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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Success: Happiness from helping and making a good living

It's such a simple concept. Figure out what you love and then figure out how to make a living with it.
But I grew up in an era where women were barely accepted in the work force. That meant being a teacher or a nurse were kind of old fashioned. As women fought to contribute, use their strengths, and make a difference, they also fought to climb their way to the top.

Thirty two years after I graduated from a top level school for Hotel Administration, I'm still baffled at how I got so hung up on climbing a ladder I'd never really wanted to climb. How could it be possible?  I listened to the guidance of my most important ally -- my Dad.  And Dad knew the world, knew me, and surely he wouldn't steer me wrong.

He didn't. He tried to steer me to where he thought I'd make the most difference. He taught me about money management, accounting, and finance in his own way.  He taught me sales and marketing. And most of all, he taught me to keep on fighting even when there was no end in sight. He taught me to never give up.

What Dad missed was a clear way for me to use my natural talent and my business mindset. Neither of us knew that 30 years later our passion for fitness and holistic health would answer the cries for help. Neither of us realized that the country would be in desperate need.

As I built skills in business, I pursued my happy factor in outdoor recreation, fitness, and healthy living.

Today, it fits. The more I write about health, the more I love what I'm doing now.

Thank you Dad! See, had I not done all the other things, I'd never appreciate the passion I feel today. It would be a job, a focus, and I'd do well, but I would never have the humility, gratitude, and joy I feel today.

Here's the thing: We can do stuff well and hate it. We can love other things and be average. But when it all falls together, we can master a craft, continue to love it, nurture it, and build on it -- and enjoy a great living all at the same time.

Today --- I am there. I am at the place that I've dreamed of for decades. I recall saying to Dad some 25 years ago: Look, you love your career. You would not dream of doing anything else. It's as good for you, Dad, as you are for it.  That is the love I want to find in my work. Why should I have to settle when you never did?

Dad's answer:  Well, sure, but you need a job.  Get a job!

Well, that's how I came to be searching at 55 for a lifeline. The jobs came and went. Some were great, some not so hot. But always, there lurked around the corner a better place. A better me.

So when I tell you can "BE The BETTER YOU" I know what I'm talking about.

I've found it!  And I am here to lead others to their Happy Factor!  ;)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Healthy or Hasty? Living in the zone

My studies are going great. I'm often amazed at how easy it is to keep up with the courses. If I didn't enjoy this, I wouldn't do it, right?
But reality bites me where it counts.
We can not always eat at home. We can not always control this.

I spent 10 years caring for seriously ill people who could not care for themselves. What I found for sustenance at the hospital was caramel machiato's.   What is that? It's a wonderful blend of coffee, small amount of milk and a dash of caramel syrup.  It soothed my stomach, but gave me a slight lift.  And the caramel was just the touch of decadence that made me smile.

Food at the hospital was questionable. Sure they made hot meals and served them from a steam tray. But what the heck was in it and who the heck was serving it with what attitude? Most of the time, I went to a close by grocery store and ate from their deli. Still  -- the amount of salt in these institutional foods is always triple or higher what I normally consume. The foods at my favored deli were better than most, and they convinced me it was fresh from their store.  But it just food. It wasn't food loved with good energy.

Then there were the days when home care created food challenges.  At one point, I asked friends to do some shopping for me since they were coming over anyway.  I couldn't leave my husband alone and this was the best option. We ate what they brought: Boxed Mac and Cheese -- a higher caliber than Kraft, but still laden with salt and long syllable chemically sounding words. Other things that grew in boxes and frozen packaging.

What I learned at that moment was that we needed our friends more than we needed anything else. The people who offered to help, and then did so were supplying us with a needed energy. Call it Primary Food, if you like, but that emotional sustenance brought us back to reality.  We weren't alone.
It was awesome to have such great friends help us out.

Of course we covered their cost.

I reached out and asked for help. I learned that some people rise to help while others judge. And some offer help with no intention of lifting a finger. They just offer and are relieved when they hear: "Thanks, but your friendship is all we need."

There are those people who prove their friendship isn't exactly what I'd call mutual or supportive or even friendly.  After it was  all over, I was visiting a friend who underwent a lengthy illness. I'd said to her that her husband and I had similar challenges.  For whatever reason, this person told me that her husband handled it better than I did.

Why? Because I asked for help? Because I shared with our friends and coworkers what was going on? I regret never saying this to her. I regret not calling her out on such a rude comment. That comment pretty much ended the friendship. I've no clue why she said what she did. It was the third slam in 2 days and I was done.  Live and learn.

I think this post has become more about primary foods while caregiving. We must fill ourselves with the love, support, and nurturing that is essential to living. Isolation while caregiving is as deadly as toxic oysters. Hurtful comments by people you consider friends are as poisonous as canned foods gone bad.

People must play a difficult balancing act when suddenly forced to be a caregiver. One must guard against toxic people as much as one must guard against spoiled foods, chemical foods, and unsanitary kitchens.  Just because it is there doesn't mean it supports your needs.