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For Holiday Success – Keep It Simple Sister!

December 6th, 2011 by Sherry Collier

Holiday Snow

I get weary of trying to buy a million Christmas presents this time of year.  And decorating the house?  Oh, don’t get me started . . . as a mom, a business woman, a wife, a “taxi-driver” (to and from soccer games and piano lessons) . . . I just don’t have time to go all out.  But I come bearing GOOD NEWS – there is a simplicity movement afoot.  I am all for simplifying the holidays, while keeping it meaningful and fun.

I say, “Keep it simple sister” because most of the time it is the moms, the women, the wives who bother with decorating and buying gifts for the relatives and colleagues.  This article is going to be chock full of tips (10 to be exact) on how to keep it simple, yet successful – this holiday season.  Let this be my gift to you – Simplify your holiday and see how meaningful it becomes as a result.

Here are the 10 Tips:

1.  Remember the reason for the season.  Christmas is a birthday celebration for Jesus Christ.  Jesus’ greatest gift to us was his love, his compassion, his mercy and grace.  If everyone who celebrated Christmas put their focus upon sharing love, compassion, mercy and grace – that would be a seriously successful holiday!  If you celebrate Hanukkah – the emphasis is upon staying in faith and seeing miraculous events unfold.  If we all kept the faith in miracles and had attitudes of expecting good things to come, that would be a seriously successful holiday.

2. Decorate in a way that is simple – no need for every square inch of your house to be lit up or covered in holiday nick nacks.  Place a few meaningful objects in places where you will see them and remember the significance of them, but don’t feel obligated to decorate the same way everyone else does.  If you don’t want to mess with a Christmas tree – don’t!  Maybe you could give your house a festive feel with a few well-placed sprigs of pine branches or a wreath that brings the scent and color of Christmas. 

I must admit, I do not know enough about decorating for Hanukkah to give specific advice here, but again, give yourself permission to keep the decorating simple yet meaningful.

3. Instead of shopping and spending truckloads of money on objects (or gift cards) your friends and family may or may not even want, try gifting them with your acts of service and kindness.

4. If you simply must buy gifts for some of your loved ones, then get organized.  Make a list of who you are shopping for, what you’ve heard them say about their needs/wants and then list one or two gift ideas for them.  Take your list wherever you go so you can shop while out and about.

5. Hand-write a lovely card explaining one or two specific chores, favors, errands you will do for the receiver.

6. Go caroling.  I miss the days when we would round up a group of friends or family and sing carols on the doorsteps of neighbors or in nursing homes.  Singing brings good cheer, creates a sense of community and blesses those on the receiving end of the singing.

7. When you begin to plan for your holiday meals, choose one or two main dishes and then only 3 side dishes (you really don’t need more than this).  List your meal ingredients – and keep your list with you so you can purchase food items as you see sale prices.

8. If you are going to have a very large gathering of people for a meal, make it a potluck.  Everyone loves a potluck and it will save you time, energy, and money.

9. If you have children, read the various Christmas stories to your kids each night for the 12 days preceding Christmas.

10. Instead of baking calorie-laden foods, make a delicious trail mix and serve it in old fashioned Mason jars or decorative tins. 

The bottom line for keeping it simple, focus less on stuff, more on people and creativity and above all, remember the spiritual and moral messages of Christmas and Hanukkah. 
Happy Holidays!

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Healthy Boundaries for a Healthy Life and Business: 5 Tips

November 20th, 2011 by Sherry Collier

Boundaries

When you create healthy boundaries in your personal life and business life, you are setting yourself up for success.  When those boundaries are blurred, you will suffer from burn-out, depression, anxiety and other unwanted side effects.  It can be challenging to set healthy boundaries when we have so many different people, tasks, and activities competing for our energy and attention.  It is time to get clear about what really matters in your life and then make decisions about who and what to let in and who and what to keep at a healthy distance.

What are boundaries anyway?  Remember back to biology class when you looked at the single cell under the microscope and learned about the cell wall, the nucleus, the cytoplasm, and all the other parts of the cell?  Each cell of your body has a cell wall.  This wall has to be strong enough to keep out toxins and bacteria while being permeable to allow water and nutrients in to nourish the cell.  It is the same with our psyche.  We must allow our hearts and minds to take in nourishing interactions, love, and energy-producing input while keeping out the negative information that can sometimes come with interacting with our fellow humans in an imperfect world. 

Some individuals are more prone to having blurry psychological boundaries than others.  For people who tend to be sensitive (emotionally, psychologically and spiritually) boundaries can be a challenge and they can become easily entangled or enmeshed with others “stuff”.  Other individuals struggle with rigid boundaries.  They may have been hurt by others and have erected rigid psychological walls to prevent themselves from being hurt again. 

Here is a short list of tips for creating healthy boundaries.

1.  Before you say “yes” to anything or anyone, take a moment to do a mind/body system check.  Scan your body for signs of discomfort.  Scan your mind for emotions that come up in response to the request.  If you feel discomfort bodily or emotionally, put off the decision until you have some time to thoroughly investigate.  You could simply have a stock reply ready that says, “I’m not sure if I can do that, I’ll get back to you in a day or so to let you know.”

2. Before you head off into your day (your work, your interactions, your activities), take some time to picture healthy boundaries encircling your body.  Picture your boundaries as permeable to love and positivity, but closed to other’s negativity, judgmentalism and bad ideas.

3. Pray.  Ask your Creator if this is something that is yours or if this is something that should not enter your personal-responsibility realm.  There are many times that God can speak to us about what to take on and what to stay away from if we will just take the time to ask.

4. Go about your life with a strong knowing deep down in your core that you do not need to take on other’s emotions, responsibilities, and causes.  You are unique.  You have a personality, talents, skills and an emotional make-up that is like none other – therefore, you will be drawn to different activities, callings, and relationships.  You do not need to take up everyone else’s idea of what should be.

5. Practice saying “no”.  Say “no” in the mirror and say it with force.  Every time you say “no” to someone or something that is asking you to do something that does not line up with your vision, you are saying “yes” to your unique calling, your unique self – and you are valuing yourself and others in this way.

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From Frazzled to Calm and Clear

November 8th, 2011 by Sherry Collier

The events of the past few days took their emotional and mental toll and I found myself feeling frazzled and lost this morning. My mind was racing with multiple to do lists. My thoughts were fuzzy and unclear about what to do next and how to find some calm and joy. Yuck! I needed to […]

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Want Success? Get Stubborn!

October 27th, 2011 by Sherry Collier

The key to success in business, in a hobby, in sports, in any endeavor – is to hang there even when it seems like your endeavor is too hard to accomplish. One personality trait that successful business women and men possess is the ability to stay stubborn in the face of apparent defeat. When you […]

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The Simple Life

October 17th, 2011 by Sherry Collier

I am in the midst of struggling with technology right now.  I’m learning new software and new systems which are completely foreign to me, so as you may imagine, I am feeling a tad overwhelmed.  In the midst of all this overwhelm I am reminded to consciously return to simplicity.  I am tempted to run […]

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Effectively Stabilize Your Emotions: Don’t Let Your Amygdala Hijack Your Brain

September 26th, 2011 by Sherry Collier

Much information has been shared in the world of psychology and personal development about how to stabilize your emotions in order to live your life more effectively.  My goal for this article is to introduce how the amygdala (in the emotional center of your brain) plays a role in your emotional life and how to […]

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Creativity is the Mother of Innovation: Five Ways to Spark Creativity

September 19th, 2011 by Sherry Collier

Innovation is the mother of great ideas, products, services, technologies and processes.  Creativity is the mother of innovation.  Knowing that we must spark creativity to keep our lives and businesses fresh and new isn’t enough.  We must act on this knowledge if we want innovation to pour forth.  Business owners often live in their head […]

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Forgive to Create Success in Life and Business

September 5th, 2011 by Sherry Collier

There are pages and pages of advice about how to succeed in life and business, but one aspect of success that rarely receives proper discussion is the act of forgiveness.  How does forgiveness lead to success in life and business you ask?  When you forgive a person or an organization for any wrong committed against […]

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Building A Business with Purpose: Five Tips

August 29th, 2011 by Sherry Collier

Have you started your own business but lost momentum, motivation and seen growth slow down or stop altogether?  If you are like some entrepreneurs, you may have started many different businesses over the years, but never really experienced the kind of success you desired.  In this article, I’m going to discuss an important principle to get clear […]

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Get Ready, Aim, FIRE!

August 15th, 2011 by Sherry Collier

Your life is going somewhere, but do you know where?  Where ever you are pointed, that is where you will go.  Much like an arrow in a bow – the archer must first aim for the center of the target to get the arrow to go toward the bullseye.  You must have a target for your […]

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