Monthly Archives: April 2021

Apr 20

Why We Need to Take A Break

By Celeste DeCamps | General

"Sometimes Zoning Out Can Help You Zone In."

One night, years ago, I'm on stage belly dancing in a Greek restaurant with an incredible group of musicians. It's my second show of the evening, and it's past midnight. The place is packed, full of smoke and laughter. I'm enjoying the music when I feel myself go somewhere else. It wasn't an out-of-body experience, more of a meditative state. I felt timeless, relaxed, and peaceful. I was inside the music, and when it stopped, I was snapped back into reality. I stood in the center of the dance floor, striking a pose as the audience applauded. All I could think was, I hope I was dancing this whole time and not staring into space.

That surreal moment stayed with me. It was the first time I could honestly say I was in the present. I wasn't worried about how my costume was fitting or how my hair looked. I let all of it go. I've been chasing that sense of freedom ever since. I've been close with meditation, but my thoughts still wander. I easily go from dwelling on the past or get anxious about the future. It's fun.

I'm sure you're asking yourself, "Well, if dancing can put you in a meditative state, even in front of an audience, why aren't you doing that all the time?" Great question! I don't know. I think I look at dancing as a luxury that I can only do when I've got other more important work done, which is crazy. I don't have a boss. I'm the boss. Granted, running your own business takes time and effort, but that doesn't mean I'll get fired if I take some time for myself. When I was working for a company, I made sure I gave myself some downtime. I still performed in nightclubs every once in a while.

When I decided to become an entrepreneur, my mindset changed to a do-or-die one. There was to be no playing until I've answered every email, phone call, or text. Articles need to be written, interviews need to be set up, and presentations have to be ready. In other words, there was always something more urgent to do. It dawned on me that I have to give myself permission to step away from the computer and turn on music.

When I dance, I don't think about anything else. The best part, when I sit back down to work, my energy level is up. My creativity gets a much-needed boost, and I can get into a new type of zone. The present moment is filled with hope, and my stress level goes way down. I believe the body-mind connection helps give me a renewed sense of productivity.

Everyone should make time for any activity that will take you out of your head and be creative. I give you all permission to walk outside or get on your bike. Finish that painting you started or write in your journal. We can't take ourselves for granted. Being in the present, away from everyday worries, is a vacation we can go on anytime. It gives us a break in the day to focus on our breathing and find our center. You may be surprised by slowing down; you'll find inspiration where you least expected.

Of course, if you're dancing on stage for a large group of people, and you find yourself floating away, relax and enjoy the ride. It turns out you'll still get paid. 

Apr 14

How Was Your Day?

By Celeste DeCamps | General

"The Simple Question of 'How Was Your Day?' Is A Beautiful Expression of Love."

My brother, Stan, and I were talking about how great a conversationalist his young son is. He said, "The only thing that concerns me is that he gets quiet and shy when he first meets people." I explained, "It's uncomfortable for a child to meet someone new and know what to say. You can prepare him ahead of time with the questions he'll be asked so that he can have his answers ready. For example, "What grade are you in?" "How do you like school?" "What's your favorite subject?" This will give your son a chance to know his answers beforehand. He'll feel more confident interacting when he knows what to say."

A few days later, Stan told me that my advice worked well. He also explained to his son that he should let the person he's talking to answer a question. He said, "You should ask, "How was your day?" Stan told me that people were impressed with how articulate his son is and pleasantly surprised that he asked about their day.

Social and business situations can be stressful, even for adults. We don't always think about how we're going to respond when asked to speak about ourselves. Suddenly, we get tongue-tied, trying to remember the name of our favorite book or talk about the last movie we watched. It's easy to feel nervous when you don't know what to expect, but a little preparation goes a long way.

Take a moment and think about the people you're going to be meeting. Is it a networking event, a party, or a first date? If you're discussing your business, have a clear and concise message prepared. The last thing you want to do is 'um' and 'ah' your way through a conversation about your work. You don't have to memorize verbatim a written speech, but you should practice what you want to say so that it comes across naturally. You'll find yourself feeling polished and self-assured. Remember to take the time to listen to others and follow up with your new connections.

A social event is a fun way to be introduced to different people. It's a more casual and relaxed environment. Still, it helps to relieve any anxiety you may have by visualizing the party and imagining what types of questions you may receive. Think about what interests and hobbies you have and how you'd describe them. Walk into the room with your shoulders back, your head lifted, and smile. Your body language will convey an openness that will attract people to you and put your mind at ease.

Listening to others as they communicate their thoughts on different subjects allows you to be mindful. Your focus is not on yourself anymore but on them. When we intentionally listen and not formulating what we're going to say next, we create a relationship with that person. We all appreciate being heard and not talked over while we're sharing our opinions. We develop mutual respect and have an enjoyable conversation.

It's easy to ask, "How are you?" and expect a simple answer, "I'm fine, and you?" The question, "How was your day?" and genuinely wanting to know is a beautiful expression of love and compassion. It means you're taking a moment to listen, and lets that person know they're valued. When my nephew asked me, "Aunt Celeste, how was your day?" I said, "It was perfect. Thank you for asking." He said, "Tell me why it was perfect."  Our conversation made my day.

Apr 06

I Want You To Like Me

By Celeste DeCamps | General

"We Need Validation of Our Existence."

"Why do you care what people think of you?" "Be yourself." "Real friends like you for who you are."

I've said the above quotes, been told the above quotes, and I've read the above quotes on lots of FaceBook memes. I agree that we shouldn't live our lives trying to be something we're not. We should strive to be our authentic selves and love who we are. Yet, we have an innate need to be accepted by everyone we meet. When we're not, we feel inadequate and worry that there's something wrong with us.

I've stayed up nights, going over conversations that I had with others throughout the day. Did I say the right thing at the right time? Did I listen closely enough? Did I come across confident or arrogant? It's incredible that I ever allow myself to be around people. I've had to learn to quiet the voice that constantly wants to second guess myself to death. I take a step back and ask myself, "Did you hurt anyone's feelings and say something rude or offensive?" If the answer is yes, then I make sure I apologize. If the answer is no, then I need to go back to sleep.

Growing up, we learn what behavior is appropriate and acceptable. I remember being in the store with my mother when I was four years old. There was a woman in line with us. I looked at her and said, "You're fat." The woman started to cry. My mother was furious. "Why would you say something so hurtful?" I didn't mean to. I was making an observation, but here I am, a half-century later, and I still feel bad I made that woman cry. It was a big lesson I learned that day of how harmful words can be. I may not always say everything right, but I know I would never intentionally insult anyone again.

I believe we all care about how others perceive us. We want to know that our contribution to society and to our family is valued and appreciated. We may not always say and do everything perfectly, but we try. The challenges we overcome and the accomplishments we make, happen because of the people in our world. We want to love and be loved. We want our life to have purpose and be meaningful.

We shouldn't conform to what someone else thinks we should be. We instinctively know what sides of our personality we share depending on who we're with. The professional mindset and attitude are for my business associates. The silly, playful side of me is for my young nephew. The 'take no prisoners' philosophy is reserved for my friends and family. It's all still me. I know it would be inappropriate to ask a client to go Zombie hunting with me. I'm pretty sure she wouldn't even know where to look.

Not everyone will like or acknowledge our gifts, that's okay. Some people are not meant to be part of our lives. They may show up to teach but are not going to overstay their welcome. We're the only ones that can decide how we want to improve and better ourselves.

I want you to believe in your strengths and abilities. Know that every day is a chance to learn and grow. Be grateful for the beautiful people in your life who love you for you. I know I do.