A challenge for change – You won’t know until you act

A challenge for change – You won’t know until you act

Last months I attended an author event. It was the first time I had entered a writing competition and pushed myself into the lion’s den of being judged.

I didn’t know the outcome because winners weren’t announced until the night of the event. I’ve been writing aka blogging or books for over 10 years now but never once had I considered entering a competition. It’s not really my scene because I want to not care what people think about my writing or what I do. Ever.

Because the moment I start caring what other people think in terms of my writing or the work that I do, I create a space to shrink and play it small. And yet, if I don’t push those boundaries, how will I grow?

And so I wrote a 500-word essay and entered the competition. I found myself among some incredible human beings.

Challenge into Change is a forum for real-life stories about women overcoming personal struggles to find growth and healing. We invite you to submit a piece of writing of 500 words or less about a woman (yourself or someone you know) surmounting a difficult situation in her life. Both prose and poetry are welcome. Winners will receive cash awards; all entrants will have the chance to be published in our Challenge into Change book and will be honored at a ceremony at the 2018 Festival of the Book in Charlottesville. – Women’s Initiative

And what a humbling experience to hear and read the stories of over 80 authors who have had some incredibly challenging experiences in their own lives. We are truly never alone and the only time we find ourselves alone is when we don’t share our stories.

I didn’t win and yet I did all at the same time.

I won because I put myself out there and I won because of the comments from the judges about my story.

These comments sum up who I am as a human and as a writer. In fact, the point that got me is that through my writing they were indeed able to see everything about me.

But I am not going to sit here and say that I wasn’t disappointed. There was a small part of me that was bummed out about not winning. And that reminds me that I am human after all and that sometimes can mean the world.

I wouldn’t have known the outcome or this experience:

If I didn’t write the essay
If I didn’t submit the essay
If I didn’t go to the event

If you want to change your life then you gotta push those boundaries of your comfort zone a little at a time!

Last months I attended an author event. It was the first time I had entered a writing competition and pushed myself into the lion’s den of being judged.

I didn’t know the outcome because winners weren’t announced until the night of the event. I’ve been writing aka blogging or books for over 10 years now but never once had I considered entering a competition. It’s not really my scene because I want to not care what people think about my writing or what I do. Ever.

Because the moment I start caring what other people think in terms of my writing or the work that I do, I create a space to shrink and play it small. And yet, if I don’t push those boundaries, how will I grow?

And so I wrote a 500-word essay and entered the competition. I found myself among some incredible human beings.

Challenge into Change is a forum for real-life stories about women overcoming personal struggles to find growth and healing. We invite you to submit a piece of writing of 500 words or less about a woman (yourself or someone you know) surmounting a difficult situation in her life. Both prose and poetry are welcome. Winners will receive cash awards; all entrants will have the chance to be published in our Challenge into Change book and will be honored at a ceremony at the 2018 Festival of the Book in Charlottesville. – Women’s Initiative

And what a humbling experience to hear and read the stories of over 80 authors who have had some incredibly challenging experiences in their own lives. We are truly never alone and the only time we find ourselves alone is when we don’t share our stories.

I didn’t win and yet I did all at the same time.

I won because I put myself out there and I won because of the comments from the judges about my story.

These comments sum up who I am as a human and as a writer. In fact, the point that got me is that through my writing they were indeed able to see everything about me.

But I am not going to sit here and say that I wasn’t disappointed. There was a small part of me that was bummed out about not winning. And that reminds me that I am human after all and that sometimes can mean the world.

I wouldn’t have known the outcome or this experience:

If I didn’t write the essay
If I didn’t submit the essay
If I didn’t go to the event

If you want to change your life then you gotta push those boundaries of your comfort zone a little at a time!

Life Lessons from a boy named Lennon

Life Lessons from a boy named Lennon

There are always lessons to be learned in life if you are open to recognizing them and most importantly if you are willing to listen.

My son Lennon has been changing people’s lives, inspiring them and motivating them into being more present, to not take anything for granted and also showing the shadow side of life is too short to be miserable.

When I tell people that, Lennon is my greatest teacher on how to do life, I am not joking.

The kid knows what he wants and he’s quite verbal about it too. 

And what you may not know, if you’ve never heard about Lennon, read the blog posts or the book is that he survived his first 4 years of life, living with a potentially fatal rare genetic disorder. And since it was undiagnosed for some time, his brain took a little bit of a hit in the cognitive area – but don’t let that fool you.

He is often one of the smartest people in the circle. His wisdom is often leaving me speechless.

The other day he said:

You have to be ready at some point, so why not be ready now?

Sure, you could delay being ready but aren’t you just putting off the inevitable?
The moment you decide to go after what you want – your dreams, goals and a life that feels good – is the moment you are ready. You can, of course, keep talking yourself out of it but why? What’s the point?

  • Start that business
  • Write that Book
  • Get healthy

Be ready now and stop waiting for one day.

It isn’t always about the things he said, although they are brilliant and yes I realize I may be a little bias, but the thought has crossed my mind that people needed to spend time with him and hear his story. He’d never go for it and I got to respect that. That, of course, doesn’t mean I won’t share life lessons along the way.

Like anytime I hear someone complain about how shitty life is or how miserable they are.

Because of the genetic disorder becoming unmanagable after his diagnosis, it was recommended that he has a liver transplant because while there is no cure, this can change his life for the better. And so that’s what we did but we couldn’t fathom the fact that he’d have 3 liver transplants between the ages 5-8 and that things were really tricky for a while. (You can read about his journey in Lennon Steps).

But here’s the thing, no matter how dicey things were, how painful everything was (physically or emotionally), he got up and did what he needed to do. That doesn’t mean he didn’t complain but it seemed he just knew what he needed to do in order to get home from the hospital or get back to school.

Or like now where he’s saving up for an XBOX One and he’s diligent about the chores that help him earn money.

And some days are hit or miss, but he’s never quit if it’s something he wants.

I think that’s an important lesson.

Don’t quit the life you want to have.

It takes dedication, commitment, and a willingness to go against the status quo. Even if it means people don’t like you or you don’t fit in.

Lennon isn’t worried about fitting in.
Lennon is worried about what video game he’s going to play.

So, don’t worry about fitting in, instead figure out what you are going to do next that you want to do and of course could have an impact on your life.

Worry (not really) about the important stuff. Get excited (Yes this) about it!

Choose to wake up with joy in your heart!

There aren’t many days I recall Lennon ever to be angry or grumpy (unless the pain was too much). That doesn’t mean he doesn’t get upset, it just doesn’t stick around long enough. I think he doesn’t know how to hold a grudge of any kind because he just is filled with joy and it shows.

There’s something very genuine about it and it always reminds me that you get to choose how you feel, how you engage, express yourself.

Choose to be angry, you’ll feel miserable and wonder when life will change.

Choose to feel and be joy, life looks different filled with gratitude and like an adventure.

 

What will you choose?

8 Steps to elevating your life

8 Steps to elevating your life

The 2018 Theme for Rebel Shine is YOU RISE ABOVE

And of course, that means talking about how you can elevate your life!

Your life doesn’t have to be what it is now if you make the decision to create change because that is all it takes!

Decide what you really want and how you want your life to feel like. Acknowledge your dreams and passions and choose to follow them.

Decide to not be afraid to speak your truth! Speak up and speak out – for yourself and for those who don’t have a voice. Speak from your soul with clarity and purpose.

Decide to listen to your inner voice and intuition in your life. Don’t judge or think too far ahead and be present with an open mind.

Decide to get back up any time you fall. We all fall down sometimes, it’s life but that isn’t an invitation to stay down, feeling defeated. Instead, dig deep into your inner strength.

Decide who will be part of your life and who won’t be. You will have a hard time elevating your life when you allow negative ninnies, naysayers, and doubters into your inner circle. So choose wisely who you spend time with.

Decide to let go of pain and anger because it doesn’t serve you going forward. In fact, it will hold you back like you’ve been shackled to an invisible cage. It’s not about forgiving those that hurt you, but freeing yourself!

Decide to make time for knowledge! I am not saying don’t watch TV but spend 30-minutes or 1-hour learning. You can still watch TV but perhaps have this at the bottom of the priority list.

Decide to look forward and not backward. You can’t create the life you want and elevate you when you keep looking back at all that happened. Learn from your past and use that knowledge to go up and forward.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Everything you want to be, do and have lies within yourself and making the decision to choose!” quote=”Everything you want to be, do and have lies within yourself and making the decision to choose differently!” theme=”style2″]

And if you’re looking for support so you can rise above the stories you tell yourself, then join me in Rebel Shine!

Why holding back on self-care could hurt you

Why holding back on self-care could hurt you

Let’s start with identifying what self-care is and in it’s simplest form, it’s about getting your physical and mental needs met.

But it can be an incredible struggle when you have a plateful of shoulds, especially when you’ve been receiving mixed messages from your parents, colleagues, and entrepreneurs.

Of course, you would love to do all the things at high performance and have the ability to juggle all things life.

And at the end of the day when you think about all the things you didn’t get done, it can feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day.

For many years I utterly and completely failed at self-care. Heck, I didn’t even know it was a thing.

Every morning I got up ensuring that the demands of my family, my bosses and my partner were met. When I transitioned into a being a business owner, it didn’t really change then either. I was in constant go and work mode and there was zero time for self-care.

Sure, we did regular family activities, like road trips and hiking.

But on an individual level, this wasn’t enough.

I was cranky, grumpy and frustrated on multiple levels.

When my son spent 180 days in the hospital, it dawned on me just how little I cared for myself. And honestly, I at times still have a hard time with this whole self-care concept.

In part as a full-time entrepreneur, partner, and mother, there is always something that needs to be done.

And as a creative, I always have new ideas that I want to follow down the rabbit hole.

But here’s the thing, [bctt tweet=”taking a timeout can actually help you be more productive.” username=”@petramonaco”]

When you know that you are taking a day off, getting enough sleep and say no to some of the shoulds, you will feel more rested and energized with more clarity and focus.

Here’s the truth:

That laundry?

Isn’t really going anywhere.

Your clients?

They’ll respect you and look to you as a leader.

Your partner?

He will appreciate you more when you stand your ground about your own needs.

There’s no question that self-care is important for your overall well-being. And this is where self-awareness is crucial as you are paying attention to your activities.

Sure there will be times that you overdo things and overwork but you’ll know how to scale back too!

But self-care isn’t just taking a day out and hanging out on the couch watching your favorite TV Show or getting lost in thought in the tub with a glass of wine.

Self-care is

  • enforcing your own healthcare routine
  • saying no to family and friends
  • deliberately take time off from working
[clickToTweet tweet=”Self-care is about creating a daily practice that helps you meet your own needs” quote=”Self-care is about creating a daily practice that helps you meet your own needs” theme=”style4″], cause there isn’t anyone going to do this for you.

When I decided to unplug from work or the net more often, I found myself to be more productive in getting things done and definitely more rested to do all the things.

I believe that when everything is in harmony – work, life, and self-care – you don’t need a vacation from your life. And self-care has been represented by being just that when in truth it’s something you do every single day.

That’s not saying don’t take a day to binge on TV, eat cake and have a glass of whatever is your pleasure, but don’t allow this to be your last resort to get your physical and mental needs met.

How imagination can help you win at life

How imagination can help you win at life

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been an artist, embracing and expressing myself in different forms. But it’s also held me back and as I dove more into personal development it showed me how much.

Especially when I sold my artwork at festivals and people would tell me one or all of the following:

  • I wish I had your talent
  • I am not creative
  • I don’t have the skills

And the truth is that they are false and limiting beliefs you picked up or imposed on yourself throughout the years.

But just because you don’t write, draw, crochet or paint, doesn’t mean you don’t have talent, that you are not creative or have skills. They may just be looking a bit different what is being understood as creative, talented or skilled.

You at some point made the decision to not bother because you haven’t given yourself permission to feel talented, to be skilled or feel creative.

Those words: talented, skilled, creative…they are open to interpretation!

And what does that have to do with imagination?

Only everything!

Think back for a moment to your childhood and remember the times you

  • were in art class and were given a prompt
  • were hanging out at the playground with your peers
  • were playing with your siblings or friends

And then remember the games you played, the stories you told and the dreams you talked about of what you would become one day or do for a living.
This was imagination at play.

You didn’t wonder or tell yourself that you are not talented, creative or skilled.

If you can see it in your mind, you can hold it in your hand. Bob Proctor

Imagination moves you into visualizing what you love to be, do and have.
Imagination taps into your current talents and gives you a starting point.
Imagination seeks out your inner child that believed in the impossible.

When I was about 13 years old, I dreamed of being a famous singer and actress. I would sing loudly going to the grocery store. I didn’t know then that this isn’t the way to be discovered, but I fueled my imagination and believed it was possible.

Now I am not a famous singer and actress and enjoy a night out singing karaoke, but more importantly, I have learned to use that imagination of when I was a teenager to fuel my dreams.

When you say you don’t have skills, talents or that you are creative, maybe it’s time to challenge yourself.

Is there a specific thing you would like to be doing but made excuses because you or someone else told you that you are not talented?

Have you bothered to take a class to learn a talent or a skill?

Have you ever solved a problem?

Have you ever helped someone with something that they perhaps didn’t know?

Do you have a career that requires specific knowledge?

I ask these questions so you can be honest with yourself about your talents, skills and your creativity.

A bookkeeper has a skill and a talent.
Tax accountants are creative (and not in an illegal way)
Musicians are creative – some natural an some have dedicated themselves to a skill.
Handymen are skilled, talented and creative.
Mechanics are skilled, talented and creative.
Real Estate agents? Yep them too.

And they every one of them has or is always tapping into their imagination in order to do what they love to do.

So isn’t it time that you too embrace your imagination, to give yourself permission to believe it’s possible and decide to follow the activities you would like to be doing.

Saying I wish has never made dreams come true.

Even lottery winners had to take action.

Deciding and committing, now that has changed lives.

You are only limited by your own thoughts and ideas of what life is or should be.

If you want to win at life, tap into your desires: What do you want to do?

It doesn’t have to be to make a living, it could be just a hobby.

  • Now take that and make it a goal.
  • Develop an action plan.
  • Commit to your goal and plan.

And if your objections is that you don’t have time, then frankly it isn’t important enough to you.

But in as little as 5-minutes a day you could

  • Learn a new skill that will help you move forward
  • Embrace current talents and expand on them
  • Acknowledge that you are a creative human being

So if you really want to win at life, then tap into that imagination of yours and know that no matter what you do for a living or have as a hobby, you are creative, talented and skilled.

And as always,

remember that you are one decision away.

Cheers,

Petra

P.S. If you are finding it difficult to use your imagination, own your skills and talents then join me in Rebel Shine.

In Rebel Shine, you will rise above the doubts, limiting beliefs and your old stories, because isn’t it time that it’s time you tap into your inner child and not be inhibited by outside constraints?

Step Forward and be Judged

Step Forward and be Judged

Whether you have done really well in your life or have done some big mistakes, you are always going to be judged.

Someone will always want to dig at your mistakes.
Someone will always question your success.
Someone will always challenge your integrity.
Someone will always throw their own mud at your truth.

So why not stop caring about what other people think and just do your thing.

And yes I know a thing or two about being judged.

Like the time I moved to the United States and my integrity was being questioned on why I was marrying an American, cause you know I did it to become an American and yet it’s taken me 25 years to decide to change my citizenship.

Or the time I shared my big dreams with someone and was told that I couldn’t have my cake and eat it too and I have been calling bullshit ever since. I can have the home I want, the partner that compliments me (note I don’t need anyone to complete me) and the career that lights me up every single day.

Or the time I am too transparent about my life or the time I am not transparent enough.

Or the time where I talk too much or maybe haven’t talked enough.

Or the time when I said I wasn’t a Christian or any specific path at all.

Or the one time when I was making spelling or grammar mistakes.

Or the one time that I drove a truck into a house while drunk.

You see people will always judge you and try to dig at your heels and tell you everything that is wrong with you and how you live your life or the message that you are sharing.

The key to step forward:

Do not hide! 
Don’t take it personally. 

Know that unhappy person will always look for the wrong in others. It gives them peace and solace in their own flaws.

I am by far from perfect, as a matter of fact, I love that I am a complete contradiction sometimes. And I love that I make mistakes because I get to learn and grow from them.

Just the other day someone described my office as the following: 

It’s a mix of a teenage boy and a teenage girl. And it made me laugh because not only is it true, but it totally speaks to my personality and how I go about life.

But what I recognized more than anything else is that I don’t really care what people think about my office. It’s my office and I work in it and when I am done with the setup, I know I am going to love every bit of it.

The time to step forward is now.
The time to stop hiding behind judgments has come.

It’s time that you rise above all the things that had you hiding.

You only have this one life to live.

Remember, you’re one decision away.

Cheers,
Petra

P.S. My Rebel Shine Program is currently open!

Where Mindset meets Strategy meets Guidance on how owning your own power and unleash yourself is the recipe for Creative Rebels and Passionate who are done living in a box and have the support of a community.

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