Overwhelmed? Ask yourself this question

Ever have one of those days when you don’t know where to start, when you feel overwhelmed, when you ask yourself, what should I DO today?

Luna under blankets 900 x 600

There are so many conflicting priorities and you just wish a big, fat genie would hand you the answer. Or do it all for you.

I woke up that way the other day. But when I asked myself what I should do I felt worse — more unfocused and overwhelmed than ever.

So, I started asking myself what I really wanted to do instead.

That’s when the magic happened.

The answer was writing a blog post about how women should never let themselves be limited by age, labels or society’s expectations.

Writing it allowed me to share something I feel passionate about. And that meant I was being fully myself as I wrote. It was what I wanted to do.

After I finished the post, I was energized and much more productive for the rest of the day. I even got some of those “shoulds” accomplished because I was feeling strong, centred and positive.

What do you really want to do today?

If you are feeling overwhelmed ask yourself this question: What do I really want to do? What do I want to do right now? What would make me feel good?

If you can’t act on your answer right away, make note of it and do so the next opportunity you get. Even better, create that opportunity by scheduling some ‘me’ time into your day.

Your answer may be nudging you towards taking a risk — changing jobs, ending a relationship or moving in a direction that you’re not sure about.

Or it may just be reminding you that you need to write a blog post.

Go where your answer takes you

If your answer makes you uncomfortable don’t come up with a million reasons why it won’t work. If you do, you will just stifle yourself and feel even worse.

See where your answer leads, instead. It will help bring you clarity and probably improve your mood.

Call to Action

Whenever you get sidetracked by obligations your heart just isn’t in, ask yourself this question because none of us has time to waste.

Why spend today doing something that doesn’t serve you?

Make 2014 the year you finally own it – who you are, what you are good at, what you want to do, what you don’t want to do, what makes you feel good and what you want to contribute.

You have a lot to offer and it’s time the world knew it!

c 2016 by Kathy Barthel

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Why loving yourself will bring you success

Do you love yourself?

Funny question I know, but your answer is crucial to everything you do.

Think about all the things you do for the people you love — the sacrifices you make, the time you spend to help out in any way you can.

Baby Amanda and Kathy

You want to support those people. You want them to know you’re there for them. Most importantly, you want to see them succeed and be happy.

So, you say things like —

  • Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.
  • Call me anytime, even if it’s the middle of the night. I’m always here.
  • No, I’m in no hurry; keep talking.
  • You’re wonderful. 
  • I love you.

Do you love yourself?

You probably do most things for your own well-being, out of a sense of duty or responsibility.

Maybe you exercise, try to eat healthy food or get seven hours of sleep at night. You pay your bills, do the dishes and the laundry. The grass may even get cut or the snow shoveled!

You don’t do those things because you love yourself or because you want yourself to be happy, healthy or living in a nice environment. You do them because that’s what a responsible person does.

And that’s OK, up to a point.

But if you do more things for yourself out of love than out of duty or obligation, you’ll get more done and create more success in your life.

Why loving yourself will bring you success

I have been investigating this concept recently thanks to the work of a woman named Louise Hay. She has written extensively about the idea of re-framing your mental approach to life, including using the words, “I love myself; therefore….”

If you apply those words to the tasks involved in developing a fulfilling career, to becoming healthier, to having great people in your life or to becoming more financially secure, the result might look like this:

I love myself; therefore I will —

  • create a kick-ass portfolio that shows what I can do
  • volunteer with organizations that can help my career
  • do some physical exercise every day
  • stop buying junk food
  • stop working through lunch
  • ditch partners who don’t support my highest good
  • heal my heart before I start dating again
  • set up a tax-free savings account with automatic withdrawals
  • update my budget for the year
  • make an appointment with my accountant

When you approach tasks with this mindset —  as things you do out of love for yourself — you automatically see them differently.

You see them as positive actions that will bring you success, not nagging obligations to avoid. You feel energized, rather than stressed.

That’s because saying “I love myself…” puts you in a positive, empowered frame of mind. If you love yourself, you’ll want to do something good for yourself, something that will move you forward.

When you operate from the heart, what seemed so hard, becomes easier. 

Start loving yourself and changing your life, one action at a time.

It’s time to be a brat — to rip the rug out from under that old, negative thinking focused around guilt, fear, obligation or duty.

Think of where you want to be in your life, career, health or relationships. Then, think of the things you could do to help make that happen.

Finish this statement with the actions you want to take:

“I love myself; therefore I will ___________________________ .”

“I love myself; therefore I will ___________________________ .”

“I love myself; therefore I will ___________________________ .”

Pick one of these tasks and start working on it. If you get sidetracked, don’t beat yourself up. Don’t waste time feeling guilty and stressed. Just re-focus on the statement. You’ll soon be back in the right frame of mind to continue.

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If you’re still not sure about this “love” approach to success, consider how well things have gone with discipline, duty or obligation (and maybe fear and worry) to motivate you.

Why not try something that will feel good  — and might actually help?

Like the song says, all you need is love. 😉

c 2016 Kathy Barthel

How to reframe the hurt and move on

Some days you don’t feel like being a brat, especially if you have recently ended a relationship. It may be hard to move on because you keep remembering the good times. You long for them.

But you wouldn’t be out of that relationship if it had been truly good for you.

On days when you wonder if ending it was for the best, remember one thing:

You are no longer in a relationship that is hurting you.

Recurring hurt

This is especially important if what hurt you was the result of a recurring issue that was never addressed.

If something was hurting you on a regular basis but never dealt with, then it was only a matter of time before things reached this point.

Yes, there were many great times and it’s going to take a while to stop being pulled back, by their memory.  

But the happy times will never make up for the fact that you were repeatedly hurt because of something that was never addressed.

Reframe your sadness. Reframe your longing with these words.

I am no longer in a relationship that is hurting me.

That relationship is in your past. Not your present. Your past.

What was hurting you is back there too.

If you find yourself longing for your former partner, yet feeling the relationship could never move forward, repeat those words several times.

Some days you don’t feel like being a brat

Some days you don’t feel like being a brat; you don’t feel much like stirring things up and pushing out there to make yourself heard, to make positive change.

Sometimes the change comes slowly, quietly, even painfully. Sometimes you are living in the shadow of the sun and regrouping some of that energy.

This is one of those times. But reframing the hurt can help you get out past it.

You’re no longer in a relationship that is hurting you; you’ve left it behind.

That is huge.

(P.S. Don’t throw something away if there is a chance it can be healed. If you think your old relationship has that chance, investigate it by all means.)

c 2013 Kathy Barthel

How Katharine Hepburn changed my life

When I was a kid I lived in the country, far away from the big city.

I knew that if I wanted to go to university — and get away from my current circumstances — I would have to make it happen myself. I would have to organize it and finance it on my own.

But sometimes when you feel you’re on your own, you’re not. Often there is someone whose example gives you the courage to make a major change.

For me that person was outspoken actress and icon, Katharine Hepburn (below, in a 1940 still by Clarence Sinclair Bull, for The Philadelphia Story). She played feisty, independent-minded women in films and was much the same off-camera.

Katharine Hepburn, The Philadelphia Story, 1940 by Clarence Sinclair Bull

“That’s all there is to life, being part of it.”

I read those words of Hepburn’s and I never forgot them.

As a teen I desperately wanted to be part of life — a richer, bigger life — which to me meant going off to university and living in a big city. There was energy there, intellectual stimulation and fresh, new ideas and ways of looking at the world!

I had outgrown my circumstances. I needed to stretch and grow and learn, to be challenged. I was hungry for it.

Hepburn’s independent spirit reinforced my resolve. I watched her films and read everything I could about her. Her passion for life and her view that you must take responsibility for your own destiny inspired and empowered me. It made me feel bold and strong.

Where would I be without Hepburn’s inspiration?

How I could have changed the course of my life without her inspiration is something I won’t allow myself to consider. Altering my circumstances was so critical to my well-being and to my future, that I cannot imagine what would have happened had I not done it. I won’t let myself imagine it.

Feeling inspired gives you courage and reinforces the courage you already have. It helps push you to make the changes that will move you forward and into a healthier place.

Katharine Hepburn’s advice for living:

  • “Life is to be lived. If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting. And you don’t do that by sitting around.”
  • “Without discipline, there’s no life at all.”
  • “The thing about life is that you must survive. Life is going to be difficult, and dreadful things will happen. What you do is move along, get on with it, and be tough. Not in the sense of being mean to others, but being tough with yourself and making a deadly effort not to be defeated.”
  • “We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers – but never blame yourself. It’s never your fault. But it’s always your fault, because if you wanted to change you’re the one who has got to change.”

But don’t forget your sense of humour. This quote inspires Bratty Kathy every single day:

“If you obey all of the rules, you miss all of the fun.”

c 2013 Kathy Barthel

VIDEO: What do you really want to do?

Did you always know what you wanted to be when you grew up? Did you follow that dream?

If you didn’t, it’s never too late to reconnect with what you were meant to do. I’m a big believer in late bloomers!;)

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”  — Howard Thurman

I was invited to contribute this video for the Sunday, “Free Spirit” portion of the Moxii Channel.

Moii Channel is part of Moxii Pro, a social and professional organization for women founded by the extraordinary Natalia O. Popovich.

Moxii Pro offers educational panels, professional workshops and networking events that are very well attended by both women and men.

There is also an amazing energy and warmth in the room at a Moxii Pro event. And a spirit of friendliness that is so genuine. I think that is what makes Moxii Pro stand out, as a great business organization and as a truly welcoming community.

Natalia Popovich and Laure Ampilhac

Thanks so much to Natalia Popovich (left) and Laure Ampilhac (right) for this video opportunity and for their kindness and generosity in supporting the dreams of so many women — and men — in Toronto!

c 2013 Kathy Barthel