Hurt People Hurt People

Over the weekend, I got to see one of my favorite authors, Jen Hatmaker, live as part of her Moxie Matters tour. Bonus: I attended with two of my favorite humans. Such an incredible experience!

There were so many highlights, which means there will be many more blog posts. However, Jen spent a lot of her time Friday night talking about pain…how pain is a gift, an indicator that tells us that something is wrong. She also talked about emotional and spiritual pain that’s a lot less obvious to notice. She was so spot on!

Pain, like other emotions, is so unique to the individual. The same thing that gives me a headache might not give you one. How we react to emotional or spiritual trama is also different. My biggest takeaway from Jen’s talk is that we have to move through pain. We have to be aware of its indicators, feel allllll of the feels, lean on our tribe and decide how to proceed forward. It’s a process that takes time, is hard to articulate for sure and everyone moves through it at their own pace.

Think about the last time you felt severe pain, whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual. Could you see straight or think rationally? I know I couldn’t. People who are suffering or moving through pain do not know that collateral damage they might be doing. Hurt people hurt people because that’s the only way they know how to handle their pain.

While interacting with a hurt person who is continuing to hurt others is hard, we can’t force people through their own pain. Ever the empath, I want to comfort and help my loved ones who are suffering. Sometimes that means talking about it and sometimes it means leaving that person alone. I’ve learned to read the situation and respond accordingly, based on what that specific person needs at that time. All I can do is love them through it.

And still, it’s hard for me to watch people who aren’t dealing with their pain. Why? Because if you put in the work and move through pain, you do come out the other side stronger. I have and so have others I know and love. Why can’t everyone?! The world would be a better, kinder place. Let me go reread my own words about pain being individualized, that we can’t force anyone through pain, I know, I know.

I manage my own expectations and know that not all pain is visible. It helps me compartmentalize actions. I’ll continue to show up, hold space and love my people through it. I encourage you to do the same.

 

 

 

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Sobriety: An act of radical self-care

I spent the first half of my summer celebrating: a promotion, new apartment, other good things, why not pop the champagne?! It was at some point in early July when I actually realized how much I was drinking. Multiple bottles of wine a week (or night) had a negative effect on me. So from July 23 through September 14, I didn’t consume a drop of alcohol.

From a physical health perspective, I certainly had more energy after nights out and didn’t eat later at night, something I would do if I drank. From a mental health perspective, being sober helped me to see what triggers my desire to drink. Not surprisingly, long days at work and stressful family situations were the main culprits. As I dug deeper, I found that I was mainly triggered when my values were challenged. Family, loyalty, accountability and communication are my top values so when they were jeopardized, I stressed out. Instead of pouring wine, I looked for alternative methods of self-care to calm me down including journaling, exercising or just putting myself to bed.

Giving up alcohol was an act of radical self-care. The last year taught me to put my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing first. That’s the only way to be at 100% and of service to others. This detox was an opportunity to prioritize my health and now, it’s much easier to cut the booze off.

This shouldn’t be a big deal, right?! But, it was! Alcohol is literally everywhere and having the willpower to forgo is hard, especially in social situations. It’s so ingrained in our society that people look at you like you’re crazy when you decline a drink. It got me thinking about those who choose not to drink. Regardless of why, I feel like we as a society need to be more accepting of that. For a recovering alcoholic, feeling judged or pressured isn’t going to help. Of course, you don’t necessarily know who these individuals are, which means maybe we walk around offering high fives versus clinking drinks.

Believe me, I still very much enjoy a cocktail and after nine weeks without one, I’ve learned that not all social outings have to revolve around alcohol. I also discovered other coping mechanisms that can be more productive. We all should continue celebrating however we like and perhaps have a little less judgement on how others celebrate too.

F.E.A.R

Face Everything And Run

OR

Face Everything And Rise

I let out a long exhale before I sat down to write this post. This topic is one I’ve been wanting to write about for some time and yet, I’ve been apprehensive, worried about people’s reactions. Well, I guess it’s time to face that fear 😉

Fear can be paralyzing, causing time to almost stand still as you watch your life pass before your eyes. It can also lead to unnecessary arguments, violence and acting without thinking. I’ve experienced how suffocating fear can be. For me, I’ve always been fearful of events I can’t control and situations I’ve seen other people in.

Money is a perpetual fear of mine – not having enough, losing my source of income, the list continues. Why? Because I’ve watched people lose it all and because it was so devastating, they can’t recover and are crippled by the aftershocks. On days when it becomes particularly difficult, I remember that I’m not those people. I’m an entirely different person, with different circumstances and different goals. It’s doesn’t mean I go charge up my credit cards but it does mean I can enjoy the benefits of working hard.

Fear of the unknown is also a challenge for me. Something as little as not knowing travel plans can cause an anxiety spike. Despite being an extrovert, social situations can cause tension. When I start a new relationship, whether it be at work or personally, I’m always fearful of not knowing how people will reaction or respond. It’s debilitating and I spend hours convincing myself of alternatives.

And yet, I forge on. Why? How? Well, for starters, being full of fear is no way to live. Unless you’re in inherit danger, there’s no need for it. It’s downright bad for your health. Life is so much more enjoyable when you let go and go for it versus standing on the sidelines. Sometimes, you will get feedback on how to change an approach or your tone. That’s okay! It’s the only way you’ll learn how to do it better next time.

fearSome of the most profound relationships in my life are with people who look, sound and think differently than I do. Yes, I was fearful when these relationships were starting out because I didn’t know. There are still days when I’ll rewrite a text message because I’m anxious about how it will land. Well guess what?! These people are now my friends, they’ll tell me if it doesn’t land and we’ll move on. We all assume positive intent and know it’s okay to disagree.

Could we all commit to operate with less fear and more understanding? Less judgement and more kindness? A lot of issues I see in the world today are because of fear. Fear of not knowing. I challenge you to override your fear of the unknown and be curious about that someone who operates differently. You won’t know unless you try.

Silence IS Golden

I’m the type of person who can talk to a wall. For most of my life, this didn’t have disadvantages. It allowed me to make friends more easily and fed my curiosity.
Then I entered the real world, full of conference calls, where there was never enough time for everyone to speak. Thanks for a courageous director, I received the very helpful feedback to pause, be more intentional with my words and embrace silence. I wish someone would have told me that sooner!
Before that conversation, silence held a negative connotation for me. If you were silent after I spoke, you disagreed with what I said or were disengaged. In actuality, that’s not always the case. Often, especially in virtual settings, silence can mean that someone is processing what you just said, so they can share a thoughtful response.
quiet.png
I had been practicing this notion of embracing the silence when I began coach training in March. There again I got the feedback to slow down a bit and give my coachee time to process (hold the space as we call it). It wasn’t always easy but the more I did it, the more it paid off.
Then, this radical idea occurred to me. If I want to slow down, be more present and intentional, then maybe I too needed more silence in my life. Since I’m the type of person who constantly has music/podcasts on, this idea intrigued me. So after my March coaching class, I tried it out – silence for the first few minutes of my morning and the last few minutes of my night. Here’s how it’s helped:

 

  • If I’m overstimulated (think post board meeting or networking event), the silence helps me center and come back down, making it easier to fall asleep.
  • I find it easier to visualize my intention for the day when it’s quiet. This exercise provides me with clarity on what my immediate and long term priorities are.
  • I am more intentional when I share on calls at work, really thinking about my reason for speaking and the words I’m selecting to articulate.
Believe me, I still play a lot of music but I’m learning silence has its benefits. Now at work, I recognize how talking too much can have its drawbacks. There’s a place and time for all voices to be heard but overuse can lead to a belief that the person who speaks that much likes the sound of his/her voice. That’s not what I want my brand to be. I’ve noticed too that staying silent in meetings allows me to absorb what people are saying and hear what’s not being said.
Don’t worry, my voice is still definitely heard…now the words are making more of an impact.
What’s your feeling about silence? Share in the comments!

Braaaaave

That’s how the final scene from the First Wives Club starts. Bette Midler’s character reminds her girlfriend to be braaaave and they all break out into song. If you’ve never seen the movie, go watch it now.

Recently, the word brave keeps coming up for me. I’ve seen people make brave decisions, taking leaps of faith into an unknown world. Or being vulnerable in front of a group of women who she doesn’t trust. Most recently, I spent the weekend at my third CTI course as part of my journey to becoming a credentialed coach. I can’t even describe what happened other than everyone showed up and were brave; brave in how they coached and in how they shared.

What do I mean by brave? There are plenty of definitions. Mine include:

  • Leaving your comfort zone
  • Speaking up because you know it’s the right thing to do even if the words are hard to say
  • Holding space and embracing silence
  • Taking risks even if that’s as small as trying a new restaurant.

You get my picture.

It’s a privilege to witness acts of bravery, big or small and they occur every day. The thing about being brave is that it has to matter to the person. Maybe asking a provocative question to a stranger is easy for you. But maybe trying Indian food isn’t. It’s all a matter of perspective.

I’d offer if you’re feeling stuck, trying on your brave hat (or shoes or shorts) might help. Find a quiet, like actually quiet place, where you won’t be interrupted and close your eyes. Slowly, take a few deep, deep breathes. Now listen. What’s that inner voice or rockstar as I call her say? What shift do you need to make? How could you show up differently?

For some, that exercise might be brave. If that’s the case, go you for trying it! Being brave is personal, it’s listening and trusting yourself to act or pause or say no.

Now I need to walk the talk right?! I had to practice coaching Saturday night and asked my friend, a coach himself with a wealth of extraordinary experience, to be my client. And I coached him. And I didn’t suck. When I did the same thing back in June, I most definitely had an anxiety attack. #babybravesteps #itshard

There’s my moment of bravery for the month, rockstars. I have a few more all around courageous conversations that I can share with you. Comment with yours if it feels right. I’d love to hear them!

Please, Call Me Bossy

Powerful. Ambitious. Bossy. Raise your hand if you’ve been called these words. *Raises hand.* Now tell me, were you viewed in a positive or negative light when someone used these words to describe you? Let me guess…

This post is likely going to trigger some strong emotions, dear reader, but stick with me. Of late, I’ve had what feels like hundreds of conversations with talented, experienced lady friends, who are walking around their respective workplaces walking on eggshells. Many are struggling with confidence or are letting past descriptions dictate how they show up in current roles. I’ve heard “I need to take back my power but don’t want to come off as intimidating” or “I feel like my team needs direction but I don’t want to seem bossy” Insert eye roll here.

our deepest fearLadies, I’m here to tell you, you’re likely going to be too much for some and not enough for others. That’s life. My question to you is: “What words would you use to describe yourself when you’re at your best?” If it’s powerful or ambitious or honest, so be it. These are not dirty words that shouldn’t be spoken. Powerful women stand in their own sun, radiating light for all to see. Ambitious women strive for more and are hopefully bringing others along on their journey. Bossy women don’t take no for an answer. To me, these are all beneficial actions. Sure, there are bossy women who are bitches, ambitious women who sell others out. I hope that’s the minority of women AND we have the opportunity to rewrite this story.

Take a few colleagues who you trust and discuss these words. How are they received in your workplace? What can you do to help other women embrace their power, their ambition? Corporate cultures are hard: typically they’re well-defined by only by a subset of leadership. They’re big on collaboration and you’re definitely working in teams. So how do you bring your powerful, ambitious self to work without ruffling all of the feathers?

It’s a balancing act for sure. I’ve been told I’m too much: too extroverted, too talkative, too honest. So I’ve started having conversations about my big, bold, beautiful personality upfront. Let’s make some agreements on how we’re going to work together so we both claim our power, so I’ll know when to ease up so you can step up. It’s not a magic potion that works every time but it’s absolutely helped. I encourage you to give it a try.

The quote above is what sparked the idea for this post. It was read to me during a coaching class and immediately tears filled my eyes. I pride myself on being authentic, yet if I dim my light because I perceive that others can’t handle it, am I really being my true self? It certainly made me reflect and step fully in my power.

Just Say Thank You

If you follow me on social media, you know that I was recently promoted to manager. It’s a career milestone as spots don’t come around that often and I actioned specific feedback to get here. It brought many emotions: I’m so very proud of myself and have endless gratitude for all those who invested in my development. And yet, after the initial shock and awe worn off, it felt weird, almost awkward to share my news. But why?!

I’m not a fan of talking about myself or being the center of attention. So all this attention has been hard for me. Every time someone congratulated me, my instinct was to deflect and find a way to make it about them. I was aware of what I was doing and after a friend called me out, I started to just say thank you.

I’m a big believer in humility, yet it turns people off when you start explaining why someone shouldn’t be giving you a compliment. Here are a few of my observations on why you should just say thank you:

  • You should acknowledge the other person’s opinion, regardless of your reaction to it. Clearly, the person has thoughts that should be validated.
  • Don’t turn a positive thing into a negative one. By saying thank you, you’re continuing to keep the good vibes flowing versus deflecting, which deflates the conversation.
  • Gratitude is good for your mental and emotional wellbeing. So by saying thank you to said compliment, you’re increasing your positive emotions as well as the other person’s. You can also use the thank you as a segway to how the person may have helped you achieve the goal they’re referring to. Win-win for both parties!
  • Um, hello, did you ever think you deserve said compliment?! You’re not cocky or gloating if someone is recognizing you! Perhaps that dress does look fabulous or someone witnessed the hard work you put in to get your promotion. You’re allowed to stand in your sun as long as you wear sunglasses.
Public recognition can be hard. Ease it to it and tell your inner circle that you’re working on it. Give them permission to (kindly) call you out when you start to deflect. Please share any other tips as I still struggle with this!

 

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