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?

Daniel Tiger-style

The sign also flashes but I was standing in their yard and I didn’t want to be caught trespassing

“Rest is best, rest is best!” When I tried to find a photo of Daniel Tiger, a bottle of Jack Daniels popped up so maybe that’s the only sign you need.

Much conversation exists on the power of rest. Mental, physical, spiritual – rest binds us. It replenishes our entire body; burning the candle at both ends has been shown to decrease productivity and your ability to fight disease, among many other awful side effects.

You may have nutrition down to a science and you regularly work out, but aren’t seeing the results you deserve. Check your sleep patterns. I often encounter men and women who tell me they sleep, on average, 4 hours or less per night. WHAT?! When I recover from my shock, which has ceased because I hear this response a lot now, I ask what the reasons behind not sleeping are. Work. Family. Stress. Life. Stress about all of the above. So you’re telling me you’re stressed and not sleeping stresses you out even more so the cycle continues? Pretty much.

A common misconception is the ability to “make up” sleep. I’m guilty of this, too. As a teenager, out all night doing things we shouldn’t discuss, I figured it was okay because I could just take a long nap on Sunday and be caught up for the new week! Yeah right. Once the sleep schedule is disrupted and you’re consistently not getting enough sleep (recommended 7-8 hours nightly) then it’s gone. There’s no make up day to this portion of the test. We have failed. The only way to recover is to establish a sleep routine and stick with it.

Time refuses to stand still

As it always goes, this is easier said than done. I firmly believe some people are night owls and some of us are destined for early mornings and 8pm bedtimes. If you can’t see me waving my hands in the air, look closer. I really wish I understood this mystery. BUT – I think clocks can be reset with dedication and commitment. Perhaps the addition of a very loud alarm clock helps. In any case, losing sleep is nothing good.

____________________

I ask you –

How much sleep do you typically receive?

Are you a night owl or an early riser?

List some barriers to getting a good nights’ sleep. – Caffeine, a full stomach…

Tis the Season – Meet the Family

For all the ways it could have gone, there were no fistfights, duels, or police presence so that’s saying something. Tell me you have similar fears when your family gets together. Humor me. I had a recurring dream of this very scenario, but what was most telling was the fact I washed my hands of the situation and didn’t engage. This boundary training is going semi-well.

Group photo. Many of these family members I have not seen in over 10 years or more. It was by sheer amazement so many were able to be here this Thanksgiving. Definitely owe it to my beautiful, inspiring Aunt Mary Catherine – she’s the ring leader.

It only took 16 tries

My siblings and I. Long story short, my brother and I haven’t had the most solid relationship and repair is difficult. However, this photo means so much to me.

buncha’ clowns

My sweet girls. These two have made my whole life complete. I treasure every minute they can spend together. Once Munchkin was able to wrap her mind around the truth she shares her name with her great great aunt, it got much easier! They even have the same birth month. Mind boggling, I know.

Piano sold separately

Lastly, this simple photo of Aunt Mary Catherine and I. She’s 92 years of joy with the heart and soul of a woman who mixes wisdom with the patience of a saint. I can only hope I am a small vision of her selflessness.

The saint and I

Overall, this family “reunion” of sorts was comforting to my mind. It can be so hard to juggle time with family, work, keeping in touch, etc etc etc – some things tend to fall away. I love hearing the stories and seeing the new faces. Much like the fitness industry, things change so quickly…yet everything stays the same. We all want to be heard, seen. And re-charging the batteries in my heart starts right here.

_____________

I ask you –

Share the juiciest details of your family gatherings. Any shockers?!

What family member are you closest to?

Are you re-charged after family holidays? Or more in distress than ever? – it depends on the family, if you ask me!