Inspiration from Rudyard Kipling

Sometimes we all need a little inspiration to keep going when times get tough. Today, I wanted to share a famous inspirational poem by Rudyard Kipling. It’s called “If” and it is written on the wall of the player’s entrance at Wimbledon.

Hope in the clouds2

If

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

~Rudyard Kipling

Source: http://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/if-by-rudyard-kipling#ixzz3Jz3iMZHr

If you could do anything in the world, what would it be?

The 2 Keys to Avoiding the Dreaded Entitlement Mentality

It’s never easy to admit you’re wrong. Especially not in a public forum. But that’s exactly what I’m doing today. Recently, in the Clark household, I was not only wrong, but very wrong. As my readers know, I believe our mistakes hold valuable life lessons, and my most recent is no exception. So, let’s get to it.

Laundry QueenI hate doing laundry, I always have.  There…I said it.  There’s something about it that just makes me want to say “Blah!” Lucky for me, I married a man who doesn’t mind doing it.  In fact, for several years he preferred to do it. Otherwise he’d run the risk of a load full of ruined clothes at the hand of his lovely wife. So, I happily turned over the duty to him and he was dubbed our Laundry King.

I thought by allowing my Laundry King to wash all the clothes, everybody would win. I’d get out of doing something I strongly disliked, and Greg wouldn’t have shirts two sizes too small when he pulled them out of the dryer. Everyone’s happy! Right? Wrong. Here’s where I start to go downhill.

I created a monster. The Lazy Monster to be more specific.  I hate folding clothes more than washing them, but what I really dislike is putting them away. So, my clean clothes would often sit on the counter for weeks before I’d put them away.

I completely took advantage of Greg and his willingness to wash all the clothes; and created a much bigger problem than not putting my clothes away. He began to feel resentment. Here he was, tackling five people’s laundry with no help from me, and I couldn’t even take the time to put my clothes away.

Eventually, he confronted the Lazy Monster with how he was feeling, and our resolution was simple….no more Laundry King. I was now responsible for my own clothes again. It’s been one of the best things we could’ve done. No more laziness from me, my clothes are put away as soon as they’re washed, Greg isn’t feeling used, and I’m not a monster anymore.

As I thought about the situation after Greg confronted me, I realized I’d become that person I never wanted to be. I’d developed an entitlement mentality without even realizing it.  How easy it is to do to take advantage of someone else’s kindness. It made me ask the question, how can we avoid becoming that person or even creating that person in the people we know? There are two keys to successfully avoid becoming that person:

Personal Accountability

One of the most valuable tools we have in life is being accountable for our own actions. It’s understanding that what you say, what you do, and how you treat others is all your responsibility.  Not only are the actions you take your responsibility, but so are the outcomes. Understanding this is vital in avoiding becoming that “entitled” person.

The first place we all should look when something’s not going our way is within. Be accountable for what you do, and if it creates an outcome you don’t like, make a change. Before any finger pointing ensues, make sure you take a moment and check yourself.

Appreciate the Value of Doing the Work

There is no way to describe how valuable hard work is. To me, one of the biggest problems within our society is that we’ve forgotten this. We’ve created so many niceties and conveniences, that we’ve managed to forget how fortunate we are. We’ve lost sight of how much we have.

I let myself fall victim by not doing the work at home with my laundry. It was easy to just let Greg do it. Eventually, I learned to expect it. It didn’t even register to me how much work he was doing to make sure I had clean clothes every week. Only when I took back my chore did I realize the value in what he was doing.

I remember when I was growing up, my mom didn’t have enough money to buy me my first car. I knew if I wanted one, I had to find a way to make it happen for myself. So, I worked my tail off and managed to come up with the money for a hoopty of a car; a 1970 something Subaru hatchback with a huge dent in the side that I bought from my uncle. It was the ugliest car I’d ever seen, but it was mine.   If someone would’ve bought me a car, I wouldn’t have appreciated it nearly as much. Don’t be afraid to do the work, in fact, delight in it. By doing so, it keeps the value of what you’re doing in the forefront of your mind.

 

We’re all challenged each and every day to be the best version of ourselves. To contribute in a positive way to the lives of the people around us. Remember, avoiding falling victim to the entitlement mentality is one of the greatest ways we can do this. Never lose sight of the importance of personal accountability and the value of doing the work.

Have you ever fallen victim to the entitlement mentality?

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5 Ways to Benefit From Failure

foggy road“Failure is not an option” are five words I’ve lived by the majority of my life. I could chalk that up to my military service, but if I’m being honest, I’d say it stemmed from my childhood. I faced a lot of challenges as a kid, and I taught myself the only option was to win. While this sounds good on the surface, it’s completely inaccurate. As I’ve stepped into a prominent role as a leader, both as a parent and in my career, I’ve grown to realize that not only is failure an option, but it’s also inevitable.

I continue to struggle with this acceptance; my husband attributes it to a condition called P-R-I-D-E which he so kindly dubbed my middle name early on  in our relationship. Just recently I faced some challenges which I failed. I realized areas I need to do some real work as a leader in order to be as effective as I intend to be. I took this very hard, but I had some amazing people in my life remind me of how awesome failure can be.

I’ve come to realize that failures pave the path to success much more clearly than our achievements. If I look back on my life, I can say with confidence, my biggest successes have come from some of my biggest failures. It was those failures that provided the clarity I needed to move forward. When we get googly-eyed in our awesome, we can often lose sight of ourselves and our purpose.

So how can you accept your failures and use them to your benefit? Here are some helpful tips.

Embrace and own your failure

The first and arguably the most important thing to do with failure is own it. It’s yours; every last bit of it. It’s easy to push the blame to someone else, but when you do, you’re not only doing that person a disservice, but also yourself. Being able to admit you made a mistake is tough.  If you think about it, it’s easy to win…but incredibly hard to lose. By accepting your defeat you’ve accomplished the more difficult task, be proud of that.

Appreciate the humility you just acquired

If you do nothing but win, you don’t appreciate the true value of your accomplishments. If you never had to struggle with something, you don’t see the beauty of making it to the other side. We can’t lose sight of what it took to get to where we are. Failing helps remind us.

Celebrate the fact that you even tried

It’s so easy to take the path of least resistance and do nothing; we often do. To have the courage to put yourself in a vulnerable position in the first place is an achievement in and of itself. When you start beating yourself up, remember this: to have tried and failed is so much more meaningful than to have done nothing.

Find the lesson

Because there’s always one there…always. Once you get past your defeat, look deeper and find it. This is where we grow, often in amazing ways. Look at your disappointment as an opportunity to be better. What did it teach you? How can you move forward a better person because of it?

When we’re able to move past the emotions we experience with failure, and look at what we can learn from it, we’re able to place value in the experience.

Share your story with others

This is so important. Our connections with each other are so powerful. The most valuable information I’ve taken from my mentors have not been their stories of success, but how they’ve epically failed. Because they shared those failures, I had the strength to try. You are someone’s mentor, whether you realize it or not, and what an opportunity you have to positively influence them with your experience.

It’s my nature to strive for excellence with everything I do, and if I’m going to fail, I’m going down fighting. That being said, I’m at peace with  knowing I’m going to continue to fail miserably the rest of my life; we all will.  The key to failure is to fail forward…learn and grow from it and continue to become the best version of you.

How has a failure positively shaped your life?

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5 Habits to Protect Your Joy

“Death is gonna catch me eventually; but I tell you what young lady! It’s gonna have to get me from behind because I’m not stopping!”

These are the words of a vivacious 80 year old patient I took care of the other day. He was one of those people I wish I had the whole day to sit and talk to; he was filled with joy and love of life. If you looked at his medical records, you wouldn’t expect to see the man who sat in front of me that day. He had so many things wrong with him that could easily steal his joy, but he didn’t let them.

His wife with was him that day, and she sat next to him with a loving smile as he shared with me how he spends his days. As I talked to him about the importance of exercise, he reassured me that he doesn’t stop moving very much at all during the day. He has too much to do after all! I left the room feeling inspired and motivated by this man. What an example he set for us all.

As I thought about him,  I realized how easily we can let life steal our joy.  This  man has managed to hold on to his joy despite all his misfortunes. So, how can we do the same? How can we move past the adversity in our lives and be happy?

Happy

5 Habits to Protect Your Joy

Make Time to Focus on What’s Going Right

All too often we get so caught up in what’s challenging us, that we forget to focus on the blessings we have. Why do you suppose it’s easier to complain than express gratitude? Negativity is a powerful and consuming force, and it can easily sneak in and steal our joy. Make the time every day to focus on what’s going right in your life. I tend to do it every morning when I wake up, but I’ve found when I have a bad day, I make sure I fall asleep with what I’m grateful for on my mind. I’d much rather fall asleep thinking about what makes me happy than the opposite.

We all have challenges and adversity. Don’t let that consume who you are. There are plenty of things to be thankful for, take the time to recognize them.

Live to Serve

Our lives are so precious. One of the best things we can do with our time is to serve. I’ve met a lot of people in my life, and the ones that seemed the happiest, were those who live to serve others. The joy you feel from helping someone is one of the most profound emotions. It’s incredibly energizing.

Don’t believe me? Try it. Help  a stranger. Help a friend whose struggling. Go spend an hour at a nursing home and listen to one of the resident’s stories. Clean out your closet and go give those clothes to a homeless shelter. Do something like this, and see how you feel. To serve another is one of the biggest joy generators around.

Fill Your Time with Your Passion

While we should strive to have a career that mirrors our passion, it often doesn’t.  Sometimes, in order to make ends meet, you have to do something you don’t enjoy, and that’s ok. But! That doesn’t mean you can’t find time for your passion. Make the time. What better way to experience joy than to do what you love. To do what makes you who you are.

If you can’t make a living by it, don’t shut your passion out of your life. The more you find ways to do things you’re passionate about, the happier you are.

Keep Moving

The more you move, the more endorphins are released, and the happier you feel. Be active! I’m not saying go run a marathon, but invest in your physical health by taking the time to go for a walk. If you can’t walk, swim. If you can’t swim, bike. If you can’t bike, find something you can do to be active.

Move. Find a way to keep moving. The more you do, the better you’ll feel.

Appreciate the Right Now

We all fall guilty of being too wrapped up in the future or lost in the past to appreciate Right Now. Before we know it, today becomes yesterday, and we missed it! Stop it! Enjoy the moment, it’s the only one like it. Make it count. Be present, appreciate your today. When you can do this, you’ll be amazed at how much joy it brings. The joy comes from not taking what we have, who we spend our time with, the beauty around us for granted.

As the wise man said to me the other day, death is going to catch us all, but let’s make it catch us all from behind. Live your life filled with joy, and protect that joy with all that you have!

What brings you the most joy in your life?

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5 Reasons to Thank a Veteran

veteransWhen you thank a veteran, do you know exactly what you are thanking them for? I’ll be honest, as an active duty service member I wasn’t quite sure what “thank you” meant myself. I’d hear it, and I’d appreciate the person who said it, yet I didn’t know how much they were really thanking me for until I got out of the military.

When you’re surrounded everyday by service members, it’s hard to recognize the qualities they have that make our country so proud. As we celebrate our active duty and veterans on Veteran’s Day, I wanted to share some of the reasons why thanking them for their service is so important.

Work Ethic and Dedication

Being in the military means you’re part of a team accomplishing something much bigger than you. Our service men and women understand that and are dedicated to making sure they give their absolute all to the cause. There’s no such thing as overtime, being in the “service” means you serve. These individuals take this to heart each and every day.

Comradery

By definition this means spirit and goodwill of fellowship.  I used to listen to retired military people tell me how much they missed that comradery when they got out, but I didn’t appreciate it until I did. It’s knowing that person next to you has your back, no matter what. Most of my closest friends are people I served with. There is a bond between us that’s unbreakable, and I’d walk through fire for any of them.

Honor and Integrity

Honor and Integrity are demonstrated as a norm; a standard set to be exceeded with all that is asked of them.  These are not just values or traits, these words are who our military is.

Sacrifice

The working long hours, deploying overseas and being away from loved ones, getting back and deploying again, putting themselves in harm’s way, and even losing a comrade.  All of these are incredible things to ask of a person, yet I think even more incredible is the sacrifice of themselves. Each and every deployment requires a service member to leave a piece of themselves on the battlefield, and often it’s their innocence.  War is something that changes us forever. These men and women go back into this environment over and over again for the good of our country, carrying with them the remnants of war for the rest of their lives.

Their Untold Story 

To me, this is one of the most important things to thank them for.  Military service brings moments into our lives that are the absolute most challenging; testing mental, physical, and spiritual strength. The things our service members go through make us proud, but often can break our hearts. Most veterans don’t say a whole lot about their experiences, yet if we knew even half of what they’ve done or been through, we would see things differently.

One thing I’ve realized since I became a veteran is that our service to the military may have ended, but our responsibility to be a veteran never stops. We continue to represent our nation every day for the rest of our lives.  We have a rare opportunity to share our experiences with others and continue to be a mentor.  The list above is just a few of the things we are thankful for in our military veterans. I can say personally, I’m so humbled to have kept company with such honorable people.

I always ask a question at the end, but this is one I hope you take a minute out of your day to answer as we pay tribute to our men and women who served.

How has a veteran changed your life?

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Feeling Stuck? Recognize Your Most Valuable Resources

Dylan Rocket CarEver felt like you were just stuck in life? We’ve all been there. Sometimes all we need is a reminder of the valuable resources we have right at our fingertips.

A couple of days ago my sweet boy Dylan came zooming by me on his lightening speed rocket car. It’s one of his favorite toys, and I’ve learned the hard way to watch out when I see him coming! Not only has he learned to go fast, but he’s learned how to maneuver it like a pro, navigating it through all kinds of nooks and crannies.

As he flew by me, I watched him ride the car right on top of a pillow laying on the floor. Just like that, Dylan and his rocket car were stuck. He climbed off of it, looked up at me and said, “Mommy? Rocket car stuck! Fix it Mom! Fix it!”

I could see his little wheels turning as he contemplated what to do next. I was so tempted to walk over and pick it up and put it back on the floor, but I thought better of it. Instead, I said, “What are you going to do buddy?”

He looked up, put his hand on his hip and replied, “Hmmmm…..let’s see.” It was the cutest thing to watch. He looked around the room, and spotted Daddy’s ab roller nearby. He ran over to it and grabbed it. “Mommy! I fix it!” he yelled.

I thought, Ok, this ought to be interesting, as he ran back over to the rocket car. He laid down next to it, stuck the ab roller under it, and began to turn the wheel. It was almost like a little levy. Much to my surprise, by doing that, he was able to move the car forward and eventually off of the pillow. He squealed with delight in his victory, jumped back on the car, and flew out of the room giggling the whole way.

I literally stood in shock as the whole thing unfolded. What a resourceful little guy. Watching him work through his rocket car situation, I thought of how relevant his problem solving was to us “big people.” We all have times in our lives when we feel stuck. It seems like no matter what you do, the situation has you trapped. It’s in those moments we have to dig deep and find the solution.  Sometimes the way to find a solution means taking a step back and doing inventory on your resources.

Realize Your Resources Within

It’s easy to sell yourself short. When the frustrations get high, it’s hard to look within and appreciate what you bring to the table. It’s much easier to beat yourself up instead. The truth is, we humans are the most resourceful beings on the planet. We have the incredible gift of reasoning and problem solving.

Sometimes to break the cycle of a self-defeating attitude, you have to regain your composure and look at the situation differently. That means you look at the problem you’re facing objectively, and then take an honest look at yourself. We’re all capable of so much more than we realize. We tend to fear trying something outside of our comfort zone. Remind yourself of the adversities you’ve already overcome. Remind yourself of your strength and courage. Remind yourself it’s ok to try something new.

Realize the Resources Around You

When we get into a pickle in life, it’s hard to ask for help. We’re filled with pride and tend to take on the world by ourselves. Sometimes, that works, but often times it doesn’t. It’s in those times that we need to follow little Dylan’s lead and look for our own ab roller;  the unexpected resource that helps solve the problem.

The way to find that unexpected resource is to take a deep breath, look at the situation, identify what the root of the problem is, and what you feel the solution is. Look at what you’ve tried; take note of what’s worked and what hasn’t. Don’t keep making the same mistakes, learn from the ones you made, and find a way to approach the problem differently.

Don’t be afraid to ask for someone for their perspective on the situation. It never ceases to amaze me how beneficial we can be to each other. We all see things differently, and we all approach problems in our own unique way. A different perspective can be an extremely beneficial resource. Look to others who’ve conquered the same dragon, and learn how they did it. Maybe they’ve slayed an even bigger dragon, look to them for wisdom and inspiration.

Life never stops challenging us with new and seemingly unsurmountable obstacles. Remember you have an abundant amount of resources within and all around you. Trust in yourself, and use the incredible gifts that have been given to you.

What do you feel is your most valuable resource?

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Realize The Power of Your Influence

You are what you eat….a cliché all of us likely have heard from our concerned parents many times growing up. As annoyed as I may have been hearing those words from my mom, I knew she was right. The same can be said for the people you surround yourself with.

Who you spend your time with will undoubtedly influence you to some degree. For that reason, I believe the people you call “friend” should be those that can bring value to your life, and you to theirs.

Me, Jeff, and Greg

Me, Jeff, and Greg

Allow me to introduce you to my long time friend Jeff. We went to PA school together back in 2005 and have kept in touch ever since. We were study buddies during the first phase of school, and I’m so grateful we were. That whole first year was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done; 100 credit hours jammed into a short 12 months. Jeff had such a great attitude about the whole thing, and was incredibly smart. He kept me motivated and all the hours we spent studying together helped get me through school.

This guy was a C-130 mechanic in the Coast Guard prior to PA school, not a lick of medical experience coming into it, but he just got it. He graduated in the top of our class, and challenged me, and my fellow classmates to work hard. One of the greatest things about Jeff, inside the classroom and out, is his dedication, perseverance, and work ethic.

Usually when we think of how people inspire and influence us, we think of situations just like the one I described. We admire and respect someone for their achievements, learn from them, practice their habits, and tend to try that much harder because of them. But sometimes, those same people can inspire us even more. The way they handle their disappointments can be even more impactful then their many successes.

This past weekend was the Florida Ironman. Jeff traveled down to Florida to compete in the event for the first time. He’s done multiple triathlons and trained very hard for this one. In case you’re not aware of what the Ironman consists of; it’s a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26.2 mile run. It’s, in a word…insane. The amount of time spent preparing for this event is unbelievable.  People train sometimes up to a year in advance, and workouts sometimes last an entire day.

The morning of the race was one of the coldest we’ve had this year. The wind was 10-20 miles an hour and the surf was awful. The race officials looked at the situation in every way possible, and finally concluded it was too big of  a risk to have the swim. They had to cancel it. My husband Greg was volunteering that morning, and said when they announced the decision, he watched many of the athletes around him break down into tears.

Can you imagine? Working so hard to train for something, sacrificing so much of yourself to prepare, only  to have it taken from you the morning of the event? The third piece of the triathlon was gone. It made every single person there question if they would really be an “Ironman” when they crossed the finish line that day.

Jeff, like the others, was devastated. Greg said as they waited for the bike to start Jeff said, “This sucks! But, there’s nothing I can do about it. I still have the rest of the race to think about.”  He was clearly upset, but he refused to let his disappointment stand in the way of his goal. He spent the next 9 hours and 24 minutes on the bike and run. He finished 254 overall out of over 2,000 participants and  45 out of 297 in his age group.

As we sat and talked with him about all he did to prepare, the race itself, and the disappointment of the swim, one thing kept coming to mind; perseverance.  It’s just who Jeff is. Through all the challenges he’s faced and overcome, it’s been his perseverance that has been the biggest influence to me. For that, I’m thankful to my friend.

I couldn’t wait to share his story with you, because Jeff, and how he’s inspired both me and Greg, is such an important example of how much we can influence each other’s lives. Our actions have so much more impact than we realize. Through success and disappointment;  how we choose to move forward will influence more people than we realize. I truly believe one of the greatest gifts we have is the connections we make with other people. We have so much to give and learn from each other. Fill your life with people that influence you in a positive way. Strive to impact others in a positive way as well.

Who has been one of the most influential people in your life?

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How Core Values Help You Be the Most Authentic Version of You

Scary Mullet GregCan I just say how much I love Halloween? It’s the one time a year we get to dress up and pretend to be someone else. I love to see how creative people get with their costumes. In the spirit of the season, I couldn’t resist sharing a picture of one of the scariest costumes I’ve seen; my husband dressed up as “Creepy Mullet Guy.”

I mean seriously, this is scary. He was walking around the house the other night in this getup and literally brought our sweet two year old son Dylan to tears. He was absolutely terrified of this guy. The only thing that could get him to stop crying was for Greg to take the wig off. Can’t say I blame the kid!

In all seriousness though, as we prepare for another night of tricks and treats, I’m reminded of how easy it is for us to wear a “costume” much more often than once a year. All too often we get put into situations in life that tempt us to be something we’re not.

We can get caught up in trying to impress someone else; so much so, that before we know it we’re pretending to be something we’re really not. Ever been there?

Here’s the thing; the impact of being the most authentic version of yourself is so much more meaningful than any front you may try to put up.

In the last post, I eluded to this when I talked about making a difficult decision. I said Remember Who You Are in Your Core.

Your Core is your belief system, your moral compass. It’s where the most authentic part of you lives. It’s what you have to guide you when all else fails.

I speak on this a lot when it comes to Resilience. Often times I get asked, “How do I know who I am in my Core?” This is a great question, and one that is absolutely worth answering. A great way to start is by taking the time to define what your Core Values are.

Think about it, businesses have them, why shouldn’t we? Your core values are words that essentially describe what makes up your Core. What makes you tick, what motivates you, what defines you as a person. It may take you sitting down and spending some time brainstorming through what exactly that is, but it’s time well spent. I found a helpful resource to get you started. This website has an abundant list of words to choose from that can help you define your core.

Make the investment in yourself and take the time to know and understand who you really are in your core. Once you do, you’ll be happy you did. You’ll have a clarity and direction with where you and your life should be going.

Live Your Life Based On Your Core.

Your decisions, your actions, your words, should all be based on it. The most authentic you is the most meaningful. That is the version of you the world needs to see. Be YOU and Be AWESOME.

What’s one of your core values?

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How to Make a Good Decision When You’re Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Ever been stuck between a rock and a hard place? Where you’ve been in a situation that no matter what option you took, the outcome was sure to be “less than desirable.”

75863_1649577810054_5621985_nTime for another Greg story. It’s a story that still hangs over my head and comes out frequently in conversations with friends 10 years later. Of course, our versions are quite different, depending on who tells it. Here’s mine:

We’d been dating for just over a year, and had recently moved in together.   Greg’s son Griffen was 4 years old at the time, and was spending the week with us. His mom was actually pregnant, and earlier in the day we got a call saying she’d gone into labor and they were heading to the hospital. The timing with little Griffen worked out perfectly since it was our time to have him anyway….or so I thought.

That evening when we came home from work, Greg was complaining of a stomach ache that seemed to be getting progressively worse all day. By the time he got home he was feeling pretty miserable.  I was working in the emergency room at the time as a medic, and had just applied for PA school, so my wheels were turning.

I gave him some over the counter medications like Tums and Mylanta, but nothing was touching his pain. By 2:00 am he was writhing in pain. I pushed on his belly and realized his tenderness had become focused in the right lower quadrant. I called the Emergency Room, spoke with the doctor that was on shift, and told him what happened. At that point, I was concerned that Greg may have appendicitis. The doctor agreed he needed to come in. My friend Amy was the shift leader that night and so she got his room ready for him and the labs were ordered before he even got there.

Now for the dilemma. Griffen. He was fast asleep in the room. We couldn’t take him to his mom since she was in the hospital, and taking a 4 year old to the Emergency Room in the middle of the night didn’t seem like an option to me at that point. So, we decided the best option was for Greg to drive himself to the hospital.

That’s Greg’s favorite part of the story to tell, and where our versions differ. In my version, I basically saved the guy’s life; I called ahead and got him first class service, and my hunch about his appendicitis was correct.  In his, all he can recall is that he drove himself to the hospital with a life-threatening condition. Either way you spin it, he went to surgery that night, he did great, and early the next morning Griffen and I paid him and Griffen’s mom a visit.

There is actually a point to this funny story. It’s a great illustration of the fact that sometimes in life there is no good option. Situations happen that put us in a predicament that forces us to make the most with what we have. When those moments occur, there are a few things you can to help you make the best decisions:

Look at the Situation Objectively

When a situation gets stressful and you feel overwhelmed with the pressure to make a call, take a step back and look at it objectively. When you are in an emotionally charged position, your judgment can get cloudy. When there is no good answer, you certainly want to make the best choice, that means looking at it clearly. Take a deep breath, look at the pros and cons and weigh the consequences.

Look for the Greater Good

When you face difficult decisions, one of the most helpful ways to look at it is to search for the option that will provide the most benefit to those involved. Look for the solution that will have the least amount of damage or have the most positive impact.

Remember Who You Are in Your Core

Who you are deep in your core, what you believe to be right and wrong is your moral compass throughout life. When you face difficult decisions, look at the options through your core. If your actions and words are in line with your core values, then you are making the best possible choice.

When life happens, sometimes we have to make the most of what we have. Remember to look at problems objectively, find the greater good, and use who you are in your core as your moral compass when making difficult decisions.

What was one of the most difficult decisions you’ve made?

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5 Things to Be Thankful For When Times Get Tough

Do you ever find yourself feeling overwhelmed with all the negative in your life?   Life is filled with obstacles none of us want to face, but are unavoidable and beyond our control. Through my own struggles I’ve learned so much about myself and how I’ve been able to make it through really tough times.

Before, I’d find myself dwelling in the sorrow and pain; it seemed much easier to stay there than to pull myself out of it. The easy option is not always the best. As painful as it is, we have to keep moving forward and grow from our life experiences. They mold us into who we are today, and they impact how we influence others. I’ve learned throughout the years, to let go and trust that life happens on purpose. The explanation for things we all feel is so vital to understanding why something happened may not surface in an obvious light, but this doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Photo courtesy of flickr.com

Photo courtesy of flickr.com

As we look at the world today, we realize we’re in a scary time with a lot of things happening that leave us feeling lost, confused, disheartened, and even angry. Through all of that, we can’t lose sight of the little big things happening around us everyday. One of the best things I’ve learned to do in my own life is find the time to give thanks for the little things in my life that often get overlooked. We tend to get so caught up in what’s going wrong we forget to notice what’s going right.

Instead of focusing on what brings you down, focus on what is impacting you in a positive way. Each morning I devote some time to be thankful for something in each of the following areas of my life:

Health:

Whether it’s the basic five senses, or the ability to stand or walk, there is so much to be thankful for. I often give thanks for what I used to have, but no longer do. I look at all aspects of my health; I give thanks for my mental and spiritual health as well.

Relationships:

At times I can get so irritated with my husband, I think that just comes with the territory of marriage. By giving gratitude to our relationship everyday I’m able to keep the reasons why we are together in the forefront of my mind. Despite our imperfections, we are perfect for each other.

Family:

My gratitude is often my children. Their small moments are so huge to me, and they are a constant reminder of the wonder of life. I also give thanks for the love and support of the rest of my family, even those who are no longer with me. I’ve found so many blessings in each of them.

Work:

This is an area of significant stress for most of us, but I’ve learned to find some really incredible things to be thankful for. I’ve learned so much about myself through work, and those lessons have been invaluable for my personal growth.

Finance:

Another area of high stress. We tend to always want more, but I’ve found how blessed I am to be able to provide the very basics to my family: food, water, shelter, clothing. In the grand scheme of things, these are the most important financial investments we can make.

Growing up, my mom used to talk about these little big things, but she called them “Tiny Wonders.” She gave me some of the best advice that I still carry with me to this day. She taught me to stop, take a moment, and appreciate the world around me. There is so much to be thankful for. Those “Tiny Wonders” add up to incredible strength to pull us through difficult times.

What are you thankful for in your life?

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