What’s in a bio

I am doing a little presentation later in the year and have to send a bio to the conference.  I was looking into my files for a bio and came across this one.  It accompanied a piece on The Catalyst Project by my friend Jon Giganti.  If you haven’t read his work, please do!  You’ll enjoy it thoroughly!

In reading the bio I sent Jon I realized it’s pretty cool to look back and do some self reflection.  Have you ever written a short bio?  Do it!  It’s a fun experience and will teach you a lot about where you’ve been, what you’re doing and where you’re going!

This is the bio:

Megan Ellis has been in the nonprofit world for over six years translating a background in economics and special events into development, fundraising, and outreach.  Currently Megan is redeveloping and redesigning the Development and Outreach department of the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Franklin County (CASA-FC).  Her role with CASA-FC includes engaging community and business leaders, corporations, foundations, and community members to help support, financially and through awareness the innocent child victims of abuse and neglect in Franklin and contiguous counties.
Megan’s drive and work ethic transcends the office walls into her personal life.  She is a competitive CrossFit athlete and enjoys each day’s new challenges and triumphs athletically and recognizes the value in struggle because it brings you one step closer to success.  As dedicated as she is to her athletic adventures, Megan is also equally passionate and dedicated to her new role as a wife and stepmom.  Her goal is to teach others how to take their lives to the next level through a positive attitude and never ending drive!

Born with strength

As cliche as it sounds, I am constantly amazed by how much I learn from Baylor and Nola every single day.  I am positive in their short 14 months with us, they have taught us much more than we have taught them!  

They teach intangibles such as: a deeper sense of love, selflessness, unending worry, and how to let go of control.  I’ve learned to let life happen and that control is simply not possible at all times, nor is it any fun!  They’ve taught me to live in the moment and laugh at myself and at stress.

The most striking lesson they continue to teach me everyday is that we all are born with TRUE strength within us.  It’s found deep down and true inside of us all.  Their drive to discover, explore, try, fall, get back up and laugh is unending.

TRUE strength encapsulates adventure, love, life, tears, fears, and physical, emotional, and mental balance.  It’s taken me 31 years to truly understand this… and I’m still working on putting this into practice.  

It is breathtaking that children are born with TRUE strength.  It’s after years of socialization, sheltering, and limiting creativity and possibility that people are in danger of losing their ability to pull on their TRUE strength.

I think about how my girls don’t know any limits on what they can accomplish.  They try and explore and learn and fall down and try again.  They are exercising their TRUE Strength. My goal is to foster this inner strength within them and within myself so that I can continue to help them grow and to personally be a better, stronger and healthier mother and role model for them every day.

This picture is my definition of how we all are born with TRUE strength… right now we may see a slide… the girls see an adventure… one to climb up, slip down, laugh at, bump into each other and attempt over and over again.

fearless girls

My wish for you all is to reach inside – grab a hold of your TRUE strength – help others find theirs and embrace it! 

Lasting memories

When I was a very young girl… probably about four or five… my grandma accidentally slammed my fingers in the car door.  

My grandma was an older grandma… yes I know most grandparents are older but she was getting up there in age even for her fellow grandparents.  Her health was poor and her usual activity was sitting in the department store on the store bench as she gave my siblings and me money to go shop and run around.  She didn’t move anywhere quickly and often walked with a cane.

But on that day, all was different.  She MOVED!  Faster than I had ever seen her move and faster than I would ever see her move again.  She ran back into the restaurant we had just left to get ice, raced back to me to sooth the finger and comfort me.

I know she felt terrible and I know she carried guilt with her.

I share this story because I realized what I remember of that day is pretty amazing. Over 25 years later what do I remember?  I don’t remember the pain at all or being scared.  I remember my hero of a grandmother who put every ache and pain of her own aside to take care of me.  I remember a very POSITIVE memory.  It’s my strongest memory of her.

I found myself thinking about this one day as I was loading up the car with my girls.  As I clicked the car seats in I thought that I would do anything, anything in this world to keep them from pain.  And I was instantly taken back to that day.  I realized that each day we experience joys and pains and it’s easy to loose the forest from the trees and focus on that pain.  But in the big picture… at each moment of pain there is an opportunity for positive and that is what makes the memory last.

There is always an opportunity to turn it around.  Grab on and make some lasting memories. 

TRUE Strength 

Strength of mind

As the weights feel heavier and our bodies slow the strongest asset we have is the strength of our mind.  

We have people counting on us, people who need us, mouths to feed, words to spread, wounds to heal… what is a little tired muscle have on us??

NOTHING!  

Our mind is stronger than we often give it credit for being.  It can adjust our mood, it can draw a silver lining on a cloud… it can make or break us.  When we forget the strength of our minds, we can fall short, stop before we need to and let ourselves live at status quo.

BUT… when we take it for all it’s worth and use the strength of our mind for all the limitless possibilities… watch out.  Here we come.

No fear

No stopping us

No longer letting ourselves hold us back

When you use the strength of your mind for positive movement, there is no one and nothing to stop you in reaching your goals. 

Go get it – TRUE Strength

you-have-power-over-your-mind-not-marcus-aurelius

UP!

The desire to move upward is deep rooted.  

UP is powerful.  

The power of up is a motivator, an influencer, a drive, and a burning desire.  How you utilize the power of UP is up to you and determines how successful you will become.  Up can be a higher being or a promotion, it can be a literal up-jumping to a new box level for us Crossfitters, or it can mean living a happier and fuller life.

I’ve witnessed people who chose to let the power of UP overwhelm them and instead it holds them down.  Perhaps the fear of not reaching the mark is paralyzing. I think this fear is a learned behavior.  I’ve witnessed the power of up through the most innocent of eyes… experiencing life and all challenges and adventures for the first time through my daughters’ eyes has been an amazing experience.  In their short ten months of life I have learned more and grown more than I ever dreamed.

They do not have fear.  They don’t know what failure is and I believe they can feel the power of up through their whole being.  

The notion of up has been a motivator of action for my daughters.  From a the time they could see far enough away they were fascinated by the ceiling fans… not just for their hypnotic motion but for the curiosity that went along with this object so far away… so far UP there.

Next came the desire to go up… be lifted… raised up…

At nine months old my daughter Nola looked at me and very distinctly said… Mama UP! While raising her hands.  I know – not ground breaking but powerful.  She knew where she wanted to go and knew “up” had power.  Now I see them exploring how far UP they can go as they learn to pull themselves up, stand up, and climb to new heights and adventures.

I’m trying to be conscious about not teaching too much fear in them.  Some fear is good as it’s a safety issue but I know I’ve shied away from adventures or even trying particular things because I’ve been afraid.  Afraid of not getting all the way UP.  OR afraid of not being a success once I got there.  I never want my girls to have this fear and I beg you to remember… UP is ever moving.

You CAN always go up.  And your definition of UP is always going to move which also means… why fear it?  Where do you want to go?

I want to go UP!

063

Desire to move forward

The ability to move forward is predicated on having the desire to move forward.

It seems like a common sense statement but I guess I’ve never really thought about it.  Seems like moving forward is just natural right?

This notion struck me as I watched my little girl work herself breathless trying to just crawl forward.  She got onto her belly, kicked her feet, flapped her arms around, then pushed up on her hands only to move backwards.  Next try she gets her knees under her… but then her head face-plants and she’s doing her version of downward dog.  She’s not giving up though.  She looks up and again starts kicking her legs like a wild woman.  What does she want?  She doesn’t want food and doesn’t even want a toy… she wants to MOVE.  She has mastered the backwards scoot… if you don’t pay attention she’s halfway down the hall in no time.  But she wants forward motion.  Next try she gets her knees under her and starts rocking back and forth.  We all want it so much for her… we try to  model crawling, the dog shows her, we’ve even manually moved her legs and arms.  BUT It has to come from within.  The desire is there and we know from that desire will come action.  

How often have you seen someone stuck?  Same boring job, poor health, bad habits… you often think – they could do so much with their life and time.  But no one can change them unless THEY have the desire.  

Now look inward... Maybe we all talk a big game… we want to be fit, loose weight, get a promotion, find someone special. Unfortunately, often we want the easy button to get there and we forget the process… we forget that sometimes we may even have to scoot backwards before we can go forward.  BUT as long as we keep fighting for that desire, it will become reality.

TRUE Strength

 

My pant size?

I discovered an ugly truth about myself.  I was in a fitting room recently and person helping me said… oh no, that size is too big, you need to be in a size “XYZ”.  crumpled-jeans-floor-7197170

They’re paid to say that right?  Make you feel good?

At the same time a woman who was a little bigger than me went into the fitting room next to me and I thought about how I would have felt if I heard someone else say that to another person.  Would I have felt jealous?… probably… ok, yes, for sure I would have.

But how silly?

Just because my pant size was smaller doesn’t make me a better or worse person.  The smaller number on the tag doesn’t mean I am smarter or a nicer person to others.  In the same respect… because I am not as fit and toned now, after the babies, as I once was and am working hard to get back to, doesn’t mean my value or worth has reduced.

Working out and being fit is a part of me.  I enjoy the challenge and the hard work you must put in to get results.  I know I feel more comfortable in my own skin when I’m more toned than I am now but, I also know it isn’t a now or never thing.  It will take some time and action is needed but, it doesn’t make me a bad person.  I get embarrassed about needing to loose weight and tone up but why?

The ugly truth?  I realized in that small fitting room… I have been equating my value to my size and muscle definition.  In my head my value or worth was lessened because my body is not back to the shape and size I want yet.  It’s time to be a little nicer to ourselves and realize this is a journey.  A long road.  What matters is not my pant size, but the good I bring into the world.

What people will remember us by when we leave this world is  not our clothing size but what we did with our life.  

TRUE Strength