perspective

Showing Up without Showing Up

It has been a strange few weeks, to say the least.  We’ve switched from going about our busy lives barely knowing the word coronavirus around St. Patrick’s Day to a shelter-in-place order which started a few days ago in my home state. There have already been all kinds of twists and turns on this road, from learning how to do work and school from home, radically changing the structure and service model of my husband’s business, watching events we were looking forward to fall off the schedule and more.

At this point, my family is pretty lucky.  I still have a reliable income for the time being.  We have food, water, shelter, basic necessities and our health appears to be good.  Sure, there are the bumps and bruises that come with radical change but nothing insurmountable.  I can still go outside and exercise.  I can text or talk with friends using technology. All in all, right now things are sort of annoying and inconvenient (when I’m not anxious about the big picture), but overall we are ok. At this point, we are not forced to make the kinds of heroic sacrifices as those in healthcare or in public service positions are.  It could definitely be harder than it is.

I think the first gut punch I felt from this coronavirus quasi-quarantine experience came when a friend’s dad passed away last week.  At that stage, going out and about was already questionable, and groups of more than ten were not happening. Then, a couple of days ago, I learned that a co-worker’s husband unexpectedly passed away. By this point in the corona cycle, 2 funeral had been identified as events that spread coronavirus in a relatively rural community in Georgia, leading to many serious illnesses and deaths. So attending my co-worker’s family’s funeral to support her husband would, again, not happen.

Instead of going to pay my respects, I sent cards and texts and tried to support from a distance.

Honestly, it felt inadequate.  Disappointing.  And it made me mad.  Technology is great, for sure, but there are some things that you need to show up for as a friend and as a support. Like, physically show up for. I grew up Catholic and my dad taught me the seven corporal works of mercy, the last of which is to bury the dead.  When we cannot gather to express our sorrow, our comfort, our support, to just bear witness, what is lost? I heard about people doing Zoom funerals and I just shake my head.  I suppose it is something but it hurts my heart. It’s an extra layer of loss. So many emotions.

Other possible struggles are on the horizon.  Friends and family who have special birthdays coming up in the next week.  How do we celebrate them while adhering to health and safety guidelines?  Easter is next weekend.  What will our holiday look like, since our huge family egg hunt and crepe celebration really can’t happen?

I don’t have answers for these questions.  It is a very strange time.  While technology is great, there are some things that it can’t replace. All of this ties in to the concerns both of the chicks have shared about mental health at this time. I’m sure more will come up as time wears on. How do we show up for people when we can’t physically show up for them? It’s something I am puzzling over in this hard season. How have you been able to remain connected?  Are there any other life events that we need to do now that technology just can’t replace?

As much as I hear our country’s leaders talk about the “pent up demand” for goods and services brought on by the quarantine, I predict an even larger pent up demand for people.  For presence.  For connection.  For contact.  For togetherness.

coaching, dare to be different

Mind Training

Can you train your mind to do things?

I think you can. We all have fears and sometimes our mind makes us think we can’t do something but if we are consistent, determined and persistent a lot can actually get done if we train our mind to think I can.

Let’s look at learning to ride a bike as a child. There is a fear factor involved for most, if not all. I’m sure it has to do with road rash and how much it hurts. I can’t think back to that age but my vague memories tell me it took practice, determination and trust. Trust in my teacher(s).

Then there is learning to drive a car. This fear may fall more towards the teacher rather than the student, but practice, consistency and determination play a part in success or failure. Even how long it takes to master the skill.

For some learning to swim is a challenge. Some don’t get the exposure in their youth and have to battle bigger obstacles to learn to swim or acknowledge they can’t swim as an adult. Kind of weird when you think about it. Nonetheless one has to train their brain to conquer the new skill. Consistent practice, patience, determination all play a role in success or failure.

Conquering fears is a lifelong challenge as fears pop up almost everywhere in life. We have to train our brain to think we can. Show our inner strength and power. Show our resilience and determination. We have to look fear in the eye. We need to train our mind.

What’s also crazy is we have to train our minds while people watch. Around us others are watching and learning too. Some may even be mirroring our behaviors to improve theirs. It could be your kids. It could be your grandkids. Maybe a coworker. Maybe a student in your class. Maybe a neighbor. Any day you could have one or more watchers. Those who watch you. Those who want to learn from you. Those who want to see what makes you tick.

Show them how you train your brain. How you do the things you may not want to. How you can strive to a new level of awesomeness with just a little extra push.

When you power up yourself and those around you great things happen. Strength, positive vibes, compassion and so much more is ignited.

Training your mind is a valuable skill to be able to harness. It’s an indirect form of communication. It’s even more powerful when you can spread that power to others around you.

Escape the ordinary today. Be that influencer. Be bold. Be assertive. Be decisive. Be authentic. Add a little sassy. Maybe some smarts. You will be one hell of a badass!

Just a little whisper in your ear from one badass to another.

hustle, perspective

One Hour A Day

If you had an extra hour a day, what would you with it?

That is a loaded question for me. Although it’s impossible to get an extra hour a day, you can actually make an hour a day count.

I put an hour to the test. Just one hour. One day. A couple of days. Many days. Now I have a habit. A routine.

I can make an hour a day count for so much more by committing to that one hour my way. What I need to focus on in that snapshot of time.

Maybe your one hour today is meal prepping. Hint: that is one of mine (Sunday).

Maybe you have an hour of strategic planning. Maybe an hour of no technology. Maybe it’s an hour set aside to pay bills uninterrupted. Maybe it’s some me time. Maybe it’s some one-on-one spouse time. Maybe it’s a date day with one of your kids.

The possibilities are endless. In 2020, I’m going to commit an hour a day to accomplish something that is relevant to me and what I have on the horizon.

Can you commit an hour a day? An hour a week or maybe a day a month to help yourself in one way or another?

Challenge is set. Now who is in? Make sure you have a plan. A planner always helps me accomplish a lot in a given year while allowing me the opportunity to reflect on what’s already taken place as well.

2020 is a monumental year. Most reading this post were not alive in 1919 and won’t be alive in 2121. Therefore this is a great year to create a spark of your own. At least that is what I am setting out to do.

perspective

Giving is Not the Same as Expecting

There are so many givers in this world. Those who give their time to others. Those who give care to those in need. Those who offer love and hope to others. The list could go on and on. If you fall into the giver category, thank you. The world needs more of you.

Giving isn’t always a gift that is tangible. One can give love. One can give inspiration. One can give a shoulder to lean on. One can give hope. Whatever one gives, it is a choice. A desire to serve others in some way.

Life isn’t fair. I can’t catch a break. Poor me. If you fall into this category, suck it up. Find resources to help you get over the hump you are in. Start to pay your way little by little. Set a budget and work hard for what you need / want. Do not expect others to do for you and don’t be a mooch. Not much in life is free these days and if you take advantage of kindness in any form you will soon find yourself abandoned and alone. Eventually the givers lose interest in takers.

Expecting is different. Expecting mom and dad to pay for a cell phone until the you turn 30. Expecting the latest and greatest iPhone vs the one that works fine but is a model year behind the latest release. Expecting a brand new car as a teen. Expecting to have access to unlimited funds when one is capable of working. Expecting a car or car service to promote your independence without any contributions to gas. These are just some common teenage / young adult expectations I see over and over.

Expecting is annoying to say the least. One should never expect anything. One should expect to put forth work or effort to earn things that matter. There is definitely a benefit to learning this early on in life. If your teen expects things on the home front, they turn into employees that expect things. They turn into spouses who contribute less. They turn into lazy adults.

As I wrote this, I could feel the negative vibe in the post. For those of you who may follow my writing you may know that I am not the Negative Nelly type of writer. However, when the giver and taker scenarios arrive in my real world, I can be frustrated.

The same level of frustration appears when I see entitlement. Scenarios could include my own children acting entitled or it could be just the world around me. It could be an employee feeling entitled to a raise despite minimal efforts on their part. It could be a vendor feeling entitled to contract or a loved one feeling entitled to something. Even the customer who feels entitled to a discount for reasons that would put you below your operational costs.

In life we should think fair and consistent. Is this scenario fair for all parties? Are my actions consistent with my behaviors? Am I doing the right thing?

Earn your keep. Earn your value. In today’s competitive world you need to see what sets you apart from others and springboard off of those strengths. Nobody ever gets anywhere riding the coattails of others.

Make giving part of your motto in 2020 and see how life favors you. Remember giving is free on most accounts. You just may need to get creative.

January can be give smiles month.
February may be give compliments month.
March may be give time month.
April may be give your listening ear month.

With the above samples in hand, you can get creative and find what works for your lifestyle. I do promise you that if you adapt giving into your life you will receive far more in return. I’m not promising money, fame or fortune. I am promising a refreshed look at the world if you give a little.

fitness and nutrition, friendship

The Friendship Relays

Six women.  Seven o’clock. Early one Sunday morning.

Six different paces. Six different goals.

One had to be done in 50 minutes.  One wanted to run two miles.  One wanted to run six miles.  Others somewhere in between.

Most, but not all, preparing for a half marathon this fall. Several working on upping their speed.  Some working just to get (back) into running.

An out-and-back course. One endless hill – gentle slope on the way out, daunting mountain on the way back.

How do we do this, as a group?

Meeting early, we parked.  Everyone adjusted their respective technologies…mileage counters, music.  The fast group took off, three in number.  The wide, empty road with generous sidewalks meant we could see them for a long, long time as they took off at an ambitious clip.

One of us, at a moderate pace, moved right along brightly.

I was in the slow, steady tortoise pair with a friend.  We chatted the whole time.  Neither was overly winded.  And before we knew it, a mile had gone by – and then she said, “that’s the first time I’ve ever run a full mile without stopping.”

WHAT A VICTORY!  And I had no idea that was happening!  Such a great moment, and we could still keep going.

She was the two-miler this day, so we turned around and paced ourselves back up the hill.  Once she was back to the car, I took off down again, only to see the three hares flying up the hill together.  The 50-minute limit gal was in that group, and they made the most of it. Screams of KEEP GOING WE’RE ALMOST THERE as they were so close to running to the top! Inspiring!

I plodded down the hill, singing along to the Beastie Boys, Aretha Franklin, Ariana Grande, knowing we had a friend still out on the course.  Over a mile passed until I saw her.  She was working her way back up.  I pulled out my headphones to check in – so hot, it’s THICK out here, I said – then kept moving along toward my goal distance.

Turned back for home, finally. And all I could see was UP.  That hill looked SOOOO long.  I’d be going at it for a mile and a half (a while and a half!)  Endless. And even though I’ve been doing really well most days with just continuing to run, I stopped.

To walk.

And I was so mad at myself.  Just knowing the hill was so long, it was enough to make me walk.  Just for maybe 45 seconds.  Then back into running. Still, though. A mental setback.

One lonely moment.  Grudging, trudging entered my mind.

Then, I turned a corner only to see three figures in the distance, two in dark and one in bright, walking down the hill toward me.

It was the other three women still on the route.  Coming back for me.

In that moment, gears shifted.  Seeing them, I could have run for days.  My stride picked up.  I sang a little louder.  Moved a little faster.

We met and they turned and we finished together, telling stories and giggling.

It IS possible for everyone to meet their goals.  Even if the goals (and the gals) are wildly different.  Even if they seem incompatible.

It IS ok to “take the long way” or to double back “relay style” as part of your path, especially if it means more time with someone you enjoy.  Bonus points if you help them meet their goals, too.

It IS awesome to push yourself to keep up with those moving at a faster clip. Even those who seem the strongest, most invincible among us, have weak points of doubt or moments when they might feel like slowing down.  You could be the voice of encouragement at that moment!  Yes, YOU!

Even if you are done with your work, have met your goal, and completed your task, going back out to help the people still on the trail when you can is a beautiful show of support.  Being last can be challenging, even lonely, even if everyone’s goals are different at the start.  And then next time, when you have to begin again, or turn for home and all you can see is a great big pile of UP, that long hill climb might be a little less daunting, knowing you won’t be forgotten.

Six women. Six paces.  So many fluid groupings, lessons. Challenges faced, goals achieved.  All on one sunny Sunday morning.