by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
BIG PLAN A
I’ve had surprising challenges since I set out to achieve personal goals. I made bold decisions to leave a career I’d outgrown, sell my home, move out-of-state to be in place as caregiver for my aging parent, then use my new situation to apply myself toward my lifelong dreams of working from home as a creator.
CHANGE CAN BE AWKWARD
I’ve learned through this process that just because I’m doing something for a good reason (help my mother and relieve other family members) doesn’t mean it will be easy or even appreciated by others. Big changes bring out big obstacles.
People need time to adjust to significant transitions. Sometimes the initial shift brings out uncomfortable aspects within a relationship or from within a person. People just flat-out respond differently (including me) when facing new challenges. I’m learning to check my expectations at the door, lower my judgment, strive to listen to opposing perspectives, and work on the only person I have control over; me.
EXPECT NOTHING TO BE EASY
I’ve also learned that going after my dreams doesn’t mean they will be handed to me on a silver platter. It’s been my experience that thinking the hardest part is over is almost always wrong. Something more difficult or unexpected often presents itself. It is best to prepare myself to expect nothing to be easy, and to forge a life-state ready for impending problems.
I’ve found that being true to myself and going all out for my dreams means I may face resistance in the form of judgment from others whose values differ from my own, or who have an outdated version of me in their psyche. That means I must embolden myself to withstand countering views, to stand my ground and persist on paving my new pathway without support or understanding.
Again, expect nothing.
DISCOVERING YOUR ABILITY TO CREATE PLAN B
Reflecting on myself through this period of troubles, I’ve found my weaknesses as well as strengths I didn’t realize were in me. On the plus side, I’ve discovered that despite the fact my best laid plans were completely skewed from the start, I have qualities that enable me to push through and create Plan B.
Let me share a bit of my story to make my point. My plan was to sell my home, and use the profits to cover 6-months to a year's expenses for my out-of-state move while building my online business as a blogger, podcast host and course creator. This plan and timeline were both utterly botched by an inexperienced realtor, an unforeseen hurricane, and unexpected family health emergencies.
My home was under contract to close when I moved to Kentucky from Florida last July. But the buyer strung me and my realtor along a series of peculiar delays. In hindsight, I now know these delays should’ve been avoided by my realtor quickly cancelling that buyer’s contract early on, to immediately put my lovely home back on market. Instead, that buyer failed to win loan approval after three months’ delay, just in time for a hurricane of historic power (Irma) to strike near my home, causing a housing slow-down (but, fortunately no damage to my home).
After the hurricane passed, I stressed to my realtor my urgency to sell my home, as I had not anticipated moving out of state before my home sale. She had a melt-down during our phone conversation, and instead vindictively sabotaged my home sale. Though I attempted giving her time and the benefit of doubt, due to no showings in 6 months, I finally found a second realtor.
My new realtor showed the home 11 times in less than 2 months during the slowest (holidays) season, and in February, I finally sold my home after an 8-month delay. (Whew!)
FINDING THE VALUE WITHIN YOUR STRUGGLES
This is only a partial view of the story, as I simultaneously dealt with additional unanticipated challenges as a new caregiver, a bizarre botching of my investment funds from my previous job's Human Resources department, and with other family issues that slowed down my focus on establishing my online business.
But, I also had a variety of mystic protection and benefits.
I was eligible for disaster relief due to the hurricane, even though my home suffered zero damage! This allowed me nearly 6 months of freedom from one credit card and my mortgage payments! Thanks to my diligent juggling with living off my credit cards while waiting for my home sale, I achieved my goal to keep my credit score unscathed (currently 836!). Having struggled for many years to transform my credit score from horrible to stellar, and keep it there, was a true personal victory.
Due to the delay, I managed to grow my IRA to more than I anticipated, and finally got my funds transferred to my account. I had a wonderful local group of capable men volunteer (in 20° snowy weather!) to move my belongings from an expensive pod to an affordable, more convenient storage unit!
YOUR TRUE VICTORY IS WITHIN YOUR PROBLEMS
I’m grateful for these wonderful benefits, but find my struggles exponentially more valuable. Through adversity, I began to forge tenacity, resourcefulness, flexibility, appreciation, develop patience, tap into my inherent wisdom, and fuel my sense of empathy for others facing unforeseen challenge.
I also learned that my tendencies to doubt myself, complain about my hardships, or be inflexible and narrow-minded do not add value nor provide solutions, relief or comfort to me or anyone around me.
Having to experience a failed Plan A, move on to Plan B, while juggling all the complications that entails, is an infinitely more valuable chapter in my life than having had everything go smoothly from the start.
CHALLENGING WORKOUTS BUILD STRENGTH
Difficulties are like climbing mountains.
The higher the altitude gets, the more the climber has to develop and expand in survival capacity. Just walking down a straight, flat road doesn’t test or build one’s abilities in comparison to climbing a mountain.
But after climbing a mountain, a walk down the road feels like a vacation.
What I’ve learned is that Plan B is about my behavior as a human being.
How do I become the most capable, compassionate, wise, person?
How do I fulfill my greatest potential?
Setting goals that seem impossible to achieve, getting my plans crushed and having to devise a new way through--being forced to find innovative ways to get through a challenge--is what dreams are made of. Responding to each surprising obstacle with the determination to win victory no matter what is crucial to my becoming the best I can be.
The developments I make through struggles in one aspect of my life interconnect and apply toward other aspects of my life. Through my 8-month journey, I forged discipline to write, compose and network, bringing me a sudden burst of freelance work, creative projects, and personal connections. I'm also becoming a better writer, social media manager, and have expanded my content to podcasts and affiliate marketing. These are in sync with what I envision as my lifelong dream path to manifest my full potential as an artist for peace.
Plan B is about my behavior as a human being. It’s about how to respond to the difficulties in front of me. It’s about how I create a better me out of the situation. Creating value out of any situation is transformational for me and those around me.
Plan B, from this moment forward, is about brilliant transformation.
I'd love to hear your thoughts about my perspective on struggles as a means to make improvement. Please share your comments below.
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Photos, music, video content ©2018 Jenny Leigh Hodgins
by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
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We know the importance of balancing our lives with self-care. There are research-based blogs, news, videos and magazine articles stressing this point everywhere you look.
The benefits of taking time for yourself to do something you enjoy, play, relax, rest, or simply do nothing are powerful. Studies prove that doing nothing or taking time to play games or just relax leads to better productivity, inspired creativity, and greater wellness overall.
How To Change Your Old Habits With New Proof
However, getting more accustomed to taking a break for yourself takes practice for those of us who aren't used to it. For people like me, changing old thought processes can feel counterproductive. But I am challenging my mindset habits like thinking, "doing nothing is lazy" or "will cause me to fall behind", because science proves the opposite is true.
Proactively Look For Easy Self-Care Opportunities
Both the success of my entrepreneurial life and my mother's health depend on me being in the best shape. So I'm becoming more proactive toward finding more opportunities to take care of myself.
The truth is that when I feel good, I have more positive energy, take better action and am more compassionate for others. So self-care is becoming more of a priority.
5 Self-Care Ideas To Try
I've found several things work for me. Perhaps some of these suggestions will be helpful for you to embrace a bit of self-care in your life, too.
1. Pool or Garden. When I lived in Florida, I found relaxing in my saltwater pool while enjoying my tropical garden of flowers, fruits, plants, butterflies, bumblebees and dragonflies brought me great relief. Now that I've moved back to my Kentucky hometown as caregiver for Mom, I enjoy the pool here only during summer months.
If you have a chance to swim, whether in your backyard, at your condo or apartment, a local YMCA or gym, take advantage of it. Swimming is great exercise, and even better if you have your own oasis to enjoy while floating in your pool.
2. Cycle. Here in beautiful Lexington, I have found cycling on the Legacy Trail to be another self-care practice. If you are able to ride a bicycle, find a local trail or even just cycle around your neighborhood to refresh your energy.
Pedaling gets your heart rate up, and the fresh air against you while rolling forward feels great. If you're lucky enough to have a beautiful greenway like Legacy Trail, or Tarpon Springs and Dunedin, Florida's Pinellas Trail, take advantage of the adventure.
3. Take A Walk. During cold winter months (when there is no ice or snow on the sidewalks), taking a walk outdoors has become my short, meditative practice. It's tempting to avoid going out into the cold weather, but every time I take a short walk I come back invigorated.
4. Be Still With Yourself. Meditation is another form of self-care and can include anything from watching the sun set, listening to a guided audio meditation, reading upon first waking up, sitting silently with your thoughts, or chanting. For me, just being in nature is meditative.
When I lived in Florida, meandering through my tropical private garden, looking for Monarch eggs or caterpillars, weeding, harvesting pineapples, squash, lettuce or kale, or planting new wildflowers was my meditation.
The quiet of the morning, with the sun just rising, surrounded by greenery and colorful plants eased me into the day. Nature's abundance and life cycles never ceased to encourage me.
5. Explore Creativity. Nature or meditation often may lead to self-expression through a creative outlet. Creative expression is good for the soul and often considered another form of 'play.' Creative play boosts wellness, cognitive function and productivity.
Time in nature inspires me to create. Nature walks and my cycling adventures led me to start taking nature photos with the simplicity of an iPhone button push.
Explore creative outlets like playing a musical instrument, composing music, drumming, taking photos, painting, knitting, writing a poem or a journal entry. Taking an acting class or experimenting with stand-up comedy, or a dance class are all fun options for tapping new creative paths.
Standing Still With Yourself Inspires New Creative Energy
When I take time for nature's beauty, I'm inspired to create music and take photos. Initially, I gratefully absorb the textures, sizes, colors, lighting, shapes, silences, and sounds from the wind, animals, and in the environment.
Being still with my spiritual core while experiencing fresh air and taking in nature's vibrations and visual stimulation, fills me with appreciation and calms my thoughts. This does wonders for stress relief.
Take A Moment To Relax With Nature And Music
Below is a nature video I made as a kind of self-care meditation for you. Even in the coldest of wintry elements, nature is abundant with pleasing, meditative, healing force. Take a moment to relax while watching my nature music video below.
Click on the play button below to enjoy my winter scene nature video and hear my original music, "Moonlight In My Heart".
I’d love to hear from you. It means a lot to me that my content is helpful and empowers you. Please take a moment to join the conversation below to let me know if you find this blog helpful or if you have questions or suggestions!
My Pinterest boards have more self-care ideas. Please check them out and let me know if you've found any of my ideas helpful.
You may also find some lovely nature photos & self-care mini-blogs at my Instagram account here.
Also connect with YourCreativeChord on:
Why Should You Dream Too Big & Harness Your Powerful Imagination?
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How To Deflect Negativity To Become Happier
Believing In The Positive
My Top Tips For Winning Over Your Insomnia
How To Live A Life of Joyful Creativity
COMING SOON: Watch this space for new ebooks, products and courses for nurturing creativity and inspiration!
In my INSPIRATION blogs, you’ll find ways to overcome obstacles, reach goals, and experience more joy in the moment with spiritual awareness and inner transformation.