It’s here! Before I ever released my book “A Work in Progress” I knew I wanted to write a companion journal to go with it. And now it’s printed and ready to be shipped to you! If you would like a journal, you can purchase it here. They are $30 each, which includes shipping.
My routine with this journal is to sit down with it first thing with my morning cup of coffee. It doesn’t take long to fill out the page, but its effects last all day long. While there are many things we don’t have control over right now - this journal helps me find small actionable steps to keep moving forward with patience.
Let me know if you want to buy one. I will get it in the mail to you right away!
- Ellen Marie
We can use our voice to make change. We can use our voice to ask questions that will help us better understand. We can use our voice to tell others that we stand with them and will continue to fight. Last week, I dedicated many of my Minute Motivations at the end of our show to supporting Black Lives Matter. Now is the time to continue to have the tough conversations - and be ready to listen to understand, not listen to respond.
To help pass all of this time we've been spending at home, I've been talking with my friends about motivation. While I'm still doing my own Minute Motivation series, I've expanded it to include an interview section called "Five Minute Motivation." I've been interviewing my mentors and people who inspire me. Here are a few of the interviews so far! They are running on air this week on Great Day Washington.
Just like many of you, my work has been turned upside down because of the coronavirus. While all of my speaking engagements were canceled, one managed to survive - but it turned into a virtual conference. I was scheduled to speak to the SheFactor DC Squad in person, but instead was part of an online mega-squad conference where I was able to pass on some "Work in Progress" knowledge to women across the country. I love the SheFactor organization for many reasons (that I talk about in the speech below) and am so grateful that they made this video available online so I could share it with you.
While most everything is moving to digital right now - meetings with co-workers, friends happy hours, etc - I've had a strange flip in my life where the "Minute Motivation" series I started digitally is now being broadcast on television. My producer came to me a few weeks ago in the midst of planning to broadcast from home and said, "I want to run a Minute Motivation from you on air."
I am thrilled for this opportunity to meld my broadcasting and speaking brands, but I wouldn't be honest if I didn't say this didn't scare me. It's been strange for me to mix the two worlds (which sounds odd since they fit so well together) because I've always seen them as two separate jobs. I've spent a decade building my broadcasting career climbing the news industry ladder, while my motivational speaking career is my personal passion project that gives me the energy every morning to get up and make the best of every day. Somehow combining them has been out of my comfort zone - and that's a really good thing.
We are all being put in uncomfortable situations right now, especially with our routines taken away from us. But there is an opportunity here to make some changes and see situations you've always categorized one way in a new light. This push to combine my identities and brands is exactly what I needed to find new opportunities I've been afraid to try. I hope you also find yourself in an uncomfortable position that will ultimately push you to grow in ways you never thought possible.
Today marks day four of broadcasting live from home because of the coronavirus. Every day, it gets a little bit easier to troubleshoot IT problems, find a routine and feel like there is a start and end to the "work day." All week I have been focused on making small progress each day. While what I want to do right now is have everything figured out and a plan moving forward - our current circumstances really force us to look at one day at a time.
Starting small means you won't overwhelm yourself. It means giving yourself the compassion to know that you won't be operating on the same level that you do normally. You are working toward being as efficient as you were before - not giving up. The results won't come instantly, but they will come.
Before I went on air Tuesday morning, I had a few (okay, many) tears fall into my lap. Small problems that were out of my control overwhelmed me - I was trying to do too much. Since that moment, I took a step back and gave myself some space to just be. One of the small business owners I talked to this week said she keeps telling herself to operate with grace. Give yourself grace right now. I love that. We aren't where we want to be, but we will get there.
In the meantime, find ways to make these extra hours at home significant. That will look different for everyone. Some people might take the time to really be home and present with the family. Others might work on that project they always say they want to get to but "never have the time." Though I originally set out to finish reading a couple of books a week, my progress has been stalled because I've been making my way through watching "The Wire." I'm on the season 2 finale... It's so good. And instead of beating myself for not staying on task, I'm embracing having the time to watch a series everyone at work references.
I hope you are safe and happy. We will get through this. For now, give yourself that grace and patience to focus on making small progress toward this new normal.
One night every year, the DC news women step into every shade of pink outfits imaginable and meet up for a night to bash breast cancer. This year, the funds raised went to the Step Sisters, an organization that improves the quality of life for people impacted by breast cancer.
Thank you to the core team - the legendary women you've seen on your TV screens in D.C. for decades - who work throughout the year to raise a total of more than $200,000 total through DC NewsBash. A special thanks to our WUSA 9 leaders Lesli Foster and Andrea Roane. Your selflessness and determination to make a difference for others shines through always!
A month into 2020, I sat at the dining room table and thought, "Wow. So much happened in one year." Leading into the new year, I felt exhausted and was having trouble establishing any sort of resolution (or word) for 2020 because everything sounded like so much work. In the past, I used a new year as a chance to refresh my goals and get started once again - so my attitude of "I don't want to do anything in 2020" was surprising.
I felt myself drawn to books about simplicity and slowing down. Two books I read over the holidays included: When Less Becomes More by Emily Ley and The Joy of Missing Out by Tonya Dalton. Both books spoke right to my soul about the need to find some peace within the fast pace of life.
Growth is important. Tenacity, persistence and diligence are important. But what I know now is that slowing down and taking inventory are just as important. Recognizing how far you've come, honoring yourself for the work you've completed - you can't leave those steps out.
I thought if I slowed down that I might miss out on an opportunity. I'm a list-maker, an efficient doer and love nothing more than crossing off a line under my to-do list. The brilliance I've learned in slowing down is that it actually helps you make room for more growth. It opens up your mind, it replenishes the holes weariness cut in your heart and sends you back out into the world to continue your journey.
What has slowing down looked like for me? Meditation. Daily meditation. I look forward to that moment of stillness so much every day. It's the one time when I bundle up my swirling thoughts, place them on the shelf and say, "They will wait for me." It's meant less mindless social media scrolling. It's meant not responding to every single text, email and post the minute it comes my way. It's meant starting my morning (before I even open my eyes) with listing three things I'm grateful for today. And it's meant taking a moment to realize how far I've come.
Slowing down no longer feels like I'm losing business momentum or getting lazy. It just means that I need a few moments a day to stop life from passing by in a blur and finally see it's full, colorful beauty.
About this time of year, I start to get really antsy for spring to arrive. Okay, I'm kidding. Not spring... summer! Please 80 degree days come back to us soon.
I was driving through Rock Creek Parkway in Washington, D.C. yesterday and couldn't help but frown as I was passing all of the bare tree branches and continuous gray, rainy skies. Why can't we see those tree branches covered in green leaves already?!
While the February blues are kicking in and my desire to leave the house without bundling up head to toe first is going strong, last night I forced myself to slow it down and remember to embrace what's good right now. So I made a fire in the fireplace.
Winter evening fireplace fires have brought me so much joy this season. I've been plowing my way through our firewood supply and not even apologizing for it. And as much as I want spring to be here already, I know I will certainly miss these fires come the summertime.
Watching those logs burn last night was the reminder I needed to find the good in every season. Instead of getting caught up in what we don't have right now, embrace what makes this time so unique.
Take the initiative. Stop waiting for someone to come along, take you by the hand and say, "Now is the time and let me show you the step by step process to make it happen."
Do you know when people come from everywhere to help you out? When they see that you are already putting in the work. When they see that you are dedicated to seeing your dreams realized and you're already taking the small steps to make it happen.
I am amazed by how action creates more action. Let's say you complete one small small task today that aligns with your goals. Don't be surprised if tomorrow you see an email in your inbox with an opportunity to take that step to the next level.
But that email won't come if you never get to work. You must get started and take the initiative. Don't look for others to start on your dreams for you.
For decades, I've started my day by asking myself, "What's so exciting about today?" A few months ago I updated my morning wake-up conversation. I like it because it centers myself in gratitude first thing for the day, so I'm hoping you can find it helpful too! Here's my inner dialogue first thing in the mornings:
• Thank you for today.
• List three things I am feeling deep appreciation for that morning.
• Ask myself (and answer), "What's so exciting about today?"
• Get up and get going!
It's not a heavy lift at all. It takes just a couple minutes, but can change your mindset and the course of your day.