coping, Quarantine, Uncategorized

I Might Not Be Motivated Anymore

I feel like when I was younger it was easier to be motivated. I secretly wonder if other “‘grown ups” feel this way or if it’s just me. Sometimes, I think maybe I just “used up” all my motivation in my twenties simply getting through the complete chaos of my life at that time. Like, maybe we are born with a certain amount of motivation and over time we deplete it like the gas gauge in our cars and after a while we just run on empty until we come to a puff-puff and stop.

It’s funny, because I have spent over two decades coaching hundreds of women and I hear it over and over again, ”I don’t feel motivated and I just don’t know why!”  So that makes me think maybe it’s not just me. Women who are stuck in a rut, wanting to change, but finding themselves procrastinating, and avoiding doing the actual work that is required for change.  Over the years I’ve watched big dreams and goals die simply because the dreamer was waiting to, “feel motivated.” 

Unfortunately, I get it. As I’m writing this I am remembering I promised one of my favorite nurses I would do a video for her (God I hope she’s not reading this) and literally every day I say, “Em we have to do that video!” It’s a month later and alas no video.

I also have a desk I want to repaint. It’s my grandfather’s, one of the bigger projects in my “redecorate my home saga” and I keep avoiding it. Because truth be told, having to pick out a “light shade of gray paint” starts to bring on an anxiety attack simply because we all know there is at least 50 shades of gray and probably more like 50,000 shades of gray according to Lowes.

I could go on and fill up this whole page with a list of things I’m “planning” on doing as soon as I start to get going to get motivated….

In my head, I know this stems from a basic misunderstanding of motivation.  In my work life, I have found motivation always follows action.  Sure, we might be briefly motivated by an inspiring speaker, a hyped up video or a mind shifting book, but those tend to be fleeting temporary moments of motivation. Only when we start in action and see results, does motivation last.  It’s like this crazy diet I’m doing. I’m not motivated to eat a salad for lunch or drive 20 minutes to my yoga class.  Sure, I want to lose weight and fit back into my jeans, but when that donut is calling my name and it’s raining outside motivation is hiding warmly tucked into my covers exactly where I want to be. It’s only when I put on those skinny jeans after weeks of calorie counting, it’s only after I can do a perfect one armed plank and I see tangible results from my actions that I get a deep lasting motivation… and think, “Hey this is worth it!” (Ok let’s be real. I’m still trying to master a 20 second plank with two arms much less one…but one can dream….)

I was recently asked how to “get motivated.” So here’s what I came up with based on what I see works in business.

  • Choose one small action that you can do in the next 24 hours that would take a tiny step in the direction you want to go.
  • Choose to do just one small action each day for five days without concern for the results or the feelings. Just the action.
  • Start with the end in mind. Think about where you ultimately want to end up. Break that down into small realistic steps and commit to 90 days of action only towards this goal.  You can change anything in 90 days if you stick with it.

So I guess it’s time to take my own advice and find one small project I want to complete and take one small action each day towards this. Which brings me back to procrastination…I mean I have a gazillion projects which one am I motivated to do first? So if I have to choose just one I’ll choose getting Making Cancer Fun ready for our next product launch because openly it feels 100% overwhelming.

So here’s to hoping if I commit to just the action, then maybe, just maybe, I might feel motivated after all….

* I’d love to hear your thoughts on this? Anything you are feeling unmotivated about too?*

PS if you want an updated on the Gigglers, they are back this weekend and this is the current conversation at my kitchen table while I’m writing.

Giggler 1: Do you know how much personal shoppers get paid? $70K! That’s like $18K more than teachers. We need to ditch the teacher idea and become shoppers!

Giggler 2 : I have a better idea let’s still be teachers and then be personal shoppers on the weekends!

Giggler 1: Or ice cream testers ,we can make $60K a year.

Giggler 2: That’s not a lot of money.

Giggler 1: Yes it is!

Giggler 2: No it’s not. Your house is probably like $300K (side note how does she know what houses costs?) It’s not a lot of money. But it depends where you live (and then goes on to explain housing costs and salaries nation wide….. ok confession giggler #2 is my giggler….)

Other ideas they are actively considering:

  • food stylists
  • ice cream testers
  • water slide testers
  • panda mommies
  • professional bridesmaid (apparently you get paid $1K a wedding)
  • Private Island Caretaker ($150K a year)

*UPDATE* They have decided on a professional bed warmer. ($200K a year) to take naps in other people’s beds.

And in other news I now may be changing careers…..

Photo by Zhang Kenny on Unsplash

Cancer, coping, podcast, Quarantine

Going Big After Starting Over ~ New Podcast Post!

This was one of my most favorite podcasts I’ve been interviewed on! We went where the conversation led us and it really gave me some “ah ha” moments!

You might enjoy this episode if you:

Have overcome hardship in your life but still find joy

Are currently going through a hardship and need a silver lining

Believe that everything happens for a reason and you love seeing things come together for a greater purpose

If you are struggling this season or finding yourself stuck in life I hope this will bless you!!

You can catch it on the podcast link below or or watch it here on you tube:

Real Talk with Krysta – Episode 2: Your Weight Doesn't Determine Your Worth Women Going Big

Happy Thanksgiving! Today's episode is brought to you by diet culture telling you to not eat those mashed potatoes tonight. I'm here to tell you to eat the damn mashed potatoes! But for real, your weight doesn't determine your worth. Don't give numbers so much power. 
  1. Real Talk with Krysta – Episode 2: Your Weight Doesn't Determine Your Worth
  2. Real Talk with Krysta – Episode 1: Let's get Real
  3. Women Digging Deep: Rising Above Against All Odds
  4. Women Going Big in Business: Taking Care of Yourself First
  5. Women Digging Deep: Finding Your Personal Power

Alittle bit about Krysta!

Krysta Paffrath is the owner and founder of Women Going Big, a podcast dedicated to sharing the stories of ordinary women doing extraordinary things from around the world. She is also the owner of her own social media agency, and co-owner of a full service marketing firm. In her journey through small business and entrepreneurship, she discovered the need for women’s voices to be heard in a true and authentic way. Thus, Women Going Big was born. She is on her second season of the podcast and is looking to expand the platform to create a community of strong women who are “going big” in some aspect of their life. I encourage you to connect with her on Facebook, @Krysta Paffrath (personal or page) or find her podcast on Instagram @WomenGoingBig


Pushed Out of the Quarantine Cave

blog pics

It has taken me a few days to write. To process all that I am seeing, hearing and feeling.  To continue talking about the “Quarantine Cave” when quarantine was instantly broken as our country came together in outrage over the murder of black man feels….irrelevant.

My feelings, I think like many of us, are all over the place. I am scared for my friends who are trying to peacefully protest. I’m sad for my friends who are too scared to protest. I’m sad watching a homeless man having his bed burned. I’m angry  it took this long to arrested the other three cops. I’m angry they still haven’t held the people accountable, the ones who didn’t do anything, after multiple reports were written up against Derek Chauvin.  I’m sad for my black friends who are scared right now more than ever. Sad for anyone who has a business, that’s already been struggling because of COVID19, watching their livelihood being looted and destroyed. I’m sad for my friends who have spouses who are good cops and are scared for them to go to work. I’m sad for the pain George Floyd’s family is going through. And mostly I’m horrified and forever shaken by a video of a man being murdered in broad daylight. I literally feel ill when I think of his mother watching and imaging if that was my child.

As a self proclaimed fun-finder there are few times I can not find the fun in a situation. This is one of them.  There is way to make light of the horror I saw on a video of a man suffocating to death. There is no way to find a funny as I watch cities burn. There is no way to focus on the positive as I hear of more people being shot and killed in ongoing violence.

So without fun as my go to coping tool what can I choose? What can give me a small sense of “control” in a world that feels so out of control and overwhelming right now?

I will share with you the Five Coping Tools I’m using right now with the hope maybe one will benefit you too.

#1 I’m reminding myself what I focus on gets bigger. After a few days glued to the news, I decided I would only check the news twice a day, morning and night. I want to stay informed on what’s happening in my world and I want to keep my mental health in check. This is how I feel comfortable doing both.  I also am consciously seeking out positive news stories. These are my three favorite so far: The Kansas Black Lives Matter group decided to hold a picnic with police instead of a protest.,  Colorado just introduced a new bill to address police brutality, and the #8cantwait campaign that decreases police violence by up to 70% is now trending.

#2 I am reminding myself no one really changes their mind during a social media argument.  People will continue to find “evidence” to support what they already believe.  The energy and anger is more detrimental to me than the unrealistic hope believing engaging someone will actually change their point of view.  Even my 14-year-old was smart enough to say, “Mom why are you doing that. Post a peace sign and log off.”  Smart kid.

#3 Instead I choose to engage in meaningful conversations which help me understand other people’s points of view and educate me on issues I know little about.  For example, my friend Kelly C recently shared with me information about Redlining.  I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t realize how recently this was still happening.  Growing up, I would hear adults say things like, “Well the black community doesn’t want to pull themselves out poverty” and compare them to other races that immigrated here. (Anyone remember the NINA signs (No Irish Need Apply))?  However, now having a better understanding how Redlining has lasted up even until recently (and probably is till continuing in hiding) I have a completely different point of view on why it’s been so difficult for the black community to “pull themselves out of poverty.”  Especially when lower-class white families were being approved for mortgages over upper-class black families. Even after the Fair Housing Act was enacted there have been redlining issues and the court system are still settling cases even as recently as 2015. (You can read more HERE).  This has completely changed how I see the struggles black communities face – with literal invisible lines around their communities – that I never understood before. Growing up in New Jersey I was keenly aware there were “black towns” and “white towns” but never really understood how that happened. Maybe in my childhood brain I just though all black people wanted to live together and all white people wanted to live together because that’s where their relatives were? (How innocent we are as kids). While they were never referred to by their “color” I grew up knowing these were “poor” towns, as if if the people there would simply just go get an education and a job they would no longer be poor.  Learning about Redlining has completely changed my understanding of why we have “white” and “black” neighborhoods. I will never be able to “un-understand” again. (Thanks Kelly!)

I also had a powerful conversation with my neighbor (who you’ll often hear me refer to as my “neighbor wife” because I’m convinced she went to some secret wife/mom school to learn all these fancy things from how to keep plants alive, to how to store a wreath for every occasion, to how to have every random school project supply you might ever need on hand. I, apparently, never went to this school).   Her boys are my daughter’s age and are mixed children.  Her son is currently being bombarded by social media posts from fellow classmates with #blm and #blacklivesmatter tags. He’s watching them get tons of “likes” and positive comments. These are the same kids who called him the N word just 16 weeks ago when schools were still open. Truth.  Imagine processing that in your 14- year-old brain. SLAP-IN-THE-FACE.  (I shared more about his post with permission on my Facebook page and you can view it HERE.)

#4 I’m sharing resources and finding resources for myself.  Ironically I posted this quote from Charlie Jones in my last post:  “You will be the same person five years from now except for the people you meet and the books you read.”  Books and education change us. In a country that is literally screaming out in pain for change, education is something we can all do on our own.  I was excited to see that anti-racism books are climbing up the New York Times Best Seller list this week!  What this tells me is people do want to learn, to change, to understand.  That’s exciting!  I’m one of those people, I always want to know how I can be a voice for those who feel they aren’t heard, whether that’s advocacy with domestic violence, childhood cancer, or with racism.  Want to join me? TED recently put out a great compilation of talks to help better understand racism. (HERE).  If you want to extend those talks to your littles there’s a whole list of books that are age appropriate (HERE). And my friend Irene Sisneros shared this great article as a starting point with me (HERE).

#5 I will pray. When my world feels out of control I will remind myself there is One who is always in control. The same God who stayed with me as I fought for my safety and my daughter’s safety in court, is the same God who held me while I sat by my daughter’s bedside in the hospital, and He is the same God who is here with me now as the world is shaking.  He is the God who created each of us and made us one race …the human race.  I believe the enemy wants to divide us. He comes “only to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10).  As my wise mentor stated, “The enemy is real. His name is Satan. This is not a race issue this is a spiritual issue.” ~ Linda Toupin.  I believe there is power in prayer and when we come together God can do supernaturally that which we can not to naturally.

Below is the post I wrote the morning after the protests started, and it still feels just as relevant now.

“Woke up this morning with no words after watching horrifically violent protest videos. My heart is hurting. I’m heartbroken for our country on so many levels. I stand against ALL violence. Praying this morning for the black community, for George Floyd’s family, for the safety of peaceful protesters so they can exercise their right to protest & stand up for necessary change & justice, for shop & small businesses owners & other innocent people who are currently being victimized by looters and rioters, for the police & national guard, and for our elected government leaders who need to rise to a new level of leadership NOW. We are better than this. #walkwiththem

If one of these resonates with you I hope you’ll comment and share.

Quarantine, Uncategorized



A simple conversation on financial stress during COVID19 turned into a feature on CNBC!  How cool is that?  It just goes to show you never know where one conversation will lead!

I’ve been sharing with you my current mantra (one of the ways I am coping through quarantine). I wake up and say, “Only good things happen to me. I basically say this all day long anytime I start to feel anxious or stressed. I started back in March when COIVD was causing shutdowns and I wasn’t sure how my business would be affected and if I was going to end up a single mom, unemployed, moving back into my mother’s house because my company was closed and I had no way to work. (Yup that’s the rabbit worry hole my brain went down).  It’s actually one of the coping tools I’ve developed over the years. Go to the worst place…for a minute.

What I’ve discovered, is usually our worst case scenario really isn’t as bad as we imagine it will be.  My worst case is: I lose everything, move in with my mom, and have to rebuild my life post COVID.  Well, I’ve done that before so I know I can do it again. As long as my daughter and I are alive and healthy worst case isn’t really all that bad. Then I can breath again. *Note none of this has happened and my company never shut down so my imaginary rabbit hole never happened.

So after my worst case scenario minute I decided I needed a new mantra. See my grandfather was one of the few people who made money during the Great Depression. In fact, he started investing in the stock market while everyone else was scrambling to get out.  Much of their wealth came from that season.  My family story reminded me during this season the same thing will happen. New businesses and industries will boom (think of Zoom, Instacart, and the toilet paper companies!)  others will struggle and maybe even close.   What I choose to focus on will grow (another lesson from childhood cancer). So I am choosing to focus on only good things happening to me.  And guess what? The crazy thing is….that’s what’s happening!

Someone is going to be the success story that emerges from this season so why not me? (Same mantra I used during childhood cancer…someone’s child is going to live so why not mine?)

I’ve decided in my world (or at least the one in my head) that only good things happen to me. I wake up each day in anticipation of what those good things are. It’s a pretty fun way to start my day.

So yesterday’s “good thing” was waking up to this beautiful video and article by Michelle Fox on CNBC.  I’d say that’s a pretty good thing!

You can catch the full article HERE

I wonder what other “good things” will happen today? I wonder what “good things” can happen for you?  I’d love to hear your quarantine cave mantra and the good things that are still happening in the middle of a global pandemic! So please leave a comment…let’s spread a little (or a lot!) of “good things”….


Active Hibernation


I keep calling it the Quarantine Cave. I’ve retreated into my house and am waiting till COVID19 passes to “emerge” again.  Like a bear hibernating for winter who is waiting for spring.  Fortunately, I’m not in the medical field and I’m apparently non-essential (doesn’t that make you feel great…what a term!)  I don’t really have a reason I have to leave my house.  I’ve decided the single best way I can support our medical workers and those “essential works” who have to leave their homes, is for me to stay home. There’s really no reason for me to be out unnecessarily if I don’t need to be.

So here I am two months into quarantine, and I have completely lost track of time.  Days, hours and weeks all meld together.  I had a virtual event this week that I actually got showered, dressed, and even did make up for. Just as I was about to go “live” someone from y team texted me asking, “Isn’t the event on Wednesday?”  I quickly responded, “Yes!” only to realized it was Tuesday. I was a full 24 hours early. That’s how disorienting the cave is.

For many of us this is an opportunity to hibernate. We are hibernating at home, each in our own attempt to help “flatten the curve.”  To keep ourselves healthy and out of the hospitals that are already overcrowded and running low on PPE (personal protection equipment) for their staff. So, we do our part, stay home, and hibernate.  The hard part is, unlike a bear that knows when spring comes, we don’t know how long this hibernation will last.

If you know me at all you will know I love words.  I especially love the root meaning of words, and the energy behind its original intent.  (I was the President of my high school’s Latin Club after all!) So, I looked up what the word “hibernate” actually means, and it’s really interesting!  It’s from the 1600s and it means, “an action of passing winter”.   I find this interesting for a couple of reasons. One, because it’s an action. Hibernating isn’t something that’s passive, it’s something that’s active. Plus, just like the idea of passing the winter, we’re hibernating to pass Coronavirus. We are all trying to pass this season.

I have found myself thinking a few times, “Can we just wake up and have it be Christmas? I would like to just pass this season.” What’s interesting about hibernation though, is that it’s an active passing. We actually have a choice of what we’re going to do during this season of passing when we’re quarantined. We can be active in quarantine.

For the sake of true transparency, there have been days where I have been on point with this and then there have been just as many days where I feel think, “It’s four o’clock in the afternoon? Where did this day go?” because I’m still in my pajamas.

I’m not going to sit here on a soapbox and say, “I’ve got this” and “I’m doing this great”. Instead, it’s to share how I am processing this quarantine cave in a hope it will help you process it to.  I find myself thinking, “Okay Tara, who do you want to be when you leave this cave? How do you want to actively pass this season?”

The phrase that keeps coming to my mind is, “difficult times create determined people”. We can choose to be determined this season or not. We can choose to be watching the news constantly, stressed out, lowering our immune system or not. We can choose not.

Let’s be clear. This will be a mental challenge. As a global community we are more connected now than ever before.  Being this connected (especially on social media) means that our newsfeeds may become flooded with posts and pictures from friends (and friends of friends) who are in the hospital, people who unfortunately will be fighting for their lives in ICU.

I remember when my daughter was in the hospital going through cancer and I felt like every family I knew was losing their child. I remember finally asking one of our doctors in fear, “Is there anyone who survives?!?”  I confided how painful it was for me to watch my child suffer through cancer treatment. If she wasn’t going to survive I didn’t want to continue treatment.  It seemed like every child I met was dying. If she was going to live it would be worth the horrific treatment. If she wasn’t, well, it wasn’t worth it was it?

Her doctor quietly said back to me, “We don’t know. That’s the problem. We just don’t know.”

So, I chose to become very “mentally cautious”. My heart was broken for friends who were losing their children. However, I had to put blinders on, I couldn’t let fear overtake me. I had to stay focused on my child. Her victory.

Ten years later, I’m finding myself in that same position now. I can log into Facebook and see post after post of who’s in the hospital, who’s got family in the hospital, and who’s lost family members. Yet, each post reminds me, “Tara, you’ve got to put your blinders on. You can feel sadness for these families, and sympathetic towards their pain, but you can’t let fear overtake you.”

Our world is small and with technology we are all interconnected.  It can feel like everyone is vulnerable, everyone is sick and everyone dying. Yet that’s just not true. The medical stats show us that most people will survive. Most people will have mild symptoms.  Most people will be ok.  Even some of those in critical care will still survive.  That is the hope. That is the light we need to stay focused on. Because what you focus on gets bigger, so I’m keeping my blinders on.

During this season of hibernation, I need to be extra cautious as to what I’m feeding my mind. I also need to decide how I want to actively hibernate, and so I’ll share with you, five different ways I’m choosing to actively hibernate and what you can choose too.

Check back soon  (or subscribe!) because we’ll start with #1 – The Emotional Cave ….