when I’m “back on the clock”?
-What is the best way for us to communicate with each other to let you to know I’m getting my work done, etc.? (Example, weekly one on one zoom call, end of the day completed task list, etc.)
-Because this is a new and challenging time, if I find I’m a struggling with balancing everything or adapting, who do I talk to? Are there resources for me through HR, etc.?
Just like all relationships communication is key. Also, just like all relationships, unmet or unclear expectations are a relationship killer. Addressing these types of questions upfront can help “flatten the curve” when it comes to miscommunication, hurt feelings, or resentment.
AND, if you find yourself now communicating only with email, texts or a project management software-feelings will get hurt. Exclamation points, curt responses, etc., are breeding grounds for miscommunication. Having that group discussion upfront regarding the need to give everyone the “benefit of the doubt” in their communication, can once again, help “flatten the curve”.
3. Banish the Idea of a Monday-Friday Work Week or a Definitive Line Between Work and Home Time if it Doesn’t Work for You.
If you have the ability to set your own hours or work for yourself, you may find with kids at home it’s easier to work less per day with a longer week.
I work most days for fewer hours. It works best with my kid’s schedules, the fact I’m on the road speaking a lot, needing creative time, or I’m simply mentally or physically exhausted. (I’ve almost died a bunch so I listen to my mind and body.)
My work life is more fluid and a lifestyle, as opposed to a structured schedule. This works for me.
If you’re structured-I almost just made you spit out your coffee with this work from home tip. Not everyone operates best-especially at home-with high amounts of structure. A certain amount of freedom for some people is not just for fun-it’s actually important to their overall mental health. Be open to the fact people operate differently.
4. You’ll Get Lonely, Overwhelmed and Make Bad Choices.
High amounts of change in a short amount of time with zero time to process, is a recipe for some hardcore mental/emotional struggles.
If you’re an extrovert, the initial excitement of nixing your commute while working in PJ’s will quickly wain when you realize your lonely and have no one to talk to. Recognize this WILL be an issue for you. Set up “coffee dates”, “Game Nights”, “Girl’s Night In”, via video.
In regard to work, a “happy hour” Friday’s at 4 pm may be a great way to wrap up each week with your team to check in and see how everyone is doing and set the game plan for the following week.
If you’re an introvert, the crowded house with lack of ability to process or take in your surroundings may cause you to have moments of complete overwhelm. A movie, laying down for 20 minutes, or locking yourself in the bathroom with a book for 30 minutes may be a saving grace. (Pro-tip: If you lock yourself in the bathroom shove a rug under the crack so the kids don’t slip their toys, fingers and notes under. Then put your earphones on so you can’t hear them whisper and breathe since their faces will be smashed up against the door….)
You may overeat. Over exercise. Over drink. Over yell. Under work. Under communicate. Under- get out of bed. You’re probably going to have some meltdowns…daily.
When you find yourself “over” or “under” anything you’re trying to medicate your negative emotions.
When you’re starting to shove your hand down the chip bag, or start to clean the kitchen counter for the 307th time that morning-STOP and take note of your emotions.
-Acknowledge that it is OK to feel the way you feel.
-Give yourself a certain amount of time to be angry, sad, scared, etc. It can be 10 minutes. Even a day.
-When your literal time is up, it’s time to pull up your bootstraps and get back out there and deal. No excuses. Eat the chips while cleaning the kitchen counter….in moderation.
5. The House Will Drive You Crazy.
WARNING: I’m going to make a politically incorrect comment on this work from home tip. (I also acknowledge that I’m not addressing single parents in this portion. I was a single Mom for a bit. It’s hard. VERY hard. That’s for another article.)
Back to being politically incorrect: My firsthand experience with the men in my life is MOST (not all) men can work and not think twice about the house being a mess.
My husband has ZERO problem grabbing his laptop and guitar and heading to the basement to work while the house is in utter turmoil.
I cannot work when I know there’s dishes rotting on the counter, laundry that needs to be changed, crumbs on the floor…and divorce papers that need to be filed….I just can’t. With kids at home 24/7 this is a legit problem.
On the other hand, my husband can’t work with music playing, chaos, etc. He goes down in the quiet. I can tune it out.
A nicely decorated, distraction free, dedicated workspace is great if you have time and money. Most of us don’t. Think outside of the office box. If you need distraction free, can your garage, laundry room (yes, laundry room) or even bed work?
If there’s simply no place, can you rotate hours with your significant other of 2-hour shifts of child/house care, while the other works? One gets the bedroom, while the other works on the schooling and the mess.
As far as household chores, with kids at home, the chores are never done. Here’s some things we do at my house:
-My husband and I both spend 30 minutes of housework before we “go to work” in the morning.
-We split the housework based on what we “both don’t mind doing”. Neither one of us has the “I love housework” gene. Instead, we break it down by what he doesn’t mind doing too much, and what I don’t mind too much. Then we negotiate on the “we both hate doing that”. Oddly enough, I love doing yardwork. He hates it. He doesn’t mind bathrooms. I hate it. Saturdays he’s cleaning toilets and I’m working on the lawn and we “both don’t mind doing it”.
-I get up and move around as a reward to myself every 90 minutes. During those 10 or 20 minutes I rotate the laundry, let the dogs out, do the dishes, etc.
-At night, when all the kids were still here, we had a “20 minute clean up time”. We set the timer for 20 minutes from 8:00 pm – 8:20 pm. Everyone was responsible for picking up their own items from the main living areas. (Kitchen, living room, bathrooms, etc.) If there was any time left, they spent it on their rooms. We always got everything picked up because there was 7 of us. 7 x 20 literally saved me hours of time.
Keep the end in mind. I used to clean non-stop and I still get distracted. With most of the kids graduated, looking back those times of household chaos really are sweet memories. I miss the matchbox cars and playdough crumbs all over the floor. Someday you’re house will be too clean. Like your Grandma’s house that smelled of mold and Pledge. Recognize it’s hard, but remember it’s temporary. Too temporary.
6. You will Hate Your Spouse, Roommate, Children, or Significant Other…Maybe Even the Cat. (The Cat Already Hates You So the Feeling Will Be Mutual.)
Everyone’s struggling with sudden change and everyone will handle it differently. This means the best AND the worse will come out of all of us. You will hate everyone and everything at certain points-especially your spouse or significant other.
My work from home tip, before the big blow outs-know it’s coming and make it fun.
-Have a talk where you openly acknowledge things are a wee bit stressful during this time.
-Share the negative side of how you handle stress. (This could be you get angry, depressed, withdrawn, lash out.) If you unsure how you handle it poorly, I’m sure your S.O. will be more than happy to share the negative side of you.
-Then really think about what it is that you need during those moments. Do you need to go in a room and do 20 minutes of push-ups to physically get the anger out? Do you need to go scream in your pillow, or have a good 10-minute cry? Once you’ve come up with some ideas, let everyone in the house know. This way, when you blow up or completely shut down, they know what’s happening and to leave you alone to go do what you need to do.
-One fun idea is to write each person’s name (or have your kids’ draw each of you) on separate pieces of paper. Then post it on the fridge or a wall. Have another piece of paper that says, “Today I feel”, and have strips of paper with emoji faces on it. Everyone posts what they’re feeling each morning. (Passive aggressive tip: you can always stomp over mid-day and change it while staring at the person who’s making you crazy.)
This can be a non-threatening way to get a pulse on how everyone is doing. It’s fun for the kids, but it will also give you a world of insight on each of your family members.
-I know this seems weird, but the above idea is also a great way to check in on your team if you are a boss or a manager. You can have everyone at a set time in the morning do a “today I’m feeling” and then text a gif. It can be fun, but you’ll also know who to check in on.
It may feel goofy or uncomfortable to you or to some on the team, but the idea is really about care. You care about them as individuals and want to support them during this time. It will also help mitigate issues and improve your bottom line. Stressed or unhappy employees aren’t productive. Cared for employees, are not only productive, but committed.
7. This Can Be the Greatest Thing That Ever Happened to You and to Your Family
My most important work from home tip:
We get lost in the day to day. Most of us don’t “live” we just survive our list of “to do’s”.
Family life is the same. It’s carpool, work, groceries, cleaning. Now amidst all the chaos of everyone home, or the loneliness of just being with yourself, this is an opportunity to learn about yourself and those you’ve taken for granted.
You are about to learn so much you didn’t know about one another, including yourself. This is a good thing.
Yesterday, I saw a mom walking her school age son up the road. He was having so much fun, because it was something special. Being together. Just him and his Mom. Between work and school-they normally wouldn’t have that precious time.
These moments for our kids can be life changing. Make these moments count.
If you are alone, now is a really great time to evaluate yourself, what you want/need in your life, relationships, work, etc. Write the life out you want. Take a hard look at what needs to change.
When the clouds part and the sun begins to peeks through again, my hope is that people will slowly enter back into life knowing what truly matters. Just like I did the first time I got up out of the hospital bed.
Your relationships at work, home, friends, and extended family can be what makes life both bitter and sweet. Acknowledge the bitter but choose the sweet.
These next weeks can be the greatest thing that ever happened to you by being around those you love and stretching yourself to be a better person.
Sending you literal well wishes.
Kindly, Stacy P.
PS Struggling with productivity or anxiety during Covid? Here’s a helpful blog post.
Stacy Pederson is a Colorado based Funny Motivational Keynote Speaker. If you need help navigating your workforce through stressful times click HERE:
Watch Stacy in action:
I spent a weekend with uber successful people and I learned some habits and common character traits they all share.
First, a little about me. I didn’t rub elbows around “successful” people in the way we tend to think of “success”. (More on that later.)
Here’s Me: ↓
Here’s the house I grew up in: ↓
Currently 77% of students attending the school district I grew up in are on free or reduced lunch with test scores far below the nationwide average. (Hence-my inability to spell.)
Poverty was pervasive, but my positivity propelled me forward.
Here’s me ↓ on my 21st birthday exposed to the “high life”:
Here’s me now ↓: (On a good day…with photoshop.)
I went to college. Did well. Went through some challenges. Almost died a bunch. Now I do some crazy things far beyond what I ever thought was possible.
However, you can see from the above photos, “success” was not handed to me. It often feels like a foreign concept.
What is success anyway?
I define success as living a life that is congruent to who you are as an individual. That’s a fancy way of saying living a life that makes you happy because it embraces who you are and what matters to you. This looks different for all types of people and I admire that.
I’ve sat with people in their doublewide trailers who were happy. They were successful in living a life that honored them and their families. I’ve also sat in many multi-million dollar mansions and experienced the same. We’re all human. We’re all trying to figure this “life” thing out. Success looks different for all of us.
However, for today’s purposes, I’m defining success as those who have done well in their businesses and careers.
I’ve met a lot of successful people in my life. Celebrities. Writers. Athletes. This past weekend was jam packed full of them. I’ve noticed a difference in habits and character traits of those who are successful in their business compared to many who I grew up with.
Here’s 10 things I’ve learned from hanging out with successful people:
1. Successful People are Really Really Good at What They Do.
Here’s me ↓ last weekend with successful person #1, Michelle Robinson.
Michelle has written a gajillion books and runs a top-notch marketing company. She’s also a freaking genius when it comes to publishing. She’s not just good at what she does-she’s REALLY good.
Successful athletes, business owners, speakers, etc., aren’t satisfied with being mediocre. They don’t rely on their natural talent alone. They take their natural talent and push themselves to be better.
Successful people are on a continuous journey of learning followed by putting what they’ve learned into practice. This constant state of striving for improvement means they’re not just good- they’re excellent at what they do.
2. Successful People Under-Promise and Over-Deliver.
Michelle was scheduled to spend three hours with me. She spent seven. She way over-delivered. Now DON’T go hiring her and expecting her to do the same for you. I’m sharing that because I find truly successful people put the customer first. They genuinely care about the customer’s outcome over their own pocket-book.
Are you over-delivering in your business? If not, what areas can you begin to deliver more value than promised that won’t overtax you? What area can you over deliver that makes you, your customer, and your overall business better?
3. Successful People Have Fun!
Jeff and I with successful person, Michelle, and successful person #2, Michelle’s husband-Kevin, singing Karaoke. ↓
Burnout sucks. I’ve been there. Many successful people have been there, too. They’ve pushed their businesses to the point of personal break down.
Because of this, successful people make time to enjoy THOSE they love and doing WHAT they love outside of their business.
You can, in fact, work yourself to death. Success is not about a high profit company. Success is about being a whole person in ALL ways.
4. Successful People Have Overcome.
Every successful person I’ve met has a story. That story is usually not a positive one. Successful people have failed. Lost money. Lost marriages. Lost relationships with their kids. Lost their identity. Lost hope.
Yet, they’ve learned to overcome. Something happened where they were able flip the switch from flat on their face to rising to first place.
Overcoming is a skill that requires street smarts. It’s something you can’t learn from the comfy of your phone. You have to live it out. And it’s usually pretty painful.Click to tweet
This makes success sweeter. Which is why:
5. Successful People Appreciate What They Have Even When They’re Striving for More.
6. Successful People Have LOTS of Energy.
After a full day of business and fun, I spent the next morning teaching speaking skills to a group of highly successful people. (I forgot to take a picture.) They fully encapsulate the habits and character traits I share.
Next, we were off to a lunch with successful person #15. (3-14 were in the speaking class.) Successful person #15 Esther Spina.
Here’s me ↓with Esther…I looked and felt rough.
I like this ↓ highly filtered picture better.
I will not share Esther’s age. Let me just say-it makes Jennifer Anniston and Jennifer Lopez look like child’s play. You would NEVER guess her age. Not only because of the way she looks-but because of her energy.
The very first potluck I ever went to with successful people was VERY different from the country church potlucks I grew up with. There were no “Ms. Fanny’s Baked Beans”, “Aunt Helen’s Butter Mac & Cheese”, or a slew of desserts topped with good ‘ol Cool Whip.
Instead, there was a variety of fruits, vegetables, salads, humus, fish (sushi), nuts, a little whiskey and wine and that about sums it up.
Successful people take care of their bodies through diet and exercise-not simply to look a part-but to keep their energy levels up. They know that diet and exercise affects their performance level just like an athlete.
Most successful people I know are avid runners, bicyclists, skiers, golfers, or travelers. (I know because I see their Facebook posts from my couch.) They do so to keep sharp, de-stress, and be at their best.
7. Successful People Are All About Relationships.
They say it’s “who you know” and there is truth to that. However, not in the way you may think.
Most successful people I’ve met have wanted to introduce me to someone they felt could help my business. Successful people are connectors.
Rarely, if ever, do successful people become successful completely on their own. They had mentors, teachers, etc., who helped guide them. They love doing the same for others.
It absolute thrills me when I get to connect people knowing they’re a great fit for each other’s businesses.
There is a HUGE difference between USING people to get ahead vs. VALUING relationships. (Key word: “value”.)
8. Successful People Are Givers.
The next morning my husband and I headed out to spend the day with successful people #’s 16 – A LOT. Including someone I deeply admire – THE Jeanne Robertson.
Jeanne was having a show in Denver.
My Husband and I ↓
Backstage with ↓ good friends AND Jeanne.
Scott Friedman (the successful nice guy in the yellow) had thrown Jeanne a birthday party the night before. Jeanne (as legend told) performed at her own birthday party and then proceeded to give advice on the speaking business to those who came to celebrate her. She is a giver.
Scott is a giver-he gave me the tickets to her show!
While backstage, Jeanne explained to us what stories she would share and why, and mentored/gave advice on her business. She did this up until they told her she HAD to get changed because the show was going to start.
Highly successful people give willingly and freely the wisdom they have learned through their own trials and success.
The two key elements that have brought me to a certain level of success is: 1. I have always valued and taken advice. 2. I’ve given back freely to whoever I could.
Successful people pass the baton to the individuals who will take their industry to the next level.Click to tweet
9. Successful People Are Positive Open-Minded Thinkers.
After the show, we went to dinner. I sat with a famous athlete, a New York Times best seller, and someone who runs a trophy worthy non-profit that does a whole lot of good in this world. I forgot to take a picture…
Casual conversation can be interesting between successful people. The two things that are consistently prevalent are positivity and an unusually amount of open-mindedness.
Successful people are open to new ways of thinking or doing. They also consistently believe the best is yet to come. Instead of concentrating on protecting what they have out of the belief someone is out to the get them. (i.e. the government, other businesses, people with different views in general) they focus on possibilities.
Conversations center around new business ideas, technologies, family, or goals for the upcoming year.
If controversial topics come up, such as the dreaded conversation/relationship killer-politics-there’s a genuine desire to hear from the other person’s point of view. I like this trait.
10. Success is a Lifestyle.
We’ve all heard of those who have won the lottery or received a huge settlement and then, sadly, a few years later have lost it. Perhaps this is because success appears to be a lifestyle not a place of arrival.
Age does not seem to dictate when a successful person ends their career. Rather it’s a time and place for new possibilities. I hear it over and over again in conversations with successful people. They’re starting new businesses, creating new goals, making shifts, but they have zero desire to quit living in the way they’ve lived. This doesn’t mean financially, this means in their day to day life.
Striving for improvement, consistently learning, trying new things, taking time for fun, valuing relationships, taking care of one’s body, navigating new challenges, being grateful, being open-minded, being a generous person are all lifestyle related. It has nothing to do with numbers.
Here’s the kicker:
Studies show the above character traits are key elements to becoming a happier person. These same traits also lower stress. By adopting the above, you have the potential of creating and running a successful business AND living a happier, less stressed, life. Who doesn’t want that?
If you choose to adopt the above traits and habits you’ll be the next successful person I’ll have the pleasure of being around. (You’ll have to remind me to take a selfie with you. I always forget.)
Stacy Pederson is a Colorado based Funny Motivational Keynote Speaker. She’s almost died a bunch. She loves to be hired for events, so….if you’ve got one-click HERE:
Easy Mindset Hack to Help Motivate Yourself:
Warning: This mindset hack on an “easy way to motivate yourself” is NOT for super highly productive people who have their lives in perfect scheduled order. This is for the rest of the world. As in REAL people like me who find the word, “productivity” as exciting as, “parsnip dip”.
WAIT – “but you’re a Keynote Motivational Speaker”. Yep. I’m also a human. That’s why I use this hack.
So…Here’s the hack:
Is Netflix calling? Snapchat? Anything but the one thing you know you should be/need to/supposed to ….(fill in the blank)
BUT it feels like it JUST might kill you to get up and do it?
(I felt that way about writing this blog post.)
Anyhoo-it’s not your fault. The brain doesn’t like doing “stuff” it doesn’t find super rewarding. (If you want some complicated science you cand find it here.)
Instead of waiting to feel motivated-do this instead:
– Sigh dramatically (or angrily)
– Kick the floor
Then, tell yourself this:
-Put one foot in the front of the other and get ‘er done.
It seriously works. For just about everything. Listen to how motivating this is:
-“I’m never going to want to work, so….”
-“I’m never going to want to exercise, so…”
-“I’m never going to want to be your friend, so…”
Do you see how this easy mindest hack for motivation works? I do. Because I use it all the time.
“I’m never going to want to respond to the comments, so….”
Actually, I do love comments. Well-the nice ones.
Have any mindset motivation hacks of your own? Put them in the comments below.
PS-You’re never going to want to leave a comment, so…you might as well do it anyway…
Stacy Pederson is a Funny Keynote Speaker who has almost died a bunch. She loves to be hired for events, so….if you’ve got one-click HERE:
Are you A or B?
- Do you know who you are? Do you have a clear direction of where your life is headed? Do you wake up each morning knowing your life “plan” or “purpose”, which allows you to overcome difficult obstacles? Do you know what calms you down when you are stressed? Do you know what makes you happy?
- Do you feel clouded, confused, burnt out, or that you’re simply floating or surviving through life?