Category Archives: Relationships

Relationships

Are We All Just Robots?

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I’m starting to think that the movies we watched as kids, those sci-fi depictions of what people would be like in the future, is actually our current reality.  We really are heartless robots walking around all day long looking down at our phones… yet not responding to anyone.  I’m starting to think that’s the only real relationship anyone has any more… if it’s not the only, it’s certainly the most important; the one between hand and phone.

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But this is not news to anyone, we’ve all become addicted, I get it, and I’ve been just as guilty.   This has been annoying kids, daters, spouses for the last decade.   The thing that I see changing is that now people are not only ignoring the living breathing person in front of them in favor of their phone, they are also ignoring half the people on their phone too.

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So when you used to be able to pick up the phone and call a friend, now you only get voicemail.  Where you used to be able to have a text convo, now you can’t get a response for hours or days if at all.   You used to be able to get a response from a Facebook message, or a comment on social media or a reply to an email….GOOD FUCKING LUCK NOW!!!

Now no one can be bothered to interact.  

Why is this so annoying you ask?? Because people still have their phones in their hand!! It’s not like they’ve found a magical way to unplug or detach from the device. No they have just detached from person to person interaction of any kind.

Our smart phones have so much crap on them that people spend their day playing on their apps, when a few years ago they spent it texting/messaging actual people.  Now they can be on the phone and interact with no one. They can scroll through Instagram all day but not actually comment/like their real life friends posts.  They can happily accepts your likes and comments, but can’t be bothered to return the gesture.  They can look at Facebook all day, but not interact or post. They can Tinder all day, but not strike up an actual interesting conversation.

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I’m starting to believe people have become heartless, emotionless, insensitive, rude, detached robots.  It’s easy to block people out, or not respond because it’s just a message on your phone, right?  But I think we’ve forgotten that in doing so over and over again, you’re actually destroying real life friendships, relationships, loyalty, respect, bonds and trust.  Things I grew up believing were a necessary part of being a good human being.

Maybe it’s just me.  Maybe all my –friends, family, clients, business partners, coworkers, associates– maybe all of them have decided in the last year that they can’t stand me.  And if that’s the case cool, I stand corrected.  But I have a feeling that it’s not just me.  No one is responsive these days.  The cold truth is that no one gives a shit anymore.   People don’t care about how their actions affect anyone else.

Everyone is busy.  Blah Blah Blah.  I hate it when I get that excuse from people, I want to send them a breakdown of my day and be like… really? Top that!  Yet I still took the time to reach out to you, to check on you, to put effort into keeping in touch and good old fashioned communication.

At what point will enough be enough? When will we stop to realize that the millions of ways we receive messages from people who don’t matter to us are destroying the relationships with the people who do? That all the apps in the world won’t replace a real life shoulder to cry on.  When will we stop being so isolated in our own head that we take a minute to actually draw on human emotion.  Connect with someone real, tell someone who is important to us that they matter? In a real way, not a social media bullshit way?

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They say chivalry is dead.  Well honey, it’s so dead that I had to look up the meaning of the word! It’s  non-existent!  But is human decency also dead?  Is human connection in any form, a thing of the past? Will my kids never know what that’s like? Where are the acts of kindness, and human interaction that I knew growing up?

It seems impossible to build or maintain a relationship or connection with anyone anymore.  I’m praying that this trend reverses, and that people learn to shut out the noise. If it doesn’t, I shutter to think what the future holds for our children.

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Time to ditch the unresponsive robots.

It’s all just too much.  It makes you cynical after a while.  And I guess you can say I’m there.   Because speaking for myself, I believe I’ve hit my limit.  I’m now cutting people out of my life who can’t be bothered to invest anything into our relationship.  All the one-sided friendships/mentorship/client relationships, whatever with whom ever…. I’m done.  Goodbye to unresponsive robots.  I’m over it. I’m exhausted.  I’m going to save the little energy I have left and invest it into my kids and the few people in my life who show they care.  And take the time to show my kids how to be connected, kind, responsive, decent human beings.

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Dating Divorce Relationships

Ready for Love.

Ready for love.

So in January of this year I made a new vision board. One focused on finding love. I’ve always had love represented on my board, but after reading The Soulmate Secret I was ready to break old habits and learn a how to attract the right man.

I believe strongly that everything happens for a reason, and that truth has lead my life in a positive and beautiful direction the past five years. It’s also helped me to weather any storm and given me confidence that my dreams are manifesting even if at the moment that is sometimes difficult to see. So when the show came to me about doing a piece on dating I knew it was not only a manifestation of my dream to share my story with the world, but also part of the “find me a man” vibe I’d released into the universe a few months ago.

I’m the first to admit that dating has been difficult for me. In fact it’s totally sucked! I’d never dated before age 35 and it was all a bit of a train wreck to say the least! I went out with guys I shouldn’t have, because I knew I wouldn’t be interested, but I honestly didn’t know how to handle it or what to do. It was two years of trial and error, learning what type of guy I was interested in and learning how to set limits and boundaries and respect myself. It was probably a lot like being in college for most people, going through all of that for the very first time. All those heartbreaks, stupid mistakes, bad decisions, you name it. My kids are with me full time, so on the two weekends a month they were gone, I couldn’t handle being home without them so I’d meet someone for a drink or dinner, or coffee or whatever even if I wasn’t interested, sometimes just because that was the first person I’d have talked to all day. I’ve been blogging through all this time, so feel free to read those old blogs and see some of that cringe worthy pain first hand, back in the 2009/10 years! It wasn’t pretty. And I knew I needed and was open to whatever advise or help in that area I could get, so that’s what my reasoning was for doing the show. It was a manifestation on both fronts.

So now I’m in a good, healthy place and I’m open to receive love. I believe it will find me, when I’m ready, and I’m daily doing the work needed to get there so I think I’m close! I know that the first step is to be open, and I finally think I really am. I’ve done the work, taken the advise and am ready to put it into action!

I actually just finished doing an interview with Live with Laura and towards the end of it she gave an unexpected plug for my dream guy! So hey, I know he’s out there and who knows maybe he’s listening or reading this. If you know him, send him my way!


Sarah Centrella is the author of the book Hustle Believe Receive which teaches you how to apply the #HBRMethod to change your life and live your dream.

Follow on social media: Instagram | Twitter | Snapchat | Pinterest | YouTube |Periscope @sarahcentrella

Dating Divorce My Stories Single Mom Life

Steve Harvey’s Dating Advice

Steve Harvey’s datng advice.

So today was a pretty epic day… to say the least! I had my national television talk show debut on the Steve Harvey Show. I woke up this morning with that all too familiar knot in the pit of my stomach, the one that says “you are about to stand naked in front of the whole world, now’s a good time to freak out!” And I mean metaphorically naked of course, like the dream we had as kids giving a speech in front of our class naked, only this was in front of millions of people and I was totally (as is my norm) emotionally raw and exposed.

Sarah Centrella on Steve Harvey SHowBut it wasn’t long before the messages started pouring in on my Facebook pages, twitter and all the other media, and texts from people around the world, most I don’t know, supporting me and my dream. See I’ve had a dream for a few years now to share my story with the world on a talk show or reality show.  Although this episode was on a topic that is very relevant to me (dating), and not my story, it was still a huge manifestation of that dream, and I had a blast being part of it all. It was my first experience with all that, a live audience, camera’s out in a public place, hair and make-up and it was exactly what I’d always envisioned it to be.  It’s absolutely what I see in my long-term future and will continue to work towards.  Plus it got me a meeting with OWN/Harpo producers so I have nothing but gratitude for the entire experience, it was a dream come true.
Sarah Centrella Steve Harvey dating
Randy Ford was an amazing date and I had a blast

Not to mention I got some great dating advise, and if you’re a regular reader of my blog you know I need it! As I’ve said many times before Dating Sucks! I’ve struggled with my dating life since my divorce and will be the first one to say I totally suck at it. I was in a marriage/committed relationship from age 16-34 so dating is not really my thing, I’ll happily take any advise I can get!

I’m gonna keep hustling for my big dream and ignore all the haters, this was a huge step in the right direction and who knows hopefully I’ll even find love in the process.

If you have a dream go after it, even when it terrifies you, the biggest rewards come when you push past your fear and step out on faith. Thanks to everyone who’s loved and supported my journey, good bad and ugly.

Sarah Centrella on Steve Harvey
Sarah Centrella Steve Harvey
Click here to see more Feedback about my appearance on the show.

 

Sarah Centrella is the author of the book Hustle Believe Receive which teaches you how to apply the #HBRMethod to change your life and live your dream.

Follow on social media: Instagram | Twitter | Snapchat | Pinterest | YouTube |Periscope @sarahcentrella

Dating Divorce My Stories Parenting Single Mom Life

Single Mom’s Club… If Only.

sarah centrella's familyI just finished watching both of Oprah’s Life Class’s on Single moms, and though I was disappointed I wasn’t one of those chosen to be in the audience for the show, I was so grateful to her for doing it. The first show blew me away… all these mom’s in one room verbalizing the exact thing’s I’ve been feeling and experiencing for the last five years. It was honest to god the first time I’ve heard other woman say those things, and I cried watching it, because for the first time EVER I didn’t feel alone. I know it sounds crazy but unless you are a *single mom, there is just no way for you to relate to what we face on a daily basis. This is not “poor me” it’s just the reality we live in. I was married with three kids for almost nine years, so I believe I can speak from both sides of the coin. And trust me when I say; doing it alone and unmarried is not even in the same league, as doing it married or with a partner.

It was the first time I’d heard other woman say they deal with judgment from friends, family and the world at large for parenting alone. I swear I thought it was just me! And the first time I heard women cry because they are constantly beating themselves up about every little thing, and dealing with the intense isolation that makes you think you are losing your mind. And I heard Oprah say… Forgive yourself, because you are allowed to make a mistake. That one knocked the wind out of me. Because for whatever reason, that one is huge!  You really feel like you are not afforded the opportunity to make mistakes as a single mom.  Maybe because we have a different relationship with our kids, one where the line between parent and child is very blurred, and where the children are very aware of what goes on in their mom’s life, mostly because mom has no one to talk to on a daily basis but her kids. So decisions that would normally not involve children, or ones where they would normally be unaware of, now are a joint family decision. And when you fail there is no covering it up. There is no way that your kids aren’t involved in watching that failure, and sharing in that disappointment. The buffer zone does not exist. So we hold ourselves to this ridiculous standard where to shield our kids from our mistakes we go the extra mile to try not to make them, all the while making them of course, but just submerged in total self-loathing when we do. There is no one to say “it’s okay, you did the best you could, everything will be fine.” And because of that you never forgive yourself, you never stop questioning every little decision.

sarah centrella and kidsThere was a comment made however that did not sit well with me, one Iyanla Vanzant (whom I totally love) made when asked why so many single mothers complained about feeling judged. She turned it back to the mom, saying what are you feeling about yourself that you perceive people are judging you? And though I get and understand that physiology and normally agree with about everything Iyanla says, this one I don’t.  By saying that, she invalidated one of our biggest issues we face a single moms, one that the overwhelming majority in that room complained of as well. It’s NOT all in our head. It’s not just us feeling inadequate, then thinking people judge us. PEOPLE ACTUALLY JUDGE US all the damn time!

I used to be very close to my siblings and parents, until after my divorce. Once I became a single mom my family was so full of judgment, suddenly everything I was doing was wrong and they questioned every move I made. Even though I was the same mother to my kids who they had always said before was doing an amazing job. But now there was not buffer zone, no husband or marriage to “not intrude on”, I was fair game, and they all eventually turned their back on me. They couldn’t relate to me as a single mom. They had their ideas of how I should do things and felt their opinion was equal to my own. As a result I have basically no relationship with my family and haven’t for several years. So not only did my kids lose their father, they lost their grandparents and aunt and uncle as well.

Judgment is real, and we face it every day. The only way I’ve been able to combat it, or keep it from destroying me, is to rise above and try to redefine the term “single mom”, and break the stereotypes. Prove to people I’m “not that single mom”. It’s a driving force in my life on a daily basis. It’s entirely possible that all that judgment and “hatin'” is what’s driven me to succeed, so for that I am grateful.  Wherever motivation comes from to succeed, even if it’s just to prove people wrong, is just fine in my book!

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A perfect example of this was my girls kindergarten teacher in Washington.  From the start of the year I noticed that she would single out the girls and punish them for things non of the other kids would even be reprimanded for (asking to use the bathroom, their coat falling off the peg to the floor when they were seated at their desk, stuff that was just totally insane). She would keep them inside for recess because she didn’t like the shoes they wore that day, the list went on and on. Things got so bad she even tried to fail them! Mind you they were in kindergarten and were learning at or above their grade level. My last straw was at our first parent conference when my suspension was proven that she really did have an attitude with me (though we’d only at school functions) and my girls (who anyone who’s ever watched or been around them will say they are really well-behaved girls). At the conference she imminently began speaking so negatively about the girls in front of them, that I knew this was not a situation the girls could continue to be exposed to. I called a meeting with the principle and a mediator to try to understand what her problem was with my family.

When we sat down at the meeting her anger was visible, she clearly had a vendetta against me and my daughters.  When I asked her what the issue was she unleashed and in front of the school mediator and principle basically said that a single mom who works full-time can not be a good parent too. It was so unbelievably shocking. To have had my daughters judged to the point where their grades were effected (she actually copy and pasted the girls grades to each report card. Even the comments were exactly the same), all because she had some type of prejudiced against single moms.  It’s not something we make up that people around us are constantly judging us and our children, it is very, very real.  My girls were moved into two separate classes after that and did amazing, and finally started loving school instead of being afraid to go.

Today was another example, I took my kids to OMSI (science museum) in Portland and tried to buy a “family membership” the woman at the counter took my completed application and noticed the spot for “adult #2” was blank.  She looked at me (my kids leaning on the counter standing next to me looking at us both), and said; “you need a second adult to qualify for a family membership”. I thought she was kidding. I wasn’t complaining that I had to pay a membership that included 2 adults when I only had one (you’d think a discount would apply) I was simply trying to pay for the “family pass”.  But apparently our “family” did not qualify.  I was shocked and appalled.  “You can put down someone else, a family member” she tells me as if that’s any better. So I’m standing there with my kids, them all looking at me like “what’s wrong mama? What did we do?” And I’ve got no one to put down. No family. No friends that would ever be taking my kids to this thing. I don’t qualify.  Now not only are we not a “family” according to their definition, we are extra pathetic because I have no one to write down on a stupid form. Yes we are alone, but we don’t need constant insensitive reminders.

So no, it’s  not just in our heads. It’s real and we face awkward moments like that all the time.

The other thing Iyanla said in the second show that I can’t get behind is that single moms should allow the men they date into their kids lives, to meet them even when it’s a new relationship.  And what I, and other good single moms who don’t do that, worry about is we don’t want our kids getting attached to random men who don’t stick around. And her response was “don’t your girlfriends leave? Why shouldn’t guys just be people?” I gotta say this was shocking to me.  They aren’t “just people” they are men who at the end of the day are more interested in you than your kids and who want to “date you” and when things don’t work out they are gone for good. You can still occasionally see a girlfriend or a family member that you’re no longer close to, it’s not that way with men. I’m not saying this as the bitter old chick, who thinks all men are pigs, I don’t. But I do know dating, with or without kids is something that can last a month, a few months or longer, but why bring your kids into all that mess? Why? What’s the point of that? It makes no sense to me at all. If you feel like he’s “the one” than yeah, that’s different. But come on now. That’s one of the single mom stereotypes I have tried hardest to never get stuck with, because that’s not me. And yes I’m sure there is a balance (in 5 years being single, no guy I’ve dated has met my kids) which I’m realizing I should probably find, but still… I’m never gonna be one of those woman who has men rotating in and out of my kids lives. I’d rather be happily single!

But I am so grateful to Life Class for bringing this topic up and opening this discussion, because we do feel so alone.  And it was amazing to at least for a minute feel “normal” like I’m not crazy to feel this way, and that there are millions of us out there silently facing this struggle and trying to turn it into a blessing. I’m excited to see Tylor Perry’s movie Single Mom’s Club, I’m really hoping it portrays us in a positive light and shows our struggles in a realistic way. I think we need more avenues like this, we need more support and a sense of community for those of us who don’t have one.

the single moms clubI salute all you hard-working single parents out there, who are doing it without support or help and who are dedicated loving parents.  It’s not easy, but damn I wouldn’t change a thing about my experience, struggle and all. At the end of the day I’m a very blessed mama.

 *to all you single dad’s out there, don’t get offended by my use of “single-mom” it can very well mean single parent…. obviously all I can speak to and know anything about is the “mom” part.

 

 

 


 

Sarah Centrella is the author of the book Hustle Believe Receive which teaches you how to apply the #HBRMethod to change your life and live your dream.

Follow on social media: Instagram | Twitter | Snapchat | Pinterest | YouTube |Periscope @sarahcentrella

Dating Divorce My Stories Parenting Single Mom Life

I’m a Single Mom, Not a Stereotype.

It took me a long time to accept, and figure out what the label single mom, meant for me after my husband left. I knew what it meant to be a “wife” and a “mother”, but I had no idea how to be a “single mom.”  And to my shock, I realized quickly that the perception of a single mom is totally different than that of a married mom.

Suddenly it was like I was no longer part of the “mom” club, somehow overnight I’d become less of a parent and a less qualified mother.  But my married mom friends would say things like “Oh I totally understand, my husband travels all the time and never helps around the house, I’m basically a single mom too.” And I’d think; I pray you are never in my shoes, because you’d not last a day. The two are in no way comparable.   Slowly they’d stop calling because they couldn’t relate to me anymore, we were no longer the same. I was on my own, in more ways than one.

And when I’d meet friends and mom’s who never knew me when I was married, I was still not “one of them,” because even though I’d been married eight years, it was somehow no longer relevant. I  felt like the girl on the outside who “just doesn’t get what it’s like to be married with kids.” Being a single mom is more isolating than anyone can imagine. The isolation is deep and intense, and no one gets it, or understands, and so you just move forward… alone.  And that’s not self-pity talking, that is cold reality, and one that takes a lot of time to adjust to.

In the beginning I figured out pretty quickly how negatively society views the term single mom, it comes with so much judgment and stereotypes, something I never would have expected.  I noticed people treated me differently when I was out and about with three very small kids and no longer wearing a wedding ring. Suddenly there was shame and embarrassment as if I needed to explain to strangers why I had three babies and no wedding ring.  I even went so far as to buy a fake ring because I couldn’t deal with the humiliating way I felt people perceived me.  And when I would tell people my husband left, I’d get that pity look, like “oh no wonder.”  I hated that even more because it separated me from everyone else in a negative way.

Society, and the media have continued to portray single moms as; “baby mama’s” who will sleep with anyone, and have kids with different fathers.  In fact I was, and still am so shocked when I meet a man for the first time, and tell him I have three children, how often he asks “do your kids have different dad’s?”  It’s like, what??  It’s crazy. People also assume we are
“a hotmess”, not dependable, always making excuses, and are never home with our kids because we are always working or parting. And those are the more positive terms, others that come to mind based on the image society gives single moms, is: unstable, unfit, stressed-out, bitter, dependent, whore, needy, desperate, flaky, unmotivated, always feeling sorry for
themselves… and the list goes on. 

It took a few years for me to come to terms with this title, this label that I live with every day. But the only way I’ve been able to do that is to try and redefine it for not only myself, but my children. I refused to fall into the stereotypes that said I was “less than,”so I worked harder than everyone else I knew.  I was more dependable, more motivated.  To this day have never introduced my kids to a guy I’ve dated, in fact they have never even been around any men outside of my friends husbands, family and a few pro-athletes I’ve coached, at games.  I’ve gone above and beyond to break through these negative associations people have already in their mind about me, based on this title. I’m fiercely independent (to the point I have even paid for dates, and taken care of who I was dating instead of allowing them to do that for me). I’ve fraught hard to break the mold. And I’ve taught my children to do the same, to never think that they are “less than” because they are growing up with one parent.  Or to think that their life is not complete or their future inhibited in any way.

I’m not remotely perfect in any way, in fact I’m beautifully scared and flawed, but I won’t let anyone put labels on me that don’t belong. I won’t own and carry the mistakes of others.  Instead I hope to help clear a new path, one that shows single mom’s in a positive light. That I can help be a role-model for other newly single moms to realize they can be anything they want to be, regardless of the negative baggage that comes with this label.  You can have a successful career (and not feel ashamed of that), and just because you do, doesn’t mean you are a shitty mom or raising “latch-key-kids”.  You can still be there for your kids, take them to school, and activities, and do homework with them at night, and cook a real meal at dinner, and sing their song at bedtime.  You can keep a clean house, and take care of yourself, look good and do the 300 other things we do, alone.  Outside the view of the people who would judge us. They don’t know until they walk in our shoes, and at some point along the way I stopped caring what they thought of me. I had to instead put my energy on making my life the best it could be and redefining what that was. So now the term single mom means this to me… anything is possible.

PS. I would REALLY like to see a show on TV (reality or otherwise) that featured a successful, independent single mom with multiple kids, doing it all. Raising good, well rounded happy kids, having a successful career, pursuing her passion and finding a way to have a social life. That would make some good TV. Instead of “teen mom’s” and all that negative messy drama, show me a single mom who’s a boss! Who’s holding it down, making it happen but is still a devoted loving mom… Who’s with me on that?

 

 

Divorce Hustle.Believe.Receive. Motivation & Inspiration My Stories Single Mom Life Vision Boards

#HBRMethod Success Story.

A text message changed my life. On the evening of September 7, 2008, I opened my husband’s cell phone while he was in the shower, to read: I can’t wait ’till you’re finally free and all mine. No more sharing. Those few words tore my world apart in an instant. 

I’d been with this man half my life, since we were sixteen years old. We had an eight-year marriage and shared three beautiful children, including twin girls just over a year old. We’d been through it all: buying our first home, then losing it in foreclosure; being overjoyed when I got pregnant with our second child, then devastated when I lost it six months into my pregnancy. I thought we’d seen everything, but this I never saw coming. 

I never saw it because everyone knew he loved me just a little bit more. They say in every relationship one person does that, loves the other more. The kids and I had always been his entire world. No part of me ever questioned that he’d jump in front of a train to save us if he had to. 

I was all he ever wanted. Until I wasn’t. 

I set his phone on the bathroom counter and without a second thought, threw open the shower curtain, turned off the water, and said; “Get the fuck out.” I watched him pull on his shorts in the hallway, still dripping wet, one leg and then the other as I pointed to the front door. He kissed our son goodbye, tossed his ring in my general direction, and walked out slamming the door behind him. 

He never came back. 

Things had not been perfect between us prior to that day, I can’t lie. We’d been struggling financially to the point of desperation for what felt like forever. We’d lost our home the year before and were forced into bankruptcy after our twins were born. Our life was in a noticeable negative tailspin. Losing everything we’d worked so hard to acquire had destroyed our pride and left us both feeling useless, helpless and miserable. I’d done everything I could think of to cut our budget and make it so we could pay the bills and still eat, but every month we fell further behind. 

On the day he left, I didn’t have five dollars to my name. Our electric, water and gas bills were all past due, with shutoff notices pending, and the rent was late. I hadn’t worked in over two years, and the economy was in the middle of a deep recession. The car title was in his name, as was our bank account. Overnight, I went from desperate to stranded and destitute, with no way to provide for my three small children. 

That night, I laid on the cold hardwood floor in our living room, my hair matted to the side of my head with tears that had finally run dry from my own dehydration. The only thought that floated in my semi-conscious brain was, “How the hell can I do this?” I’d tried so hard to think of a plan, anything, but nothing came, except that question over and over again. It seemed completely impossible. Yet somehow in that moment survival mode also kicked in, and with it came even more questions. Of course we’d have to move right away, but where? I didn’t have family who could take us in. And we’d need to sell everything we owned, but how? And I’d need a job, but doing what? And how could I afford to work when daycare would take up most of my salary?

All night these questions swirled in my head without answers. 

The sense of utter helplessness was all-consuming. I was no stranger to hard times. I’d grown up in extremely difficult circumstances and had struggled all my life. I already knew what it felt like to go hungry, to not have a roof over my head, or a bed to sleep in at night. But this was different. Being resilient and scrappy is fine when it’s just you. But when you have children to feed, it’s a new kind of panic that washes over you in overwhelming waves. In the past I had always relied on #TheHustle to get me through anything; it was comforting knowing that no matter what came at me, I would always “find a way.” But this time, I knew Hustle alone would not save me, and I had no bright ideas.  

In moments like these, I think we are faced with two options. We can give up, fall apart and disappear. Or we can fight. I knew I could never just give up, but I didn’t believe I had what it would take to fight. Not this time. 

That was about the time my girlfriend Charise walked in the door with her arms full of Costco boxes. She’d thought of everything: diapers and formula for the girls, dinner for the next week, and even enough cash to keep the electricity and water on. That is the moment that has defined my #RelentlessPursuit. That is the moment I Hustle and grind for. 

Something inside me snapped in that moment. A light went on, deep in my core, followed by a burning desire to never put myself or my children in this kind of position again. I made a promise to myself right then that I would not rely on anyone to provide for my family. I wouldn’t borrow money from family members; I wouldn’t beg for help. I would somehow pay my girlfriend back, and figure out how to handle my business on my own. Before I’d always just thought I was unlucky and entitled to what little help I’d ever received.  All my life I’d told myself this story, and believed it. Nothing good ever happens to me.  I work twice as hard as everyone else for half as much. That was my core belief. And as a result, that was my life.  No one ever told me that my life was the result of my thoughts, my beliefs and my actions. I believed that the only thing I could control was how hard I worked (#TheHustle), but that on its own left me feeling like I was drowning in quicksand, no matter how hard I worked, the results never showed. It took the catastrophe of that night, when my world collapsed in an instant, to spark within me a desire to drastically change my life. 

That week I sold everything we owned on Craigslist and filed for divorce. I took the money I made from our belongings to pay for first and last month’s rent on a really tiny, super-shitty two-bedroom apartment. I had just enough left over for one more month of rent and a few groceries. That was all the money I had in the world: I didn’t even have a bank account. My sister convinced me to get on food stamps, just until I got on my feet, and though I cried when the case worker took my story, I knew I had no choice. I applied for every job I could find, but interviews were few and far between. When the second month came and my rent money was gone, I sold my wedding rings on Craigslist for a fraction of their value; enough for one more month’s rent. When the women came to pick up my rings, she looked around our little apartment at my twins running around in their diapers and said, “I don’t want to know. Please don’t tell me the story.” She didn’t want my “bad luck” giving her new wedding rings negative juju. 

Things were certainly bleak, to put it mildly. It was terrifying, yet at the same time there was a new spark of hope deep inside me that wouldn’t go away. Now I was in control of my future, and that was a whole new way of thinking about what was possible for my life. I remembered an Oprah show I’d watched where she’d talked about changing your thoughts because they have the power to predict your future. I mentally traced my life back five, ten years, and realized that everything I worried about, feared and stressed about, had become my reality. That was a huge revelation for me. I saw it plain as day: I’d created all those “misfortunes.” I’d created that life. That was all the proof I needed of the tremendous power of my thoughts, even if it had only worked in a negative way up to that point. I knew I had nothing to lose, and the possibility of possibility brought hope in a way I’d never known before.

My book Hustle Believe Receive  is how I went from a newly single mom with nothing, relying on state aid to survive, to an executive of a software company in just eighteen months. It’s the story of how I manifested four vision boards in six years, and completely changed not only my life but my children’s. It’s how I went from living in a “poor me” world, to being a take-charge-of-my-future badass. It’s the tale of how I learned to dream HUGE and what it felt like to live out those dreams quicker, and bigger than I’d ever imagined, often without spending a dime of my own money! It’s how I learned to work smarter and not harder.  It’s how I Changed my Crew. And it’s the story of how, for the first time in my life I learned to truly be grateful, live a “pinch-me moment” kinda life, and how I found my joy. 

 
 
“Anything is possible child, anything can
be.”
–Shel Silverstein


 

CLICK HERE TO READ SUCCESS STORIES FROM REAL PEOPLE
 
*You can read all my posts about these events and all the others as I went through them in  real-time. Look on the left side of my blog and click the “archive” to read what I wrote as I faced these  challenges and celebrated these victories in 2009-and beyond
 
 

 

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Books I Love Dating Relationships

Attracting My Soulmate.

I’ve just finished reading the most amazing book! The Soulmate Secret by Arielle Ford. Having made a commitment to myself at the start of the year to be my best possible self, and have my best year ever in 2014, I decided to do the work necessary to use the #HBRMethod to attract my soulmate.

Waiting for my flight ..

I had so many breakthroughs as I turned the pages of this truly inspiring, easy to understand guide to finding my beloved.  The first was when I realized that I’d been attracting the same kind of man over and over again, because deep-down I didn’t believe myself to be worthy or lovable. That was a new revaluation to me. I’d always been a woman who had self-confidence, but when I pealed away the surface I could see the core reason I kept bringing the wrong type of men into my life.

The first thing I did was write out a list of all the reasons I could think of that I was blocking true love in my life.  I’ve had never written a “negative” list before because I didn’t want to give those words life.  However I realized that by avoiding it, I was also avoiding the raw truth that was exposed in “admitting” them.  I began, and instead of writing out “I am unlovable” for example, I wrote out a list of 20-30 items that read “I let go of the belief that I am unlovable”.  As I wrote this list I felt nothing.  It bothered me that I could write a list of things so deep and raw and “new” to me, yet feel no emotion attached to any of them, but I kept writing.

 

Arielle asked the question in the beginning of the book if the reader was holding on to any past lovers who could unknowingly be blocking true love.  And so at the end of my list I wrote the names of the men whom I’ve dated the past five years, who have been difficult to let go of, for one reason or another.  I wrote: “I let go of so-and-so, knowing that he was not my soulmate”.  This section was harder to write. Yet still I was surprisingly composed for such a spiritual and cleansing exercises.

And then I stood in front of my bathroom mirror and read my list out loud to myself with candles burning, and looked myself in the eye as I let go of all my blockers to love. And as I did so, tears fell hard and fast down my cheeks and onto my handwritten words.  When I got to the names of each of my ex’s I cried more still, and hardest on the name of the one still closest to my heart. But I let it out, and let it go.  I then lit the paper on fire, held it over the toilet, watched it burn and flushed the ashes.  I can’t adequately put into words the feeling of peace and relief that flowed through me as I finished this ceremony.  All the pain, and bitterness left my body, and peace took it’s place.

That was the first amazing breakthrough.

Then the second major aha moment came today as I finished the book on a flight from Orange County Ca, back to Portland.  I looked over the list I’d created of my perfect soulmate, a list so detailed with every possible trait and characteristic I could dream of represented.  All except one….”available. Emotionally (able and ready to be in a committed loving relationship), physically (aka single), and locationally (not long distance) available.”

And then the wammy hit me like a frying pan to the back of the head.  It so diverted my attention that I began feverishly writing in the books margins, even as the captain was letting us know the plane was relying on auto-pilot to land in the intense fog (something that normally would have stopped me in my tracks and caused me to freak out!). I began writing the names of the six men I’d dated the past five years, and a list of what I’d been attracted to in each.  When I finished, my list matched exactly to my perfect soulmate list! These six men together made up the ideal man I was looking for.  Yet all five lacked one thing in common… not one of them was or had been available.

I was stunned.  I looked over the list again…
1. Mr. “heartbreak” was an excellent communicator, we had that soulful connection, he was passionate about his work, loyal, family focused, loving and so kind.
2. Mr. “power” had stability, safety, power, success, money, brains.
3. Mr. “Attraction” shared my same mindset and beliefs on the law of attraction, self-improvement, and reading.  He had the most amazing body, was sexy beyond belief, and we shared amazing chemistry.  And he loved to dance, cook and loved football.
4. Mr “big” was tall like I wanted, loved my kids and my kids loved him.
5. Mr. “Smooth” knew how to tell me everything I wanted to hear in a way I needed to hear it. He flattered, and his eyes lit-up when he saw me, his love for me was true and undeniable.
6. Mr. “friend” was the best conversationalist I’d ever known, and shared my intense passion for travel and the finer things in life.

As I looked over my list of the men who’d impacted my life the last five years I realized that I was attracting attributes from my list (each of those item descriptions was on my original list), but I’d failed to ask that they be “available for a relationship.” And each of them I tried to make fit the mold. I tried to make “Mr. Power, be Mr. Attraction” or vs.  I knew non of them were the complete package yet I tried to force something I knew would not work. Suddenly I realized that I no longer needed to force anything, that if I’d already manifested parts of him, that I could absolutely manifest the whole him. I sat back and braced in my seat for our rough landing, looking over my writing in the margins… and I knew.  He is out there, he is writing lists and making mental or physical vision boards to attract me to him. When our time is perfect the Universe will have us collide in some cosmically beautiful way, and knowing that is all I need.

I can now relax and love the life I’ve created for myself and my kids, I can love and cherish myself and all that I’ve become over the past five years.  And when our eyes meet for the first time, we both will know…..

And so it is.

Love this, from my Pinterest Love board

 

 

Dating Health & Fitness Motivation & Inspiration Parenting Relationships Vision Boards Your Life Coach

New Years Resolutions Template.

Every year since I was a teenager I have taken the time at the start of a new year to write down my goals and resolutions. They started out pretty basic “get in shape,””drink more water”, that kinda thing… but over the years as I’ve learned the importance of mapping out your goals and creating your future, and as a result I’ve made them increasingly detailed.  If you’ve never made a vision board, or a bucket list (shame on you!) or even been one to actually write your goals out, then this template is for you. Let it guide you into really discovering what it is that you want and what will bring you happiness and make you feel successful and accomplished. 

I also love this because it’s a great benchmark for your progress and success.  It’s a measuring stick that will prove you are either moving forward, falling off the path, or if your life has become stagnant. Remember this is the only life you get, time goes by so fast, and it’s time you take charge of it. Time you lead it, instead of being along blindly for the ride. This exercise will help you chart out a positive course for 2014 and next year at this time it will feel so great to go back and look at this list and see how much you’ve accomplished. I recommend you fill this out and then print it, put it up in your room or office someplace you can see it on a regular basis. Stay focused. 

Goals for 2014:

 FINANCES
What is your overall goal for your financial situation in 2014? Aim big, push your limits, hold yourself accountable.
Example: Become financially free this year.
The plan:
1.      Put X amount of $ (use a specific dollar
amount that is realistic for you but one that also pushes you just enough).  Break out that contribution with each payday.
2.      Increase 401k contribution by X % (be
specific, and then do it tomorrow).
3.      Do not spend wastefully (give
specific examples of what you will change).
4.      Keep all bills current.
5.      Earn X $ in 2014. (If you have a job
where your income is not set, or where you can increase it based on effort put
the amount here. Or if your plan is to increase your income in 2014 put the
plan on how you will do that here).
6.      Put your major savings goal here,
such as buy a house, or a new car etc. 
TRAVEL:
I believe that everyone deserves to take vacations, experience new places and expose themselves and their families to the world. If this is not important for you, you can replace it with something that is. But if you’ve always secretly dreamed of incorporating travel into your life, put it down. Even if you think it’s not a realistic possibility for you this year. Put it down anyway.  What is your overall goal for travel?
Example: Take a family vacation.
The plan:
·
Take 2 major vacations with the family.
1.      To (insert specific destination here)
and why it’s important to you.
2.      One “lux” vacation to (specific
destination) and a description of what that trip would ideally be like.
·
What trips would you like to take alone or with your friends?
PASSION:
I believe strongly in the power of finding what inspires you, and what makes you passionate and feel most alive. I think we all have something that we are amazing at, and that lights us up, but most of us are afraid to act on it, or to put it as a priority in our life. We think it’s foolish, or a pipe dream. I say those dreams and doing what you love should be what fuels your desire to break free of the norm. It should be your goal to one day have your passion lead your life and success and not hide it. This will help you put specific goals around making it a priority in your life. I believe it will bring you happiness and joy when you begin focusing on it.
What is your passion?
  • What specific things can you do in 2014 to increase the time, energy and joy you get form it?
  • What are your goals for where you’d like it to take you in 2014?
  • Do you need to commit more time to it? Doing what? How often?
  • What are some benchmarks for success with it?
RELATIONSHIPS (dating/family/friends/marriage):
This is a huge area that I believe we should all make a priority to focus on. It’s one where we can look internally and set goals to make us a better: spouse, sibling, parent, partner and friend. Those things don’t just happen. We are not automatically great at all of these relationships, they all take work.  Look at the ones that are important to you and see how you can improve them this year. How you can make better choices, set boundaries, give more, or whatever it is you need to work on. Be honest and true here. Don’t hold back. Resolutions are to make you better. It’s time to put in the hard work and face truths.
·
Set clear goals for the relationships that matter to you.
  • What would make you a better spouse? Giving more time? Being kinder? Focusing on the positive instead of nagging? Be honest, list out your goals for improvement.
  • Are you close with extended family? If not why not? What can you do to bridge that gap and work on those relationships? 
  •  Do you spend time with your friends? Do they know how much you value them? Do you give more than you take in those friendships.
  • What would make you a better parent? Having more patience? Being present in the moment with your kids? Playing with them? Talking to them?
  • Are you dating? What boundaries do you need to set around that? Are you making the right choices? If not why not? What will you change this year? Do you know what you want? What would make you a better partner.
  • If you’re single write a DETAILED description of your IDEAL mate. Shoot for the moon and know that the universe will bring it to you when you’re ready, so don’t waste your time on anything that is the opposite of your list.
·        Example: My Dream guy…

He’s dashingly handsome. Has an amazing smile. Is tall and dark and strong. Dresses well, is well educated and well spoken.  He’s kind and generous. He’s old fashioned, attentive, patient and adores me and the kids. One who believes he’s waited his life to find me, one who I know is my better half. He challenges me, but supports me at the same time. He’s successful but not obsessed with work. He’s confident but not self-absorbed. He’s KIND and his heart is big and full of love.  He’s an excellent communicator, texts and calls often. He lets me know I’m his queen without asking or being told. He does it because it makes HIM happy. He commits to me, doesn’t quit or walk away. Introduces me to his world, is proud of me and wants the world to know I’m his and he is mine. He’s a world traveler and makes it a priority with me. He compliments freely and sincerely. He apologizes and recognizes when he’s wrong. He works to make it right. He’s humble and open to learn and improve.  He is real, and steady.

What are your top criteria that can be your benchmark for success?
Example: Our relationship is based on these 4 keys:

1.      Mutual respect
2.      Mutual love and adoration.
3.      Open, honest and frequent
communication
4.      Mutual and equal effort 
PHYSICAL & SPIRITUAL:
To really be happy I believe it’s critical to make your physical and mental/spiritual self as whole as possible.  It must be a priority.  How can you achieve a better health and fitness lifestyle? How can you make your mental health and spirituality more of a priority? List specific actions that are realistic to your life, that you can begin doing tomorrow and can commit to for the rest of the year.
Example:
  • Go to yoga 4 days a week, start running 2 days a week.
  • Make relaxation a priority, take care of my skin. Get regular massages and facials.
  • Take my vitamins and supplements.
  • Drink more water. 
  •  Meditate daily.
  • Use mantras to boost my motivation and mood.
  • Consider going to therapy (personally I think everyone should make this a priority).
  • Read more.  
  • Focus on the tools of positivity I’ve learned to take me to the next level.
  • Stay in control of my mind, attitude and focus.
CAREER:
We spend the majority of our lives at work. Therefore finding a career that challenges you, is rewarding and financially fulfilling is very important. How can you become more successful in your current position or what would you need to do to be happy at work?
·        
Here are some questions that might help you make a plan:
  • Are you in a career you love? If not why not?
  • What would you change if you could?
  • What would your dream job look like?
  • How can you be more successful in your current role?
  • What do you need to do to take your career and income potential to the next level?
    What is your plan to make the changes you are identifying?
 

OTHER:

If there is another category in your life not represented here, then add it in. This is your list, make it reflective of what is important to you. 
Once you have completed this worksheet, you need to take the time to build a  Vision Board that supports it. Look for pictures (Pinterest is my favorite place) that represent each of these goals and categories. Read your list often. Stay focused. You WILL ACHIEVE your goals. Put in the work, the rewards are huge!
Here’s to your best year EVER!

 

 

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