Friday, September 1, 2017

Hello Beautiful

Today is September 1st.

There is something about September 1st that just makes me feel happy and invigorated. Lots of people feel this way at the beginning of the new year, a new beginning… but for me, when the air starts to change, the leaves start to fall and I can sit with my boys and a cup of coffee and a hooded sweatshirt on a Sunday morning. It just makes my heart warm.

Maybe it’s the new school year and the reminder of new sneakers, empty notebooks and the nervous butterfly in your stomach feeling of waiting for the bus on the first day of school. Maybe it’s the fact that the air feels so much lighter, the dampness is lifted and the smell of rain, warm apple pie and chili or pot roast in the crock pot fills it back up. Maybe it’s the fall tones, burnt oranges, deep burgundy and navy blue that resonate with me on a comfort level that I just cant explain. Whatever it is… its my favorite.

I know there are many people that feel the complete opposite. That everything is “dying,” the winter is coming and we have to brace ourselves for the snow. Before we know it there will be images and melodies of the jolly man “Santa” smeared across our television screens and retail stores. Before the turkey is even bought, people start planning their “Black Friday” shopping spree… and before I can even pick out my sons Halloween costume I have people asking me what he needs/wants for Christmas. SLOW IT DOWN PEOPLE. Take a minute to really live in the moment. Take a step back, turn down the “I have to get the best Christmas present at the best price, and the hottest toy” volume and breathe in the cool fall air. Take these moments to wrap up in a blanket and sit outside with a warm drink and your favorite people and listen to the trees. Share stories around the table with your friends and family with no pressure of where you have to take off to next to “make the rounds” and really listen to what they have to say, share stories and smiles of your own. Remember that tomorrow is not a promise, tomorrow is a gift. Jump in leaves, stomp in puddles with your shiny new rain boots, enjoy the laughter.

When I look at the leaves changing color, I don’t see them “dying.” To me, the leaves changing and falling, then dancing across the windows or through the lawn with the breeze signifies life. There is so much vibrancy in the colors, the peak of the life of the leaves, their finale so to speak. Suddenly we are looking at a painting that we are so lucky to see in person, witnessing Gods work right before our eyes. Yes, they fall, yes they are eventually scraped across the grass with rakes and bagged to be taken away… but really, the process isn’t much unlike any person trying to rid themselves of the heaviness of life. The process of “letting go” of the baggage collected through the year/years. It’s a time where we should be prepping our minds and our bodies for the next goal in our life, making room for the beautiful things that are about to take place. The shedding of leaves shows us that its ok to let go… that there will be beauty and good things to come again.  

The fall is a time to stop waiting… it’s the time to initiate change, it’s the time to push to assure that you are ridding yourself from the unneeded stresses of life. It’s the time when life starts all over again. I welcome September with open arms. I welcome the next cycle of my life. I accept the challenges I put forth for myself. I accept that there will be ups and downs, however I am confident that the choices I have made in my life, my experiences and my faith will allow me to get through any and all obstacles. I will slow down. I will sit and enjoy the moments that I will never get to experience again. I will love life.


Hello Beautiful.



Monday, August 21, 2017

No U-Turns

Question of the Day: If you had to describe yourself using a street sign, what street sign would that be?

Are you “under construction?! Do you feel as if you have “dangerous curves?!”

Take some time and think about it. Think about how the world around us can influence thoughts beyond what the “real” meaning of something on the outside could be interpreted as. Stuck in traffic, looking around, seeing a sign and thinking how the phrase “no passing zone” can be applied to other aspects of your life. Where can you use that as fuel? How can you make that push you beyond your limits to not let anyone pass you? You are in the front of the pack. You are the leader.

This was the question of the day today at the gym. Off the top of my head at the moment, I came up with “children at play,” because… lets face it. That is my life right now. I mean my last post was relative to a show my kid watches daily and can recite lines to. However, the more I thought of it (which is the whole point to these questions, to get you to think about them more than just the 3 minutes it takes to go around the circle)…  My sign changed.


There are no “do overs” in life. You get one shot. There are no “take backs” or “rewinds” there are certainly “NO U TURNS.” There is no reason to dwell on the past, it’s the past. It happened. Its gone. Whether it was 5 minutes ago or 2 years ago, thinking about it, why it happened, how it happened… wont change the fact that it did happen. Pull up your boot straps and move on to the next. If you fail… even if you attempt the exact same thing for a second time,  it is not a “do over,” as you are simply not the same person you were the first time. You learned a lesson, you have experience, you know what to/not to do… Maybe you found a coach, took a class, read a book, maybe you learned a better way to get somewhere, or a place to save some money… either way you look at it, every experience you have in life is a new one. It is how you apply the events of your past into the events in your future that makes difference.

I have been competing for a while now. I have competed as an individual and as a member of a team. I have been to some really great comps and some really bad comps. With every single one of these experience I have evolved as an athlete. I have a completely different way of preparing, attending and recovering now, than I did my first comp and with each one, I learn some more.  I know what my body needs for prep, how to pack a bag efficiently and to be prepared for things I might not expect. I know how to treat my body between workouts, how to warmup, how to assure proper recovery and fuel myself.  I know what the recovery process will be. I know what I need the next day and the days after that… It’s a process.

One of the most important things I have learned over the years is that there are no do-overs. You are out there to compete and you have to lay it all on the line every single workout. All the athletes competing, whether they are scaled, masters or Rx are all under the same conditions. You get one shot. “No U-Turns.” Maybe that is the reason I get so worked up over the first workout of the event… for me, its almost inevitable that the first workout is the one I feel most nervous and anxious for. However, when you have a good team behind you, a good support system, people to remind you of where you are and how you got there. People to tell you that you belong where you are and to tell you its time to turn the heat on and make it happen… that’s when the magic happens. The fire is lit, the timer starts and you pour yourself into this madness we call “CrossFit” and get it done. There are “No U-Turns.”

When you take a step back after a competition you start to analyze everything that happened, so many things go through your head. One thing is for sure. You can not change what happened. It is done. In a team competition, the fact that you worked together, played off each others strengths and weaknesses, communicated and respected one another is key. If you don’t have that, you don’t have a team. Knowing you were there to push one another, help one another and get under the skin of your team mates helps in so many ways, but really respecting them, communicating with them and sharing every piece of the workouts, the good, the bad and the ugly, is really what makes a team a team.

When you hold yourself to high standards you might find it hard to hard to do these things… unless of course, your team mates are the exact same way. Every single rep is done with power, thought and perfection. Each full depth squat, each chin over the bar pull up, each locked out muscle up and fully extended hip… are done with the mindset of “No U-Turns.” You can not do this again. You all finish with your heads high, fully understanding that no matter what the outcome is, your whole team, thrives on being the best they could possibly be not only for themselves… but for each other.










Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Things Are Looking Up

My kid has a mild (ok maybe more than mild) obsession with the TV show "Super Wings." Hes 2.5 and loves all things that drive and/or fly. We dont have cable, but found this show on  Amazon Prime and now Hubs and I often find ourselves singing the theme song while putting our dinner together or just driving home from work (wonderful isnt it?!). Its actually a pretty decent show for the little man... "Jet" who is the main character airplane is a package delivery plane. At the start of the show, "Jimbo" (the traffic controller man) calls Jet into the control tower and gives him a package that needs delivering. Whats cool is that Jet goes all over the world to deliver these packages to kids. Before he leaves, Jimbo explains the country he is going to go to, a fact about it and a phrase in the native language. So... at least little man is learning while he is watching.

Jet then delivers the package (on time, every time). He presents whatever it was that was ordered to the child and stays while they open it. Jet then takes part in whatever it is that the package was ordered for... he does everything from "Hot Dog Car" drag racing and dumpling making, to African safari rides and tap dancing on stage in the town square (hes a mastermind of all kinds). Of course, it wouldnt be a "learning" show if there wasnt a problem that needs solving... so eventually, Jet needs to call into base to get assistance to solve the problem from the Super Wings, who are his "awesome airplane friends who come to help when hes in need." When the friend arrives... Jet looks into the sky and says "things are looking up!" Finally, he, with the help of the friend... of course... save the day. He can always turn to his friends to help him out. No questions asked.

Sarah... what the hell is the point.

I realize, I am loosing my mind that so many of my thoughts stem from things my toddler does/says/watches... but I guess that is what my life is right now right?!

Anyway... what do I learn from Jet? When you are in need. When you feel like you need a little help. Give a call to a friend. When you see someone who looks like they are down on themselves, give them a little help. Even if you just say something to put a smile on their face, change their mindset, let them know you are there... anything helps.

There are days I get really pissed at myself, in and out of the gym. There are times where I internalize everything and cant take a step back and just say "today is just that kind of day... let it go." Days it feels like everything/anything keeps going wrong. I drop everything I touch, run late for a meeting, spill my coffee, miss a lift I know I can get, rip my hands on the rig... why do those types of things always happen on the same day?

Sometimes, you just need that little kick in the ass. A person, a friend... heck sometimes even just an acquaintance to say "shake it off" or "good job today" to straighten out, but sometimes its a little harder to do (for me). I am pretty hard on myself and reaching my goals, pushing my limits.  Its so common to just shake off words like that. I know I do it... heck, I JUST did it yesterday. I felt like the whole morning was crap. I didnt feel great with my lifts and failed where I knew I could succeed. I then went into the WOD with a chip on my shoulder. This worked out to benefit me, as I succeeded in hanging on to the rig longer than I ever have with consecutive toes to bar. So, whats the problem right?! I used it as fuel... Yeah thats great and all... but I didnt even let myself be proud of the accomplishment. I was so damn frustrated about the lift still that I even took my frustration home with me. I didnt allow myself  take my Coaches words, who was there to support and help me out and let them raise me up to face the day with my head high. Instead, I festered. The person who "flew" in to help me out... I let them hang. I am ashamed of that.

I took some time, took a step back... last night before bed and thought about my day, which I often do. While I was putting hand cream on my raw hands I thought about what I DID do at the gym and not what I didnt. I thought about where I was, where I am, and where I am going... and most of all, I thought about the support that my coaches and friends have given me over the last almost 6 months at 696. I dont even need to reach out for the help for one of them to fly in and encourage me and help push me through, give me a tip, tell me to shake it off, offer to lift with me... just talk to me and make me smile and laugh. They give a bright side to the perspective. They are so valuable to me and I can not take that for granted. They are my family. Thanks Guys!

Things are looking up...

Friday, August 11, 2017

Out with the old... In with the New.

There is something so satisfying about setting a goal and reaching it. I talk about it a lot… it applies to all walks of life, not just the gym…

I love my job. I have said it before, that I was lucky enough to learn at an early age what I liked to do and went for it. I have had lots of success, as well as lots of failures to get where I am… and the hits just keep on coming. There will always be ups and downs, but what is important, is the will to keep on going and the thrive for the next goal or to complete the goal that was set forth.

When I initially meet with a client/owner for a new project, we typically sit and discuss what it is they are expecting from the project, what the overall goal is. What they like, what they dislike and what their needs are. From there, we develop a schematic design… an image of the goal. Often we provide the client with renderings to see what we are working towards, as well as floor plans to give them a general idea of the space. Once agreed upon, we spend a few weeks developing drawings illustrating how we will achieve the goal. Through this process we have additions, as well as subtractions and we do our best to work out all the details to properly execute the design and make it a reality. Finally, construction begins and so do the potential issues. There are hurdles to jump (especially when working with an existing structure) and problems that need solving… very rarely do you have a job with no questions or hangups. However, when it is all said and done… the outcome… the look on the clients face when they see the finished product… the sound of their voice as they thank you for your work and dedication to their investment… the smell of the new carpet, paint and furniture as its being installed while doing the final walk through… and the phone call two weeks after they move in to tell you they couldn’t be happier… all of that, makes it all worth it in the end. Goal, achieved.

Yesterday, I was out at a building that I designed a new entry for… as I was driving back I started to think about how much the design and execution of a project at work, is very much like my lifestyle. With each project that I start and complete I learn something to bring forward to the next. I am forever learning. I am forever growing and it is so important to not become complacent with where I am in my career (or life). There are always new materials, new ways of doing things… There are always new clients, new relationships and new opportunities. Take with you all of your ways, materials, relationships and clients… and develop them further. Understand that with every failure there is a lesson. Failure is so important (unless of course it makes a building fall down…). Mistakes are made, problems arise and the proper methods are taken to mitigate them. The outcome and the determination and drive to succeed to reach that final goal, that is what separates "you" from the rest of the pack.

Recently (on the 6th of August) I was reminded that it was the start of my 7th year of CrossFit. Six years ago I set foot into the garage at a “box” with 4 members…  I took a chance. I couldn’t do a pullup, literally laughed when I was told “today we are going to do pullups.” The thought of pushups made me cringe and to be honest (even though I am still not a fan of running), I couldn’t get through a 400 without slowing to walking pace. I look back at my old posts and see the numbers for my lifts and while I kinda chuckle at them now, I think of all the work, all the goal setting and all the hours spent at the gym and I smile. I loved every minute of it. All of it. Every failure as much as every success. Growth. Strength. Courage. Confidence. All developing right before my eyes.  I can read it in my words, I can see it in the photos and I can feel it in my muscles. I have worked hard for it all, it was not easy. However, for me... its not about the numbers. Its not about how much I can put over my head, or squat… it setting a goal, developing a plan to achieve the goal, working through the “hurdles and failures” towards the goal, then taking a step back and being proud of my accomplishment.

Everyone starts somewhere. 



Thursday, July 20, 2017

Two Lives Intertwined

What is the best gift you have given to anyone?

Think about it. Think real hard. I’m not talking about the latest and greatest video game console… a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant… or even a fancy new car. I’m talking about something powerful, something that changes the recipients life. Something that once given, can not be taken back… something that has no actual “value” but more value than you can even imagine. Life.

Now, I’m a mom. I can honestly say that giving the gift of life to my son has been the most honorable and life changing gift I have ever given. I worked to keep him safe while I was pregnant, treated my body with respect and nurtured him for all 42 weeks on the inside. He was born healthy and strong and I consider that to be a pretty huge accomplishment.

I’m going to tell you a quick story and please don’t judge. Its not something I am very proud of, and maybe, if I had some more time to process or if the circumstances were different… I wouldn’t have made a different decision. I see now what a bad judgement call it was… Almost 17 years ago. My brother was killed in a car accident. You can read back through my older posts to read about the day. The morning, a complete blur. The feeling in my body, numb. I remember it like it was yesterday. Sitting… staring into the distance, not even for a second believing that this was really my life. Through all the people talking and shuffling through my parents house, the phone rings. It’s the hospital. They want to know if they can “have” Joshua’s retinas. He was not on the organ donor list. They needed our permission, my parents permission, to take them.

My parents discussed and came  to me. They gave me the choice. They asked me what I thought. If it was ok. How I felt about them taking a part of Joshua. They wanted me to be a part of the decision. They wanted me to be ok with it. In my heart of hearts, I wish I made a different choice. I would have given the person in need, his retinas. A gift. A gift that would have been life changing for someone else. A completely unselfish gift that my brother would have given in a second for someone if he had the choice on his own. I said no. The thought of his body not being “whole” when I got to see him was too much for me to take at that moment. I was just processing that I was never going to see his eyes again… and I took that gift away from someone…

I think about this often. I understand it is in the past. I can not change the choice that I made. I am not upset that my parents asked me to be a part of the decision making process. I am glad that they respect me and valued what I thought without just excluding me in the process. Yes, I was young… all of the decisions I have made in my life have made the person I am today. Every minute of my life and every decision influences the next. I am now an organ donor.

Today I am reminded of this unselfish act of kindness… giving the gift of life to someone. Someone you have never met….

I am member of an on line community. A group of women who chat about “everything.” Seriously, everything. If I have a question about a new place to go eat… what I should do if my kid wont sleep at night… what the heck this “rash” is or even just a funny thing to share or accomplishment or event in life… I go there. I have met a few of these women in person. The board has been in existence since we split off of The Nest after we all planned our weddings together. It has grown and we have all watched each other buy houses… have kids… have more kids… graduate from school… get new jobs… struggle with losses, divorces and family issues. New people join, some people leave… but there is a pretty solid core.

One of my friends found out that another’s sister needed a kidney. This brave woman, never meeting the other in person… felt a strong calling to help, to give the most amazing gift to her friends sister. The gift of life. The gift of a second chance at living a ”normal” life. She was tested and found to be a match… and today, the day she gave a piece of herself to her sister… was the first time they “met.” She put her life on the line to save her friends sisters life. A friend she met on line… in a forum…

She is one of the bravest people I know. It sent chills all over my body when I heard that the surgery was a success. She was in recovery and the sister also, a few hours later… her new kidney is already working hard in its new body. They both have recovery ahead… but I cant even imagine giving someone else this gift.


Take a minute and think about what it would be like to have a piece of you inside someone else. Working, as it was inside of you... its amazing. To think that people are walking around with hearts, lungs, kidneys, livers… retinas… that were once in another humans body is just remarkable. Imagine, your loved ones heart, still beating just in a different body. It’s a gift that once given, can not be taken back… something that has no actual “value” but more value than you can even imagine. Life.


Monday, June 19, 2017

Learn Something

June 19, 2017

Did you learn something today?

I challenge you. When you lay in bed at night… think about your day. When you wake up in the morning… think about what is about to happen. Are you ready to learn? Did you learn anything new?

I have a toddler. Every single day his little brain just goes and goes and goes. You can see him learning almost by the minute. One day… back in November. We had a day that it snowed really early in the season. Everyone was out of their mind because it was “too early to snow” as it wasn’t even Thanksgiving yet. Just like the whole rest of New England, when I got Z and I home from daycare I wanted to scramble to get into the house… it was cold, it was snowing… it was pretty much miserable. Well I got Z out of the car, stood him on the ground and his eyes seemed to glaze over. I took a step back and said “come on, lets go…” and started to walk. Then I realized something. This was the first time my little man experienced snow. He was born in February (albeit the snowiest February weve had in decades) but was just an infant the last time it had snowed. I then took at moment to watch. I didn’t care I was getting snowed on. I didn’t care that it was cold anymore, there was no rush. He was 100% amazed that this “stuff” was falling from the sky. Confused, amazed… whatever it was. The look on his face was priceless. He was learning. This is snow.

He tends to get ahead of himself now. He is a parrot. Repeating everything you ask him to say (usually). He is my cautious boy. He likes to take in all of his surroundings before he engages. He looks around to learn what everyone else is doing… he watches how Hubs and in interact with other people and kids before he knows its “ok” to talk to them and/or play with them. The “proud Mama” in me will tell you he can count to 20, say his alphabet, sing numerous songs and has the vocabulary of a 3 year old… but that’s just the tip of the iceburg with this kid. He watches… with hawk eye... how we do something… anything... and you bet he will try and try to do whatever it is we were doing as soon as he can. He wants to learn, he wants to grow and its so amazing to watch. The innocence. His persistence. He wants to figure out how it works and do it himself. 

We as a society have a tendency to just “do.” We wake up in the morning. Go do our thing… then come home at night, eat dinner and go to bed. Wash, rinse, repeat. Occasionally, there is a twist in there, but for the most part, we are pretty routine. Its so important to challenge the mind, to keep growing and learning, to keep evolving and changing… We have to learn to stop, look at the snowflakes as they fall, watch the water come out of the hose, listen to the wind chimes an wonder where the sound in coming from… We have to challenge our minds and look for new ways to do things, ways to do things better… ways to better ourselves. We have to take a que from the young developing mind and ask the questions "why?" and "how?"

Of course not every day has to be a “lesson.” This isn’t necessarily about learning a new skill or studying for a test (though it could be). This is about the little things… learning that my house stays cool when I keep the slider closed a little longer in the morning… learning that my son will eat a little better if I eat the same thing that he is eating… learning that if I leave work at 4:55 vs 5:00 it takes me less time to get to daycare, but more time to get home from daycare… learning that if I do one rep too close to my 1RM then my 1RM is more challenging than if I take a larger jump to get there… learning that my kid will be ok if he eats ice cream for dinner a few times this summer...  the list goes on.

Stop. Take a minute. Listen to the sounds around you. Take a deep breath.

What did you learn today?


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Today is a New Day

June 14, 2017

Today is a new day.

If I had a dollar... even a dime... for every time I have talked to my Mom and she has said to me "Sarah, just take a step back... breath..." I would be a very wealthy woman. She understands me. She is almost a complete opposite of me in these situations, but she has been with me through it all, and knows just how I handle things. Like a mad woman... that needs a voice of reason. She is my voice of reason... and even if I get mad and scream like a crazy person at her because of whatever situation it may be... or cry like a hungry infant because things feel like they are literally falling apart... she understands me. She lets me get it all out, then we talk. So I guess... even without the bazillions in "dimes" I am actually a pretty wealthy woman anyway.

I am type A. I like things done a certain way. I like things done quickly. I like things done... well... I like things done, now. It bothers me when I cant take care of something on my own that I need to do and waiting for anything/anyone is a weakness of mine... I just dont do it well.

The good news is. I was raised to be a hard worker. I was raised to find a solution to the problem. I was raised to assess the situation and do whatever I can to "fix" or "make better" whatever it is that is broken. I will not quit. I will not quit on myself, I will not quit on YOU, I will not quit on anything. Giving up is never an option.

The bad news is... I try to take it all on. All of it. Every tiny piece of it.

The bad news is... sometimes... I try to find a fix for something that might not even be broken because I feel like I could make it better... or for some reason, good isnt good enough and better would be "better."

The bad news is... sometimes... there is just too much. I cant handle it. I start to collapse. The little things start to become big things in my mind. The big things become huge. Things fall out of perspective and it starts to become very difficult to focus on the good. The important things. The things that are most important.

I put on a good front 90% of the time. However, there is that small percentage of time that the "weaknesses" start seeping through the body armor. Those days, I just want to hide. I dont want to expose the fact that I just cant do it all. I cant find the solution to the problem. I cant do it on my own... I need help and I have to ask. I have to be ok with it.

I am learning.

I am focusing on trying to let go of yesterday. It happened, its gone. I am focused on looking at the things in my life that are amazing. Soaking in all the minutes I have with my every growing toddler... while he blows bubbles, takes walks, splashes in the tub, bounces on his trampoline, asks me for the zillionth time "Mommy, what are you doing," or when he simply says "Mama... hugs" and he squeezes me so tight and then gives me a kiss.

Those are the moments that if I am too busy worrying about everything that has happened and what will happen... that will blow by. Suddenly he will play by himself... not want me to kiss him goodbye...

Life is not easy. Things happen, life happens. I can not let today be bad because of the things that happened yesterday. I can not take on the world alone. I need to ask for help when I need it... with the love and support I have in my life...

... everything will be alright.



Friday, May 12, 2017

"DT"

May 12, 2017

This is a quote from my blog post on September 6, 2011, just 4 weeks after I started CrossFitting...
I was going to title this post "Death by DT" since really, I know I have said it before... but, this was the hardest and most challenging workout I have done in my 4 weeks at CFW...
... at 5:30am I pulled into the parking lot. I am still sore, my calves kill. My shoulders were tight, my abs are feeling it... those thrusters did good things yesterday!!
I attempted one hanging power clean, which is like a clean, but rather than starting at the deadlift position you are already at your knees with the weight. Yeah, the 95lb attempt was a fail, as was the 90lb. Well thats not entirely true, I got the 90lb one up for one rep. Um, I have to do 5 sets with 9 of these in each set... lets go with the 85lbs!! The object of the DT is to complete all the exercises with the same weight, so with 85lbs the deadlifts and push jerks would be pretty light... so I thought... 
... Oh.My.God. My shoulders feel like my arms could literally drop out of the sockets. Forget about the calf pain... hahah thats old news! I kept sort of getting a light headed feeling through the sets, but I know it was my mind wanting me to stop, I needed to get out of that comfort zone. It was really hot since we had to keep on garage door closed and I was working really hard. There was no need to stop, a few breaths than back in... was running through my mind. I didnt stop, and I didnt give up, and I did it. 
WOD:
"DT"  5 Rounds for Time
12 Deadlifts
9 Hanging Power Cleans
6 Push Jerks
(my time 24:23)
1 set @ 85lbs, 2 sets @ 75lbs and 2 sets @ 65lbs 
These are my words. These are my feelings. I still remember it, like it was yesterday. Moments like this come flooding back to me often. I will never ever forget the struggles, I will never ever forget where I came from and what it took to get me to the point I am today. I will never forget the fear and the many many times I reached the point of being uncomfortable... when I had to drag myself off the floor. I will never stop fighting and pushing myself to be better every single day. I admire and am inspired daily by the people who are fighting the same fight that I did and still am. I love the feeling of the grind, working hard and nothing feels better than working hard and knowing, regardless of the outcome... I put everything I had on the line. Nothing.

My relationship with "DT" is quite the opposite of that first encounter now. When I see those letters pop up as the workout of the day, I get excited. Any Hero WOD pushes me in a way that I cant quite describe. These workouts are named for our countries Heros, who gave their lives for our freedom. They are children, brothers, sisters, cousins, friends... of every one of us. The short period of time that I am struggling to push myself to perform at 100% they did every day, all day while they fought for our country. That short period of time can not even begin to compare to the hardship and grievance of their family and friends... as they live their life with a hole in it forevermore. I am honored to be able to complete these workouts in their name.  You can read about SSgt Tim Davis HERE.

I have completed this WOD quite a few times over the years since I wrote that first post. My "love" has grown exponentially for it! Its a challenge each and every time... and it drives me to compete with myself. November 11, just 2 months after the original post I completed the whole WOD at 93# in 17:08... and on September 3, one year from the original post, I completed it Rx with 105# in 12:01.

My struggles are all here, in plain sight. I can recall every feeling... every road block and speed bump. I decided when I saw "DT" posted last night that I was just going to go in, head down and lay it out there. I hadnt even looked at my previous times to see what I wanted to beat. I just wanted it to be me against the clock.

The energy at the gym, my excitement for CrossFit and my drive to keep pushing was enough to start this day with a huge PR. I finished "DT" in a time of 6:15, which was a :23 second PR from my last attempt. I thought of SSgt Tim Davis... I thought of his family... I thought of the fight. My "pain" through this workout is temporary. Theirs... is not.

Always remember, everyone started somewhere... its the passion, the hard work and the perseverance that drives us to complete our tasks and achieve our goals.

Never stop.



SEPTEMBER 6, 2011
WOD:
"DT"  5 Rounds for Time
12 Deadlifts
9 Hanging Power Cleans
6 Push Jerks
(my time 24:23)
1 set @ 85lbs, 2 sets @ 75lbs and 2 sets @ 65lbs

MAY 12, 2017
WOD:
"DT"  5 Rounds for Time
12 Deadlifts (105lbs)
9 Hanging Power Cleans (105lbs)
6 Push Jerks (105lbs)
(my time 6:15)

Monday, May 8, 2017

Learn to Love the Grind

May 8, 2017

Its not too often we take time to slow down. Our world, our daily life, or jobs... time passes so quickly and suddenly we look back and say "what happened to the last month/year." We set out to do something and we want immediate results. We send an email or a text message and want an immediate response. Often times we feel let down if we don't get that quick turn around... we pretty much give up and assume whatever it is isnt that important, or shouldnt be that important.

This has of course become the norm with todays technologies. I remember back when I would call a friend and get a busy signal... and have to *gasp* wait until whoever it was to get off the phone so we could talk. Now, today... not only do we have call waiting... but we just call on a cell, leave a message or a text message... and await a response. If mom is on the home phone, no worries... we all have cell phones. I also remember the only way to communicate (aside from a really long distance call) with my friend in England was to write her a letter. With FB and IG... I pop on line, not even needing a computer because I have access from my phone... and see what is going on with her and her kids right with the swipe of the screen. Your playing a game and need to know the rules... no problem, google it. You want to hear a song someone is talking about or see a video or movie trailor... no problem... its all on the web. Instant. No waiting... instant gratification.

I feel like its so ingrained in our life stlyes to have instant results that we often forget what its like to have to work for something. For me... there is nothing more satisfying then working hard at something and finally succeeding. Its more satisfying then being given a task and being able to do it right off the bat. I feel like the challenge, the grind and the time put into something makes it all the more rewarding when the goal is reached. 

The past 3 weeks I have been on Avatar and My Fitness Pal tracking my macros. Everything I have consumed has been tracked. I have not cheated, I have not veered from the plan... and I am seeing results. The challenge now, is to stick with what is working... then make alterations to make it even better. There are certainly days that I struggle with, where I want pizza or ice cream, or the damn nutella seems to be calling my name from the cabinet... but, if I want the end result, I have to work towards the prize. It is not instant. I can not "will" myself to my ideal body/weight goals. There is no magic pill, one exercise, drink or food that will make it happen. It takes time and it takes work, I have to trust the process. 

One of my post baby goals was to get my muscle up back. I had them, for about 3 months leading up to my pregnancy with Z. I struggled long and hard to get them the first time. I knew after almost 3 years of not having them it would be difficult to get them back. I had to evaluate, set a plan, focus and work hard if I wanted to reach my goal. 

I talked to Chris and with a combination of skill movements he showed me and a few I took from my previous success... I went to work. For 4 weeks I stayed off the high rings completely. Not many kids can pick up a bike with no training wheels and ride it without a second thought and not crash. This was not a sprint. I drilled, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays after the WOD. Each coach would give me tips and critique my drills. I would incorporate their tips and work harder. I would alternate between all of the skill movements every day. It sucked. I wanted to get up on the high rings, I wanted to attempt, I wanted to just get them... I'm strong enough dammit. But no. I had to trust the process. 

Last weekend I did some skill work then hopped up to the high rings. I spent quite a while, countless attempts and couldnt seem to connect. Called it a day. This weekend, yesterday, I was going to give it a go again. I progressed through the drills. Between each low ring drill I hopped up to the high rings to kip. Finally, after a few drills, I went for it. I got up and over! Holy shit! I think I got ahead of myself, I lost my tension and fell through. I could TASTE it... I was really upset that I had got that far and failed... however, there was a fire burning. 

A half a million attempts later and it was one cue that clicked. I did it. I got a muscle up.

Success. 

Was it easy? No. Is it going to be easy now that Ive done it? No. Were the drills fun? A good time? No. Did they leave me wondering if these "crappy drills" are going to work? Absolutely. However, I loved every minute of the challenge. I loved the drive and the grind to get to hit that goal. If I wanted it, I knew I had to work at it. It would take time, focus and determination. The results would come. 

Trust the process. 

Success.



Thursday, May 4, 2017

Accept It.

May 4, 2017

Why do you think its so difficult for “us” to accept compliments?

How do you feel when someone says to you “you look nice today” or “have you lost weight?” What is your first reaction? Typically, from what I have heard other people say to me… and my own automatic instincts in responding when complimented…  is that we almost immediately shove off the comment with a negative. We get bashful and almost embarrassed that someone noticed something to compliment us on and we respond with “oh this shirt… I just dragged it out of my closet” or “uggg, lost weight… no, I feel like a cow.” Why do we do that? Why can we not just accept the fact that someone is paying us a compliment and say “thank you” without feeling vein vane vain (the English language so complicated…). Why do we feel it is not acceptable to be proud that we do in fact look nice today… or have noticeably made a change in our appearance that is appealing to others… Why does it make us so uncomfortable?! Do we think the person is lying? Are we fishing for more? Do we feel it is wrong or if we accept that the person who complimented is going to think we are into ourselves…  I want to say I don’t get it… but I do… I mean, I do it too. But why?!

The other day I posed about our little chat sessions that kick off each class. Yesterday morning, Chris talked about the importance of this exercise and what it means to him as an affiliate owner that his members get to know each other, introduce themselves to new people and make everyone feel welcome. I have felt this from day #1 at 696. Accepted, welcome and never once like I didn’t belong. I feel like I have made friends and have got to know the 5:15am crew and am working on getting to know others who I don’t get to see as much. Having said that, I feel it is as much my responsibility to introduce myself to someone I haven’t met before as it is theirs to approach me… that’s how the family grows, strengthens and thrives. Im not a shy person… so its “easy” for me. I realize its not that simple for some people to just walk up to a stranger and say “hello, Im so and so…” I do however challenge you to try it.

Anyway,  Chris asked us this morning to look to our right and “introduce” the person standing there… and pay them a compliment. Right away, you see each person look to their right (myself included) and come up with something to share. As we go around the circle, you can almost see the embarrassment on the faces of the “complimented.” Everyone had wonderful things to say about the person to the right… kind of amazing if you think of it. We are together (most of us) just an hour or so a day… a few days a week… maybe we communicate a bit through social media or text messaging. Of course there are exceptions, of people who have been friends for years or hang out much more than the gym… but overall, we are just a group of people from all over the place, in all stages of life, doing many different jobs, we are different ages, have different goals, we have come from different family lives, we lead different life stlyes… but we have one thing in common. We are all there to take care of ourselves and make ourselves better people. We can tell just by that little time together that we each work hard, we push hard, we are passionate about what we do, fight for what we want and smile while we are doing it.  Funny how when someone tells us those things about ourselves, we have a hard time just saying “thank you, thank you for recognizing that I am all of those things… and you are too.”

I challenge you… I challenge myself… to compliment people more. I also challenge you to accept a compliment. When someone compliments you accept it. Think about how good you feel when someone compliments you. Think about how proud you are that you have done something, shown a part of who you are or how hard you worked to achieve something… accept it. Say “thank you, yes, I worked hard for this” or “thank you… I loved this shirt and had to buy it!” Don’t discount it. Let it boost you up. Don’t be afraid to boost someone up. Tell them they are beautiful. Tell them they impressed or inspired you… You will make the difference in someone’s life. I promise.

Oh… and while social media compliments are flying all over the place… I also challenge you to step away from the “virtual” compliments. Look the person in the eyes and talk to them. Spoken works are 10,000X more effective then a written word.

Give, accept and feel amazing. Make someone else feel amazing. We all deserve it. We get one shot at this life… make it a good one!


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

One day or day one. You decide.

May 2, 2017

Every day at the start of each class at 696 we gather up in a circle. Whoever is coaching starts the class with a quick description of what we are doing to tackle for the day, then they start roll call. This is one of my favorite things that makes 696 a special place to me. The coach poses a question for each of us to answer, this can be anything from "what did you have for dinner last night?" to "do you have any tattoos?" Some are deeper than others, but what is really awesome is that it allows a little extra insight to the person/people who you are with every morning. It welcomes in the newer people (like me) by making us always say our names first... Ive finally got everyone down... and connects us on a different level, making us less of a stranger to one another. I realize, I am a pretty open person... and this exercise might make some people  uncomfortable, but I really think that its super healthy for all of us to do to get started.

This morning Coach Jay had the stage and asked us all what our favorite quote was. Immediately I thought of my blog... of the hundreds of quotes I have posted... talked about and "dissected." Then my mind went to a quote that I saw on IG yesterday and I decided to share that one.


One day or day one. You decide. 

Think about it. What I like about posting it today, is that its actually May 2nd and a Tuesday. Most people think that they have to make the decision to change something at the start of a week or the first of a month. They want a "clean slate" or a "new beginning" to kick things off. Ive been there. Ive done it. Ive looked at the calendar and said "Ill start Monday" or "on June 1 I am going to start doing XYZ." In reality... any day can be day one. You make the choice to change something and make it happen. If you want it bad enough, you can make day one happen at any time. Its your decision. 

I joined Avatar Nutrition (www.avatarnutrition.com) on a Wednesday. I was ready to do it. I was ready to put my stats in the website and get going. I had talked to Chris that morning, decided it was time to take a cut and there was no better time "today" to get started. I didnt wait till Monday. I didnt binge one last weekend because I was going to not be able to for the next few weeks. I want it, Im doing it now. I am so glad that I did. It was "day one."

Its been almost 3 weeks since I joined. I feel great. I am happy with the decision and honestly the temptations are getting easier and easier to avoid with my progress. When you see a change in your body and feel a change with your performance, something clicks. Suddenly, you realize you are working every day, even you are not at the gym, towards your goals and creeping closer and closer... it helps motivate you to continue. Plus, with flexible "dieting" (I hate that word... dieting), there is leniency in there if you want to go get an ice cream with your 2 year old... just work it into the macros. Yes, it takes planning... yes, its a pain in the ass sometimes... but yes, I feel like its worth it 100% for my mental well being. Its what I love and it makes me feel good. I am very lucky that I have a support system that doesnt think I am crazy.

Applying "one day or day one" to other things in my life is what comes next. Today is the day. Get started. Set goals. Make time. I am only going to live once so why waste it sitting on the couch watching who knows what on Netflix... There is no better time than now to change gears and be the whole person I want to be. I feel like hardest things to get started on feel the best when they are achieved, I just need to build up the courage to do them. Motivate myself to get started and create new habits. Heck, I can do it in the gym, I can do it with my "diet," you bet your ass I can do it with the rest of my life. 

Is today your day one?! You decide. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Where do you want to be?

April 19, 2017


Go ahead... ask yourself...

Where do you want to be? How are you going to get there? What steps are you taking?

I will tell you this... if you are not taking any steps... you will not get there. Waiting, watching, wishing, will get you nowhere. Success is not handed to anyone who waits for it. Success comes from hard work, time, focus, dedication and pushing yourself to do things that make yourself uncomfortable. If its "easy," your not doing it right. If you make excuses like you are too tired, you dont have time, you dont know how or you "cant..." then you wont. No questions asked.

Im excited for the things to come at 696 this spring. I have never really been one for "running" workouts, but for some reason this year, I am itching to get outside. One of the fantastic things about the programming at 696, is that Chris likes to change it up, give us something that is not expected, make us think about what we are doing in a different way and challenge our minds (and muscles) with new movements... or movements that arent done very often. He tests the "functional movements that are constantly varied at high intensity" portion of the definition of CrossFit. This morning was no different, a variety of movements in short high intensity amraps. You felt the burn, you mentally fought through that sticking point, knowing it was short and it would "end" soon. It was fun and challenging. All the things I love about the sport of CrossFit.

There is a method to the madness. Each movement becomes an accessory movement to another. He dosent just program something because its fun, or new. There is thought that goes into programming (which isnt just exclusive to 696, all good coaches put a lot of thought into their programming). Every movement, in a way, gets you closer to either doing a different movement for the first time or getting better at a movement that you can already do. From rowing and kettle bell swings to glute ham raises and bent over rows... there are a multiple movements you are "working on" even if you dont realize it. Slowly, you are getting closer to where you want to be... constantly a work in progress.

In life, its important to keep with this same mentality. If you have a goal, whether it be to rid yourself of credit card debt, pass an ARE exam, or finish your basement... unless you start and chip away at the goal... it will be left just as it is. If you dont put in the work to not spend extra money, make the time to study or order the supplies... the goal is not attainable. However, if it you implement small changes (just like the accessory work) like, a budget that you can not break, a schedule to study from or just make a simple list... the goal becomes a little less daunting. Before you know it, you are debt free, ready to test and sitting on your new couch in your new space.

Keep moving forward. Build mental toughness. Say no. Make time. Never say you "cant" do something.

If you want something... go get it.      

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

"Thank God its Tuesday."

April 18, 2017

Good Morning Y'all!

As one of my coaches like to say "Thank God its Tuesday!" He coaches us typically on Mondays and Tuesdays and we start the group each of those days with his words. Its funny, because when you first hear it, you think "yeah right... thank God its Tuesday," but then, you really start to think about it... and realize the power behind the words. It gets you mentally moving, it gets you thinking ahead, it makes you really thankful that you are here, you are working hard and you are ready to face the day with whatever it is that is waiting for you.

Motivation is huge. When you have someone in your corner, reminding you to push, what the goal is and that they have the confidence in you to do something. That shit can take you so far. When you stand back and look at the bar and think not "I can do this," but rather "I will do this," the whole game changes. Not to say, you will magically be able to move more weight, or PR every time, but it puts your head in a place to not question your ability. It drives you to push to another level and even if you fail, you WILL get it. Maybe not today, but you will. When you have the support, someone right by your side... its almost as if your will gets stronger. You get one more rep, you add a little more weight... and you might even finish a little faster... but better than all that, you will have the confidence to do it again and again and the drive to get better and better.

Mental toughness plays such a huge roll in so many things in life (even out of the gym). I was reminded of that yesterday when I was asked, by the same coach, what I was shooting for for my 1 rep max clean and jerk. I responded with a weight and then followed with a comment. He reminded me to be confident in my response. Don't make it a question, make it a statement. Get in the game and get at it. Step up to the bar and do it. Know you can.

You know what... I did.

I feel the drive. I feel the need for more and the will to get better. I have been working hard to complete accessory work, stretch and take care of my body. I also feel the support. Support from all of my coaches as well as my community, from my family and even some of my friends (and I say some because most have no idea what I am doing). I have a goal in mind and I am going to get it.


To reach some of my goals I am making some lifestyle changes. I decided to do a "cut" with my macros to try to drop some body weight... thus helping with my body weight and gymnastics movements. Im sharing this here for a little bit of accountability. Today is day #2. I joined Avatar Nutrition to calculate my macros and I will continue to use MFP to track my daily intake. This will be a bit of an adjustment for me... as I kinda fell of the wagon for a while. I have a goal in mind and I am going to get it.

I try to wake up every morning with a fresh start. This gets complicated. Life happens. There are struggles, there are ups and downs. I can only control what I can control. I need to be happy for my #1, my son. I need to be strong, I need to fight and I need to set a good example for him. I need to be the best I can be, for myself, which in turn will give him the best life I can give him. I need to make changes, struggle through the hard stuff to be rewarded with the good stuff.  I have a goal in mind and I am going to get it.

Day #2.

"Thank God its Tuesday."

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Burn Baby Burn

March 29, 2017

Have you ever watched a fire burn completely out? Sat at a campsite, in the quiet hours of the night… cool air at your back and heat on your legs? As the trees seem to still with the darkness, stars appear, the glow of the fire starts to dim and the moon takes over as the nightlight… everything seems really peaceful.


I spent years at girl scout camp, nights (and days) around the campfire… and many of fun (and sometimes drunken) nights as a teen and “adult” doing the same. There is something really magical to me about fire. I was always the one to volunteer at camp to “man the fire” or “cook the meal” so I could be at the fire. As I got older and would go camping with friends, I always had my hands in the fire, getting it started and keeping it going into the night. I could watch it for hours. Something about how one piece of wood catches the next… eventually both, still two separate pieces of wood, create one flame… the embers glow an amazing color as the fire gets hotter and hotter and as you add more wood. Each added piece, after being placed with the other, catches and becomes a part of something pretty spectacular. Eventually, as the fire burns down, the pieces start to collapse, they break apart, mix together and become one foundation for the next pieces to catch the flame. The cycle repeats until it is time to let the fire die out. The large flames stop and the foundation glows and crackles…

If you watch a fire in the “burning out” stage you can see its fight to stay alive. You watch as small flames try to flicker up every now and again… re-igniting a small piece of unburnt wood, it stays lit for a small amount of time, but has nothing to catch so it slowly softens and burns out. A slight breeze might pick up and the embers instantly glow brighter looking for something to catch. A random flame might pop up, soon to die out again… unless more kindling is added… the embers will cool with the night air and smolder out.

When I think about things in life that I am passionate about, my relationships (husband, parents, family, friends), my career (in the office, continuing education, licensure), my fitness and lifestyle (crossfit, macro counting)… they all burn like a fire. I have to continue to tend to the fire to keep it from burning out. I have to keep the passion alive, I have to keep adding new experiences, people, education, challenges and goals to drive myself to want more. Each experience I have adds to the foundation of the next. Each bump in the road of a relationship, each failure or mistake in my career, each missed lift or large cheese pizza is just as important to my growth as every “I love you,” bonus, publication, personal record, muscle up or pound lost. What is most important to me, what makes my fire burn, is the passion and drive to be the best that I can be in all of those things. The best mother, wife, daughter, sister, cousin, friend…. The best project manager, architect…. The best I can be at crossfit… The best I can look in the mirror.  Sometimes, the fire burns out… sometimes, I allow the flame to burn down… I forget to add to it. I just let it go and maintain its self for a while. That’s when life becomes stagnant.

A little over six weeks ago I made a choice. A very hard choice. I left CrossFit Wachusett, my home of the past 6 years. I walked into CrossFit 696, the “new guy” looking for a new place to call home. I was not sure what to expect, not only of the new box, but from myself. My “CrossFit Fire” was one that had been left smoldering in the corner for quite some time. As expected, in the time after The Little Monster was born, I was focused on him. While I didn’t let it go completely, I let what was happening in my fitness life take a backseat. Nothing wrong with that… priorities often change in life, but I soon started to miss the feeling that I had when I pushed to that awful place that only CrossFitters know about, or when I set a new PR on any given lift… or even that challenge, fight and struggle for a muscle up or something I have never done or haven’t done for a while. I want to work hard again, I want to fail, I want to create new challenges for myself, I wanted to feel that passion again. I felt stuck. Every once in a while a stray coal would catch a breeze, fire up some of the foundation, but soon fade out. I needed to make a change, build the courage to make the change and do it.

I had honestly been considering not competing in the Open this year. I wasn’t heartbroken about it… I wasn’t really “feeling it.” All of that changed when I took control. When I decided that I needed to get out of my own head and find what I loved about CrossFit again. A fresh start. From my first workout a month and a half ago right through this mornings workout… my motivation, my determination and my drive to get better, faster and stronger each day has returned. I am so glad that I took the bull by the horns and signed up to compete as a member of 696. Each week, a group of people who barely know me, surrounded me, to encourage, push and cheer me on to be the best that I could be at that very moment. My new coaches, who were (and still are) learning about me, how to coach me, what motivates me and what I need to work on… supporting me, challenging me every with every workout, Opens workouts or not. The members who I have met, who work hard every day to grind through a workout… inspiring. All of the firsts that I witnessed, the huge smiles, the cheers, the high fives… even the tears, the red faces and rolling around on the ground… whether scaled or rx… inspiring. The conversations Ive had with people around why the crossfit, learning their lives and making new friends every day… inspiring. All of it. Its like a breath of fresh air. Im throwing new logs onto that fire every single day.

I came out of the Opens this year with a positive attitude and an outlook on the year to come that is finally clear. I did better than I could have imagined. With each workout, a challenge was faced head on and it felt so good to feel that “I will no let this defeat me” attitude that I once had come back with a vengeance. The thought that with every workout that The Little Monster was able to witness, I was showing him that his Mama is a fighter and is strong and in control just reinforces the fact that I made the right choice for myself. I want him to know that he can do anything and everything he sets his mind to. That change is good and while it can be hard, scary and challenging… sometimes you have to take a risk and do it.  I hope that he tends to his fires and keeps passion alive with the things he chooses to be passionate about. I want to lead by example for him…

To my CrossFit Wachusett family… my foundation is with you. The 6 years spent within those walls will be in my mind and heart forever. As one of you told me “its just a building.” The friendships we have formed are stronger than those walls. Just because I am no longer part of the 5:30am group or a member at Wachusett… doesn’t change anything. I will not forget where I came from. The community of people who supported me, challenged me and friended me over the years, thank you. Keep working hard, keep supporting one another and keep kicking ass!

To my 696 family… thank you. Thank you for welcoming me in and making me feel at home every single day. I cant thank you all enough for how awesome the Opens were, I don’t think words can actually describe how full my emotions are. Friday Night Lights were epic! Each one of you inspired me to push as hard as I could and be the best I could be. The coaches; Chris, Jay, Kiwi and Lindsay… I cant say thank you enough for the encouragement, coaching and well… yelling at me. Your excitement and confidence in me motivates me. The best is yet to come and I am holding on tight for the ride.

My goal right now is to tend to all of the fires in my life. Get those that I know need help, back blazing again.

Sometimes, if your lucky… when you wake up in the morning after the campfire goes out while your sleeping… and you drop a piece of newspaper into the fire pit… it starts to smoke… the fire you thought had burned out… just needs a little attention. Remember that. 

CrossFit 696 #homeiswhereyouliftheavyshit

17.2 - Walking Lunges, TTB, Bar Muscle Ups

 My First Bar Muscle Up!


17.4 - Deadlifts, Rowing and Handstand Pushups





17.5 - Thrusters and Double Unders


DONE AND DONE... 


Final Standings for the CF Opens 2017

91 of 2,329  women ages 35-40 in the North East region
1,265 of 26,957  women ages 35-40 in the World
799 of 13,857 women of all ages in the North East region
9,510 of 153,242 women of all ages in the World…

Not too shabby for this Mama!


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