Friday, September 28, 2012

Are You Too Busy To Look for Love?

Many say they would like to date in order to find a new life partner. However, in the next breath, they complain that they don’t have enough time to devote to the endeavor. 

Are these excuses put forth because of a fear of dating – both a fear of failure AND a fear of success? 

OR … do many feel so disorganized that there aren’t enough minutes in the day to accomplish the necessary tasks of living, let alone add dating into the mix? 

If time management is your issue, here are some seven helpful suggestions to get your life in order so that you can make some room to look for love. 

1. Know your priorities. By defining your goals, and then creating an Action Plan that moves you towards those goals, you will be able to stop wasting time on the things that distract you from moving closer to your desired outcomes. Each day, make a daily “To-Do” list, which defines the important tasks for you to complete that day. Of course, there are always emergencies which need attending, but don’t let them derail your journey towards your ultimate goal. 

2. Define your hours of power. Each person is different: some are most productive first thing in the morning and others are most creative in the wee hours of the night. Keep track of your own patterns to discover when you get the most work completed. Those are the hours to work on projects that require prolonged concentration. 

3. Avoid multi-tasking. Concentrate on one task at a time and then move onto the next one. Although multi-tasking seems like a good idea, it actually divides your attention and decreases your productivity. When you are able to focus your undivided attention to a task at hand, you can complete it with efficiency. Publius Syrus said, “To do two things at once is to do neither.” 

4. Create routines. Try to do the same tasks at the same time each day. For example, if you use Facebook for your business, create your posts at a set time. You can always schedule them for later, but now you don’t have to think about writing them throughout the day. Moreover, in this way, since you visit Facebook less often, it precludes you from being distracted by the postings of others and wasting valuable time. 

5. Be realistic with your time estimates. Most under-estimate how much time something will take. Consequently, don’t over-schedule yourself so that you short change everything and everyone, including yourself. 

6. Write it down. If a brilliant idea comes to you in the midst of a task, write down your idea so that you can revisit it at a later time. By taking a few moments to record your train of thought, you can then refocus on the current task vs. thinking about your new idea. 

7. Give yourself limits. Time is your most valuable commodity and it’s important not to squander it. However, it’s equally as important to set aside time to do nothing. Everyone needs to take a break in order to refresh and rejuvenate. Taking short breaks during the day; a day or two during the week; and one or two weeks each year for downtime allows you to address your work in more creative and productive manner.

For more time management tips, you can read the article I wrote for Always New You as a guest blogger for FizzNiche.

Friday, September 21, 2012

6 Ways To Cultivate The Culture of Your Relationship

According to Webster, the word culture is defined as follows. 

1. the act of developing the intellectual and moral faculties especially by education 
2. the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization 
3. the act or process of cultivating living material 

Just as you might experience a corporate culture in your professional life, your relationship also has a culture, which is developed (or cultured/cultivated) by the actions of the participants. 

Here are six ways to culture your culture so it becomes a healthy breeding ground for friendship, love, respect and honor. 

1. Choose well. This is the most important. Take the time to choose the right partner. Don’t rush into a relationship because you’re lonely or want to be rescued from the circumstances of your life. You must “rescue” yourself. Learn to be happy on your own and then seek a partner that can enhance your already wonderful life. 

2. Practice your communication skills. You were given two ears and one mouth. That should be your first tip-off that you should listen twice as much as you talk. Practice active listening instead of just waiting your turn to jump in and express your thoughts. 

3. Don’t let little annoyances fester. Oftentimes, if you find yourself continually clamping your mouth shut over a behavior that really sets you on edge. This little annoyance can turn into something bigger than it needs to be. Ask your partner if he or she would have time to discuss something. This way you’re not cornering him/her without any warning. When in a calm state of mind, discuss your grievance and provide alternative ways of handling the same issue. This turns a potential argument into a productive session where partners can reach a compromise. 

4. Find the balance between your personal and professional lives. Often, every part of your life demands attention and equal time. Unfortunately, there is no “equal” time. At times, you must devote all your energies to your job, for example, when you have a big presentation looming in front of you. Other times, you must forego work to attend your child’s athletic game or school performance. As with all circumstances in life, you need to get your priorities in order and decide which area will get your focus at what time. Family members need to be accommodating and flexible. If you’re a family unit, you have the same goals and each person needs to do his/her own job, which may include being a support person only. 

5. Honor your differences. I’m not a big fan of opposites being in a relationship because it seems to make everything twice as hard. However, I also don’t believe you need to be clones of each other either. With core values in common, along with a shared rhythm of life, each partner goes out into the world and brings back interesting information to share. Sometimes, one will be the teacher and the other the student, and, at other times, vice versa. Balance is all about shifting the focus back and forth, and this creates the days of your life. 

6. Learn from the past, focus on the present; keep an eye on the future. Rather than repeating ingrained patterns that have not served you well in the past, glean the lessons to make beneficial changes. Enjoy the present by living in gratitude for what you have vs. what you feel is missing. The act of always wanting more leads to discontentment in the present. While it’s important to keep an eye on the future and plan accordingly, the present is all we really have. Appreciate the one you’re with while you have the time to do so. Learn to love and accept your partner’s love unreservedly. That’s the answer to why we are here on Earth.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Looking For Love In All The Right Places

You have worked long and hard on yourself and accepting your present circumstances. You now have a clearer picture of your new single self. You have also assessed your readiness and determined that, although you are fine with the possibility of being alone, you rather look for a new partner with whom to share your life. 


Due to what you have heard from others, you might be a little hesitant to jump into the dating pool. Don’t worry about what others are saying. Your experience will be unique and your success or failure will be based on the attitude you hold throughout the process. Consider that the disgruntled remarks you may be hearing can simply be excuses people are making for themselves because they’re not finding success. You may want to take an objective look at their attitudes and the methods they’re employing to meet people. Rather than be turned off to dating, learn from their mistakes. 

If you’ve already “put yourself out there” and can’t seem to find quality prospective dates, consider changing your patterns. After all, doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results is insanity, as defined by Albert Einstein. 

Here are some suggestions on where to meet new people.

1. Frequent Different Places. Travel away from your beaten path by going to coffee places, bookstores, lectures, etc. in a different part of town than you normally would visit. Be the “new girl or guy” in town.

2. Join Groups or Volunteer. A great way to meet like-minded people is to join or volunteer for organizations you support. It’s a very natural way to meet others and it takes away the dating prowl tension. 

3. Be a political activist. No matter which presidential candidate you like this year, it’s a great time to get involved in supporting a political candidate. You will find lots of passionate folks working for the things in which they believe. 

4. Get a pet or borrow a baby. It’s hard to resist pets and babies. They are great conversation starters. 

Here are seven other venues to consider. 

1. Places of worship singles groups. (Find people of a similar faith.) 

2. Single Parent Associations (These are folks that are interested in learning about good parenting techniques.) 

3. Dining clubs. (Worst case scenario: you eat a good meal.) 

4. Golf courses/Tennis clubs (In case you don’t meet anyone, at least you’ll get some exercise.) 

5. Networking groups (Good chance these folks have jobs or they wouldn’t be networking.) 

6. Single cruises/vacation packages (Meet people who like to travel or are adventurous.) 

7. Dancing clubs (Meet those who like to “shake it up” vs. remaining a couch potato.)

The truth is that you can meet prospective dates in any venue. The important thing to remember is that you need to just get out there and make yourself visible.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Use Your Imagination to Find Love After Loss

Graham Greene said, 
A brain is only capable of what it could conceive,
and it couldn't conceive what it hasn't experienced. 

You might take this statement to heart when you are thinking about the possibility of inviting new love into your life. 

Many years after my first husband passed away, it was still quite inconceivable to me that I could ever be with another man. After all, I had met my husband when I was 15 years old, and he was my one and only boyfriend. I didn’t know anything else, so, as Greene states, I couldn’t conceive anything else. It wasn’t even that I felt I would be “cheating” on him. As a person who had never dated, I just could not grasp the idea of being with a different person. 

Greene’s statement may be applied to loss in general, too. Moreover, I believe this concept contributes to the difficulty some encounter as they attempt to move through any sort of loss. 

In the case of losing a mate, if you’ve never experienced this circumstance before, you naturally have not conceived or learned how to deal with this tragic life event. At first, your body goes into shock to protect you from the assault on your sensibilities. It doesn’t allow you to even think about what your life will look like going forward. You just exist to get through the days ahead of you ... moment to moment. 

This “inconceivability factor” also hampers your belief that it’s possible that you will eventually feel better and be able to live again. 

Consider the idea that your brain is a “fixed” part of your body, and, therefore, it can’t change. The good news is that your imagination lives outside of your brain, so it CAN change and conceive the impossible without having any prior experience. 

I suggest that you dream big and then “pull” your ideas into your brain for digestion and eventual implementation. Remember that all greatness is first born in your imagination. 

I like the words of Albert Einstein: "Imagination is more important than knowledge for while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create." 

A tip to the wise, though …. 
The imagination, which operates in duality as does everything in nature, can help or hamper your success. I suggest that you, first, harness your imagination so you can point it in the right direction before letting it have freedom to explore delicious possibilities. When you are able to point it towards the positive vs. letting it run rampant in any which way direction, you can deter it from conjuring up worst case scenarios and frightening outcomes. 

So, what does all this have to do with finding love after loss? 

Over time, as I worked on and moved through my grief, I began to open myself up to new experiences, which included meeting lots of new people. Even though I had a hard time conceiving that I could be partnered with someone new, I allowed my imagination to construct scenarios. It was almost as if I made mini-movies in my mind, which I could watch and critique whether I liked them or not. 

This type of exercise can help you step out of yourself and experience new ideas and circumstances. And once your brain has experienced them (whether they were actual events or events you imagined), they become less inconceivable. 

If you find yourself stuck in no-man’s land, which is the place between wanting to share your life with a partner and still having a hard time imagining that there is another special someone out there for you, one way you can step into new territory is to practice date

Practice dating is an opportunity to learn about yourself; to become more comfortable with the idea of meeting and being with prospective partners; and to determine if there are more areas and personal issues which you need to work through. 

Most importantly, if you believe Graham Greene’s statement, practice dating allows your brain to have new experiences so, when you do find that special someone, it can conceive of the possibility of a new life with him or her.