Change Your Perspective, Change Your Outlook, Change Your Life

I’m tired.

There. I said it.

I have over-committed myself this year. I have taken on too many things. I have gone above and beyond the degree of what I’m comfortable doing. While I’m happy to go outside my comfort zone, I’m not so happy to admit that I’ve put myself in a situation in which I’m forced to make choices I don’t want to make, or to do things I don’t necessarily want to do.

No one – no one – likes to admit they cannot do it all, but there’s this saying that I’ve seen around (thanks, Pinterest) that speaks to my soul.

You can do anything, but you cannot do everything.

I relate so much to this.

When I began my business more than a decade ago, it was because I had the time, I had the desire, and I had a dream. I had no idea it would grow into what it’s grown into today, and I’m so darn proud of it. Who ever thought a little housewife and mom from Florida could take a passion for writing and turn it into a business that has provided services to some of the biggest companies and brands in the country? I didn’t – and I had a pretty big dream.

I didn’t see that happening, but I also had a dream. I was going to be mom of the year every year (yeeeeeaaaahhhhhhhh…that didn’t work out how I planned). I was going to bake all the things. I was going to keep the cleanest house on the planet (this I actually do…well, I don’t personally do it, but someone does it). I was going to be at every school event. I was going to be on every committee. I was going to do it all, and I was going to do it in a pair of designer shoes and a perfectly chosen outfit.

And guess what? I did it.

And I’m tired.

I’m on the PTA. I volunteer in the elementary school classrooms. I volunteer in the middle school. I volunteered to coach not one but two competitive cheer squads (a year-long commitment) so that two of my girls could continue their dreams of being competitive cheerleaders. I run a successful business and write hundreds of thousands of words every month. I date my husband. I raise four kids (team work on that one, baby). I have an active social life. I travel. I work out 5 to 6 days a week. I do a lot of things, and I’m tired.

I find myself struggling regularly to keep up with the demands of my schedule. I don’t want to leave any of it behind, but I cannot do it all. I’ve lost 21 hours of my week this year because of middle school pick up times and elementary school pick up times and cheer practices two nights a week. I’m overwhelmed trying to keep up with everything on my plate, and it’s making me an ugly person. Literally – my face will not stop breaking out.

In this season of my life, I’m giving things up that I don’t necessarily want to give up, but I need to for my own sanity, for the sake of my kids, and for the sake of my own well-being. I’m not afraid to say no to things that don’t sit well with my soul, but I dislike saying no to thinks I’ve committed myself to doing, things that make me feel like I’m making a difference. But…I love writing. I love what I do. I love my clients. I’ll never give that up.

So, where does that leave me? It leaves me tired. I spent 20 hours at the gym this weekend for choreography weekend for the two little squads I’m helping coach. It was hot. It was long days. It was hot, long days. I missed my family. I missed home. I missed the quality time I spend with my five favorite people over the weekend, and I’ll admit that I wasn’t feeling overly happy about how I was feeling. And that’s when it hit me – my perspective is all off. It’s not poor me. It’s not feel sorry for me. It’s not omg my weekend was long.

It’s “How fortunate am I that I played an integral role in ensuring these little girls (and boy) get to continue doing something they love after their coach retired from the position unexpectedly and there was no one to coach the squad?” It’s “How fortunate am I to get to hang out with these kids who get to do the thing they love as much as I loved it growing up, and how fortunate am I that I have experience as a cheerleader and coach to help me help make their little dreams come true?”

When I shifted my way of thinking, my heart was immediately lighter. My mind was clearer – well, as clear as it can be after 78 cups of coffee and not nearly enough sleep over the course of two days. Perspective is everything, and I’m challenging myself to take my biggest complaints as of late and turn them into positive thoughts. Here we go.

I’m tired.

  • How fortunate am I to share my life with five people who love me so much, and who I love so much? How fortunate am I that we are surrounded by friends and family who love us all so much that they want to spend their time with us so often? How fortunate am I that our cups are overflowing with so many amazing people?

I don’t have time.

  • How fortunate am I that I get to fill my days with things I love? So many people spend their time idly doing things that don’t fulfil them and don’t make them happy. So many people struggle to find things to do, and they struggle to find peace and happiness in their everyday lives. They struggle to fill their time with positive things, people, and activities. Their weekends are spent at home doing nothing with no one. How fortunate am I that I have so little time because I live a life so filled with beautiful things, people, and experiences?

I miss my family when I’m busy doing other things.

  • How fortunate am I that I get to spend so much time with my kids, even when it’s not all together all the time, helping them do the things that they love? Taking them to the sports and activities that bring them such joy and happiness? How fortunate am I that I love my family so much that I miss them when I’m away from them, even if it’s only for a few hours? There are a lot of people who miss their loved ones all the time because they don’t get to spend time together. There are many people who don’t miss their family at all because they are so unhappy with their families. How fortunate am I to miss my people when I’m not with them for a few hours?

My kids are being special.

  • Kids will be kids, my friend, and there is little we can do about that. They get tired. They get overwhelmed. They are exhausted going back to school and activities. They are struggling to get themselves acclimated to this new schedule. They can be a little trying sometimes. But how fortunate am I that these moments are few and far between? How fortunate am I that our biggest struggle with our kids on a regular basis is how they dress? So what if they have like 3 favorite items of clothes they like to wear all the time and they have thousands of dollars in clothing in their closets with tags on them that they will probably never wear because they want to see me lose my mind? How fortunate am I that we have the means to provide them with these things even if they choose not to utilize them? So many people are not so fortunate.

My kids are expensive.

  • They really are so expensive. But, how fortunate are we that we are able to provide for them when they need something, when they want something, and even when they don’t want something but I just know they will love it so much for about 4 seconds before they’re over it? How fortunate are we that we can take them shopping when they remember that they have to dress up for AVID this week and suddenly have nothing to wear? How fortunate are we that we can send them all to school with filled out picture day forms and checks to pay for hundreds of dollars worth of pictures we won’t even frame or hand out because our kids instantly turn into Chandler when he and Monica were taking their engagement photos on FRIENDS? How fortunate are we that we can spend $600 a week at Publix on fruit because that’s what they love to eat the most?

I’m so busy.

  • How fortunate am I that I’ve been able to build a client list so extensive that I’m constantly asked to do more? How fortunate am I that I’ve been able to work with some of the coolest people in the world doing writing I never thought I’d do? How fortunate am I that they recommend me to other companies, and those companies reach out to me because they’ve heard such great things about working with me? How fortunate am I that our weekends are filled with pool days and river house days and date nights and football parties because we have friends who are the most amazing people on the planet? How fortunate are we that our kids have such amazing friends with amazing parents, and that many of their friends are kids they’ve known since the day they were all born? How fortunate am I to have a husband who wants to date me and spend time with me all the time? How fortunate to be so loved and to love so much.

Our house is always full of kids and it is never, ever quiet.

  • Okay, okay. Most of that is our fault (Raiford couldn’t keep his hands off me, and Dr. King didn’t get his hands on him soon enough) with our choice to have four kids (wait…was that our choice? We were going for a third….not a set of twins. How fortunate are we to have gotten a bonus baby we didn’t even know we needed in our lives until we had him/her?). But, how fortunate are we that my sister-aunt trusts us enough to care for her little boy for hours every morning before school so we can get him to school for her while she’s off at work guiding and counseling the youth of today? How fortunate are we that our kids’ friends love to be in our home so much? How fortunate are we that our kids’ friends’ parents trust us and love us enough to let their kid spend so much time with us? How fortunate are we that our kids have such amazing friends and sweet friendships? How fortunate are we that we have the space to accommodate a fifth child 3-4 days/nights a week most weeks without worrying it will disrupt bath time or bed time or dinner seating arrangements or whatever with our own kids? We’ve got it pretty good over here.

My husband has been working 16-20 hours days a lot lately.

  • He has been the past few weeks, and I hate it. But, how fortunate am I that he works from home, and he’s with us even when he’s in the office? How fortunate am I that he’s here to make breakfast for the kids and do the laundry and sit down with us for dinner and help with homework and pour me a glass of wine every single day? How fortunate am I that my husband’s career is one he loves, and that he is so good at what he does that everyone wants him to do their projects and they want him to work with them and they want him to handle their situations? How fortunate am I that he works for a company who recognizes his value and what he has to offer? And how fortunate am I that I get to spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with the man I’ve loved for the past 18 years, and I miss him when he’s on the other side of the house?

I could go on and on with how overwhelmed I’ve become this year, but I’ll focus on how I’m learning to readjust my schedule, and how I’m learning to readjust my perspective. I might be tired and busy, but those things are so because my life is full.

My full life gives me a full heart, even when I can readily admit that I’m overcommitted and it’s time to start scaling back and saying no to things that don’t jive with my vibe this year. I’m good at that, and I’m not worried about it. But, really, if you take every complaint you have and you turn it around, you will see that your life is so full, and it’s so amazing.

Try it. I dare you.

5 Things I Let Go Of That Changed My Life

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I love the New Year. I love looking back on where we were a year ago and how far we’ve come since, and I love seeing how much we’ve grown and accomplished. This year is no different. We’ve set our goals, we’ve made our peace with the most wonderful time of the year being over for another year, and we’ve welcomed the New Year with excitement. We have big plans for 2018, and we’re excited.

But we’re also excited about what’s changed in the past year. One of my favorite things to do is look back and take note of some of the positive changes that occurred during the year, and most of the time those changes go along with giving something up. 2017 was a year for the books, and it’s been eye-opening seeing how many things we gave up/changed/altered about our lives in the past year that have made life a lot sweeter.

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  1. Excessive Drinking

We have always been social drinkers, but 2017 was a bit eye-opening for us in terms of just how much we were really consuming. There wasn’t any specific instance or time when we thought we needed to tone it down a bit, but we did. I think it was a culmination of different things. It was a lack of energy, a desire to be more present and feel better, and it was the stage the twins were in.

They turned 3 last year, and they became so much easier. We began taking them more places with us and really enjoying our time with them, but that comes with being that much more exhausted at the end of the day. There came a point when we took the kids to Disney one Saturday night, came home, went to bed, and woke up feeling energized and amazing. Not drinking on Saturday meant waking up Sunday filled with energy – and really good moods.

That feeling was addicting. It wasn’t long before we were going weeks without a drink. During the Fourth of July, I drank sparkling water in my Yeti all night – and I woke up the next day feeling amazing. I loved it. We both loved it. We definitely still drink – there’s no stopping us from ordering a bottle of wine with dinner and enjoying a glass of red each night or drinking when we have a party or attend one. But it’s changed – a lot. It’s one or two drinks instead of 5 or 6. Sometimes it’s just water in the Yeti and no drinks.

We didn’t set out to make this change, but it just naturally occurred. The benefits have been being more energized, healthier, more present, in a better mood, not nearly as tired, and waking up every morning feeling really good has been a plus. It’s also allowed us to be better role models for our kids, and that’s a really good feeling.

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  1. Letting the Little Things Get to Us

Okay….so….it turns out I’m a little bit of a control freak. A lot neat freak. A major “my way or the highway,” kind of gal. But sometime during the year I managed to stop letting the little things get to me. Let’s not panic, though. I’m still a neat freak. I still can’t leave the house unless it’s perfectly clean or go to bed without it being perfectly clean, or allow anything unused to spend even a second out of place during the day. But…I made great strides letting the little things go.

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  1. Responding Immediately

I wear an Apple watch, so I get all my messages and my alerts and my calls immediately. I don’t miss a text because my phone is on vibrate on the counter or a call because I can’t hear the phone over the kids. I get everything immediately, and I always felt this overwhelming need to respond the second I got a message or text.

I’m getting better about not doing that. Not that there is anything wrong with being a quick responder – I like that about people. But it was to the point I was interrupting myself, my work, my thought processes to respond to messages in the middle of completing a deadline, and it was slowing me down and making me more productive. I still see the message – though sometimes I don’t read it if I’m really into what I’m doing and don’t want to take a chance of disrupting the flow. I just respond later if I’m super busy, and it’s made it so much easier for me to finish what I started.

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  1. Letting Go of Guilt

You know, I still feel a little guilty when I’m away from the kids or when I’m out having fun with my girlfriends while Craig is home with the babies, but I let a lot of that go over the course of 2017. Craig and I spend every minute of every day caring for our four kids, my business, his career, and our home. We don’t want to feel guilty when we take off for a weekend in New York twice a few times a year or dating regularly. We want to enjoy the moment and really stop feeling guilty about being away, about asking our parents to babysit, about the kids missing us…our marriage needs our focus and attention, and we realized that we can’t feel guilty about that.

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  1. Fear of Going Outside my Comfort Zone

I spent the past decade building my business, acquiring a long list of amazing clients, and working hard to earn my reputation in this industry, and I’m very proud of that. I’ve had some amazing opportunities, but I’ve missed out on just as many because I’m very comfortable in my comfort zone and not an inch outside of it.

When I had the opportunity to attend an event in South Florida in January last year, I decided I was not going to let my fear of attending events alone without knowing anyone bother me. I booked a flight before I could talk myself out of it, and I went. I struggled, of course. I hate being in situations where I don’t know people and everyone else already has a friend or a group with them, but I stuck my hand out, smiled, and said, “Hi, I’m Tiffany. What’s you’re name?” and went from there. I made a few new business connections, networked, and really stepped outside my zone of comfort.

And you know what? I hated every second of it, but I was super grateful I did it. I spent my flight home taking notes, making lists, and reveling in the fact I did something that makes me so uncomfortable and made it through. I had no regrets, and decided at that point I was going to push myself to get outside my comfort zone so I could build my personal brand and blog in addition to my professional business. It was liberating, and it’s the thing I’m most proud of letting go.

The New Year is all about embracing new goals and making positive changes in your life, but it’s also about reflecting on what you’ve learned, how much you’ve evolved, and how you can continue to grow in the new year. Looking back on my year in 2017 and getting to see just how much I grew and how much I changed has been amazing. I’m proud of myself, and I’m proud of how I continue to change, grow, learn, and evolve. I feel like I matured a bit in 2017, and I like that (but don’t worry…I don’t plan on maturing too much or ever growing up. I hear it’s a trap, anyway!).

How have you changed in the past year? Where were you a year ago, how were you feeling, and what changed in your life and about you over the course of 2017?