Talk is Cheap & Easy

What goes around, comes around. Just don’t take it personally. Ever.

I’ve heard it before, and maybe you have, too.

It goes something like, “Anyone who willingly talks about others with you, will also gladly talk about you with others.”

Take heed, my friends.

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

And, if you enjoy talking about others with others, then please accept the consequences that follow.

All is fair in the name of gossip.

If you can’t eat what you dish out, then put down your fork and knife.

Gossip is like nicotine — That quick hit feels so good, and every inhale is a rush of sweet ecstasy. But, as we all know, that smoke is also poisonous to our bodies, just as gossip is to our souls.

And yet, we still do it.

After we finish that cigarette, we suddenly feel like shit, and need more to bring us back up. Gossip works the same way — The more you do it, the worse you feel about yourself, so you end up having to do more to get those quick, shallow hits of ecstasy.

We get addicted to talking about others. It feels good in the moment. It also allows us to hide.

When the topic is someone else, your problems get to snuggle up under a big, fuzzy blanket and nap on the couch.

We all gossip at some point. We are human.

Just be mindful of a few things:

A) WHO you gossip with (A good rule of gossip: Only say what you’d be willing to post on Facebook), because more times than not, whatever you say to someone else is being put into the game of “Telephone” elsewhere, whether you realize it or not.

B) WHY you are gossiping (Do you just need to vent about a bad boss, or are you just being a dick?)

C) WHAT you have to gain or lose from this gossip (If the person you are talking about heard what you said, would you be okay with the consequences? Is this gossip going to help you or hurt you in some way?)

D) HOW OFTEN are you gossiping? If it’s once in a blue moon, and it’s mostly to just vent to a trusted friend or family, then okay. But, if you’re doing it everyday, all day, any chance you can get, it may be time to do some serious soul-searching.

Always remember, just as you talk about others, others are talking about you.

It’s also none of your business what people say about you.

And, it doesn’t even matter.

“Talk is cheap. Words are plentiful. Deeds are precious.” ~ Ross Perot

Worrying about what others say about you is not a fuck worth giving. And, what you say about others is not worth an ounce of shit, either.

Go ahead and talk. Gossip as you will.

Just keep it in perspective.

Your words about others are just as meaningless and plentiful as anyone else’s.

A great rule of thumb I try to follow is this:

If it is true, kind, and helpful, then, and only then, is it worth saying. It has to be all three, though. The more you question yourself before speaking, the more you start to realize how much we gossip.

True. Kind. Helpful.

There’s a lot of good and love left in this world that needs to get done! 😉

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Motivation is a Big, Fat Lie

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I often get asked how I stay motivated to workout, eat right, and stay the course. It may come as a surprise, but I don’t actually look for and rely on motivation, because it has failed me too many times throughout my life.

Motivation is the Casanova of the Health & Fitness industry.

He seduces us with highlighted reels of sexy transformations and emotional success stories. He makes us believe that we can be anything we want overnight.

Motivation preys on our deepest insecurities, promises instant gratification and quick fixes, and then just as quickly as he has won us over, he walks out and moves on to his next target.

That’s why our motivation fluctuates so much, and we often find ourselves in a yo-yo.

Here are the harsh words you need to hear, “Motivation does not love you! Motivation does not care about you! He only serves himself!”

His only goal is to trick you into bed, or in this case, into buying the newest fitness product, fad, or service. Once you buy it, he’s done with you.

And, the sad thing is, we keep falling for his tricks, thinking that maybe this time will be different.

Motivation is a liar and a thief.

I think we are “motivational junkies.”

We love to talk about it, post about it, take pictures about it, make videos about it, share it, “Like” it, and make memes about it. Oh, the seduction and lust!

And then, when we actually start the relationship, we quickly realize that this is a lot more work than we planned for, and motivation is no where to be found.

It’s time we sit down and admit to each other that we are addicted solely to the end result, and hardly ever (if at all) consider the countless hours of hard work and consistency it actually requires to get there.

It’s time to get real.

The only way you will truly accomplish your health and fitness goals is when they become more important than your excuses, and you are ready to put in the hard work and time required.

If health and fitness are going to become a part of your life, then you need to marry dedication and consistency, and finally dump motivation.

While motivation is incredible at first dates, he’s unstable for the long-term, and far too brittle for any setbacks or obstacles.

You need to find your pain, attach it to your goal, and create a higher purpose.

Research shows that we will do far more to avoid pain than we will to gain pleasure. So, the trick is to find a pain greater than the sore muscles and lack of sweets. In order to find your pain, you need to ask yourself why at least a dozen times, if not more, and keep going until you’ve reached your hell.

Here’s an example:

I want to lose weight. Why?

Because I want to look good in a bikini. Why?

Because I hate how my stomach looks. Why?

Because it sticks out and makes me feel self-conscious. Why?

Because I care about what others think of me and how I look. Why?

Because I got picked on at school a lot growing up for being fat, and it made me insecure. Why?

Because I want people to like me and not call me fat. Why?

Because I feel lonely and depressed. WHY?

Because I do not like myself. I do not like the way I look, and I do not like the person I have become. I want friends, and I want self-confidence. I hate being home alone all the time. I hate being single and never asked out on dates. I hate the way I hate myself! I want to finally learn to love myself, take care of myself, and be who I can be, but have always been too chicken shit to do anything about it.

BOOM! And there it is – The pain!

The higher purpose.

That is the pain that is going to fuel the fire and keep the engine running, even when motivation runs out, even when your body hurts, even when your lungs burn, even when someone hands you a slice of cake, and even when setbacks and obstacles strike (because they will).

Everyone’s pain will be different. There is no right or wrong. It does require some raw honesty with yourself, though.

Sometimes, it has to get worse before it can get better.

Find YOUR pain. And, don’t let someone else tell you what it should or shouldn’t be. Not even your coach or best friend. Don’t pick something that you think others want to hear, or what would look good on Facebook. Don’t pick someone else’s pain.

It has to be yours, and yours alone.

Find your pain, and then crush your goals!

Self-Reliance

I recently discovered Stoicism while watching a TED Talk with Tim Ferriss. What a huge shift in perspective for me. It was like finding the missing left sock way down in the bottom of the lint collector.

The more I learn and read, the more I realize how much my emotions have overshadowed my life. While feelings are important, and are what makes being a human so unique and even magically, the challenge is allowing those feelings to exist without drowning in them.

Having attachments that are meaningful, but don’t destroy you when it doesn’t work out.

Giving it your all, without giving up when it doesn’t go your way.

Sharing yourself with others, without relying or reacting on their responses.

Doing your best, without any expectations.

Living your life, without praise or criticism.

Appreciating others, without depending on them.

Taking chances, while accepting that life is all chance and circumstance, and allowing the storms and rainbows to pass.

Controlling the things you can control, while accepting everything else you can’t, which really means, control yourself, because that is the only thing you can control.

“Self-reliance. Always.” — Marcus Aurelius

Life is whatever reality you choose to create and believe in.

I majored in Psychology, and found disorders both intriguing and frightening. My worst fear was “losing my mind.”

However, I have been thinking more about this, and I’ve come to the conclusion that since we create our own realities anyway, aren’t we all a little crazy?! 🤪

My life is my choice. My thoughts and feelings are within my control.

I am everything I choose to be. It is that simple. And, that complicated.

My value system and opinions of myself are what matter most. In fact, they are the only things that matter.

My world.

Don’t ever let someone else’s flag stand on top of your mountain.

Own your world.

Loyalty: It’s Not What You Think It Means

My husband and I have closed our doors to our fitness gym. As I sit and reflect on the last seven years, the word “loyalty” stick outs like a sore thumb.

Growing up, this word was used a lot among my friends and I in school. It was such a fierce weapon for cliques and social manipulation.

Funny thing is, because we were just highly inexperienced, overly hormonal, and painfully insecure creatures, our “loyalty” seemed to fluctuate and mutate weekly (and sometimes even daily). We had no idea what loyalty actually meant.

And here we are now in adulthood, and many of us still do not seem to know what it is.

In CrossFit, it has commonly been referred to as a cult. In a general sense, it is, and “loyalty” is a big thing in gym boxes worldwide. Just as in middle and high school, many CrossFit members and coaches use loyalty as a weapon for membership and retention. Of course, not all CrossFit gyms are like this, but many of them are (that’s how stereotypes are formed in the first place).


Two years ago, we were forced into a situation in which we fired our head coach. That story is a whole book in and of itself.

When we let him go, he launched his own story, and then juicier versions got passed around, and the damaging game of “Telephone” was recklessly played around town.

Gossip is like wildfire, and many people use it as a bonding tool. This is where the word “loyalty” gets thrown around. This is where the word turns into a dirty weapon. And lo and behold, it was an “us against them” story.

Because some of the members felt compelled to be “loyal” to the coach, they left our gym. Not because we were negligent or incompetent coaches, or a dangerous facility, or a poor-quality service (Which we were none of those things, anyway), but because since we were not “loyal” to him, they were going to show us what “loyalty” was all about. They were going to stick it to us.

Some of the members who left told us that they were leaving because we were not only disloyal to the head coach, but disloyal to “the CrossFit way.”

Apparently, to them, being “loyal to CrossFit” meant having a chalky warehouse with over-the-top “intense” workouts, allowing everyone to perform “Rx” topless with reckless abandon and shitty form, and then taking really cool pictures for social media to post about bloody hands and a 20-min “Fran” time.

(SIDE NOTE — That is NOT CrossFit. CrossFit is misrepresented and mistreated by well-intended, but severely inexperienced coaches and owners, and even worse, who have no idea how to run a business. CrossFit is actually an incredible program that is scalable and adaptable to meet any and all individual needs, and was originally founded upon personal training to enhance daily life. Somewhere along the way, the true intent of CrossFit got shoved in the corner by competition and “Rx” workouts. But, I digress…)

And, being loyal to our head coach meant allowing him to not fulfill his responsibilities and duties, and turning a blind eye to poor behavior.

It is fascinating the stories people are willing to propagate and believe in order to remain “loyal” to each other, even when the truth is point blank.

“Ego is the anesthesia that deadens the pain of stupidity.”

Supposedly, loyalty means that no matter what, you stick together.

You stay in your marriage, even if he is cheating on you. You stay friends, even if she keeps gaslighting you. You take your alcoholic, homeless dad into your home, even if he breaks your things and hits you. You keep your best friend as the head coach, even if he sucks at his job and takes advantage of you.

Fuck that.

Loyalty is not a label you slap on someone’s forehead, and then cash out on when it serves you.

People commonly misuse loyalty to regulate their relationships (And, in their defense, they were probably taught it growing up, and have never known any differently).

It’s the string attached.

Funny thing about strings — They can break easily. And, you have to constantly re-tie and add more strings if you want to keep ‘em around. This is what we call “emotionally draining.”

Or, as I like to call it, “bullshit.”

Real, healthy relationships are only sustainable through free will and a common value system.

It’s the same thing with gym membership. The members who left us were never really ours in the first place, because they were there for the wrong reasons. They had strings attached. The members who stayed, remained because they shared the same value system as us.

“You have to weather the storm to see the rainbow.”


Loyalty is NOT family.

Loyalty is NOT a group or organization.

Loyalty is NOT even a best friend.

Loyalty is something you have WITH YOURSELF.

Loyalty is when you tell your best friend no as she angrily demands her keys back so she can drive home drunk, and then keeping the keys from here even after she breaks up with you and threatens to tell the world your darkest secrets.

You are being loyal to yourself, not her. Your value system is against drunk driving, and even more so, against allowing anyone to put others in danger irresponsibly.

Just because she is your friend, does not mean that you have to be “loyal” to her and let her drive drunk. That is not loyalty. That is bullshit.

When our head coach was bad-mouthing fellow coaches to members, undermining the owners, favoring specific clients, overstepping his authority, disregarding gym etiquette, and refusing further education and professional development, we had to put friendship aside. My husband and I had a laser-focused vision, a long-term plan, and our own set of core values for the gym.

We stayed loyal to that.

What made the situation blurry, though, was the fact that he was our best friend. And this is where loyalty got heavily abused.

Because he was our best friend, it was expected of us to remain “loyal” to him. No matter what. Just brush it under the carpet. Let it go. Look the other way. Don’t say anything. Give him benefit of the doubt…For the millionth time.

Somehow, loyalty has become something we have to obey out of social obligation.

Loyalty is a “ball and chain.”

And, loyalty also seems to mean that you have to put up with being mistreated.

Nope.

Hard pass.


Loyalty is not an obligation, nor a right of anyone to demand or expect from you.

The problem with making loyalty a relational-obligation with others is that you cannot control people. You cannot control what happens outside of you. None of it.

People change. Life changes.

Change is constant.

And, inevitable.

Loyalty is really all about learning who you are, what is meaningful to you, and how you want to share yourself with the world.

It’s about creating your own internal value system, and then practicing and mastering being loyal to that.

Being who you are is loyalty.

Every time you deny your value system to please someone else, THAT is when you are being disloyal.

If I had allowed my best friend to continue to do the poor behaviors at our gym just because he was my bestie, I would have been disloyal to myself, because my value system is built upon fairness, continuing education, hard work, and open communication.

While I can live with losing a shitty friend, I cannot live with losing my own value system.

I don’t have to live with that person day in and day out. I do have to live with myself 24–7.

Stay loyal to yourself.

The right people will show up and stick around.

They always do.

Loyalty is a one-man show. So, go rock it!

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Girlfriends

Girlfriends
The Importance of Same-Sex Friendships

As my family and I drive to Ohio from California, I keep revisiting thoughts of the people and a life we have known for over seven years.

Through high school and college, I had been burned too many times, and just shut down emotionally after graduation.

I stopped trying with people, women especially.

When Spencer and I got engaged, I had my sister as my Maid of Honor. For my bridesmaids, I had one old friend from high school, and then the rest were Spencer’s sisters and his close friends.

It was at that moment I realized how much I had shut women out.

When we started our CrossFit gym, it took me about three years to warm up to the women and build friendships.

Slowly but surely, though, I found myself actually enjoying the company of my fellow female athletes.

Fives years into our gym business, and I was suddenly reminded why I stopped with girlfriends so many years ago.

The break up with our head coach brought out the catty, gossipy behavior many women are so artfully talented at. Women don’t go for physical pain, they drill in deep to hopefully leave emotional scars.

Hurt people hurt other people.

Any person, man or woman, who uses gossip as a bonding tool with others is not a friend. Just as they used someone else to befriend me, they just as quickly used me to befriend someone else.

I learned all that the hard way.

However, through the storm, a few women stuck around and showed me what friendship really means.

Honestly, I had forgotten what being a friend was.

My handful of close girlfriends reminded me. It took me seven years to find them, trust them, and build what we have now.

We all cried my last day at the gym. I cried harder at home.

As we drive through Iowa, I wonder who will cross my path in Ohio, who will I find, trust, and build with. Will I be able to again?!

No doubt, I will keep in touch with my core girlfriends. They are worth the effort.

They add value to my life.

I never wanted to admit it before, but having a few close girlfriends is pretty important for a quality of life, as well as for personal growth and sustainability.

You have to go through the bullshit and pain to find those few.

It’s worth it.

“You are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with — Choose wisely.”

Emma

Last night, I was sitting on the couch in our living room. All the lights were off, and just the last bits of sunlight were filling the bedroom of my girls. It was their bedtime, and neither one was tired. A struggle all parents know too well.

The bedroom door was half open, and I could see the beautiful silhouettes of my two girls – One bouncing on the bed, while the other held herself up by the edge, waving one arm excitedly at her big sister. Laughter filled the air. Then, Bailey leans down and kisses the top of Emma’s head.

The only thing that would have made this moment even more magical is if by some chance Phillip Phillips’ “Home” started playing in the background.

I sat back on that couch, soaking in the moment, and suddenly realized how close we were to never having Emma.

Before Emma, I started an ambitious path to become a Chiropractor. Through some unfortunate events, I had to drop out in the first quarter. It was frustrating, to say the least. I was extremely resentful and heartbroken over the situation, and for a long time, I focused on what I had to give up.

Fast forward to two years later, and here I am, the mother of two beautiful and healthy girls, and I get to watch them become best friends.

Emma would have never happened had I not had to quit Chiropractic school.

I can go back to school anytime in my life. I can never have Emma again. The odds of us being born is well over 1 in 400 trillion!

Life is a series of chance and luck.

Hard work, planning ahead, putting in the time and effort, and all of that other stuff are important, and yes, they do make a difference most of the time, but there are no guarantees in life. Just recently, I read a story about a young man who graduated high school top of his class with a football scholarship, and he was shot and killed just hours after graduation standing up for a friend. It’s times like this we question humanity and fairness. A good kid doing the right thing, and he gets killed for it. Heartbreaking.

It is uncomfortable to think of life as so fragile. That, at any moment, it can change course, or even end.

One decision can change everything. Had I not responded back to Spencer’s email over 9 years ago, none of this would even be here today – Our gym, our girls, our friends, our families.

An email. That’s it. A simple reply changed the fate of our lives.

Last night, watching my girls giggle together, hoping that they’d wear each other out soon, for the first time since it all happened, I wasn’t bitter about Chiropractic school.

I was thankful.

Instead of focusing on what we lose or have to give up in a situation, turn towards all the things you have to gain from it. Getting laid off gives you an opportunity to find a better job, or maybe even the chance to go back to school. Getting cheated on by your husband gives you an opportunity to learn to love yourself, and find a better partner in life. Losing a loved one teaches you to appreciate life, and spend more quality time with those around you.

Life is hard and unfair. But, we always have a choice in how we deal with it.

Choose gratitude. Always.

Emma will always be my daily reminder of how lucky I am in life. A 1 in 400 trillion chance!

Thank you, Life! 🙂

Listen. Love. Repeat.

59e02a5adfda810a903d56724e47ceb7STRENGTH DOESN’T COME FROM WHAT YOU CAN DO.  IT COMES FROM OVERCOMING THE THINGS YOU ONCE THOUGHT YOU COULDN’T.

So, here’s an interesting confession I want to make…

I have not overcome my past…yet.

I have simply adapted and compensated for over 20 years, and extremely well, I might add.  Oscar-worthy, really.  I think 99% of us have done this, and most of us still are to this day.

I’ve always been fascinated by psychology and people, but I think most of that is due to the fact that I have struggled internally with a lot of my own demons for so many years, and since I couldn’t figure out myself, I decided to try and figure out everyone else.

Maybe if I could figure out others, then I’d be able to figure out myself?!

Unfortunately, that is the WORST way to try to figure yourself out.  Not to be cheesy and cliche, but all of us really are unique and individual.

All of our stories are completely different.  Our own realities are played on different channels.  Our reactions are colorful.  We can all look at the same exact piece of artwork, and have drastically opposing interpretations and emotions.  A flower in a vase can mean many, many things to many diverse people!

It all depends on our own experiences, the way in which we’ve reacted to those experiences, and then how we interpret and move forward with them.

20 years ago

Yesterday, I just realized that it has been that long since “it happened.”  And for all these years, I honestly believed that I had worked through it, got passed it, overcame it, and was this big, bad ass.

I have, indeed, overcome a lot.  But…I have not overcome “that.”  And, it’s finally time that I do…
I believe I have sabotaged a lot of opportunities and abilities throughout my life BECAUSE I have not yet overcome “that.”

Heartbreaking to realize that.  But, also empowering, as I can now get to the root of myself and find my inner strength…

f09b3efb484a87b1040aa4897346d640TENSION IS WHO YOU THINK YOU SHOULD BE.  RELAXATION IS WHO YOU ARE.

So…20 years ago…

Like so many of us, someone I trusted and respected took advantage of our relationship and his position in my life, and I learned to shut everyone out and hate myself.

I coped with the situation the best way I knew how as a 16 year old.

As an adult and mother now, I am furious that instead of having to worry about which prom dress to buy and how to get rid of a pimple on my nose, I was worrying about THAT.  And, I had NO ONE to help me.  But, that was by choice.

I was far more afraid of telling and getting in trouble, than I was of him.  That’s the beauty of his position, though…It is why it happens so often to so many good people.

Silence is a deadly and powerful thing.

Since I didn’t tell anyone, and I had no one to help me through it, I processed that pain like an “out of body” experience, so I then started living my life that way.

I lived vicariously through others on the sidelines.  

And, I got really, really good at being a person I THOUGHT others wanted me to be.  Who I was “supposed” to be.

I became a chameleon.  An actress.  I compartmentalized everything almost flawlessly.  I had everyone fooled.

Except myself.

And, that’s the thing… At the end of the day, you have to go home to yourself.  You have to live with yourself 24-7.

So, I became a swim coach, and then a teacher, and I am now a CrossFit coach, and I started these professions with the intentions of not only helping others and making a difference, but on a more selfish level, to also try to cover up my own broken pieces.

You see, being around athletes and students, people who are working on getting better daily at something, it’s a great distraction, and it made me feel like I was getting better personally.

Being the coach/teacher, I was in the lead this time.  I was in control.  I could make people see me however I wanted them to.  So, I created this persona – My “ideal” coach/teacher.

I pretended to be the person I genuinely wished I was, but deep down believed I never could be, nor was I worthy of truly being that person, anyway.

I also acted the way I thought others expected me to.  Like I said earlier, I was a chameleon, and I was very good at being the person I thought I needed to be for everyone else in every situation.

With each athlete and student that I watched succeed and grow, I vicariously watched myself doing the same thing.

Problem is…Vicariously is NOT the same as actually DOING!

So, for 20 years, I’ve given myself to others in the hopes that they would fix me, when in reality, I need to fix myself!

I’ve been tense for 20 years.

Which is probably why I have issues with grinding my teeth at night, falling asleep, and not being able to relax my muscles during a massage or yoga class.

There are less than a handful of people in my life that I have felt truly relaxed with, and fortunately I got to be with one of them yesterday.  I realized in that moment how easy it was to be around my friend, and my body was actually in a state of relaxation and safety.  I wasn’t thinking about how to carefully word my story, and I wasn’t worried about how I’d be perceived or accepted.

For once in a very long while, I got to genuinely be myself and speak for myself.

I was with a friend.

And, I was me.

Forgiveness-is-a-reflectionFORGIVENESS IS A REFLECTION OF LOVING YOURSELF ENOUGH TO MOVE ON.

I hold grudges.  A lot.  And, it’s very stressful.  I know I do it, and I hate it, and I want to stop it.

For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out why I was so adamant about keeping them, though.  Why couldn’t I just let go and move on?!

Yes, people have done shitty things to me.  And, yes, I have done shitty things to people.

For the longest time, though, I always saw forgiveness as a way of saying, “What you did is okay.”  And, of course, the things people have done to me, and what I have done to them, were NOT okay!

I am slowly starting to learn, though, that forgiveness is NOT about making a shitty situation acceptable.

Forgiveness does NOT mean that what happened was okay.  It does NOT mean that the person was in the right, or justified, or anything like that.

Forgiveness is NOT for the others.  

It is for yourself.

I am just now realizing this, because for 20 years, I’ve held that grudge not only against him, but against myself.  Of course, I’ve blamed myself for most of that experience.  What did I do wrong?  What did I do to deserve this?  I should have… I could have… I wasn’t enough… I shouldn’t have… I was too weak…

And so, because I never learned to forgive myself…How in the world could I forgive anyone else?!

The grudges that I’ve piled on throughout my life are really just my own.

Now, after 20 years, I am finally on the path to forgiveness for myself.  Once I learn to forgive myself, it will be like a domino effect.

So often we treat the symptoms, and NOT the cause.  

I am the cause of my own poison and problems, and I am my own solution.

I-don-t-need-you-to-fix-me-I-need-you-to-love-meI DON’T NEED YOU TO FIX ME.  I NEED YOU TO LOVE ME WHILE I FIX MYSELF.

So, here’s my takeaway from all of this.

I need to fix myself.

Not my mom…Not a therapist…Not my coach…Not my teammates…Not my friends…Not my daughters…Not even him…

Just me.

But, I also need people who love me.  We all do.  So often, we mistakenly try to fix each other’s problems.  Obviously, because we love each other, and want to help.

However, the truth of the matter is, the only way to truly fix yourself is to do it yourself.

And while it certainly never feels like enough from the other end, simply LISTENING and BEING THERE are all it takes to help someone through a rough time.  Really.  That IS enough.

In today’s world, we’ve learned to listen to respond, and many of us just wait our turns to speak.  We’ve all become experts in everything, and our opinions have become way too important.

I can tell you from personal and professional experiences, both from being a listener and the talker, one of the greatest gifts you can give someone you love is your ear, your heart, and your shoulder.  That’s it.

NOT your humble opinions…NOT your insightful advice…NOT your words of wisdom…And definitely NOT your well-intended, but cliche sayings and feel-good phrases.

More times than not, we don’t need you to say anything at all.  Seriously.

We just want to be heard.

We want someone to listen to what we are actually saying and validate it.  And then say, “I still love you.” ❤  I can’t even describe to you in words how powerful and impactful that is to receive!!!

So, I am thankful today to be able to say to you that I am currently in a place in my life where I am ready to fix myself, AND, I have a select few who will love me the right way through this journey.

They aren’t going to do any of it for me. But, they are going to stick around and cheer me on while I do it, and that’s all I really need.

That’s all any of us really need.

Listen.  Love.  Repeat.

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Challenge Popular Thinking

quote-when-in-doubt-observe-and-ask-questions-when-certain-observe-at-length-and-ask-many-george-s-patton-78-84-68I would consider myself someone who goes against popular thinking.  I have my mother, a couple of amazing teachers, one coach, one doctor, my husband, and a very few close friends to thank for that.
I have chosen a small, but very exceptional circle of friends in my life so that I can continue to learn and grow throughout life.

I do not value popularity over good thinking, and I’ve made that very clear all my life by the decisions and actions I’ve made, some of which were the most unpopular of all.

Going against the grain, stepping off the beaten path, and asking questions requires a lot of backbone and big balls, because there is a good chance it will upset the masses, and make you very unpopular.  People will walk away from you.  People will judge you.  People will blame you.  Let them.  The only way to fly higher is to let go of the extra weight.

A lot of people do not like change, and they especially do not like when their comfortable level of thinking (or lack there of) is disturbed by a higher level of thinking that requires confrontation and action.

Popular thinking is safe and comfortable.  It involves little to no thinking for oneself.  There are no questions asked.  No education required.  It’s quick, easy, and accessible.  It can be impulsive, and have instant gratification.  There is little to no effort or hard work involved.  There are no risks.  And, it takes the burden of personal responsibility away.

It is much easier to do what other people do, and hope, or assume, that they have already thought it all out for you.

Popular thinking is following.

Popular thinking is strength in numbers…It is also how people like Hitler came into power.  It is how elections are won, bills get passed, donations are given, groups are formed, movements get established, and businesses gain profit.

And, I already know what many of you are saying to yourself right now, “OMG!  Hitler is an extreme example!  We would NEVER repeat history like that again!  I would NEVER do something like that!”

Actually…We are repeating history, in many forms, just in other ways that we tell ourselves are acceptable because we’re not actually putting innocent people into ovens this time.

Remember the whole case against vaccines and Autism?!  We were once told that a study proved the relationship between children getting vaccines and developing Autism, and suddenly there was a worldwide protest against vaccines!

Almost everyone eagerly jumped on the bandwagon.  It became popular thinking overnight.  We accepted it as truth without question.  If a doctor says it, and has a study to go with it, than it MUST be true, right?!  That’s how popular thinking works.  We willingly follow, and hope that this doctor has done all of the thinking for us, and got it right.

And then…This came out (click on the link):  http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/01/05/autism.vaccines/

And yet, even despite this blatant truth and confession, many, many people still choose to follow popular thinking that vaccines cause Autism to this day.  The damage has been done.

Now, I am NOT here to debate the topic of vaccines.  I do not have a science background, nor will I pretend to know enough about it all.  I have no idea what causes Autism.  And, unfortunately, none of us really do yet.  I’ll leave all that to the experts!

What I DO want to point out, though, is the ease at which we, the masses, were so willingly convinced of something with little to no questions asked, and little to no further education.  So many people adamantly and passionately supported the notion that vaccines caused Autism, and yet if anyone who was able to think outside the box asked a question, they didn’t have the answers, just the words of this one doctor and study.

But, they wouldn’t hesitate to cast stones at those who challenged this popular thinking.  You were considered a horrible parent if you gave your child vaccines.  You were an idiot if you didn’t believe it.  How could we possibly question this doctor and study?!

And so, the painful separations, strong judgments, and harsh behaviors were thus formed against each other – Vaccines versus No Vaccines.  Nazis versus Jews.  Yes, very different stories indeed, however, exact same manipulation of popular thinking by one powerful man.

Popular thinking means not thinking for oneself, offers false hope, is very slow to embrace change, and brings only average results, at best.

I have a challenge for you now…

THINK before you follow.  Unpopular thinking is severely underrated, unrecognized, and sorely misunderstood, and yet, it is the doorway to opportunity and progress!

Learn to seek out different ways of thinking, and appreciate thinking differently from your own.  Expose yourself to people different from yourself – People with different backgrounds, education levels, professions, personal interests, etc.  And, be mindful, because the people you spend the most time with are the ones who are creating the way you think.  So, if you spend more time with people who think outside the box, than you’re more likely to challenge popular thinking and grow.

Always ask questions.  It is too easy and tempting to stay in one mode that has proven to work for ourselves.  Sometimes, the greatest enemy to tomorrow’s success is today’s!  Challenge your own way of thinking, and challenge others.  Try something new in new ways.  Yes, that requires risk, mistakes, and possible failures.  But, it can also lead to huge success and change for the better.

Get used to being uncomfortable.  I can easily relate this to CrossFit and our workouts.  Popular thinking is comfortable.  It’s a snuggly old blanket.  Walking on a treadmill is comfortable, too.  However, if you want real results and success, you HAVE to get uncomfortable.

Challenge popular thinking.

Unpopular thinking leads to uncommon results!

Against-the-Wind

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P.S.  If you are still hung up on Hitler and vaccines, than unfortunately you completely missed the point of my blog, and I encourage you to read it again, please.  🙂

The Power of Acknowledgment

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akˈnälijmənt/
noun
noun: acknowledgement
  1. 1.
    acceptance of the truth or existence of something.
    “there was no acknowledgment of the family’s trauma”
  2. 2.
    the action of expressing or displaying gratitude or appreciation for something.
    “he received an award in acknowledgment of his work”
    • the action of showing that one has noticed someone or something.
      “he touched his hat in acknowledgment of the salute”
    • a letter confirming receipt of something.
      “I received an acknowledgment of my application”

    (SOURCE: Google Search)

Acknowledgement can go a very long way.  It is such a simple gesture, and yet all too often we fail to take the few seconds that it takes to actually give it.  Not intentionally or maliciously.  We just get “too busy” and wrapped up in our own realities.  We are human, and life is crazy.

But, if we can remember to slow down for even a few seconds each day to acknowledge someone else, it will literally change your life.

And, I don’t mean the everyday, repetitive acknowledgments that we give, like, “Good job,” or “Way to go.”  While those are nice…They go into the same category as the everyday, “Hey, how are you” line we give everyone on the streets and in the stores.  They are just “fillers.”  Well intended, but not enough.

I’m talking about genuine, thoughtful acknowledgment.

When a client finally breaks parallel in their front squat after months and months of mobility and consistency, we need to take the 5 seconds to say, “Oh my gosh, John, I’m so proud of you!  You broke parallel finally, and it’s all because of the months of hard work you put in!”

When your son puts his dirty socks into the laundry hamper, instead of saying, “It’s about time,” take the 5 seconds to say, “Thank you for putting your dirty socks into the hamper.  That is very helpful to me every time you do that.”

When a stranger holds the door open for you, instead of giving a quick hand gesture and walking right by him, take the 5 seconds to look at his eyes and say, “Thank you for holding the door for me.  It’s nice to see that chivalry still lives!”

When the janitor keeps the bathroom spotless and running, rather than taking it for granted and saying it’s his job, take the 5 seconds one day out of the blue to shake his hand and say, “Thanks for always keeping the bathroom so nice.  It really makes a difference here and everyone notices and appreciates it, including me.”

When a friend gives your kids a ride home from school for the millionth time, take 5 seconds to give her a hug next time she drops them off and say, “I really appreciate you always picking up my kids after school and bringing them home for me.  I wouldn’t be able to do the things I do without your help, so I hope you know what a difference you make in our lives.”

Next time you’re walking the dog, pick some flowers from the field and give them to your wife, and take the 5 seconds to say, “I love you and thought of you when I saw these flowers.  You’re a great mom to our kids, and I appreciate how hard you work for us.”

When your husband takes the trash outside like he always does every Tuesday night, rather than comparing how many more chores you do around the house than he does, when he comes back inside one night, stop him and say, “I hope you know that I do notice the little things you do around the house, and I appreciate it.  I love you.”

And, next time you’re checking out at the grocery store, and the same sweet lady who has checked you out for the past year greets you and remembers your daughter’s birthday, be sure to take 5 seconds and say to her, “You know, I always love coming here because of you, and I appreciate how invested you are in your job and the community.  We only ever talk during these brief encounters, but you still manage to remember my daughter’s birthday among the hundreds you see every day.  Thank you!”

Acknowledgement takes 5 seconds.

But, it can last days, months, years, and even a lifetime for someone.  It really is that powerful!

In a world of can’ts, won’ts, don’ts, didn’ts, shouldn’ts, and haters, it is easy to fall prey to negativity and self-righteousness.  Lots of criticisms and opinions to be given.  It’s easy to nit-pick others, say that we could do it better, and how it “should” be done.

But, most of us are doing the best we can with what we have at that moment!

So, here’s a positive challenge for you…

Every day, take 5 seconds to genuinely acknowledge someone.

And then see the magic happen…

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Draw A Line

boundaries-2I have always worn my heart on my sleeve, and been very vocal and communicative.  I am also a very open person.  However, I think to a fault.

There is something sacred and valuable to having some mystery and privacy.

Social media has really opened a lot of doors for us worldwide.  There are a lot of great things about it.  There are also a lot of dangerous things about it that we are just now learning.

There really is such a thing as “too much of a good thing.”

More than ever before, we need to remember to set boundaries with others, and even ourselves.

First, you need to set boundaries within yourself.  It has to start with YOU.  Everything starts there!  Decide what your likes and dislikes are, your beliefs, values, morals, etc.  What is your priority list? Where do you draw the line?  Where is your limit?  And, what are the consequences if those limits are broken?  And, how will you follow through with those consequences?

Then, set those boundaries with the world.  That includes family and friends, and yes, even your most treasured BFF.  No one is an exception.  If you make an exception for someone, they will then further test your limits, and not because they are a bad person, but because they’re human, and we all test each others’ boundaries everyday.

There’s really no right or wrong answer to what your boundaries should and shouldn’t be.  This just has to be YOUR list.

Creating your own boundaries is a necessary tool for protection and self-care.  It is putting c8c015b123264d33b030e3fcc71d57dfyourself first.  It is NOT selfish or mean.  It’s healthy and functional, and allows you to live a quality of life that you want for yourself.  It also allows you to keep your priorities straight, your goals met, and your life moving forward.

If you don’t like flaky people and really can’t tolerate it, then make those boundaries clear that showing up late and/or a no-show is unacceptable to you, and if it continues, you will no longer plan outings with them.

If you don’t like dogs, make it clear at your house-warming party that dogs are unfortunately not welcomed to attend.  Let friends know that you’ll hike with them only when their dog is not there.  It doesn’t matter why you don’t like dogs, either.  People will certainly take offense to it, and others will think you are crazy, but let them think those things – That is THEIR ISSUE, not yours.

You can’t control how people react to your boundaries.  Let them react.  Their reactions are about THEM – NOT you!  

Boundaries-QuoteThe challenging part is to NOT react back to them!  When you react to their reactions, often times that is when you will crack and give in.  Reacting can also make the other person feel like they’ve found a weakness in your wall.  Even if you don’t actually give in that time, they will push that boundary again, and again, and again, and if you keep reacting, it gives them satisfaction and hope to eventually break your barrier.

Practice and prepare to RESPOND, not react.  When you react, they are in control of you.  When you respond, you are in control of yourself and your boundaries.

And, when in doubt, sometimes the best reaction is NONE!

You can’t argue with someone who won’t argue back.  You can’t continue a conversation that is one sided.  You can’t play the game with no returns.  So, if someone reacts in an unfavorable way to your boundaries, and you’re not quite sure the best way to respond in the moment, simply do nothing at all.

Their anger and frustrations have absolutely nothing personal to do with you, and everything to do with their own issues that they are dealing with.  That is much easier said than accepted, though.  And unfortunately, you will most likely be used as their reason for pain and dysfunction, and you need to still stick to your boundaries and let them go, if need be.  It is much easier to blame you for being a bad person with your “mean boundaries,” than it is for them to admit their faults and rise to the occasion.

Boundaries bring out the best in you.  It can also bring out the best in others when they respect your boundaries with you, and vice versa. 

Unfortunately, boundaries can also bring out the worst in others, and you have to okay with that.  You will be tested.  You will lose someone close to you.  You will be blamed for it, too.  But, remember, they are not walking away from you…They are walking away from personal responsibility.

Have the courage of your convictions.

Stand your ground.

Because the only person you really have to live with everyday is yourself!

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