Wednesday, September 25, 2013

How to Be a Woman of Excellence

Today's post, in many ways, summarizes what a classy woman is all about. It's something that I'm mindful of on a daily basis and have been for many years-doing things with excellence. This is very different from doing things with the intent of being 'perfect' which would leave most frustrated, feeling like a failure at times and unfulfilled. Excellence is a standard in which you set for yourself that sets you apart from others. We live in a society where mediocrity has sadly become the norm with many doing as little as possible and having an overall sloppy and lazy approach towards life. What a wonderful opportunity to stand out from the crowd and set yourself apart in all areas of your life! Doing things with excellence involves giving your very best and doing your finest work, even in areas which are not our strengths. Being a woman of excellence is a mindset, not an afterthought. When we do all things with a heart and mind of excellence, we can never have regrets because we gave it all we had at that moment!

A couple of weeks ago I recorded one of my favorite Pastors-Joel Osteen. Some of you may recognize the name from his show, his books or even Oprah as he's been featured on her programming via the OWN network a few times. I've enjoyed his messages for quite some time and this particular time was no exception. He was speaking on what it means to be a person of excellence and how he makes that a goal within his own life and why sharing some examples of times he didn't necessarily feel like going that extra mile but did and it proved to be worthwhile. I've known for months that I wanted to write a post here on this topic and then after that particular episode I decided it was time to discuss this important characteristic of every classy woman.

6 Ways to Be a Woman of Excellence:

1. Have the Right Attitude-Before we can accomplish anything great, we have to have the right mindset. A complaining, negative, cynical attitude and spirit won't produce excellence, rather it drives others away and makes for a less productive day. Start each new day with a ritual that makes you smile. Perhaps it's a hot cup of coffee or tea in the quiet hours of the morning, a run or workout to jump start your metabolism and energy levels or quiet prayer or meditation focusing on what you are most grateful for. How we begin our day is so important and often determines how the rest of it will unfold. If you hit a bump in the road be sure to take a few quiet moments alone to refocus so one unexpected event doesn't ruin the rest of an otherwise productive or joyful day.

2. Put in an Honest Day's Work: Everyone's day looks different. For some it may mean caring for young children in the home and keeping house while for others it involves reporting to a superior and even though you may not be under the watchful eye of your boss and given independence, it's essential to respect the position and freedom afforded to you by giving your best daily effort. Some employees spend a large portion of their day on social media, making personal phone calls, leaving for smoking breaks several times per day, but that is not part of the job description and how can you really feel good about yourself when pay day arrives knowing you haven't been putting in a solid effort, a full day's work? Likewise, when working in the home, we know when we're not accomplishing what needs to be addressed such as cleaning, paying bills for the family, setting appointments and essentially keeping things running smoothly because of too much TV, time spent online or just not being disciplined enough to complete the tasks. Your efforts or lack thereof affect how everything else runs in the family. Be respectful, a woman of excellence takes her work seriously with the intent of producing positive results for not only herself but those around her who have entrusted her with the role she has been afforded. Don't leave projects to the last minute, give yourself the time to produce your best work so you have no regrets.

3. Be a Woman of Your Word- There are so many times in life that we commit to something and then later wonder what we were thinking because the feeling of excitement that we had in the moment is no longer the same one we have days, weeks or months later. A classy woman honors her commitments and always follows through bringing with her the right attitude and right heart. There are times in life where this is not always possible, emergencies do pop up, however, I'm speaking about the rule rather than the exception, how we respond the majority of the time. A woman of excellence is someone who can be counted on, is responsible, reliable and trustworthy. We cannot be all these things if we're flighty, giving way to whatever mood should happen to strike us at a particular moment.

4. Look for Opportunities- Sadly, many people are just struggling to get through their own day and often are not mindful of others. A woman of excellence looks for opportunities to be of service to others. She leaves little gaps of time in her day by not over-scheduling herself, for these very moments. Maybe it's helping a colleague carry some items to her car after work or taking a moment to catch up with a neighbor who has now become a widow that you haven't seen in a while. Being a blessing to others doesn't just happen, we need to look for opportunities to make life less about us and more about others.

5. Make Yourself  Presentable- One of the first opportunities for excellence that you have is in how you physically choose to present yourself to the world. Are clothes freshly laundered, pressed and free from threads, lint, hair and stains? Are your shoes in good shape or are they scuffed and the heel lifts worn? Does your hair and makeup have a polished overall look or are you just racing to get out of the door for work in the morning, leaving it wet or doing as little with both as possible? A woman of excellence makes the time each morning to present herself in the way that she feels represents her best. Others will take notice that you are proud of your appearance and when we look our very best on the outside we often feel great on the inside and are much more ready to tackle the day vs. when we feel as though we've let ourselves down in this area and feel frumpy.

6. Do What is Right When Nobody is Watching- We all have a conscience and know when we are not doing what we ought to. I believe a person's actions when nobody is looking that are more telling about a person than when all eyes are on them. It is in these moments that we make decisions that truly reveal our character. Do you pick up the blouse that falls off the hanger and onto the floor while clothes shopping or just keep on walking because the sales person will pick it up? Do you steal a few chocolates out of a co-workers candy jar when they've left for the day or treat their space with respect even in their absence? Do you pick up the paper towels on the restroom counter or floor with a clean paper towel that others left behind to leave the room better than you found it or just let it sit where it is because it's not your bathroom and you didn't make the mess? Go the extra mile and do what others will not!

"Whatever you do, work at it wholeheartedly as though you were doing it for the Lord and not merely for people." ~Colossians 3:23

There are so many daily events that take place just waiting to give us the opportunity to do things with a spirit of excellence but it's up to us to recognize them and take advantage of them. In many ways I feel that faith plays an important role in being a woman of excellence. Why? I know for myself, as a Christian woman, I strive to be more like Christ (which by the way is not always easy) and look to make him proud of me as a child does with their parents. I believe He truly blesses those who choose to do things with excellence. You see, even when nobody else is around, we not only have to live with who we are but we have someone who sees our every move, knows our innermost thoughts and encourages us to be more, do better and live life as a light for others and to love and serve. If you are giving your best effort as often as possible this shouldn't frighten you, God helps us hold ourselves accountable to be the best 'us' that we can be, choosing to do it with our whole heart.

Being a woman of excellence should not feel overwhelming or make you feel as though you need to do everything perfectly. The key is to learn from our mistakes and pat ourselves on the back for what we did well. Consider daily life review at the end of each evening. What were you most proud of? What did you work really hard on? Where did you lack focus? How could you have been more kind? How might you have been more helpful to those around you? Where could you have been more prepared? Were there challenging circumstances that you did not handle well? How could you have handled the situation differently or maybe even prevented it from happening in the first place?

While many of us are familiar with setting goals and reviewing them on a monthly or yearly basis such as our birthday or New Year's Day, I highly recommend taking a bit of time each day to ask yourself if who you are today is who you wanted to project out into the world? We are all still a work in progress. I've been doing this daily for a short while now and I find it helps immensely. Don't beat yourself up though if you feel like you've really blown it in a particular area. Tomorrow is always a new day! :) Patience is an area that I'm always working on. While my baby girl has helped me to slow down and become more present and also more patient, I still find myself getting rubbed by silly things that linger for longer than I'd like them to. Sometimes I can be so focused on what I'm trying to accomplish in a day that I'm not paying attention to those opportunities to help others or be a blessing in a way that my heart desires to be. These are two areas that are always a part of my daily review, it's all about becoming more self aware.

What areas are YOU looking to improve with regards to being a woman of excellence? Don't be shy, there is no judgement here, we are all a work in progress pressing forward one day at a time closer to our goals. I believe being transparent helps others to feel 'normal' and realize they're not alone in their journey of personal growth. :)

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Thanks for Reading!


*image sources: (1) , (2)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Apologizing without Excuses

Today's post is a short one, and a gentle reminder about the importance of a sincere apology. It's amazing to me how many times I hear someone begin to apologize and the first few words that come out of their mouth are: "I'm sorry I'm late BUT...." or "I'm sorry YOU don't see things the same way as I do". The apology disappears into a cloud of excuses and blame.

A classy woman lets her apologies be sincere by truly owning up to her mistakes and doesn't try to transfer ownership or back peddle with an excuse! When it comes to things outside of our control such as traffic, I've found they are generally not the issue, rather it's our failure to plan properly and manage our own time effectively. Learn from it and make better choices the next time.

Be completely honest with the other person because people can relate to transparency, none of us are perfect but we must try to learn from our past mistakes and make an effort to do better going forward.

A close friend of mine (who lives about 15 mins away) and I like to meet for lunch about once per month, often at the same central meeting point and because it's so close by, I have sometimes improperly gauged my time and left a few mins too late. Even showing up 4 mins late just bugs me, I don't like to keep people waiting, I value other people's time. Sometimes she does the same and we call each other to give a head's up and we always apologize to one another but I really want to do better to improve that area of my life which will only become more hectic with a new baby. Instead of offering the usual excuses people give (and the real reasons that sometimes hold me up), I just own it. I think the last time we met, it went something like this..."I'm so sorry for being late, I didn't leave myself enough time to get here. I really need to manage my time better."

I've also found by taking that ownership and making a verbal commitment to do better the next time, that I actually follow through and do. There is power and accountability in verbalizing how we wish to become better. It may be something to think about or try the next time you find yourself apologizing.

Thanks for reading and happy Friday!


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Introducing....The Love of Our Lives!

A big hello to you all! I missed you! I've been away from the blogging scene for several weeks now but with good reason. It's with great excitement that I share the news with you of the birth of our daughter! If you follow along on Facebook then you might have already read last Friday that our sweet pea had arrived, she is now 11 days old! So many of you have left sweet comments here as I've posted about my journey into motherhood and shared pregnancy progress pics and and I'm so glad I can finally share our joy with you all.

Without further ado, my hubby and I are thrilled to announce the birth of our sweet daughter, Lily Evangeline Davis!! We are already so in love with her. She was born on August. 30th at 11:00am weighing 6 lbs 15 oz and measuring 20.5" long. She entered the world during a peaceful, gentle water birth surrounded by my amazing Midwife, Doula and Birth Assistant. It was really important to us that no drugs be used for pain or to induce labor and to avoid all interventions as much as possible, which I'm thankful to have achieved. I got to hold her immediately and daddy cut the cord. We could not have asked for a more perfect natural arrival of our little girl or more loving motherly care from the team at the Birth Center, we are beyond blessed and thankful. XO.

She is the love of our lives and while bringing her into the world was some of the hardest work I've had to do as a woman, it was the most rewarding. It was by far the best day of my life! I also have a renewed sense of how powerful and intuitive our bodies are and the strength that we as women have. We are stronger than we know! My favorite moment was when we both stared into each other's eyes for the first time-it was magical!

Many of you have been sending messages wondering if she had arrived, thank you for your patience these last few weeks as I prepared our home, tied up loose ends before her birth and now am adjusting to becoming a new mom with a very different schedule that includes limited sleep as I know all you mamas can relate to.

Here is our little princess yawning below! I tried to snap a photo on her so you could see her face but she insisted on laying on her side. Surprise, she was born with a full head of dark hair! We never saw that coming, we were expecting a bald little blondie. LOL. Perhaps all this hair explains all the heartburn I experienced. We were both born with light hair, mine was white blonde and our families have fair hair with the exception of my husband's father who had dark hair in his younger years. We're curious to see how she changes and grows over the coming months and whose features she takes on. This picture below marks her 1st week of life as I begin a weekly photo project for her over the next 52 weeks, inspired by my favorite blogging duo at Young House Love.

Near the end of my pregnancy I was starting to get really hot, a bit uncomfortable and my focus was on purchasing last minute needed items for baby and enjoying the last few nights as well as dinners out just us two (including my birthday which was just 3 days before her own birthday) before she made her appearance. I didn't get a chance to post the remaining bump update photos as I had planned.

Daddy's little girl. He's one proud papa! 

Here are the last 2 sets of pregnancy progress photos taken at both 38 week and 40 weeks, just days before she was born. It's funny to look back at these photos now and see how much my body had grown during that time and how just 10 days post-delivery, my body miraculously remembers how it was shaped before and everything has pretty much fallen back into place thanks to healthy lifestyle throughout pregnancy and some good genes on my mom's side of the family-thanks mom! ;) I'm still moving a bit slower though as my body heals itself and am looking forward to taking our little bambina out for walks very soon!

{38 Weeks}

{Swollen feet in full effect!}

{40 Weeks}

{Taken before heading out for my birthday dinner at 40 weeks + 2 days}

Thanks so much for following along with me during my journey through pregnancy! I'll be sure to provide occasional updates with photos of Miss Lily as she grows. :) We have her newborn photo session scheduled for this Saturday and I'm looking forward to having some professional photos as neither hubby or I are great photographers. Our baby girl will also be meeting her grandma and grandpa (Paul's parents) for the first time too!

For all the moms reading...what fun ways did you use photos or other creative ideas to document the first year of your baby's life? What was your favorite moment from your little one's birth?

If you're new here and missed the previous pregnancy bump updates, you can find them all here:

Pregnancy Announcement
16 Weeks 
20 Weeks
24 Weeks Gender Reveal
28 Weeks
34 Weeks


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