What I Did When I Was Sick of Myself

Just a little over a month ago I took a hard look at schedule and my stress level and decided to do something (actually a bunch of things) about it.

I thought it was only how I was scheduling my time but as I looked at it more closely, so much more disgusting puss oozed out of the cracks of my routine.

So ya, I stopped the blog for a while, re-did my website, started a new yoga routine and even started getting up earlier to meditate longer. Oh ya, and I also got serious about eating a strict vegan diet. I call this an ‘Overhaul’ in the Do-over ebook and, let me tell ya, it’s not for the faint of heart!

Thinking I’m indestructible because I know all the strategies and tools that go into making change, I just went for it – full on.

Not smart.

At first I was tired, cranky, uninspired and I knew so many fibres of my being were being challenged and resisting all this change. Then, all I felt like doing was complaining, sleeping, and eating potato chips and wine for dinner – Hey, it’s vegan, right?

I would try to get up early to meditate but I felt so rotten I ended up skipping it all together and hitting the snooze button for another precious twenty-five minutes. Seeing how crap I was at change, it was hard to have faith but I knew I had to keep trying.

Maybe tomorrow, maybe tomorrow. I just prayed for it to be temporary and hope that it was just the initial adjustment stage.

-Weeks later now I’m like, phew!

As usual, the Universe thankfully has stepped in and is now fully supporting my desires once again. Why did I ever doubt her?!

Since finally crawling out from underneath the covers on consecutive mornings I have full-out and gigantically been stating that I needed to change and up my game. And finally, Timing and Coincidence have ushered in a slew of new players into my life – most of whom I’d call “big-time.”

In the last few weeks I’ve met and connected with people who are on a level I didn’t know existed. I thought I was being ballzy, but these people are here to show me how to really get into the game – stand for my business, myself, my peeps and clients.

Not only that but I seem to be finding better than average blogs and websites, and being directed to much better events and richer, vibrant and more flavourful places for a good time.

All of these things are on the outside of me but I’m embracing them, using them as the key to digging deeper in myself and bringing more of myself to the “Grown-up table”.

And I’m thinking of you today. I’m standing up for you and to you by asking: Are you settling for less in your life?  Have you checked in lately on your standards? Is it possible you’ve let things slide and pass for just okay because you’ve lost faith that things           can be better?

If it’s just not enough, I’d love to show you how to up your game, your vibration and your whole entire gigantic and beautiful life…and stick with it!

Get in touch at support@ashewoodward.com and find out more at my bigger, badder and bolder site: ashewoodward.com

Spring Forward Stress-Free

Like January 1st, the spring is a great time to re-evaluate, rejuvenate and try again to prioritize the things that really matter.

It may also be time to check in on how much we are stressing or worrying about a certain nagging detail and nip it in the bud (pun intended).

For me, I’ve been a little too focused on my health and being unforgiving about my injured back that keeps me from feeling my best. I’m ready to use the spring to get out into the warm weather for some refreshing jaunts and light jogs and keep guilt out of it.

We can only do what we can, but it starts with some attention to detail. And often, forgiveness.

So now I’m curious about what that is for YOU.

Would you mind taking this short survey to share your thoughts? It takes less than a minute, and then you can go back to prepping the garden and getting out the summer clothes.

Many thanks:)

 

Take a short survey to share your biggest challenge to overcome this spring

Death, Digging and Diwali

As much as some people gripe about the cold, fall is an amazing time of year. I think a lot of women especially love it for the change in fashion. I love getting out my fancy boots, sweaters and ponchos. And, I gotta say, I’m a sucker for darker lipstick and growing out my hair just a little bit more.

I have to say that it’s all a welcome change after crazy-hot summer we had here in Toronto that basically melted away any fun I tried to have in the makeup or fashion department.

And now it’s cold and rainy and the leaves are brown, red and shades of gold that look nearly unnatural. And not to get too Mufasa on you but it really is all a great reminder of the cycle of life.

Today I was in my garden, raking up the last remnants of the root vegetables and tidying things up before the snow comes. In all honesty, I should have had this done weeks ago but every day I wanted to get out there, it was either raining or too nice a day to be stuck pulling weeds and raking.

So today was the day.

I got my ‘farming jeans’ on, which are not fashionable at all, my big ugly hiking boots and my thick gardening gloves and went to it.

My husband held the bag while I shoved some of the dead and diseased vines in; the healthy stuff we threw in the giant compost bin in the corner of our yard.

We raked the dirt left behind and threw in some mulch to keep it yummy for the spring.

I collected some last herbs that still seemed to be okay, despite some light frost we’ve had. I know that’s not the ‘right’ way to do things but I like to think that city farming has some different rules.

As I work I’m thinking about how I’m so grateful for being able to have grown some our own food this year. I’ve already picked and cut several squash and put them in the freezer to make some belly-warming soup when winter comes. The peppers and brussels sprouts and beans are all in there too, ready to be used up when we need them.

As we go I’m also thinking ahead to next year and what I want to plant again and what I don’t think we need. We definitely don’t need as many tomatoes. They grow and ripen so quickly I can barely keep up sometimes. But I loved having the suicide hot peppers on hand to throw into pasta and quinoa dishes, so those are a new staple. 

I guess all of this put me in a contemplative mood and now I’m stuck thinking about death and dying and rebirth.

As an added bonus, today is Diwali, the Hindu festival of light. It’s a really beautiful celebration of light over darkness and the cycle of life and death. I’ve always loved this festival because it’s sort of the combination of my two favourite holidays of Halloween and Christmas. I hope that doesn’t offend anyone because all I mean is that it’s a celebration of harvest, good over evil, peace, and being with your family.

I love how Diwali and Halloween remind us that time is passing and also worth celebrating. The changing seasons can make me think of how change is inevitable and we always have to keep moving forward to the next chapter. And, sometimes things have to die for new things to come in.

In our lives, there are maybe situations or people that are just not working. Maybe you feel a change coming on but you’re afraid of what the future will bring if you let it go.

All I can say, and you don’t need me to point it out, is that nature always finds a way to put us through this cycle of downturns and upturns – by your thirties you’ve been through many. So the point is, change isn’t something to be afraid of. Sure, it may be the ‘death’ of one idea but you can be sure that it is the birth of something brand new – a new season or chapter.

So whatever change you’ve been avoiding, use this change of the seasons to inspire you. Sure, the New Year is a great time to start, but why put it off?  Plus, FYI Diwali is the Hindu New Year – no one said it had to be the Gregorian standard one.

And if you think you still need a push to move on from one thing into another, I’m always here to help! Get in touch at support@ashewoodward.com.

And remember to grab your FREE guide to adulting in The Thirtysomething’s Guide to Successful Goalmaking HERE

Happy Diwali and Happy Halloween!!

Rejected?: How We Move On When We’re Broken.

At 31, I had to face the hard reality that my dreams of academia just weren’t going to happen. I’d applied twice to my one and only choice of school, heard ‘no’ twice and I was more than done. I had originally said that I would try three times in the spirit of my favourite sport, baseball. But after the second rejection I knew it was over.

I spent the next few weeks (not months, thankfully, like the first time) in a dark funk, wondering if anything in life would ever excite me again, and if I’d ever have a goal I yearned for so deeply.

When I was rejected the first time I checked out for months. It was all I could do to just get myself to the next application and get to a place where I knew I’d be happy.

In the meantime I was taking Oprah’s advice about finding happiness through journal writing. It was the only thing I could think of to do so that I wasn’t swallowed up by my shame and dejection.

And, turns out, journalling was the only thing that brought me joy – and that’s not even really an over-dramatization.

After being told that I was basically banned from having the life that I had always dreamed of, I was left in limbo. I couldn’t look back at the previous eight years that I had spent in preparation for going to grad school. It was too painful and I was too full of shame at my stupidity and naiveté.

But I couldn’t look forward either. Every time I tried to imagine a new goal or a new possible life, I saw nothing – the future was dark and closed off. Even imagining who I could talk to about it the next day was too far off in the future to plan. And why make a plan when the Universe could just deny you it anyway?

But my journal could just be about the present. I wrote a lot of fragments until I got going. Here’s one of my first complete entries that, at the time, I was pretty proud of:

It feels weird to write again. Hope I can do it again tomorrow.

And my second entry, which I think really shows how obsessed I was with the present:

Right now I feel like a giant loser. Right now I’m 30-years-old with no future. Right now I wonder if others feel like me. Right now I wish I knew what a real grown-up would do.

And eventually one, two, lines turned into three and six lines and I was on my way to writing myself to the happiness that Oprah promised.

Over that year I just kept exploring the questions that started in that second entry:

What does it mean to be over 30?

What are we expected to know as grown-ups?

How are we expected to act and react?

How much money should i have in the bank?

When should I have children and how many do I need?

Am I the only one wondering these things?

Am I the only one who doesn’t know the protocol?

After a year of journalling and working on my new application I applied to grad school for the second time. Then,on my 31st birthday I got my second rejection letter.

But this time was slightly different.

I now had explored my desires much more. I had questioned the Universe and my path and I had made peace with being rejected. I was even a little bit sure that I would be okay without graduate school now because I was more sure of my place.

Journalling led me to remember that I loved writing and it’s what attracted me to teaching and academia in the first place. And after that second rejection letter came I knew it even more. And I was starting to already face the scary truth: I didn’t really want to go to grad school.

I really just wanted to write and research and teach. That’s what I was attracted to. And when I got right down to it I had no desire to memorize a bunch of historical facts, write grant proposals or journal articles and then stress about the application process for all those things. I was super-done with that.

I just wanted to write and research and teach.

And then, one day while I was writing out my goals, I realized I was already doing that. And for the first time in over a year, I really laughed at myself. Like really laughed.

And even though I knew I was doing it, I figured I could do everything more or harder. I wanted to commit to being a writer.

So I Googled “How to be a writer,” and Google said, “To get established as a writer, you should have a blog.”

So I got a blog.

But what should I write about?

Hmmm… Well, how about all that journal crap you’ve been doing this past year? Maybe you could answer your own questions about being in your thirties and see if anyone else out there feels the same.

And now, here we are.

It’s been three years since I began writing and reaching out to all of you and it’s been amazing. As you may or may not know, my blog has turned into a coaching business and has given me the opportunity to speak about self-development and the trials and tribulations of adulthood to people one on one, in online summits and at live events.

I’m so grateful for all of you that read and share and email me your thoughts. I’m so thankful to my clients that took a chance and did the work to prove that coaching through this perspective really works.

I love when you leave comments and keep the conversation going because that’s what this is all about – a conversation about where we all are and how we can help each other.

It’s not just me and my journal anymore and so I always love to hear what’s going on with you!

Last week I posted a revised version of my first post that was about where I was at 30. I’d love to hear more stories about where we all were, what we were thinking, doing, expecting when we “crossed over”. Did you freak out or was it smooth sailing? I wanna hear it all.

And if you are journalling or thinking about it, I’d love to know how you’re doing. If you’d like more journalling tips, I’d be happy to share mine. Send me an email or DM on Facebook or Twitter.

And as always I ask that you please leave a comment either here or on the Facebook page and let’s keep the conversation going!

And if you’d ever like to chat about where you are and where you’re going, I’d love if you’d get in touch. Reach me at support@ashewoodward.com and find out more about what I do now at my site ashewoodward.com.

Did You Know THIS About Your 30s?

Whenever I talk about what I do, the first question people ask me is, “Why do you focus only on thirty-somethings?”

Good question.

I know it seems a little strange to seem to focus on only one age group but there’s so much going on here that there’s lots to work with, and I’m constantly surprised and challenged by my work.

And, to those of you who have wondered the same thing, let me also say that I don’t only work with thirty-somethings. I work with people of all ages, but I do focus on turning 30 as a pivotal moment for where success is at a make it or break it point.

Most importantly, I focus here because since I’ve been in my thirties, I’ve never felt such an interesting dichotomy: While I feel like I’ve come into my own and I have more self-confidence than ever, at the same time I feel like I’ve never been so unsure.

Basically, I’m fascinated by the mindset shift that happens on this birthday – for better or worse.

Personally, I always thought by the time I was 30, I’d have so much of life figured out and it would be pretty smooth sailing. I thought I’d have a secure job, a house, maybe kids and be living happily ever after with my prince charming.

While some of that dream came true, I’d say that there were more surprises than I thought and more exceptions to the rule than anything else.

But the greatest surprise of all was that I do feel like I know myself and what I truly want, more than ever before. I never expected this but I personally think it’s the best thing about turning 30 and even a superpower of this decade.

However, using my own story and the story of clients and friends, I can tell you that after 30 there’s a powerful shift that I’ve sometimes gone as far to call a mindfuck (and I’m not one to use that term lightly).

Some say we come into our own, and others may say we get hit by 30 like a ton of bricks.

Many of us start to see the reason for the bumpy road of our 20s. We begin to understand how and why we ended up where we are now. And, maybe for the first time, we see that we have to make corrections.

One of the first places we often look is the timeline and we judge how long it took us to accomplish certain things, probably comparing ourselves to others who did the same or better in less time.

We then likely look at the timeline ahead of us and make a judgement about how long something new, like correcting our course, might take.

But so often we don’t go after something new because

A, we didn’t get exactly what we wanted before so we think there’s no way it’ll work this time.

B, it took so long last time and it still wasn’t right.

And C, this time  we have a spouse and kids to think about before we go gallivanting around just following our dreams.

But your 30s are the perfect time to be ‘gallivanting’ towards success and happiness if you know how to capitalize on everything you’re dealing with – use your superpowers!

*We have more knowledge, experience and resources this time around.

*Instead of being pushed into education and living in the Lala Land of university life or intern life, we have a grasp of the real world like never before. Yes, this is what all that crap was preparing us for.

*Unlike your 20s, we finally have the resources. Chances are, you have a more secure job and a stable group of friends to support you if things go awry.

*You probably also have a bigger WHY than you used to. I’ve heard countless stories about how in our 20s we were ruled the desire to prove ourselves to parents, siblings, teachers, bosses and mentors.

*In our 30s, with our who gives a shit attitude, our ego is much less of what is pushing us. We have other things and other people to worry about (kids, spouse, potential spouse) and it’s their faces and their future that can inspire us to move mountains.

Of course we have to be careful not to feel the pressure; it can be a lot to handle because, yes, this is crunch time. This is really when you could make your mark and have the life of your dreams, and that can be a scary thought.

But, If you can appreciate how special and unique these gifts in our 30s are, you have a magic formula for success.

In my eyes, your thirties are the perfect time to perfect your career path or start your own business. It’s the perfect time to explore new things in all areas because you’re more comfortable trying new things.

Not to say that you are completely comfortable but, compared with your twenties, you are much wiser from your mistakes and much more capable because of your experiences and who you’ve become – the hero of your own story.

funfam

If this all sounds like you and you’re ready to get started on a project for happiness and success in your 30s, I’d love if you’d join me for my FREE webinar on how to really use your 30s’ Superpowers to achieve your dreams NOW. Click HERE to find out more.

Or, come on over to ashewoodward.com to find out more about me, your 30s and how we can work together to get you to the success you’ve been dreaming of for all of your adult life! 

How to Satisfy Your Inner Marty McFly: Are You Ready to Go Back?

I wish I knew in my twenties what I know now.

I hear it all the time – from friends, clients, even myself at times. This week it even came up in my interview with Scott from Power of Perception. We both agreed it’s fun to indulge in imagining the past a little bit better with some input from our wiser selves. Oh if we could just do it over!

It’s frustrating sometimes when you think about it and the urge can be pretty great – especially when you think about embarrassing moments or times when you could go back and save a little face. It truly is such an attractive concept: taking the wisdom we’ve gained and going back to all the difficult times to re-do them with more grace, more composure and maybe some better-chosen choice words.

It’s enough to make us literally stop, think and dream about the times we’d like to correct or experience again. And for thirtysomethings I think it’s even more pronounced because, after all, we are the Back to the Future generation!

You could retake exams with your practiced skills, amazing your parents and teachers and getting a full scholarship to the university of your choice. Or maybe you even get a great job right out of high school.

Or, you might want to go back to talk to your crush, knowing now that it doesn’t phase you if he or she laughs in your face because you’ve grown a thicker skin. You could even go back and face your bully, knowing now exactly what to say to brim ‘em down.

You might even be the type to go even further back and buy some Apple stock, invent Facebook, or bet on the Super Bowl.

Personally, I’d go back to save myself a lot of time by starting my business right out of university. Sure, the Internet wasn’t so great back then, which would make it harder to get exposure and do international business. But I wonder if I’d be further ahead than I am now in achieving my goals and to-dos on my bucket list. *sigh.

But the more I think on it, I’m not so crazy about repeating high school or university. It took a lot of time and I was stressed, tired and unhealthy for most of it.

I also have enough trouble with getting exposure for what I do with the Internet the way that it is today so I don’t think I’d enjoy going back to a time when things would be more difficult. Even with the wisdom I’ve gained, I don’t think it’s such a great idea.

I’d also have to be very careful to make sure I did certain things so that I still meet my husband and all the great friends I’ve met along the way. A couple different moves and I can see a lot of great times I’d miss.

So as tempting as it is to send our wiser selves back to correct the past, isn’t it more satisfying to know that through all of that, you still became you- the wise person you have so much confidence in?

Isn’t it amazing that we believe that we now have the confidence to go back to those situations and crush them?

So the thing we need to take away from this is remembering that you’re that person now – those powers are at your disposal here in the present. You’re that person dealing with whatever problems you’re facing. And if you have the confidence to send yourself back to correct those wrongs, you must have the confidence in your present self.

So what are you going to do, wise one?

The problems may look different than they did in high school, but think of how much more capable you see yourself as now. You should be confident that your experience and wisdom will allow you to find a way to solve any problem you’re facing.

Sure, you don’t know the outcomes but the great thing about being in our thirties is that we really get to know ourselves. We know how problems happen and get handled in our lives by now if we’re willing to look.

Here’s what I mean:

Let’s say you’re wanting something right now. Let’s say it’s a big one.

Looking back, I’m sure you’ve wanted something before and got it. Find that situation and analyze it. Write it out and take a look.

What were you thinking? What action were you taking? Whose advise did you heed?

In other words, how did you get what you wanted in the past? And, furthermore, how can you use what you’ve learned since then to get what you want and more in the present and the future?

The great thing about being where we are in our thirties is that, yes, we have a lot of experience to draw from. But it’s useless dreaming about taking it backwards. Life is happening in front of you – going forward.

So how are you going to use your wisdom to make life easier for you in the here and now and beyond?

What makes you so much wiser now? What makes you so much different than you used to be?

And use that. And work it!

If you’re unsure about how to use your skills and experience to help you with decisions, problems or manifesting your dreams, get in touch for personalized coaching. I’d love to work with you to uncover your unique superpowers that will lead you to achieve your goals in the present and beyond. Go to ashewoodward.com for how to get started.

Is Going Back to School Just Small Thinking?

For some of us (myself included), going back to school would be an absolute nightmare with a side of personal hell. Okay, maybe not that bad but, when totalled up, I’ve done about 8 years of formal post-secondary education and I am so not interested in more of those painful all-nighters, disgusting microwavable dinners, and the epic frustration of not being able to get my life started already.

A couple of years ago I was faced with making a career change, and the very last thing I wanted to do was hit the books again. Not to mention, I really really really wanted to get started making money.

I’m all for more education and I love school but just the thought of another two or four years of stress from writing essays and taking exams makes my young heart start pounding – No thanks.

For others, it’s the only option if a change is going to happen and we have to just bite the bullet…or do we?

Truth is, what seems like the only option may just may be your good friend FEAR running the show.

How so, you ask?

When I was starting my coaching practice, the thing to do was get certified as a coach. But, as I mentioned before, nothing would have made me more miserable than to hit the books again and fork over my day job money to yet another course.

On the other hand, a lot of people put a lot of stock in certificates and it makes me seem ‘more official’ and more trustworthy.   

But then, thankfully, I realized something about the current trend of over educating ourselves.

In most cases – not all – going back to school or taking more courses is simply a way of playing small and staying safe. Taking the course meant I could look the Universe in the face and say I’m taking action towards my dream but at the same time I’m safe from actually having to start anything on my own.

In other words, it was a way to keep me from just starting my business already. I was scared to start again and I was happy to use school as an excuse to stave off reality, which is the opposite message I wanted to give to my future clients.

The other thing I realized is that I’m not alone. It seems like every time I run into an old friend they’re busy taking courses to change careers. Nowadays its a big topic for a lot of people I work with and it does take a bit of consideration, depending on what you really want to do.

It’s still true that some career changes actually do require a certain certification. I am in no way urging alone to become a doctor or lawyer, for example, without the proper education [Yikes!]. In these cases, you’ll want to be sure that you’re ready for a commitment and you’re passionate about the course.

Here’s a quick and cool article about jobs that are worth going back to school for.

10 Careers Worth Going Back to School (Keep in mind these are US numbers).

https://lifereimagined.aarp.org/stories/6481-10-Careers-Worth-Going-Back-to-School/2

And if you’re not sure if more school is for you, answer these questions for yourself:

1.  Are you taking this course to get only one specific job or can the skills you learn be applied in a variety of places?

My hunch is that you know what it’s like to put all your eggs in one basket, or you wouldn’t be here now. It’s just good sense to consider having more than one option at the end of all of it.

2.  Are you ready for the cost?

Investing in courses is a financial expense, yes, but it will also cost you emotionally. Are you ready for those late nights and microwaved dinners again? Is your family?

When you look at the big picture, is the cost in the present truly worth it for the return in the future? And don’t forget to look at how long it will be microwavable dinners until you make that investment back and more.

3.  What will you do if you do the course and don’t like it?

This is a tough one but it has to be asked. Try to dig deep and give a specific answer here. Draw out your detailed plan B – sometimes surprising things can reveal themselves here.

4.  Is there anyone who does your dream job without having the credentials you’re looking at?

I’m sure you could find someone. How different is your situation? Do you think having the credentials will make you better at what you want to do? (I personally didn’t). Make sure you’re not leaning on going back to school as a crutch or a way to waste time until you really know what you want. You’ll be more successful with your plan if you’re clear about your WHY.

And if your WHY is big enough, it might be possible to forego the certificate and impress people with your life experience, skills and passion.

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If you feel like you should go to school, rather than really wanting to, I hope you do your research.  Not only should you find out about the job you’re in treated in and what kind of credentials are needed, but also research yourself.  Sometimes we have more skills than we think and, with a good resume, you an exploit these for any job you like.

Just know that there is always another way and if going back to school isn’t for you, don’t let that deter you from your dream – there’s always a way if it’s what you really want.

Need to discover your skills and see what you’re made of? Get in touch for personal success coaching at support@ashewoodward.com. For more information visit ashewoodward.com