Posts tagged with ‘love your life’

15 apr

Social Media vs. Social Reality: How to “Like” Your Life

Kerrigan2“I just cancelled my Facebook account—it was making me feel too depressed reading everyone else’s posts. In comparison to them, I feel like such a failure.”

I’m hearing this type of complaint more often these days. The above quote came from a young college student. She is kind, fun, top of her class, passionate about her subject—filmmaking—and has a paid internship doing what she loves. And yet, social media is making her feel inadequate. Why?

I’m not a big advocate for Facebook, but I enjoy connecting and keeping up with people I like and respect. Like most, I don’t have thousands of friends, and this should tell you something.

Actually, no one really does. Social media and social reality are two very different animals. Never forget that.

So, here are a few things I’d like to share:

Social media is the one place where you actually edit your life. Your audience gets to see what you want them to see. No one has the perfect life, and thank God for that! It keeps life interesting. Each of us has successes and failures.

Think: If all the updates you saw on Facebook were about failure—would you really want that? Now, that would be depressing! (I’m picturing all the prozac and xanax ads and continuous photos of Woody Allen running alongside my feed. Oy!)

Success is different for everyone. You define it—not some arbitrary group. For some, it’s living a healthy, long life. For others, it’s having a family or career they love, or owning beautiful (and expensive) things.

If people on Facebook are really your friends, then be happy for them. If not, then delete them. Period, amen. Remember—you get to edit your life here too.

Use social media as motivation to get what you really want. Stop wasting time browsing on Facebook with your nose pressed up against the glass. Ask your friends how they got where they are and how they can help you. Focus less on what others are doing and more on what you want.

Keep a list of what you have in your life and review it and add to it often. Be grateful. I bet there’s more on that list than you give yourself credit for.

Perhaps some friends whose lives you want may really want what you have. What’s that saying?….the grass is always greener…

Focus your efforts on defining success and pursuing it. That’s the only way you’ll get there. And, don’t stop to edit yourself. That’s the beauty of reality—it’s a roller coaster ride of twists and turns and successes and failures. So, quit stalling and get on board! That’s what life is really all about.

Now—can I get a thumbs up here, huh??

Copyright 2013 Michelle Kerrigan. All rights reserved.

For over 25 years, Michelle Kerrigan has been helping businesses and private clients achieve workplace success by developing the practical skills they need to improve their confidence. Based on her own leadership experiences, Michelle provides an invaluable road map for conquering fear and doubt, navigating change, and solving day-to-day challenges. Michelle also writes and speaks about the impact self esteem has on success, and is currently working on a series for public TV about workplace confidence. More at and

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Posted by Michelle Kerrigan on April 15th, 2013 in Career, Global/Social Change, Health | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

19 mar

Live Fired Up!

JayFortePeople tell us life is tough, tense and difficult. And we believe it.

I don’t listen to what people say. I think life should be thrilling, exciting and energizing. Life is not a dress rehearsal so I want to be passionate, enthusiastic and fired up in my one shot at life.

We choose how we live. We allow the discussion in our heads to direct us. And today, much of this discussion is negative – it highlights the things we can’t, shouldn’t, or couldn’t do. We dwell on it and soon we believe that is the way it must be…it will be. But, we can redirect this internal dialog to positive; our self-talk can be optimistic. Our choice.

I find the reason why many people are more negative than positive is they do not know themselves well. As has been said, “We fear because we forget how capable we are.” We activate our negative self-talk because we forget (or don’t know) how talented, wise and competent we are. By knowing ourselves well, we learn how to use our hardwired talents, strengths and passions to successfully direct our lives to areas that support what we are good at and love doing. This engages our confidence and competence. This activates our positive self-talk. This helps to fire us up.

Many people also look to others to make their lives great. We want our partners, spouses, friends and families to make our lives fun, dynamic and easy. Though they are part of this process, the choice of being thrilled (or bored) about life belongs to each of us – not to others. It is our responsibility to choose how we move through life in the best and most fired up way.

Though I write, speak and teach about connecting to talents and passions, and getting fired up in work and life, I still have my days where the negative and challenging thoughts are louder than the positive ones. I know this will happen so I created a list of things I can do get myself re-fired up – re-energized – and back on the ride of life. Here are some of my techniques to light the fire instead of dousing the flame. Use these and share what works for you:

  1. Laugh. A minute of laughing can boost your immune system for more than 24 hours (a minute of anger weakens your immune system for 4 hours). So find humor in everything. People are naturally comical, pets too. Stop finding faults and find humor. (I have the klutz gene –it is a family trait. If I got upset every time I bumped into something or tripped on something, I would always be upset. Instead, it is a great opportunity to laugh).
  2. Read an inspirational quote or text. Find authors, famous or familiar people who move you with their perspectives, attitudes or energy. Keep these handy.
  3. Think about two great things that have happened in the last day, hour or even minute. Dwell on these, not on the things that did not work so well. Applaud yourself for your great work, even if you were the only one who noticed it. Praise and (a little) self-praise are good ways to stay fired up.
  4. Develop a network of fired up contacts – people you can contact to help you reconnect to your fire. The commitment, however, is you are the same resource for them. Sometimes we need a little help to get the fire going again.
  5. Do something kind or unexpected. Send a card, make a call, serve your kids, partner or spouse breakfast in bed, make your favorite desert or meal and bring it to a friend. Get out of yourself and pay attention to someone else. Their reactions will fire you up.
  6. Tell a story about a time when you were younger that highlights happy and great times. Show pictures, watch home movies and share feelings. Celebrate your personal stories. Never miss providing an ovation after a story. Everyone loves some applause. It fires us up.
  7. Make the ordinary things around you, extraordinary. Dinner – ordinary. Dinner with the best dishes, flowers and cloth napkins – extraordinary. Lunch – ordinary. Lunch with candles, a card, your favorite soup and music – extraordinary. Bring home flowers. Make your own scented water to spray on the laundry. Stack laundry with each person’s name on it and a surprise in the bottom of each pile. Change the color of your front door – to something that gets the neighbors talking. Buy something bright to liven up an ordinary room. Notice “ordinary” then do something to make it extraordinary. You get a “two-fer” – a “two for” the price of one fire up. You get something extraordinary and you get fired up doing it.
  8. Music – high-energy music can get you fired up. Turn it up loud, close the door and dance. And if you have the nerve, dance with the door open and invite others to join you. Find your fire up song and play it when you need to get energizing. My favorite “change my mood” song is Carlos Santana and Rob Thomas’s “Smooth.” My favorite get fired up and dance songs are Frankie Valli’s Oh, What A Night, Annie Lennox’s “Little Bird” or Katy Perry’s “Hot N Cold.” What are yours? (I know you have some.)
  9. Go for an “inspired walk.” Some people find inspiration on a busy city street with lots of action. Others find inspiration in a quiet walk on a beach, through the woods or in the mountains. Bring your iPod with inspirational music (your definition of inspirational) to add to the moment. Or, just learn to listen to hustle, or the natural quiet. Get reconnected to your internal fire with others or by yourself, whichever activates you.
  10. Make plans for fun. Once a week plan an event that gets you excited. Try a new restaurant. See a movie. Go to a lecture. Do yoga. Buy an outrageous coffee drink. Have game night with your family or friends. Host an American Idol, reality show, awards show or big game evening. Start a dinner club with other couples or singles. Host a progressive party around your neighborhood. Create one fired up event; its anticipation is energizing.
  11. Love your job. Choose a job that plays to what you are good at and love doing. Know yourself well enough to know how to play to your talents, strengths and passions. A job of purpose, power and passion will keep you energized and fired up throughout the day.

Some say life is tough. And some feel they should suffer through life. Go ahead. That is not for me; that is not the story of life I intend to write. I have learned the more I know myself, the more I can direct my response to my world and play to my strengths. I can control my response to conflict and put myself into more areas of joy, happiness and energy. My choice.

We are amazing creatures. Each of us is hardwired with amazing gifts – unique gifts – that take much of our lives to interpret and learn to use. We did not arrive on the planet with an owner’s manual; we write it each day as we live. The more and quicker we learn about ourselves, the more and sooner we get introduced to the things that make us sizzle and those that make us fizzle. So, figure out how to add more sizzle. Then live fired up!

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and performance consultant. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition, The Hunt for Opportunities Success Manual and the on-line resource, Stand Out and Get Hired. He is working on his new book, Work Strong, Live Stronger. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to live fired up! More information at

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Posted by Jay Forte on March 19th, 2010 in Career, Family, General, Health, New Directions, Personal Stories, Relationships, Spirituality, Things We Love | 2 comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , ,

03 feb

The End of Average

JayForteLife is not a dress rehearsal – we get one great ride around the sun. And if this is my one shot, I intend to approach it with the most love, enthusiasm and energy I can muster. I don’t want a life of coulda’s, woulda’s and shoulda’s. As George Bernard Shaw’s says, “I want to be all used up when I die.” Nothing left undone. Excited and fired up each day. No regrets. And definitely not average.

But I find most people don’t share this mindset. Most people are stuck in bland, boring and average; they want better but don’t know how. As the humorist Erma Bombeck said, “Normal is just a setting on a clothes dryer.” There should be nothing normal or average about life. Since our time on Earth is limited, our focus must be to learn enough about ourselves and our world, to determine how we “fit” – our way to be great in the world and live a life that is extraordinary.

Our world has actually set us up to have a great life; we are in the age of customization. Today, we can have our food, cars, music, houses, and virtually everything else our way. We personalize and customize. There should be no need for average.

But what amazes me most is we are so quick to customize our food, but so reluctant to customize our lives. Most of us do what others do, or let others tell us how to work and live. The problem is we spend too little time getting to know our inner self – our unique personality, talents, strengths and passions; we are not very self-aware. And when you don’t know yourself, you don’t know how to maximize your impact or the quality of your life. You accept average.

Each of us is born with a unique set of neural pathways (brain responses) that ultimately form our natural response, abilities talents and passions. Some are artistic and social. Others are empirical, detail-focused and analytical. Some can sing and others can solve puzzles. Some are moved by constant communication, others are most passionate when connecting in quiet with nature.

These natural abilities represent our core thinking – we are good at these and happiest when doing them. Management psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says in his book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, “People who learn to control (understand) their inner experience will determine the quality of their lives, which is as close as any of us can come to being happy.”

The key to ending average is to connect, communicate and understand the internal hardwired “true you” and to answer the questions, “How self-aware am I?” and “What do I really know about me?”

Here is how I explain it to my audiences: we have two ears and one mouth. Though the expression says we should listen twice as often as we speak, I add another perspective. To me, one ear should be directed out – to listen to your world – to know and understand your world. The other ear should be directed in – to listen to you – to understand your particular and unique talents, values, interests, and passions – the true you.

When you know you and your world, you can focus on “fit” – your place in this world. You can focus on working and living in areas that play to your strengths. You have choices. You can customize your life.

So here are my five steps to customize your life and develop your end of average plan:

  1. Listen inward to identify your natural abilities and talents – list what are you good at. Don’t be humble; be honest. What are you great at? What comes naturally? Many times you will need to check with others who know you well because your talents are so closely tied to your thinking that you don’t perceive your abilities as talents. List everything that comes to mind; get acquainted with your true self.
  2. Listen inward to identify what you love to do – list what you are passionate about. What gets you out of bed; what could you do all day and never be bored or tired of? List everything that comes to mind; get acquainted with your true self.
  3. Find your fit. Now review what you are good at and passionate about. Then, knowing what you know of your world, start to identify what jobs, communities, activities or projects allow you to use what you are good at and passionate about doing. Here’s an example. You love working with precision and details and are passionate about helping animals. You may identify the ideal job is working as a veterinarian, animal rescue staff, dog walker, scientist or breeder. Your hobbies may include volunteering for an animal shelter, become an dog trainer or connect the elderly with pets to improve their lives. Know yourself and then determine where you fit in work and in life – where you play to your talents and passions. You work strong and live stronger. You end average.
  4. Sculpt on daily basis. Get good at adding small meaningful things to your day. It may be volunteering for a museum, a homeless shelter or a hotline. It may be cooking for your office, organizing events in the workplace or teaching your fellow employees how to use IPhone aps. When you add small things you love to your work and life, you respond in a more engaged and passionate way. You customize. Life is better. Work is better.
  5. Commit time to stay connected to the “true you.” Life pulls you in many directions – even when you personalize and customize a great life. Build connection time in your days to stay tuned into the true you. You will constantly determine new things about you – more talents, more passions – because this is a lifetime dialog. Don’t be in a rush. Gather information. Stop and think. Include more of the true you in your work and life.

No one can do this work for you. You are unique and no one shares your exact talents, strengths and passions – your personal hardwiring. Only you can connect to the true you. Commit the time and effort to know yourself. Commit the time and effort to know your world. Find your fit. Sculpt daily to keep the energy high. This is how to make the most of this life and to put an end to average.

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and performance consultant. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition, The Hunt for Opportunities Success Manual and the on-line resource, Stand Out and Get Hired. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to work strong and live stronger. More information at

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jay Forte on February 3rd, 2010 in Career, General, New Directions, Personal Stories, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , ,