Note: This post contains explicit language
While on vacation, I read Kelly Cutrone‘s Normal Gets You Nowhere. This is her second book after the wildly popular If You Have to Cry, Go Outside. I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while, so I’m glad the opportunity presented itself on vacation. I was not disappointed; I couldn’t put the book down and finished before the cruise was over.
Cutrone’s straightforward attitude shined in this book, as she offers insights on topics including religion, empowering young girls and death. She holds nothing back and provides a fresh perspective on ideas that aren’t frequently challenged. Below are my favorite de-normalizing thoughts from Cutrone with my opinion mixed in.
- Cutrone starts by telling everyone to figure out how they are sacred, magical and special. This is an individual truth that all must nurture and develop. In her words, “I want you to fuck the Earth with your energy.” We are each responsible for the energy we put out to the universe so we might as well put positive energy out there.
- Next, she discussed the media and how society is overstimulated with ridiculous distractions. We should be challenging what is fed to us via the media, whether it be through traditional, digital or social channels. People are programmed to not dig deeper; we should ignore that programming and push the envelope.
- In speaking about empowering young women, Cutrone talks about sexual repression and how we teach young girls to be coy but not how to be honest. Amen! All women should be comfortable talking about sex and empowered to say what they feel versus doing the norm.
- I LOVED the chapter about holidays: Why celebrate and spend money on days you don’t believe in? Tailor holidays to your personal belief system and only back ideas you firmly believe in.
- She describes life as a bank account: random acts of kindness and telling truths are the deposits. Being stupid and messing with others are withdrawals. If we give more than we take, we progress. I couldn’t agree more with this concept. It ties back to the energy we put out there – the more good we put out, the more good we shall receive.
- Your “no matter what” club: The people who you would do anything for, not because they’d do it for but because you want to; because your life would not be the same without them. Sometimes, these people disappoint you and don’t progress as quickly as you do. That is not a reason to discard them. Do not let your ambition get in the way of this group of people.
- Lastly, Cutrone approaches the topic of death with clarity and vulnerability, speaking about her grandparents’ and father’s passings. As someone who is still grieving, this chapter was hard but necessary to get through. You should plan your death, who’s there and how you want your life to be celebrated. That’s the key – death should be a celebration of someone’s life.
I could write another 500 words about Normal Gets You Nowhere and all of the examples Cutrone provides about why being normal isn’t the best way to live. To that end, I want to thank Kelly Cutrone for putting it out there and challenging the stereotypes. I also want to thank all of the women in my life: my mom, grandmothers, girlfriends and colleagues, who have embraced being different and have lived their lives on their terms versus others.
I highly recommend Normal Gets You Nowhere – you’ll feel inspired to think and live in a more authentic way. If you have read the book, please share your opinions in the comments section!
In last week’s post, I talked about how stuck I’ve been recently. One way I’ve be able to start taking baby steps forward is using the routines I previously had in place. They’re familiar, comfortable and have made each day easier. But why are routines and rituals so important?
Most of us have routines in place unintentionally. If you catch same train every day or brush your teeth before bed, you have an established routine. Those are unconscious decisions we’ve made for a while. The routines that are more important are the ones we intentionally decide to implement in our lives.
My friend and creator of more happy hours, Jullien Gordon was the person who got me thinking about intentional routines and rituals over two years ago. At the beginning of each year, Jullien creates his New Year Guide, which allows people to focus on goals in each area of their lives. He helps people dive deeper in how they’ll achieve the goal, what obstacles they’ll face and how to implement more consistent routines in their lives.
I just finished filling out my guide last night and was completely energized by it. There’s something about writing down aspirations for the future and your plan for achieving them that excites me. During this process, I was reminded of how chosen routines will help me along. For example, I’m running (hopefully not trotting) Mudderella this summer with my super talented runner friend. I’m totally intimidated and know training more regularly is a must. So I thought about what I could intentionally do to ensure I stick to a training plan. Some of my thoughts included:
- Telling as many people as possible about the race. These people then will help to hold me accountable and will hopefully check in to see how I’m progressing
- Starting smart and pacing myself. I’m not going to be able to run five miles immediately. It’s more about setting realistic goals, like running for 30 minutes twice a week and gradually increasing from there
- Thinking about the big picture. So it’s not just about running since there are obstacles included in this race. Eating better and meal prepping will help; so will strength training. One routine I wanted to start that’s been a struggle is doing a bit of strength training in the morning before I get ready for work. No matter what I tell myself or how early I set my alarm, I haven’t been able to jump start this one. Any ideas you have to help are appreciated.
You can apply my tips listed above to implementing any new routine. You also shouldn’t try to create a bunch of new routines at once. You’re going to be so focused on getting each one perfected that they won’t stick. Like with most everything else, it’s a balancing act. Give yourself permission to mess up a routine once in a while. Getting frustrated isn’t going to help.
Ultimately, routines and rituals energize you and help create consistently across all aspects of your life. Believing in and harnessing their power will absolutely help you achieve your goals. Share some of your favorite routines or rituals on the comments section!
I’ve played softball since age six and have parents who played. Playing under the lights is in my blood. Point proven last night when my co-ed team beat the third ranked team in a come from behind win, advancing to the second round of the playoffs. The energy and excitement was electrifying as we headed into extra innings, a feeling like no other that any athletic could relate to.
I’ve felt this feeling before, earlier this year when I was coaching little league. Thirteen wide-eyed eight and nine year old boys, wanting to play for the love of the game. They accomplished so much in such a short period of time; a coach couldn’t have been prouder!
Whether it be with my little leaguers or my adult teammates, the game (like most sports) has taught me lessons that are important to remember in the most important game: life.
1) Try it out: My boys on the little league team were willing to give most positions a shot. The smallest kid on the team pitching? Sure why not! They weren’t afraid of failure and just wanted to try something new. With no risk comes no reward. Those little boys were a perfect example of that.
2) Perseverance: The pitcher on our co-ed team wasn’t get the calls on certain pitches yesterday. It’s super frustrating but he didn’t let it get him down. He managed to come back better each inning, ultimately winning the game. If he stopped fighting, who knows what the outcome would have been. You always have to push through no matter how many people try and stop you.
3) Energy is contagious: I’ve watched this happen with both teams. Someone makes an outstanding play or strikes out the best player. Everyone gets hyped up and energized. It’s a feeling of invincibility, like you’re on top of the world. That feeling spreads through the dugout like wildfire. When you stay positive, it spreads to the people around you, making for a more happy environment.
I will forever love the game, baseball or softball and know the life lessons its taught me are invaluable. The quotes featured are from my two favorite baseball movies: The Sandlot and A League of Their Own.
Have sports or other activities impacted your life positively? Share with me!
After my first business trip to California, I wrote about how a large-scale event goes off without any issues. Most of it is thanks to planning. But what happens when you get on-site? How do you as a team member make it the best possible experience for all those involved?
Large-scale events like conferences or milestone programs typically have several moving parts. There are a lot of people to manage, rooms to inspect for issues, goals to achieve and problems to solve. As an on-site team member, your role is to help ensure things run smoothly. After being on-site three times now, here are some things I do to make sure our program is a success.
- Print your schedule: I have a copy of my schedule printed before I leave for the trip. Each morning, I put that day’s schedule in my pocket so I always have it as a reference. There is also an extra copy printed in my folder that stays in our team office.
- Know it cold: You should read your schedule beforehand and check with its creator if you have any questions. Doing a quick site visit prior to the program’s start is also a good idea so you know where each room/location is.
- Conserve energy: This one is probably the hardest while on-site. The days are long and you need to be giving each minute your absolute best. However, you should take time for yourself, to renew your energy (another post to follow on this concept!) and to check in back home. Find a ritual that helps you recharge your batteries. It could be a quick run or a Skype session with your kids. Whatever works!
- Dress for success: As silly as this sounds, your mood will be more positive if you are comfortable and dressed nicely. Make sure you know the dress code before heading to your destination. No one wants to be under dressed and without other clothing options.
- Smile: When something goes wrong or you don’t know an answer to a question, keep a smile on your face. This way, the person you’re helping will not panic and neither will you. If you forget something or make a mistake, don’t let it get to you. Stay as positive as possible and don’t let one issue ruin an entire program.
These are some of my personal tips while on-site at a program. I always try to make the most of the opportunity I’ve been given to participate in such an awesome program. How do you stay focused and efficient during on-site events. Let me know!
Happy Monday! I’m glad to be back blogging after an amazing week in California. As always, I return from this business trip renewed and with more ideas and goals to accomplish.
As I’m sure you’ve come to learn, I am a people person. I gain my energy by being near people, having thought-provoking conversations and learning from others. So, OneRepublic’s song “Feel Again” completely resonates with me, especially after this week and weekend.
I headed out to California last weekend tired and lacking motivation of any sort. It felt like nine million things were going on in my life and that I just couldn’t keep up. I felt a little numb, like I was just going through the motions. That coupled with a wealth of uncertainty, a feeling I do not like or handle very well, made for an interesting few weeks personally and professionally.
Then I got onsite and spend 12-hour days with my team, a group of people from all over the country who join up live in living color a couple of times a year for a common purpose. Their passion and energy was contagious, their advise genuine and overall presence comforting. I could feel again.
Upon my arrival home, I headed to the suburbs of Pennsylvania for my friend’s bridal shower. I spent both Friday night and all day Saturday with my favorite girls from Temple. It was so great to catch up, share in their laughter and make new memories. I could feel again.
Sometimes it takes your people, your own personal army of rejuvenating forces, to bring you back to reality. Of course at times you’ll have to be your own motivation. But lucky for me, my people helped me to feel again. My sense of purpose both at work and personally is clear and I’m more determined than ever.
Have you ever felt numb and needed help getting unstuck? Share how you feel again!
“There are some people in life that make you laugh a little louder, smile a little bigger and live just a little bit better. These are the people who lift you higher”
I think by now you’ve come to see that people play a big role in my life. But not just any people, my people. These are the family and friends who motivate me, console me and make my life worth living. People have asked me if I live for these people because sometimes it seems like I do. That’s not the case at all.
In the spirit of catching up on the 30 Days of Truth Challenge, in this Family Fridays post, I am going to answer the seventh prompt of the challenge:
Day 07 → Someone who has made your life worth living for.
My people make my life worth living. I don’t live for them, they just enhance my existence and support me in all the decisions I make. I was asked the other day where I draw my energy from. I thought it was an odd question but immediately knew the answer. I gain energy from being around my people. Anything from intelligent conversations or jam sessions rejuvenates me and at times, has brought me back to life. These people remind me how fortunate I am to have such an amazing circle of trust that surrounds me through the good and the bad times.
As with all relationships, there will be arguments and moments where you just want to walk away. It’s hard in those moments to think clearly and remember why you value these people. I’ve learned that in some cases it’s necessary to let go (expect a post about this soon) and in others, you have to fight fearlessly for those you love. Only you will know what to do and it will never be easy. The group known as my people has changed over time for the better and because of it, I’ve learned to embrace change in all its forms.
The Rodney Atkins song “These Are My People” truly embraces the concept of having your go-to group who are there no matter what. I will warn you that it is a super country song so if that’s not your thing, you may want to just look up the lyrics. While it’s not always sunshine and rainbows, no one compares to my people!