make better choices · Simple Living · Simple Wisdom for Living

Personal Growth…Where Do I Start?

Personal Growth is a phrase that often brings a sense of excitement and may generate feelings of positive forward motion. We grab the thought and think holistically how we can have the best life we can hope for once we take this leap. Or is it a side step. No wait, maybe it resembles a salsa.

Basically, we like the sound of it, but few of us know exactly where or how to begin.

To which I reply, start with a basic inventory…

How connected are YOU?

Getting rightly connected starts as we begin to consider…;

* Who and what is pouring into you? Godly friends and role models? Small group ministry? Supportive family and friends? Or are you receiving most of the info that is poured in via TV,  internet, negative people or unwholesome reading?

* What do your reciprocal relationships look like? With whom do you enjoy “give-and-take” status? Reciprocal relationships involve those who know you and love and accept you as you are. They bring over the pizza or ice cream to share while watching old movies when you may feel a little down. Or maybe they grab the tools and come hangout and work on a water heater in the garage and listen so you can share your frustrations.  The ones you would do anything for and at the drop of a hat. They are the best buds you could hope for.

* Where are you pouring out? Helping? Or rescuing, enabling? On a scale of 1-10, how balanced are your connections? Do you give in to, rescue or support others on a regular basis without requiring much in return? Or perhaps, it is you who constantly needs rescuing?

It is beneficial to bring the balance of who/what pours in — who you reciprocate with — and how and to whom you pour into — as close to equal numbers as possible. It’s not in your best interest to receive at a Level 1, have reciprocals at Level 3 and pour out at Level 10 on a regular basis.  Slide the scale into a happy median and feel the refreshment begin!

How are You with Time Management? 

* Are you consistently stressed or feel you can’t get everything together to get out the door in time, consider going to bed 15 minutes earlier and getting up 15 minutes earlier.  Just move the monitor a bit more into your favor so you can set yourself up to succeed. It really is about being mindful and intentional. (Ouch, I resemble this!)

* Are you someone who mostly works to keep or complete your appointments with life? Or make excuses for not enjoying the best of life? When life isn’t so great, do you accept your responsibility in the process or is it consistently, “someone else’s fault”?

* How would you rate your ability to enjoy a healthy balance of saying “no” to some good things, in order to say “yes” to some things that are best? I.e… Are you trading off ‘best’ for ‘good’?  Life can be compared to baseball cards… always focus on making choices that allow you to trade up! 

How Would You Describe the Speed in which YOU Do Life?

* Life balance isn’t about having it all or how many plates you can juggle, but more about relinquishing what doesn’t work for you so that you can be rightly aligned and fully intentional with what does.

Resisting the Hindrance of Resistance…

* Growth requires becoming an expert at navigating inevitable life change by accepting what you cannot change as well as eliminating the excuses for not changing the things you can.

* Where can you be more open to new ideas and not so attached to old habits?

You Are What’s Eating You

* How much sleep are you losing, or how many ways are you indulging yourself over unresolved issues, relationships or projects? The more baggage we carry, the sooner we show signs of aging.  So travel light to find the fountain of youth.

Live Free…

* Give of your resources generously. The level of your ability to freely give is directly proportionate to how ‘free’ you truly are. We can’t do everything, but we can do something.

* Avoid the temptation to  clutter your life or schedule with unnecessary weight. To the one who has much, much will be required.

Live Out Your Passion…

* Find ways to do and enjoy what you love and share it with others.

* Express love as often as you are able.

* Do all that you do as if God were your employer.

Remember God’s Presence is all around you. Be intentional to stop and enjoy the fragrance of roses, the beauty of a sunset or the warm hug of a dear friend.   The day may come, sooner than you think, that you will be very glad that you made the effort!

Sheri Geyer is a Mentor, Writer, Realtor, Wife & Mom

a simplified life · Contentment · Life Coaching · make better choices · Path of Peace · Simple Living · Simple Wisdom for Living · simplify

Essentialism: The Simple Explanation of Minimalism

Essentialism is best described as pursuing the Right Things so that we are able to Focus More on the things we Enjoy Most!

I’ve been writing about the value of simplicity for nearly 20 years. I enjoy breaking down certain mindsets of positive thinking or actions into bite-sized pieces to gain a deeper understanding of the terms or phrases that may present a new way of thinking. I’m a 60s baby and in the last 30 years, we’ve observed our music, vocabulary, schools of thought and even our food change in rather drastic ways!

I recently stumbled across the word “essentialism” during an Internet search.  It is highly possible that Essentialism just might be a new and better way of describing what so many of us seek when pursuing minimalism or a simple life. I recently noted a book on Essentialism that defines it as “The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg McKeown. I read a summary of it that could certainly be the statement of the way I do life.

So what is Essentialism? Simply put, it is the identification, and then the continual choice, of living (doing, buying, seeking) ONLY what is essential. Quite similar to a life of simplicity, Essentialism elaborates on the saying, “less is more” to make it a declaration that “less is better.”

I have considered myself a “minimalist” since 1999. Something about the all around scare-tactics etc., of what Y2K may bring or cause, got me to thinking that I wanted to focus on making better and more meaningful choices in my life. Homeschooling offered my girls and me the opportunity to have a Cottage Industry that provided various income streams to fund the interests we had as well as wonderful opportunities to add much-needed skillsets equating to an interesting and well-rounded educational experience. 

After a divorce in 2003, and armed with a belief that God has and always will have a plan for me that is better than I could ever design for myself, I set out to learn what was most important, most enjoyable, and most aligned with God’s best for me. My goal was to best utilize what He had taught me in my life up to that point.

The biggest obstacle I faced was determining what defined me and what would be the important pursuits of my life going forward. Basically I learned to ask myself often, “Based on where I am and what I’m facing, what is the next basic right thing that will lead to the outcome that will positively impact me and everything / everyone I hold dear?”

Here is what I have learned: The Most Important Thing I Can Do is to Develop Healthy Boundaries, which basically means: Self-Control. Boundaries provide a Structure for Success in Life & Work.

Here is what that looks like:

I have been given the privilege and responsibility to prioritize my life! If I avoid doing it, someone else may step in and take on that role in a way that serves their needs best.  As we all know, those we surround ourselves with may act as if they know best how we should be living and what we should be doing, especially if they observe us mostly flying by the seat of our pants. Taking the time to prioritize our life and choices eliminates our being tied and / or obligated to others expectations.

I continually ask myself, whether I am at work or play, “Is this the most important thing I should be doing with my time and resources right now?” It helps me to zero in on what is most important in the moment. If it isn’t important to me at the present time, I  simply choose to redirect my focus to what matters and what will have the most impact on the purpose I am seeking to achieve.

I want to live a life of Essentialism by design and, therefore, not default to living based on what is happening to me. I want to effectively learn to master my response to situations, good and bad, and be able to turn things around, and gain a positive outcome, if at all possible. This requires that I continually choose to focus on what is most important in any given moment and then act accordingly. Therefore, if unexpected circumstances attempt to throw me off balance, I have reserved my emotional energy to quickly and easily return to my “design” of living life, based on pursuing the right thing and focusing on what I enjoy most.

I don’t want to have it all and I don’t need to do it all. At one time, I actually believed  that I could and would do and have it all. Over time, I learned that this kind of thinking actually eliminates and distracts me from experiencing the highly desirable choices and experiences that I most enjoy. I find it to be critical to first clarify and then be willing to make the necessary trade-offs in order to pursue what is most important to me. One of the things I remind myself when I am struggling to stick with my plan is this: “I choose to NOT trade off what I want MOST for what I want right NOW!”

I have learned that I do not need to be ‘plugged into’ all that is happening either virtually or globally all of the time. Rather I have decided that the most important thing for me to focus on is what’s front and center of my actual world at the present time. I continually find that focusing on the few essential ideas right in front of me is typically more rewarding, and offers greater potential, than the many that may be trying to distract me.

The best form of Self-Control (Healthy Personal Boundaries), is learning to say no to the nonessentials so I can say yes to the things that really matter. It is an ongoing temptation to say ‘Yes’ to far too much and end up sacrificing time and energy on things that don’t really improve the quality of  life. I find it easier not to commit if I’m not certain that I can give 100%. And, it is always easier to turn a ‘No” into a “Yes’, if I find that I can jump in and do what is requested of me. This requires me to have the courage to say no firmly, resolutely and gracefully so that I can say “yes” to those things that I truly value and where I know I can purposefully make a difference.

The effectual pursuit of simplicity (essentialism / minimalism) is about arriving at a deep understanding of what leads to a happy and meaningful life for each of us personally. It has never just been about sacrificing or getting rid of stuff.

Sheri Geyer is a Mentor, Writer, Realtor, Wife & Mom

a simplified life · make better choices · regret · regret a decision · Resolving Conflict · Simple Wisdom for Living

Regret: Can We Avoid It?

We often hope, whether stated or not, that we never have to experience regret. Often, our biggest challenge (to avoid regret) is when we stand at a place where we know God desires us to surrender to Him. Surrender for a believer is perpetual. This boils down to a question of our wills. It is easy to hesitate for fear of what others will think or how they will be impacted. Or how we may be judged.

‘Life” is what happens while we are busy making other plans. One guarantee in life is that it eventually lands us in places we never imagined, both as a result of choices we make, and for purposes which God intends. Our response to it will determine the altitude with which we cruise through and whether we are strengthened during the process. Or whether we crash and burn and then have to pick up the pieces and begin again.

In this life, regret can be defined as grief, sorrow; and pain of mind. Even having a sincere desire to do our best in life, since we are unable to see the future, we will likely make some choices that we may regret. The level of discomfort or sorrow we feel is likely to be directly in proportion to the motive of our effort more than anything. If we truly did our best and things didn’t go as we had hoped, it is often easier to forgive ourselves and move on. On the other hand, if we were warned, we may have a longer journey to reach the point of putting the difficult season behind us and moving on to a better place as well as to the necessary healing.

So if we are unable to completely avoid regret, what can we do when we experience it?

Avoid indulging it. Imagine you are swimming in the ocean and your feet have become entangled in seaweed. The seaweed is “regret” (apply this reflection to anywhere you may feel stuck). You tug and swim harder, yet you are still unable to move forward with the seaweed wrapped heavily around your feet. Indulging a regret, means we go over and over it, analyzing every detail, and becoming more tangled by replaying in our minds all the “woulda-shoulda-and-coulda(s)”. We may hold on to it becoming identified with it which can cause us to feel paralyzed or victimized.

Be honest with where we are and learn to make new choices. We have the choice to simply look at it, feel it, accept it, learn from it, and when ready, untie it and swim on. Repressing our regrets, on the other hand, creates a different problem because we believe we are actually “getting on with life”. Yet, by ignoring the feelings that need to be felt, we tend to harden our hearts over time. Acknowledging our regrets, helps us face and feel them, learn from them and make good wherever possible. We can then forgive ourselves and others and find healing, rather than be held hostage to our past.

Just do the work without worrying about the timing. We like to have timelines attached to transformation. If you’re like me, you would love to know when you will finally be done with a particular regret and freely swimming on. The best way to gain what we need from the situation is to focus on the work, and let go of expectations around outcome and timing. Our work is to shed layers that get in the way of living and showing up fully. Any time it may arise, we can simply notice it, allow it to deepen our experience of vulnerability and humility, and grow in integrity.

You don’t have to do it alone. Speak your regret out loud to someone close who supports you or write it in a journal between you and God. There is something inherently restorative in either of these acts. At times, if we are able to reflect on the respective journeys we have taken in life with a close friend, with a calm and gentle courage, it builds a strong bond. It’s where we can learn there is a place beyond regret.

A Word of Caution: Don’t assume you know for anotherRegret is a deeply intimate reflection of a particular person’s life, hopes, dreams and choices. Each of us need space and grace to walk this path, some pieces of the journey we may find we need to be alone with God. At other times, we may be more comfortable sharing the burden with a deeply trusted loved one. It is a unique and individual experience. We each can be one who brings hope and encourages healing in our life and in the lives of others.

Once we have allowed regret to change from something that drags us down and overwhelms us, we can experience growth that can make us more sensitive, kind and caring… a true refreshing breath to others.

Regret may linger for a season, but it loses its sting! 

Sheri Geyer is a Realtor & Christian Life Coach

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2017 · a simplified life · Contentment · Growing Relationships · Path of Peace · Simple Living · Simple Wisdom for Living

Reflections for 2017

Here we are ~ the end of another year of activities, events, victories, defeats, hopes, plans, some realized, some not ~ the beginning of a new year filled with hope, some trepidation, the ability to start with a clean slate, and the opportunity to grow and learn.

I have pretty much eradicated the making of New Year’s Resolutions from my life. Not so much that I think it’s a bad thing, but I have found that it is an easy way for me to experience a defeat fairly early in the year and I’d like to avoid the disappointment.

What I have found to bring success regarding changes for the coming new year is to journal my thoughts so that I am able to aim my focus on some important areas in my life and ask God for wisdom to know what to replace or add that will be the best use of my time, energy and resources.

After careful review of these important areas, I reflect on how I can learn, grow and more positively impact each area by making better choices or simply continuing with some that are working well. This is a good time for a chat with a close friend or mentor to determine what to embrace, fine tune or remove. This has proven to be very helpful for me.

I want to make it a priority to spend time reflecting over my life and thinking on the many blessings I have been given. A new year full of new beginnings always gets me excited! I love that ‘clean-slate-start-fresh’ feeling.

Whatever your year-end or new year tradition, I hope you will allow your heart and mind to find a quiet place to rest, reflect and be refreshed. As you scan the horizon of 2017, remember that living a life of thankfulness for all God has done and will do prepares you to face each challenge with an optimistic determination that it will work together for good. And consider it preparation for whatever lies ahead.

I look forward to all the new year brings! May yours be the best you could imagine!

Sheri Geyer is a Christian Life Coach and Realtor on The Geyer Home Team in Savannah, Georgia.

Simple Wisdom for Living · simplify

It’s the Little Things…

While it may be tempting to believe that people only pay the most attention to the “big” things we say or do, in reality, it is the little things that shape our character and help others determine who we are. The kind of image we present to the world is often determined by our actions, comments, attitude, behavior and even appearance. These little things are often observed within the first few seconds of meeting someone, as well as when the unplanned event happens in our lives.

18 simple little things you can measure that can have a huge impact. 

1. Dress the part.  The appearance of our clothes, hair, shoes, etc., can make a difference in the way we are perceived . Consider those you will be meeting with on any given day, and make an effort to demonstrate that you value the time you have with them.

2. Be on time.  Being late gives others the opportunity to judge you without you even being there. If you say you’re going to be somewhere at a certain time, then be there at that time or communicate in a timely manner. (This is an area that I need improvement).

3. Keep your word. Down the road, if you don’t follow through, the comfort that person felt turns into discouragement, frustration and even anger. If you can’t keep a promise, don’t make it. If you do make a promise, do everything you can to keep it.

4. Respect others.  This includes all people regardless of the level of relationship that you have with them, as especially requires a concerted effort for those who have differing opinions or actions. If you look for attributes you respect in people, you will find them.

5. Say, “Please,” and, “Thank you”.  Small words. Lots of mileage. Expressing your gratitude to people for each act of kindness you receive, however big or small, shows that you see the good in people.

6. Smile often. Smiles are contagious and often will remind others that there are things to be grateful for and that life is good.

7. Be faithful to your partner. By being honest and true with your partner, you are showing that you know where your priorities are. You understand what it means to be in a healthy relationship. This holds true for relationships and business.

8. Speak clearly and make eye contact. Affirm the person you’re talking try letting them know you value the conversation and are engaged in the discussion.

9. Use humor. Used appropriately, humor can lighten the mood and bring people down from a tense state.

10. Greet people with a handshake or hug. Use the appropriate greeting to employ a warm and welcoming environment.

11. Be authentically You. Know what you want out of life and do everything you can to achieve it. Enthusiastically encourage that for others.

12. Listen to others.  Actively listen to what others are saying and resist the urge to craft your response while they are still talking.

13. Perform acts of kindness.  Open doors for others, get a neighbor’s mail while they are away, bring dinner to someone who is sick or just had a baby.

14. Be organized.  Schedule your day and know where you keep items at home, work, and in your car, etc. Life is less complicated when you aren’t constantly missing appointments or searching for needed items.

15. Compliment people.  Genuinely look for the good in others and make the time to let them know you noticed.

16. Be positive and focus on the good. Look for a solution instead of focusing on the problem.

17. Move past hurts.  Choose to let go of things people may say or do whether purposefully or accidentally. Confront in kindness when necessary. It is much more freeing than reacting in anger or becoming resentful.

18. Own up to your mistakes.  When you make a mistake, admit it, own up to it, do what you can to fix it and move on.

Sheri Geyer is a Christian Life Coach, Realtor, Writer, Wife & Mom

Follow and tag me @Sheri_Geyer #asimplifiedlife to connect and stay inspired.

If you enjoyed this article please share it. You never know when someone who follows you on social media may need a little extra inspiration today! Plus, it truly warms my heart to know when something I’ve shared has impacted you!

 

 

Contentment · Path of Peace · Simple Wisdom for Living

Enjoying NOW While Aspiring for a Better Life…

I recently had a conversation with a woman who is unhappy with her life for various reasons, debt, feeling lonely and separated from significant relationships, in a job she doesn’t like, in a town she is ready to leave.

I asked what ideals she has that her current life isn’t meeting. She reflected for awhile and said she would like to start her own business doing something that she’s passionate about and develop healthy relationships with friends who care about her.

These are great things to aspire to …  a great way to be content in the present is by looking for things about ourselves and our life that we appreciate NOW! By accepting the reality and goodness in where we are, rather than comparing our present life to our ideal life, we can be content and enjoy the moments we are given.

The comparison, the ideals, can cause dissatisfaction. When I look at any moment, even uncomfortable ones, I find that there is a lot to be thankful for, appreciate, discover and love.

I am not suggesting that we give up our ambitions and aspirations. It’s only difficult when we attach too tightly to them, and then we can become unhappy with the present.

My mom has often quoted Dr. Wayne Dyer in saying, “Be open to anything, attached to nothing”. I think this bears reflecting and considering how liberating it can be.

When we loosen our ideals we can find a place of peace. This becomes a stronger place to take action towards our aspirations … we can find work we can be passionate about, relationships that are meaningful, or whatever we desire to pursue. This can then come from a place of acceptance with our current life and a desire to do something good for ourselves, as opposed to the constant energy drain of feeling discontent.

The Simple Steps: Notice when you feel dissatisfaction. Notice ideals that you may be holding too tightly. Relinquish the grip on these ideals, and consider your present moment.
Really see it with a willingness to discover the good, and find something to appreciate. Accept where you are, realizing that all things in life are in perpetual change. From this place of peace, respond, take action. It might be toward an aspiration, or not, but it’s a response from a good place.

Remember joy is a journey, not a destination… Enjoy this day! 

Sheri Geyer is a Christian Life Coach, Realtor, Wife and Mom

Life Coaching · Path of Peace · Simple Living · Simple Wisdom for Living

Spring Forward… Boost Your Momentum

It’s difficult to always feel great about what you are doing, choices you are making or the ones you have made and the impact you may be experiencing from them. If you don’t always feel the confidence level you would like to have, here are some thoughts for boosting the way you view YOU!

Learn to define success on your terms.  Many of us struggle because we have an inner voice that drives us to a goal of perfectionism. It’s that “I-should-bedoing-something-more” mindset. Often these expectations are programmed into us by family, our environment or culture. We may actually have no idea why we feel that good is never good enough.

Or we may be leaning toward views we hear on television, celebrity news or trends on social media. As you can imagine, most of us want to present ourselves and our lives in the best light. That is a good thing to remember when we read about or listen to others. No one is getting it perfect. Perfection isn’t even a goal to pursue.

The goal is to do and be the best that we can… and that is what will boost our confidence level and allow us to feel gratification in the pursuits we undertake.

Another thing to consider is that we do not have to absorb others’ beliefs and standards regarding the speed that we choose to do life. It’s best to consider what it is that we truly want and act accordingly.

Stand up straight and tall. (Like your mother told you) 🙂  Changing your posture not only changes the way you are perceived by others, but it can help you to see yourself in a more positive light. And it may actually change your body chemisty… increasing testosterone and decreasing cortisol, the stress hormone.

When you begin to stretch regularly, morning and at night, focusing on the neck, lower back, arms and legs, you will begin to crave it because it feels so good and gives you such a great energy boost.

For proper posture, ears need to be above the shoulders and shoulder blades back, with a bit of curvature in the lumbar spine. You will experience a better day which, when practiced consistently, can lead to a better life.

You have more control than you may think.  At times, it may feel that life just happens to us, when, in fact, we create our own reality. The latest scientific evidence indicates that our mindset, good or bad, happy or sad, plays a huge role in how our experiences unfold.

Obviously, there are events beyond our control, however, our reactions to them and how we choose to create the circumstances within our control can help us to feel empowered and build resilience. Much of what we concern ourselves with, may never happen. And if we experience the worst case scenarios, we need our energy and resolve, at that point, to be able to think on our feet and not cave under the emotional stress.

Be aware that building confidence is an inside and outside job. The better you feel on the inside, the better you will feel on the outside, and vice versa.  Consider that the routine you establish for your mornings, will pretty much dictate the remainder of your day. If you take time to have a quiet time of reflection, prayer, meditation, journaling or simply enjoying your coffee or tea before you have to dive into your routine for the day, you will reap it’s benefits throughout your day.

In turn, if you hit the floor running, having forgotten an early meeting, you can pretty much determine that all day it will seem that you are running behind. This adds to your stress, negativity and ability to manage your circumstances. Prepare yourself for your day, even if it means beginning the evening before.

Taking time to exercise, even for 10 or 15 minutes, does more than burn calories and inches. It speaks to you that you believe that YOU are important and it is a good thing for you to focus a little on yourself so that you can be your best self. The time you spend on you will improve the reflection you have of yourself, both in the mirror, and in your mental image.

And, as a result you will not only look but will feel much better.  Being our best, means that we appreciate and value others, and we can do that much better if, we start with loving and valuing ourselves. And, we absolutely reap what we sow!

Sheri Geyer is a Christian Life Coach, Writer, Realtor, Wife and Mom