Here’s to the crazy ones…

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”  – Apple Inc.

Over the last few days I’ve had great conversations with true friends.  Multiple times our conversations circled back to the concept that there is not one straight line to the goal of life.  At least not one we want to travel.

No longer do we see our futures as the straight, direct path, once held by our parents and grandparents as the way to reach success or happiness.  Instead, it’s windy, up and down, bendy, flexible… and sometimes may not make ANY sense.  AND… it feels right.  I may not be able to explain the whole path to someone else… but I do know my heart and TRUE Strength knows this path is right.  I look at my professional life, goals and dreams.  My professional road will not be straight and may not make much sense to other people.  It will however, provide invaluable experiences, lessons, growth, challenges, and will provide a full offering of what I am passionate about and 100% dedicated to.  Several times people have asked… well what do you want to do… I can tell you… but it probably won’t make much sense until you see me dancing the dance.

Makes me think about the summer before my freshman year of college when people would ask me what I was going to major in… I’d answer “Igloo Architecture”  (sassy response provided by my mom).  Everyone was caught off guard and ultimately didn’t care what my answer was… no matter what my response they were asking really for two bottom line reasons… 1. to make small talk or 2. to give their opinion on what I SHOULD major in.

The same is true for my own personal life… I married an amazing man, I’m now a mom to a 12 year old (read a little about him here), our life is not the easy, direct straight A to B to C life… nor do I want it to be!

I’ve been told I’m “crazy” for my love (obsession) with CrossFit or how I love the challenge of having stretch goals, getting my butt kicked, doing what I didn’t think possible… all of the above.  Several times a week I hear a co-worker or friend say… in the most lovingly way… “wow, you’re crazy” YES… I get up several days a week at 4:40am to train (4:30am to coach!), YES, after a long day at the office I ENJOY going to get my ass handed to me in a strength session, YES, I really do like eating clean which means no processed or fried foods (mostly #paleo).

My life… every aspect is not lived on or within a straight line… perhaps all this sounds crazy… but just like the quote above says… us crazies are the ones who, change things. … push the human race forward.”

Your path is different than mine, as it should be! 

The journey may be crooked, full of twists, or waves… I know I’m not going to let anyone try to  straighten mine out… I’m enjoying the beauty in the unknown, the creativity,the progression, and the growth not only in myself, but also in those around me.  

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Face to Face with your past

“What you need to know about the past is that no matter what has happened, it has all worked together to bring you to this very moment.  And this is the moment you can choose to make everything new.  Right now. ” 

Have you ever come face to face with your past?  Perhaps someone or something from your past or even just a random memory, ushers back powerful emotions, feelings, and visions.

Eventually everyone will run into someone or something from their past.  Are you afraid of that reunion?  Thinking about it, how do you feel?

I challenge you to take the steps NOW, make the choices NOW, and work hard each day NOW so when you do come face to face with your past you can stand tall and say with confidence that your present and future kick the hell out of your past!

I used to be terrified… until I had this face to face meeting… and luckily I was armed with killer high heeled shoes which kicked hard… and trust me my present and future sure do kick the past’s ass. 

“I’ve never tried to block out the memories of the past, even though some are painful.  I don’t understand people who hide from their past.  Everything you live through helps to make you the person you are now.” – Sophia Loren

the STRENGTH in “but…”

Say what you mean and mean what you say… 

The past couple of days have been jammed packed with work, family and personal life events keeping me away from writing and with all of these crazy busy days I was overwhelmed with the question of what to write about today… BUT I must share the STRENGTH in the word… “BUT…”

Such a little word… with so much power… three little letters… BIG responses 

How many times have you heard someone say… or said yourself… “I don’t mean to sound mean, but…” followed by something sounding very mean indeed??

I hear this all the time…

“I don’t mean to sound rude, but…”

“I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but…”

“I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but…”

And I literally JUST heard a woman say over the phone… “I don’t want to alarm you, but… grandpa is having chest pains.”

WOW… As soon as I heard the first part of the sentence I WAS ALARMED… and I don’t even know this woman!

The word “but” is extremely common throughout our day to day interactions… it carries a lot of weight and can be used as a protective language device to say something you know will hurt someone or may be inappropriate while asking for forgiveness as you say it.  A free pass in a way… BUT…

But – it’s not!  Perhaps I’m just extra sensitive and pay more attention than I should.  However (hehehe… I wanted to type “but”) as a result of being hyper-sensitive to this word I also try to observe others when they hear (or say) the word.  There is a very slight change in their demeanor and body language, slight, but enough to see it when watching for a reaction.  Depending on what “but…” is preceded by I’ve witnessed people put up defensive walls, shut down, loose interest, get angry, become alarmed, or completely tune out.  I feel the person speaking looses creditably when they rely on “but…” as a crutch or as a way of saying a something difficult in a back-handed way.

As soon as someone has this gut reaction they will go into: flight, fight, or shut down mode and the conversation has lost all potential.  You may have had great words to say, great thoughts, ideas, suggestions… the person you’re talking to will have the “but” on their mind which will place barriers and walls up all over.  I’ve found this to be true in both professional and personal life.

I challenge you to check yourself and think about if you have a “but” habit!  

Of course there are times and places when the word “but” is absolutely appropriate.  I did a little research on grammatical use of the word “but” which is called a “conjunction”.

A little Grammar 101:

Compound Sentences

Compound sentences are made up of two or more simple sentences combined using a conjunction such as and,or or but. They are made up of more than one independent clause joined together with a co-ordinating conjunction.

For example:

“The sun was setting in the west and the moon was just rising.”

Each clause can stand alone as a sentence.

For example:

“The sun was setting in the west. The moon was just rising.”

Every clause is like a sentence with a subject and a verb. A coordinating conjunction goes in the middle of the sentence, it is the word that joins the two clauses together, the most common are (and, or, but)

For example:

  • I walked to the shops, but my husband drove.
  • I might watch the film, or I might visit my friends.
  • My friend enjoyed the film, but she didn’t like the actor
Read more about conjunctions and compound sentences HERE

the STRENGTH in a smile

“It only takes a split second to smile and forget, yet to someone that needed it, it can last a lifetime. We should all smile more often.” – Steve Maraboli

How much does it cost you to smile?  How much effort does it take?

Nothing and none… 

In-fact, I believe whole heartily that it takes MORE effort to be nasty or cold to someone.  Come on… you have to work at being down right cold and rude … right?

I found myself thinking about this as I walked through security this morning at my office.  Every single morning… no matter what stress the day has planned for me I walk through the security area and am greeted by two security guards who I look forward to saying hi to.  They are faced with thousands of people each day… most of whom (as I’ve observed) walk through almost as if these two guards are invisible.

Smiles can be infectious… and the lack of one is certainly virus like! Have you ever been around someone who just has a natural unhappy look… or even just a stale “bored” look.  They may be completely fine and happy but their “at rest” face looks as if they are just plain old pissed off.  Being around people like this makes me so uncomfortable!  I just want to scream… you look miserable… snap out of it!

Just the other day I walked into a coffee shop and the person behind the counter said… “You’re always so happy when you come in here.”  I was shocked because… I’m getting coffee… what do I have to be upset about?  I asked if they get a lot of grumpy people and he told me I’d be shocked at how they are treated.  WOW!  Think about those commercials where one good deed encourages another person to do a good deed and it keeps spreading… I think it’s an insurance company or a bank.  This is so true… spread a smile and it will continue going.  

Have fun with life… be cheesy, be silly, and SMILE!

the STRENGTH in peaks and valleys

“Joy, Pain, Sunshine and Rain” – JOY AND PAIN by ROB BASE & DJ E-Z ROCK

Life is all about peaks and valleys… without the valleys the peaks aren’t as special, enjoyable, and favorable.

At the points of your most challenging times remember, even if you feel alone, you have many, many people and God walking with you along those paths… both Up and Down the Peaks and Valleys.

 

Pick the bar UP

“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

This morning’s CrossFit WOD, crafted by CrossFit New Albany, pushed us to our mental limits.  These are my absolute FAVORITE types of wods.  I LOVE long, body weight – metcons and/or long amraps.

This was a 20 minute triplet of:  1000m row, 100 push press (#33), 100 burpees

** For those new to CrossFit speak… AMRAP means: As Many Rounds As Possible… so if you finish the row, push press, and burpees… start again!

Several reasons why these long ones are my fav…

1. My strength is (or used to be) underlined by endurance… the longer the wod the better… insert dirty joke NOW.  Really though, I’m able to go to a place where you just don’t let yourself stop… keep going… I know I’m not the fastest or most explosive person… but I do NOT give up.

2. I continue to be shy about heavy weights and OLift <— WORKING on these two like crazy but it’s nice to have a day of hard work near to my wheelhouse.  Rowing will still kick my booty (endurance wods here I come!), the push press was feather weight for me, and as odd as it sounds… I LIKE burpees… really I do.

So today’s wod left us all spent, flat out laying on the floor in buckets full of sweat… it certainly was “SICK” as our trainer and coach so aptly named it.  Beyond the physical challenge it also presented a MENTAL challenge.  There was no aspect of this wod that I couldn’t physically do, nothing that was so heavy I needed to go slow, no limiting factors… BESIDES my MIND.  50 push presses in I lowered the bar to the hang and paused… my first break on the way to 100… back at it… this time my mind told me I was tired and needed to stop only 15 in.  WHAT??  I just did 50 unbroken… Pushing myself to reach 25 was a challenge, but once I hit 25 I told myself… 5 more.  On to the burpees… fall down… get back up… fall down… get back up… Just as in life… you fall down and you get back up. Once again my mind told me I was tired and should take a break.

Oh how quickly our minds can turn on us!

With each next rep, I was telling my mind… I CAN do this.  Did I end up taking a few rest breaks?  Yes – but I also forced myself to get back on the bar, or drop to the floor, or row stronger faster, sooner, harder.  Ready for the Life Lesson part??

In every aspect of our lives, our mind is one of the first things to desert you.  Your mind will tell you you can’t do something out of fear, bad past experiences, influences from other people, or a variety of other reasons.  Sometimes… our minds give us a gut sense or a warning about something or someone.  This is different.

This is when our minds defeat us before we even give ourselves a chance.  Why would you let your co-worker tell you you’re not good enough to finish a project or take on a new role at work??  YOU WOULDN’T… so why do you let your mind tell yourself that???

To me TRUE Strength encompasses strength of body, mind, heart, spirit and faith.  Often our bodies get tired and hurt and then our minds go… our minds can defeat us if we let them… then all we have is heart, spirit and faith (these last three are so important!).  I will absolutely admit I am a mental basket case! I over think, I worry and stress… BUT with each new day comes new chances to strengthen not only our bodies but also our mind, heart, spirit, and faith.  With each and every CrossFit, strength, endurance… any type of wod I’m striving to strength ALL of these aspects.

I’m so very thankful for the push and constant lesson in TRUE Strength.  

100# Squat Snatch PR… prob not the best form… but mind over matter!

the STRENGTH in real talks

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde

We’ve all had these conversations…

“Hi!”

“Hi, great to see you!”

“Yea, you too… what have you been up to?”

“Oh, you know, just keeping busy.  You?”

“Same, really busy, but that’s a good thing.”

“Great seeing you!”

“You too, we should get together sometime.”

“Yea, for sure! Have a great day.”

I certainly find value and reason for the less than deep conversations.  I’d rather someone chit chat than stand silent and awkward and I truly feel the art of conversation is a difficult task to master.  I envy those who posses the skill of gab, I can chat someone up, but it doesn’t mean I’m always completely comfortable or excited to have small talk.  This ability to small talk is vital for networking and what makes one person’s chit chat superior to another’s is the ability to do it with genuine interest (even if that interest isn’t all that deep).  I’m sure we’ve all talked to someone who looks above or beyond you as you talk because they are constantly looking for who else is walking in or who is more important.  This behavior is one of my biggest pet peeves!  Learning this skill is a huge key to developing professionally and personally… but more on that later! 

Over the weekend I was blessed to experience the rare feeling of being surrounded by real conversation… some conversations were filled with words, some laughs, and some silence.  They were real.

I was in the presence of a select few people who, when I am around them, I feel complete and completely comfortable.  Comfortable enough to share any and everything… and comfortable enough to be silent.  I’m still amazed by the three instances I felt this overwhelming sense… with my mom, my husband, and a fairly new friend.

Those of you who know me, know I have an incredible relationship with my mom.  She is my ultimate supporter and I am her biggest fan.  She knows what I’m thinking or feeling without me saying a word.  She’s also the source of almost all my wisdom and is quoted here often!

My husband, has been so patient with me… he has allowed me to open up in my own time and provided the unwavering loyalty, trust and faith in me and our relationship that has provided the TRUE Strength to break down walls and protections.

The third is the muse for this post.  A friend who I’ve only known for about a year is one of those treasured friends who without explanation I feel as if I’ve known her all my life.  Her presence is uplifting and true.  She is kind and gentle and strong all at the same time.  When we talk… I know she hears me and I believe she feels the same when she speaks.

This friend is the kind who, with them, there are no filters, no boundaries – just REAL TALK.  As we were talking… surrounded by about 20 other friends at a loud party, there was no fluff, no need for chit chat.  One question opened the door for real, raw emotions and real talks.  I know neither of us planned on sharing what we did; and I know, I would not change what we shared for the world. I don’t think we all get very many chances to have friendships like these… when you find them… hold on to them and treasure them.  Show that person how much you appreciate and respect them.

A few lessons learned from this interaction:

  • Trust your gut feeling about people… sometimes the feeling is a warning voice – listen! AND sometimes it’s a warm, familiar feeling – listen to that one too and embrace it
  • True friends can fill your evening with conversation and complete silence… both just as rewarding and comfortable
  • Real talks can happen every day… or once every few months… if you’ve connected with someone you don’t need to punch a time clock and log hours of conversation
  • With real talks come real emotions… if you’re like me… that can mean tears… with no warning!  THE TRICK… CLEAR YOUR THROAT!!!  You physically cannot cry when you clear your throat… you’re welcome
The truth is… you don’t have to have an amazing, earth shattering connection with someone to have real talks… give it a try… take your conversations to a real level… perhaps start with yourself.  When was the last time you had an honest conversation internally?  May be some great things underneath the surface that you’re not giving yourself credit for!