Confronting The Emotional Side of Simplicity

Guest blog by Patty Kreamer

From a very young age, many children are taught that they should not waste, that they should use and keep everything. This Depression-era mentality really instills a sense of guilt and clutter amasses because we keep, keep, keep everything! It's like having audiotapes playing constantly in your head, saying "YOU MUST NOT BE WASTEFUL!" every time you try to release something from your life. Letting go doesn't seem like an acceptable option. But it can be. 

Rather than playing the same tapes over and over again that say you can't or shouldn't throw anything away, why not create a new dialog? As you profess to yourself that you can't waste anything, ask yourself which is more valuable: 

The things that you have accumulated and trip over daily, causing stress beyond your level of tolerance…

OR

The space and peace of mind that you would reclaim should you eliminate these same items? 

If you typically process thoughts from an emotional standpoint (feelings), you may find the above question hard to answer. However, using logic would make the second choice above a no-brainer. Emotion might bring guilt, fear, stress and several other feelings into play. Thinking logically and thinking emotionally are two very different approaches. 

QUESTION: How do I eliminate my Guilt, Stress & Fear?
ANSWER: Give yourself permission.
The person that can make you feel most guilty is YOU!  Letting go is tough, but not if you permit yourself to do so. Think of it as getting back to square one by letting go of the things that you have held onto for dear life out of duty or guilt for so long. Your reward is a healthier, happier, and less stressful life; sound like good enough incentive? Once you reach square one, then from that point forward, you must be discriminating about what you allow into your life. 

QUESTION: How do you give yourself permission to go against what you have been taught your whole life? 
ANSWER: Learn how you think differently. 
Typically, when you make a decision, you base it on one of two things: emotion or logic. Naturally, if you are an emotional or sentimental person, you probably tend to keep items for reasons that seem logical to you. But if you deeply examine those reasons, you can break them down to see that your heart plays a bigger part than your head. 
Looking at your stuff, it's easier to feel what it means to you than it is to think about what it is doing to you.

The key words here are feel and think. Understand that you don't have to remove all feeling from your life. You just need to examine where your thoughts stem from so that you can arm yourself with a more practical point of view. Changing the soundtrack in your head is not an overnight process. You must make mental notes of how you currently think and give yourself the opportunity to develop alternative ways of framing the situation. This will help you clear the emotional and mental clutter!

The Confident Seeker

Guest blog by Patricia Soldati

Self-confidence can make or break a job or career search. With it, you trust your own abilities and have a general sense of control in your life. Without it, you’re frustrated and stuck – until you learn that developing it – and keeping it – is really within your own control. 

My clients are young and older, male and female, rich and not-so-rich. They are planners, engineers, marketers, filmmakers, community activists, designers, social workers and sales managers, to name a few. Their goals range from moderate, in-place change to “just help me find a job” to significant career-change. 

As a result of this experience, one thing is abundantly clear: a diminished sense of confidence tags right along with everyone who seeks out a new opportunity or a meaningful career. It’s a nasty little irony: just when you need it most, your personal power slips right out of your grasp. 

No one is immune, even though it often feels like you are the only one who is vulnerable. Whether your search is one of choice or through the force of downsizing, or whether you hold a fancy title or not, a landing in a new job or career is intimidating for all there is to learn...the choices...the financial insecurity...and the ultimate uncertainty of all: “Will I really find what I’m looking for?” 

It chips away, making your voice weaker, your actions heavier. You wonder “Will they like me? Will they hire me? Can I continue to please my boss?" 

Lack of self-confidence is not necessarily related to lack of ability. Rather, seekers who lack confidence depend excessively on the approval of others in order to feel good about themselves. They tend to avoid taking risks because they fear failure. They generally do not expect to be successful. They often put themselves down and tend to discount or ignore compliments paid to them. 

By contrast, self-confident people are willing to risk the disapproval of others because they generally trust their own abilities. They tend to accept themselves; they don't feel they have to conform in order to be accepted. 

How is Self-Confidence Developed?
Many factors affect the development of self-confidence. Parents' attitudes are crucial to a child’s sense of self-worth, particularly in the child's early years. When parents are accepting, children receive a solid foundation for good feelings about themselves. If one or both parents are excessively critical or demanding, or if they are overprotective and discourage moves toward independence, children come to believe they are incapable, inadequate, or inferior. 

However, if parents encourage a child to moves toward self-reliance and accept and love their children when they make mistakes, he or she will learn to accept themselves and will be on their way to developing self-confidence.

Playing A Stronger Game
Does this mean this mean that, as an adult, you are doomed if you weren’t blessed with the perfect childhood?  No, of course not. It does suggest, however, the wisdom of examining any beliefs you hold that negatively influence your confidence. For example, believing that you must have approval from every significant person in your life is a perfectionist and unattainable goal. It is more desirable to develop personal standards and values that are meaningful to you and not dependent on the approval of others.  Similarly, if you wallow in “the past has done me wrong”, consider that, as an adult, you can become aware of those influences and make a choice to move beyond the ones that no longer serve you. 

And here are SEVEN more ways to step into your power: 

1. Develop a strong personal foundation. Clean up unfinished business that chips away at your sense of self; understand your inner gifts and talents, and articulate the values that are most important to you. 

2. Create an empowering environment. Eliminate the people and things that take your energy and power from you.

3. Let go of obligations -- even if only for a few hours. Do something that inspires you.

4. Physical self-care. This always precedes personal power. When you are feeling low physically, everything else will fall a little flat.

5. Remember a pride story. For an instant confidence boost, recall an event or an accomplishment that you are quite proud of. Ask “What inner qualities did it take for me to achieve this?” to tip the confidence scales in your favor. 

6. Give up old hurts. They keep you in victim mode.

7. Create thoughts that transform. When negative thoughts take hold, acknowledge them...and replace them with a positive affirmation.

When you tap into your personal greatness, your world opens up. It is easier to take new steps and assume risks. You are mentally, physically and emotionally expanded – which radiates to those around you. You are centered, clear-headed and able to focus on moving forward. 

Most important of all – remember that it is a process. Our confidence will rise and fall – what’s important is that you know how to gain it back.

The Confident Seeker

Guest blog by Patricia Soldati

Self-confidence can make or break a job or career search. With it, you trust your own abilities and have a general sense of control in your life. Without it, you’re frustrated and stuck – until you learn that developing it – and keeping it – is really within your own control. 

My clients are young and older, male and female, rich and not-so-rich. They are planners, engineers, marketers, filmmakers, community activists, designers, social workers and sales managers, to name a few. Their goals range from moderate, in-place change to “just help me find a job” to significant career-change. 

As a result of this experience, one thing is abundantly clear: a diminished sense of confidence tags right along with everyone who seeks out a new opportunity or a meaningful career. It’s a nasty little irony: just when you need it most, your personal power slips right out of your grasp. 

No one is immune, even though it often feels like you are the only one who is vulnerable. Whether your search is one of choice or through the force of downsizing, or whether you hold a fancy title or not, a landing in a new job or career is intimidating for all there is to learn...the choices...the financial insecurity...and the ultimate uncertainty of all: “Will I really find what I’m looking for?” 

It chips away, making your voice weaker, your actions heavier. You wonder “Will they like me? Will they hire me? Can I continue to please my boss?" 

Lack of self-confidence is not necessarily related to lack of ability. Rather, seekers who lack confidence depend excessively on the approval of others in order to feel good about themselves. They tend to avoid taking risks because they fear failure. They generally do not expect to be successful. They often put themselves down and tend to discount or ignore compliments paid to them. 

By contrast, self-confident people are willing to risk the disapproval of others because they generally trust their own abilities. They tend to accept themselves; they don't feel they have to conform in order to be accepted. 

How is Self-Confidence Developed?
Many factors affect the development of self-confidence. Parents' attitudes are crucial to a child’s sense of self-worth, particularly in the child's early years. When parents are accepting, children receive a solid foundation for good feelings about themselves. If one or both parents are excessively critical or demanding, or if they are overprotective and discourage moves toward independence, children come to believe they are incapable, inadequate, or inferior. 

However, if parents encourage a child to moves toward self-reliance and accept and love their children when they make mistakes, he or she will learn to accept themselves and will be on their way to developing self-confidence.

Playing A Stronger Game
Does this mean this mean that, as an adult, you are doomed if you weren’t blessed with the perfect childhood?
No, of course not. It does suggest, however, the wisdom of examining any beliefs you hold that negatively influence your confidence. For example, believing that you must have approval from every significant person in your life is a perfectionist and unattainable goal. It is more desirable to develop personal standards and values that are meaningful to you and not dependent on the approval of others.
Similarly, if you wallow in “the past has done me wrong”, consider that, as an adult, you can become aware of those influences and make a choice to move beyond the ones that no longer serve you. 

7 more ways to step into your power: 

1. Develop a strong personal foundation. Clean up unfinished business that chips away at your sense of self; understand your inner gifts and talents, and articulate the values that are most important to you. 
2. Create an empowering environment. Eliminate the people and things that take your energy and power from you.
3. Let go of obligations -- even if only for a few hours. Do something that inspires you.
4. Physical self-care. This always precedes personal power. When you are feeling low physically, everything else will fall a little flat.
5. Remember a pride story. For an instant confidence boost, recall an event or an accomplishment that you are quite proud of. Ask “What inner qualities did it take for me to achieve this?” to tip the confidence scales in your favor. 
6. Give up old hurts. They keep you in victim mode.
7. Create thoughts that transform. When negative thoughts take hold, acknowledge them...and replace them with a positive affirmation.

When you tap into your personal greatness, your world opens up. It is easier to take new steps and assume risks. You are mentally, physically and emotionally expanded – which radiates to those around you. You are centered, clear-headed and able to focus on moving forward. 

Most important of all – remember that it is a process. Our confidence will rise and fall – what’s important is that you know how to gain it back.
 

4 Global Tips For Eating & Drinking Healthily Over The Holidays

Guest blog by Pooja Mott
Author of The 3-Day Reset: Restore Your Cravings For Healthy Foods in Three Easy, Empowering Days

1. Eat only what I call “WAMP” food, which stands for “Whole and Minimally Processed food”. WAMP foods include poultry, meats, and fish prepared in simple ways as well as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, lentils and key cooking ingredients and seasonings such as butter, cacao, plain yogurt, maple syrup, honey, olive oil, mustard, and soy sauce. WAMP foods are never processed foods and do not contain any additives, preservatives, flavorings, refined flour, sugar, fats, or salts.

This means that when you’re at a party, you’ll want to stick to dishes, appetizers and mezzes that are WAMP – olives with whole wheat pita bread and hummus, grilled chicken finger food, roasted vegetables, raw fruits and vegetables, etc.

2. While on the cocktail party circuit, stick to only wine and/or champagne. Both wine and champagne rake in about 120 per glass and have no added sugars or simple syrups like most mixed drinks do. If you do want to indulge in an alcoholic drink, make it a simple, ancient one like wine or champagne. And stick to only a glass per party and about three to four per week during the party season! It only comes once per year, so don’t feel guilty about indulging, just do it in moderation and in this clean, simple way.

3. Skip Dessert for 70% + chocolate bar at home. Because most desserts contain white, refined flour and refined sugar, they’re not WAMP, they’re not healthy. Try your best to skip those tempting treats on the party circuit and instead wait until you get home and indulge in a much healthier kind: a chocolate bar with at least 70% or higher cacao content. The higher the cacao content, the more nutrients in your bar and the less sugar.

4. Use this season to crack open your cookbooks! Although the holidays are the season for giving, partying, and socializing with friends and colleagues, take some time out this season to dive into the creature comforts of cooking at home. Pot roasts, stews, soups, and baking (using whole grain flours, of course!) are perfect for this time of year.

Unrefined Hazelnut Holiday Layer Cake with Raw Cacao Frosting

Guess recipie by Pooja Mottl
Author of The 3-Day Reset: Restore Your Cravings For Healthy Foods in Three Easy, Empowering Days

Yield: One 8” cake (about 1 ¼ inches high)
Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:
1 ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup organic Grade A maple syrup
1 tablespoon lemon juice (juice of about ½ lemon)
2 ½ tablespoons hazelnut extract
1/3 cup organic coconut oil, melted, or organic expeller pressed canola oil
1 cup filtered water

Preheat your oven to 350 F and grease an 8 inch cake pan. Using a large sieve over a large mixing bowl, sift all dry ingredients - flour, baking powder, soda, and salt.
In another mixing bowl, whisk together your liquids – maple syrup, lemon juice, hazelnut extract, oil and water.
Pour your wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir together using a wooden spoon.
Using a spatula to assist you, pour all batter into cake pan. Bake at 350 F for 35 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted and removed cleanly. Remove cake from oven, and let rest for 10 minutes. Then invert, releasing the cake from the pan, and place cake right side up on a baking rack, allowing it to fully cool another 30 minutes.

Raw Cacao Cashew Frosting
Yield: 3 cups
Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:
1 ¾ - 2 cups Grade A organic maple syrup
12oz raw organic cashew butter
1 teaspoon hazelnut extract
1 ½ cups organic raw cacao powder (Pooja prefers Navitas Naturals brand)
1-2 teaspoons unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup hazelnuts, roasted, skins removed, and coarsely chopped (for garnish)

Add all ingredients expect for cacao powder into a large food processor and pulse blend for about 15 seconds or until ingredients are just fully incorporated.
Add the cacao powder and blend, just until all ingredients are fully mixed and frosting takes on a smooth consistency – but not any longer. You’re now ready to frost!

To assemble cake:

After cake has thoroughly cooled, cut it delicately in half widthwise using a serrated knife, if possible.
Using your desired amount of frosting, frost the top of the bottom half layer of your cake. Then gently place the top half over it and use remaining frosting to ice cake fully. Garnish with toasted hazelnuts and Enjoy!

Notes:
Unrefined ingredients result in a more delicious cake and more satisfaction in every bite!

Six Tips To Insure You're Introduced With Impact

Guest post by Peggy Klaus
Author of Brag!: The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn without Blowing It
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

As an entrepreneur, I have counted on numerous friends and family members to be important sources for contacts and to spread the word about my business. Over the years, I've discovered I must literally put the exact words in their mouths to ensure they convey an accurate message about who I am and what I do. Well I guess it just shows that no matter how well you know the lesson, you can always screw up-because that's exactly what happened the other day at lunch. 

I recently offered to put together a meeting to introduce a writer friend to some clients of mine-four partners in a well-established marketing and public relations firm who were looking for a freelancer. I thought I had prepared for everything-from a restaurant close by to everyone's office to a pre-lunch email outlining three things we were going to discuss. The one thing I failed to plan was a bragologue about my friend. Bragologues are succinct, story-like monologues that memorably capture and portray a person's interests or accomplishments. So when my introduction of her tumbled out, it was less than stellar. I tangled the details of my friend's job experience so badly that by the time I was done, she had worked for 79 years. Also, I was uncertain about her current projects and so incorrectly placed her at a job she left more than three months ago. 

My friend graciously transitioned into telling her story without so much as a raised eyebrow or dirty look. Fortunately, after an hour and half of great damage control by the two of us, the partners asked her for a follow-up meeting the next week. As I was driving home, relieved that things had ended well, I couldn't help but reflect back on the situation. I realized my mistakes: I should have checked in with my friend prior to the meeting (and not just when we' were walking to the table). I should have written down her information and turned it into a bragologue. And I should have practiced several times out loud, paraphrasing the facts until they felt comfortable rolling off my tongue. Okay, so that's where I goofed. However, as much as I blamed myself, I had to admit my friend was also culpable. After all, it was her big chance to sell herself, so she should have given me articulate, entertaining, and up-to-the-minute bragologue material to work with. Truth be told, the couple of times I had asked her to go into more detail about her professional background, she sloughed it off saying, "Oh let's talk about something more interesting." Not a good sign! 

The day after the meeting, when I called to apologize for my mishap, my friend asked for feedback about how she had presented herself. I suggested including more about the exotic places she's lived in, flushing out one or two of the most interesting articles she had written, and dropping the names of a few of the prestigious publishing houses she's edited for. And when at her next meeting with the partners, she did all of that-it worked! They commented about her breadth of expertise and gave her the coveted first assignment. 

I can't stress enough the importance of making sure that people who are slated to introduce or talk about you-at a luncheon, an industry panel, a keynote speech, or even a cocktail party-have the facts straight. We tend to believe we have little control over what our friends, relatives, and colleagues say about us. Yet when others introduce you, they often either repeat what they have heard from you or make something up. So get your bragologues down, keep them current, and repeat them often. And make certain that everyone around you has the most up-to-date version. Remember: A successful word-of-mouth bragging campaign is contingent upon getting the right words in the mouth to begin with.

TIPS FOR GREAT INTRODUCTIONS
· Weave the details together in a story-like fashion to create a memorable bragologue.
· Be succinct. 
· Keep the content fresh and updated,
· Be clear with others about what you want them to emphasize about you.
· E-mail your bragalogue to everyone who might need it. 
· Don't get lazy about preparation-even with your spouse or best friend.