You Do Not Have to be Ellen DeGeneres to Be Inspiring

Foreward: Guys for the record, I adore Ellen.

With my recent “little” changes in life (i.e. leaving a corporate job to start my own business), I am constantly humbled by the support I am receiving. I know I have said it like a thousand times but it needs to be said. Not to toot my own horn but to remind us ALL of a few really key, mind blowing things. Ok mind blowing may be an exaggeration. Let’s say reverberating then.

Someone I have come to know through Facebook sent me a very endearing message. While this is not someone I have met in “real life”, I do believe in the power of connecting with people even if it’s in cyber space somewhere.  Anyways, he reached out to me today to tell me this:

Doesn’t mean much to you but I’m proud of you. Happy to see you chasing your dreams. Honored to call you a friend.

Ok so first things first… I do not think we should EVER diminish the value that our words have on someone else. We under estimate the power or impact we can have on someone else just by taking 4.3 seconds to type a genuine message. (Which also is the case with messages that are mean spirited. Pick your words carefully).

When we speak from the heart, the message is heard loud and clear. If I just got a generic message like “good luck in your endeavors” then yeah perhaps I would not have thought much of it. For anyone to take the time, even if it takes 4.3 seconds to do, it’s still 4.3 seconds that someone took to send love and support. Which I don’t care who you are, like me, you need it.

Which also leads me to my next point.  When you have news, share it. I know for many of us, we are private (as am I with certain topics and details). But it’s like there’s this idea of shared energy or something. When you are excited, happy, unstoppable, that is what you are putting out there and so that is what you get back. Energy is infectious and when you have things happening, I say share share share! The love and support you will receive in return will only manifest your dreams and ideas that much faster. I can tell you the more people I share my plans and accomplishments and hopes and desires with, the more open I feel. And so it is no wonder I am getting validation from the most unexpected people telling ME I am an inspiration.

Which leads me to my next point. I have to say, being told I am inspiring has a whole lot of pressure attached to it. Knowing I am a person of interest (guys I am kidding. My ego is not that big)… Seriously though, knowing that my choices and actions are inspiring anyone humbles me like nothing I have ever experienced. The pressure kicks in because I do have fears which are scary to be exposing. Like what if I do not pass my Personal Training certification after posting about it for 3 months?  Or what if I launch a business that that flops? How is that inspiring?

The thing is though, I do have those thoughts for like a split second (which yeah happens more than just from time to time), I have to remind myself that like the idea of shared energy, if I keep fearing it, I am putting it out to the universe that I will fail. Which is NOT an option. So I instead shift my thinking to I WILL  pass my certification (which will not just happen by luck. I will be putting in the time studying and getting prepared). My coaching business will be successful, fulfilling, magical and inspiring. It is all about mindset. There is no room for negative thinking.

I also am realizing from my friend’s message today that the idea of being inspiring is not about being perfect. Being inspiring means being real. It’s being honest. It’s being human. It’s ok to have triumphs and it is also ok to fall. Nobody is perfect and being inspired by anyone that is seemingly perfect is just disappointment waiting to happen. I am not pretending that I know exactly what I am doing. I know what I may do today. I do not even know literally what I am doing tomorrow. This is why I am inspiring people. I am truly taking a road to a destination that is somewhat lucid yet there is literally no playbook or road map to get me there. I am trusting in myself and timing and the universe to guide me. I put on my big girl pants every day (well except the days I need my neighbor to come over and kill a water bug for me) and I just do.  That is why people find me to be inspiring.

And another thing about that. We all have the ability to do what I am doing. I am no different than you. In fact, I am probably very much like you. It took me years and a whole lot of stress and anxiety to get to a point where I accepted that I needed to make a change in a really big way. It is just getting to that point that is separating me from you or anyone else. As my niece would say, I am being brave. You can too.

 

 

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Fear 2.0

Disclaimer: Hi friends! I admittedly have writer’s block. Well, that’s not entirely true. I actually have A LOT of topics whirling through my brain faster than I can really process them. So, since they are not quite hatched and ready to be written, I looked back at posts from last summer. I came across this one and thought that it is very fitting. The blog in its entirety I still stand by. I do believe fear is one of the biggest obstacles people face in CrossFit when it comes to progressing and reaching goals (and any other sport really). It had me thinking though how it ties to so many other things in life. I know I am in a period of transition and change in many ways so what if I took the same post and added a little extra commentary? It sounds grand doesn’t it? Well then please, read on. 

Note: I have deliberately made a distinction as to what was in the original post compared to today’s, with the latter being in italics.

 

It’s been a week box of retesting 1 rep maxes.  Snatches. Squats. Cleans. Jerks. You name it. What do they have in common? Fear. 1 RM brings out fear in the best of us. There is the fear of failing. The fear of letting the mental override the physical. The fear of committing to a movement. The fear of experiencing what suck really feels like.

Fear keeps us from reaching goals. Sometimes you have to be uncomfortable to get to where you want to be. Sometimes you have to let go of a friendship or relationship to allow space for new ones. Sometimes you have to experience the suck of a diet or giving up your favorite vice to reach your health goal. It is a give and take in life in general in my opinion. We all know you don’t get things for nothin’.  If you want something badly enough, how uncomfortable are you willing to get to achieve that?

 

The thing is though, we use fear as a reason to not push ourselves. It feels safer that way. Or maybe it feels easier. It’s better to successfully press 100 lbs and not even try 105 (that’s just crazytown) than it is to attempt 105 and fail.  Psych! Read that and tell me it makes any logical sense. If you do CrossFit, it’s a safe assumption that you are there for the challenge. We don’t walk away from a metcon typically saying “that was fun”. We are there for the suck. The suck is what makes all of it gratifying and challenging and therefore fun.

Think about what you procrastinate on. Is it laziness? Is it being overwhelmed? Or is it perhaps the fear of pushing ourselves? Do we not push ourselves because to push ourselves means it might hurt in some way albeit short lived or not? The thing is though, sometimes pushing ourselves leads to new great things, but we fear the unknown. I know I have been guilty even of pushing myself with the topics I should to write about out of fear of being judged or too vulnerable. Yet I know the times I do push myself to go a little deeper or a little more into unchartered waters, I often get great results and inspire others.

 

Fear means getting comfortable being uncomfortable.  In CrossFit, the whole idea is to push ourselves beyond our limits. We can never do that if we stay comfortable and never get on the other side of fear.

 

 

 

To take this one step further, let’s get into the difference between feeling challenged and feeling like you are doing the near impossible. There is a fine line between the two yet the distinction is so powerful. Take back squats for example. If you have ever done a squat cycle, this should sound familiar. The volume and load methodically increases and decreases throughout the cycle. You slowly build strength. When you are in one of the last weeks of it, you’ll likely be doing reps at a high percentage of what your starting 1 RM max is. Or you may be doing higher reps at somewhat lower percentage. It’s not likely you will fail (even if you fear you will) as squat cycles are brilliantly programmed to avoid this. So you go through the reps, and no, they are not easy, but you do not fail.

Even if you do fail, it is not the worst thing in the world. If anything, it fuels you to want it even more. Failing also just means when you do succeed, you will appreciate that glory and gratification exponentially more.

 

Then comes the retest day. You start working your way up to your 1 RM and then you test the waters and increase the weight to get a new PR. When you get to that say 110% of your 1 RM, the difficult y of that squat should feel subtly yet distinctively harder than when you squatted during the cycle. There’s that defining moment right after you complete the descend and start to stand back up. It’s that really sticky make or break moment where you dig deep inside and push like hell through it. And you do it! Yet, when you are on the ascend there’s a split moment where you make the choice to give in or keep going.  If you give into it without trying, you have gained nothing. If you power through it, you may actually experience a really wickedly awesome moment. Even if you fail trying, it will benefit you far more than not trying at all. Giving into fear just kills the drive and motivation to ever push harder. Fear despite the connotation, is actually a good thing, if you let it power you as opposed to inhibit. If we wanted to stay comfortable all the time, we would not be in CrossFit.

If we wanted to stay comfortable, we definitely can. Many of us do and are content. But is content enough for you? Are you ok with having the same 1 RM in any lift for life? Are you ok staying in a job that leaves you content but perhaps not inspired? Is comfortable more important to you than happiness?

 

Those sticky moments are uncomfortable. The first time you experience it, it may even be intimidating and feel icky. I encourage everyone to find that sticky moment. It’s difficult to even explain that feeling. All I can say is once you do, you will fear those moments less. The element of the unknown is gone and you will feel far more confident to keep testing yourself. Find that and then watch and see all that you will accomplish.

Well said if I do say so myself. I encourage you to proactively find those sticky moments. Choose to work through them. Choose to not let fear deter you. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. The reward will be infinitely invigorating and satisfying.

 

Original post here: https://prthislife.wordpress.com/2016/07/06/fear/

 

 

8 Lessons the Election Teaches Us that Have Nothing To Do With Politics

Like so many Americans, this election had me in tears. Tears of sadness. Tears of frustration. Tears of bitterness. Tears of what could have been. My brain literally has been unable to comprehend how I live in a country where the majority of my fellow citizens are standing behind someone who is the antithesis of goodness and logic. I have stopped trying to understand it (at least for the time being), and instead am using it as a time of reflection on the themes and lessons of this election that apply to other areas of life beyond politics.

 

  1. We are far too passive. We talk about needing change and wanting to change, but what do we actually do to make that happen? We want new jobs. We want new career opportunities. We want more social opportunities. We want to get healthy. We want to lose weight. We want to save money. If you want it, go get it. Stop waiting for someone else to do it for you.
  2. The universe has a way of giving us things at the right time. Sometimes things are meant to happen despite what we really, really REALLY want, for reasons that we are not supposed to understand at that moment in time. If we got everything we wanted when we wanted, we would never evolve. I strongly believe life is about timing and being patient for what is meant to be. (For the record, I am not a particularly patient person and it has taken me a long time to understand that great things can happen with patience). There is more to learn from events and relationships that do not always come easily. Challenges and failures are what make us better, more evolved.
  3. Speaking of evolving, we never stop. As much progress as we make, there is always more to be done. There is no cap nor timeline on being open-minded, caring, kind and selfless. No matter how great or ideal anything may seem, it is naive to ever think it is perfected or ends there. Whether it is acing an exam or running your first mile or spending a day feeding the homeless, it does not end there.
  4. We need to adapt our communication styles to appeal to the other side or the messages, no matter how dire or important, will be lost. Hear what they are saying and find ways to address them on their terms. Let them feel like you are speaking to them, not at them. Let them know you are taking the time to understand them. (Spewing hate or calling someone ignorant is probably not going to motivate them to ever be open to a different perspective).
  5. Always strive to understand the other perspective whether you agree with it or not.It is impossible to get past differences and step outside of yourself if there is blatant reluctance or refusal to even understand the other side.
  6. Know when to walk away and know when to fight. I know that I have walked away from people, places and situations sooner than I should have. I also know there were times I did not walk away soon enough. Sometimes we walk away because it just seems easier or that staying means we have to face some possible ugly things, which could be in others and could be in ourselves. Sometimes walking away is the right thing to do (we would never encourage a friend to stay with an abusive partner). Yet, lets never lose sight of what is worth fighting for. Choosing to fight or not fight should not be based on the challenge of it.There are things worth fighting for in this world and chances are, they will knock us down before we get back up. Fight for your loved ones. Fight for your beliefs. Fight for those who can’t do it themselves.  (And for heaven’s sake, fight for your country! #shamelessplug)
  7. We should not allow one event to define us. My life, my character, my beliefs are not based on any one thing. I am who I am for an ongoing lifelong compilation of events, feelings, choices and people. Bad and good, they make me who I am. I refuse to be considered any less American today than I was one week ago.
  8. Sometimes you have to take a few steps back (ok and in some cases, hundreds) to take one step forward.

 

Think of these lessons and reminders not just in terms of this election or our country. Think of yourself. Think of your interactions with others. Think of your wants, your ambitions, your goals. Think of your family, friends, colleagues, neighbors and even strangers. Think of how you fit into the grand scheme of things.  Think of each of us as having our own individual obligations to live up to while still being part of a bigger, more powerful collective responsibility. We are part of one universe, one space. Let us all learn to respect what it does for us, even if we cannot always see what we want to see.