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Elizabeth Barbour, M. Ed.
The Revitalized Business Woman
Missouri City (Houston), Texas

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Letting go creates space

Self care sometimes involves making disappointing choices in the short-term for long-term gains.

Recently I chose to remove myself from two commitments I made to other people. One was a professional opportunity, the other was a personal experience.

In both instances, here was the general sequence of events:

  1. Initially I said “Yes, this sounds great! I’m in!”
  2. As time went by, I got an intuitive hit “This isn’t right for you, you need to step back while you can.”
  3. My monkey mind jumped in “But I want to do this! I’m really excited about it! I like the people I’m engaged with. The opportunity is awesome!”
  4. Monkey mind continued with “And what will they think? I said I’d do it and now I’m backing out? They will think I’m not reliable or a flake or a terrible person!”
  5. Wise self jumps in with “There are 3 excellent reasons for you to release yourself from this commitment. The other parties involved will understand it has nothing to do with them and everything to do with you. Trust yourself.”
  6. When I notified the others involved with my commitments of my need to change my plans, I experienced total and complete relief.
  7. Life goes on.

One of my best friends is always asking me "Where's the relief? Find the relief. Follow the relief!" and she's right.

I hate hurting and disappointing others and sometimes that happens when I change my mind.

But even more than that, I hate hurting and disappointing myself.

And that’s where listening to my intuition and acting on it is so critical! 

Because I have to live with me. Noone else does.

I don't want to walk around feeling stressed all the time. I want to feel peace, joy and ease!

Letting go creates space.

Sometimes the space allows something bigger, better, more exciting, more perfect to show up.

And sometimes the space is simply more space.

We all need more breathing room, don’t you think?


Inspired Action: What do you have on your already full plate right now that you could step back from? Think about a work project, a volunteer commitment or some other “yes” you said when you really wanted to say “no”. It’s not too late. You get to change your mind. The power of choices is yours. Relief is yours for the taking.


Change your perspective


Have you ever felt "stuck" with a project or an idea?

You think about it all the time. It swirls 'round and 'round in your head.

But every time you try to take action, that's all you end up doing... trying. (Yoda would not be pleased....!)

Yeah, me too. That's how I've been feeling about a writing project that I've been working on for the past few weeks.

Then yesterday, on Facebook, my friend/colleague/former coach/amazing entrepreneur Karyn Greenstreet posted "I love the writing process, don't you?"

And my immediate knee jerk response in my head was "OMG NO! I hate it!"

So I commented on Karyn's post and asked her if she'd be willing to share what she loved about writing.

Here's what she said:

"Hmmm...why do I love writing? For me, it's an extension of teaching. I'm taking a topic I'm passionate about (in this case, how to market to small biz owners), and sharing what I know on the topic. It help ME to get clarity about what's inside my head by writing it down for someone else to read...The other thing is that I always feel like I'm writing to someone I know... It feels more personal that way. Kinda like a love letter, but for those who love business."

And that, my friends, was a lightbulb moment for me.

I was looking at writing as a chore, something requiring effort, a task that is difficult for me. But when I consider Karyn's perspective of writing as an extension of my teacher/coach self and especially thinking about sending a note to someone I really care about... well, that sheds some new light on the situation. Suddenly it felt easy and fun.

This morning, I went to a local coffee shop and in 45 minutes, got more done on my current writing project than I'd accomplished in the last three weeks. All because Karyn helped me to see it from a different perspective. (Thanks Karyn! YOU ROCK!)

So here's the question for you.

In what aspect of YOUR business or life do you need some new perspective?

And who can you ask for help to un-stick you? Not to say "Help! I'm stuck!" (because that really just invites the stuck-ness to stick around!)

Instead, ask the question "I see that you do X well. Can you tell me why you love it so much?" then sit back and allow yourself to look at your "thing" in a whole new way, through their eyes. You might just have a lightbulb moment like I did and make great progress. Wouldn't that be fun?

Inspired Action:

1. Identify an area of your business or life where you need some new perspective. (some ideas... organizing, finances, marketing, selling, collaboration, self care, networking, your website, household chores, health & wellness, etc)

2. Identify someone who's good at the thing you think you're not (which may or may not be true, but that's not the point) and ask them to tell you about why they love "it" so.

3. Use their answers to fuel your next action steps.

Let me know how it goes in the comments below! E. 



Fill Your Cup

I'm designing a new e-course. Like many life & business coaches, I am multi-faceted in my work, I have a lot of interests and I can cover a wide variety of topics. Embarking on this project, I knew which area was my personal favorite, but I wanted to check the pulse of my community to see if I was resonating at the same level. (If you'd like to take the survey, please click here.)

Turns out, I was on the right track.

Self care is the #1 area where busy women report that they need encouragement and inspiration.

Does that surprise you?

Nah, me neither.

So many women I know are stressed out, overwhelmed, juggling multiple responsibilities (running businesses, inspiring employees, parenting children, caring for aging parents, honoring community commitments) and they are tired, tired, tired.

So what exactly is self care?

There are a lot of definitions floating around out there and many of them have to do with health and wellness which is part of the picture, but still only one tree in that forest.

I haven't settled on a succinct definition of self care just yet but here are some of my thoughts about what's involved...

My favorite mug for tea, lovingly handmade for me by a dear friend. What do you use to "fill your cup?" It's loving yourself enough to put yourself first, even when you don't think you should and people around you don't think you should either.

2. It's saying YES to rest and slowing down and doing less.

3. It's saying NO to things that are toxic in your life - friendships, food, bad habits (social media addictions anyone?)

4. It's letting go of the past and living in the present. It's stepping out of victim hood and into being the co-creator of your life.

5. It's believing that you are enough Just. As. You. Are. No need for fancy clothes, botox injections, another degree, a clean house, a thinner body.

I could go on and on (and I will in my e-course!) but you get the point.

It's about choosing to live in your power, love yourself and taking time to fill your cup. 

When you do those things, you live a happier, more joyful life.

And guess what? The people around you - your partners, your kids, your parents, your friends - they benefit from YOUR self care and voila! THEY are happier and more joyful too!

Cheryl Richardson, coach extraordinaire and author of "The Art of Extreme Self Care" says this in her book: 

The practice of Extreme Self Care forces us to make choices and decisions that honor and reflect the true nature of our soul. While the whole notion of this might seem selfish or self-centered, doing so actually allows us to make our greatest contribution to the world.

Noodle on that for today, kids.

Making choices and decisions that honor and reflect the true nature of our soul.

Kinda gives you goose bumps, eh?

Inspired Action: Do ONE self care thing for yourself today. Not 3 or 5 or 10 or make a list and check them off as you go. Start with ONE. :-)

Not sure what to do? Some ideas to get you started: Take a walk alone (and leave your phone at home). Sit in a favorite chair and savor a cup of tea. If you like to write and haven't done it in a while, pull out your journal and write for 10 minutes. Call a friend who lifts your spirits. Choose your favorite inspirational book from your shelf and open to a random page and read for 5 minutes. Take a bubble bath. Ask for help (with household chores, with a work project, with learning a creative hobby). Stop judging yourself.