How to be Brave and Courageous!

Don’t ask me. I have zero ideas how to accomplish this.

But I know someone who tells me how brave I am each time we visit. She reminds me I can do hard things, how growth is obtainable, and that finding myself may mean a loss of others who don’t want to see me succeed. It stings. Take it from me: I’m no expert at this life stuff. I tend to find people who need rescuing and when they’ve gotten what they needed they disappear. And it sucks.

There’s this life cycle we transcend which may last for days, weeks, months. It’s possible to become complacent or unaware, even unwilling, to make a change. I’m absolutely, one hundred percent willing and aware. But one person’s timeline doth not a decision make. Humor makes me more approachable, or so I’m told. Back to bravery and courage though. Doing hard things looks different for every human. We’re not immune to life. There is no fast pass or skipping ahead in line. These so-called “hard things” arrive in our life in many forms. The patterns of gray and shades of black and white can be discernible to those looking in, but not necessarily the one with the microscope. Best be careful what instructions are given.

My spirit animal

My mini and I read a book titled Be Brave, Little Tiger by Margaret Wise Brown. It has a fun, catchy song the little tiger sings to entice himself to be brave. I often overhear Munchkin singing it to herself; truth be told, I catch myself humming along randomly, too. But it’s hard to be convincing when all you have is a children’s song as the soundtrack to something much more in depth. Bravery and courage are abstract. So how do I coach my internal narrative through a complicated process like this?

First, I write notes to myself. Second, I put them in all the places. Lastly, I close my eyes and repeat these words as many times as it takes to FEEL them. If you don’t have a cheerleader or your inner coach is a bit on the negative side or maybe your coach ditched you for greener pastures, be louder than anything standing in your way.

Sticky notes of all colors

Go forth and BE BRAVE!

___________________

I ask you –

Is there a childhood book that stands out in your mind as a favorite? – anything Amelia Bedelia

Do you consider someone in your life to be overly brave and courageous?

Advice for anyone seeking bravery and courage. Suggestions are welcomed.

There is nothing noble in not asking for help, pt 1

You don’t get extra credit by not asking for help. Profound! I wish I had lived by this many years ago – when I thought it was the right thing to do to always do it on my own, never asking for help, always anxious and frustrated I couldn’t get it all done.

I felt like a failure. Today I stand, errr sit? perch?, before you and tell you it’s ok to ask for help. More than this, it’s imperative you ask for help. Be it by seeking a coach, a trainer, a loved one, a therapist, whatever and whoever. Just ask for help.

More and more, I notice the prevalence of our human nature to refuse help. If it’s enough for my young mini-me to ask for help, then why is it wrong of me to do the same? We encourage the generations after us to seek help for their problems – yet we rarely follow our own advice. Why is this?

The inside is like a well seasoned pot – or a cup you’d find on the mess decks

Even though the aforementioned mini-me is a self-proclaimed EXPERT at everything, there is zero expectation to live up to the hype. But not beating ourselves up is much more difficult. I know I’m right.

Day after day, night after night, I confess the many benefits of personal training. I tell my story and listen to theirs. And I remind them I didn’t find my own wellness until I sought help. Ultimately, you never know what you can do until you ask. As a member is always telling me, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” And I know asking for help doesn’t make me weak.

_______________

I ask you –

Do you have a problem asking for help?

Often times, help is free. The only cost is commitment. What is your barrier to asking?

Have you ever asked for help for something huge in your life?

Behold! + Danger Signs

Alas, the suck has continued. Who knew. Perhaps I counted myself lucky a few too many times before because after the past few days, I should reconsider.

As bruises are now appearing and the aftermath awaits in my garage for professional attention, my 20/20 (jokes) vision has shown me, once again, I ignored all the signs. 1) when it took almost 5 hours for me to get home the night before due to road closures attributed to flooding. 2) when the roads were progressively getting worse and the forecast called for inches of snow and ice. 3) and finally – when it was too late.

As my car began spin 1 of 3, I not only felt but saw the relationship some of my choices have in common with the out of control feeling I was experiencing. I repeated out loud for the universe to hear me “We’re ok” as my car slammed against and finally bounced off the hard objects it encountered. Ice and snow are so beautiful from the safe confines of a warm home. Not so much when your car decides to ice skate. Eventually I ended up facing the wrong direction in the middle of a major highway; my car, a guardrail, and another car being the only casualties. Seems I go all in. In essence, ‘this is why’ doing the right thing isn’t always right! (I won’t be including wreckage photos for those of you who love that stuff. It makes my heart sad.)

I make light of the situation in the only way I know how: with loads of humor. Truthfully, it was a scary a** experience and one I never hope to repeat. I’m incredibly thankful my mini-me wasn’t with me and no one was hurt. The vehicle I love so much can be replaced, but our lives cannot. Perhaps this was just another example of priorities and how every attempt to get mine together doesn’t pay off immediately. It does eventually, though, right? RIGHT? It would be too simple to say I was distracted, I was driving too fast, etc. but I was doing everything right. Sometimes when you’re doing everything right, your car decides to go left. As I sobbed my heart out the next day – first day shock is for real – the fixer in me appeared. For once, I didn’t try to establish a boundary and back away from that tendency because taking action is my way of coping. I came up with a plan. I was ready to attack! Now…we wait. What do you mean insurance adjusters need time off?! The waiting game is my demise.

How can I translate this to the fitness industry and the swarm of New Years resolutionists I encounter? No se. Maybe all I can say is you will experience setbacks and tribulations. There will be days, even weeks, where nothing is going right. You’ll sob your eyes out in an empty parking lot while wondering why is everything going so wrong. You’ll wish for things that may never come. And then you’ll limp your way home, feeling sorry for yourself, and make a new game plan. Because that’s what we do. And…we’re ok.

__________________

I ask you –

Power of 3? Or is that only for bad luck?

Anyone else want a dose of this suck? It’s free!

Might be in the business of searching for a new car. Suggestions are always welcomed.

Risky Business: Growth

Could it be so easy?

I’ve been thinking about all the ways life has changed for me since this time last year. Occasionally reflection can prove beneficial so I took a trip down memory lane. Short of sounding like a pessimistic, ungrateful child, some things have been incredibly difficult while others have seen marginal improvement. I’ve completed a few very hard things, watched some people walk out of my life, and continued on a journey of growth. I’m reasonably certain no one close to me reads this anymore which is both saddening and self-fulfilling.

Prior to a bunch of different events, I believed counting on others was what came naturally to us as humans and everyone needed a solid group of people to hold this role for them. Not to sound jaded now, but I believe I was wrong. Incredibly wrong. As my circle has essentially diminished, I find myself with even more time to think. 4 hours a day wasn’t enough apparently. My dreams are overcome with scenarios that never played out or words I should’ve said. But I don’t live life with regrets. However, if this is my time for growth, I didn’t expect it to all come so quickly. A little warning would have been nice!

Perhaps we all get stuck in a bucket of suck. Made up that terminology all by myself. There was some infamous person who coined the phrase “embrace the suck”. No thanks, buddy, I won’t be embracing it, but I will let it roll over me like the lesson I’m assuming it is supposed to be. What kind of lesson is suck though? Wallowing in self-pity did nothing to help so I’m on to Plan B, C, D or whatever letter I eventually end up at. As hard as it is to connect to people, you would think the more the merrier. Guess not.

The moral of the story is sometimes your journey may truly suck, but it’s not over. The end.

Life of a butterfly

Kidding. The end is nigh but not just yet. Maybe I’m the worst advice giver in the world – truthfully, I’m waiting for an advice giver to arrive in my life and bring forth wisdom. Move over, I’m going to take up a lot of space. It amazes me the reliance we place on others and how their disappearance can be felt so intensely. If karma exists, you win. In the mean time, I’ll spend my days seeking growth. And you should do the same.

______________________

I ask you –

Is karma real? How do you know?

Embrace the suck – best advice or just dumb?

Tell me what growth looks like for you.

Priority vs Afterthought

Priority uno

For all I write, I’ve been struggling with this topic because it’s not easy to identify how this will be received. Not by the reader, but by the psyche. Well known: we tend to put others first and forget our own goals. Not so well known: which group do you fall into? The answer is not so simple.

If I asked you where you stand on a particular point or what your belief systems are, you could most likely answer quite easily. But if I asked you to pick between reaching your personal goals and doing something you love (provided they are different) you might become confrontational or even withdrawn.

This here is where it gets tricky. Relationships with people you love shouldn’t create a feeling of being the afterthought versus a priority. If one person is receiving the attention, joy, and emotional nurturing, but the other either isn’t or perceives they aren’t, then resentment develops. Each party must acknowledge what the other needs in order to continue.

Health and fitness are like this, too. Squint your eyes – you’ll see it. By making your health goals an afterthought, your mind and body don’t receive what is necessary to complete the changes sought. It’s like putting diesel fuel in a gasoline-powered engine. All fuels aren’t created equally. Just because it says “fuel” doesn’t mean it is the right kind. There’s something specific needed for each type of engine.

Hot car

What kind of engine do you drive? Not literally. Are you in need of an upgrade, but don’t know if you’re ready? The only thing stopping you is you. Make your goals the priority instead of pushing them to the back burner. Let it be known what you need emotionally, physically, and spiritually. We can’t expect others to read our minds; however, if they’re clue’d in, they’ll notice.

_________________________

I ask you –

What fuels your engine?

How often do you prioritize yourself?

Was the squinting I mentioned really necessary? Did you get it?

And then it happened!

As hard as I’ve been working toward overcoming fears, sometimes they still sneak up out of seemingly nowhere. That’s when someone walks out from behind a dumpster and has the nerve to stare at you as if you did something wrong as you SCREAM in their face. And by you, I mean me. My horror could not be mistaken. I was absolutely terrified. Clearly there’s more to this story. You see, I’m scared of dumpsters. Perhaps I’ve mentioned it before? I’m fearful of someone jumping out from inside one or, please don’t let this ever happen to me, someone being found sans heartbeat. The news makes it sound like this happens all the time. I don’t know if it does or not, but I worry about it. As luck would have it, I don’t want to be anywhere near gruesome dumpster discoveries so I avoid them at all costs.

The problem is I have a job where I’m expected to remove trash from inside the building and deposit it into the dumpster behind. This should be easier than it sounds and that’s saying something. Typically, I can ask a favor of someone else to take out the trash. Except when they’re gone. Alternative B is to let the trash pile up which is really no alternative at all. Are you grasping the predicament?

Actual footage, using a long range lens

So in doing what is right, I took the trash out by myself to the scary dumpster. As I finished tossing the bags overhead, I turned to walk back to the building and a man came out from behind the dumpster. I screamed for a solid 5 seconds – mouth open, bloody murder-style screamed. Then I cursed a lot and literally ran back inside. I’m not apologizing for probably scaring the man, too, because he had to have known I was there. I had 4 trash bags to heave over the top of the dumpster! I’d been there several minutes! He should have stayed hidden until I walked away. I believe that’s a logical and reasonable expectation.

Nonetheless, my heartbeat has returned to normal. The trash is safely in the dumpster confines. And I may never, read: NEVER, go near another dumpster ever again. I’ll pay a nice person to take it outside if that’s what it takes. But it won’t be me.

I also believe my cardio workout is now complete. It took well over 20 minutes for my heart rate to return to a normal level. Always looking on the bright side.

_______________

I ask you –

What are you afraid of?

Have I traumatized you with my dumpster story?

Tell me what the going rate for a trash taker outer, please.

20/20

I can’t stop laughing at the jokes about people wishing Barbara Walters would host the New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square because then she’d say “And this is 2020” or something to that effect. Puns are my favorite.

*giggle*

Since the fitness industry can feel like it revolves around capitalizing on the human population’s desire to commit to resolutions and those resolutions typically happen on New Years Day and most, if not all, Mondays, it would be wrong of me to tell you this isn’t really my favorite time of year. But it’s really not. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I believe each and every person who walks into the gym January 1st has the very best intention to get their health in order, to make the steps it takes to change their life, and to reach all the goals they’ve set. I truly believe it. But if I could change one thing, it would be to inspire them to change their life before it gets to this point. Before another Monday sneaks up on us. Before another decade arrives. Before they’re at the point of no return. As I am a realist yet also a dreamer, this is conflicting.

However, before you discount my ramblings as sheer cynicism, please remember I believe in you. I believe you can do this without me, but if you need help, I’m with you on your journey. My faith is unwavering. My words are upbeat and kind. I will cry and laugh with you. Occasionally, I’ll even be stern with you. Because I believe you can do this.

“This” doesn’t always refer to joining a gym. I believe you can do anything. Read it again and yell it out loud for those talking in the back. I BELIEVE YOU CAN DO ANYTHING! Anything! You want to be a master sculptor? Do it! You want to complete an Ironman? Go for it! Time for a job change? (Are you a personal trainer? Call me!) 2020 is a time for celebration because it just is. Because why not?! And 2020 looks really cool when you write it so I think the reason speaks for itself.

Told ya!

My goals: peak performance, write, and do hard things. Not necessarily in any order. More like circular goals. Nonetheless, the old ways aren’t working – time to try something new.

______________

I ask you –

What are your resolutions?

If you don’t believe in resolutions, tell me something you plan to do this year.

What year was your best? (physical best, most accomplishments, etc.)