Friends

I am so lucky to have amazing friends.
Because I know I am not the easiest person to be friends with.
I fully admit it.
I have a very busy life.
I’m not glued to my phone like most people and therefore I don’t always return phone calls and texts promptly.
I don’t feel the need to “call and let us know you made it home safely”. (If my plane goes down, I’m sure you’ll hear about it.)
I rarely remember birthdays and have a complete disdain for those other “Hallmark Holidays” that keep greeting card companies in business.
I forget that I’m on Facebook and other social media and don’t “check-in” for months at a time.
And I often tell people the truth in a way that is…well…the truth.

But I love, love, love my girlfriends.
I know—and they know—that when it counts, I am going to be there.
I’m going to stop what I’m doing and come to you when you need me.
And I know that they will do the same for me.

Being a good friend isn’t about birthdays and holiday cards. It’s about weddings and funerals. It’s about divorce and depression, births and deaths, successes and failures. It’s about laughing until you wet your pants and crying on each other’s shoulders.
It’s about love.
Yes, love.
I love my girlfriends!
And half of you don’t even read my blog.
But I love you anyway!

In the past month, I have been reminded of how much I love my friends and how much I miss them. I flew to Phoenix to celebrate a friend’s 50thbirthday. We lounge by the pool, we hike the hills, we talk about life and love and baseball and music and gun control. We make a sport out of eating and drinking (Damn…these girls can drink!). We have more fun in one week than most people do in a year. Michelle, Kate, Lauren, Chris, Carissa, Tracy…I love you guys!

Last weekend I flew to Cincinnati to attend the wedding of my BFF’s middle son. We laughed and danced and cried and celebrated until our bodies ached (mine still aches). I love you Leslie!

Good friends enrich your life in a way that nothing else does.
If you feel like you’re lacking in the friendship department, then I urge you to make finding a few good friends a real priority in your life.
You’ll be glad you did.

Cheers to good friends!

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You’re A Peach

Don’t you just love it when people tell you not to take criticism personally? Or when they say that rejection is just the universe pointing you in a different direction? Or when they point out that other people’s judgements and opinions of you have nothing to do with YOU personally and everything to do with their own opinions projected onto you?

Don’t you just want to slap those people in the face when they say things like that?

Yeah. Me too.

Because, of course, “intellectually” and rationally you know that other people’s opinions of you don’t really matter and have nothing to do with you. But feelings aren’t always logical or rational, are they?

It certainly does feel personal when it’s happening to YOU.
Rejection stings.
Criticism hurts.
And other people’s negative opinions of you can most definitely make you feel like you are being personally attacked.

When you feel like you’re under attack, it’s not easy to step back from the hurt feelings and remember that other people’s opinions of you are none of your business. Your opinion of you is the only one that matters.

[So, here I go, about to be that person you’re gonna want to slap in the face!]

I’m going to share with you an easy tool you can use to quickly recover from other people’s negative opinions of you, and help take the sting out of feeling personally attacked.

First of all, you must realize that you have no control over other people’s opinions of you. You think you do, but you don’t. And I’m sure that you (like most of us) have probably spent a large portion of your life trying to sway other’s opinions of you.
You dress up nicely every morning choosing your wardrobe carefully to “dress to impress” others.
You make sure you are kind, good-mannered, and considerate of everyone’s feelings so as not to upset or inconvenience anyone.
You make damn sure you raise your kids to have good manners and behave in public.
You do your best, strive for good grades, work hard, become an expert in your field so that others will like you, praise you, and validate you.
You think that by trying to impress others, that somehow you are influencing other people’s opinions of you.
I promise you that you are not!
Because other people base their opinions on their own thoughts and beliefs (just like you do).

You could be the nicest, kindest, best dressed, most successful, most amazing person…and somebody is going to have a negative opinion about you. More than one somebody, I guarantee it.

You could be the juiciest peach on the tree and there will always be somebody out there who hates peaches.

That’s my friend Brooke, by the way.
She hates peaches. Truly hates them. She hates the way they look, the way they feel (“Fruit shouldn’t have hair on it?”), the way they smell, and the way they taste (“Ugh…they’re so slimy and stringy!”). Every summer I think I’m going to change her mind with an offer of “the best peach”, but she’s just not having it. I’ve tried to get her to taste a peach pie or a peach cobbler and she gags with disgust (“Who would want WARM peaches? That’s just gross!”)

Now, some of you absolutely love peaches. Every variety. You don’t even care if they’re in-season. You don’t care if they’re bruised or imperfect. It doesn’t matter what recipe you put a peach into, you are going to love it.

But here’s the thing. If you know that you are the sweetest and juiciest peach on the tree, and some people are just never going to like peaches…do you see how this might be kind of life-changing when it comes to other people’s opinions?

Once you know and accept this? Well my friends…that’s freedom.
I have accepted long ago that there are always going to be people who just don’t like me…no matter how hard I try to please them.
Accepting this fact is so liberating.
There is such freedom in simply being myself.

You are the peach, my love.
Some people are gonna love peaches.
Some people are gonna hate peaches.
It doesn’t matter to the peach.
The peach doesn’t stop being a peach because it’s afraid someone doesn’t like peaches.

Just be the peach you were born to be and welcome, with open arms, all those peach-loving people who are drawn to your juiciness!
Those are your people.

​​​​​​​G.

It Sucks. Let It Go.

I know you’re familiar with the concept of growing pains—that fear, anxiety, and discomfort you feel when you push yourself beyond your comfort zone.

But there’s also a discomfort that comes from hindered growth. I don’t think there’s a name for this kind of “anti-growing pain”, at least not in the English language, but there should be.

Let’s just call it Stagnation Pains.

You know what I’m talking about, right?

It’s that feeling of knowing something in your life really sucks, but you just don’t want to let it go because you’ve invested so much time, or money, or {fill in the blank}.

That friendship you’ve had for decades…but let’s be honest, you guys have nothing in common anymore and you don’t even enjoy each other’s company.

That job you’ve been working at for so long that you could literally do blind-folded, half asleep and with one hand tied behind your back.

That lover who’s clearly lost the love and all that remains is the “Rrrrrr”.

That article or blog or book you’ve been writing that not even YOU want to read.

That expensive outfit that you NEVER wear.

It’s time to let it go.

Every time I try to hang-on to something I know I need to let go of…it starts to hurt.
It hinders my growth.
I can feel the stagnation pains.

Sometimes we just need to let it go. Say good-bye. Start over.

That book sucks and you know it. Throw it away.

That relationship is stale and reached its expiration date—either decide to work on it and resolve the issues or move on.

That outfit has never looked good on you and you know it. Give it away or donate it to someone who will love it. Just let it go. Right now.

You haven’t been challenged, satisfied, or happy with your career for a while now. Put a plan in place and try something new.

There are things we can work on and fix, and there are things that aren’t meant to be fixed.
It’s not a mystery which is which.
You know.
You absolutely know.
Now, Let. It. Go.

Onward Brave Ones…
Gina

It’s None of Your Business

I’m sorry, but you can’t know what is best for someone else.
You might think you know, but you don’t.

You might think you have all the answers for how they should live their life, but you don’t.
Presuming you know what’s best for someone else is nothing short of arrogant.

You might think they should stop drinking or over-eating.
You might think they should spend less time watching TV or playing video games.
You might think they should breakup with that jackass boyfriend or quit that worthless low-paying job.
You might think they should have a more organized desk or load the dishwasher “better”.

You tell yourself you’re doing them a favor.
You tell yourself that you’re only trying to help them because you think you know better.

Guess what?
You don’t.

You have enough work to do in your own life.
What do YOU want to be better at doing?
Focus on that.

Your judgment of others is hurting you more than you know.
It’s making you angry.
It’s making you resentful.
It’s making you crazy and stressed-out because you can’t control them, or improve them, or save them.

You convince yourself that your actions are only out of love, but judgment isn’t love. Trying to control isn’t love.

Byron Katie says:
“There are three kinds of business in this world:
My business. Your business. God’s business.”

So much of your stress comes from being outside of your own business.
When you’re thinking “She should get a better job”, or “He should wake up earlier’, or “They need to take better care of themselves”, you are stepping outside of your own business.
When you are worried about earthquakes, floods, war, or when death is gonna come knocking on your door, you are stepping into God’s business.
When you give uninvited advice, either out loud or silently, you are out of your own business.

If you start to feel the urge to tell someone what they “should” be doing, I want you to mentally ask yourself: “Whose business am I in right now?”
Then, instead of offering your advice or your opinions on what you think is best for them, simply offer your support and encouragement. That’s love!

I know. It’s hard. But I’m sorry…you just don’t know what kind of struggles another person is meant to have, or what kind of mistakes they need to learn from, or how many setbacks and failures they are meant to overcome. You don’t know what dragons and demons they are destined to slay in order to become the hero of their own life.
You can’t possibly know.
To think that you know is the ultimate form of hubris.

Your journey is not their journey.
Their journey is not your journey.
You don’t have their answers.
You only have YOUR answers.
Get to work on those.
​​​​​​​
(…and if you need support and encouragement… I’m here for you. With love.)

Gina

Selfish! Selfish! Selfish!

Hey. We need to talk.

It’s Sunday and I feel a sermon brewin’!

We need to talk about your guilty conscience.

This past week I have been coaching and teaching non-stop. I’ve had several people tell me they feel guilty about doing things they truly enjoy doing. This has been such a recurring theme in my coaching sessions this past week that I feel compelled to address this topic right here and now.

Get ready…I’m about to get my preach on.

Do you feel guilty/selfish if you take a few hours away from your family or partner to do something they don’t want to do?

Do you feel guilty/selfish pampering yourself at the salon every few weeks or treating yourself to a mani/pedi, massage, or a new hair-do?

Do you feel guilty/selfish buying yourself a new outfit that you totally don’t need but makes you feel beautiful & confident?

Do you feel guilty/selfish wanting to be alone regularly to read your books or go for a hike or see a movie or do whatever you want to do to recharge your batteries?

Do you often feel as if your wants, needs and desires are selfish?

No. No. No. It’s not selfish.

I once heard that in Mandarin Chinese, there are two separate words for “SELFISH”. One means “doing that which is nourishing to you; something beneficial to you.” The other one means “greedy, hoarding, and cruel; something that benefits you at the expense of others.”

Unfortunately, we rarely make this distinction.
For some reason, we have conflated both these concepts. We have subscribed to the belief that anything we do that is beneficial and nourishing to our own body/mind/spirit must therefore mean that we are in some way being stingy, greedy, and cruel to others.

That is just simply not true.
To put it more bluntly: I call BULLSHIT.

Just take, for example, the “Oxygen Mask” rule.
There’s a good reason why the flight attendant instructs you to put your own oxygen mask on FIRST, before assisting others with theirs.
It’s not because you should only care about your own ability to breathe! It’s not because we only care about saving ourselves. It’s for the safety of you and everyone around you. It is imperative that you make sure you are alive and well so that you’re capable of helping others.

But we forget this very important rule when it comes to how we live our lives every day. We forget to take time to fill our own cups, replenish our depleted energy, and nourish our mind/body/spirit so that we are capable of nurturing and giving all we can to those we love.

I will admit this was not always an easy thing for me either. It is in my nature to be nurturing. That’s probably why I profoundly enjoy life-coaching and helping others with their personal and professional struggles.

But I know, from many years of feeling utterly depleted, that the people around me (my family, my friends, my co-workers, my clients) benefit most from me when my own needs are being met.

Besides, you can’t give away what you don’t have.
When your cup is empty, you have nothing to give.
It’s only when your cup is full that you have enough to share with the world.
When you nurture yourself first, you’ll have more energy, more positivity, more love, and more joy available to serve up to others.

Fill your cup, and the world will benefit from your over-flow.

I hope you start to find more ways—ON THE DAILY—to put the oxygen mask on yourself first.
Make time for your passions, explore the things that delight your soul, rest and rejuvenate yourself.
You, and the people around you, will be better off for it!

And if those feelings of selfishness start to creep into your mind, just remember that the people around you deserve to get the most vibrant, passionate, and delightful “YOU” that you can give.

Now go spread the word.
Peace be with you!

​​​​​​​Gina

Ah-Ha Moments

Happy Friday Y’all!

What a whirlwind January this has been so far.

I’ve been slowly recovering from a repetitive strain injury which resulted in a pretty severe case of “tennis elbow”. For over a month now, I’ve been trying not to use my right (dominant) hand and arm…which has been quite a challenge! I think I’ve brushed my hair a total of four times this entire month.

Right now, I’m even using the “voice command” microphone on my computer to dictate this newsletter, to avoid putting any undue stress on my forearm by typing. Gotta love technology!!

This injury has definitely forced me to slow down in a big way. Physical injuries and other health limitations are a good reminder that we need to have patience with ourselves and our body’s ability to heal. It’s a great time to focus on self-love, self-care, and self-compassion…allowing the healing process to take as long as it needs to take. It’s also important to be grateful for the love and support of others as we rely on those around us for help in so many big and small ways.

Luckily, I don’t need my right arm to coach and teach and facilitate workshops. In this past week alone, I have worked with nearly twenty-five different people who are struggling with issues ranging from injuries and age-related limitations (oh, how I can relate to this one right now) to mindset & confidence hurdles, to setting healthy boundaries, to strategizing major life goals.

My clients are bringing their struggles—large and small—to our sessions and they are having incredible breakthroughs.

Here’s what one person said to me this week:

“Thank you for creating such a safe and open space for me to explore my fears. I don’t feel so alone in my struggle anymore. I’m feeling inspired to make a move forward.”

Here’s what another student wrote to me after taking one of my workshops:

“I’ve been hearing about your classes from many people. I’m so glad I decided to show up. This class was full of very useful content. I liked how you used compassion and humor to get straight to the core of the issues we all struggle with.”

WOW…I just love that my clients are having all these “Ah-ha” moments and major breakthroughs!

Yes, it’s been a tough couple of weeks for me physically, but my clients and students are so brave and so willing to “go there”–to show up and be honest and be vulnerable–it truly is inspiring to ME!
Plus, these testimonials and notes of praise sure do make me feel better…almost makes me forget about the fact that I can barely move my elbow!

I hope you are well! Have a wonderful weekend!

Gina

P.S. Are you ready to move from DREAMING to DOING? Let’s get started. I still have spots left for private coaching this month, as well as some additional ways we can work together. Check it out here.

Want Coaching with Me in 2018?

Happy New Year Precious Peeps!

I’m excited to hear all about what YOU want to see happen in 2018.

What do you want more of in your life?
What do you want less of in your life?
What are you craving, desiring, and yearning for?

Do you have a plan in place to make these things happen?
Do you have a partner to support you, encourage you, hold you accountable, and give you a swift (but very loving) kick-in-the-pants to keep you on track and moving forward when the inevitable obstacles trip you up?

I want this to be YOUR year! And I’m here to help you make these goals a reality.

If you want 1:1 coaching with me in 2018, now is your chance.

I am accepting FOUR 1:1 coaching clients starting in January 2018.

You can contact me HERE to schedule a FREE STRATEGY SESSION. We will discuss your goals, what your biggest obstacles are, and create a plan to make it happen in 2018!

Most people contact me when they need help:
*Thinking things through and getting clear on their goals
*Figuring out a plan and overall strategy for success
*Handling interpersonal dynamics and “people drama”
*Setting healthy boundaries
*Finding deeper meaning and purpose
*Overcoming roadblocks and obstacles
*Breaking down challenges into easy doable steps
*Developing a positive mindset and self-confidence
*Creating a healthy work/life balance

This year I am expanding my coaching programs to accommodate more affordable coaching options. Now there are lots of different customized ways you and I can work together to meet your specific needs—depending on your goals, your timeline, and your budget.

Also, if you are local to coastal South Carolina, check out the Coastal Carolina University spring catalog to take one of my classes starting in January and running through March. I look forward to seeing many of you again this year!

If your goals this January are the same ones from last year—or the year before that, or the decade before that—then it’s time to recognize that you could benefit greatly from the support and assistance of a professional life/career coach.

Let’s start writing your success story this year!
IT’S GO-TIME!

Gina

P.S. I am in the process of updating my website to showcase the variety of different ways we can work together. In the meantime, contact me via email at gina@ginamontori.com for details.

Holiday Reminder

Happy Holidays!

Tis the season to be stressed out, Fa-La-La-La-La,
La-La-La-La.

Do you tend to feel existentially insane this time of year?
If so, you’re not alone.
The holidays can bring up a whole lot of shit for a lot of people.

Here are just a few of the things that make us cray-cray this time of year, according to what some people have shared with me recently:

Feelings of sadness for the loved ones we are missing or who are no longer with us.
Feelings of stress about the gazillions of things on our to-do lists: parties, shopping, cooking, decorating, travel, wrapping, etc.
Feelings of frustration over not having enough money to buy the “right” gifts or being able to participate in all the gift-exchanges and “Secret Santa” parties.
Feeling inadequate because you don’t have the perfect outfit/shoes/date/holiday dishes for the gatherings you’re attending or that you insisted on hosting.
The list of holiday stresses goes on and on…

I can’t believe how many people tell me they dread the holidays for all these reasons and more.

Here’s what I want you to remember this month: You get to decide what kind of holiday you want to have.

You decide how you want to feel and who you want to spend time with.

You get to decide if you’re going to spend money you don’t have on people you don’t love in order to buy a bunch of crap you know they don’t need.

You get to decide if this is the year you scrap the Christmas tree and all the house trimmings and enjoy a couple of beautiful poinsettias on the fireplace mantle instead. (That’s what I did this year!)

You decide the kind of experiences you want to have.
You decide how much time, effort, and money you want to spend.
You decide who you want to share your time and money with.
You decide what events or parties you will participate in.
You decide if and when to travel.
You get to decide whether you spend your holidays at home relaxing and curled up with a good book by a roaring fire, or whether you’re going to go to every party in town and drink champagne until 3am.

I want your holidays to be the best ever.
I want you to love this month and this holiday season as much as you love every other month and every other holiday.
And that really comes down to YOU deciding what you want and creating that for yourself.

It’s always YOUR decision.

The best holiday I ever had was the year I decided that hurry and stress and overwhelm were no longer going to be a part of my life. It started one December and it carried over into every other month and every other holiday.

People don’t believe me when I say I feel zero stress around the holidays. But it’s totally true. Because I designed it that way.

Let this be the year YOU decided that hurry and stress and overwhelm will no longer be a part of your life too.
It will be the best gift you ever gave to yourself and your family!

Wishing you Love, Peace and Happiness this Holiday Season!

Gina

P.S. In keeping with this philosophy, I will be taking the rest of December off to enjoy a few weeks of rest and relaxation before my teaching schedule resumes in January. See you next year!

Rejection

Rejection is a bitch.
It makes you doubt your value.
It makes you feel worthless and unappreciated and unwanted and unloved.
It rips at the delicate threads that hold your already fragile self-esteem intact.

Most of us are so freaking worried about rejection that we would rather curl-up-and-die than experience even the possibility of being dismissed or over-looked or turned-away by another person.

But why?

Why do we let rejection do this to us?
Why do we take it so personally?
Why do we make it mean “there must be something wrong with ME?”

I learned a great trick from an even greater coach years ago that helped me turn the concept of rejection completely on its head. It helped me take the sting out of it, and allowed me to see rejection in a whole new light.

I want you to imagine that tomorrow you are going to be handing out several $100 bills to different people. Are you going to be worried that any of them will say no to the offer? Will you feel badly about yourself if someone declines?

Probably not.

Why do you think that is?

Because you know that what you are offering to them is valuable. And if they don’t want it, then someone else will be happy to have it.

Maybe they don’t need the money. Maybe they would rather you give it to someone else. Maybe they just don’t want any part of your stinking money. Whatever the reason, you know it’s their loss and someone else’s gain.

And you know what?

Aren’t you at least as valuable as $100?
Yes. You absolutely are.

Have a great weekend!
Gina

Follow Your Heart Light

Have you ever been offered something that sounds really good, but makes you feel really bad?

For example, you’ve just been offered a job you don’t necessarily want but the money/prestige/power are so enticing that you talk yourself into it anyway, knowing full well it will make you feel as miserable and empty as King Midas (surrounded by gold but lacking the true joy that comes from going after your real life’s purpose).

Have you ever gotten closer and closer to leaving a dysfunctional friendship or intimate relationship, only to get pulled back into it with empty promises of change or the lure of expensive jewelry/vacations/rent/shoes etc.—knowing all along that the whole thing feels wrong and icky?

Well, I certainly have.
More times than I’d like to admit.

There are moments in everyone’s life (everyone who’s paying attention to their life, that is) when we start to feel the pressure of this temptation. This awful temptation that sounds good in the moment, but deep down we know it’s not the right thing for us.

This is the siren of your life calling to you.
Listen to this siren when you hear it.
Ignoring it will always lead to regret.
And regret is a dream killer and a soul-crusher.

My message to you could not be more simple:

If you sense freedom, love, and joy are pulling you in a given direction, then you must go that way no matter what the rest of the world is offering to you.

Your ego will want to cling to life-long security (it doesn’t exist), or your parent’s approval (will never be enough), or social norms (disintegrating all around us).

Your heart is the only compass you will ever need.
Follow it.
Resist anything that looks reeeeally good but feels reeeeally bad.

Be brave enough to turn away from the shiny objects, and turn toward the light in your heart that makes them shine.

Forward March,

Gina

NOTE: Interested in working with me? Send me a brief message and let me know what you are struggling with. All consultations are free! Email Gina@GinaMontori.com