Tag Archives: Challenges

Twenty Nine, So Fine

September is my favorite time of the year: Football is back, the weather is not too hot, not too cold and it’s my birthday month. Like my mother raised me to do, I celebrate all month! Dinners, champagne, cake, presents, I love it all AND I adore having all of my people sitting around the same table.

I like to reflect each year around my birthday – to think about how much I’ve grown and challenged myself in the last year and to wonder about all that’s to come in the upcoming year. This year, I’d also like to celebrate.

Me, in my element, celebrating my promotion day 😉

Twenty-eight was great in almost every way possible. So many highs, incredible moments imprinted forever in my mind. Those moments did not come without struggle. I’m proud of how I’ve grown this year and stretched myself, both literally and figuratively, in ways I didn’t know were possible. There are two specific things I’ll share that I’m celebrating this year.

  • Being brave: I never considered myself brave or someone who takes risks. I’ve rewritten the definition of brave for myself so that it emcompasses thinks like being authentic regardless of the situation, having the confidence to respectfully disagree with leadership at work, saying yes to something I know nothing about and the list continues. I can almost see myself shifting my own mindset about bravery as certain words come (or don’t come) out of my mouth. It’s kind of an outer body experience, one that I’m learning to observe carefully so that I remember what being brave feels like. I’m building my being brave muscle memory so that when I get scared (because I will), I’ll remember how good being brave felt.
  • Knowing what I need and not being afraid (or anxious) to ask for it: When I was fussy as a baby, my mother would take me outside to calm me down. She called it “bye bye, outside.” Twenty something years later and it still works. When I’m stressed, anxious or fustrated, I take myself outside to breathe fully and stare at the clouds. When I’m emotionally drained, I know my safe places to fall so I can recharge without any judgement. It takes practice and patience to listen to your inner voice and discern what you need. Every situation is different but staying true to what you know and clearly articulating it will serve you well.

While I’m excited for my final year in my twenties, it’s all filled with much anticipation. For me, my twenties were a decade with lots of evolution and some painful realities that come with growing up. While I’m thankful for all of them, I also don’t mind wishing them well and seeing them go. Given that, my intention for twenty-nine (or twenty-fine) is to slow down, experience every moment, good or bad and have the confidence to know I’ll come out stronger on the other side.

Motivation Mondays: Caring Less

I am a fixer. Ask anyone who knows me and they will agree with you. Any personality test I’ve taken indicates that one of my strengths is finding solutions to problems and working through tough situations. Even my astrological sign (Virgos rule!) reveals traits like logical thinker and being helpful that play into the fixer part of my personality. Being a fixer has its perks: I’m always trying to figure out easier ways to get things accomplished, I am the perpetual therapist for most of my friends (as they are for me) and I am a track changes addict (ok, maybe that’s cause I’m a words junkie). The problem with being a fixer: You can’t fix everything or everyone. 

change peopleTime and time again, I’ll try to help people, to offer sound advice, even sometimes demand people act differently. This has led to several arguments where everyone is crying, screaming and raising their blood pressures. When I head down the fixer path, I never intent for these heated debates to occur. I worry about the people I care about and genuinely want to help.

If you’re reading this, then you probably need to hear (read) this. Are you ready? Make sure you’re sitting down….

You cannot help people who do not want to help themselves. You cannot care about priorities that they don’t care about. Most importantly, you cannot (and will not) change people. They have to do that on their own.

Things you can do when you have the urge to fix people:

– Listen first before you give any advice. You might be missing some key facts.

– Remind them gently that only they can take action in their life.

– Write a letter to said person you are trying to fix. You don’t have to send it but at least you get all of your thoughts and feelings down in one place. It could be useful one day too.

– Think about ways to continue to improve yourself (aka the only person you can control) and dive in!

The ability to care less about people is extremely hard for me. My people are the reason all is rightbest within my world. Slowly after much heartache and angst, I’m learning every individual is in charge of their own destiny and I can’t change their direction, even if I throw an actual roadblock in their way. It’s hard when someone’s actions cause pain and even harm to others. You can’t choose how people reaction to that but rather can only control your own reaction. I’m working on that.

I will always care about certain people in my life. But I am learning to detach a little more and work on fixing myself rather than others.

Any other people fixers out there? How’s that working out for you?

Motivation Mondays: My First 5K

I hated running with an unbelievable passion. I was the kid who faked illness to get out of running the mile in gym class. During softball practice, I was the last one to finish laps. Running was not on my to-do list this year until suddenly it was.

One of my best friends, Trish asked me to participate in a run to raise money for her friend’s scholarship fund. Her friend, Clay passed away last summer in a car accident. It was tragic and painful to watch my friend go through that. So, if running the 5K for Clay was one small thing I could for the both of them, I was in. I had no clue what I was up against; a Rugged Maniac course that was 3.1 miles with 20 obstacles. Go big or go home, right?!

I started training for your standard 5K in March and surprisingly wasn’t nervous before starting the obstacle course on Saturday morning. Realistically, nothing would have prepared me for what I encountered on the course. Walls, tunnels, mud crawls under barbed wire and much more. I am still amazed at what I accomplished. I am wearing several battle wounds proudly today and learned three important lessons after my first 5K.

Our before and after picture

Our before and after picture

I knew I ran this race because of Trish and because of Clay. Last summer, I remember feeling so helpless, that there was no way to comfort my friend, whose life changed forever that day. Saturday was one way to help her and to honor an amazing guy who lit up the room with his presence. I could not imagine losing one of my best friends and having my world change so instantly. Trish and all of her friends are remarkable and turned such a sad day into a celebration of Clay’s life. I admire them for that. A lesson we’ve learned so many times was reinforced Saturday: that life truly is too short.

I never would have dreamed of running a 5K a year ago, let alone complete a mud run with obstacles. I physically, mentally and emotionally blew myself out of my comfort zone. To be honest, it feels (and felt) great! Crossing that finish line was one of the proudest moments of my life and I will never forget how it felt to accomplish something I never thought I could do. Impossible is a relative term because if you want to accomplish something, you will. I tried something that scared me, succeeded and now want to continue to get better.

During the last four months, running has taught me a lot about myself. It has become a form of therapy and the best way to manage my anxiety. When I get that pang in my chest and feel anxious, I go for a run instead of freaking out or screaming or eating. It has worked every single time with a variety of emotions including anger, sadness and nervousness. It has made me healthier, helped to manage stress and forced me to eat right. Amazing to think saying yes to one race led to all of this.

Saturday was amazing and I would totally do it again. I encourage you to jump out of your comfort zone,

5K For Clay team afterwards

5K For Clay team afterwards

with arms wide open. It is terrifying but the payoff is tenfold. If you’re as lucky as I am, you’ll have friends and family pushing you every step of the way. Friends like Trish and her brother Andy who were there each time I wanted to quit during the race. Friends like my co-worker Alicia who literally forced me to run certain days and supplied constant virtual support during the last couple of months. I am so grateful for their support as well as the support of others because you can’t do it alone.

Next time an opportunity to do something new, something that scares you arises, DO IT! I promise it will be a life-changing experience.

If it scares you, it probably is exactly what you need. 

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