Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Being Your Best, Stunning Self

Blog by Tracy Butz

You can’t touch it, but you sure can feel it. It doesn’t have a color or shape, but it can alter how others perceive you. It’s not supposed to add to your physical beauty, but I’m certain it does. What am I referring to? Self-confidence.

Even though the physical qualities of external beauty tend to be important to many of us—like our glowing skin tone, muscular definition, firm and smooth skin, radiant hair, etc.— it’s important to remember that they do have somewhat of an expiration date. The heart of self-confidence is far more about being comfortable with who you are. These tips will not only help enhance your level of self-confidence, but they will also help you to look and be your best you. 
  1. Love and believe in yourself. Love all that you are—the good, bad and the ugly. None of your colleagues, friends or family members are perfect. None of them. So stop beating yourself up and looking for ways to “fix” you. Yes, self-improvement is important; but it’s that self-loathing inner voice that says you aren’t good enough that needs to be squelched. Believe in who you are, focus on your amazing qualities and own your short-comings. If you feel it would benefit you to enhance or improve a certain aspect, consider taking steps to do that. Choosing to build inner-strength through positive self-talk and prevent permitting the pessimism is sure to help loving who you see in the mirror.
  2. Smile every day…and more often each day. Just like wearing a pair of stiletto heels or an Armani suit may capture another person’s attention, sporting a genuine smile is not only free, but easy to do. If you tend to walk around looking solemn, turn that frown upside down. Rather than portray you’re closed off or disinterested, show off those pearly whites and accentuate your facial features and give them the opportunity to shine. Plus, frowning creates wrinkles—and none of us need more of them!
  3. Be prepared. I feel far more confident when I am prepared versus anxious and uncertain when I’m not. Whether it is regarding a professional task or a personal one, being well prepared is never a bad choice. Learn everything you can about the subject matter for the task at-hand. Practice the steps to hone your skill and soon your competency will grow. Preparation allows you to move through unforeseen difficulties far easier and with more success. As my husband frequently says, “Preparation is where planning meets opportunity.” How true that statement is.
  4. Speak clearly and concisely. Communicate your words succinctly and in a way in which is easily understood. Avoid long drawn-out explanations as they tend to confuse listeners. Less words are usually better than more, as long as it doesn’t change the meaning. Choose words using the right context and meaning and do your best to stay clear of “ums” and “ahs,” which are prime filler words that interrupt flow. Instead, speak with a steady, rhythmic tone, using pauses to emphasize key points. Help others want to listen to you over giving them a reason not to.
  5. Take good physical care of yourself. When you are aware of your body's needs and make time to meet those needs, feelings of happiness and strong self-confidence often follow. When you're feeling run down or stressed, relax by engaging in a favorite hobby or pastime. Eat foods that nourish your body and drink plenty of water to maintain hydration. Get the shut-eye you deserve to keep your mind sharp and your body full of energy. Find an exercise you love to maintain a healthy heart and physique. Treat your body with the respect it deserves for a higher-performing and more self-confident you.
  6. Display a straight, beautiful posture. Whether you are standing or sitting, improving your posture can make a significant difference in your appearance and level of confidence. If you tend to hunch a little bit when standing, make a conscious effort to pull your shoulders back, allow your chest to slightly protrude and straighten your back. When standing in place, hold a stance with both feet planted firmly on the floor, versus popping one of your hips and having your weight distributed disproportionately. And rather than leaning on a wall or a chair, standing straight communicates poise. When seated, be sure to have your buttocks pushed back into the chair without slouching. Being careful not to lean forward is also helpful to maintain proper spine alignment. Think upright and elegant over slouchy and sloppy.
  7. Dress for success. Select clothing and accessories that fit you well—meaning they suit your industry, lifestyle and situation. Understand what the appropriate attire is for a particular event or gathering and then select items that correspond. Underdressing or overdressing can alter someone’s first impression of you and it can certainly leave you feeling uncomfortable and awkward, which definitely doesn’t lend itself to confidence. Wear clothes that are the correct size and fit nicely—not too tight or too loose. Invest in using a seamstress if you’ve altered your weight or are height-challenged and need your pants shortened. When it doubt, press it!—as ironed clothes appear newer, nicer and crisper—leading to a more polished look. 
When it comes to looking your best, comedian Billy Crystal said it best back in his Saturday Night Live days with, “You look mahvelous!” When it comes to being your best, stunning self-confidence is the answer I tout.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

10 Habits of the Happiest

Blog by Tracy Butz, Think Impact Solutions

Forget complicated theories. Feeling happier tomorrow, than you are today, just might be as easy as practicing these 10 simple, yet powerful, patterns of behavior:
  1. Treat kindness like confetti. Toss it around for everyone to enjoy, and as if it were free. Oh ya, kindness is free. It’s not only free, but available to everyone to both give and receive. You don’t have to be tall, young, thin, rich or beautiful to share it. You only need to express it by throwing it up in the air so that anyone who is ready and willing to feel it, does. When you demonstrate kindness to others, perhaps by offering a nice compliment or opening the door for another person, the chances of that individual sprinkling some kindness toward someone else dramatically increases.
  2. Start every day with a smile. While smiling is often viewed as a reaction to a positive feeling, it can also be used to initiate joy. Consider a positive memory, perhaps looking at a fun photograph. It’s pretty difficult to remain angry, frustrated or disappointed when a smile is suddenly felt. A good rule to start every day with is to look in the mirror and smile. You gotta brush your teeth anyway, so just consider yourself not fully dressed and ready to go until you’ve put on a smile.
  3. Quiet “The Chatter.” Instead of listening to self-deprecating statements we tell ourselves or the negative chants repeated in our minds, quiet the vindictive voices with motivating mantras like, “I know I can do this,” or “I am an excellent communicator and ready for this challenge.” Instead of being your own worst enemy, choose to be your very best friend.
  4. Stop to smell the flowers…literally. Enjoying simple moments, like smelling fragrant flowers or listening to chirping birds, can bring a sense of calm and happiness that grounds you. “Stopping to smell the flowers” is also a reminder to slow down and enjoy the beauty of life. Live in the present with a deeper sense of love, gratitude and appreciation for all the incredible blessings life offers.
  5. Listen to music and sing along. Just like melancholy songs supplement a sad mood, cheerful and upbeat tunes compliment or trigger a happy mood. And according to the University of Manchester researchers, a tiny organ in the inner ear—called the sacculus—is connected to a part of your brain that registers pleasure. And when you sing, the sacculus registers frequency notes, giving you a warm and nostalgic feeling. So go ahead and belt out the words to your favorite beat.
  6. Frolic with a furry friend. In addition to companionship, pets can provide numerous other health benefits—both psychological and physical—like reducing stress, promotes social interaction, and encourages physical activity, to name a few. There are few things as consistent as coming home from work and being greeted by an excited dog, ready to engage you and demonstrate their affection.
  7. Infuse vitamin D. The human body produces vitamin D when exposed to the sun's rays, and research suggests that those who are deficient in the vitamin are more likely to be depressed, anxious, and tired. When possible, soak up the sunshine—with caution, of course—to lighten your mood naturally. On days when the rays don’t cooperate, a surprising source of vitamin D can also be found in mushrooms. So throw some mushrooms into your breakfast omelet or lunchtime salad and enjoy a quick vitamin D boost of serotonin in your brain, magically enhancing your mood. And for non-mushroom lovers, there is still yet another solution: chocolate! Chocolate contains tryptophan, which also boosts the production of serotonin in the brain, leading to more delighted dispositions.
  8. Eagerly exercise. Instead of declaring, “I’m too tired to exercise,” boost your energy and brighten your outlook with a short walk, meditation, rhythmic breathing, yoga, or relaxation techniques. Quell anxiety, promote serenity, and lift your mood—while also tightening your tush.
  9. Get more zzzzz’s. It’s been said that you only really need six hours of sleep a night to feel rested and ready-to-go the next day. However, I know I need nine or ten hours to be at my best. In fact, I have found that I am a more patient, friendlier, and less sensitive to negative emotions when I get the shuteye my body demands. Stay tuned into what your unique sleep requirements are, rather than those of others, and concede to those needs freely.
  10. Spend time with people who matter. Disconnect from the rat-race of life and instead, reach out and connect with a trusted friend or family member. Meaningful and positive relationships offer support, love and guidance, which enriches our lives and provides a greater sense of purpose. Direct time and attention to those who mean the most to you and reap the benefits those real and lasting relationships offer. 
There is only one person that can make you feel happy. You. Take charge of how you feel today. Choose happiness by engaging in these 10 simple habits. Here’s to a happier you!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

When Life Throws You a Curve Ball

Blog by Tracy Butz, Think Impact Solutions

Tough stuff happens to all of us. What do you do when life throws you a curve ball? I do my best to dive hard and shout, “Got it!” And when that doesn’t work, I heed my own advice with these five strategies: 

  1. Accept the new situation or challenge. When a challenging situation is viewed as the possibility to learn something new, you tend to resist it less and embrace it more.
  2. Swerve from your routine. Understanding that changes will happen, allows us to establish new ways of doing or looking at something. You may even discover a hidden talent you didn’t know you had.
  3. Add some humor in your life. Whether you pay to see a comedian, view some funny videos on You Tube, read a witty book, or talk with an amusing friend. I find a dose of humor helps keep the tears at bay…and potentially, the doctor away.
  4. Kill it with kindness. Being kind to others, even when you feel down, helps others to demonstrate kindness to you too. And aren’t more genuine gestures of kindness something we all need?
  5. Seek a little adventure. Whether it is choosing to zipline, indoor skydive (like I just did with my boys last week when they visited!), or try something else—stepping out of your comfort zone puts your mind in a challenging and exciting place where you likely aren’t able to focus on the recent twist. 

As I frequently remind audiences, every day is a great day when I don’t have daisies growing over my head. So choose to make today the best day ever!