Goal Update 2016 #18 LL

Wow, I cannot believe May is literally halfway over. I have to say it’s been a crazy wirlwind of a month. I have some very exciting goals updates for you. Sadly, I cannot give away lots of details but just know it’s super exciting.

Business: I had an amazing meeting with my team and we are gearing up for some big projects. Our efforts have yielded some great responses. Now, it’s time to start aiming a little higher.

I also have been hoping for 2 huge things to happen. In the last 2 weeks I have received word that both these dreams would be coming true. Something I didn’t even think would happen this year. Just shows everything happens the way it is supposed to. Don’t worry I will share the deets when it is time.

Health: this week is my doctor appointment. Goal get my stomach and my body to work together is still in progress. I am feeling 60% closer to health already.

Personal: My hubby and I have worked hard at tackling our goals together and I am happy to say that our financial goal and our puppy goal are on track!

This week it’s all about follow up! Planting seeds is only good if you plan on watering them. I’ll be doing some watering this week. What about you?

xx~LL

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7 Ways to Get Through Professional Loss

Within ten days, I lost a gig making a nice pile of money, and I lost a role that I thought was mine.  It was a rough week–two separate losses that I was not expecting but had planned on. I could have gone into a very dark corner and stayed there for a bit; weeks; months. I could have taken both inward and beaten myself up; berated myself with asking: why?

Truthfully, I feel mildly like a child complaining that “its not fair” what happened to me.  I’m frustrated that things didn’t go my way.  But after crying over one, and stamping my feet over the other, I came to the conclusion:  these things weren’t meant to happen for me.  I took a deep breath, released my frustrations and moved on.


Seriously, this overwhelming sense of calm came over me both times, and I realized that no matter how much I wanted these situations to happen, no matter how much I wanted this role and this job, no matter how big they were in my brain, neither one is meant to be mine.  Neither one is meant for me.  My time is to be spent elsewhere.  The thought that  I’m not meant to be (for you Hamilton fans) “in the room where it happens” is frustrating because I had been planning on both of these activities for a few months, plans were made around them. Obviously, I was not living in the moment and counting my chickens before they hatched. But, to quote Robert Blake, sometimes “the best laid plans of mice and men go awry.”  Or maybe they weren’t the “best” plans.


Part of the reason I felt release from these disappointments go because although I wanted both situations to be in my favor, it truly feels like neither is the right direction for me to move in.  I cried about not getting the role–I wanted it; I had been talking to one of the producers for about a year and a half about playing this role and was over the moon when I was asked to audition for the role. And I suffered panic and confusion for about an hour over the gig–I wasn’t able to work because I was short a qualification and I sent emails back and forth trying to figure out how to rectify the lack. Neither, although both I want terribly, are the way I’m supposed to travel in my life.


Its an interesting feeling, because once I came to terms with both of these adjustments in my life, I feel better.  I don’t feel bitter or angry.  I’m not trying to bargain to get back what I feel I’ve lost.  I’m not crying anymore–I did over the role for about three hours, but I’m a highly emotional being… it makes me a great actress.  I’m at peace.

How did I get there–actually I didn’t know.  Loss of something is hard. Loss of something you know is yours, is even harder. But as I wrote this blog, I realized, these were my steps:

  1. Be Upset.  Seriously.  When I found out, I called my mother, who told me it was ok to cry about my loss.  But I could cry about it that day, and then I had to move on.  I was given the permission to be upset, and a time limit for my grief.  Now, I realize this time limit thing doesn’t always work for everyone, but it really helped me.  I cried it out and was done.
  2. Breathe.  This is usually my step one, but you need to get the bad stuff out before you can take the good in.  Deep breaths help you remember that you’re still alive; that you’re still able to do many things.  True this didn’t work out.  True you wanted it.  But you’re still breathing.  Hear Viola Davis tell you: you is kind, you is smart, you is important.
  3. Take a minute.  Its ok to just chill out and just go through the motions of your days for a bit.  Get back to a stasis and an unheightened state of emotions.
  4. Tell yourself you’re going to be ok.  Keep telling yourself this.  There is some reason you’re not supposed to be headed down that path–and whatever it is, I’m sure its a good reason. 
  5. Look forward.  This step might come a few days or weeks after loss, FYI.  What can you do next?   What is the next step?  What is it that you needed out of the situation that you didn’t get?  (One of mine was money, the other was getting to fulfill a dream.  So for me–What other ways can I make money and what are other dreams, or other ways I can complete this dream?)  Is this the right direction, or should you head in a different one?
  6. Look backward.  Wait on this step until you’re emotionally clear–note you’re not allowed to beat yourself up with this step–its introspection only.  Was there anything you could have done differently?  Was there anything you can still do?  (Also make sure you’re not pathetic about it.  Needy and pathetic won’t get you far.)  Chances are you couldn’t have done anything differently–but note ways you could be more concise in the future.
  7. Make a new plan.  Do you want to head in the same direction?  Do you want to try a completely different goal?  For me, I’ll always keep auditioning–that part will come around again.  For the money, I’m realizing I’ll be alright with out the extra income, and I’m just trying to figure out how to deal with my finances with out the extra padding.

When faced with loss, you have to keep living.  You have to keep going.  Don’t let loss cripple you.  Take time to mourn, of course, but don’t let it be the anchor around your neck. Sometimes loss makes us refocus.  Sometimes loss saves us from ourselves.  Don’t harp on the past–instead take this lesson and move forward.  We only have control over the present.  Make it count.

Good luck!

–Clare

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com   We LOVE your feedback!!   Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

101 pieces of advice

We started out this blog, 99 posts ago (a whole year and a half ago), because we are told we give good advice and are always asked for it. Self-proclaimed, self-help junkies—we love and absorb ideas, knowledge and advice. We both love to expand the mind, quest for happy living, and search for analysis and reasoning in human behavior. Here are our 101 favorites from our blog, and from a few of our favorite bloggers (note that if you want to read more, just click the link at the end of each quote!):

  1. “OWN being in transition.”  Transitions
  2. “Help yourself out. Sort through all the issues in a simple and effective way: Make a list.”  Regain Control of your life- Make a list!
  3. “Things, life, kisses, don’t always happen the way you dream or plan.” First Kisses
  4. “Change needs to happen. Not all of it is drastic. Sometimes little change is good. It keeps you on your toes.” Patterns vs Change
  5. “You already know the answers.”  Breaking up was RIGHT to Do
  6. “It’s completely OK to know what you want but not want it now.” Don’t want it now
  7. “You really don’t need to keep things. Really.”  5 things I have learned from Moving
  8. It doesn’t matter where you lay your head, as long as you have a place to lay it.5 things I have learned from Moving
  9.  Be vulnerable. Take a breath. Ask for what you need. “ 5 things I have learned from Moving
  10. “… remember to breathe through the painful moments and just keep moving forward. If nothing else, you’ll figure it out as you go.” 5 things I have learned from Moving
  11. “Like any good relationship, a good friendship brings out the best in ourselves.  If you’re not seeing your best, you’re not in the right relationship anymore.” Growing out of Friends
  12. “Its time we make connecting in real life a trend again!”  Eye to Eye
  13. “Cut out the excess chatter and find that peace within.” Text-a-Bitch
  14. “It’s tough out there but don’t try giving advice that 1) wasn’t asked for 2) puts your friend in a place that makes her second guess herself 3) that isn’t leading to a positive feeling towards oneself.” No more projections please
  15. “‘No’ is a full sentence.” The Olsen Twins said that.  Basically…life’s too short to do anything you don’t want to do, or anything that makes you uncomfortable. You always have a choice.–Honestly Libby’s Blog
  16. “A flirt is really just a compliment of you being alive and in this spot at this moment.” Flirting: A How To Guide 16332829367_ddb088af60_k
  17. As cliché as it sounds, love will happen when you least expect it… The most important thing to do is make sure you are living a full life. Fill your days and nights with the things you love, your passions, your family, your friends. Don’t wait for love to happen.–This That and The Other Thang’s Blog
  18. “…. do it with bells on—figuratively that is.” Duty Dating
  19. “Statistics are like a bikini – what they show is interesting but the important stuff is covered up! In a world where we rely heavily on data, it’s people who are at the heart of what really matters and numbers can paint a very different picture, whether good or bad.”– Aloada Bobbins’s Blog
  20. “We all have our lists of wants and needs in a mate. If you don’t experience it in the flesh how do you know its something that is a deal maker or breaker.” Duty Dating
  21. Treat dating as a hobby. If you’re too busy with life, or not having fun, stop. Don’t stop your life, just do it in your spare time. First, dating should never be your number one priority.”  Duty Dating
  22. “Whatever happens, we are responsible for our own happiness and success.”– Lessons From My Daughter’s Blog
  23. “Truth sometimes hurts, but lies are ultimately more painful. Let’s stop lying to each other and make this a more truthful world.” Lying: is it really worth it?1438336432_0904c3f0be_o
  24. “..not every date will be someone you want to date again. It’s nice to set boundaries until the date becomes the partner.” Whats in a Name? 
  25. “Maybe you want to be distracted by a 6 out of 7, but 7’s and 7 Plusses do exist, and are out there for the finding.” Move On From a “No”
  26. “If you want it and are willing to work for it, you can make it happen!  “It” can be anything.”–Lessons From My Daughter’s Blog
  27. “The thing about callings is that once you’re called you have to answer!” Leap of Faith
  28. “Chances of winning the lottery are increased significantly by actually buying a ticket.”–Suzie Speaks’ Blog
  29. “If you want to buy fancy undies, or fancy wine, or have a fancy shave: do.” Am I an Amy
  30. “It’s wonderful if they call, it’s great if they take you out, but if you’re not being introduced to friends or other people in their lives after a month or so, there is a reason.” Professing
  31. “…forgiveness isn’t letting down the protection walls. Its more of the mental version of just releasing unneeded tension and relaxing your shoulders.”  How to Apologize to Yourself
  32. “Only tell others things that you wouldn’t mind the rest of the world knowing unless they have consistently proven that they are trustworthy.”–Suzie Speaks’ Blog
  33. “…acting like a queen means watching and kicking lots of jester’s to the curb but one day your king—do not settle for a prince!—will show up.” RESPECT
  34. “You can change anything in your present.  You can take steps to cure your own unhappiness.” Stick Your Neck Out
  35. “Sex one time or multiple times does not a mate make. If you’re having sex to land a mate…” The Best Sex
  36. “My advice for you is dream big.  Work that dream backwards until you have something “small” to work with.” Climbing the Career LadderSONY DSC
  37. “…moving and doing creates options.”  Round Peg Square Hole
  38. “…the excuse “he/she is not my type” is out the window. If you’re single and alone, its obvious your type hasn’t exactly gotten you a home run. So, try on a different pair of ‘jeans’.” Because He ASKED
  39. “If something makes you want to scream, it’s the absolute wrong answer. Step back. Put the item down.”  Holiday Sanity
  40. “Desire: the sexy Live ClareLesley way to prepare you for a positive path for your future! It’s the Fuck Yes way to set your “goals”. If you don’t desire the outcome, it’s a Fuck No!” Desire
  41. “Happiness is ALWAYS just a perspective.” Happiness
  42. “Sudden change of who you are shouldn’t happen just because the calendar changed, but instead because you want to become a better, upgraded version of your current self.”  New Year, Same You: Upgraded
  43. “Once you start sneaking in the time to create, you’ll start making time for yourself to create.” Competitive Progress
  44. “Get off that “woe is me” train! Grab you happy side up ticket and drink a glass of Self Love.” In Your Social Face
  45. Make your own damn plans.”  Valentines Survival
  46. “Shed those red flag preventing glasses and see your own wants, desires, happiness.”  Red Flags
  47. “Don’t make yourself smaller for a mistake.” Stop Saying I’m Sorry
  48. “ANYONE that you kiss, sleep with does NOT a Relationship make.” Sex with Friends
  49. “Remember, the right one isn’t “out there” but instead is inside of you.”  How to be Single
  50. “You’re exactly where you need to be right now. Isn’t that Amazing?” Climbing the Career Ladder
  51. “We decide when we want something to be done, and we arbitrarily pick dates and times and abilities that we think we should be able to do.” New Year: Same You. Upgraded
  52. “Remember, breathing is the opposite of nerves—if there is plenty of good warm breath in your stomach, there aren’t room for butterflies!”  Nerves: Squish Those Butterflies
  53. “You rest, you rust! Seriously. When I think about rust I remember this old wheelbarrow out in the back yard where I grew up. Do you really want to become and old wheelbarrow?”  Love the Skin You’re In
  54. “…dating should be fun. It should be treated as a hobby. No one freaks out about or overthinks yarn, book club, or collecting stamps.” Dating:  Straightforward From the Beginning
  55. “Texting does not a relationship make.” No Waiting Dating
  56. “Get your face out of your phone. Actually talk to people, see what happens.” Crying wolf on social media
  57. “Sometimes we set goals and then we grow out of them. Luckily we write goals on paper, not in stone.” How To Stop Avoiding Your Goals
  58. “How do you fight the distortion?  Fight it with truth. Get down to the nitty gritty. Get naked.  Find a full length mirror you trust, and take it all off.” Love Your Skin Now
  59. “It’s nice that someone is contacting you. Wallpaper is nice my friends; your relationship should not be just nice.”  Texting is not a relationship
  60. “If you don’t eventually demand your worth, people will think you’re worthless, or worse, take advantage of you.” What Is Your Worth?
  61. “Sometimes the dream we have had in our head since childhood isn’t the one we really want to achieve.” 5 questions to help you focus your dreams
  62. “You are a beautiful snowflake, and you travel however you want to.” Age–Does It Really Matter? 11445631923_df52846c49_o
  63. “Be ok with changing your timeline.” Are you in a trough of sorrow?
  64. “It is great to be altruistic, but you have to take care of yourself if you are going to be any good to anyone else.” Rest IS good for you
  65. “Just like a stockbroker doesn’t put all his money in one companies stock. Don’t out all your stock in dating online. Keep yourself available to meet people multiple ways.” 5 ways to change up your dating game
  66. “I will survive my crisis. You will survive yours.” How to survive your own personal hell
  67. “Your life shouldn’t be supporting your business; your business should be supporting your life.” 5 steps for getting out of your own way
  68. “Even if you walked the same path, at the same speed as another person, you would have a completely different experience. If you open up your eyes and have no expectations, you’ll have enjoyed the journey much more; you see more, experience more, gain more.” Age–Does It Really Matter?
  69. “Slowly progress into the schedule you need to hit the goals you have.” Love the Skin You’re In
  70. “What do you really want? Re-tailor your life to that dream!” 5 questions to help you focus your dreams
  71. “Go, picture the life you want to live, ignore the negative voices, try something new and have fun while doing it.” I Said Yes
  72. “Understand you are not on a timeline/time crunch/expiration.” 8 tips to survive your friends wedding announcements
  73. “Be careful what you say: your brain is listening.” Be careful the things you say: Your brain is listening
  74. “Love the person, leave the label off, and let your expectations and demands on a relationship fall away.” Labels are for Soup, Not People
  75. “You will not die from rejection.  The odds are better than any other form of gambling.” Just Ask Already
  76. “Build your business around your lifestyle not the lifestyle around your business.” 5 Steps to get out of your own way
  77. “You are never “too” anything… so stop thinking that way!!” Why the word “Too” is just an excuse
  78. “That is the first thing you have to understand and realize is that all “single” means is that you’re not in a pair.  It doesn’t mean that you’ll always be–unless you choose it.” How To Be Single
  79. Wouldn’t you rather be your own original story? Knockoffs and remakes are rarely as exciting as the original.” How to deal with a barrage of green grass 2680294816_e710a43d3b_b
  80. “Partners take time. Just like friendships take time. They deserve to take time. Like a fine wine, tea or beer…fermentation is a good thing.” Sex with Friends
  81. “Focus on yourself. In this time that you’re waiting, think about things to do for yourself, or that you need to accomplish.” 6 Ways to Stop Your Waiting Anxiety
  82. “Stay Hydrated. Drink in lots of self love, big picture thinking and how this storm will prepare you for the future.”  5 tips to beat the heat of life
  83. “Don’t value the actual money more than you value time.” What is your WORTH
  84. “Don’t create realities that aren’t really happening.” Make like a Blondie Song and Call Me
  85. “Breathing may be difficult, but you’re the only one who can control that. So it is up to you to keep breathing and keep moving on.”  How to Survive Your Own Personal Hell
  86. “You are in control of your life and your thoughts. Remember you have choices.”  5 tips to beat the heat of life
  87. “Maybe you’ll succeed. Maybe you’ll fail. No matter what you’ll try something new and you’ll learn something.” How writing a novel made me a better person
  88. “The thing is, you’re never alone in your crap.”  What to do when Shit Happens
  89. “Forget about “you only live once.” You only die once, and its getting closer every day.”  How to Face your Big Fears
  90. “Change it up! If freestyle isn’t working there are other strokes out there. The important thing is to take action. You’ll feel more in control of your situation.” Just Keep Swimming
  91. “Remember the beginning is always slow, but you have to just slog through it. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and you’ll get there eventually.”  How writing a novel made me a better person
  92. “Take a look around you. Say a general thank you to the positives in your life.”  The Power of Thank You
  93. “Let’s stop being virtual recluses!  Go forth and have conversation.” Make Like a Blondie Song and Call Me
  94. “Being yourself, having fun and making eye contact are all things that attract someone to you and your personality.” Could your next date be at the grocery store?
  95. “Sitting around complaining about it and doing nothing to change it seems pretty silly don’t you think?  Unless you do something to change your situation, nothing will change.”  How to Let It Go2512983749_ee38b41e0d_b
  96. “By creating a new schedule for yourself the bad stuff won’t seem so bad because you are living the lifestyle you desire.”  5 Steps to Getting Out of Your Own Way
  97. Make mistakes. Make choices. Take chances.How to Listen to Life Lessons
  98. “I understood that I would be even more unhappy and unfulfilled in my life, which would actually be worse than the possibility of failure and the humiliation.”  How to Face Your Big Fears
  99. Being kind only takes a moment of time, but it will earn you moments, hours, and years.–Clare
  100. The true definition of luck is when preparation meets opportunity. You can be the luckiest person in the world if you want to be.–LL
  101. Go out and be great.  Or at least enjoy the ride!–LCL

Thank you!  Here is to hundreds more blogs, stories, and pieces of advice!

xoxo–Clare and LL

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com   We LOVE your feedback!!   Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

Photo credits–all photos from Flikr Creative Commons: 100 (by Ash); lightbulb (by Beat Kung); Create (by Dana Bateman); Truth (by T); Snowflakes (by MayYeo); Dream Big (by Heidi); Ant Heart (by uditha wickramanayaka)

How writing a novel made me a better person

A lot of personal growth gurus tell you that when you’re trying to be something you tell yourself you are that something to help you achieve your goals. Mind over matter. Fake it until you make it.  Honestly, that’s how I finished a manuscript for a book.

The path to writing a novel has been an interesting one. I have always been a storyteller: I had friends put on versions of fairy tales in my backyard when we were little; I studied theater in high school and college; I was on the school newspapers as a writer, and loved to take creative writing classes. I could give you many more facts to support that I like to tell stories—but I think you get it. The thing is, I just am a storyteller. It has always come naturally, and I love it. I also don’t understand it, can’t explain it, and am not good at owning it. I’m an actress—a damn good one—but its taken me years to be able to say that with conviction. Part of it is that I’ve not had thousands of glittering fans following me, and praise from teachers and critics. Part of it is that my storytelling talent is just as much a part of me as my arm, or my teeth, or my brain—its just there, I have cultivated and kept up its strength, but I don’t know that its really mine to take credit for because I’ve always had it. A creative outlet also helps my survival, so in a way, its like me taking a compliment on breathing….thank you…?

Anyway… the novel I’ve written started as an outlet, a way to breathe. I had a relationship that was very jagged in the way it ended. I needed to figure out a way to deal with my feelings of it, so I started journaling. After a few weeks of hearing myself only complain both on paper and to anyone who would listen, I got so tired of it. My journaling morphed into my writing letters, which morphed into a fictional version of myself writing letters to someone else at the end of a relationship—I felt very Chekovian at the time. From these letters a plot started to emerge about how this woman felt so deeply, and loved this man so deeply, but his depression got in the way. I just felt compelled to keep writing. I wrote on the subway every time I could get the chance. I would write until I fell asleep each night. I would wake up and write while I was making coffee and a few times while brushing my teeth.  Elizabeth Gilbert talks on her website about her thoughts on writing.  I’ve also heard her quoted to say that she sits down and just slogs though the work. I just wrote whenever the muse called, or whenever I could. Liz says on her page: “Your job is only to write your heart out, and let destiny take care of the rest.”  I just kept writing.

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At this point it was all hand written, and I decided to sit down in front of the computer and see what happened… I had over 80 typed pages. WOW. By this time the muse had a hold of me, and I just kept writing. I started telling people that I was writing—and it was interesting, there were two reactions: 1) people were excited and couldn’t wait to read it, 2) people were inspired by me and were either going to start their own, or dust off the one they had already started and were going to work on their own.

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The more I told people, the more it became real. The more I became a writer. I sent pages off to friends who read it and couldn’t wait for more. I even started a Facebook page to keep myself honest and update everyone on the progress—because it became my main talking point.


The more I told people, the more it became real.


Life intervened and distracted me—truth be told, I don’t know if I was ready to complete a story then, I was sad, and the story needed a happy beginning. At some point LL and I sat down and decided to launch LiveClareLesley, first as a book, and then as a blog—and that took my writing down a different lane. I moved three times, and my storyteller was quelled by all of the theater I was performing. Then in June of this year I had a brainwave for a play. I told myself that I wasn’t allowed to start on the play until I had finished the novel.

And I did. I sat down, I slogged through it, and now I have a manuscript. I have done the research on self-publishing. I have a Facebook and a following. And now, I’m trying to get this sucker published with a GoFundMe campaign and donate if you can. Please go check it out and I will adore you if you like the book on Facebook, and post my GoFundMe on your own social media!

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But wait, there’s more! Ok, this blog wasn’t a commercial to help fund my book. Its about owning the talents you have and letting them come to the surface. I did not start out to write a novel, but I arrived at that. I’m proud of myself for continually sitting down to work on it and owning it. Here are some of my suggestions on how to get started:

  • If you feel the need to be creative and don’t know where to start, make a “bucket list” and a separate list of things that inspire you. What of those make you want to take action? Start to follow your inspirations and passions.
  • It sounds silly, but literally take a different route home—I always am happy when I do, because I see something or someone that I wouldn’t have normally.
  • Read. Nothing inspires me more than words and other stories.
  • Go see a play/movie/opera/concert. Get out and get some culture.
  • Just try something. If you feel inspired to write, just start writing. If you want to learn something new, sign up for a class. If you want to dance, go find a place to dance!
  • Remember the beginning is always slow, but you have to just slog through it. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and you’ll get there eventually.
  • Tell your friends and family. Maybe they’ll want to join. Maybe they’ll support, or even better they’ll look at you like you’re crazy and ask why you’re doing it—which will reaffirm your desire to do it! They’ll also keep you honest, and remind you to keep doing it by asking you about your activity!

Maybe you’ll succeed. Maybe you’ll fail. No matter what you’ll try something new and you’ll learn something. I’ve been a reader for as long as I could read. I appreciate books so much more now that I’ve been through the process of writing one. No matter what happens, I’m a better person for having started writing this novel. I’m a better storyteller.

Go visit my Facebook page for The Time Turner,  and visit, donate, and repost my GoFund Me!

–Clare

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com   We LOVE your feedback!!   Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

Photo Credits:  Palo (writing on page), Go to the Eye (typewriter keys), Twentyfour Students (keyboard keys).  All photos are from Flikr Creative Commons.

5 questions to help you focus your dreams.

I think I was six when I said, when I grew up I either wanted to be an archeologist or an actress. I loved digging in the dirt, and wanted to either find dinosaurs or Egyptian artifacts. I also loved playing dress up and creating my own version of skits in the back yard with all of my friends. I’ve always loved working with people and finding stories. Ultimately, that is what both of my career choices was about for me. What I didn’t understand as a child, is that both lives don’t always lead to the average living situation with a husband, kids, dog, house, mortgage, car, fence, etc. But you don’t think about those things as a kid.

When we were children it was easy to glamorize a career. It becomes part of our identity, our dream job. Children are often asked what they want to be when they grow up—it’s a standard question. It might change as we go through high school and college, depending on our aptitude and what we are exposed to.  But generally, we hold onto those dreams, those career goals.

I come from the fairy tale generation.  We grew up with Disney, parents who told us we could be anything we wanted to be, and President Clinton telling us that everyone deserved to go to college.  The trouble is, once through college, or stepping into the real world, we try our dream out.  We stretch our legs and try out our skills… but it sometimes isn’t enough, or isn’t the right fit.  As adults we still dream about a career or a goal, especially in the ones that are continually in our faces. The sane ones that we can judge on the surface, but don’t understand the depths of what they actually take to live them.

I’m approaching my five year anniversary in New York. It’s a very exciting milestone, for me. I have survived one of the most brutal cities, and have been somewhat successful in the career I wish to be in. The buckets of money have yet to arrive for my performances, however, I feel like I’m successful in my persistence in this career, as well as my achievements. However, as an actor I’m continually terrified. Terrified of when my next creative job will arrive. Terrified of where the money will come from. Terrified by the dozens of friends, who are just as talented, who quit the business and move home. Its an alarmingly large rate of people who attempt this city, only to return home a year or three later. They have either seen the dark side of the dream, accomplished the dream and didn’t achieve the level of happiness they wanted, or did and are ready for a new dream.

The thing about dreams is they keep us going.  They give us something to wake up in the morning for.  They give our life excitement and challenge. Drive is so important in life. Something or someone to wake up for is a necessity in life. However, we do grow and change and our life and choices form us, and remold us into different adults. We look back and forward at the same time and wonderwhat we really want to achieve. Some of my friends have gotten to the point in their lives and realize that what they really want out of life isn’t offered by their chosen career. Other friends figured this out in college, or just after, and diverted their path towards other things like children, or homes, or staying in the town they grew up. And that is perfectly fine. Point: sometimes the dream we have had in our head since childhood isn’t the one we really want to achieve.

Sometimes this stifles us. Sometimes it releases us. What is it that you are really dreaming? Do you want a specific job? Or perhaps a way of life, instead?

Start with your current dream: What is it?

Maybe get a piece of paper or something to make notes. And be honest with yourself.

What attracts you to it–this dream? Is it the goal itself or what the goal will bring? (for instance, if you want to be an actor, do you want to actually be a part of the craft, or do you want to be famous, or do you want to have money?)

Why are you attracted to that aspect? (if it’s the craft, is it because you love that you can become someone else? You like bringing life to someone else’s words? If its famous, do you like that it can open doors? Do you like that you can be charitable to whomever you want to? Do you like that your picture will be everywhere? If it’s the money, what do you want to do with that money? Do you think that getting the money is easy by acting?)

What are you doing to achieve that goal? (Are you auditioning daily? Are you watching movies and reading gossip magazines? Are you only dreaming?)

Switch gears.

What is stopping you from going after the goal? Fear? No talent? No connections? Family/job/money stopping you? (If its fear—do you really want it? If its talent—why are you still drawn to it? If its no connections—why don’t you have them, as in do you need to start looking, or go back to school, or network? If its family/your job/money—are you sure you’re not making excuses only to keep you from it?

If you had to give up everything and only choose one: your family, your dream, your security—which would you choose?

Think about your answers to the questions. Maybe the dream you’re dreaming isn’t the right focus.

Social media gives us a great view of society and sociology. Many people post what they love most and what they are most proud of on social media. What are you posting? Also, what makes you jealous, no matter how slight, when friends post it—why does this make you feel that way?

I dreamt of being an actress. I’m still in the process of making that happen, bumps and bruises, rejection, and the lack of having a “regular life” make it frustrating and mildly unappealing to me. That is my inside view. I look at Facebook and how people I went to college and high school with are married with children and enjoying their lives, while I sit, single in NYC. But I did dream the right dream. Maybe if you sit, looking out your window at others, you should take a look at what you really want and desire. Start with my questions above and analyze yourself. If you need help, feel free to reach out at liveclarelesley@gmail.com

Dreams are amazing. They pull us through the drudge of daily life. But, if it’s the wrong dream, it could be detrimental to your spirit. What do you really want? Re-tailor your life to that dream!

–Clare

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(Art by de la vega, photo by Live ClareLesley)

5 steps to getting out of your own way

Recently, I was coaching a couple of studio managers.   They had complaints about their schedule; their teachers; their lives. They just didn’t feel they had enough time in the day to get things done. They felt they needed more help. Or, they were fearful that the job they have taken on cannot be done in the hours they have allotted.  Whether or not their complaints are valid or true,  doesn’t actually matter. Not that I am saying I don’t think complaints matter, or they their complaints don’t matter. Just that honestly, no job is perfect. Nobody is perfect, and no boss is perfect. Even if you work for yourself there are going to be people or things that F-up what you are trying to do.

I am going to tell you what I tell everyone who complains about life and work balance. Build your business around your lifestyle not the lifestyle around your business.  If you want to workout in the mornings, but your job is 8-5, you are either going to have to work out super early OR find a job that let’s you workout before work. If you want to be home when your kids are home, you are going to have to find work or create work that allows that. I know it sounds easier to read/say then it is to do. But, honestly, if you take the time to do it, you get to live the life you want to live.  And your job/business supports that.  Which is how it should be.  Your life shouldn’t be supporting your business; your business should be supporting your life.

See, I actually think getting upset or angry at a situation is a good thing. Get it out, say your complaints, write them down. Before you go crying on every persons shoulder that’s available, ask yourself: why are you complaining?  Is it really the co-worker who taps his feet on the wall at the desk next to you? Or is it that you just don’t like what you are doing? I listened to an interview James Altucher, author of Choose Yourself did with Gretchen Rubin…. who wrote The Happiness Project. She said that a women in her blog commented about hating her job and thinking of quitting. Before she did she asked herself some questions and her big complaint about her job was her commute. She hated her commute. Before quitting, she decided to listen to some books on tape during her commute. What happened next? She realized she really liked her job. It was just the drive in and out that drove her nuts. Now with the books on tape she was in heaven. She found herself listening in her driveway after work because she was so engrossed in the book. So, complain away if you must but again before going to friend after friend, co worker after co worker…tissue after tissue, find out why you are upset. What is truly the issue? Once you find the heart of the issue you can work on fixing that. Can you imagine what would have happened to our long commute listener if she had quit her job? She probably would have realized she left a job she loved but it would have been too little too late.

My dearest readers, I will repeat I am so ok with complaints. I listened to the managers above. I let them spend the whole time getting the “problems” off their chest. Then we got to the root of it. They had tried to fit their life, their kids their desires around their work. I challenged them to go home. Take out a blank calendar. Write in their desires first. Then create a work schedule around it. Does that mean major changes in their life? Maybe. Some clients may have to switch time slots or teachers. They may lose clients due to their new schedule and have to find clients to fit this new schedule. But, a few weeks from now when all that is put in place, they will be able to have their cake and eat it too. Will life be “happily ever after?” Can’t answer that, but I can promise that if they were honest with themselves when creating this new schedule even the bad stuff won’t seem so bad because they are living the lifestyle they desired.

Here’s how you can life your lifestyle:

1) What do you wish you had time to do each day, week, month?

2) Take out a blank weekly calendar

3) sharpie in the things you want time for each day, week, month

4) Put your work schedule in. Where their are overlaps ask yourself: “Can I move this work schedule to a different day, earlier or later?

5) If you can’t get your work schedule to jive with your hearts desires then you may have to search for another work option. Seek out something that will jive.  Don’t go quitting tomorrow but maybe you can begin to create your own business that allows for this. It will probably take time but a year from now you’ll be glad you started today.

So, tell me. What complaints do you keep repeating? Are you avoiding living the life you want to live so that you can continue to complain? Share your stories with us. Let us help you build your business around your desires.

xx~LL

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How to Survive your own personal hell

I, as my title states, have been suffering in a level of hell that I might wish on my worst enemy, but never on anyone I care even the smallest amount about. I am a caring person that always helps others, or this is what I believe about myself and try to achieve. Most of my friends are willing to help me as well, emotionally and literally. However, this realm that I have found myself in, these past few weeks has been horrific on so many levels. And asking for help is almost as painful as suffering alone.

Unfortunately, human beings find ourselves in moments like this, a lot.  Breakups, job changes, situations ending, body failings, even death.  When things come up unexpectedly, or even if expected, when they aren’t easily fixed or handled, life is rough.  My recent hell: I found myself in a living situation that was immeasurably frustrating. Without going into exact detail, the building I was living in had become unlivable.  I tried to find solutions and to fix the issue, but to no avail. It seems like I spent hours and hours brainstorming how to deal with the situation, cleaning, packing, throwing things away, and being in discussion with my roommate and with others on finding solutions on how to live better. I tried to figure out how to fix it—which was so frustrating, being a person that finds solutions and executing them fearlessly—I could not fix this. Many nights, many days, were spent in tearful frustration.  I ended up taking the option that I didn’t want to take–I decided to move out. Moving is stressful in itself–and for those of you who have been following us for a while, it has only been a year since I last moved.  I realized getting out of my bad situation, and giving myself a fresh start was the best option.

There are no distinct ways to get through a crisis. Every crisis is different. Every one has its own difficulties. No one but you, while inside the crisis, can understand your feelings. And its frustrating because you know you can get through, but you don’t know how, or when, and it feels like it will never be over.  People are somewhat empathetic, because they have on some level, experienced something like your pain. Everyone will try to help.  Some people will just be terrible to you.  Some will want to help, but will feel like they cannot for whatever reasons. And sadly, although the help is wanted, it is never enough to salve whatever wounds are there.  Just remember that everyone is suffering something, so do your best to be kind.

Over the last few weeks, some sound bites have come into my head. Quotations and mantras seem to get me through, even more than asking for help. Because, the quiet, the solace, the calm, has to come from within. Breathing may be difficult, but you’re the only one who can control that. So it is up to you to keep breathing and keep moving on.

Everything will turn out alright in the end. If everything is not alright, it is not yet the end. –The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

There’s a light at the end of this tunnel you shout, but you’re just as far in as you’ll ever be out, and those mistakes you made, you’ll just make them again, if you only try turning around.—Anna Nalick

The fault is not in our stars…, but in ourselves…—Julius Caesar

These have helped me. I go back to these. And that I WILL survive this. I have survived a great many things worse and equal to this, and I will survive this.  I have moved before.  I do have friends; I can ask for help; crying never killed anyone.  There are solutions–none are perfect–but they are there.

The only thing I can offer you, is empathy, and sound bites. You will find some kind of solution to your crisis. It will end eventually—it might not be the perfect way, but it will lead you on to the next chapter in your life.

  
Here are some thoughts:

  • Figure out the worst possible outcome and understand what will happen.   Most crises do not end in death. So you’ll get through.
  • Find a safe solace for yourself—and not one that is substance related. Meditation, yoga, deep breaths on a park bench. Make your safe place accessible, and go there any time you start to panic.
  • Come up with mantras, or quotes, or sayings. Listen to those. Hold tight to those. Even if they’re the most ridiculous. And if one doesn’t work for you, throw it out (In times like these, I loathe: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Its true, but I don’t need to be reminded of that.)
  • Find a treat for yourself. As in, when this is over, I’ll go have the best massage that I can afford. (Which is what I intend to do.)
  • For. Help. NO one minds. And if they do, then find someone else. Even strangers are willing to help. Every human experiences crisis at sometime or another. If people can help, they will. You might be strong enough, but get help.
  • A deep breath helps with so much.
  • Laugh! A good laugh is just as cleansing as a deep breath. Keep laughing and keep breathing.

I will survive my crisis. You will survive yours.

Clare

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What is YOUR Worth?

Last week I had dinner with a galfriend who was telling me about her new job. She and I had recently both been looking for new part time work, and had applied for similar positions around town. When I asked her if she was going to still pursue one of the jobs we both applied for, she asked how much the pay was and then replied, “I will no longer work for less than $20 an hour.” I was somewhat shocked when I heard this, as a part time service job rarely pays that much, even here in NYC.   She being in her late twenties and I in my mid thirties, we both are highly trained performers and need to take the survival jobs that work with our performing schedules—which means that usually we aren’t allowed to be that picky. Usually, we apply to lots of places, get hired at a few, and juggle schedules to fit with our rehearsal and performance schedules, so we can pay rent.

A few days later I awoke from a dream where a talent agent I auditioned for in the dream handed me four $20 bills. It was a very clear dream and I did look into the symbolism, but the point is that in the dream I was shocked to be handed $80 for minimal amount of work—an audition—which I always do for free. Upon waking from the dream my friend’s statement that she would no longer work for less money an hour rang through my head. I sat up and knew she was exactly right.

This post is about worth and self-value, so ignore all of those exact dollar amounts for now. Google defines worth as: the value equivalent to that of someone or something under consideration; the level at which someone or something deserves to be valued or rated. Back in the day, before there was cash, people determined the worth of their goods in marketplaces. What they had to trade versus what they needed, and the time that was invested in the tradeable product. For example, I weave two blankets and it takes two days to weave one, my time and product are worth the four days that the farmer takes to harvest 24 gallons of milk and a bushel of corn… so we have a fair trade. (This is super rudimentary and I’m by no means a reliable resource on this concept, its just so you who are reading and I are on a similar page to get to my point.) Basically, whatever I put into something—my time, my money, my resources—I deserve and equal (or better) trade for what I’m selling. This become an even bigger concept when you get into supply and demand—whatever I have versus the general availability of the product—makes the worth grow. But with all of this, the point I’m getting to is that it isn’t the product itself that holds the worth, it’s the value of our time and our abilities.

When my galfriend stated that she was worth at least $20 an hour, I was shocked. But why was this? I realized because I valued the actual money more than I valued my time. I feel like time is something I have a lot of, however this is not true. I have plenty of responsibilities to myself and plenty of education and experience to demand a certain value of my time. I have a master’s degree in Psychology. Truth be told, I got it because I was lacking a direction in life, and decided to go back to school I got the degree in Psych with the idea that I’d write grant proposals or teach classes, but when I finished my program, I realized I didn’t feel qualified to do either. Why is this? Because I don’t think that my online degree is worthy of more than that. For some reason, I felt that my lack of experience, with only a degree on paper and class work to validate me, I was afraid to I would be turned down because I don’t have enough experience, or a big enough name. Now, the brain in my head is exactly the same as it was before I got the degree, just now with added information. I’m a really smart gal, many people think this, and its not just my parents and relations. I’m smart. I’m analytical. I’m helpful. I’m good. Why don’t I see this? My galfriend has so much bartending experience, as well as music training. She paid for that training and worked her way up, so yes, she does deserve to value her time highly. She is good at what she does. I’m good at what I do, too. I get amazing reviews for acting. People love working with me onstage and in my survival jobs. My employers, co-workers, and friends know they can rely on me to get things done. So why don’t I see how much I am worth. And even worse, why can’t I demand my worth? If you don’t eventually demand your worth, people will think you’re worthless, or worse, take advantage of you.

OUCH !! No one wants to be taken advantage of in any kind of relationship. Jobs are the easiest to understand because there is a transaction that happens—you do X amount of work per hour in exchange for a certain rate. You have to demand to be paid what you’re worth, and your worth will manifest. But we have to look at worth in all relationships. We have to understand that we are valuable and should be treated as such in any relationship we invest in.

This is a lesson I’ve been working on within myself for a while. Its very scary for me to stand up and say that I’m worth certain dollar or time allotments. Its rough. I’m terrified sometimes when I turn in invoices for my time—because I’m not sure that the work I’ve done (which was elaborate, and researched, and substantial) is worth whatever dollar amount. And WHY do I think this? I am worth a lot. I am good. I am educated. I am thorough. But because I don’t have people walking up to me just handing me money or telling me of my worth, I doubt myself.

Its very interesting because I have a few friends who are going through similar things at the moment—or at least I’m noticing it more because I’m on a similar path. I have a friend with an office job who is frustrated because the people at work seem to only value her for what she can do for them. She is an incredibly kind, incredibly helpful, incredibly resourceful person. I don’t understand why people don’t latch on and keep her friendship around—I’m certainly glad I have her. Anyway, after chatting with her about her helpfulness, I realized that she doesn’t ask for anything in return. Which is okay, but when she needs something of value to herself—even if its just a buddy for a conversation—she doesn’t get any return from anyone that she helps. Which sucks and feels even worse. I told her she needs to start telling those sucker fish when they ask for things, what they will do for her in return. Yeah, I know, for all of you “nice” people out there, you shouldn’t demand a return on your helpfulness—however, if sucker fish aren’t told that the help you’re giving them is worth something to you then they won’t see your worth. Let me rephrase: your time has value. If you give me your time, I should help you out in return. Basic. Simple. Sadly, not always followed. Just remind people that your time is valuable, and then when you call on them to help you, gently remind them that you helped them, and that your help might not be there next time if they fail to assist you. Especially if the helping is a one way street.

Another worth issue is when you’re actually given help, time, even love when you didn’t ask for it. It’s a weird thing to handle when you are given a lot that you didn’t do anything for. A singer friend is going through this, as am I. We have both found people in our lives who, for once, seem more invested in us than we seem to be in them—which is a lot if you know either of us in life. We both give everything to anyone who needs it—and sadly don’t demand something in return. We both keep up the hope it will be returned, but always seem to come up lacking. Anyway, dealing with an outpouring of help, time, love when its not expected, just for being ourselves is an interesting phenomenon. Singer friend and I had a conversation on the phone about how neither of us knew how to deal with it, because its usually us that start the outpouring, and usually us that get the short end of the stick. But because its incoming first, and nothing is really expected more in return, its confusing. When value comes your way you have to accept it, and enjoy it. And hope it doesn’t evaporate too quickly, or at all.

Worth is a very difficult concept for some—I’m one. However, figure out the time and energy you put into something. You should expect to get an almost equal, if not more, value in return. Tell yourself you are worthy of receiving that value. Be strong in asking or demanding it—you don’t need to be rude about it, but you should be strong. Strong people are rewarded. Also think about what you need—its really okay to ask, or strongly request, what you need in return for what you’re giving. Everything has a value, even time. Especially time. You are worth a good deal. But only you can demand your value. No one else will. Good luck, and know you’re not alone in this battle.

–Clare

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Nerves: How to Squish Those Butterflies

I audition often–probably not as often as I should, but that’s not the point. I audition regularly enough, so basically I interview, put myself out on the line, open my heart and soul, through a song or a text to complete strangers with a mere hope that they’ll want and choose me. Insert horrific kick ball team selection moments here–it feels terrible to be picked last, or if in theater, not at all.

At the moment of writing this I’m headed to an audition. It’s a big one for me. I’m on a subway and I’m trying to do breathing exercises and releasing tension in my shoulders and listening to other music–anything that will take my focus away from the flip-flopping in my stomach, the wiggly legs, and the voices in my head.
The thing about ignoring problems is that they always butt their head back in. I’m at a sensitive equilibrium, and any shift in my breathing, my stomach or makes me jolt out of it. I’m at an intermediate level of being able to keep my nerves in check, because I have to do it so often. But I’m not going to lie, sometimes I let the nerves win. I’m staring success in the face and I’m going to let my nerves get to me. Oh. I’ll fight them, but they’ll still win. WHY? Why am I going to let a flip-flopping stomach and some wobbly knees take over and ultimately take away my chance?

Lets break down nerves, in a logical thinking way. Ultimately, nerves are created by fears. If you figure out your fears and face them, they should be easier to conquer. Both LL and I live by the thought that if you look at your fear, figure out the worst-case scenario that the situation could bring and then come to terms with the worst possible, there is no reason to be afraid anymore. For instance: the worst possible situation that could happen in the audition I’m headed to is that I’ll say something completely offensive, look completely unprepared, and not perform perfectly: making a bad impression and leading the people in the room to think I’m unprofessional and untalented. Let me dissect this for you and for me, since it always helps to rationalize out a situation to ground yourself. First, I wouldn’t say anything offensive–I’m more professional than that. Second, I doubt I’ll look unprepared, I looked over this music and audition materials for five hours last night—I’ve got this. Looking like I’m unprofessional and untalented—well, both are perspectives, if you think about it. It’s someone else’s perspective of me—which might book me a job, but is ultimately none of my business what someone else thinks of me. They’ll see me and meet me for maybe 10 minutes, which paired with my resume is enough to give me a job, but not enough to know me. So, what I’m trying to say with all of this is the worst could happen, but I’m prepared enough that it shouldn’t all just explode. And, better yet, no one will die or be harmed in any way.

“Nerves” come from fears. We all know that. I’m nervous because I fear I’m not going to get a role. Actually worse, I’m nervous because I’m afraid I’m not an actress, and I’ve put all of this time, energy, and money into being one. Wait—whaaaaat? I AM an actress. I’ve booked many gigs—some that have actually paid me. So, seemingly my nerves and fears are silly.

So how do you beat them? By continually calling them out for what they are and confirming your status as a fantastic, wonderful, unique, talent in the world.

Here are some steps:

1) When you start to feel the nerves, call them out—hey nerves, you’re just fear.

2) Dig deep and figure out what the root of the fear is: For me and auditions and job interviews, its feeling like I’m not good enough (this is generally the root of all nerves.)

Going on a first date: nervous that they won’t like you (“Not good enough”). Nervous that they aren’t who they say they are (Fear of someone lying to you—which you can’t determine until you get there. But you CAN always leave).

Quitting a job, or telling someone some heavy information: fear that they will hate you forever and will spread it around that you’re a terrible person (sometimes these are really silly reactions. If they hate you forever, well at least your last act was honesty. And if a rumor is spread around that I’m a terrible person for being honest… so be it.)

Traveling nerves are a bit of a different creature, but still, it’s a rare chance that your plane will crash, your suitcase will get lost, you’ll die… just make sure to get insurance and take the precautions you feel will make you more safe.

3) Breathe and talk through that fear, or that worst case scenario. Find a safe place, and a safe person to talk to—this does work best with a friend. I find that talking things out to others, and/or writing them out help get them outside of your body and mind, and therefore are no longer part of you. So talk it out; write it out; GET IT OUT.

4) Understand yourself and your fear—I’m not a therapist and I can’t help you completely work through everything, but I’m sure there is a root of your terror. My theatrical ones are that I’m not good enough to book another job, because I see so many of my friends booking work when I don’t. Well, its just not my time. And my close friends, and mother will tell you I’m insane having these thoughts—I did seven shows in 2014. Already this year I’ve done two play readings, am cast in a show, and am in the process of booking another. It will all be ok. (Just FYI, I didn’t book the original show that inspired this post—on this side of it, I’m totally fine; not crying, berating myself, hating myself, etc. Just moving on to the next.

5) Move on to the next. Or the first. Once you’ve talked through the fear, told yourself that it is silly—yes, please use the verbage “its silly” because really, it IS silly that you don’t feel good enough, or that someone will hate you, or that you’re going to die for doing an every day thing. (If you’re terrified of scaling Mt. Everest, that is something I can’t help you with in this blog. At LCL we can coach you through it—email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com to get started!!) Now that you’ve said the thing you fear is “silly” see how you feel.

6) Tell yourself that you are wonderful, awesome, courageous, and amazing. If you are not what this particular opportunity needs—GREAT! There will be another one that is BETTER for you, or you’ll understand reasons why you didn’t get this one. Maybe its because you didn’t really want it in the first place!

7) BE OPEN—this is a big one. After you’ve gone and done and got over your silly fear, listen to the world. If you’re looking for a job, tell your friends and listen to what they have to say. If you’re looking to date, get out there and try different opportunities—try joining clubs or groups instead of continually refreshing your Hinge pool. If you were afraid to tell someone big information, look at that relationship and question why you were afraid—is it you or them?

8) Dive back in! Yes, this is kind of part of number 7… but get back out there. The more you try the more you’ll get over the fears and nervousness. I’m nervous about singing auditions, but I’ll go in and give nary a care about reading auditions. I can cold read Shakespeare and you’d think I had it memorized. Because I’ve DONE so many and have achieved more success. The less nervous you are, the better you’ll do. I’ve conducted many job interviews and been on the casting side of theater—most of the time the person is hired because they are confident. Breed confidence!!

9) Check back in with your fears. If you can still tap them easily and call them “silly” then you’re doing great! If they’re still debilitating, you might want some stronger help than a blog!

Good luck! Remember, breathing is the opposite of nerves—if there is plenty of good warm breath in your stomach, there aren’t room for butterflies!

–Clare

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Climbing the Career Ladder 

As you know from Take a Leap of Faith before I was a Pilates Instructor and Goals Coach, I was a retail manager. Before I was a store manager I was an assistant manager, a key holder, sales person, and before all that I was the cashier!  While I was a store manager, I was becoming a Pilates Instructor. Those were some long days, 15-20 hours a week training, and 50 hours a week managing a thriving retail store. After I finished my training I was teaching part time and managing full time. Doctors work less than I did! There came time when I had to choose. Spoiler alert: I chose Pilates. Stay tuned one day I’ll tell you more about that major decision. I began working as a Pilates instructor at a health club, and as history repeats itself I began climbing up the rungs.

I’m not writing this to tout my successes. Nope, I already know I’m great at what I do. I’m writing this because I’ve noticed that there are many people out there who think they can go from zero to sixty without accelerating through the other speeds. A friend-of-a-friend is unemployed. Has an awesome degree from a very well known university. The job he wants, most people don’t get without having over 10 years of experience. Part of the reason so much experience is desired, is so the right candidate can develop relationships with colleagues in that field. A position like he wants also requires a great amount of experience out in the field, that one doesn’t achieve without starting lower on the ladder. Do you see where I’m going with this?  He has to start lower and work his way up! Also, lower on the ladder doesn’t mean he is “lowly” it just means his experience is perfect for that job. I absolutely do want you to have your hearts desires. However, there are steps in between; there are experiences that need to be well experienced.  You aim for the highest high and the part from where you are now will take you through the route there. I promise! Unless you’re gifted with a company from family, or thin air (and even then I would hope you would want to see how all the moving parts work) you have to get your foot in the door. Show your awesome skills, learn from others and grow.

I started as a Pilates Instructor. Then I was promoted to Pilates Studio manager. After visioning experience running a small studio I was promoted to a bigger more challenging studio. A short time later I was promoted to Area Manager. I know in the future, with more experience there will be another rung! I knew years ago that I wanted the job I have now. But, without the experiences I gained I could not do the job I’m doing today.  I’ll get honest with you. At each rung there was a time I thought to myself “I’m above this. I could be doing something bigger, better with my time.” I saw the areas that were lacking my skills. I wanted to be up there. But, in hindsight I can tell you that I a) needed to gain the experience of that position so I could coach and develop those who would be in it b) I didn’t know all the moving parts from where I was on the ladder. With each rung I gained more insight into the rungs ahead.

We’re there days I wanted to throw in the towel? Yep! Sure, but I knew in my gut that was quitting on my bigger goals. The reason today I can coach those who come to me is because I stuck it out. I kept my focus and learned what I could so I could move up. I never waited for anyone to notice my hard work. I touted it and asked for more.  I shared my goals and perspectives and took advice and critiques so I could climb again. My advice for you is dream big.  Work that dream backwards until you have something “small” to work with. Work backward from the vision until you get to where you are today, right now.  For example, say you want to own your own coffee shop, and currently you’re a barista.  You start having a big dream and a little knowledge. Option A: go around talking about how you would do things if it was your cafe. Get frustrated that a bank won’t take you seriously or that you don’t have investors who can see your vision. Outcome: a whiny life, with a latte Option B: talk to the manager of the coffee shop. Tell them one day you’d like to run your own shop one day. Ask what it takes to move up the ladder. A great boss will see this as a compliment and take you under their wing. Your success makes them look good. Plus, you’ll gain lessons on ordering, hiring, scheduling etc. If you don’t get this mentor then 1) tell that person’s boss your dream or 2) interview at other coffee shops and tell them you are looking to learn. You love being a barista, but you also want to learn how to manage. Outcome: great on the job lessons. You’ll discover if you really enjoy managing people and what your strengths and weaknesses are.

Hopefully my friends friend will stop waiting for someone to give him the big dream job and go get the job he’s qualified for that will lead him toward dreamland. You’re exactly where you need to be right now. Isn’t that Amazing?

Xx~LL 

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