Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #10

Leadership is action not position.

Am I a leader or a follower? A question that I was asking myself when I received my next fortune out of the jar and the answer was merely I have no idea. For most of my life, I would consider myself to have been a follower. I was the type of person that usually goes with the flow and never sighted many opinions about anything. I felt that it may have been easier to live my life that way and that I would avoid social confrontations. Unfortuanlty I think I was holding myself back by not taking the lead in certain situations in my life and that was something I needed to change.
What is leadership? By having leadership skills, one is taking action, and usually, this is done with a group of people or a situation. Leaders help those around them and set the tone for the group. They are vision builders and have a talent for creating new things. I decided that I wanted to have more leadership skills. Doing this takes me out of the comfort zone, and I will feel more secure in my decisions. Being a mom I already have a few leadership skills involving my kids, but I decided that I was going to take action in my choices that include more of myself. Here are 6 six things I practiced to help me to build my leadership style.

1. Set Expectations
Setting expectations for yourself will hold you accountable for your leadership. When I set certain expectations in some of my dealings, I noticed that I did not back down as much. By placing a set of rules ahead of time, I was more willing to stick to them. This was true when I was working on my budget. There were times that my kids or even myself would be tempted to do a little extra, and by setting my expectations on how much I was going to spend, I found it more comfortable to hold myself accountable. When I exceeded my expectations, it gave me a sense of strength and control in my finances.

2. Educate and Learn
Knowlege gives you power. The more you learn about something, the more leadership you can share with those around you. If you want to move up in your job become an expert in the field not only will this give you confidence but you will also find that those around you will respect your skills. I love to learn about health and fitness. Back in the day, I used to be a personal trainer, and I helped individuals get healthy and in shape. I loved the job and loved to help people work toward healthy goals. Even though I am no longer a trainer, I still take these traits with me everywhere I go, and I share my knowledge to help those around me.

3.  Positivity Spreads Like Wild Fire
Be a positive role model for those around you. This especially is true when you are trying to find your leadership style. I work hard not to be a downer, but there have been times that I have that little bit of dought in the back of my mind, and I have had to learn to put a stop to that kind of thinking. Not only will a negative attitude affect you but it also affects those around you. By looking at the glass half full instead of half empty, you are giving yourself a way to think outside the box. Being positive is also a great confidence booster instead of you can’t you start to think you can automatically.

4.  Set Goals and Conquer
Goal setting is an essential characteristic of leadership.
Goals get us where we need to be. By setting goals and conquering them, we show that we can lead a path to success. This is especially true for my husband and me with our finances. We have set goals for our future and have worked hard at attaining each one. Although this has not always been an easy road, we have been able to learn so much about taking control and gaining the reward of financial freedom. For every small goal, we conquered we would add another one to the list and gradually we are advancing to where we want to be in our future. The motivation we have received from conquering our goals is what keeps us going.

5. Manage Change
Nothing in life is smooth sailing. One thing a leader can do is manage those little-unexpected twist and turns in life. If you can achieve the vision even when there are changes you show strength to those around you. The changes you may face could be functional, or they could be dysfunctional, but either way, indicating that you have control over the situation will be appealing to those in the position. I personally like change and feel that change is here to challenge and why not accept the challenge.

6. Be a Coach
Coaches have leadership skills. They have the skills to get the job done. Be your own coach and watch your leadership soar. Coaches build up the team and give the motivation to excel expectations. You can’t sit around waiting for your goal to happen and unfortunately, it may never happen. Be a part of making that goal happen. Make a plan and stick to it and if the plan changes keep moving forward. Work hard, and this will lead to significant results.

What I learned in last few weeks is that having leadership qualities gives you a sense of freedom and control. The probability of getting things done is far more likely with leadership. Becoming an expert in what you want to achieve will help those around you and give you some respect. A positive attitude is everything when working to get what you want out of life. Make sure to set some goals and conquer them. Attaining the goals gives you the strength to keep going and overcoming the next one. Manage changes in your path and gain a sense of power, and be a coach to yourself and those around you by having the tools to build what you want. Be a leader in your life and go forth to motivate and inspire.


Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #8

Watch one’s thoughts become one’s actions.

I had experienced this affirmation throughout the last couple of year’s when I made a decision a couple of years ago to become healthier. When I first started out on my healthy life journey, I focussed on just getting well. I was 34 and suffering from extremely high blood pressure. I felt miserable and could hardly do anything. After a health check with the doctor that did not go as well as I wanted too, I decided it was time for me to change the way I was treating my body.
I started by focusing on my eating habits and made little changes. I knew that would be the only way I would be able to conquer this uphill battle that I was fighting for years. I started to juice, and my husband decided to join in which helped keep me on track because he wanted to make juice every morning. So that was a morning ritual that we did almost every day for the last two years.
I have worked on one goal after another and am proud to say I have accomplished many healthy goals in the last two years. I am a better eater, I am not perfect and do love an occasional sweet, but now I can limit what I put in instead of being uncontrollable. I am stronger probably more than I have ever been mentally and physically. I kettlebell train and love the challenge and strength it has given me. It has proven to me that yes I can be strong and in the past, I did not give myself enough credit even to try some of the things I do now. I am happy and content with my body and my mind for the first time in my life. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without some vision of wanting this bad enough to make the change.
After I was able to work on one small goal, I would then move on to the next and just keep building from the previous target. I needed to start visualizing the small stuff to get where I wanted. I realized that if I envisioned one thing at a time not only did it help me overcome my obstacle but it gave me the strength to take on the next one. Here are four things that helped me turn my vision into reality.

1. Make a Vision Board 

Vision boards are perfect for goal setting. They help you to visualize what you want out of life. What makes a good vision board? Think about your life goals and try to make them as detailed as possible. On my vision board, I put an image of healing and health. I posted words such as strength and motivation. Whatever words or pictures you might consider helping you to be motivated and to keep you reaching your goals should be on your vision board. Try to give as many details about your goals on your board. Think about your purpose for this vision board and what you want to get out of your life. Break down your goals and interest make a section for where you want your career or for your relationships. Focusing on these things individually will help you focus on one thing personally rather than everything all at once. Give your vision a theme and have fun with it. Make your board something that you want to focus on and enjoy seeing. Visually seeing your goals gives you a belief that the goal you are focused on will happen.

2. Remember Small Goals are Building Blocks

As the famous saying goes ” Rome wasn’t built in a day.” so we need to remember that attaining our vision takes time. By working on small goals and taking one step at a time, we can complete what we want without having to be overwhelmed with the tasks of daily living. Not only do we have to focus on our goals but we also have lives that involve other things besides what we are working towards. By breaking our vision down, we can still take care of what needs to be done every day and still focus on what we want out of our lives and not become overwhelmed with trying to balance the two.

3. Actions Speak Louder than Words
Taking action will always get us closer to our vision we just need to take the plunge. Sometimes it can be scary by jumping in and taking that first step but how else will we be able to learn, grow, and attain what we want out of life. By taking action, we are committing to make that first step into our vision. Thinking about what we want is one thing but making a move is another. We can talk about what we want all day long but being able to work towards our vision takes effort and puts our idea on a more realistic path.
When I started on my health journey my first step was to juice. I didn’t focus on exercise or getting rid of sweets. I took one thing and worked on it for a while till I felt comfortable and then I added in something else. My vision kept building from there, and I was able to keep focused on what I wanted, and that was a healthy happy body.

4. Positive vs. Negative Thinking
Our thoughts can lead us in many directions. If we are thinking negative thoughts we may never obtain what we want out of life, we will lack the motivation to want to make the change. Negative thoughts like to hold us prisoner and keep us from making things happen. Changing our negative view of positive thinking, we are then able to give ourselves the motivation to make a move. Positive thoughts provide us with strength even when we may fall from what we want out of life. With positive thinking even when we fall backward, we can still stay focused and not dwell on what we were not able to get right.

Be a visionary and keep your eye on the prize.  Use a vision board with images and phrases that really get you motivated. Start with small goals and once the small goals get completed the move on to the larger ones.  This helps the vision from becoming overwhelming and gives you a brighter picture to follow.  Go out and get things done and don’t wait for someone or something to do something for you,  start today.  The more you wait for the less likely you will want to do things in the future.  Positivity breeds success and negativity make life harder.  Even when your hit hard do not give up and keep on going.  Keep your eye on the path and watch the vision you once had turn into reality.


Beauty Inspiration

Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #8
There is no reference for beauty.

What does it mean to be beautiful? When I first picked this piece of paper out of my jar, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to write about this. My first thought was when I read this was the phrase “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” because many things can be beautiful. It is not just about physical appearance, and many things around us can be considered attractive. There is also more to beauty than just what you see on the outside sometimes inner beauty can outshine what we see on the surface.
Growing up I always considered beauty to be nothing but a physical attribute. I did not find myself a beauty growing up. I was a small red-haired freckle-faced awkward child who shied away from most of the world. Many kids gave me tons of havoc for those physical attributes, so I considered those things a negative trait that I was cursed with. Thinking this, of course, was far from the truth. No one around me ever said I was beautiful so I grew up thinking there wasn’t much to me. With this thought process came lots of uphill battles and it took me a very long time to know and understood what real beauty meant. As I have come along in my life, I have genuinely found a meaning to what I feel beauty is, and I embrace these things every day.
1. Beauty is where I live.
I love where I live. I live in Fort Collins Colorado and this by far is one of the most beautiful places I have ever lived. I love being close to the mountains and being able to take in what is around me. I like to be able to hike a trail to the top and take in the fresh mountain air and the freedom of the wide open spaces. To be able to get to the top and sit and experience a quiet that gives me the most peace and calm.
Take a look around you and recognize the beauty that surrounds you. Everyone’s vision of beauty is different and to be able to stop for a moment and look at the place in which you live and recognize all the things that are around you that make you who you are and take a moment to appreciate these places.
2. Relationships with special people are beautiful.
I adore my relationship with my husband. He is my rock, my support, and best friend. If it were not for him to show me real beauty, I would not be where I am today. Being able to share life with those that are close to you is a beautiful thing. With those we love we get to experience some of the best parts of being.
I feel one of the ways to find beauty in a relationship is to look past the faults of our relationships. Nothing is perfect, and it takes lots of work to make it happen, but once we get past the thinking that everything should be perfect and finding fault we then get to appreciate the ones around us.
When a seed is planted, it needs care and time to grow. Once the seed has sprouted, it then turns into a beautiful flower. We can’t expect our relationships to be beautiful overnight. Just like flowers our relationships need nurturing to grow and become what we have always wanted.
3. My kids are beautiful.
I don’t want to brag, but I do believe I have some beautiful kids. Not just because they are cute but because they are beautiful human beings. I love to watch them grow and learn. Being able to teach them and help them along their path I feel has been my most significant purpose in life.
I want my kids to have a good life. I want them to be able to learn the things that I did not have the chance to learn right away. I want them to know that they are beautiful outside as well as inside and to take those traits with them in their lives. I want them to appreciate the world around them and find beauty in all things. For them to help make this world a more beautiful place would be something I would always hold in my heart.

4. I am beautiful.
A few years ago these words would never venture out of my mouth, and this was something that was hard for me to say, but I didn’t fully understand what that statement meant. One thing that I have learned through all my trials and tribulations is that you can not love others unless you like yourself. Learning to love myself was one of the biggest lessons that I have ever had to learn. I realized a few years ago that I was not doing what I needed to do as a wife, mother, and individual all because I lacked love for myself. I decided to dig deep and reevaluate my life, my upbringing and teach myself that I am worth it. I have worked very hard to get to this point, but I can honestly say that I do love who I have become. I love myself enough to be happy even with my flaws and be able to be the mom and wife that I need to be.
I love myself enough to take care of myself and work hard every day to let that freckled- face red- haired girl know she is beautiful and worth every minute of the day.
There is no reference to beauty. Beauty is not something that can be labeled. We are all different, and all of us have different qualities that add to the beauty of the world. Go out today and find the beauty that surrounds you. Not only is beauty around you but take a look at yourself and know that you are beautiful. There will be days when you will struggle but understand that the days that bring you down the most are the days that bring you strength. Make your beauty your inspiration.

Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #7

Knowledge is priceless.

Think about all the things we have been able to learn throughout our lives. From the time we were in diapers to being productive members of society. When we were children, we were always taught. We were taught how to tie our shoes, brush our teeth, and read. As we grew older, there was driving and school that we attended. We may have had a job that taught us about the world, and it’s expectations. All throughout our lives, we have gained a vast amount of knowledge some of this knowledge has cost some money, and some of this knowledge was merely given to us. If it were not for all of the experiences we have attained throughout our lives, we would not be where we are today. Here are seven reason why knowledge is priceless.

1. Knowledge can help us in not repeating past mistakes.

Mistakes are meant to be made. Our choices are not perfect and how can we grow and learn without making mistakes along the way. Making mistakes in life is part of the process, and if we are smart, we will not repeat the same ones.

2. Knowledge can lead you in the right direction.

I feel that this is a big one in that getting the knowledge you need to move forward in your life is important. A few years ago my husband was in a knowledge dilemma. He needed to go back to school but wasn’t sure what he wanted to do in school. We thought about this decision for months, and he made a choice to go back to school and get his Culinary Arts Degree, and it was the best decision he has ever made. That direction was not his first choice, but after thinking about it for a while he had always loved to cook and why not go back to school to learn more about something you love. Making that choice led him to a career and a location that has benefited ourselves and our family.

3. Knowledge makes you useful in the world.

It doesn’t matter if you have a degree or if you have studied a particular skill on your own knowledge will help you and those around you in the future. I love to learn and learn about lots of things. I am not in school but I enjoy doing my research and I usually dive into a skill that I find and think may be useful to me in the world. If you can find different skills to learn you can more valuable to different situations. Don’t limit yourself and continue to learn because knowledge is power.

4. Knowledge can give you variety in life.

I am not a person that can stay doing the same old thing for too long. I have always branched out and did lots of exciting things. I have run different businesses in my life from personal training to selling Ebay and loved them both, but after a while, I had to switch it up and here I am blogging. Each time I decided to do something new I always dived in and educated myself on what I needed to do to make it in this world. Each experience has helped me build for the next exciting adventure, and it keeps me on my toes. If you can learn new things imagine how endless the possibilities are to create something new and exciting in your life.

5. Knowledge can be cheap.

Don’t get me wrong I am all for getting an excellent education and think that should be a huge priority. There are ways to go about getting knowledge that won’t break the bank. You just have to want to go looking for it. When I tried to start paying off debt, I did a lot of reading and studying. I mostly read online and went to one of my favorite second-hand bookstores and picked up some great books on getting out of debt that didn’t cost me an arm and a leg. There are tons of ways to get answers you are looking for you just have to spend a little time getting them. I also love youtube. I have learned many new and exciting things by watching youtube videos. With everything on the internet nowadays it is easier than ever to pick up some suitable material on things you may want to learn to do.

6.  Knowledge helps prepare you for the future.

Preparation is key to success. Being able to know what you need to do ahead of time gives you an advantage in most circumstances. Maybe you’re looking at buying a house next year, wouldn’t it be nice to know a few things ahead of time before you have to go searching or even purchasing a home right away. By preparing yourself with knowledge, it takes away the stress of certain living situations.

7.  Knowledge keeps your brain healthy.

I feel like this is the most vital point in this blog post. By learning new things, we keep our brains active and healthy. There have been studies that show that learning new skills help improves your memory and keeps those brains healthy. Keeping our minds busy is particularly essential when you are aging. Just because you are getting older does not mean you need to stop learning. These studies also have shown that learning a new skill is more efficient rather than listening to classical music, or playing games or puzzles. Learning a skill shows significant gains in the brain.

Knowing a variety of things is priceless. Being able to be useful in a world that is filled with vast and endless opportunities will give you the freedom to move in different directions. You can find an enormous amount of knowledge in all sort of places, and some of these places are right at your fingertips. Learning new things when you need to prepare for something gives you an advantage and keeps the stress out of the experience. Knowledge, in the end, will keep us around longer to participate in this world and keep us younger in our last years. It is time for all of us to go out and get ourselves some invaluable knowledge.


Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #6

It takes guts to get out of ruts.

Do you wake up everyday unmotivated and feel like all your days are the same. Your days seem to mesh together, and you feel as if you are on the path to nowhere. Well, you might have found yourself in a rut. A rut is when a person’s life is uneventful with the same old things that happen every day. Many times those of us in a groove will be bored out of our minds with zero motivation to do anything new and exciting. What once may have given us excitement in our lives is now barely getting us out of bed.

1. What causes us to have ruts?

Many things can cause us to have ruts in our lives. If we think about our daily routines, many of them are uneventful and repetitive. Most of us get up, go to work, come home, and go to bed. This cycle of life can be very daunting and if we can’t find ways to add some flair we all might become zombies. My day is extremely predictable. I am a stay at home mom, so I get up and get started with my morning routine. It usually consists of getting things cleaned up, preparing lunch, and getting my kiddos ready. Since I homeschool, we have a method that includes morning classes, and lunch followed by afternoon get-togethers which the kiddos play, and I get to work on the blog. When that is over it is usually preparing dinner, cleaning up, and of course getting to bed all so this can be diligently repeated the next day. Exciting right? When all we do is the same thing every single day that can bring up feelings of boredom. It leaves us wanting more, and we feel as if our days are wasting away.

2. When do ruts happen?

Ruts happen because we are a creature of habit. Habits can be great, and it keeps us going. Unfortunately, some practices can get tedious, and even a few small changes in our daily routine can brighten our day. Ruts also happen because we are comfortable where we are. If our lives are predictable, then we have nothing to worry about. Unfortunately that kind of safety net can also create a sense of wanting more. Earlier I talked about my repetitions in my daily living, and I had decided to take this head-on. I wasn’t looking for anything drastic I just wanted to try something new or do something out of the ordinary. I decided that I wanted to start taking daily walks outside. These walks didn’t have to be long even as short as 15 minutes it was just something new that I wasn’t doing every day. I love the outdoors and like to hike, but unfortunately, I can’t get out very often so I thought if I began to walk the fresh air would do me some good. It has I noticed that walking had improved my mood, and I like to walk halfway through the day as it is a perfect break for me from all the excitement that goes on at home. Sometimes I walk alone and can think about things that I may want to accomplish or even take time not to think at all and just breathe. There are also times my oldest likes to walk with me, and we can have great conversations. It helps me to stay connected with my family as well. By adding something new to my rut, I can enjoy my time more. Simple changes to one’s day can create contentment that they would not experience otherwise.

3. What can we do to stay out of ruts?

Go out and experience new things. Getting out and enjoying your life rather than sitting and waiting for change to come to you is just not going to happen. The only person that can make it happen is you. Find a new hobby or learn a new skill. Cooking is fun and learning to cook new things can be a great way to deal with stress, and you might even notice a slimmer waistline. I love yoga and recommend it to anyone that would like to add something new to their routine. Yoga taught me a lot about myself and how to slow down and enjoy what is around me. It is a practice that keeps on giving.

Why does it take guts to get out of ruts? We merely like to be comfortable. Change can be terrifying for some of us and if we have our routine nothing new will be around the corner. Fear of the unknown can hold people back and therefore we get stuck in that rut. Deciding to do something out of the ordinary gives life a little meaning. Life is what we make of it, and if we are stuck in a rut we can control what we do with that rut.