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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

D.R.E.A.M.S. series: E is for Energy

Welcome to week three of my 6-week D.R.E.A.M.S. series.  So far I’ve shared how I used determination and resourcefulness to help me earn my graduate degree as a single, working mom.  This week I’m talking about energy and how it’s so important to maintain when you’re working on living out your dreams.

What comes to mind when you think of energy?  When I think of energy, I wonder if I will have enough to get everything on my to-do list done each day. When I looked up the definition of energy, the one that rang truest to me was defined by Merriam-Webster as the ability to be active; the physical and mental strength that allows you to do things.  Wow!!!   

Looking back a few months ago at the tail end of my graduate program, I remember how I fought to keep my mental and physical energy at a level that allowed me to keep going.  There were many late nights when I sat up until the wee hours of the morning researching and writing papers.

 I didn’t have the luxury of sleeping in the next day – I had to get up and go to work so I could provide for my children. I was able to push through the week staying up late and getting up extra early. But by Friday night, I was done!  My mental energy was depleted, leaving me cranky and irritable.  My physical energy was also tapped out, and I felt weak and worn down. 

Although school was a priority, my job as a mom is my top priority.  My kids needed me to run them back and forth to their sports and activities.  I still had to go grocery shopping, prepare meals, check homework, and make sure everyone had clean clothes for the week.  I couldn’t afford to run out of energy or none of those things would get done.

So what did I do?  I started honoring my physical and mental energy.  When I felt tired on the weekends, I took a nap and politely told my kids not to disturb me.  When I didn’t have enough energy to play taxicab, I said no.  When I didn’t have enough zest to make a complete meal, we ate cereal or something quick. 

Essentially what I did was find simple ways to reserve and replenish my energy.  As a modern mom you may be thinking that there is no way that you could do that because (you can fill in the blanks with your reason).  But guess what?  You’re wrong.  You can take a nap and the kids will be ok.  You can feed the kids cereal or sandwiches for dinner and they will be ok. 

The next time you feel your energy getting low, remember to:

1.   Listen to your body when it’s telling you to take a break.

2.   Give yourself permission to say no to low-priority tasks that drain your energy.

3.   Make time for the 3 non-negotiable R’s: rest, recharge, and replenish.

Being a Mom with D.R.E.A.M.S. is hard work, but it’s not impossible.  Eating healthy meals, exercising regularly (even if you have to walk during your lunch break), and getting enough rest will help maintain the energy you need to keep you moving in the direction of your dreams. 

Thanks for taking time to read about my journey as a Mom with D.R.E.A.M.S.  In addition to this blog, I’m building a community for moms who want to live out their dreams.  If you’d like to know more about this movement and how you can become a part of it, click here. 

Before you go I’d love to know, when you’re feeling low on energy, what do you do to replenish?  How do you maintain your energy on a regular basis?  Please share your thoughts and comments.

Next week I’ll be talking about ambition.  Can’t wait!

Lots of love,

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

D.R.E.A.M.S. series: R is for Resourcefulness

Welcome to week 2 of my 6-week D.R.E.A.M.S. series.  Last week I shared how determination kept me from giving up on my dreams when I felt overwhelmed and frustrated. This week’s topic is resourcefulness, the second quality that moms need in order to make their dreams come true. 

As I made my way through graduate studies, resourcefulness kept me on course just as determination did.  Resourcefulness is defined by Merriam-Webster as the ability to deal well with new or difficult situations, and to find solutions to problems.

My life was full of problems that I needed to solve while I worked my way through a painful divorce. I could have easily decided to take time off from school until my life settled down and felt normal again.  But I knew that I would just be prolonging the process.  Instead I chose to deal with my difficult situation while I continued working on my graduate degree.

As a single mother I had double the responsibilities and half of the help of married moms.  I averaged about 3-4 hours of sleep each night. I was constantly tired, irritable, frustrated and had very little patience for my children.

 I knew that I wanted to be a better mom.  I also knew that I wouldn’t be able to do well in school and my performance at work would be affected if I didn’t figure out how to manage my time and responsibilities more effectively.  That’s when resourcefulness showed up to rescue me.

I became resourceful and created a schedule that allowed me to manage my time more effectively.  My new schedule included everything I had to do on a daily basis. I did grocery shopping immediately after church and cooked 3-4 large meals on Sunday afternoons.  I designated Mondays and Wednesdays for laundry, and everyone became responsible for putting their own clothes away. 

I also created a weekly chores schedule for my children and explained that Mommy really needed their help around the house.  When I got total cooperation and the week ran smoothly, I rewarded my kids by letting them choose a restaurant where we would eat on the following Tuesday.

I figured out a way to solve my problem of not having enough time for my homework and motherly responsibilities.  I was getting more sleep and felt better.  At the same time, I created more opportunities for quality time with my children. 

I was determined to stay in school even though my life was difficult.  I used my resourcefulness muscle and created a routine that supported my dreams.  This didn’t happen overnight – I had to be patient, open-minded, and made a few mistakes along the way.  

Now that you know how I turned my difficult situation into a manageable routine, what steps will you take this week to help you get closer to your dreams?  What situations have been getting in the way of your dreams?  What solutions can you create to solve these problems?  Be creative and think outside of the box for possible solutions.

If you would like support with this, please send an email to Erica at  I will schedule a 30-minute complimentary discovery session to brainstorm solutions and create an action plan.  

If you enjoyed reading this post, please share your comments and/or follow my blog.  If you know someone who would benefit from reading this, please give the gift of sharing.

Next week’s topic is energy.  Until then, believe in the abundance that is just for you.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

D.R.E.A.M.S. series: D is for Determination

Welcome to week one of my 6-week series on making your dreams come true! This week we are exploring determination, the first thing moms need to achieve their dreams.

After my divorce, I had to quickly adjust to my new life. My main focus during that time was to make sure my children were going to be okay.  At the same time, I was focused on finishing my masters degree and I had dreams of starting a coaching business for ambitious women.  But I didn’t know how I would maintain our quality of life, stay in graduate school, work full-time, and start a business as a single mom.

There wasn’t anyone in my immediate circle of relatives or friends who had ever gone through a divorce and could share any firsthand experience or advice.  In the movies marital separations and divorce are often depicted to be manageable and fair.

Unlike in the movies, my ex-husband did not help financially support our children.  He didn’t pick up the kids like he was supposed to or help drive them to and from their activities and sports.  I soon figured out that he had an unusual gift of knowing exactly what to do to make my life more difficult than it needed to be.  That was the reality that I faced every day.

Despite my situation and how I was feeling on the inside, I kept smiling and was determined to not give up on the dreams in my heart.  Merriam-Webster defines determination as “a quality that makes you continue trying to do something that is difficult; the act of deciding something definitely and firmly”.  

My determination was what kept me writing papers until 2 a.m. on weekdays when I had to be at work the next day.  I dug deep inside until I found that place that wouldn’t allow me to quit no matter how much I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore.  In that place, I was able to push through my upper thresholds and achieve my dreams of starting a coaching business.

Determination was more than just a feeling that I had on the inside.  I had to make decisions and stick with them.  I decided that my dreams were bigger than my temporary feelings of frustration and overwhelm.  I wanted to show my kids that they can do anything if they want it badly enough and are willing to put in the work.

How badly do you want your dreams to come true?  When you know that you deserve more out of life and are determined to make it happen, you will become unstoppable.  Instead of wondering if it’s possible, you will know for sure that it’s just a matter of time.

Over the course of this week, set aside some time to think about how your determination has helped you get where you are today. Give yourself credit for your accomplishments along the way and get excited about what is yet to come.

Next week’s topic will be resourcefulness.  See you then!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

6 Things You Need to Make Your Dreams Come True

Dreams can come true as long as you believe.  As beautiful as it is to dream, so many of us women lose sight of our dreams as we go through life.  I remember when I was a little girl I used to dream about being rich and famous, of owning a bunch of fancy cars and living in a huge mansion with a massive in-ground pool, complete with tennis courts, a butler, a maid, and a nanny to take care of my six children.  I would sit and dream for hours about how grand and perfect my life would be with my perfect husband and career.

Today my dreams are a little different, but they are still very big.  I recently read a quote that I love which is, "If your dreams don't scare you, then they aren't big enough".  I realized that for so long, when I thought of my big dreams, I would downsize them so they would feel more realistic and achievable.  Like, how could I really finish my graduate degree while I was trying to get through a devastating divorce? Or how would I really start a business as a single mom with very little money and practically no support?

What I realized is that when you have dreams, you shouldn't downsize them for anyone or anything - no matter how your life may look in that moment.  Instead, you owe it to yourself and to your children to do everything in your power to make your dreams become your reality.  Along my journey I identified six things that I relied on in order to make my dreams my reality.  They are determination, resourcefulness, energy, ambition, motivation, and strength (D.R.E.A.M.S.).  As a result of me being able to identify these six things within me and really tap into them, I completed my masters degree this past June and started my success and empowerment coaching business, Defining Success, LLC, as a single mom working a full-time job.

Over the next six weeks I will discuss each of these qualities and share how I used them to get on track to achieving my dreams.  You will see how you can access these same six qualities and start living the life you desire and deserve. 

Before I go, I'd like to ask, what are your dreams?  What have you been wanting to do but didn't think it's possible because of your current circumstances?  What did you want to do before you had children? Are you ready to discover what you're really made of and move fearlessly in the direction of your dreams?   Please share your comments with me.  If you have a friend or know someone else who would benefit from this information, please pass share this post.