by Lori Milner, author, entrepreneur, thought leader and founder of Beyond the Dress
I always know where my focus and head space is by the status of the wallpaper on my phone. Not quite what you were expecting to read right? So, a few months ago, I made myself a wallpaper with the word ‘Pause’. This was to remind myself to slow down, be mindful, not rush, not look 5 steps ahead but to just be in the moment and be present with those around me.
Fast forward and my new one is… ‘Listen’. I have written a lot about listening to others and empathy but this one is directed at me. To stop the monkey mind chatter and to really get back to listening to my own thoughts. Do we do that enough?
To our intuition…
To that little voice that is screaming at us not to trust that person, get involved in that project…
Do we listen enough to the things we want to do instead of the things we think we should be doing?
Do we listen to ourselves when we have that precious hour of time available and want to do something creative that fuels our soul? Life baking, making music, journaling, painting a picture, you fill in the blank…
Or do we choose to listen to that other voice. The one in our head telling us, quite harshly, rudely, accusingly, sarcastically, what we should do instead. ‘You can’t take off for yourself, you should be…’
The reason I write ‘listen’ is to remind myself that the only person who is actually going to make me happy is me. And that’s by doing the things I love to do and that energize me. I realized I was getting bored with myself because I got so caught up in the day to day roles of mother, wife, business owner, I forgot about the role of just being Lori. So, I started to make time again for the things I love. It’s made a huge difference. I am starting to find me again. And note – I had to make time, it won’t happen on its own. It is a conscious choice to allocate time to ourselves.
I think at some point, we all feel like that ‘spark’ in us has gone out, especially for parents navigating those early years with kids. There’s an undertone that we aren’t quite the same person we used to be. And then we’re stuck on how to climb out the rut of us. I am quickly learning that the only way out is not through a new material something, a shiny this or sparkly that. It’s through the relationship to ourselves.
And so, every day I spend some extra time really listening – whether it’s through my journaling, meditation, exercise. I encourage you to choose the word that works for you but we can all start by being a bit kinder to ourselves. Speak to ourselves like we would to our best friend. Not to have double standards – we’re forgiving for those around us but too harsh on ourselves.
This is a journey to master and believe me, I fall off the wagon at least once a day. We can’t get it right all at once so choose an intention to focus on each week. For example, ‘this week I will focus on being kind to myself’. It can range from what we tell ourselves to treating ourselves to an indulgent bubble bath (again, you fill in the blank that works for you.) And so, each week, we can begin to master what we most need at that specific point in time.
Go right now – and choose your wallpaper word of the week. Decorate it, make it fun to look at, even childlike. Let that be your reminder when our day to day madness takes over our thinking and we fall back into bad habits. It’s all about self-awareness and realizing that negative thoughts don’t serve us and replace them with better ones.
Here’s to the journey of listening.
LORI MILNER is the engaging facilitator, thought leader and mentor known for her insightful approach to being a modern corporate woman. Her brainchild, the successful initiative Beyond the Dress, is the embodiment of her passion to empower women. Beyond the Dress has worked with South Africa’s leading corporates and empowered hundreds of women with valuable insight on how to bridge the gap between work and personal life. Clients include Siemens, Massmart, Alexander Forbes, Life Healthcare Group, RMB Private Bank and Unilever to name a few. Lori has co-authored Own Your Space: The Toolkit for the Working Woman in conjunction with Nadia Bilchik, CNN Editorial Producer. Own Your Space provides practical tools and insights gleaned from workshops held around the world and from interviews with some of South Africa’s most accomplished women to provide you with tried-and-tested techniques, tips and advice to help you boost your career, enhance your confidence and truly own your space on every level. Own Your Space is the ultimate ‘toolkit’ to unleash your true power. It’s for the woman who wants to take her career to new heights and who is ready to fulfil her true potential.
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