Friday, February 10, 2017

Change...

February 10, 2017

Change... how many times in 5.5 years have I written about change? I talk to myself about it all the time. I understand what is is... how it works and to make anything happen in life, more often than not change has to happen. The thing is... change is freaking scary.

Ask yourself this. Are you happy? Happy with your job, the way you eat, how you look, where you live, how much money you save, how often you see you friends? Any of these things... and beyond... really think about. One at a time... dont try to address ALL of these things at once, because its painful and overwhelming... but one at a time, really think about it.

If the answer is yes, keep on keeping on... your doing great. If the answer is no... ask yourself if you really want to be happy. If the answer is yes, change something. Otherwise, nothing will change. You will remain unhappy with whatever it is you are unhappy with.

I realize... from experience... that change can be scary. Depending on the amount of change necessary to really make a difference... you might have to make some sacrifices, step out of your comfort zone, or do something you never thought you would do. The thing is though... the result can be amazing. The feeling after the fact that you know you made the right decision makes all the difference in the world. There is almost nothing better than the "why didnt I do this sooner" feeling to let you know you made the right choice.

Take a chance. Make a change. Give it a chance and dont fight it. You will be happy that you did it...


Friday, January 27, 2017

"Better and Different"

January 27, 2017

Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going.  – Jim Rohn

Funny when your worlds suddenly collide when you are least expecting it.

I have used this quote as the header of my blog since the very first day it launched in 2011. I often stumbled across quotes from Jim Rohn when looking for motivation through the years of struggles with my health and fitness. I started blogging after I had hit what I felt was rock bottom, felt like I dragged my way through every day and began to understand that it was in my power to make a change. It was in no one else’s hands, it was no one else’s “fault but my own” and until I made a change, everything was going to remain the same. His words often propelled my writing, inspired me to blog about how I felt when I read them and made me really think about what it was/is that motivates me. What is it exactly that I am looking for? How am going to ultimately reach my goal? Can I make it past he road blocks, struggles and doubts… and who are the people in my corner helping to encourage and support along the way?

There are not many people in the world that are “lucky” enough to have decided what they wanted to do with their lives (professionally) in high school, go on to college, continue for a Masters and land a job in the field of their choice. I am one of them. Not only that, but I happen to work at a firm that is very much unlike any other I know. The importance of how we feel as employees holds a very high regard. We are respected as individuals and there are often conversations about how we feel about certain things, our personalities, how to deal with difficult conversations/people and what we can do to better ourselves.  We are strongly encouraged to continue our education, broaden our skill sets and challenge ourselves both as a company and individually. It’s a pretty nice feeling to not feel “replaceable.”

Yesterday, my office held our annual “launch” meeting. I suppose a lot of companies have meetings like this (I understand not all do) where all the employees are gathered, and discuss the previous year’s goals and if we reached them, the coming years revenue projections and what the trends are in our industry. Each year there is a new idea. A focus for the company, a goal is set and a discussion was had as to how we as a whole will reach that goal. This year was “better and different” from the rest.

A guest speaker joined us, Steven Melanson from Melanson consulting, he is a “Verbal Branding” consultant. Did I remember that in those exact words… no. Did I have to email someone from my company to ask what his last name and company name was… yes. Was one of Stevens main points of his presentation that when you introduce yourself to someone and tell them what you do, that they won’t remember… yes. However, I did remember his message, and to be quite honest, that was the whole point of his presentation… funny how that works (and apparently he is very good at what he does).  He explained to us what his purpose is and what makes him “better and different” from others who speak on verbal branding. He simplified in the best possible way, why I want to talk to him about this and no one else, how he can help me get better at it. He proved to be “better and different” because of that. He was real, he was casual and he didn’t talk above us, he talked to us. He discussed the importance of simplicity and how your first interaction needs to be simple, clean and to the point, no rehearsals, no gimmicks… just a real 5 second conversation telling someone not what you do… but what makes you “better and different” for doing what you do. If it goes beyond that, that’s when the real meat comes out… but if you cant get the person interested enough to understand why they would be “crazy” enough to not want to work with you, you are no different from the next. I spoke with him for a few minutes after the presentation about how I feel personality and confidence plays a roll in this as well. If you are not likeable, it ends at that. So how do you become likeable? How do you build confidence? Repetition. Repetition is key. Practicing good habits over and over until whatever it is you are shooting for becomes part of your life.

Following the speaker presentation, The Big Man had his turn to present to us. Very excitedly he discussed an “ah ha” moment that he and others had following our company retreat. He then began to speak about change. About how important it is to achieve love, health, happiness and wealth; “The Good Life” so to speak. How at some point in your life you don’t want to look in the rear view mirror and think “what the heck just happened, how did I get where I am?” We did an exercise where we had to think as big as we possibly could at a goal… attainable or not… we are talking “winning the crossfit games” or “owning a bed and breakfast on the North Carolina shore, while practicing architecture from home with a wealth of clients and the ability to have a flexible schedule and not have my kid in daycare” kind of stuff.  Then we had to ask the question to ourselves… “how do we get there?”

Big Man brought up a few mentors, but when the quote from Jim Rohn scrolled across the screen as one of the firsts… “Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going,” my brain had a complete “ah ha” moment of its own. As an employee of this “company,” I am considered family. I know I have a team behind me, support. We have been granted a window into being our best selves. We are being encouraged to succeed… be it at whatever we want in life. To become a group of EXTRAordinary people. The goal is to accelerate growth by helping us and giving us the tools to reach our goals and helping us to keep motivated to push ahead. Its exciting. Its new... and uncharted territory for a lot of people. Scary, Im sure. 

Why not use the same “motivation, determination and drive” I wrote so many times about, over and over again in regards to my fitness with other goals that I feel “stuck at.” I am in control. I am the only one who can make these decisions, I am the only one holding myself back from being EXTRAordinary. Its not the things in my life... its me. The way I look at things, the way I handle situations, the way I do things that I hate that do even though I hate that I do them (got that?). It’s time to get in the driver’s seat, its time to show what makes me "better and different." Its time to get started.

Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going.  – Jim Rohn


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Gerald the Giraffe

January 18, 2017

Tonight after coming home from daycare and watching "a snowman," Mr Z actually said "no" to watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse... which is a miracle in itself. It was too early for bed time and it was bath night, so I brought him up early to hop in the tub with his other favorites, Nemo and Dory. After we ran around and chased each other all over my second floor while the tub filled up, he took a long (and bubble filled) tub.

Its really one of my favorite times of the day. I take him out of the bath, we giggle while I kiss his little feets and tell them they are "my feet." He is all warm and snuggly and smells like Johnson Bubble Stuff... his eyelashes are still a little damp and hes sleepy in his eyes after a fun energy filled day. We lay together in his bed (the twin bed in his room), he makes sure he is positioned just right in the bed with his head on his pillow as tight to my side as he can be... legs crossed (always) and we read books. Sometimes he reads along with me when he knows the book... its awesome.

The last book of the night is always The Little Blue Truck, at the end of that one, he says "night night truck" and he gives kisses and hugs and I put him in the crib. However, tonight I decided, since I had a little extra time, to read him another of my favorites, "Giraffes Cant Dance." My cousin Melis gave this book to me and "The Little Monster" at my baby shower, there is a hand written note inside the front cover telling him that there is "always time to dance!" It makes me smile every time I look at it.

The book is about a Giraffe named Gerald who "cant dance." He is embarrassed, at a party,  in front of all the jungle friends who of course, can dance. They make fun of him and he leaves the party. In the woods he talks to a cricket who teaches him a lesson and the next thing you know, he is dancing... and one of the BEST dancers around! He is soon surrounded by all of the animals in the jungle asking him how he did it... in the end he explains that anyone can dance... they just need to find the right song.

When Gerald talks to the cricket in the woods is where one of my favorite lines occurs... "sometimes when your different, you just need a different song." This phrase brings me right back to when I was a little girl and my mom sat me down to pep talk me when "the popular" girls made fun of me, I didnt feel like I belonged anywhere. It makes me think of every moment since when I have felt insecure or unsure of myself in any situation or when trying something new... it reminds me of the struggle of trying to "fit in" when really, you dont have to fit in, you just have to "be you" and that should be enough. If people dont like you, thats ok too... they dont have to.

I hope to teach my son that its ok to be different. That being different is what makes you awesome. That he should always stand up for himself, be brave and be the best he can be. Some days will be sad, some days will be harder than others, some days will feel like nothing will go his way... but... If I can teach him what my Mom and Dad instilled in me, that He is amazing, He can do anything he puts his mind to and He can be anything he wants to be... then I will be doing alright!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

When it Rains... It Pours

January 17, 2017

When it rains... it pours...
Definition:
Misfortunes or difficult situations tend to follow each other in rapid succession or to arrive all at the same time.
Yeah, that sounds about right... it sums up the last 5 days of my life. Its funny how things seem to happen that way. It really feels like a common occurrence for me. Its the reason why I have such a hard time looking a the "bright" side and being optimistic. I am constantly looking for the giant bomb that is going to drop on me... then burst into flames... the sink into the ocean... then get eaten by a whale...

I hate that I am that way. I hate that once things start to spiral, I feel like I cant get out of my own way then suddenly there are now 5,000 things "wrong." Certainly makes me feel like throwing in the towel and hiding in my bed with a bag of chewy sprees crying my eyes out.

In reality. I would never, could never, do those things... rather, I stand tall and face whatever it is that is happening with my feathers ruffled and feet planted in the ground. My little guy has made it even more clear to me that facing these obstacles head on, is the way to go. Nothing can get in my way and really... each "thing" that happens is just that... an obstacle... an obstacle in the giant race of life that we are all racing to the finish line of. Why? Im not sure. Maybe we should all slow down and take it all in... might make the road a little more enjoyable.

The most important thing to me in my life is that my child is happy. In order for him to be happy, I have to be happy. I have to be happy at work, at the gym, at home... not "sing songs" and "rainbows and butterflies" happy all the time, because that is just not logical. However, overall, general happiness with the choices I have made, and continue to make, the things that I do and the perspective I have on things... those are what assures I am happy. My happiness will translate into his happiness. You cant fake that. Hes almost 2. I dont need to tell him that I am happy, he has to FEEL that I am happy.

When the rain starts to fall... I look at his sweet face... then, even as the rain increases and it begins to pour... I remember, I am his Mama. I am the world to him right now. I help influence his every minute. He can feel my pain, my sadness... turn it around. Smile at those little brown eyes as he asks "Mama, you comin'" and show him the best possible life he can have.




Wednesday, January 11, 2017

What Scares You?

January 11, 2017



I love this. I love the feeling that I get right before I do something that "scares" me. The uncomfortable jostle of my stomach. The feeling of my heart beating a little faster. The hair standing up on my neck and arms. That moment when I close my eyes, take a deep breath and then approach whatever it is I have to do. The uncertainty. Its refreshing to me. It reminds me that life is for living and shouldn't be boring and predictable. That not everything comes easy. Reward takes risk, with risk, you get reward. Kind of amazing.

As we get older we sort of land somewhere in the world of "everyday life." We do the things we do the way we do them... because that is how we have always done them. I fold my clothes a certain way because I worked in retail for a lot of years and it just comes natural to do it that way. I do my laundry a certain way, because that is how I was taught, might not be the same way you were taught... but in the end its the same result. We take the same roads to get from A to B (both physically and hypothetically) because its a "risk" to do it any other way. We are comfortable with the way we have "always" done something.

By "scary," I'm not talking about walking on a tight rope or jumping out of an airplane (however, if faced with those two things I would probably do them)... I'm talking about simply doing something that makes you question just for a split second, if you know what you are doing... Maybe its something you've never done before, talk to a client, present an idea that is outside the box, lift a weight that you've never attempted, take a country western dance class when you haven't danced in years, take a new way home, wear your hair in a different way than usual... hell, buy a pair of skinny jeans... just do SOMETHING that keeps life interesting, fun and moving forward.

Risk the failure. Risk the embarrassment. Face the uncomfortable. Feel the pride when you succeed.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Good Morning

January 10, 2017

Geepers, I found myself at the end of last year suddenly accidentally dating things 2015... and this morning I typed 2018. Slow down time... haha! I am certainly not ready for it to be 2018, we just got 2017 off and running.

I stopped blogging way back when, because I felt like everything I needed to say, I had already said. I didnt want to repeat myself, be a broken record or bore anyone (not that I really know if people read this anyway). Over time, I would see something and think, "I could write about that." However, I didnt have the time or the mindset to get back into blogging. Now, today, I saw something and it hit me. I needed to write about it and if its a repeat, youve heard it from me before... or whatever... I am sorry. Though Id be impressed if there is someone out there (aside from my mom <--- HI MOM) who reads my posts every day.

So, here we go. I saw this this morning.



It hit me. It hit me right in a place I needed to be hit. Over the last few years, especially since I have become a mom, I have consciously been working on facing every day as a new day. I try to go to bed and shed the days bullshit, let anything that is bothering me go. It is the only way to get a good nights sleep. When I talked to someone about how to do this, three or so years ago, they told me to lay on my back in "corpse pose." This is a yoga pose where you just lay flat on your back, arms to your sides, palms up, head neutral, and take long deep breaths. I do this on nights that I am feeling tense or frustrated about something. Sometimes it works... I might even fall asleep like that. Others, I have to roll to my side to sleep. Either way, I can usually ground myself, rid my brain of the crap from the day and get ready to start the next day.

Funny how much our actions, mood and attitude affect other people. Each day, if I start new and let the day unfold, I feel like I am much more likely to have a "good" day than bad. That is not at all to say that by 6:00am... after I trip down the stairs, endure -3 degree weather or have to clear snow off my car... or by 7:00am have had a shitty workout and forget my bra and underwear for after my shower... or just been up all night tossing and turning... cant happen. I just have to be strong enough to turn it around and know that all of these things are so very small in the grand scheme of the day and life in general.

So, take a que from the note above. Dont be a shitty person today. Understand that you have no idea what is going on in anyone else's life at any given moment. The guy that just cut you off might be headed home from work in a rush because his kid is sick. The woman in line in front of you at he grocery store who is moving at a snails pace might have just been diagnosed with breast cancer. A person you work with may be in a horrible mood because they just found out their health insurance is going up and they dont know if they can afford it. Maybe someone had a miscarriage, or someone knows someone who died, has a addiction... or any of the million other things in the world that can happen to someone and if you were that person, you would be doing the same thing.

Remember, the smile that you glance at someone and give, the "good morning" you toss out or the joke you tell... it might make a difference in someones little world. Dont be a shitty person today.


Monday, January 9, 2017

Life Lessons from a Toddler

January 9, 2017

My son Z. He amazes me every single day. The way that he looks at things, the way he smiles at things, the way he tries to figure out how things work or why they are doing whatever they are doing… He is constantly learning. Every day new words and phrases like “have a good weekend” and “mommy wake up” come pouring out like they have been trapped in there waiting for the perfect moment to make us laugh. There were days where I thought he would never roll over or crawl… and now he is a running, jumping, climbing machine! I have absolutely loved every single moment of these last 22 months as “Z’s Mama” and wouldn’t change it for the world.

One year ago today, my 10 month old started swim lessons. We signed up for a parent/infant class and had no idea what to expect. My goal is to assure that he is safe around a body of water, as I 150% feel that all kids should know how to swim at least enough to stay safe in the case of an emergency. I do not want him afraid of the water. I grew up with a swimming pool in my back yard. I learned how to swim at a young age and while I am not winning any metals at the Olympics, I was able to pass a lifeguard level swim test at girl scouts when I was 13 and I can certainly hold my own in a body of water. Z took to the water instantly and loved “swimming” with me and singing songs and splashing about with the other infants.

This is us at Z's first lesson 1 year ago. 

As with everything in life, time is flying by quickly. My 10 month old is now 22 months. He has since “graduated” to the parent/tot class and proclaims, “going swimmin” when I put him in his suit.  He shouts “the poooooool” as we drive up to MWCC on Saturday mornings. I am no longer wrangling a slippery infant after class, but a little boy is quickly emerging before my eyes. However, he is a toddler, he is curious, he is unpredictable, you never know if he will want to play with whatever it is that is presented that day or if he is going to just want to ask for the ball (that Mr D hands out at the end of class) for the entire 30 minutes. It’s a crap shoot. However, its one bet I am willing to take week after week to assure he learns how to swim.

This Saturday morning will hold a special place in my memories. You see, we haven’t been to swimming in about a month. The last class of the last session was canceled due to snow, than we had Christmas and NYE fall the following 2 weekends. We arrived, got changed and headed to the deck as usual. He sat like a big boy as we waited our turn to get into the pool as other kids were pulling their parents to the edge. I got in the pool and told him he had to “safety slide” into the pool like we have been practicing week after week. He sat on the deck, put his hands to the side of him and slid right in like a pro. He laughed as he splashed me and Mr D showed us the barbell we were using for class. Then he reached for it while it was in his hands. Mr D took a que from that and grabbed his hands and I let go. I watched my little man kick his little feet and get pulled around with his arms over the barbell. As Mr D spun him around to see that I was not holding him and his face lit up with a huge smile as if to say “Im doing it Mama!” my heart melted. He is such an inspiration to me. He was so proud of himself… and so was I.

We spent the rest of the class kicking and swimming with the barbell. Then we practiced climbing out by himself and safety sliding in. Once we did that a few times I let him do a few of his favorite jumps from the edge. He stands all by himself and we say “one, two, three… JUMP” and he jumps off the edge into my hands!! Such a big boy!!

The whole experience makes me look at things that are going on in my own life and put them into perspective. My boy, my 22 month old boy can take weeks off from swimming and then just face the challenge like a champ. He jumps right back in and shows confidence and drive… then the pride that he has from “doing it…” even if its not perfect, even if he takes a few guzzles of pool water… or jumps on 3 rather than when I say jump… he is still doing it… he is so awesome. I can only hope he continues to have that trait for the rest of his life. That he keeps on dreaming, keeps on setting goals and keeps on fighting for what he wants. One thing is for sure, Mama will ALWAYS be in his corner.

Sunday I competed in my first solo comp since October 2013. Since then, there have been quite a few pairs competitions, same sex and male/female as well as regionals and even a threesome. For some reason, I just didn’t feel the “need” to get out there on my own. After having Z, I have competed with Hubs in male/female pairs, then SH in a same sex pairs, than again with WS in a male/female pairs… it was time to get out there, get back on the horse and compete alone. After signed up, I cannot lie. I had some anxiety about competing alone. There is no one to rely on, there is no one to help. When the workouts get released, its all on me to lay everything I have on the table and do what I can. Alone. Did I think about withdrawing… yes. I did.

When workouts are released for a comp there is always a moment of doubt. You have no idea what they are going to be. You also don’t know how many there are going to be, what the time caps are, what the competition is going to be like, what the conditions will be like or how you are doing to be feeling that day. You don’t know if they will announce a workout then have to change it at the last minute. You don’t know if there will be finals, or how many people will make finals, or if everyone will do four workouts. However, it is important to remember that everyone is facing the same exact conditions you are. There is no “luck” involved. One workout might be in your wheelhouse, and another in someone else’s. That’s the beauty of crossfit. I might feel more confident in a workout that dosent involve a pullup bar or running, but because there is none of that in a workout does not make me lucky… Likewise, if another athlete has a 3:00 Fran… and Fran is the workout, she didn’t get “lucky” that it was programmed, she has that time because she works hard and is efficient and amazing at those skills.

I had my ups and my downs of the day. Had my #1 cheerleader in my corner with me who dragged her ass out of bed at the crack of dawn to drive to Revere. I kept thing all day long of my little guy. How he got in that pool and got pulled around by someone other than me… kicked his feet and had a big confident smile. After a disappointing first workout, I had to pull myself up. I had to work 10X harder and prove to myself that I could do this. I was there to lay it all on the line. Get.It.Done. And that’s what I did. I worked hard, I pulled the confidence that I was a strong competitor from somewhere within. The clock started for the remaining 3 workouts and I left everything I had right there in front of me. I needed this.

The end of the day, I stood on the podium, for the first time as an individual competitor. The box I was standing on was for me. The metal, the handshake, the “swag bag” and most importantly… the pride. Its mine. I didn’t have to share it today. 

...and guess what. Luck had nothing to do with it.