Sunday, June 29, 2014

Create the life you want

I recently wrote this comment in response to a dear friend's post.  

"it is because of the life we strive to lead, with grace and authenticity, that we attract others into our lives to help support and encourage those goals. We are all here helping each other to be our best selves and to catch each other in the moments we feel far less than best."

It wasn't something I had to think about or carefully craft just flowed because it is what I feel.  It wasn't until someone else re-posted it that I paused to reread it, then realizing it might resonate with others.  

I was in the presence of this same friend just 2 days ago, along with another like-mined man, and I found myself thinking of these very words again.  We all have choices about how we move through the world, with whom we choose to spend out time, and whether we give and share our truest selves.  

Are you acting in accordance to what you feel?  Are your thoughts, words and actions aligned?  Are the people with whom you spend your time supporting you and feeding your soul?  Do you feel good about your interactions with others?

I feel like I am still gaining traction on my desire to embody this daily.  I definitely get lost along the way...or let's be honest, I get in my own way a lot of the time.  I can, almost unconsciously, present what I think will be most willingly accepted by whomever is in front of me.  Or I let my fears and doubts keep me from doing what it is I most want to do at a particular moment.  But then, when I am thoughtful about my actions and choices, it is remarkable how beautifully things seem to fall into place, or at the very least, how comfortable I feel in the discomfort.  

We all have different ideas about how we want to live and continue to thrive.  But take the time to really think about it.  Then I challenge you, as well as myself, to continue to make choices that will support that goal and create the life you want, with the people you want.  Anything is possible.  

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


On the heels of last night's post (if you missed it, click here to read) I thought this was particularly apropos...if not for you, then for me :-)  I talk a lot about courage.  And leading an authentic life.  Being courageous enough to show my true self.  It is a word I love and a quality I hold dear.  Since the meaning of the word is the ability to do or face something that frightens us, I see courage as strength of character.  But I often think of it when overcoming an obstacle.  A big hurdle.  Granted the hurdle might take time to overcome, but still a singular hurdle.  And usually pertaining to something in my personal development.  Dealing with adversity and such.  

Then I got to thinking that true courage can also be tenacity.  To get up every day and be the person you want to be.  Courage is about consistency, and perseverance.  And for the days that I don't quite make it, to be willing to try again.  

None of us are perfect.  I am a far cry from it.  And I don't aspire to be.  That would be soooo boring ;-)  But as my dear friend Shawn says, "Practice makes improvement".  So today I improve a little.  And I will be courageous and go out and do it again tomorrow.  And if I keep repeating that, then eventually I will be running the loop again.  And the molasses will be a distant memory.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

No more Pollyanna from me

I have a question.  WHY, if not forced to do so, would anyone stop working out?  I am not being facetious.  I seriously want to know.  Because getting back in shape SUUUUUCKS.  Plain and simple.  It sucks.  I can barely run a quarter mile at a clip.  Sigh.  I just went for what used to be a standard loop of mine and felt like I was running (and often walking) through molasses.  It sucks ass.  

And if it were someone else saying that, I would be telling them to be patient.  That fitness will come in time.  Soon.  Slow and steady.  A little better each day, each week.  And I will tell myself the same thing.  And I know it to be true.  It would be what I would tell my clients and my students.  I would cheer them on and say how impressed I am that they took the first step.  And all that jazz.  And I would mean every word if it.  

But now I say all those words with far more understanding of the struggle to return to it day after day not feeling strong or able to complete the task set forth.  So if I have ever been Pollyanna about getting in shape, please forgive me.  I will continue to cheerlead because I still believe it is what each of us needs to stay in the game.  And I will encourage my students and friends to stick with it...slow and steady.  But I will never again think it is easy and I will try my best to not be Pollyanna about it.  Because if someone did that to me right now, I wouldn't be very nice ;)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Man Up

I know I am dating myself, as well as admitting that while flipping through the channels I couldn't help but pause to watch the end of such a cult classic (don't dispute that with me...I will go to the mat for John Hughes any day), but do you remember when Andrew McCarthy's character in Pretty in Pink said to Molly Ringwald at the end of the film..."I always believed in you, I just didn't believe in me"?  Or something close to that.  I think it hit a particularly timely nerve for me, because when he said that I yelled, to the TV (yeah, I know), "Man up Bro!"

I have had a number of encounters lately in which people seem to feel one way and act another.  You (that is the proverbial "you") were interested in me yesterday, but not today?  So either you are fickle, you got scared, or I really am mean and still have no idea.  Is it really so difficult for people (in this specific instance I am referring to men, but I think it applies to both genders) to actually speak and act in accordance with their feelings and desires?  I realize what a challenge it can be, believe me I do.  But it if is hard, then figure out why and take steps to get where you want to be.  

Although this started as a commentary about relationships, it is clear to me that my questions apply to many aspects of our lives.  To want anything in life...a new job/career, a better relationship, a happier marriage, improved fitness, proficiency at a hobby or sport...and not realize that it takes effort and practice and work and coaching is simply selling yourself short.  We don't automatically assume we will be the best tennis player or a great surfer, so why do we assume we will be a great partner without similar effort to learn and improve?  Do people not realize that the rewarding things in life take work?  Or is it just too much effort and staying where you are at is safer, easier, more comfortable?  Everything in life is a choice.  Will you take the easy, safe option or will you strive for more?

Thursday, June 5, 2014

We are all the same

Fear.  A powerful and curious emotion.  Some have more of it than others.  Some hide it and some wear it on their sleeve.  Some push past it and act courageously.  Some let it hold them back from going after what they want.  And for some of us, the answer depends on the day.

I just  looked it up.  FEAR is "a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined."  I actually think this makes me less "fearful" of certain things in my life when I realize that I am fearful of things that will not cause pain or injury...except maybe to my ego.  So what if I tell a boy I am interested and he doesn't reciprocate?  All I have done is compliment someone, right?  I will not die from this, or endure any permanent damage.  And what about the moments I am afraid of not being able to get back in shape after this injury.  I can let that immobilize me, or I can harness that energy to create further empathy for those I train and coach (being able to so honestly say "I have been where you are.  I know how you feel").  And then take a step forward each day to disprove that fear.  Proving to myself and others that with each courageous step, we become stronger individuals (and I mean this well beyond the physical).  

I used to believe fear was a negative trait.  But the longer I am here, the more I realize that the vulnerability of it connects us all and allows us to learn about ourselves and begin to know that there is strength in our doubts, our fears and our insecurities, especially when we are willing to be transparent in all that we feel.  

When we can look honestly at the emotion and what causes it, I think it helps us learn a lot about ourselves and teaches us amazingly valuable tools to move through and beyond the fear.  And how exciting to find out what lies ahead? 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

To see how far you've come

We look ahead and often feel overwhelmed by all that we still have yet to accomplish. In sport, career, relationships, family.  Every once in a while we need an opportunity, or a reminder, to look back and see how far we have come.  In talking to a friend recently about his frustration about where he wanted to be in his career at this point in his life, I reiterated the words of a wise woman (or two) who suggested I take pause when feeling frustrated that I was not "where I wanted to be."  

I think it is human nature, coupled with how our society operates, to always be looking ahead.  Striving, pushing ourselves, berating ourselves for what hasn't yet happened.  But I think a true sign of our strength lies in our ability to acknowledge and appreciate all we have already accomplished and overcome.  I know for me this manifests when I start to think, "I didn't imagine I would still be single at 43".  Or "why isn't my business growth happening the way I want it to?"  Then I am gently reminded to think about all that I have learned in the last 6 years since my divorce.  I have, on occasion, pictured myself literally looking back at what I have been though and how much I have grown.  Then I know, and I see, that I am a much wiser, more open, stronger partner now because of the past and a smarter, more savvy business woman.  This all helps me realize that progress is happening every day, even if the arbitrary "end game" hasn't yet happened. To be able to see how far we have come offers amazing perspective to the journey that lies ahead, and lends balance to the feelings that we are "behind", regardless of what stage we are at.  

I think the ability to do this makes the forward motion less burdened with strife and perhaps more rewarding.  And hopefully makes it easier to fully enjoy the moment we are in.  Knowing that life isn't always defined by where you were or where you are going, but rather by what you are doing now, and whether or not you are present in the moment, enjoying it and living it to its fullest potential.  Besides, who the fuck knows what will happen in the future anyway.  If you spend your time planning for that, how will you enjoy where you are and appreciate how far you have come?