Doubt and Why It Should Piss You Off

Everything starts with one idea. Everything.

You wouldn’t take a shower in the morning, if you didn’t have the idea to shower first. You wouldn’t be in the field of work that you’re in, unless you had a single thought to pursue it. Every task begins with an idea. IMG_3045.PNG

Some of our ideas are big. Really big. They urge us to fulfill a purpose that just feels “right”. I won’t even give you an example of this because right now, as you read this, you have your own example in mind. And chances are that the example you hold in your mind is thee ‘big idea’ that feels right to you.

What to know: As soon as anybody is brave enough to acknowledge his or her big idea, doubt will immediately begin its work on you.

My friend, fellow real estate agent, and mentor, Olivia Chambers, and I did a FB Live last week to discuss the topic of Doubt and its sources (*to see a replay of this go to www.facebook.com/31MainStreet ) I will now expand on the things that we discussed…

The 3 Main Sources of Doubt:

  1.  Self
  2. Environment
  3. Natural Obstacles and Challenges

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  1. Self Doubt — This can be the most challenging of either of the other sources of doubt, as we can’t escape ourselves. We can leave or change our environment; We can manage or prevent obstacles. While we can’t leave ourself (or get a lobotomy as Olivia jested), we can change, manage, and prevent doubt from creeping in to chisel away at our dream. It should be noted that once we master self doubt, there is no other source that can hinder us, so this is truly the most important to manage of them all. Ways to manage self doubt include…
    1. Walk Like It, Talk Like It, Act Like It – Break it down for yourself. You are not going to conquer it all at once, but by trying simple tasks like adjusting your posture, you can transform your mind in incredible ways. The brain takes cues from the physiological actions of the body, and if you’re standing tall, then you’re doing the “walk like it” part. The “talk like it part” would be repeatedly affirming your own worth. Make so much time to speak and think positively about yourself that negativity doesn’t have space. Suffocate it.  So what’s “Act Like It” then? “Act Like It” = “Walk Like It” + “Talk Like It” . Master one. Add the other. Master that. Now, you’re acting like it. Once you’re acting like it, you will be treated like ‘it’. See the domino effect?
    2. Plow Through – You’ve heard the old saying “Feel the fear, then do it anyways.”? Well, yes. Feel it. Maybe give it the middle finger. Then, do what you want anyways because no one tells you what to do. Not even you.
  2. Doubt from Environment — Some of the most well-intentioned people in your environment can create the most doubt in association with your idea. “Innocently toxic”, as Olivia coined. So how do we handle our environment?
    1. Choose your own support system – when you decide to pursue your passion, consider the people in your life who naturally fall in line to support this. Those are your people. You don’t have to cut anyone out per se, but pick and choose where you spend your time.
    2. Understand what they don’t know – they base their opinions from information they’ve collected along their own life path. It’s not your job to explain anything away for them. That will only siphon your energy. Rather, just know that they don’t know. And move on.
  3. Obstacles and Challenges — The word is… SETBACK. There are always setbacks. We have setbacks in tasks that we didn’t even choose for ourselves. Why wouldn’t they IMG_2761exist in tasks that we did choose? You’ll notice Olivia and I laughing during this part of the FB Live (around 2m:50s). It’s because we had the setback of technical difficulties, which led to us losing our entire audience. She and I could’ve easily gotten discouraged and said ‘screw it’ for the day. Instead, we made some adjustments in our technology and tried again. Did it produce perfect results? No. We lost our audience and to be honest, the first recording was a bit funnier. BUT…  it did produce a video, which led to this blog post, which is reaching a few thousand people right now. Done is better than perfect. Setbacks are no reason to stop your pursuit to what you want to accomplish. If they make you feel doubtful, recognize it for what it is, and then do it anyways. Plow through.

I’ve been known to say that doubt is a hologram.

What I mean by this: It’s power is only in its illusion. Once you walk right through it, you see that there was never anything to truly fear on the other side. Doubt is the Wizard of Oz. You need only pull back the curtain.

Big Love,

Megan

 

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7 Ways of Coping with Traumatic Loss

While there are many forms of  loss such as divorce, unemployment, estranged relatives, the death of another human being cannot be compared to any other experience on this earth. It is a totally unique experience. When it’s unexpected, there’s a whole other set of challenges that present themselves.

Everything is cyclical. You will have dark periods that cycle out and return, and with time and healing, the dark periods grow shorter. Do not expect them to disappear completely though. We loved that person; And it’s because we loved that person that there will always be sadness associated with their absence.

I’m not an expert (I don’t know who would want to be an expert in this). These are all things I’ve learned and observed through the last two years. 35985576_10214767892245350_7557907341509656576_n

My long time friend and fellow writer, Trisha Lynn, and I did a FB Live this week to
discuss some ways we cope with the losses that we’ve experienced. (*to see a replay of this go to www.facebook.com/31MainStreet ) Here, I briefly recap those suggestions, as well as discuss some other tools that weren’t mentioned in our Facebook Live:

Music – PURPOSE: Creating new pathways and associations in your brain. Music can understand you in a way that people can’t some times. When talking to others who are grieving, I’ve noticed a commonality. A lot of us have songs or entire genres associated with our loved one. In the beginning, it can be painful to listen to a song that feels like it belongs to someone else who is no longer here. So until then, I highly recommend finding an artist or genre that you never considered before. It could be EDM, Classical, or Jazz. For me, there was a whole other world of music that I never knew about (*for more on this see my post: How Music Worked With Me this Year )

Journaling – PURPOSE: Our minds race. Thoughts can build up and intertwine with one another, binding us, making it impossible to function. Many times, our thoughts can get so tightly wound up. It can be hard to make a decision as simple as what to do first in our day, so we go back to bed. Journaling (first thing in the morning or last thing at night in particular) can be a wonderful tool to rid ourselves of the useless thoughts. There’s a book to reference for this. It’s called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. In the book, Cameron offers a means of decluttering one’s mind. She calls it “Brain Dump”, and I think that’s the perfect term. Get rid of all of the crap bouncing around in there, close your journal, and be one step closer to clarity.

Learning Something New – PURPOSE: Creating new neuro pathways within our brains. Learning something new will build your confidence in this foreign world. It will give you a sense of control that you feel you’ve lost. Some skills that I’ve learned over the past two years are real estate and shooting. Both of these areas have served different purposes for me personally, but the world is boundless with possible new careers, skills, or hobbies you could develop.

Reading – PURPOSE: This serves as a great escape from reality and can be incredibly comfortable and relaxing. It also serves another purpose. It goes along with the suggestion above: learning something new. I highly recommend reading books that feed you in a positive manner. Books like, The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson and 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, come to my mind. As Olson states in his book, reading just 10 pages a day will still move you in a positive direction forward. This fosters both patience in the process of learning, and also, it’s effective in the absorption of content.

Faith – PURPOSE: It’s my ‘why’. The promise that I will be reunited with loved ones some day is what keeps me going. While I don’t push my beliefs on another, I will say that believing in something bigger than myself has gotten me through some extremely dark times. (If you ever want to have a respectful conversation about it separately, I’ll gladly discuss my beliefs.)

Exercise – PURPOSE: Get rid of toxins. The enzymes in a sad tear have a different make up than the enzymes in a happy tear. These are toxins being released. Exercise elevates the heart rate, getting blood cycling throughout your body, but also, helping you to literally sweat out bad feelings. There’s so much already written about this, and I invite you to research it on your own, but endorphins have been way more powerful in my life than any other outside substance.

Physiological Exercises: PURPOSE: These are calming activities done for severe panic disorders as well as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The sudden death of a loved one brings trauma. Traumatic memories are stored differently than other memories. Our brain boxes them up tightly, so we can function in other aspects of our lives. The problem is that the mind takes this tightly packaged memory and puts it in the emotional section of our brain, so if we have a trigger, a stimulus that pops the top off of this memory, we experience the emotions as if the event is happening all over again. This is overwhelming. Here are some recommended activities that one can use to calm his or her self down from a panic situation. While Trisha and I explain it in the context of PTSD, it is applicable to many other situations. Parents use this for children with intense emotions or who may fall on the spectrum. With the demands of our world nowadays, these activities are beneficial to anyone who feels like they are overwhelmed with panic. The first step before any of these recommendations is to recognize the rising feeling of panic, then proceed with any of the following exercises…

  1. The A-B-C Trick – Trisha explains this as first, choosing a category. The example she gives is “Animals”, but you could decide on any category (i.e. food, cars, TV shows). Once your category is selected, go through each letter of the alphabet and name an item within that category. So for Trisha’s category, “Animals”, one could say, “A – Alligator; B – Baracuda; C – Chamillion…” And so on. Do not stop until you’ve reached ‘Z’. Repeat as desired.
  2. Shoulder Tapping – This was recommended to me by a fellow widower, who experienced intense trauma in his life. Here, the individual takes his or her arms and crosses them over their chest, each hand on his or her shoulders. Then, just lightly tap their shoulders with their hands, remaining silent while tapping. (I was also told that one could tap their own sinuses to alleviate stress. This is depicted in my blog: Panic Attacks: 5 Quick ‘In-the-Moment’ Exercises to Alleviate Them)

While I know most of these are fairly simple recommendations, I also know that adding them into your life, when you’re under mental stress and emotional pain, is easier said than done. Here, I reference the book “The Slight Edge” again. Jeff Olson, the writer, points out that this “…path can be uncomfortable…scary. Especially if you’re the only one around who’s on it.” He also continues on to say that, despite this, if we take small baby steps forward, we will see change. Positive change. Pick one small way to cope and take your first baby step, even if it’s itty bitty.

Big Love,

Megan

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8 Tips for Traveling WITHOUT your kids

Single Mom. Three kids. Time to go on a vacation, right? But without the kids? Who does that? Apparently, I do.

As I get deeper into my craft of writing and with the recent events of my life, a getaway with some good ol’ fashioned soul searching was what I needed. So, I went on a ten day trip last November… without my kids.

After posting pictures and getting home, enjoying the holidays, I started talking to my friends with kids. I talked to one couple in particular, Rodney and Victoria, who are preparing to go on a honeymoon. Naturally, they’ve been nervous about leaving their two little ones. I shared a little of how I handled leaving my kids with them and received positive feedback. And it got me thinking about all the blogs out there on how to travel WITH kids, but is there anything out there about leaving them at home? I don’t know. I didn’t research it, so maybe there is a bunch out there. Haha either way though, I decided to share it with any of you who are going on a trip and nervous about leaving those babies.

  1. Have a schedule. We hear this a million times. From the moment I gave birth, I read about getting my baby on a schedule. Later, my kids would be temperamental toddlers or know-it-all preschoolers. Again, I would read: Get them on a schedule to ease their anxieties. So let’s apply it again: the best defense is a good offense. If your kids have a schedule that they’re used to BEFORE you leave, and your caretaker just substitutes in to maintain this schedule, the better off everyone will be.
  2. Be organized. Prepare a folder. Eww – I’m notorious for being unorganized. I’m always running 5 minutes late. My purse is like a vortex of old mail, boogered Kleenex, rando cords, jewelry, and about 8 lbs of loose change. I repeat: I am NOT known for being organized. That being made clear, if I am leaving my children to go 1000+ miles away, you best believe I’m putting together a folder for their caretaker (thank you Mom and Dad aka Grandma Lori and Grandpa Brian — best people on Earth). I left a folder for them with a schedule for the week. It also included any money the kids needed that week in labelled envelopes. Other things to be sure are in the folder: Homework, birth certificates, insurance cards with letters of consent to give care. Don’t forget to put your flight information in this folder either. My Uber organized mama appreciated this too.
  3. Letters. I wrote each of my children a letter about why and how much I love them and placed it in a sealed envelope with strict instructions that they could only read it alone (or have it read to them alone). This was for that time when they were REALLY missing Mommy. Sophie read hers 4 days in. Lydia was a little later, and Jax never needed his opened. In fact, it’s still sealed and put away for him to find some day.
  4. Faith the Unicorn. This was another surprise for them. I bought two stuffed unicorns. I packed one of them in my suitcase and the other one I packed with them with (yes) another letter. The letter told them that I had their unicorn’s sister traveling with me. I told them that if they ever feel far from me, just give their unicorn a squeeze and know that I’m squeezing my unicorn too. We took pictures of what we were doing with our unicorns and the adventures we were having. They named their unicorn, Hope. It was a special connection, and I’m really glad I did this. *Note – if you want to go the extra mile, do like I did and spray some of your perfume on the unicorn.
  5. Bribe them. I may or may not have packed some candy and small toys with their letters. I’m not above distracting my kids with buying them shit. It’s just solid parenting.
  6. FaceTime. The beauty of this overly technologically dependent culture? Friggin FaceTime! My kids can see my big ol’ mug up on their screen at any time. FaceTime: Use it. Love it. Have scattered conversations at awkward angles with it.
  7. Send a Post Card! I had this idea a little too late. I know I already wrote the letters, but is there anything cooler than getting mail as a kid? If I would have thought of it earlier, I totally would have bought a post card for each of my children, hand written a message, and sent it out as soon as I landed. It’d be something that they could keep forever!  (I’ll forgo the letters next time and do this)
  8. Enjoy yourself.  There was multiple times were I thought, “What the hell have I done?” I’d get extreme anxiety, nearly bordering on panic. Faith the Unicorn surprised me in how she helped with this. Here, I thought she was just for the kids. Turns out: Nope, I needed that connection too. While hugging her, I’d have to talk myself down a little and remind myself that if I don’t let this trip enrich me and work through me, then it will all be for not. Don’t let your travels be for nothing! Enjoy yourself! You deserve it!

Again:

1. Have a set schedule before you leave them.

2. Compile a folder of crucial documents, money, homework, etc.

3. Write them a little letter, making them feel special – because they are!

4. Give them a prop to take photos with and give yourself a similar prop to do the same.

5. Buy them shit. Bribery is ok once in a while.

6. FaceTime those little nuggets.

7. If you can, get a post card out to them. So cool!

And…

8. Enjoy yourself and allow your getaway to feed your soul the way it’s supposed to (feel free to use your prop during your panicky moments)

I hope my little experience with traveling without my kids helps you on your next endeavor. Make this your own. I’m a writer by nature, so as you’ll notice, I wrote a lot to them– but you do whatever you gotta do! It’s just about making that connection and shrinking the feeling of distance.

If you found this helpful, I invite you to follow me on Instagram or Facebook, @31MainStreet — Please comment with any pointers you might have — how do you manage leaving your babies? Is there anything in particular that you’ve done in the past that really worked for your family?

Big love,

Megan