Do you take care of others and have nothing left for you? Has life kicked you with a wallop or two and you wonder if you’re woman (or man) enough to get up and get going again?
Women juggle so much. We keep a mile-long list of must-dos; want to be there for everybody even when we can’t! Many women care for young children and aging parents at the same time. Women juggle pregnancy with job deadlines and soccer schedules. Mature women handle adult children who boomerang home following messy divorces, layoffs or post-bubble economic meltdowns. Parents are living into their 80s and 90s, and frequently daughters are their caregivers. These are awesome challenges. So what is a woman to do?
LIVE A BIG LIFE!
When I say BIG life, I mean the breadth, depth, and quality of your life; not the number of years you live or the number of material belongings you acquire. As someone who watched her husband battle pancreatic cancer at the young age of 57 and pass away at age 60, I know firsthand that your life can change in a heartbeat. Material belongings really don’t complete us as human beings. Don’t get me wrong as I love my beautiful home, going on wonderful vacations and enjoying lovely dinners with my friends. However, there is much more to life. There is more we can do to add depth and breadth to our life.
A BIG Life is supported by 5 Pillars: Career, Family, Financial, Spiritual, and Wellness. Career includes women who manage their households, caregivers and retirees. Family includes good friends, neighbors, and pets.
While these Pillars stand alone, they are interwoven. For example: Financial fitness keeps stress at bay thus impacting the Wellness Pillar. Career impacts the Financial Pillar which means you can maintain your home, take care of your family and support a local cause. When we are spiritually connected, we operate at a higher level and experience more meaningful relationships. Being connected to family is essential to a happy and healthy life. Taking care of our bodies and fueling them with the right foods or activity trigger the “happy” endorphins which stimulate creative thinking and help manage stress.
I’ve been a daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, career woman, wife and now, widow. I have learned that women need to lead themselves in each Pillar and as they do, they will become an inspiration to the people around them. They will become role models, mentors, and encouragers to those they love—their children, spouse, parents, friends and neighbors. These Pillars are rarely in balance. The idea is to give equal attention to each Pillar over time—such as a month or a year. When our Pillars are intact, our life feels balanced.
Here are some things you need to do to expand your BIG Life:
- Make time for yourself without GUILT!! Women are great at giving to and doing for others. And they do it really well. We must make time for ourselves or we will burn ourselves out. If you really love your family and friends, you will take care of yourself.
- Are you living a BUSY life instead of a BIG Life? All of us are very busy people—running errands, taking kids to their sports’ practices, going to parties, shopping, donating our time to a charity, working out at the gym and socializing. This seems to be especially true living in Las Vegas where there is so much to do and we have great weather.
Women get caught in the “hamster wheel” syndrome. Did you ever see a hamster run around their wheel? They run and run and think they are getting somewhere—and they are going nowhere. Do you ever feel like that? Well, we look like that sometimes. We run and run but aren’t getting anywhere or doing anything of significance.
“Living a BIG Life is not about a perfect life; it is about living the life that is right for you!”
- Put your Red Lipstick ON! I love wearing red lipstick and have worn it for many years. I just feel good when I put it on. But in 2007, when my husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, red lipstick became more than something I applied to my lips. It became my personal mantra to muster up every bit of courage and energy that I could. It was empowering. So now whenever I have a big project to tackle or feel overwhelmed, I tell myself, “Red Lipstick ON!” While you might never wear red lipstick, you can still say Red Lipstick ON! to yourself when you feel stressed, overwhelmed or need to gather extra energy.
- Choose wellness to support an energy-infused life. I think the Wellness Pillar is one of the most critical because it truly impacts the other 4 Pillars. If you don’t feel good or lack energy, you can’t enjoy family and friends. If you are tired or run down, you won’t feel like dealing with finances. You can become spiritually depleted and it will affect your career.
Each woman is destined for greatness and for the grand adventure to live a fearless, fully functional life! I hope that you will step out and be all you were meant to be.
Please pass this on to all the women in your life.
Wherever you are in life, whatever your age or marital status, Joan’s story will lift your spirit and motivate you to reach for your dreams despite any obstacle or barrier.