Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Key to Success

Successful people are enthusiastic and filled with optimism and passion. They experience a sense of knowing that their dreams are a way for them to find fulfillment in life, and help them function at their full potential. Being in that place of passion is a wonderful way to go through life!

No, it’s not all candy and roses along the path to success; however, overcoming any obstacles that come up becomes much easier when you are mentally prepared for contingencies along the way.
Part of that mental preparation is refusing to accept failure as an option, which means being ready at any given moment to reevaluate your plan of action and change it whenever necessary.

Another key element of a successful mindset is that successful people take responsibility for their own success and are willing to go the distance. Rather than wasting time blaming others for obstacles and setbacks, they spend their time continually taking action towards their desired goals. They trust the process.

Let Your Passion Fuel Your Fire!

Without passion, our dreams tend to be…well…just dreams. Passion is the fuel that ignites our inspiration and leads us to take action steps towards making our dreams into our reality.

Without passion to motivate our actions, many people tend to give up when confronted with even the most minor of obstacles.

Those who work and live from a place of passion never really view failure as a possible outcome. Instead, they focus all of their energy into taking whatever actions are necessary to produce the expected outcome. They are often too busy succeeding and planning the next leg of their fabulous life journey to worry about anything else.

I’m sure you would recognize these kinds of people. They are the movers and shakers of the world who are achieving phenomenal success.

Goal Setting 101

Goal setting is a powerful process that allows you to formulate a plan for achieving everything you want out of your life and your career.

Following the 11 steps outlined below will enable you to focus your energy, and avoid wasting valuable time and resources in areas that are not in alignment with your life and career goals.

1. Be specific about what you want.

The more specific you are about what you want to achieve, the more likely it is that you will achieve it. By knowing exactly what you want the outcome to be, it is also much  easier it is to stay on track and not get distracted.
Example: A general goal would be: “I want to write a book.” A specific goal would be: “I am going to write 5 pages a day and have an initial draft ready by August 15, 2011.”

2. Make sure the goal that you set is measurable.

Another easy way to stay motivated and on track is to make sure that you have measurable criteria built in, such as target dates, amounts, and action steps. Measurable criteria is anything that can be checked off that can give you an idea of your progress. In the previous example, writing 5 pages a day would be a measurable criteria.

3. Make sure your goal is realistic and attainable.

Your goals should be doable and should also be something that you truly believe that you can achieve. Examine your goals carefully and make sure that you have the qualifications, resources, and skills to accomplish them. If not, then you may need to set a more attainable, lesser goal that can set you up to attain the bigger goal.

4. Your goal should excite you.

Whatever excites and thrills you also inspires and motivates you. When you begin with goals that are fueled by your passion, you are already half-way there.

5. Make your goal timely.

Setting a definitive time frame for the completion of your goals makes them seem more real to you, and helps keep you on track. Knowing there is a deadline creates an increased sense of urgency to take action, that might not be there otherwise.

6. Write it down.

Writing your goals down keeps helps to cement them in your mind and provides visual confirmation of your commitment to obtaining your dreams.

7. Break it down.

If your goal seems daunting or too big to handle right off the bat, then break it down into several smaller, more manageable goals.

8. Take actionable steps.

For each individual goal, make a list (ie: an action plan) of the steps that you need to take to begin moving forward, then begin taking whatever action is indicated.

9. Be open to change.

After you begin taking action towards your goal, you may experience unexpected things and snags. Don’t get discouraged, simply stop and reevaluate your action plan and make any necessary changes so that you can continue moving forward.

10. Reward your success.

Set up some type of benefit system and reward yourself for successfully reaching certain milestones along the way to your goals. Rewards help to acknowledge your hard work and provide additional incentive to keep on track.

4 Key Questions To Ask Yourself

1. What do I want?

In order to achieve success in any career, you must first figure out exactly what you want. Perhaps your goal is to get your first novel published, or to get a film option, or to reach the best-seller list. By clearly defining your goals, not only does that allow you to break your goal down into manageable steps, but it also makes you more able to recognize success once you reach it.

2. Why do I want that?

It is equally important to understand your own motivations behind your goals so that you can keep yourself in a mode of action despite any obstacles or distractions that pop up along the way.

3. What is stopping me from having that?

Is there anything under your control that has prevented you from achieving this goal in the past (such as limiting beliefs, fear, or a simple lack of action)?

4. What actions can I take?

What things can you do right now that will help you to overcome those things that have limited you in the past so that you can begin to take actionable steps towards your dream?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Secret of Getting Ahead is Getting Started!

"The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one."  --- Mark Twain

 It is easy to sit and daydream and get lost in all of the things that we want to accomplish. Unfortunately, quite often, people get lost in the fantasy and never get started on the path of action towards their goals.

It is very daunting to move beyond the daydreaming stage, and begin taking action. The amount of options and steps that can be required to turn those daydreams into reality can be overwhelming. So overwhelming in fact, that many people never get started.

Don't be one of those people who look back forty years from now regretting the things you never did. You can begin working towards any goal that you have by making that goal workable for you. The easiest way to do this is to break down the goal into a series of smaller, more doable steps, and begin with that first small step.

Once you have completed that first step, then take another small step and complete it...rinse and repeat. Not only does this make it easier to achieve your goal, but it also makes the journey much more enjoyable and much less stressful.

So begin today with that single small step and don't look back!

Your Desires Are Divinely Inspired. Don't Be Afraid of Them!

Within every desire is the seed and mechanics for its fulfillment. 
--Deepak Chopra

 Your deepest desires come from a place of divine inspiration and are a way of allowing you to find personal fulfillment, as well as a way to give something of substance to the world.

Our intuition is the way that the divine speaks to us and leads us to fulfill our life's purpose. Yes, it is scary to step out on faith, hoping that a tree will be divinely placed underneath us; however, if we can learn to really connect with and listen to that divine guidance that is within each of us, our faith will never return to us void.

So step out on that limb and have faith that whatever you need to fulfill your purpose will be provided to you, and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Pier 1 Imports - Clearance Clock - Pier One Imports

My daughter and I had spent the day looking for a clock to match her teal decor without success. However at the last store we visited, Pier 1, we found a beautiful mantle clock with antique scrolling on the front, and it was on clearance! It had originally been $24.95, but was marked down at 75% off!! She loved the design and thought it would be perfect for her living room except it was a horrid mustard yellow color! Seeing the potential, I said "I can paint it."

I really liked the raised detail on the clock and wanted to highlight it so I took a candle and rubbed it over all the raised areas before painting it. I then painted it our favorite teal color, Light Eucalyptus Green from DecoArt Patio Paint.  I allowed the paint to dry and then I lightly sanded all the raised areas that I had rubbed with wax to reveal golden highlights.

Unfortunately, I accidentally deleted the before picture, but I think it looks better this way. My daughter was very happy with it.

See more on my More Teal Makeovers posts.

Have you found any terrific items on clearance at Pier 1?

Shabby Chic $1 Coffee Table Makeover

I needed a new coffee table and wanted one with a bottom shelf that I could use for storage (like the one pictured below from Bella Rose Cottage), and I wanted my table to have a Shabby Chic finish.

The problem was these beautiful coffee tables sell for around $220 which was definitely beyond my budget! So I made it my mission to to scour yard sales and thrift stores and find something as close as possible to refurbish.

I looked for months without success. Then finally, one Saturday morning I was on my way home from my regular weekend treasure hunting trip, when I spotted a yard sale sign I had missed earlier. It was late in the day and my first thought was that all of the "good stuff" would already have been snatched up. But thankfully, something drew me in and I stopped.

To my amazement, sitting there in a pile of marked down left over items was a small rectangular coffee table with a bottom shelf. I squealed with glee at my luck! I couldn't believe no one had snapped it up. Then again it was painted an ultra high-gloss, bright white and one of the legs had been stripped down to bare wood.

I put on my best bargaining face, expecting to have to jockey down the price, and approached the seller. I asked her the price and was shocked by her response! She told me that she just wanted rid of it and quoted me a firm  $1 sale price. I knew I could transform this eyesore into my "shabby chic" dream coffee table. So I happily paid her and took my treasure home.

I actually didn't need to do much to transform it. First, I sanded it with a fine grit sand paper to remove the high-gloss shine.

Then to ensure a Shabby Chic look, I distressed it by sanding all of the edges and raised areas with a medium grit sandpaper.

Next I antiqued it by applying Folk Art 'Woodn' Bucket Brown' Antiquing Medium (#817). You simply wipe on the antiquing medium with a clean cotton cloth, and then wipe as much or as little as desired until you get your perfect weathered, antique look.

For storage, I added some inexpensive baskets that I found at Wal-Mart.

So what do you think, wasn't that a $1 well spent?

To see more  my living room bargain makeovers check out  My under $200 fully decorated Centsibly Chic living room post.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Dollar Tree Frames Makeover

One of my favorite stores is the Dollar Tree, where all items are only $1, from make up to painting supplies. While I love finding bargains on necessary items, it's the search for decorative items that keeps me going back.

I found 4 of these wooden frames with the adorable appliques. I knew that once I
painted them white they would be transformed to my favorite style, "shabby chic".

I primed and painted them white, I loved how they looked. But what to put in them? I had some sheet music, scrap -booking paper I had been wanting to use and a set of alphabet stencils I had bought at A C Moores with a 50% off coupon. So I cut the paper to size and stenciled a letter on each one. I also had an unfinished coat rack I had found at a yard sale for a $1 that I painted black, sanded and antiqued. So why not hang the frames on it?

What do you think?  I would love to see your Dollar Tree transformations.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Live Your Life In Action & Enjoy The Journey

I believe that every person has the ability to consciously choose how to live their life. It is this belief that has inspired me to take action to overcome obstacles that have gotten in the way of having a life I love.

As I approached 40, I slowly began to re-evaluate my life and found myself rather dissatisfied. I dreamed of having more time for myself and the things I love, less stress, more financial freedom, and a chance to express myself more creatively. 

This blog is all about my journey of living my life in action as I strive to improve the quality of all areas of my life, and create the kind of future that I want for myself.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

More Teal Makeovers

I enjoyed redoing the votive candle holders for my daughter so much, that I got inspired by the teal color. So I just couldn't stop there.

I found a jewelry box at Goodwill (I really love that place!) for $5.00. It was in relatively good condition but was just an ordinary brown wood with dull gold metal pulls. Since I still had some of the patio paint that I had mixed to get that beautiful teal color, I couldn't resist the challenge of repainting the jewelry box to match the votive holders.
The first thing I did was to remove the hinges, glass panels, and doors so I could sand and prime the interior and exterior surfaces. There was also a mirror inside that I taped and covered with paper to protect it from any stray paint.

After priming I painted the wood surfaces teal and the hinges, pulls, and screws silver.
While I was cleaning the two glass panels before reinstalling them, I accidentally broke the side glass panel. I cried tears of frustration snce I didn't have another glass panel to replace it. However, my tears were short-lived as I came up with a  solution. As a temporary replacement, I simply cut a piece of heavy carboard to size and painted it the same teal color. Meanwhile, I'm still looking for another panel of glass.

In my enthusiasm, I forgot to take a before picture, but here is the finished product. My daughter absolutely loved it and has no idea (at least she had no idea before I posted this) that there was ever a side glass panel there.

Thrift Store Style - Candle Holders

I found two of these votive holders at a local thrift store for $1.00 while I was looking for something that would match the motif of my daughter's bedroom which is teal with a leaf pattern.

I liked the leaf design and the distressed metal look; however, my daughter prefers her accents to be colored. Since it's much harder to find the pattern than it is to find objects in the right color, I decided to paint them to match her other decor.

The first step when repainting any kind of metal surface is to prime the object. Then you can apply a patio paint of your chosen color to the exterior. You could also paint the interior the same color or you could choose a bolder, brighter color for some contrast. 

If you choose not to paint the interior or to paint it a contrasting color, it helps if you tape off the area just below interior edges to leave a smooth, straight line. I chose not to paint the interior because when the votive's are lit, it casts a soft golden glow.

What a difference a little bit of paint can make!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Another Sad Goodbye: L. A. Banks (Leslie E. Banks)

New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author, Leslie (L.A.) Banks, best known for her Vampire Huntress Series, passed away on August 2, 2011. She is the second dear friend in the writing world that has passed away in the last few months.

Leslie had a firecracker personality and will be greatly missed by her fellow writers, fans, family & friends. Her family will be holding a memorial service for Leslie in Philadelphia.

Find out more about Leslie.