How To Stop Making Excuses & Get your Power Back →

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Have you ever wanted something so much in life you could almost taste it? But the excuses bombarded your mojo and actually stopped you in your tracks from taking any action toward it? If so, I understand.

Going after what we really want in life can be scary as hell. Our minds can quickly come up with a million excuses for why pursuing our dreams is not only far-fetched, but also not a good idea.

If I were to take a guess, I imagine you have several excuses up your sleeve right now. They’re probably really good at trying to convince you of all the reasons you supposedly can’t create what you want in life. They may even go as far as to tell you, “They’re just dreams, they’ll never be a reality.”

I’m going to call “bullshit” on those excuses. I firmly believe that if you can dream it, you can do it!

I want to share a little secret with you that I’ve learned over the years: it’s all about how to stop treating fears like they’re your truth. Instead, use them as a tool to keep the excitement about your dreams alive within you. You can go even further and use them as a bit of inspiration to take action, so stay with me.

Maybe this sounds familiar, “I don’t know where to start. It’s going to take forever. I’m not qualified. What if it doesn’t work out and I fail?”

If you’ve had these thoughts or anything similar, you’re not alone. But here’s what to do: change the channel. From FearFX to EmpowerMS. (yes, the MS stands for myself.) The more you tune in to what excites you, the more you empower yourself to create what lights you up.

It takes just as much time and energy to take action on your dreams as it does toward your excuses.

Just like anything else, the more you give energy to something, the more life it has and it naturally grows bigger. This is the basics in the power of focus. So if you want to take risks and actually do more of what you love, you’re going to need to get comfortable moving through your excuses, because they’ll inevitably show up.

Let’s just dive right in. Write down one of your biggest excuses in life. The words you hear yourself think or even say out loud on a regular basis when it comes to WHY you can’t do something you really desire.

Next, ask yourself what excitement would be brewing inside of you and trying to rise to the surface if you weren’t scared. Hint: the excitement is underneath the fear …

Last, how could you turn that excitement into an empowering statement?

For example:

1. Excuse: “I’ll probably just fail and it won’t work out.” Take a moment really breathe through it, feel the fear in your belly and wherever else it shows up in your body. Now ask, “What excitement is trying to rise to the surface?”

2. Excitement: “The possibility of being authentically happy, doing what I love, excites me beyond belief.”

3. New empowering statement: “I am authentically pursuing my passions and successfully doing what I love.”

BAM! Now we’re talking. Can you feel that? The excitement and joy you feel as the possibilities brews inside you? This is what we call inspiration, and this can be your new source for taking action.

So lean into that inspiration; I encourage you to write down three steps you could take with that excitement leading the way.

Come up with a new statement you can affirm to yourself when those old stories of fear and excuses attempt to creep back in. Remind them that you’re changing and you’re not into feeding energy toward those old excuses anymore. Over time those excuses will naturally dissipate and your new way of being will come into fruition.

You are enough. Exactly as you are right now, in this moment to do what you love. You have what it takes inside you to live your dreams. Trust that.

As a matter of fact, a great affirmation is “I trust myself and I trust the process.” Now you have put the power in your hands and boosted your confidence.

So here’s a virtual cheers to having a different conversation with our excuses. One that empowers us and helps us realize just how incredible it can be to move through the fear and taste the sweet rewards of what makes us who we are.


IT’S TIME TO DROP THE STORIES THAT ARE HOLDING YOU BACK →

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I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been there.

You have every intention in the world of going after what you want with gusto, yet before you know it, your stories filled with doubt stop you dead in your tracks.

It’s time to let go of those energy vampires once and for all. Free up your energy for more passion and fun.

I can only say this now because I’ve been there.

I recently let go of a story that had been lingering inside me for a while, and I have to say—it was a huge relief.

It started when my mom was admitted to the hospital for an acute asthma attack, which was scary for several reasons. For one, I never want to see my parents sick, let alone having an incredibly hard time breathing. Not to mention my paralyzing fear around hospitals.

I was never afraid of needles or blood, or anything close to that. It was the life experiences I had in hospitals when I was younger.  I had seen my older brother go through countless surgeries in his early twenties and watched him nearly die. He was my hero, so watching those events were traumatic and seared a scar into any memory pertaining to hospitals.

I would feel a slight (often not so slight) panic in my chest any time I walked through the doors of that sterile environment. The smell alone would immediately make me nauseous. All of my memories and fears would quickly wash over me.

I tried whipping out every tool, affirmation, meditation, and breathing technique my brain could remember in attempts to bring me into the present moment. Sometimes it worked, but most often it didn’t.

Fast forward to the present moment. Here I am about to walk into the hospital after my mom has been rushed in by ambulance for her serious lack of oxygen. Normally this would lead to the ultimate panic attack with my track record, but instead I told myself, “It’s not going to go down that way. Not this time.”

I had a choice —I could freak out and entertain all that had happened in the past, and all the scary things that could happen in the future if my mom’s health didn’t improve. I could give life to the stories of, “What if this is more serious than asthma?” or, “What if I’m not here and something happens to her?” Instead, I chose to drop the stories all together, take a deep breathe and experience relief within myself and connection with my mom. I wanted to make the most out of every moment with her right now.

Of course those sneaky, devilish stories tried to creep back in during that week. They were full of ‘what ifs’. “What if she doesn’t get better? What if this leads to something more serious, and the nurses don’t get to her in time? What if they misdiagnose her and she gets worse? Then what?” These thoughts shook me to my core. I didn’t want to feel that way, I wanted to be strong, and more importantly, I wanted to be present for my mom.

In that moment, I realized the only reason I was upset, short of breath and about to freak out, was because of the story I was telling myself.

Those stories took me away from paying attention to what’s happening right now. My mom is healthy in her hospital bed, with wonderful doctors helping her. She has all the help she could ever really need. She is surrounded by people she loves, and breathing like a champ. Heck, she even smiled while doing her breathing treatments and asked when the next episode of The Voice was going to come on. Sigh–gotta love the small comical moments in the midst of chaos.

So I did just that—I let go of the stories, and let me tell you—what a game changer that was! It was one big sigh of relief, while being surprisingly energizing. I realized just how powerful it was to let go of the s#!% that was weighing me down.

I drank that in for minute—ahh the beautiful power of our imagination—it can create worlds. Or it can construct a serious case of worries and quickly put our panties in a bunch. We get to choose, which is actually quite liberating.

Later that night, I thought of all the stories I dropped over the years, and all the freedom I experienced as a result. The fears of never finding love, of being that girl who dreams too big, or the woman who shouldn’t possibly start a business during a recession. I dropped all those stories. Every. Single. One.

What happened as a result? Freedom in every sense of the word. I started living fully—every inch of my life with a renewed sense of confidence. I took more risks and showed myself what I was made of. I found love, opened the business, and fell in love with my dreams. I got comfortable with being uncomfortable as I moved through fear. Which eventually made it not so daunting.

Everyone of us can write a new story in any given moment. We can create a new ending and a different beginning. It all starts with the choice to focus on what we want and ditch the ‘what ifs’.

Let’s do it together—drop the stories and pick up freedom. (Tweet-worthy!)

What stories could you drop that don’t serve you anymore? Let me know in the comments below!

Love,

Ashley


WEEK 1: I FEEL JOY WHEN

It’s time.

You have been working hard at a job you don’t love for long enough. You want to kick the doldrums you experience from 9 to 5 (or 6 or 7 or 8) every week to the curb once and for all.

You wish you could pour your passions into something meaningful. Is it even possible to experience joy on a regular basis? You’re not so sure anymore, but I’m here to tell you that it is. Taking a big leap in life can be both scary and exciting, especially when you’re not fully clear what the next steps are. This is where your happy hour is about to take on a new meaning.

I’m inviting you to join me every week and, over the course of the upcoming months, I am going to help you create a career you love. Here’s how it works: Each week, I will give you one simple exercise to do directly on your cocktail napkin when you’re at happy hour. We are going to transform happy hour into an actual effective tool to help you re-discover your happiness!

I am going to invite you to get incredibly honest and clear about what you in want in life. The good news? It’s going to revolve around your passions. I will ask you targeted questions each week that will inspire you to take action and create the radical changes you so desperately desire.

So have a seat, whip out a pen, don’t put your cocktail down on that napkin just yet and get ready to discover your next LEAP.Subscribe

 

Your First Exercise:

We are going to start this journey on a simple and joyful note. I want to know what makes you feel good. What lights you up in life and makes you smile? What really makes you come alive?

If you’re wondering why this is important, clarity is king. It’s going to help you take baby steps toward understanding what you want. As you understand what naturally brings you joy, your passions will rise to the surface.

If it’s been a while since you felt joy, that’s okay. Take a deep breath and ask yourself, “when was the last time I felt joy?” Try to not over think it – whatever answer comes up, I encourage you to write it down.

Fill in the blank on your cocktail napkin: I feel joy when ____.

Bottoms Up! – Ash

CLICK HERE to Get Happy Hour every week! 


What My Brothers Death Taught Me About Grief →

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It’s an experience we are pretty much guaranteed in life. Yet when it hits us, it can feel like we were just bulldozed by an avalanche, wondering if we’ll ever breathe again. The world as we know it seems to stop, and the crumbling inside our hearts can feel paralyzing.

I can only write this to you now, because I’ve been there. I want to share with you a few things that were incredibly helpful to me in the process.

My oldest brother passed away four years ago. The news hit me in a way that is somewhat indescribable. He was and still is one of my best friends and one of the greatest heroes in my life.

I didn’t write about it for a long time because in all honesty, I didn’t want sympathy. I wanted to be alone in my pain and stay connected to my brother in any and all ways possible. The opinions and, “Oh my gosh I can’t imagine” moments were not all that welcome out of what seemed like self-preservation.

I was enraged, overwhelmed with sadness, lost, worried about my parents, lonely, mad that I wouldn’t see him again, relieved he returned to love, then angry and sad again. This roller coaster of emotions continued for a long time. I was confused often. I desperately wanted to ‘figure it out’ and understand the great meaning so that somehow I could experience peace and love in my own heart again.

As time passed I realized there is actually so much beauty in grief. It helps us realize just how enormous our love can be. Which is ultimately why it can hurt so intensely to say goodbye to that person in the form that we knew them.

Eventually, I opened up and spoke very, very honestly about it. I began to realize that if I trust everything happens for a reason, death is not excluded from that. While it was painful to lose my brother in his physical form, there are countless miracles that have happened since his passing.

I now see that it was simply time for his spirit to move on from the body he was in. His spirit is still very much alive, to this day, and I experience evidence of that regularly. The key is for me to stay open to see it.

This inner-knowing brought a different kind of peace and understanding than I had ever experienced in life.

So why am I sharing this?

To let you know you’re not alone. Grief is a different and unique journey for everyone. We all deal with it the best way we know how in the moment. And it is a moment to moment process of healing.

I am not claiming in any way to be an expert on grief, I simply want to share some things that helped me during that challenging time,with hopes it may be helpful to you.

1. Forgiveness: for the situation, the person, the things not said, the moments you wish you had, the ones you wish you could get back. Forgive.

2. When I was ready, choosing to focus on the love shared rather than the current pain.

3. Realizing and trusting that this too shall pass, while also trusting it’s happening for a reason.

4. Being open and honest about where I was emotionally rather than trying to hide it. Expressing my needs to my loved ones, letting them know the times that I simply needed alone time.

5. Asking for help from the people I trust and love, while allowing myself to receive it.

6. Giving myself the time and space to feel and heal the way I uniquely need to.

7. Expressing gratitude for the gifts I received, for having my brother as a part of my life for as long as I did, celebrating our endless memories. While realizing that his spirit is forever with me, as long as I stay open to experiencing it. I also wrote down all of the incredible memories we had together, which was so healing.

8. Then eventually focusing on what I love and doing more of that everyday.

I write this open letter with so much love in my heart to you reading this right now.


Charlie

GUILT FREE COCKTAIL

You are ready to declare it out loud. “No more should bombs!” It’s time to stop making decisions based on guilt, pressure and, well, “shoulds.” You’re ready to start doing what you actually want to do more often and leave the guilt behind.

So let’s do this, shall we?

It’s time to get comfortable saying no to convenience, so you can say a bigger YES to what you really want!

If you don’t want to go that party, dinner, spin class or work engagement, just say no. The world wont crumble, I promise. Perhaps you’re afraid of what they’ll think of you and that you may be judged or left out the next go around.

SubscribeI have news, love. You’re entertaining fears. You can’t control what someone else does or thinks, and those fears don’t help you get any closer to experiencing what you want. So drop the guilt and pick up the Empowered No, which is always followed by a more joy-filled YES!

When you free up space in your life by saying no to things that honestly feel like draining, guilt-ridden obligations, you open up room – literally time and space – to say yes to the opportunities that are exciting and exhilarating. Also known as, creating more of what you want.

I know it can be uncomfortable at first, especially if you have a people-pleasing bone in your body. So, my suggestion is to breathe through it. Realize that the discomfort will pass and as you make these changes, you will appreciate yourself on a whole new level for making your needs and well-being a priority.

BOTTOMS UP: For one week, only say yes to opportunities you actually WANT to do. No should bombs included.

CLICK HERE  To Get Happy Hour Every Week 


Charlie

YOUR TRUSTY COCKTAIL

Let’s be real. Doubt uses up a lot of energy.

We can easily get caught up in all the “what ifs” of life which tends to create anxiety about potential future events.

Let’s stop the Future Tripping right now. And start sipping on a new kind of cocktail filled with what we appreciate about our life at present. 
Trust your life as it is right now.

Stay with me. I bet there are many, many things you trust in your life right now. The love for your family, the love for your dog and your friends. Perhaps you trust that you will enjoy your cup of coffee, or that laughter brightens your days. Maybe you trust that life will change daily, new opportunities will arrive, that the money will come, that Subscribe_Yelloweverything happens for a reason.

Settle into your trust, in this moment.

Why?

Trust helps you pleasantly land in the present moment and gently encourages you to let go of the spinning mind full of doubt, fear and worry. As you lean into your trust, you create a deeper sense of appreciation for what’s already present in your life. You feel a deeper connection to yourself and your source as you slip into a state of both surrender and allowance. It helps you remember all of the abundance you already have in life and that the universe has your back.

To be short, trust helps you remember how much you already have and that nothing is lacking.

BOTTOMS UP: Write down anything and everything you trust in your life right now.

CLICK HERE  to Get Happy Hour Every Week 


Charlie

DEATH BY CUBICLE

It’s 10am and you’re already wondering when this dreadful workday is going to wrap up so you can feel an ounce of relief and sanity again. The cubicle seems to be swallowing your passion for life and you want to break out of there like an inmate. You took the job because, quite frankly, it pays the bills.

Only now you find yourself day dreaming of working from home, long leisurely lunches and FREEDOM. You realize that your misery is not only affecting your work, but you’ve become pessimistic and you’re taking it out on the ones you love.Subscribe_Yellow

It’s time to press the refresh button. Sometimes the risk is worth the fear of the unknown that comes along with it.

Take out a pen and paper, write out what you enjoy about your current job…anything and everything. (Note: Nothing is too small for thankfulness.) This is a great start. You’ve made a shift from lack to appreciation.

Next, use your imagination and think of your ideal work situation. Where would you spend your days working? Who would you want to interact with on a daily basis? What talents and passions of yours would you be using and how would you be executing them? Write it all down.

Your next questions: What freedoms would you enjoy if this was your career? Would you travel more and create your own hours? Why is this important to you?

You may be teetering on happiness as you entertain all of the possibilities. Take a big deep breath. Freedom is calling your name and it wants you to take action.

BOTTOMS UP: Start implementing baby steps of the changes you wrote about above into your every day life. The more you do, you will experience inspiration to take the big leap and go after what you love.

CLICK HERE  to Get Happy Hour Every Week 


10 Things That Will Happen When You Start Pursuing Your Dreams →

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BY ASHLEY CEBULKA
MARCH 16, 2014 5:00 AM EDT

So you took the leap. You’re pursuing your passions and it’s a relatively new reality for you. Or perhaps you’re entertaining the idea, and your ball of nerves and upset stomach have held you back from jumping of the cliff and into uncertainty.

Let’s just get real and honest about a few things you can expect when you take the big risk to pursue your dreams.

1. You are going to be scared sh*tless, more than once.

Fear may be paralyzing at times, yet the desire and passion to do what you love has a stronger hold on you than fear ever could.

2. There are times you’re going to be uncertain.

And it may be really, really uncomfortable. It’s OK.

3. You’re going to get way out of your comfort zone.

This is a good thing, because you’re going to need to in order to grow and expand the way your purpose asks you to.

4. Doubt will inevitably creep in.

You’ll eventually learn to either laugh at it and yourself, or spend way too long entertaining it and making tons of meaning out of it when you could be chasing your dreams instead.

5. You’re going to piss some people off.

Not on purpose, of course — at least I hope not! Sometimes people around you are afraid of change, and they can certainly be intimated by happiness, so if they try to create drama or conflict, remember: you can’t control that and you don’t have get involved. The only thing you can control is how you react to it. Choose wisely.

6. You’re going to learn what you’re made of.

There will be times when you want to give up, when you question every decision you made that day. Eventually you’ll just decide to roll with it and know that it’s part of the process. This will end up being incredibly rewarding.

7. You will get comfortable asking others for help.

Because you’ll need to do it at some point along your journey.

8. There will come a day when you’ll want to stop taking risks and settle for something with more security.

You’ll ponder it, you really will, then quite quickly you’ll realize that living in your genius is far more rewarding than a false sense of security. There is no going back, because you’ve come this far and it’s simply time to just keep going.

9. You will feel vulnerable.

You’ll feel like you don’t know if you’re ready to share your art with the world yet. Because it’s scary and so close to your heart, you almost believe it, or maybe it’s simply you aren’t ready for it to be judged. This is normal.

10. There will be a day when you’re as happy as a kid who just discovered their first jump house, all smiles and laughter.

In this moment, you’ll wonder, “Why the hell did I wait so long? I’ve never felt more alive in my entire life. The ups and downs are just part of this crazy ride, and man, am I glad I didn’t quit last week.”

At the end of the day, the risk is always worth it. So have fun as you jump off the cliff and enjoy the ride for what it is: a wild adventure.


Charlie

THE TIME WHISPERER

You’re a list person. Crossing things off your trusty to-do list gives you an immense amount of satisfaction. The only problem is you tend to pile it a mile high, full of what needs to be done today as if you drank a super human protein shake for breakfast.

While feeling the pressure to get it all done, you realize you don’t even know where to begin. So you distract yourself, with cleaning or checking your several different social media accounts. Now, an hour has passed and the to-do list pressure is lingering in your mind. You’re getting more anxious by the second.

Let’s stop the insanity right now.

First, understand that you are the creator of time.

Say what? You heard me. You have more than enough time in the day to do what’s really important to you.

Now it’s time to prioritize.

Have you ever noticed how you can make up a million excuses, time usually being one of them, as to why you can’t do something? Yet, if someone asks you go to see your favorite concert or if there’s a family emergency, you are there in a second. You MAKE time to make it happen.

The point is, often we are spending so much energy doing things we don’t really want to do. Then we waste energy and more time on creating excuses.

It starts with being honest with yourself.

What’s actually important to you and why? What can you do today that will add to the overall well being of your life and those around you?

This doesn’t mean you stop taking care of your responsibilities. Quite the contrary. You begin taking action based on what will feel good to experience and have fun doing it.

BOTTOMS UP: Write out a list of things you want to do and why it’s important for you to do them. Then giddy up! Start doing one at a time and have fun.

CLICK HERE to Get Happy Hour Each Week


Charlie

THE REAL DEAL WORKOUT

There seems to be a new workout craze every week. With great promise that it will be “the one” that changes the shape of your body forever.

So you dive in head first to the latest and greatest with promise to get your booty in tip-top shape. Yet every time you have to force yourself to go to class. You grin and bear it even though it feels awful because, hey, you’ll fit in your favorite jeans in no time!

Can we please debunk the myth that you have to kill yourself in a workout in order for it to be effective? Enough already.

Stop choosing workouts that feel like crap in hopes it will give you great rewards. Instead, start diving into forms of movement that actually feel good while you’re doing it. Believe it or not, this will create far greater rewards than the previous torture.

SubscribeLet’s break it down real quick.

Your body responds to joy. When you move your body in a way that feels great, you’re naturally more inspired to do it again. Your body shifts from anxious (and holding onto to fat) to relaxed and easeful.

Now, you’re in shape in a way that feels manageable and actually fun. You may even want to ask your friends to join in on this new revelation. It’s no longer about stressing yourself out to get a reward. Instead, you feel great throughout the whole process.

Now, we’re talkin’.

BOTTOMS UP: 
Try out new forms of movement until you find one or a couple of winners. You may find that walking and yoga work great for you. Or cycling, barre class, swimming, boxing, dancing, tennis, thai chi. Choose a form of movement that feels good while you’re doing it and enjoy the sweet rewards after!

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