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Stepping Off The Struggle Bus: 3 Steps to Getting Off

Stepping Off The Struggle Bus: 3 Steps to Getting Off

Stepping off the struggle bus: 3 steps to getting off.

Struggle has become a household word. And for some…a badge of honor. 
It seems in today’s world we are all striving to “get somewhere”. And there is nothing wrong with that!

Having goals, hopes and dreams keeps one motivated, focused and driven. 
But what happens when you find yourself stuck on the struggle bus? 

What do you do when you just don’t know what to do next? 
Everything is blurry, overwhelming, and just too big to handle?

I use to spin my wheels and struggle (and still do on several occasions), hide in the comforts of what was familiar, easy, and “going good”. 
But within those gates I would complain, cry and do I dare say pout about how I felt like I constantly had one foot on the struggle bus, and that I “couldn’t” get it off. 

I’ve been an entrepreneur all my adult life! 
I was taught to grind (in a sense that struggle was the way and method), to put your head down and keep going. 
And for most of my life that has served me well in the notion that I don’t give up easy. 

But now almost 35, I have realized that it’s perfectly OK to hop off the struggle bus and see what else is out there. Who else is out there, and what other buses are driving around to… HELP? And even if I fall stepping off, I’m at least off.

See it’s funny, I was never really taught collaboration and that there are truly others out there who WANT to help you.
See, I was taught survival. 
And clawing my way out of an eating disorder, survival was essential. 
But there comes a time when you evolve past that and need, and you begin to step out of survival mode. 
Or at least you begin to see you that you want to do that. 

That process for me. Stepping out and off the struggle bus was HARD
I’d get one foot off and freak out and grip the struggle bus tighter. Even though I hated it, it was comfortable and familiar, and I did not want to have to go out there and “figure it all out” all over again… Talk about overwhelm.

So when I started taking my teaching to a larger audience both off and online I wanted to remove all the barriers of entry. 
I want to collaborate with you, help you off the struggle bus, and I’ve been, there so let me remove all the “I can’t do this” objections. 

Do you want to know what I found… 
What I discovered when I started to reach out to help others?
The same thing I did to countless people when they tried to reach out to me. People didn’t do it. They still didn’t come to class, invest in themselves, in what I had essentially created just for them. 
I had paved the way (just like others did for me).

Did they not want it? 
Was their grip too tight, just like mine to the struggle bus?
Did they too have one foot off just enough to feel free, but comfortable at the same time?

In the last 20 years of my life I have discovered one vital thing…You can’t make someone grow, step off the bus, or even look up at the horizon if they are not ready. 

I remember a time when I was that very person. Nothing my parents, my school teachers, my counselor could say was going to change my mind and my ways. I liked the struggle bus. I did. It was comfortable, predictable, familiar, and as horrible as it was for my well-being, it made me just happy enough to limp by in life. 

I don’t want that for you. 
When I see someone struggling, I see myself flash before my own eyes, reminding me of my own struggle and how essential it SITLL is to keep pressing forward and surrounding myself with others, ideas and tools that help me to press on and stay off the struggle bus.

Here are my 3 best tips for stepping off the struggle bus:

1. Invest in yourself. Misery loves company and when you are caught in that cycle of struggle, your inner state will often refuse help, ideas, and making any kind of positive investment in yourself. You’ll find reasons also known as excuses to not do things like take a yoga class, invest in a workshop or online course, or even something as simple as take a nap or vent to a close friend. Step one to stepping off the struggle bus is to believe you are worth the time and investment. And if you don’t, do it anyway.

2. Pick your friends wisely. They (not sure who “they” is) say you are the accumulation of the 5 people you most frequently surround yourself with. So, make a list and see with your own eyes who those people are. Stepping off the struggle bus is all about coming to reality with where your life is right now. And then beginning to make those decisions as to how to move forward.

3. Call yourself out on your excuses. I started to notice that whenever someone would suggest something to me, offer me an opportunity or the most perfect program or offering came my way I would always tell myself some excuse I would disguise as a “reason” as to why I couldn’t do that or have that.

I challenge you to call yourself out on those moments then trace it back. So, I began to ask myself on those occasions “Why Hope, why can’t you”. And what I discovered is all those moments (yes, I said all) traced back to unworthiness and fear. Nothing real and legitimate. If it was about money, it was really about a fear I had around money not thinking I deserved it. Or I would hype my life up that I am “so busy” that I just don’t have the time to do such a thing, which in all reality I wasn’t willing to make the time and put myself out there that I was of value and worthy. I challenge you to try this and free yourself by stepping off the struggle bus right now.

This message may have hit a chord with you, and if it has, I want to welcome you to the first steps of stepping off the struggle bus and beginning to open your eyes to the idea that you are a rock star!

And as you begin to step off, if by chance you are ready to look up, I’ll be waiting here.

Having removed all the barriers as to why you can’t step off with my personally crafted programs made just for you (well, in all honesty, just for me, because most people create great things based on their own struggles, breakthroughs, and divine moments).

Want to take a look? Just hop on over HERE and take a look. Whose ready to step off the struggle bus and make a change?

Where has all the gratitude gone?…

Where has all the gratitude gone?

I grew up with my father making certain that my sisters and I understood the necessity of respecting your elders. And now I can only speak for myself now as an adult, but this (of many) things he spoke to us about has deeply been ingrained into my head and will forever be a teaching moment that I now use for my kids as well.

What does gratitude mean to you in today’s world? Well for starters when typing in “what does gratitude mean” into Google: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and return kindness comes us as the definition.

And when I read that short but powerful and on point definition, the “show appreciation for and return kindness is like a firework in my mind. When we get all stuck on trying to make a living, get somewhere, be someone it can be very easy to forget about gratitude.

With gratitude comes an ease of living. With gratitude, you are constantly (forced) to keep life in perspective.

In order to have gratitude you have to be a bad ass, you have to train your brain to think that way. Because as the old saying goes “if you cannot be grateful for what you have, how will you be grateful for what is to come”?…

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems that here in the U.S. (and maybe other countries as well) that many have slowly slipped away from seeing wisdom from our elders as important. Who needs an old person when you have Google? Who needs a story repeated ten times over when you can download an E-Book about it and read it in peace?

But peace comes from patience and patience is developed through being more mindful…

Are you looking to create monumental clarity in just five minutes a day?

Does your attitude need a clearing? Click here to access the fastest and easiest meditation to a grateful heart and a clear mind!>

Several years ago I took a class (and I wish I could remember with who) and I came across a few notes on gratitude, they were as follows:
  • You must be resilient in life to be happy and healthy.
  • You must have humor
  • Live life and not take it so seriously
  • You must take a moment each day to really live!…
  • We were encouraged to find a beautiful moment, a silly moment and a delicious moment in each day.

In re-reading all of this, the decision that perception is a moral test asking us if we take time each day to see beauty.

Gratitude keeps us connected to the real rhythms of life. The ones that make us thankful for living, for breathing, for being exactly who we are.

Are you grateful? Are you thankful for what you have? Where are you going? Where are you right now?

To cultivate gratitude one must shift their focus and create clarity in that process. What have you done to create that?

Are you looking to create monumental clarity in just five minutes a day?

Does your attitude need a clearing? Click here to access the fastest and easiest meditation to a grateful heart and a clear mind!>

Light it up! Your gifts are a flame…

Light it Up!

For many, they don’t see their gifts at all. They don’t see their natural God-given talents as anything more than something to do.

But here’s the thing there is a reason you were born with them. And truth be told, when you look at yourself, and then look at another and feel yours aren’t as good or are not what “everyone else” seems to have; news flash, they aren’t supposed to be like everyone else.

Wouldn’t life be boring if we all had the same gifts?

So in that thinking, what are you naturally good at, what are your talents, what comes easy, what makes your heart sing?

Humor me for a bit as you read this post and forget school, forget what you learned, forget what you were told to focus on, take interest in be it at a desk, on a field, or in a book.

What do you love, what are you good at, what makes you want to grab a torch and light ‘er up?

Because your gifts are a flame and guess what? You-yes you, get to hold the torch. Don’t be afraid, don’t judge, analyze, or wonder if it’s right, good enough or will fit in. Because truth be told, it won’t! And that’s the whole point!

It saddens me when I look out and see so many that just aren’t willing to even hold the torch out of fear they will get burned. Out of worry, their flame won’t burn as bright as others.

I was that person, I have spent most of my life in fear I wasn’t good enough, it had been ingrained into my DNA that this what the mentality one takes in life. And for years it crippled me, for years it kept me only holding the torch, but so afraid to light it.

And then even when I got to light it, I was constantly analyzing if my flame was up to snuff.

Well, mine is and so is yours.

But you have to believe it, and sadly many won’t. Many will only think about it, only choose to watch on the sidelines, only talk about others flames be it positive or negatively.

It takes an extraordinary person to carry fire, to light a path for themselves and others.

So I say…Burn it up!!!!!

What lights your path? What are you burning up about? I want to know.

Leave a comment, I can’t wait to hear about what kind of fire you are running with!

 

xx

Hope

6 Tips To Becoming More Productive

6 Tips To Becoming More Productive

I think it’s safe to say that if you are reading this, you might be feeling the deep need for some help in the productivity department. I get it, I have lots of ideas, but often would lack a clear outlook for how to get them all to play out. We all want to be more productive! So then, as a result, I’d end up frozen in place with tons of great ideas but nothing to show for it.

 

Here are 6 viable tips to becoming more productive:

 

1. Get your ideas out.

Be expansive in your thinking. It’s time to make a HUGE LIST! Yes, I said HUGE LIST of everything you are thinking. If you question it, don’t. It gets put on there, too. This is the first step: here, you brainstorm, collaborate, reflect, dream and yes, make a list of it all. You may be surprised at what comes out. This list is unfiltered and not to be put in categories, just free-flow writing.

2. Focus in.

O.K. so now it’s time to be more selective with what you came up with. You go to eat at a buffet and there is a ton of food there, but you are selective about what you put on your plate. Focus in on what will pay off. Know that there will be stuff on your list that doesn’t’ make the cut.

3. Identify your priorities.

When you identify your priorities, it’s helpful to use the 80/20 rule. Give 80% of your efforts to the top 20% (these are the most important) activities. This was a struggle for me for a long time. I wanted to do it all, be it all, and say yes to everyone. Now I see that in many people that are just starting out – I call it the “I’m everything bio.” I will often read a biography and see the long list of “styles” of yoga they teach or all the many modalities they do all listed out in their tagline, or in their short bio. That is the red flag of trying to do it all (I was there for a long time). Give attention to the areas that bear fruit!

4. Set more immediate goals.

Sometimes, don’t think so far ahead – set more immediate goals. When I was early in recovery, thinking weeks or months out gave me major anxiety and that would spin me back into the cycle of my eating disorder. When I started out just focusing on the next ten minutes, the next hour, the next day, and so on, I built up an ability to handle the big picture.

5. Where do you shine?

Ask friends and family where you shine most. Don’t be shy – ask for honesty. You might get answers you didn’t expect or answers that aren’t the direction you are pressing so hard to go in. Don’t be the person who tries so hard to go against their gift. Just because another’s gift looks so great, remember, that is their gift, not yours. This might also be a good place to try taking a personality test (DISC or Myers-Briggs are two options.)

6. Look behind you.

See where your past successes are. You can do that by looking back at what you have accomplished in the past, and by what maybe didn’t work.

As you work to become more productive, consistency is key. If you feel overwhelmed, focus in on one tip at a time and then go from there. Slow and steady, and soon enough you’ll be picking up speed.

You can also check out my tips on How to Stay Focused: Tips for the Unfocused Mind. These ideas are sure to help on your journey toward becoming more productive!

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How to Stay Focused: Tips for the Unfocused Mind

How to Stay Focused: Tips for the Unfocused Mind

Help! I can’t seem to stay focused!…

You are not alone…

Even though I teach focus for a living, I too have struggled with focus and staying focused more than once.

When it comes to idea generation and creation, no help is required. But when it comes to staying on task, getting laser-focused, and following through, I most definitely need help. (No judging O.K. – We all have our holes, between kids, owning a yoga studio, family life, and my own pursuits. It’s tricky when I don’t have help.)

Once, someone finally drilled into my head the order of operation. Even though I had heard these tips a zillion times before, hearing them again in a more ordered way has helped me stay on task and actually get things done. You know the process we desperately try to follow from start to finish to complete something.

So, for your reading pleasure, here are 5 tips to help you stay focused…
No, to get laser-focused!

1. Do the urgent things first.

Yes, that’s right! Do the things that give the highest return FIRST! For many of us, we are stuck on the front end. We are in the amateur cycle of doing only the things that give us instant gratification. Then we live and feed off of that to get to our next fix. The only problem with that is, it bears no fruit. Make a list of all you are doing, get honest with yourself about where you are putting your time, and start picking fruit!

2. Block out time.

Yes, you HAVE to block out time. There is no time tree, and very seldom will someone gift you time. More than likely, they are tight on it too. So ask yourself when and where, and then ask yourself how much you want it. When I schedule the time, that means one time a week I schedule a sitter and pay someone. Grandparents are not built-in babysitter’s, and quite honestly, I want to save that time for when I want to have fun. Paying someone the $15-$30 is worth every penny. Since I’m paying for it, I use every ounce of time. When I don’t do this, 8 pm rolls around and I’m beat. I want to sit down, and the last thing I want to do is expand on ideas, create or think. (Although this does happen, but not because I have to.) Look at your schedule and ask yourself where you need more time, and then take it!

3. Engage fully!

Whatever you are doing, do it fully! Multitasking may seem like a way to get ahead, but take it from a multitasker in rehab: It only gets you into projects halfway with a quarter availability and very little ever completed. I tell myself daily when I’m teaching – teach, when I’m with my kids – be with them fully, when I’m writing – just write, when I’m cooking – just cook, and when I’m practicing – just practice. The temptation is high, I know, but you will only get a little fix and never experience the full monty.

4. Set your goals clearly.

Set your goals “clear enough to be kept in focus, close enough to be achieved, and helpful enough to change lives”- John C. Maxwell.

Now that you have my blog on how to become more productive (if you haven’t CLICK HERE), you can draw from that list of all your ideas. What are your goals? What do you want? Have you ever mapped it out? Have you ever taken the time to look at how everything strings together? How you are going to get from A to N to Z? Are you skipping around only doing things halfway? That may be why you aren’t reaching those goals. Get out a pen and paper and write down your goals!

5. Question yourself.

“Is what I am doing getting me close to my set of goals?” “Is my current direction truly the way to my goals?” I have been there where I was knee-deep in my direction and trudging through the swamp. My head was so close to the mud that I didn’t realize that I was working my ass off in the wrong direction. And it was no wonder I was working so many hours with very little return. Finally, ask yourself, “Is what I say I want, what I really want?” The hard truth might be that you have put so much of your time, energy and effort into what you are doing that the thought of changing directions seems crazy, stupid or downright nuts. When you do change, beware outsiders won’t understand. They may tell you you are making a mistake – they are living in the fear you are trying to get out of.

A final quote to hopefully inspire you to get focused and stay focused:

Hope Zvara-How to stay focused blog quote

Having the Wish to Grow- As You Are

Having the wish to grow-as you are, is my wish for you.

Welcome to another great month ahead!

I have found lately many people in my circuit have all had the same request, complaints or worry. How do I move forward, how do I become better, how do I attract abundance in various forms. And my initial reaction in my gut is from my own past experience “you work your butt off”. But really, there is more to it than that. Much of my life has been about learning to accept, push forward and to see my greatest potential. And what was drilled into my head growing up was “you are a fighter, don’t give up”.

I watched my parents always extend themselves for the greater good and work very hard for their family (in their own ways), and I too took on that drive.  So when you are feeling funky, when you’re in that place- be aware but it’s nowhere to stay.

When I look at how to get out of a funk or to make a change and grow, I often start out by looking at what I am avoiding.

As a yoga teacher if I feel stuck on my mat teaching, my classes feel dull or less than abundant, I then observe what poses I am avoiding, where I feel like I am simply repeating myself, if I’m using my mat in my own life to help curb those issues and help myself and better then help my students.

In my own personal life I have been very conscious as to how I act and react,  And what I continually often find and then reflect back to myself is:

  1. Is what I am seeing and hearing about them or about me.
  2. Is this something I just need to let go and focus on moving forward, holding on is helping someone or no one?
  3. Is what I am observing a mirror for me or for them? Or both?
  4. Am I here to simply be a supporting listener or share?
  5. We can’t change what we aren’t aware of.

In asking myself the above I can better breakdown the ego and truly expand who I am, take more self-responsibility and as a result, truly help others.

For a very long time, my life was consumed with other people doing things (especially the hard stuff) for me, being passive-aggressive. I would stress over things people said, did, and what I thought people were saying or doing, all they way down to why someone didn’t come to my yoga class Wednesday night or why they stopped coming all together. I’d think it must be because I don’t teach a particular style or that they like someone else better.

All of that and more, I lacked the skills to self-reflect and as a result I was staying stuck in my life unable to move forward as much as I would have liked to, not because of those other people, but because of my self and my inability at that time in my life to self-reflect and be confident in my own self awareness.

Yoga teacher or not, for many we are caught in this style of thinking all the time, “why didn’t she call me back when she said she would” or “I know they didn’t invite me on purpose”. To put it frankly- like the world revolves around you. Now the old me would be offended by that statement, but I tell myself this often to be reminded that not everything is going to go my way, not everything is directed at me and, that if I allow it- everything can be a learning opportunity to grow (for those willing).

Yoga teaches me over and over again that it’s not about me and when it is, our only requirement is that we take it, learn from it, and move forward from it. I truly believe that nothing is really bad in life but rather super tough lessons to learn from. I lost my daughter and she has given me so many amazing gifts, with the loss of her, I have as a result gained so much (a hard concept to understand) and she has blessed me in ways unimaginable had life gone otherwise. So when I look at my own life, and observe myself, my actions, reactions, and the people around me, I am then able to start to make change.

 

Ready to make a change?

having the wish to grow

  1. Realize that life is what I make it. I can sit in shit or clean it up, that is truly up to me.
  2. I can take criticism as an opportunity to be better and grow or to shrivel up and fade away.
  3. Not everyone is going to like you, agree with you, and see your point of view, but that doesn’t mean you should change who you are because the new trend is skinny jeans and you like boot cut, or everyone seems to like power yoga and you teach Hatha. I trust and believe that as a teacher I am here to offer and learn as well, and whomever I meet is meant to be- this goes for my personal and professional life.
  4. Learn to say “no”. Chant it in front of your mirror if you have to. We are a people-pleasing society and even when we say “yes” we then have the attitude of no, which is even worse than saying no in the first place. I have learned if you respect yourself and your life than others will too.
  5. Growth demands self reflection and times of trial. Have you ever noticed when life is going really good how easy it is to forget where you have been, how hard you have worked and all the tools you have cultivated, to only fall again, or feel stuck? No coincidence there; life is not simply an uphill battle, it’s a constant up and down of hills and valleys. I think this type of path is necessary to remind us to keep going and continually step up our game and be someone. Now I’m not talking famous, but rather an asset to life.
  6. In the end all you can control is your own being. All you can do is lead by example. And I have to say that at one point I was that person that didn’t want to totally commit all the way, but at some point, I realized that to grow you have to plant tons of seeds, because if you have ever gardened, you know that not every seed will go to harvest. And some months there will be a battle of the elements, some day’s critters will be eating the fruits of your labors, and sometimes things just might not grow the way you thought they would. But by the grace of God, you get those few picks that are just amazing, those few seeds that grow and expand beyond what you ever intended.

To grow, yoga teaches us that we need to learn to walk our own path, and as tempting as others paths are, as “easy” as they might seem,and to you, it might very well be, but that path is not your own. Those seeds are not for you to plant, you could offer water, and they to you. But you are your own gardener and in life, all things grow differently, and all good things come to those who wait patiently. But in the mean time, stay the path- no matter what life may rain down on you.

I am truly blessed each day in knowing that I have an abundance of opportunity to take, it’s just how much I want it and are willing to grow a little and make a little change.

From my heart to yours

 

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