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Make It Happen: The Value of the Past

Personal DevelopmentAnneke McConnell

It's that time of year when people are already thinking about New Year's Resolutions and goals and this is clearly something I'm passionate about helping people with.

But today I was struggling with a particular area of my life (gosh I hate admitting that!), and thankfully I have an amazing husband of 13 years to talk these things through.

I could easily identify why I was feeling disappointed, but knew that the answer was one that would take focus, time, and consistency.

One thing that surprised me about our conversation, admittedly a bit emotional on my end, was when he said, "You know.....there's value in NOT looking to the future".


I think God knew I needed to hear that one today and I'm thankful for to my husband for that tidbit of wisdom.

It actually hit me like a mini wave.  Like many people, I'm goal driven, purpose driven, looking to the future, planning, preparing, dreaming and constantly goal setting.

But I haven't taken much time to pursue the past in a way that would allow healing in some areas.  I haven't taken nearly enough time to celebrate the accomplishments, the journey, the relationships and moment that brought me to this moment in time.

There's value in not always looking to the future.  There is value in remembering, in reaching out to those who have influenced your life and saying, "Thank you" and "How are you?".

There's value in taking the time to heal, so that you can move forward in a more whole and healthy way.  There is value in visiting the past and remembering how far you've come.

I hope you'll take a moment today or soon to remember and find value in the past.






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Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
— Hebrews 13:7-8

Make It Happen: Learning to Let Go of Things Not Meant For You

Personal DevelopmentAnneke McConnell

We've all done it. Gotten sucked into tasks, routines, the challenge of something, only to look up and wonder how in the world we got where we are.  Even if it's a GOOD place to be, it may not be where you should be, want to be, or help facilitate the goals and dreams you have.

I'm completely aware that at some times and in some places in the world, you have to grab ahold of whatever opportunities come your way.  Often times today though, we are presented with a plethora of opportunities and it can be overwhelming in discerning what is the BEST for us, our families, and those we are wanting to serve.

I was feeling absolutely convicted about this this past weekend. In this great big world of opportunity, it can be hard to discern and let go of "good" things not meant for us, in exchange for the unknown.

From a personal standpoint, that's when FAITH trusts that God is holding us and leading us every step of the way. From my wedding day, to kidney disease, to the loss of loved ones, to bringing AMAZING people into my life, I've experienced and witnessed enough of life's ups and downs to know that faith in God's direction for my life far exceeds any plans I could come up with.  As I go to bed and wake up each morning, I'm leaning on that promise, trusting Him, and learning to let go of things not meant for me.......


So how do you let go of.........

...............the things not meant for you?





1. Have faith and be open to changing directions.  

There's just no way I can write authentically on my blog about this without putting it first.  It is who I am and it's what I believe and have experienced to be true.  Have faith that God's plans are better than your own.  They may not be more glamorous from other people's perspective, but people come and go.  Time and time again I've found that when I surrendered my thoughts and ideas to Him, I was able to see opportunities that I never would have if I was stuck within my own "tunnel vision".

Keep your eyes and heart open to change. That doesn't mean never finish and abandon everything you begin, but don't get so stuck on one path that you can't see other opportunities along the journey.


2. Surround Yourself with Quality People.

It's true. The Top 5 or more people you are constantly around are who you kind of turn into yourself.  Be selective.  What kind of qualities do they have?

Are they workaholics? Fearful? Lazy? Empathetic? Happy? Energetic? Positive? Tenacious? Gracious? Selfless? Creative? Forgiving? Teachable?

What is it???

This doesn't mean don't spend time with other people that don't have these qualities. We are all a work in progress!  This is about your CORE, in person and online. Who are you allowing to influence, encourage, and teach you?  When you are wondering if you should let go of something possibly not meant for you, who are you going to talk to - who knows you well?


3. Constantly Reevaluate.

I'm personally quite over New Year's resolutions.  No hard feelings if you love them yourself, ok?  They have just proven to be disappointing and limiting for me personally.  I have personally gained the best results for my goals (small and large) when I constantly reevaluate my goals and direction.

I really believe that we are capable of so much more than we realize.

 Make large goals and break them down into into smaller goals.  Make 90 day goals, monthly goals, and weekly goals - all broken down.  It works. I've seen it and experienced it.

There's no reason why you have to wait to start Monday, start January 1st, or wait until whenever.  When you take the time to reevaluate, it's easier to let go of the things not meant for you now.


What do you think?  Do you find it hard to let go of good for great - or really....the unknown?  How do you work through this?


***see the entire series here





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Make It Happen: Dealing With Self Doubt

Personal DevelopmentAnneke McConnell

Hello friends! Be sure to follow along on Instagram and Pinterest for all the behind the scenes, not to mention my new FAVE app Periscope!!

****ANNOUNCEMENT: For those of you who would like to LEARN MORE ABOUT PAINTING FURNITURE before the holidays and learn more about an online painting party/class, click below.

Ok, so with that announcement made, I can fully address today's topic - dealing with and overcoming self doubt.  This past week, not gonna lie, was a bit rough. I found myself getting into the comparison trap and fighting a ton of negative thoughts about myself, my skills, my experience, my passion.  I was beginning to completely doubt myself! Before I knew it, I was heading to a bad place pretty quickly. Don't you hate it when that happens!

I suppose I'm old enough now to know that these feelings are normal  and that they come and go, but as I teach people in the Make It Happen Challenge, emotions and decision making go hand in hand.  Emotions are valuable in the decision making process, but they shouldn't boss us around.

So what do you do when you are dealing with self-doubt? When you start to feel like, "What's the point? They're so much better than me. I'm not good enough. What was I thinking.  I should just quit."

All very real and valid feelings.   Let's talk through it.


1. Consider the Timing.

These feelings are more likely to surface when we embark on something new.  A new schedule, job, project, class, relationship, work within an organization, you name it.  Maybe you have a solid skill, but you're working with new people in a company.  Maybe you are finally attempting to learn "___________".  Conversely, you may face self-doubt when you are doing what you've always done, and people around you are changing and doing things differently.  I see this a ton in the blogging world (because it's so old you know). ;-)

You will likely face self-doubt at different points because there is a bit of "newness" involved, on your part or others.  Keep pushing forward, and the less "new" it gets, likely the less self-doubt you will feel.  It's why it's a beautiful thing to see an accomplished musician play, or a seasoned teacher teach.  They have invested the time and gained self-confidence over the months and years.


2. Get Sound Advice.

Surround yourself with like-minded people who love you, support you, and whom you have given permission to help you evaluate the circumstance.  We all need a handful of family and/or friends that we trust to be honest with our ideas and goals.  I would not be where I am today without the encouragement of these people over the years, and yes, they told me when I had bad ideas or that I might want to consider an alternative "plan of action".

We are better when we reach out to others for advice and encouragement, without feeling afraid of their ideas to help us.


3. See Your Comparisons As Learning Opportunities.

Usually when we begin to compare ourselves to others, it's because we see what they've done and feel like it's sooooooo much better than what we created.  And to be honest, sometimes it honestly is.  Ouch.

That doesn't mean that we need to adjust our course of action, shift our priorities "to one up them", or quit all together.  It gives us an opportunity to be "appropriately inspired".  It gives us an opportunity to "level up".  If you feel overwhelmed, go back to your priorities.  

I'll give you a personal example.  I found some other blogging ebooks (there are really so many!) and painting classes that made me feel just a "bit small".   I wanted to go into full blown "make it a million times better" mode - BUT, I reminded myself that my faith and family come first, and I did the best with the limited time I had.

I actually DO feel confident that what I created is a fantastic resource for learning how to start a blog. And it lines up with my goals at this time, which is to cut the fluff and help people get started on the right track.  If you'd like to check it out, you can go here >>>>> OR get my FREE blogging tips HERE.




4. Step Away From The Situation.

There's this crazy balance when we have goals between pushing forward, pushing through, tackling things head on, and then taking some time to walk away.  I think it does something wonderful for our brains and bodies when we change things up a bit!

Go for a walk, go out with friends, spend time with your kids, watch a movie.  If you're working on physically high intensity goals, do a low intensity activity.  Likewise, if you are doing tasks related to your goal that are a low-intensity, take some time to do a high-intensity activity.

Change the scenery. Take a deep breath.  It will be okay.


Have you struggled with self doubt recently or frequently?  What steps have you taken to move past those moments?

***See the entire series HERE.




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Make It Happen: How To Focus Better

Personal DevelopmentAnneke McConnell

Hello friends! Be sure to follow along on Instagram and Pinterest for all the behind the scenes, not to mention my new FAVE app Periscope!!


When I first began learning about focus and applying the very tangible habits to get more done with little more effort, I was shocked at the results I got.  The first time I knuckled down and "did work" with intentional focus, it took me a mere two hours to get done what normally would have taken me eight! Now that's results!

There are habits you can learn over time that will help you to better focus, but here are 3 very powerful things you can do today:


Ok, I know I've said this before, and I'll probably say it again. It's just that powerful!  There are too many people these days flying by the seat of their pants and hoping for the best. That's not how things get done well or quickly, and that's not how success is made.  When you plan ahead and schedule your day, there should be space where you CAN knuckle down and focus without any other demands or distractions.  No, it doesn't always work out as planned (talking to my work at home mamas!), but at least you have a structure to work and be flexible with.


When I work with women one on one, this is by far the most powerful step they take to gaining better focus and making things happen in their lives.  It's not easy though! There is the constant pull and distraction of social media, checking things "really quick", and getting sucked into online content that frankly distracts us from accomplishing our own goals.  You are in control of your time, so don't be a slave to your mobile devices.  Turn your phone on "Airplane Mode" when you need a focused block of time to get work done.


As someone who blogs about interiors, I'm sure it's not a surprise that this is on the list, but not without good reason!  When everything around you is disorganized and chaotic, it is much more difficult to focus and have a good work flow - whether this is working on your computer, getting things done around your home (can you find the tools and cleaning supplies?), simply getting ready in the morning, etc. Soooooo much time is wasted every day when you are "trying to find" something.  Spending time to stop and organize spaces pays off in the end and gives people not only peace of mind, but mental clarity to get the job done or get on with their day.

Do you have any tips or tricks that help you to focus better.  Of course there are the basics which I covered recently - exercise, eat well, sleep, etc.  If you are feeling a bit disorganized and overwhelmed with the information thrown our way daily, I highly recommend the book, The Organized Mind, by Daniel Levitin.  

Share your thoughts below or on social media. Have an awesome day friends!



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