Family Dialysis – 2 Tips To Have a Better Week With Your Kids

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“Emotionally Stable”    Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

It used to be that you had to have some gray hairs on you before you felt this “rock and a hard place” feeling.  But just in case you didn’t know, this is how our typical middle schoolers are living each day.  Our young 11-13 year olds are leaving the house feeling pretty “fresh” and then somewhere between math and recess and the bus loop they look like they are hanging on by a thread.  This is in the best and worst of neighborhoods.  It has less to do with family income, status or zip code than it ever did, even though that seems to matter more than ever.  In reality it has to do with what we as moms and dads do to debrief, cleanse and reboot with our tribe everyday.

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Photo by Joseph Gonzalez on Unsplash

Earlier in the year I started a Periscope® broadcast called “The Friday Night Family Scope”.   My mission was to bring families closer together in a positive way.  For many of us the weekends need to be a time of family dialysis.  We need to get inside the blood of our kids and remove the toxins.  If we don’t go into the shadows and knock on their doors, ask the right questions and find out what they are focused on, we can’t provide help.

But if your kids are anything like mine, you know that you can’t wait for Friday to make this happen.  How can we motivate and energize our kids more frequently?  How can we get inside their lives and stay in there, especially if they are moving into young adulthood?  Can a few minutes a couple of nights a week make a difference?  Yes!  We are more than chauffeurs, ATMs and short order cooks.   We do more than feed and clothe.  We do even more than teach and keep them safe.  In just a few minutes devoted parents can do pivotal things.    We help our children thrive in a scary world.  And we gotta jump in and do a little very day.  

2 Quick & Easy Tips:

  •  Listen More Than You Lecture.  If you are guilty of this, raise your hand.  Come on!  Raise it up right at your desk or in your kitchen or at the gym.  I know you are out there.  Join us.  My hand is raised too!  One is markedly easy.  The other is definitely hard.  But if you can get a tween or teen to talk to you, even if what they are saying is making you want to scream at the top of your lungs, try to listen.  Yes, sometimes the story seems like a web that is wrapped upon itself and you want to jump in and untangle it.  I know…I’ve been there…in fact, I visited that familiar destination earlier today.  In the midst though, it hit me that I needed to assign dignity to this young adult that is so much like…well, me!  And a lecture wasn’t going to cut it.  What about you?  Can you use your ears first this week?
  • Let Acknowledgement Be Your First Words.  I keep thinking that after I speak I love to know that someone was actually listening to me.  The same is true for our kids; listening is only half the battle.  The other half is letting them know that we heard  them.  Extract something to show that you acknowledge they have been willing to share.  “I know what you mean”, doesn’t carry as much weight as “Man,  that sounds awful!  I’m sorry that you had to face that.” (Or whatever similar matches your tribe).  It’s not easy for our kids to open up.  If they do, don’t waste the opportunity.  Acknowledge them, their feelings and what they have to say.  It’s worth it.
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Photo by Max Conrad on Unsplash

So many of our precious kids are at pressure’s edge.  The waves keep coming and they are aren’t dressed for swimming.   If we are going to make a difference we are going to have to dive in deep.

To encourage my readers and add value to the family, I’m introducing a monthly blog series called:  Family Dialysis.  The goal will be to chat about ways to get closer as a family and ensure that parents are the major influencers to a positive future.  Let me know what you’d like to see.  I’m excited to share with you!

Chatone Morrison ©2017

Ready to get your positive energy in check?  Looking to clean up your self-talk, create a personal affirmation plan or ease your way into releasing your negativity so your positivity can reign?  Complete the questionnaire for a free coaching strategy session.

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Don’t Miss The Weekly Sunday Corner Show on YouTube:  Bit.ly/ChatoneYT

Social Media

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Coaching Website:  ChatoneMorrison.com

Facebook:

@chatonemorrisonconsulting

@princessofpositivity

@chatonemorrisonMK

Instagram:  @realprincessofpositivity

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Interested in starting your own business?  Let’s set up a marketing chat. chatonemorrison@marykay.com

All photos courtesy of Unsplash.com

 

Will Work for Fines: When Library Books Bankrupt The Family

 

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At this rate, it might be better to just buy the books!

Raise your hand if you have children.  If your kids are 20 and above, you are off the hook.  Put your hand down, kneel and give thanks.  If your kids are under the age of 16, keep them raised.  If they like to read raise both hands.  If you have managed to get the books they like to read from the library instead of the bookstore, keep one hand raised, and pat your back with the other hand.  You are an awesome parent! Bravo!  You can sit down.

mariana-vusiatytska-174679Feeling pretty good aren’t you?  You understand the value of borrowing instead of buying!  You are green!  You are saving the planet!  Unfortunately you are also broke, one step away from losing your home because of the fines.  One mom told me she recently paid $85 for one overdue book.  Why didn’t she just buy the book?  She did.  She paid for a replacement,  but then the book filed for lost wages in court and won.  Seems that since no one could read it for 6 months, damages needed to be paid!

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Your last fine cost WHAT?!

Imagine my dismay when my dear hubby sent a text to me stating that our latest bill was $41!  I could have sworn I put all those books in a slot someplace.  All the libraries in the county advertise:  “Any branch will do.  Drop your books at any library convenient for you.”  Well I did that!  How am I supposed to know where all the county lines are?

It once seemed like such a great idea to use the local public library, but now with all the fines, and the looming threat of bankruptcy and all, what’s a positive mom to do?  Encourage video game playing and TV watching and Snapchatting®?  Search for debt consolidation infomercials?  Find the best credit counselor in the land?  Pack the family up, and move back home with your parents?  Nope on all counts.

All you have to do is join the club.  We are a very supportive group and membership is free; we know you already spent your last dime on fines.

Take The Oath

  1. I promise to borrow only enough books that can be read in the super short, ridiculously, annoying time that is allowed by the library.
  2. I promise to put all the books in the same place each and every evening.
  3. I promise to never have my children read their favorite book while in the tub.
  4. I promise to never allow my children to drink a delicious, pumpkin spice latte with extra foam and cinnamon, caramel drizzle while reading a mystery…(oh no wait…that one is for me).
  5. I promise to never avoid returning the 7 books we have because of the 1 book  we cannot find.
  6. I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth when the librarian asks me the whereabouts of any said overdue book:  “No ma’am.  I’m sorry ma’am.  I have no idea, ma’am.”
  7. I promise to put each finished book in the trunk of the car so I can drop it in the drive thru slot.
  8. I promise to place only books that are on time in the drive through slot.
  9. I promise to remember that there is a drive thru slot.  And lastly . . .
  10. I promise before all internet onlookers,  librarians and random book-shelvers alike, to bring my credit card, loan papers and the kids drained college fund to the library to pay for the outstanding fines.

 

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Stop trying to remember!  Write it down!

Jokes aside, having a family calendar helps when everyone needs to be on the same page.  You can choose a physical paper or whiteboard option placed in a conspicuous place for all to see. Or you can create a shared cloud option and place all common due dates, appointments with progressive alerts.

 

 

Being a parent of voracious readers is a blessing.  It helps our kids do better in school, have an increased thirst for knowledge and have incredible vocabularies.  And even if those vocabularies are so often pulled out and used against us, it’s wonderful to know they will be smart enough to find a great job and take care of us when we lose the house in exchange for all the fines!

Chatone Morrison ©2017

No…I don’t do stand up!  I’m actually a life and confidence coach for women.  I love helping them to release negativity so their positivity can reign.  Ready to get your positive energy in check?  Looking to clean up your self-talk, create a personal affirmation plan or ease your way into releasing your negativity?  Complete the questionnaire for a free coaching strategy session.

=======================================================================

Chatone old navy striped top princess

Don’t Miss The Weekly Sunday Corner Show on YouTube:  Bit.ly/ChatoneYT

Social Media

https://linktr.ee/realprincessofpositivity

Coaching Website:  ChatoneMorrison.com

Facebook:

@chatonemorrisonconsulting

@princessofpositivity

@chatonemorrisonMK

Instagram:  @realprincessofpositivity

Periscope/Pinterest/Twitter:  ChatoneMorrison

Interested in starting your own business?  Let’s set up a marketing chat. chatonemorrison@marykay.com

All photos courtesy of Unsplash.com

Do You Love The First Day of Summer, Too?

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Going 100 East, Anne Arundel County, Maryland

Today was a near perfect day in Maryland.  The sun has been high and glistening, adding a slight warmth to the skin but not a burn, the occasional wind has rustled the trees in the yard, even the bumblebees hummed a bit louder it seemed.  Well, maybe just to me.  

Yes!  I am that girl.  The year begins and ends for me on the first day of Summer.  I always wished my name was Summer.  There was that one girl I knew growing up and…oops, already digressing away from my point.  THE FIRST DAY OF SUMMER! #FDOS

I can remember staying outside so late and waiting for the sun to finally go down.  It was precious as the pink and amber head of glory slipped behind the range of Orange mountains near my family home in New Jersey.  Shoes were optional, double dutch and hopscotch were desirable and ice-cream from the neighborhood truck “Eskie’s” was mandatory.  

So tonight I grabbed a handful of my best memories to sprinkle on my kids and we rode up the highway, windows down, breezes flowing in, talking and laughing.  As we headed east through the county, the weather threatened disagreement with my plan, and the raindrops began to fall light and steady in nearly transparent sheets, like the beads we hung from our doors to separate us from the outside world and create a false sense of privacy.  The sky behind us was brilliant, gorgeous, shiny and bright.  And I tossed the memory of riding on Route 280 in West Orange, 32 years ago in my red 1978 Ford Pinto, so low to the ground I felt like I need to use my heels to break, like Fred Flintstone.  On that “First Day of Summer”, the sky behind my head was so utterly gorgeous that it nearly devastated me. Literally!  I kept turning around to peek at it.  I was so afraid that I would miss out on its beauty – like it might never happen again.  I stared hard over my right shoulder until I lost my focus and had to drive the rest of the way home with  those huge spots blurring my vision.

Today with the sun and rain coming at the same time, I have the wisdom that keeping my eyes on the road, my heart and mind in the present, and my memories in the past, but close enough to fondle, is the best plan of action. So I kept my eyes straight ahead and bounced my childhood onto my kids in the back seat.  They laughed.  Asked questions.  Were genuinely interested, or at least acted like it.  

Just as the rain stopped, and the sun was beginning to stream through the dark clouds, I reminded them about the wonderful Rainbow promise that God made, and told them to look for the rainbow.  Like clockwork, it appeared (pictured above)  We clapped and snapped and a new #FDOS memory was made.

Special moments surround us every single day.  Many of our great days and best memories are behind us.  The tendency to constantly peep over our shoulders to look for them is strong.  But don’t miss the rainbow looking for the sunshine at your back.  Allow the best parts of your past experiences to warm you, and keep looking forward for the miracles that are waiting.

Happy First Day of Summer!

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Chatone Morrison                   Certified Professional Coach   ChatoneMorrison.com

 

 

 

 

Ready to get your positive energy back in check?  Looking to clean up your self-talk, create a personal affirmation plan or ease your way into releasing your negativity so your positivity can reign?  Complete the questionnaire for a free coaching strategy session.

 

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Don’t Miss The Weekly Sunday Corner Show on YouTube:  Bit.ly/ChatoneYT

Coaching Website:  ChatoneMorrison.com

Facebook:

@chatonemorrisonconsulting

@princessofpositivity

@chatonemorrisonMK

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Four Ways to Know You Have Fallen And Can’t Get Up & What To Do About It

screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-2-20-45-amWhat is UP for you?  For me UP is Unapologetic and Positive.  Does it seem like you have fallen and can’t get UP?  

Is the house too loud?  Does the cellphone never stop ringing?  Is your work cafeteria lady against you, only giving you the heel of the bread?  Then after you get the butts of the bread, are there  no empty tables for you?  Perhaps you are married.    You have three children.  But are there also 8 neighbors, 5 sisters, 4 parents, two cats, 1 dog, and about 67 people at work, that all need you?  Seems like you are surrounded; like “come out with you hands up, and we won’t shoot”, surrounded. Your answer is yes…always yes.  And you wake feeling burnt out and tired more often than ever before.  You would love to have just a little quiet.  But it seems to come less and less frequently.  Yikes!!!

How does a woman today navigate all the required highways still stay relatively sane and in her positive right mind?  Who reprogrammed the GPS so that it started driving you down instead of UP?  

The simple answer my friend…you did!  You did it in the name of progress.  Of love.  Of caring.  Of doing.  And now you are stuck in a negative rut.  But not to worry, I just might have a teeny tiny plan that you can implement today.  As in right now.  Right this very minute.  Why be stuck in the name of progress?

Our activities and choices  used to be like painting a wall.  You would look at paint chips, take them home, put them on the wall to try them out, then pick the one that was best suited for your room.  You threw out the rest because they didn’t fit.  You might have liked them but you made a best choice decision.  Now it seems that the way to “paint a life” is to throw various paints from a distance on a small wall, during a drive by, and then get surprised and dismayed when a masterpiece doesn’t appear.  

It doesn’t work. Women can’t do it all and feel 100% happy.  We can’t outsource it all and feel 100% connected.  We all want to feel positive and determined about the decisions we are currently making and living, yet we continue to fall, get stuck and can’t get UP!

But I’m not stuck!  I’m haven’t been in a rut since I had that bob cut with bangs!  Not me!  I’m great!  

Is that the best way to handle this?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about positive thinking.  But if it’s based on nothing but a list of lose ideas grabbed from someone else’s playbook – it won’t work!

How to Know If You Have “Fallen and Can’t Get UP?

No matter what your social media pictures and posts say, it’s time to face the truth.  Let’s get you crawling, walking and finally running, all int he next few weeks!  Ready.  Get Set.  Go!

Self-Assessment

  1. Do you feel an overall loss of energy or enthusiasm about work or home life?  Especially things that you use to enjoy?
  2. Do you often feel as if you are losing control when trying to get everything done?
  3. Has negative thinking or self-demeaning thoughts become commonplace?
  4. Are you demotivated to eat right, exercise, take care of basic necessities?

Which of these resonates with you?  Even just one can indicate that you may be about to hit the floor.  

Creating An Action Plan

  1. Isolate and Identify The Problem.  Where are the demands coming from?  Is it work or home?  Is it your spouse or your kids?  Is it your weight or your health? (Notice that these are different!)  Which weighs heaviest on your energy? Make a short list, no more than 3 items to start.  More than that will cause great overwhelm.  You can always  come back and do this step again.
  2. Seek Clarity & Seek Solutions.  You have your list in hand and it’s time to get clear on what and how you want to change.  Working with a coach at this point is excellent because as a neutral 3rd party they are invested in your success, not in the specific way you get there.  (For information about working with a coach, see my website:  chatonemorrison.com)  Not yet ready to work with a coach? Creating a vision board (poster board, pictures/words from magazines, glue stick are all you need) can help with steps 1 and 2  at the same time. Sometimes with so much crowding you need to allow a space for your mind to get clear and feel free.  While moving to a deserted island by yourself with no one but a personal concierge to bring you Mai Tais all day and night, while you seek clarity, probably isn’t an option, I’d bet a 2-hour window to play “hide and seek” with  yourself is quite doable. Never created one before?  Hit me up in the comments below and I can give you some quick suggestions.
  3. P.S:  Make One “PDC” Each Day.  Your quest for “Personal Space” and “Personal Slow-Down” will take time.  So along the way it’s vital to have a daily “PDC”.  Permission Driven Choices are an amazing way to start feeling whole again. It could be as small as getting the cup of coffee you want and taking 5 minutes to drink it while looking out the window.  It could be leaving your office and sitting outside in your car and screaming away the stress…although make sure you don’t park too close to the building if you choose that one!  Back in the day when I was still at my corporate job, one of my PDCs was to simply stop “holding it”.  TMI…but true!  The point is to do one thing each and every day, that was formerly off limits.  Try it for a week.  Get your Power Back!
  4. Just Ask & Saying No.  As soon as you read this, think about something you want.  What would you love help with?  If you assertiveness volume was turned all the way up, what could you say?  Just Ask.  Say No. Do it.  No holding back.  Not ready to tell your boss to take his last minute deadline and throw it where the sun don’t shine? (I would not recommend; neither the most positive nor motivating thing to do!)  But could you ask for an extension?  Being asked again to be the only chaperone for the class trip, to make the cupcakes or be the pot luck coordinator for the next family get together, and also by the way, have it at your house?! Wrap your tongue around Saying No!  I guarantee if said with a twinkle in your eye and just the right amount of lift in your voice, 9 times out of 10, your assertiveness will be met with respect.  The best part is you get to feel  better… Quick!

The earth spins and so do our worlds.  Just like we cannot jump off the Earth, we also cannot slow everything down to suit our needs.  But you can start to reset your GPS to take short cuts and avoid traffic patterns that are roadblocks to your destination – POSITIVITY!

Chatone Morrison – 1/10/2017

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Featured Image Courtesy of Google Images & GabbinGirls

A Bit of 10-year-old Self Discovery

fullsizerenderAfter school unwind with my little man. He normally runs in with a bunch of boyish banter. But yesterday he went straight to his room without saying hello. Spells trouble. Color change? (It’s a Maryland thing). Reflection form?  Lost glasses?  What??  Nope. Nope. And nope. He was dealing with emotions and developing identity.

I did what Mom’s do. Started asking questions.  Expecting to hear about  recess basketball, the math quiz, the virtues of jazz band and the like.   I was on high alert when his answers were despondent and distant. Five minutes of questioning and probing (which seems short, but honestly is not) and the reluctant answers began to flow.

It began in PE, because little girl classmate, we will call “Anna” has not yet mastered  a spiral when throwing a football. She tried for half the class. The teacher was patient. Allowed her to keep trying. Ignoring everything around him, that doesn’t include him is his  specialty, but something new came up.  When several boys laughed and called Anna out of her name; when he saw that her feelings might be getting hurt, the boy we have been pouring into and trying to raise well showed up.

First he thought he could stop them.  Just talk them out of it. No chance.  He saw on a basic level the P’s of evil: Persuasive and Pervasive.  It seeks its way into the fabric of people and moves on through the room and it’s really hard to trace the beginning or find the end.  He tried to get them to stop.   The teacher was not responding and he felt like he had to do something.  It didn’t even dawn on him that his actions, standing up for someone else like that might at best create alienation, or at worst be dangerous; my child has been threatened before.  But it didn’t matter to him, he said he was just angry about it.  And he wanted to do something which he did…because  when he couldn’t make a direct difference, his backdoor ruckus caused the teacher to take notice.

Don’t get me wrong, I love teachers. Educators rock.  They stay in a difficult job that is extremely demanding and often bears a dividend so far down the line it’s not realized until years later. I imagine that can work against your positive energy.  Especially when have a gym full of 5th graders.  (Sigh)

Identity peaked when Ms. “Gym” saw what was happening; due to the ruckus.
“Everyone sit down!  Who laughed at “Anna” and made fun of her?!  Step up right now!  We are not having any of that in my class!”  (Silence and Levi tilting his head in the direction of his otherwise friends, trying to get them to be honest about it.)   Not a chance.

This continued until the threats began.  Ms. “Gym” announced that all balls would be taken if someone didn’t come forward.  In other words, all would suffer for the few. That struck his compassion bone, the one I didn’t know was yet growing…he couldn’t take it anymore.  He stood up and walked over to put his ball away.  Now here in the story I really felt my patience wearing thin.  Was this super cute and respectful kid telling me that he really was the one making fun and laughing at “Anna”?  I would like to say that I hadn’t accused him of that…but alas, even those of us who wear crowns fall off the throne one or twice a day!

His answer was so simple. “No, mom.  I didn’t want everyone to lose out.  It wasn’t fair.  So I thought if I said it was me, at least all of them would be able to keep playing. Seriously mom – I don’t like when things are not fair.  Then she accused me of lying.  And I had to admit that I was just trying to save the class.  And then I got in trouble for lying!  You can’t win!”

Again…my left eye of scrutiny didn’t want to buy this story.  My truth and pride radar were in conflict.  But in the end, being able to slow down with him, I realized that it was all true.  There had been a collision of his emotions and who he wants to be in life.  A problem solver, lover of justice and purveyor of good.  The presentation needs work for sure…but pretty cool I think. The things you learn when you slow down and let your little people talk.

The ending?  I asked the question that I sometimes forget to ask.  What would make you feel better son?  The answer was the best part of my week so far:

Remember when you used to help me sleep by rubbing my eyelashes.  Will you do that right now?

Needless to say – we laid together on the couch for a while, whispering and giggling and relaxing, then I took these pictures.  It was the most intimate of dates with my boy.  We both left better than we came.  And I think that’s pretty cool.

Go Forth and Parent in Positivity!

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Chatone Morrison – 11/18/2016

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Three Ways to Find Grace Even On the Craziest of Days

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Chatone Morrison    “Princess of Positivity”

The painters came today.  Again.  They are neat.  Tidy.  They don’t play obnoxious music while they work.  They don’t even whistle.  They don’t curse or say misogynistic things to Katelin (my 14-year-old daughter).  They don’t leave food wrappers in the house or outside on the lawn.  They are great.  Really, really great.

The problem is there is a film of dust all over the house.  Despite the terribly noisy vacuum that is supposed to make the paint and dust spores disappear into the thin air…which is totally ironic because the air is so thick with dust it’s completely impossible to see if it’s even working!  But they are nice guys.  And they are neat.  I’m supposed to be happy.

Here’s the thing.  I can’t cook.  There is a 6 foot tall silk Ficus tree in my kitchen.  Oh, and the recliner, and the loveseat and my latest Mary Kay inventory boxes, and a science experiment, and 3 lamps.  The kitchen table is up against the island, the island is covered in the same film described above and did I mention there is no dinner?!

Junior is running through the house sliding on the dust residue, in between itching,  seems to have an allergic reaction to not being able to breathe…go figure.  And my girl is rolling her eyes so far into her head she just might be blind and no one told me.  The noise from the scraping and the vacuum and the ladders and 6 dudes, is deafening.  I cannot hear my thoughts.  In fact I might be slipping into the realm of the brain dead.  (OK, that might be over the top…but you know what I’m saying!)

Days like this come and we moms can sink into the pit of despair.  Little triggers all over the house and even though we are rocking it out, suddenly we don’t see it.  Suddenly eating a box of chocolate ice cream or a huge pot of spaghetti straight from the pot seems like a good idea.  But don’t do it.  Don’t believe the hype.  There is a better way.

  1. Go Outside – It’s fall here in Maryland and the days are super crisp and pretty.  If it’s crazy inside, go outside!  That’s simple right?  Duh…why didn’t you think of it?  You did!  You just didn’t do it.  We always know what we should do.  We are smart women.  Of course we know.  The problem is we don’t act.  We substitute a logical action for an intuitive one.  When it’s crazy inside, follow your gut.  Go Outside!
  2. Count – Yep.  Just count.  There is some neuroscience behind this one…but I don’t want to overwhelm you with my amazing expertise. (ha ha) Suffice it to say it’s like having your brain go outside for a moment.  The counting helps you redirect.  Center.  Get out of the crazy for just a moment.  Then you can focus on doing what you need.
  3. Just One Thing – Well the fun can’t last forever.  After you clear your mind outside;  then center your focus to unclutter your thoughts, it’s time to find one thing that will make a difference.  Perhaps that’s clearing off just one counter.  Or picking up the socks on the couch.  Or making a salad for dinner.  Or calling one client to do a little service check.  Or following up on one hot email.  It doesn’t really matter what you choose.  Just choose a good one so that you can feel the sense of accomplishment.

Honestly girlfriend, in the midst of the madness…in the middle of whatever crazy you have going on, just go with the simplest strategy to help you get through.  You already know that this day too shall pass.  Being graceful and easy on yourself as it does, is priceless.

Rock On Ladies!

Chatone Morrison – 11/16/2016

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Facebook:  @chatonemorrisonmk or @chatonemorrisonconsulting

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Looking for a Coach? Check me out at:  ChatoneMorrison.com