Learning when to cut the cord of friendship

Young women whispering behind another woman's backAs a kid we are taught “make new friends, but keep the old ones”.  Sometimes, though, new or old it becomes time to kick some people off the love train and let the friendship die down.  When the season of that friendship dies, instead of being something that gives you life it becomes draining putting your peace in chaos.  As with all relationships though, ending a friendship is tough and the difficulty involved can lead you to dragging a friendship along half dead for way too long.  So when do you finally say enough is enough when it comes to friends??  Here are some things to consider when you are deciding if the friendship is still the loving and nurturing relationship that you need it to be.

Start with you: Without questions ending some friendships should be a no brainer but more often than not you can sum up the situation with “it’s complicated”.  Perhaps you feel used or that you are not growing in the same direction, but if you put all the blame on the friend you may skip over somethings you did or failed to do that caused the rift.  By taking an honest review of yourself, who you are now, where you what to be, what you are offering as a friend you may discover that they are a shitty friend because you are one.  Even if that is not the case you may connect with some of the reasons the friendship is lingering and find a way to salvage it by doing the work.  Doing so lets you put an end to the friendship that was and get started on a friendship reborn that gives both people more of what they need.

It’s okay to love someone from afar: We can get so lost in people and their problems that we can’t see the forest from the trees.  In life it is as important to take care of ourselves as it is to take care of other people.  When being a friend becomes a life consuming duty with little appreciation or reciprocation it may be time to take a step away.  You love best when you love yourself and any friendship that cannot honor that may not truly be a friendship in the first place.

Belief your past does not have to be your future: As friendships develop at all points in our lives it can be hard to let go those that were critical in getting us to where we are today.  Honoring a friend that loved and supported us is a part of life but it cannot be the reason you put your head in the sand when destructive behavior pops up.  You cannot take away credit for the importance of a friendship in the past but sometimes the past is the past for a reason.

Trust your heart and your head: When thinking about ending a friendship your head and heart have to have a meeting of minds.  Either can be blindsided from the history of the friendship and deceive you into staying longer than you should.  Sometimes the truth is not in all the blatant facts or pulls of your heartstrings but in the quiet whisper of your soul.  Let both sides make their arguments and then trust your soul to weigh the difference.

Either get all out and or get all in: The older you get you realize no one is perfect, not your friend (or ex-friend) and certainly not you.  This certainty can lead to a straddling of the fence because you don’t want to risk the loss and find yourself without someone to fill an important role in your life.  A friendship requires a lot of you and the other person when it is done right.  If you are not willing to invest the energy or time really you are out anyway.  Time is our most valuable resource so don’t waste it where you don’t want it to go when it can bloom beautifully someplace else.

 

PHPB Book Club: The 48 Laws of Power

48 Laws of Power My first clue that I was on to a good read is that several people would stop me when they saw what I was reading to tell me how great of a book it was, at places from the courthouse to the park.  The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene is a guide to the delicate path required to attain power in relation to others around you.  I started reading this book fresh off a Napoleon Hill read and my first impression was the book was more on manipulation than inspiration.  In truth, however, the book’s guide to 48 laws of attaining power over others provides insight not only on your perspective, but on the tricks of the trade that others may be using or trying to use on you.  As I got further and further in the read I quickly began to pull out real life scenarios and pointers that would allow me to react calmer and anticipate better results as others behaviors swarmed around me.

Forty eight laws can be an overwhelming guideline to power, but the truth is every law is not for everybody.  The laws that apply to you not only depend on your personality and skill set but also that of the person you are interacting with.  You rely on different rules at different times and some may never apply to you but may give some pretty good insight on what others are plotting.  The book provides awareness that often in attaining power it is a chess match with your opponent.  The key to winning is not just your strategy but anticipated the moves they are going to play in order to ultimately be victorious.

What I enjoyed best about the book is how quickly you can began to use some of the Rules of Power in your own life.  Whether it is a difficult client or impossible boss, the examples in the book quickly come to mind when you are dealing with your own real life crisis.  Straight away from reading the book I began to look at how to approach others differently.  I understood better when to be quite when my natural reaction would have been to fight back or when to act clueless when I could see clearly.  The rules work because they first give you insight on yourself and then give you the motivation to apply in situations with others.  Not every rule was for me, but each one was an important piece in the struggle for power.  If the struggle is real and you want to better arm yourself to be a major player you cannot skip The 48 Laws of Power.

 

 

PHPB Book Club: Outwitting the Devil

The two sides of meFebruary I again set off on the road into my own self-improvement in my yearlong exploration into books meant to give me some perspective and empower my steps for the rest of 2015 and beyond.  First up in February was Outwiting the Devil by Napoleon Hill.

I choose Outwitting the Devil because I was such a big fan of Think and Grow Rich.  Outwitting the Devil acts as a guide when you are facing a fork in the road between defeat and victory and works as a great reminder of the forces at work all of around you and the part you can play in it.  By taking a look at the fork in the road from success to freedom the book details reasons why we fail and hopefully some skills in learning how to win.

As knowing is half the battle on the road to self-improvement these tips are helpful, however, what made me stop in my tracks is the theme of drifting.  A drifter is always pointing all around at the people, places, and events that prevented them from what they feel like they deserve.  When some of the examples hit a little too close to home I had to take a break and really examine myself.  Despite working hard and being driven there are times when I just let layback and rest on what I have done instead of what I intended to do in choosing the direction for my life.  From the times I play space cadet at my desk to the times I choose checking Instagram or playing Candy Crush instead of checking something off my to do list.  Like it or not that is drifting and good reason or not building those habits stand in the way of achieving goals

Luckily there is a way out of the drifting trap and it is not as impossible as one might think.  Choosing exactly what you want coupled with putting in the work to get it before you receive it is the universal heal all.  Once these habits replace those that let outside forces reign not only do you begin to see process with you but the world complies as well.  Outwitting the Devil definitely drew on the same foundation of Think and Grow Rich but in a sense tackled a much more personal struggle we all face to be the masters of our fate or let the storm around us be the deciding factor of our success.  I loved the balance encouraged by the book and its emphasis on the good forces that are out there for everyone to harness to find their success.

Stay tuned for 48 Laws of Power which takes on success in how you interact with others on the road of either your success of failure.

 

 

Bringing out the best in people

Tutor helping student in classTry as you might to avoid it, people still need people.  On the path to success and happiness accepting this guarantee helps you brace yourself for the craziness that sometimes comes along with the business and personal relationship you have with others.  Although there is little to nothing that can be done to change someone (wish as we might change comes from within) there are certainly things that can be done to help motivate others to change if you are patient and understanding enough to take on the challenge.

So where to begin in pulling out the best in people? There is no better place to start than accentuating the positives.  Really focusing on the things, or something, you really admire about the person not only can help put their downside in perspective it can also give you the foundation you need to approach them.  You cannot force someone to start seeing themselves different but the more you actually believe in some of their positive attributes the easier it is to get them to see those qualities as well.  Just a spoonful of sugar always gives you a little padding and believing your compliment prevents it from just being fluff, which does little to get someone to change.  Start with the good and work from there to bring out more and more of those positive features.

Once you start to see some change then focus on making it last!  All of these good intentions can come and go if you do not couple them with an interest is what is best for them and not just want you want.  It is easy to point out ways we think others can improve but the question to ensure longevity normally boils down to if they share that same vision for their improved self.  Bringing out the best in others, although it may have a positive impact on you, should really be for their best interest.  If you can frame the improvement in a way where you tap into their vision from improvement you can get their imagination going on how a change for the positive might improve their lives.  From good or bad sometimes assisting other on their improvement becomes a mirrored reflection to the things we like or need to improve within ourselves.  If done with the right frame of mind working to bring out the best in others can easily have a reciprocal effect on you!

Why to put a Spring Break family vacay on deck

Spring BreakSpring Break presents a much needed opportunity for parents and kids to break out, have a little fun and get some R & R.  That opportunity is frequently passed by, however, because it always seems like there are not enough hours in the day for planning a trip away from your hectic life and just be a kid again.  Well I think crossing the March checkpoint is something to celebrate as when it’s over you are quickly approaching the end of the school year.  Not to mention your time with your kids literally flies by and a Spring Break vacay with them helps the whole family appreciate each other a little more and build those memories that help in bridging the path over the bad times that are sure to come (i.e. hormones, dating, curfew, etc., etc., etc.).  Here are my tips to Spring Break Nirvana:

Incentivize the year with a Spring Break trip: I am not beyond bribery when it comes to the kids.  Let’s face it we all need a little motivation sometimes, and be the issue grades, or chores, or just staying off your nerves, appealing to a child’s short term memory can go a long way (you can’t start on Christmas in March it just won’t work).

Try something new: You can really make Spring Break pop by doing something new from the norm of winter or summer vacations.  As it is a time that seasons are changing you may be on the cuff of winter in some parts of the country and summer in others so new adventures are within reach and maybe even at a discounted price before off season begins.  Don’t be afraid to put yourself out on a limb with camping or rafting instead of something more commercial.  If nothing else you always have each other!

Keep it to a scale that works for you: As adults unfortunately we do not also get a scheduled week off from work and other commitments so the time you want off you have to plan for.   Be a weekend or weekdays or perhaps a full 10 days be firm with the fact that it will be a vacation.  Kids are always watching, even when we hope they are not, and always including work in family times sends the wrong message as far as what your priorities are.  Sometimes work cannot be avoided but plan then for some dedicated time to do work and stick to you, make family time the priority for the getaway.

Mix business with pleasure: There are things we are supposed to do that can get quickly pushed the back of our to do list so using a Spring Break vacation may be a good time to dust off old to-do’s.  Maybe you want to start checking out colleges or visit family or perhaps even prepare for a history or science fair.  Adding in something you have to do in between some things you like to do makes things go a lot smoother.   Applying a spoon full of sugar gets your kids to take their medicine of things that must be done a lot quicker and it may even convince them to like it.

Spicing up your work out with Class Pass

Class Pass offerAs much as like working out, I must say that my days as a gym rat are long over.  Between the parking headaches, people who are there for everything except working out, and loads and loads of lines it just doesn’t fit in with the work out and go mentality of my busy lifestyle.  Luckily for me, however, Class Pass has made its way to Houston this year, giving me the best of the workouts that I love with variation and convenience that I could never have imagined when going to the gym.

Class Pass works by giving you access to classes throughout town at different gyms and studios for one low price.  Once you sign up you have access to a list of classes that take you from 5 am to 8:30 pm from the Woodlands to Sugarland and everywhere in between.  I was pretty hesitant at first because I had made peace with the fact that me and Shawn T where permanent work out buddies.  Looking through the list of classes, however, Aerial Yoga caught my eye.  It was always something I wanted to try and I figured here was my shot at doing something that is hard for many, combine working out and having fun.  Indeed, you cannot beat the variation that comes with class pass. You can go hardcore with strength training and boot camps or take the mind, body, soul approach with yoga or dance classes.  The most important thing in finding a fun class is finding something in the workout that you actually like to do.  When you find your match, mustering up the energy to head over to class becomes a whole lot easier.

The dread or boredom that had walked hand in hand with working out has been replaced for me thanks to Class Pass.  Now I pull up the app and get a little excited about what I can try today.  Yesterday it was Define Revolution, a kicked up spin class, but tomorrow it may be Pilates, or Zumba or even belly dancing.  I am on a whole new work out adventure and hopefully by the time summer time hits I will have the body as proof that working out doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom.

Check out this great offer Class Pass has going that gives you 2 months for the price of one!  Hurry though, the offer expires on the 20th.

Karma vs Retribution

Karma Measurement Speedometer Level Track Your Good Luck Fate DeKarma’s a bitch.  In my youth I knew the word karma meant you get back what you give out but I also took at as an added bonus that those who crossed me who have hell to pay later.  Often I sat back and waited for it and as misery and doom descended on their life I couldn’t help but get a kick out of how life did a better job at retribution than I could ever do.  Although it did not heal my wounds it gave me a little satisfaction that they later learned the lesson or experienced the heartache that they caused me to deal with.  With age, however, my view on the cause and effect of karma has lost its payback component and has become more of a way to inspire me to do the right thing.

My reasoning for the change in views was pretty simple, in expecting the bad karma other others to have a negative action on their fate, I was breeding negativity in myself.  Even if I did nothing, the something bad was in a “Wait for it” hold in my mind.  I was not letting go of what was done to me, I was really just waiting on my revenge to come from some other source.  The question becomes though “How easy it to hold something and let go of it at the same time?” Is the purpose for doing going things is to do something good, instead of being rewarded?  Depending on how the question is answered your efforts can take on totally different meanings and eventually your actions takes on a life of it’s own.  You can let go of the look back and keeping score of others good and bad when others wrong you knowing that your positive action or above and beyond effort was enough in and of itself.  Whether it is appreciated or repaid can be left at the curbside.  Essentially I stopped trying to be life’s scorekeeper of who has good or bad karma.  In letting go I can remember that life is not just about reward and punishment but enjoying all the life giving moments in between.  And truth be told these moments are more easily enjoyed when you have a smile on your face and a positive heart.

 

Putting away your crystal ball this Valentine’s Day

Well it’s Valentine’s Day again and whether you find yourself alone or worst yet with someone who you really don’t want to be with it is a day of reckoning on the reality of your relationship status.  So what better day is there to do a reality check on where you are and what you want out of love?  There are lots of speedbumps on the journey but I find the “crystal ball” syndrome to be one of the most common and damaging.  With the Crystal Ball Syndrome people try to look past who someone currently is or the status of their current relationship to a future that they think will look or feel better.  For instance he may not be your perfect man now but once he gets a new job things will be all good or perhaps you may not like some of her habits now but once she stops it you may consider getting more serious.  All of the “but’s” lure you to think a brighter future lies in store from the present that you aren’t too happy with.

Heart Snow GlobeThe danger in the Crystal Ball Syndrome is that you end up waiting for this reality to come true built out of your imagination in order to get to a reality you think will be perfect for you.  It’s almost like putting a Russian roulette bet on your relationship.  Surely love is not a gamble with everyone, but the odds are always better if you hedge your bets on the qualities and feelings that you love about a person now and how well those qualities match up with the person you also are today.

I have frequently found myself victim to this syndrome as I get lost in the pay my dues category.  I see someone with great potential but equally a good amount of baggage.  Each little detail of who this person was before the baggage becomes like a scavenger hunt for me as I put together the pieces of potential.  Once I have enough pieces in place I think my devotion or love or understanding will be the glue to mend the puzzle and get this person back on track.  Essentially I bet I can undo the damage of past lies and pain and get back the man (pre-damage) that was able to be so loving or romantic or compassionate to the hoochies who didn’t deserve his love or time.

At the end, however, the joke is always on those who play the Crystal Ball game because the only person you control is yourself and your mind.  Betting on the Crystal Ball of who someone else will be or even dreaming up who they should be takes the attention over the great power you have and enters you into a gamble with your heart.  The only real life way to judge if the relationship is right for you is to look at what it is now.  Just the reality of now: as you feel it and live in it without the lure of change or hopeful promise of reformation.  Cure the Crystal Ball Syndrome by getting real.  Someone will change when they want to and some damage that is done is permanent.  All the love in the world won’t change a person until they put in the effort to change themselves. Starting with the person you want to spend today with and everyday making that commitment for tomorrow is a much surer bet than looking into a cloudy future where the present is not that pleasant either.  While dumping the Crystal Ball Method is it is not a guaranteed method to find love it is a step closer to loving yourself today and to stop wasting time with the wrong person doing all the wrong things to woo you.

 

 

Resting Bitch Face vs. the Power of a Smile

Two facesHere I am sitting, working, minding my own business and before I know it I have someone in my face asking me the same question I have heard time and time again: “Are you okay, why don’t you smile?”  Well I have for years just assumed this is the thought of someone wanting to make a conversation and who mistakes my peaceful thought and interjects themselves.   Honestly it was an annoyance that I thought I was mine alone.  Recently, however, in talking with one of my friends I heard a new term for the same look and instantly loved it, The Resting Bitch Face.  Yes this is the face that to me means I am thinking or planning or otherwise minding my business and someone expects that in the midst of my mental turmoil I should be smiling in the off chance they will come around and see me.  Now I still support how valid this though is, but the truth is a smile means something.  Even if we are in a smiling mood a smile gives the impression you are approachable, and open and dare I say even friendly.  For years I figured what is the harm with my “resting bitch face”, however, now I realize that this practice may do more harm than good when I do really want to make a positive impression on people.

So what could be the problem with the resting bitch face? I don’t judge who someone is or their mood until I engage them.  With age I have realized that just because that is how I judge others, how I think and how they think are not always the same.  A lot of people determine how you are feeling even before they approach you or say a word.  Just think about your determination to speak to your boss when you see him with a serious look or a scowl on his face.  In a lot of cases you turn right around with the excuse you will speak to him when he is in a better mood.  This is just a judgment based on what you see, but what you see does count for something.  The resting bitch face sends a vibe that you are reoccupied and many people are intimidated in approaching if they feel like they are not going to get a warm welcome.  I am still an advocate that there is a time and a place where it is not only acceptable but the preferred look to keep away random questions and let others know you mean business, it may not be the best everyday look.   You never know who is looking, and judging you based on that look.  Practicing a smile, even a small one, when there is nothing bothering you or serious on your mind promotes a friendlier look even when you are not doing it on purpose.  This default look of happiness comes in handy as like everything smiling is a skill where practice makes purpose.  The more you smile the easier it comes to you when you need it, like when you are networking or trying to catch eyes with the cutie across the bar.  At the end of the day what does it hurt anyway??

Catching moments in time with journaling

IMG_0246I was never the diary kind of kid.  All the boring stuff in life seemed to silly to write down and all the fun stuff looked like proof to some of my shenanigans.  As an adult, however, I have developed a different perspective on journaling.  Time teaches us an important lesson that life keeps moving no matter how much we would like to slow it down or even stop it.  Important moments and changes in our lives happen far too quickly but some of these live lessons, if we take time to really think about them, can give us insight on how to get better.

So at the end of last year when visiting the Metropolitan museum I found the perfect journal to capture my ups, downs, wins and losses for 2015.  The buying is the easy part, however.  Life can get into the way with the good intentions that come with journaling.  At the end of the day doing nothing or getting some rest may seem like a way better alternative.  Even with the temptation, there is a lot to learn about ourselves when we are open and honest with how we feel and write it down in a journal.  Yes you write down things that happened and what other people did, but the real gems in a journal are the way we felt and reaction to life around us.  In those pages lies the truth that often we are too afraid to admit to ourselves.  Maybe it’s that we are insecure, or are wavering in our faith, or that the problems we blame on others are really rooted in ourselves.  Whatever those truths are, nothing can be overcome without first facing it.  By writing down your truth in a journal you have the time, space, and freedom to come face to face with who you really are at a given moment in your life.  No matter if you later use it for reflection, or inspiration, or even to share more intimate details of the person you are with your children and loved ones it is a great way to capture who you are, at the heart of who you are.

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