Transformation of Thoughts

Today I offer you a transformation in thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.  My December 2014 self in comparison to my September 2018 self.  The words flowed as easily today as they did back then…but with a much different perspective on the energy I choose to bring into the world.

I have made seemingly small, insignificant choices over the last 1,400 days that has brought me to a new place…one that is sustainable and deeply rooted.  A place that is more comfortable and equally (if not more) productive and fulfilling.  A place that still takes pride in a job well done or a smile across someone’s face…but does not require me to sacrifice my mind, body, and soul to achieve it…In fact, I am more me than I have ever been before.

I share this with you as a source of hope…that maybe you are not as trapped as you think you are…maybe with some journaling sessions, meaningful conversations with loved ones or bosses and a possible therapy session…small adjustments can begin to be made over time.  Sure some chaos may ensue, but the dust will settle and everyone will adjust around your new normal.  You deserve a life that you don’t NEED to take a vacation from!

Bio picAlicja Carter, MHR, LADC, BHWC, has been working in the behavioral health and addiction treatment field for over ten years.  She is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor and Wellness Coordinator/Coach for Gateway to Prevention and Recovery in Shawnee, Oklahoma.  Alicja is passionate about pursuing a well life and collaborating with others for the purpose of stimulating positive change in her community.

 

Rock What You Got!

Rock What You Got - Blog Branding

My girlfriends and I took a road trip to Kansas City over the Labor Day Weekend for some R&R and to spend time with my family.  Late Saturday night, we were sprawled out on the bed and floor, talking, reading, and looking up new recipes.  I had found a box of papers from my childhood and was curiously reconnecting with my younger self.  I discovered various journal entries that expressed my love for pizza, sheet music and lyrics that warned of acid rain and global warming, and a remixed poem of people at a mall working together to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.  My favorite was a letter than we were asked to write in the 4th grade (I think) to our parents regarding what they could expect when they attended parent-teacher conferences the next day.

So, what was my take away from all of this?

Sometimes, life feels very big to me.  I can get overloaded with information and overwhelmed with decisions about who I am supposed to be or what I am supposed to do at any given moment.  These readings reminded me that I have cared about certain things and operated in certain ways for my entire life.  These are the characteristics that make me…me.  Of course, I want to stay open-minded to how other people experience this life.  However, I have the tendency to lose myself in the land of infinite possibilities (podcasts, Pinterest, social media, recommended readings, etc.)  At the end of the day, I have to connect with and contend with the passions, quirks, ideas, expressions, obstacles, family systems, geographical settings, and culture that I embody.  My experiences are no more important nor insignificant when compared to my fellow human.

As my friend Aja Owens proclaims so wholeheartedly, it is our right and responsibility on this earth to, “Rock What You Got!”

Take time this week to think about the characteristics that make you – you! u.

Write down 30 facts about yourself and see what surfaces. 

Ask friends to describe you in one word. I wonder what sticks out to others that you are not giving yourself credit for.  It is easy to dismiss the attributes that come most naturally because we don’t have to work for them.  We have trouble recognizing our strengths because they come easy to us and we just assume they come easy to others as well…and therefore are not deserving of a pat on the back.

Wouldn’t it be wild if we took a month off of self-improvement and spent that time just noticing how freaking unbelievable we already are?!?

Ya’ll are amazing and are positive forces for good in this world.  Even on your worst day, we all benefit from your presence.

 

Bio picAlicja Carter, MHR, LADC, BHWC, has been working in the behavioral health and addiction treatment field for over ten years.  She is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor and Wellness Coordinator/Coach for Gateway to Prevention and Recovery in Shawnee, Oklahoma.  Alicja is passionate about pursuing a well life and collaborating with others for the purpose of stimulating positive change in her community.

 

Women Serving On Boards

This morning while reading through my daily dose of eNewsletters I came across this article about California requiring women on Boards of Directors.  I would like to know how my readers feel about a law requiring publicly traded companies to include women on their boards of directors.  The measure requires at least one female director on the board of each California-based public corporation by the end of 2019.

A fourth of publicly held corporations with headquarters in California don’t have any women on their boards of directors. These companies have not done enough to increase the number of women on their boards despite the Legislature’s urging, making government intervention necessary, Jackson said

I have been researching the topic since I started writing my book, and I have been experiencing this for decades.  I am seeing some change where I live locally, and while you would like to think it happens organically to place women on the boards – it does not.  It is most often mandated, whether officially or unofficially, to change the demographics of the board.

Some of the repetition (same ole’ white guys) is simply because that is who their natural network is both professionally and personally.  Some times it is fear of change or opposing views assumed by anyone NOT in your inner circle.  But the truth is that change on boards will result in changes in practice and direction and men have had decades to figure out how to do it differently and they HAVE NOT figured it out so now the law must intervene, if even only for a short time period.

There will be wins and their will be woes, but I believe this unnecessary law (because we should be able to figure this out as smart people running major public corporations) is a good thing.  I believe it is needed at this time and place, when equal candidates are available and ready to serve on these boards.  I am open to hear your opinion for or against, but I believe this is good.  I give the #win2California  #MoreWomenInHighPlaces

3 Adjustments You Can Make To Shred Stress

Throughout my life people have always told me, “Wow, you sure have a lot of things going on.”  I heard it my sophomore year before I caught pneumonia from overexerting myself with school activities and depleting my immune system.  I heard it when I was teaching six Zumba classes per week and crashing from too many caffeine supplements and not enough rest.  I heard it when I was working 12+ hour days, mindlessly shoveling Van’s burgers down my throat, and experiencing intense, regular headaches and near blindness in my left eye.  I heard it when I was juggling work, fitness classes, a new business, band rehearsal, and play practice.

In fact, my therapist confirmed that I am better at “doing” instead of “being.”  For the most part, I am okay with this part of myself.  My energy, ideas, and work ethic have me floating on cloud nine most days.  Even when I do have time to relax, my mind and body fight it.  It seems like I am calibrated to a frequency where “calming down” is what requires the most work.

So why do it?  Well, because no matter how unnatural downshifting is to me, it’s going to happen one way or another.  I can mindfully pump the brakes slowly throughout the day or my keen biology will slam my butt into park until further notice.  According to research developed through the Blue Zones Project, communities that take time to downshift or shred the stress of the day live longer, healthier lives. 

So after learning everything the hard way, here are 3 adjustments that I’ve made to my routine to slow my roll:

1.  I have priorities… and no, not everything is a priority.  When reading the book, You Are Not Your Brain, I was encouraged to make a list of my priorities.  Webster’s Dictionary defines priority as “something that is more important than other things and needs to be done or dealt with first.”  So tell me why by the time I was finished, I had filled two pages.  Needless to say, when everything was a priority, my life was like the Tetris video game…eventually the pieces came too fast, piling on top of one another, until it was GAME OVER.  Today, one of my top values is MY Wellness.  Each day, I put items on the schedule that support this value and place all other demands, expectations, and obligations around it.  Balls are going to drop.  This time, it won’t be me.   

2.  My calendar has blank spots.  Just because I can say yes to something on the weekends, doesn’t mean that I should.  Sleeping in, cooking healthy food, talking with people that I love, and taking my time at the gym all have their rightful spot in my life today.  Sure, it sounds like I am still “doing”, but the pace isn’t harried or forced.  I experience peace and contentment.  It is not a check on my To-do list.

3.  I eat food that I have to cook.  Recently, I found myself very anxious in the evening.  With all of this “extra” time on my hands, I was restless and would wind up in the kitchen looking for something accessible to munch on.  This would turn into making poor choices and eventually getting down on myself.  I also realized that I wasn’t respecting the process of what it takes to harvest, ship, purchase, cook, and consume healthy food.  Therefore, I connected with individuals in my community that support a Plant-Based Whole Food way of life.  The process of chopping vegetables clears my mind and the end result nourishes my soul.  Sharing recipes and experiences connects me to a healthy tribe and makes me feel settled.

Honestly, There is never a good time to downshift.  You will most likely feel guilty and the people around you will get annoyed.  Things are never going to slow down.  The break is never going to come.  The light is not at the end of the tunnel.  No amount of better preparation or organization will keep the pieces from coming…faster.  The world will continue to take as long as you are offering.  Every time you say yes to one thing, you are saying no to another.  You can’t have it all.  What are you sacrificing… and is it worth it? Only you can make the change.

 

Bio picAlicja Carter, MHR, LADC, BHWC, has been working in the behavioral health and addiction treatment field for over ten years.  She is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor and Wellness Coordinator/Coach for Gateway to Prevention and Recovery in Shawnee, Oklahoma.  Alicja is passionate about pursuing a well life and collaborating with others for the purpose of stimulating positive change in her community.

 

Sounding Board Save Me

When I was participating in the Women In Fellowship program I heard that the greatest indicator of a woman’s success is her network.  At the time, I found this to be a very fascinating statistic and every since then I have continued to observe women and their networks for affirmation of said research.  While I believe a woman’s network is an indicator of future success,  I’m convinced a woman’s inner circle of her network, professional sounding board is even more indicative of her potential.

By definition,  a sounding board is a person or group on whom one tries out an idea or opinion as a means of evaluating it.  I believe my greatest indicator of success is the quality of my sounding board, more importantly than my full network.  Recently I was having a business issue that I was trying to solve for and after trying my damnedest to figure out how to solve for it, I simply asked two people in my sounding board for their advice.   The question at hand was, “How do I differentiate my business from the other salons in a way that stylists want to stay, have a sense of loyalty, and feel a genuine desire to see the salon success?” Continue reading “Sounding Board Save Me”

All Men: When to Challenge

The board room has an attorney, a facility manager, an office systems business owner, a banker, a pharmacist, a trucker, a retiree and me.  They are brilliant leaders in our community and they are in the dark when it comes to digital media.  I love serving on this board and I love that my background is so diverse from theirs – that I am younger than them, and that I am the “girl” in the room.  One thing that sometimes tickles me is that my ideas are often times completely foreign and outlandish to them, not because I am trying to be different but because my lens is just different. It sometimes leads to some ridicule and comments like, “Yeah, hey Randy – go ahead and twit that out would you?”

Continue reading “All Men: When to Challenge”

Become A Legend, Like Calamity Jane

Martha Jane Cannary, known by most as Calamity Jane, is a woman who knew what she wanted, went to get it, and never looked back.  In my research of Calamity Jane is she is one of those people who wrote her own story.  In fact, today, we still don’t know how much of her story – the one she penned and we read – is considered to be is true  and how much is complete fabrication.  She is known as quite the spinner of tales. The fact that fascinates me about this is that Calamity Jane decided she wanted to be a legend, so she lived and dreamed a legendary life worth us remembering.

Do you have any friends like Calamity Jane?  Do you have people in your life who encourage you to simply – be legendary? Do they challenge you to take risks, fall in love, chase the dream, ask for more money, or stand up for what you believe to be right? Continue reading “Become A Legend, Like Calamity Jane”