I’m Sorry

I was driving with my daughters the other day, and my six-year-old was telling us a story about her best friend on the playground.  During the explanation of not playing together during first recess, she quickly said “but told him I was sorry and then he would play with me”. WHOA.  I took a deep breath and asked what she had done that warranted the apology. “Nothing” she answered, “I just wanted to play with him and it was a way to start the conversation. He said it’s okay and then I could play with him.”  NO, NO, NO!

My teenager and I looked at each other and started to talk at once. A great discussion ensued about other ways to start a conversation, other approaches to a friend who isn’t playing with you, other options than apologizing when you’ve done nothing wrong.  This conversation laid heavy on my heart and I went to bed that night thinking about how often we apologize for nothing. In fact, it often comes out of our mouths so quickly, that we don’t even realize we are saying it. Drop your pen? “Oops, sorry”. Bump into someone “oops sorry”. Someone interrupts you? “Sorry.”  The words “I’m sorry” are spoken so often, they have almost lost their meaning. We say “I’m sorry” even when we’ve done nothing wrong.

When we’ve done nothing wrong… How many times during the day do we feel the need to apologize? How many times does that apology morph from being sorry for our actions to being sorry for who we are?  “I’m sorry, I’m hungry though.”  “I’m sorry, I don’t want to go for that walk.” “I’m sorry, I don’t like crowds.” “I’m sorry, I want to go home.”  I want to remind you that we don’t have to be sorry because we’re hungry or tired or don’t want to participate in an activity.  There’s a saying that “No.” is an entire sentence. You don’t need to say you’re sorry. You don’t need to give an explanation. Just “No.” is enough.

This conversation with my daughters brought this topic to the forefront of my mind. I now call them out when they say, “I’m sorry.” We have meaningful discussions about when we need to apologize (after hurting someone’s feelings, for example). I’m hoping it has changed how we communicate, how we show remorse, but most of all; I’m hoping it affects how my daughters view themselves and their value – and that they stop apologizing for being who they are and when they’ve done nothing wrong.

-Mel

The year of ?

A couple years ago, I read Shonda Rhimes’ book “The Year of Yes!”  and it intrigued me.  So many people make New Year’s resolutions only to abandon their list by mid-February, if not sooner.  I too have made those generic lists; lose weight, eat better, go to the gym, etc.

After reading the book I decided I would declare the upcoming year… the year of_______!  What would I be willing to commit to for the year?  I knew saying yes was out. I felt that for it to be the year of yes, I would have to have the freedom to say yes to everything.  Being the overthinker that I am I knew that I did not have the time or the finances to make that type of commitment.  How about the Year of No? You have heard that some people learn to say no, well maybe I need to say no to somethings but that just sounded so negative and limiting on new experiences.

I had decided that 2017 would be the Year of completing incompletes.  There were a few things that I had started and wished to complete.  They were not simple things that could be done if a few days, rather goals that could be completed within the year. First was completing the requirements for my Distinguished Toastmaster. I mapped out how many speeches and projects that I needed to complete by the end of April in order to be awarded DTM by our Spring Conference in May.

Next, I knew I wanted to complete the Jack Canfield Train the Trainer certification.  I had wanted to complete the Train the Trainer program since August 2009.  The program had evolved over the years and they broke the program into two.  One is Train the Trainer online, which made it much more accessible to me.  I signed up for that in 2015 but had made little progress.  Just as I was finishing my work for the DTM I received an email from the Jack Canfield Group, they had a few spots left in the Train the Trainer Live 2017.  I was able to find a way pay for the training and travel expense and was on my way to not only completing the online but the live as well.  By November 2017, I had completed three of my incompletes!  It felt great to no longer spend my time thinking about when I was going to get around to finishing those.

By December 2017, I again was faced with what would 2018 be the year of?  Because of family circumstances, I decided on the year of change.  This meant that I did not know what the year was going to hold for me but that I should hold an open space for change and go with the flow.  This is very hard for me as I am someone who likes to plan things well in advance and think of all possible ways that the plan can go sideways and various ways to deal with it.  To say that 2018 had change is an understatement.  We sold our house in March. My husband passed away in May.  I flew more miles this year than I have any other year.  I visited new places.  Took a road trip with two of my sons, my daughter in law and my two grandsons ages 2 1/2 and 1 years old.

So, what will 2019 be?  I have decided that 2019 with be the year of health and wealth.  I am not sure what exactly this will mean for me, or how it will manifest, but I am excited to see how if unfolds.  In the comments below tell me what 2019 will be for you.

-Victoria Chadderton, Guest Blogger

 

Vicki
BIO: Victoria Chadderton
Vicki joined us at the Illuminate Women’s Conference 2018 as the sponsor and facilitator of the Illuminate Vision Wall.  She is a dedicated and energetic professional speaker aimed to help people in any way she can. Vicki has been a member of Toastmasters for the past 10 years. Vicki has been trained by Jack Canfield in The Success Principles and is a certified trainer in the Jack Canfield method.  She has a passion for helping people through Goal Setting Workshops, helping them reach their goals and success.

SEASONS

Hey mama’s – guess what? I ate popcorn for dinner tonight. My kids are gone every Thursday and every other weekend. When I was newly divorced, I used this time as free time – my friends were all amazingly supportive and kept me busy. We had happy hours, and movie nights, and wine tasting and good old-fashioned cry-fests.

Now, three years into single mom-ing and I’m still single. And now I work from home. There are days when I only leave my house to walk my dog. There are days I make a beautiful salad or fry up some taco shells to eat by myself while binge watching Netflix. Tonight, I made popcorn. I was even fancy and threw some hot tamales in it.  My friends and I now entertain ourselves by speed texting inappropriate memes from our own couches in our housepants instead of getting dressed up to go out.

My point, ladies, is that life changes. Seasons change. And it is important to give yourself grace during all of this. And it’s just as ok to go out and have cheese sticks and a beer (or two or three) as it is to stay in and have popcorn and wine for dinner. Life is all about balance. It’s all about making the tough decisions, day in and day out. And sometimes, it’s okay to not want to make any more decisions – and break out the popcorn. Or cereal. Or apple and peanut butter.  (and yes, mom – I do get my veggies in most of the time too).

Women – we have so much happening. We are busy, bad ass, company running, taxi driving, meal planning, bill paying, party planning, volunteering, parenting, grandparenting, hardworking, amazing women who work tirelessly to get things done. But when our season of life begins to shift and look different, I’m here to remind you to embrace it. Sit in the new season and give yourself grace. And hell, eat popcorn for dinner. I’ll be right there next to you and will maybe even throw some of my hot tamales in your bowl too (you should try it, it really is delicious).  Because that’s what we, as strong women, should be doing. Accepting each other, no matter what season of life we are in.  We need to spend these days lifting each other up and helping each other as we can.

My friends were my lifeline for a good year of a very difficult time. There were many nights that my dinner was popcorn and wine – hold the popcorn. And these special ladies sat with me. They wiped my tears, made me laugh, and refilled my glass more times than I can count. Ladies, I hope you have friends like this too.  The seasons of our lives do change, and maybe so do our friendships, but I try to remind myself of what those friends meant to me during that time. And maybe, just maybe I can be that friend to someone else who needs me.

And that my friends, is why Callie and I created Illuminate Women’s Conference. We recognize the need for women to build a larger tribe. We recognize that as the seasons of our lives shift we need our tribe to grow too. That we all deserve to be lifted, empowered, motivated, and the opportunity to grow. And we want to provide that opportunity for YOU. The amazing women of our valley. Join us on Saturday, October 20th for a day that is sure to be life changing. Bring your girlfriends, I’ll bring the popcorn.

Learning to say NO

Learning to say no is an ever-popular topic these days. In fact, I’ve read article after article on the importance of saying no. Don’t even schedule. Learn the polite ways to say no. Set your limits and don’t over promise.

I’ve been trying to implement this tactic myself… with work. With life. With my KIDS. It’s not always easy. In fact, I so often would over-schedule myself that it became a habit. So many times, I would say “yes” – confident that I could balance everything. I pack my schedule so tight that I’m constantly late. I’m constantly running. Until I can’t anymore. Then I crash. I crash hard. I get sick, I melt down, I start to cry. I drink copious amounts of wine. And then I start all over again. This never-ending cycle of “yes”.

As a mom (and as a woman) the first person I start to neglect is myself as I get busy. I convince myself it’s okay. I forget to eat. I stop working out. I miss sleep. I lack focus. I miss appointments. I forget things. My friendships suffer, my work suffers, I suffer.  So… how do we say no? What can we set aside to find ourselves again?

I have found that saying no is a critical part of balance. I’m learning to make kids wait. I’m learning to carpool. I’m learning to own up and say “I can’t do that today – let’s reschedule.” It’s a constant learning experience (and I still forget things and double book myself and beg my friends for forgiveness). But it’s important to give yourself grace and keep trying. Keep saying no. Keep setting limits. This can mean no to schedules, to volunteering, to working overtime, to driving your kids everywhere.

But this is huge – and I mean HUGE!  I had an epiphany and I want to share it with YOU.  My friends, it’s okay to say no to people. People who bring you down. People who let you down. People who make you feel bad. I’m not saying ditch your friends (they deserve grace too). I’m saying that if you’re in situations that feel bad, or you’re constantly leaving interactions that feel bad – it’s okay to set limits. It’s okay to protect your time. It’s okay to let people go.  It’s okay to say no.  And if you question yourself at any time – I’m here to help you with a simple word – “no!”.

A good friend of mine posted a saying the other day “you can do anything, but not everything.” Take a moment now and think about what you do that feeds your soul. That brings you joy. Are you doing THAT? If your answer is no, then think about what you could say no to instead. If you didn’t volunteer for this, could you do THAT?  I’m here to give you permission my friend – Feed your soul. Find your joy.  Say no to anything else that gets in your way.  You can do it; I believe in you. And I’ll be here practicing the word with you.

 

~Mel

WHAT THE HECK AM I DOING?

Have you ever stopped in the middle of something and thought “what the heck am I doing?”.  I hate to admit it, but there have been times in the middle of a discussion (ahem…argument) with someone, even as I’m speaking the words – my brain is telling me to shut up. I can actually hear my brain telling my mouth to stop talking. Sometimes, I just sound ridiculous (I’ll never admit that ever again). But there I am… rolling with it. My mouth has committed and so I must just continue.

I’ve thought a lot about this recently. The past few years have been years of trials. And I mean YEARS of TRIALS. I’ve learned that sometimes when I’m most hurt, I can get the meanest. I’ve learned that even through my tears, I can sputter the most hurtful, vile words. It’s true that words cannot be unspoken. It’s true that once you’ve hurt someone, that doesn’t fade away. It’s true that as you’re dealing with hurt and anger and sadness and loss, we become different people. Jaded, perhaps. Isolated. Lonely.

I needed the confidence it takes to stop and tell someone “I’m wrong or I’m sorry.”  Try it sometime, it’s humbling. It’s emotional. It’s powerful. You are responsible for creating the life you want.  Others will say “aint no one comin to save you, hunny. Now get to work.”  The first thing I did was give myself grace. GRACE, ya’ll.  Grace to mess up. Everyone says things they don’t mean or doesn’t say the things they do mean.  The beauty of this life is that if you don’t want to be that person anymore – just don’t be. Choose differently. Every day you have the choice to wake up and design your life. It sounds too good to be true, right? But give it a try. Next time you catch yourself saying something you don’t want to say – stop. Stop mid-sentence. Back that train up and start over. Because that’s the beautiful thing about this life –  You can always start over.

It’s taken me a long time to realize that I can control my emotions. When I couldn’t control them, they controlled me. That was when hurtful things would fly from my mouth. We don’t often talk about this. As women, we are praised for being emotional, and then we are labelled as emotional (as if that’s a bad thing). It’s okay to be emotional. Just not to be intentionally hurtful. Once you take the power back and control your emotions, you take the power back and stop letting other’s emotions control as well. This is a difficult thing sometimes. Deep breaths help.