Archive for the ‘Outlook’ Category

Picture Your Future Self

Do you know your true inner self?  Do you strive to be the best version of you?

A few months ago when I was searching for the answers to these questions, I found myself frequently looking through years of photos…remembering everything I had done, all the places I had lived, and the various people who had entered and exited my life.  I began to realize that no matter how many times I shed my skin and changed my colors in a day…or a week…or a year…or a lifetime…it was still the same me in those pictures, regardless of the setting.  After a few trips down memory lane, I identified a collection of pictures that showed the essence of me at various points in my life.  Those were the pictures that I kept flipping back to, over and over again. 

So, being all high-techy like, I loaded all of my favorite essence of me pictures onto a digital photo frame.  By looking at this collection pictures as they rotated in the frame, I began to see a vision of my future self.  It was of a happy, healthy, confident, fun-loving, self-driven woman and wife who firmly stands by her convictions.  Sadly, I wasn’t seeing that person when I looked in the mirror.  There was internal confusion.  I needed to “see” my vision to know that it was possible to achieve. 

When a recent opportunity arose to capture a current essence of me photo, I jumped at the chance.


[A shout-out to Dobrick Photography & Design in Indiana, PA.  If you’re a local, Jim is a great photographer.]

If you can’t seem to visualize your future self, take the time to do it.  We spend so much of our time planning our finances, our careers, the lives of our children, and so on, that we often don’t make a plan for our inner self.  But, when you think about it, a self plan is the most important plan that you can make.

To get the process started, find a current picture of yourself that epitomizes happiness.  Make sure that feeling of happiness is showing through in your eyes and is felt in your heart when you look at the picture.  (This is important because so much our ourselves cannot be seen on the outside.)   If you can’t find such a photo, have a picture taken in a scene that shows the essence of you.  For me, it was looking straight ahead, entangled with my husband.  Take as many photos as needed to get the right shot. 

Look at the picture often.  Think about your future self.  Project that person in your daily life.  Know that you are empowered to make any changes that might be needed to be that person, inside and out.  Having a vision and being able to see it in a photo can completely change your outlook and perspective.

What does the picture of your future self look like?

 My future self is_______________________. 

I encourage you to find your own essence of me picture and reflect on it daily.  If you have your own blog and post your picture, send me a link and I will advertise your post!

If you liked this post, you may also like Funny Mirrors.

Summer Spook

Today we turn the page of our calendars to September.  It’s been such a beautiful summer!  Wherever you live, I hope that your summer has been as sun-shiny as mine.  Here in western Pennsylvania, the temps have been HOT, so I was able to mix up my exercise routine the past few months by adding in some swimming.  Not laps.  Laps kill me.  Let’s just call it water aerobics for one. 

Here, the nights are starting to get cooler.  The air is crisper.  The humidity is gone.  Fall is just weeks away.  The last holiday weekend is almost here.  I know it’s only Wednesday, but I’m thinking about the long weekend already.  Do you blame me? 

My family always has a cookout on Labor Day.  So, I went to the store looking for picnic supplies.  Plastic cups, plates, the usual.  I was thinking about a red, white, and blue American theme.  Nice touch, huh

But nooooooo, what I got was nearly attacked in the isle by this


I know the stores need to stock for holidays, but why the rush?  Seeing decorations for a holiday that’s still 8 weeks away gets my mind churning and planning for the next two seasons.  Where are my winter boots?  Did I dry clean my ski jacket last year?  Which family member is on the hook for hosting Thanksgiving dinner?  Aughh!

Needless to say, there wasn’t a single picnic supply to be found in the store.  I went home with a two-foot straw pumpkin for my dining room table.  Good grief.

I tend to think ahead, but only about important things…like, financial planning, career advancement, and personal goals.  Planning far ahead for things that I know can easily be done on short-notice (like holiday decorating) makes my head spin and to-do list overly long. 

What things do you plan for far in advance?  Do you have your Halloween costume selected yet, or your outdoor gear ready for this weekend? 

If you liked this post, you may also like Today’s Attitude.

The Long View

This is where I grew up ~ near the top of a hill, overlooking a small, industrial city. 

I spent the weekend at my parents’ house and had some free time on Sunday afternoon.  It was one of those picture-perfect days.  Warm sun.  Cool breeze.  Perfect day for a walk.  So, I put on my Nikes and headed out. 

I’m a little goal-oriented obsessive, even when I go on walks.  I usually set a time goal or a destination goal.  Today, it was all about destination viewing platform.  It’s one of my favorite spots in town.  On the platform, you can always find locals as well as new visitors.  And if the ice cream shop is open, a few kids with messy faces and sticky fingers.  This day was no different.

No matter how many times I’ve looked over the edge and down on the city, I’m captivated by the view.  You can see how the buildings relate to each other, the street grid, the river, the railroad tracks, and the surrounding hillsides.  Together, it all makes the city look interesting and amazing.  Some call it a birds-eye-view.  I call it The Long View.

Sadly, many locals don’t spend much time downtown.  They say that the buildings are old and show their age.  Or, that they’re annoyed by parallel parking.  Or, that there isn’t enough excitement.  One small detail or another holds them back from enjoying the city, and also holds the city back from thriving.  When I go downtown, I always remember the view from the top and the small details of the city’s imperfections don’t seem to matter so much anymore.  I also look up at the platform and wave – just because I can. 

With most things in life, stepping back from the details lets you see and appreciate the total package.  It works with home life.  It works with jobs.  It also works with people….especially the ones you live with.  Honey…if you leave your 8-iron in the middle of the living room.  One. More. Time.  I’m gonna  %*(#%&!!!   Small details and annoyances will always be there – it’s how you view them that matters.  Mr. Backbone is an excellent golfer and being competitive is part of his total package, which I love.  So, now I just smile when I see the occasional club sharing our sofa with the pillows and remote control. 

If details and annoyances tend to ruin your day, your work, or your relationships, take a step back.  Remember the whole package.  Take the long view.

Do you tend to focus on details, or do you see the longer view?  Are there any details or annoyances bothering you right now?

Today’s Attitude

Today isn’t just an ordinary day, it is the first day of the rest of our lives.   Oh, that old saying…

Each of us has probably heard those words more than a thousand times …but, when you stop and think about it, why shouldn’t we believe that today is unique and special?  I think it is, and so should you. 

Let’s talk about todays.  Look at the calendar.  There won’t be another day with today’s date ever again.  Next, look at the clock.  You’ll never be able to recapture the second that just passed and call a do-over.  Some of the greatest and worst moments of your life may have passed in a single second.  A smile, a laugh, the draw of your Megabucks Powerball number (okay, if there are any lottery winners out there, my congrats.).  That special moment of your day may be just about to happen, and I don’t want you to miss it! 

Okay, now let’s talk about yesterdays.  When tomorrow comes, what you are doing right now will be in the history book and dubbed “past.”  Old News.  A Memory.  A Time Gone By.  Whatever happened just a minute ago, or yesterday, or even years ago can certainly be having a profound effect on the now, but I’ve never seen a reason to dwell back there.  We can’t change the past and there are no time machines or rewind buttons on life.

It comes down to a little something called attitude.  You know, the way you view things, either positively or negatively.  It also comes down to outlook – whether you look forward to life ahead or are constantly looking back.  Think about your attitude and outlook about today, about what you are doing right now.  Are you enjoying your day, or at least making the most of whatever situation you happen to be in?  If not, try practicing a little positive adjustment.  Your outlook on life is a key element of your BACKBONE.

Do you live in the moment, are you a forward-thinker, or do you dwell in the past?