Living Your Best Life

The Killer At My Table

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I like to describe myself as a realist.  I try to see things as they really are without sugar coating it or thinking the absolute worst.  The thing is…the people who know me the best would laugh at my “realist” label.  They would tell you I lean more toward the pessimist side of life.  I really don’t want to be like that but I do catch myself with more negative thoughts than I would like to admit.

I watch a lot of Steven Furtick’s sermons at Elevation Church.  I really like how practical and real he preaches.  It’s more than helpful sermons.  I find he preaches about the root causes of problems instead of fixing it on the surface.

While browsing on YouTube I found Elevation Church’s Code Orange Revival series from 2016.  I normally hate listening to guest preachers but I gave the playlist a shot.  The entire playlist was amazing.  There was one in particular that stuck with me.  Pastor Louie Giglio spoke about the Psalm 23.  It’s one of the most famous passages in the Bible.  “The Lord is my Shepard.  I shall not want…”  Yes, I’ve heard it a million times but it never really penetrates my soul like it should.  That is until I heard Louie speak about it.  One section of the Psalm in particular, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”  He uses the illustration of an actual table set up with delicious fruits and vegetables and a pitcher of water.  He goes on to say how many of us actually allow our enemies to sit at our table.  What an interesting concept…

How many times have I entertained negative thoughts?  You’ve made a horrible mistake.  You’ve really screwed up now.  Your best days are behind you.  Turns out I’ve entertained them for years.  I’ve allowed the enemy of negative thoughts at the table that God intended for me.  Such a powerful image.  As Louie put it…I’ve invited a killer to my table.  The killer of joy.  The killer of peace.  The killer of happiness and contentment.  The killer of purpose.

The good news is that we have a choice.  We have the choice to tell the enemy to leave our table.  We can choose not to entertain him at our table…our mind.  Lately, I’ve made a commitment to myself to recognize when the enemy has taken up a seat in my mind.  When I begin to have negative thoughts I simply think stop.  This is my table not yours.  You do not belong here.

I encourage you to listen to Louie below.  It’s an amazing illustration that really brings that part of Psalm 23 to life.  I really hope it helps you as much as it is helping me.

  

Professional

The Pressure of Success

I saw this video on my Facebook feed a few days ago and it’s spot on with my life right now.  My friend, Alan, shared it and I definitely needed to hear it.

Success, in whatever way you view it, is incredibly powerful.  It can rule your life in a way that is unimaginable.  For me, I put a high value of how successful I am by my work.  I know…not a great thing.  I really thought by now I would be incredibly successful with a prestigious career and making an impact on my community.  *Cue hysterical laughter and a few tears*  At 33 years old – I’m no where near as successful as I thought I would be at this point in life.  I thought by thirty I would appear on one of the 30 Successful People Under 30 Years Old lists.  Well…I never made a list.  In fact, every time I see a list like that I cringe.  That should have been me.

On the other side of the coin – I have to reflect on the amazing experiences I’ve had so far in my life.  I was incredibly fortunate to be the first Public Information Officer at the police department for six years.  It was amazing.  I sorely miss that position.  I would go back into the field in a heart beat.  I learned so much in that six years and had many amazing experiences that I will always cherish.  Law enforcement is in my blood and it makes me tick.  To work with officers has been the highlight of my professional life.  I also have an opportunity in my current position to become a more well-rounded public relations professional.  I have learned a lot and am grateful for the skills I have acquired.

During a bad day I often feel like maybe I’ve been as professionally successful as I’m going to be.  That negative mindset can really do a doozy to my day.  Then I remember…I’m only 33.  Even though I don’t feel like it a lot, I’m still young.  The video I saw on Alan’s Facebook feed was a great reminder that you’re never too old to achieve success not matter what you may think.  Everyone has a different timeline to their life.  Life is full of twists and turns and dry seasons.  It’s a hard place to be in but I have to tell myself to keep moving and be the absolute best I can be.  To keep waiting.

I remind myself to focus on the blessings I have.  My happy marriage.  My healthy children.  My beautiful house I thought we never could afford.  Mine and Justin’s health.  So many blessings to focus on instead of those that haven’t come my way yet.  My timeline is still happening.  I just have to be patient.

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You can watch the video here.

Living Your Best Life

Gaining Confidence

I love strong women.  There is something empowering about a woman who knows what she wants and sets out to get it fearlessly.

But I do know one thing…there is nothing fearless about confidence for me.  A lot of outwardly confident women have a darker side that many people do not see.  A side of self-consciousness and panic feelings that she isn’t accomplishing everything she wants to in life.  That drive to be the best she can be is both motivating and extremely scary at the same time.

The key, however, is to strike some sort of balance between looking confident and loving yourself enough to embrace it.

I believe that outward confidence is the key to success.  First impressions always count.  Confidence is important in your job, with your family, and yourself!

Here are my steps to embracing confidence when I need a little extra boost…

Embrace your talents & love yourself. We’re all really good at something. I imagine you thinking your “something” is small or insignificant.  It isn’t!  There’s someone struggling right now with your “something.”  It can be as simple as creating budget friendly family meals, being an encouragement to others with a letter or kind word, or planning a great trip!  These things are important and often essential on a daily basis.  Embrace it!  You have to love yourself before you can appear to be confident.

Body language, eye contact, and smile! The language your body speaks is everything! Having the right body language takes some practice but is the easiest way to show confidence and show kindness to others.  How do you stand when someone is speaking to you?  Do you cross your arms?  Do you look down at the ground?  These gestures are defensive.  You may not mean to but sometimes you can appear to be closing your body and mind to the other person.  Try this – next time you are speaking with someone – stand up straight, clasp your hands lightly in front of your waist, look the person in the eye, and SMILE while you listen to them speak.  These four steps will drastically improve your appearance and show confidence.

Follow strong women who inspire you.  I need inspiration all the time especially when I am feeling down about myself.  I gain inspiration from seeing other women go after their goals in a fearless way.  If they can, why can’t I?  A little inspiration may be the one thing to kick start your confidence in a positive direction.


Ann Shoket
Instagram | @annshoket
Twitter | @annshoket

Former editor-in-chief of Seventeen magazine and author of The Big Life is my go to woman.  She loves to encourage her #badassbabes to embrace life and go for their goals.  Her Instagram focuses on empowering millennial women to break the standard and live fearlessly.  Plus, she tweeted me back on Twitter and made me geek out just a bit.

Maria Taylor
Instagram | @MariaTaylor7
Twitter | @MariaTaylor7

Maria is an ESPN and SEC Network analyst and show host I discovered through watching Georgia football this past season.  I love her!  She is fun, quirky, and making a huge impact on the sports industry as a female.  She has an amazing view on life and I’m inspired to see her spread kindness and empower other women to be ambitious.

Confidence isn’t something that comes naturally to many people…me included.  It’s a choice we must make every single day.  We can make a positive choice by loving ourselves and allowing others to inspire us.

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Living Your Best Life

Showing Appreciation

 

 

 

 

 

 
I absolutely love getting an encouraging note from someone telling me they appreciate me or my work.

My number one love language is Words of Affirmation.  Words drive me.  I constantly struggle with self-doubt and always wonder if I’m ever making an impact on the world around me.

For International Women’s Day in 2018 I decided that I need to show appreciation to the women I look up to as positive role models every day.  I messaged several of them on Facebook with a simple note saying I appreciate what they do and to thank them for being a great role model.  The responses I received warmed my heart.  They showed appreciation for my message and even offered encouraging words for me.  It was exactly what I needed to hear on a day when I felt a little down.

Have you told your role models thank you recently?  It may seem weird at first but a simple message of thanks can mean a lot to that person.  You may even get a very nice note back!

It’s very simple to do…

Think of the people who you look up to in your life.  Are there colleagues that you admire?  Does a family member need a “you’re appreciated” note?  Has a person you only met a few times inspired you in the past?

Tell them!

It doesn’t have to be a long, drawn out letter.  Just a simple, “Hey!  I wanted to send you a quick note to say thank you for being such a positive role model!  I’m thankful for your friendship!”

I promise it will make the day of whoever you send it to and make you feel great in the process.