Tag Archives: Motivation Mondays

Motivation Mondays: Brave

From a young age, I was a talker, always sharing my opinion and chiming into the conversation. Much hasn’t changed since I’ve grown up. However, it wasn’t until my sophomore year of high school when I began to understand how powerful words and the English language could be. I remember sitting in my English class listening to my teacher talk and convey a vivid description of Jay Gasby from the book we were reading at the time, “The Great Gasby.” Every word he used was intentional and he painted the perfect picture of Gasby so that it almost seemed like he was standing in front of me. From that moment on, I became fascinated with words and with writing.

I owe a lot to that English teacher and still think about all he taught me during the school year of 2005. That was when I really began writing and falling in love with words. Since then, I’ve seen how words can be used to generate new ideas, even to spark a movement; how the words you write can be so powerful people are moved to tears or called to action. Whether written or spoken, words and language can impact people in so many ways. This is the message I found in Sara Bareilles’ song “Brave.”

Bareilles uses her song, her words as a call to action for people. She asks them to be brave, to use their words to articulate what they truly want and for their words to have meaning. In a recent interview, she commented on the song, saying it was a reminder for herself too, to always stay true to herself and speak up for what she believes in. The music video features all types of people standing up in crowded areas, dancing and being proud of who they are.

Sara’s call to action communicated through her song “Brave” is a concept all of us need to be reminded of occasionally. It’s hard sometimes to be honest and direct with people when we might be hurting or angry. Today, we should use our words to say what we want to say, to be bold and to use these powerful tools for good. Whatever conversation you were putting off, go have it. If you need to tell someone something, do it. It’s time to move out of our comfort zones and be brave.

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. 

Motivation Mondays: Knowing Your Limits

This holiday weekend, I headed down to Philadelphia for the Wawa Welcome America Festival. This week-long extravaganza offers free events to people in and around the city. I was super excited to spend my 4th of July weekend celebrating and helping my friend (who works on the festival) put on successful events throughout the week.

A group of us who attended Temple together rolled up our sleeves to help our friend this weekend. It’s safe to say everyone involved is exhausted and is struggling at work today. However, I also think each of us learned a lot this weekend about working large-scale events and balancing our newly found careers with our personal lives.

I’ve talked about work-life balance before because I’ve experienced the struggle firsthand. This weekend, I watched one of my best friends go through the same struggle, without any balance at all. You saw how passionate she was about succeeding, about having successful event after successful event. I also saw what went on afterwards: an exhausted 23 year-old who didn’t know what day of the week it was. Was it worth it? Absolutely.

It’s true, at times, we must drop everything and put our job first. I can sympathize as I too have worked long hours on little sleep to make sure my events were successful. Anyone who has their career as a top priority knows this feeling. As young professionals just starting out, most of us feel like we have to prove ourselves. The majority of us are still at our first job, trying to show our supervisors, co-workers, parents and friends that we are more than capable. But, at a certain point, we have to know our limits.

As young professionals, we find it hard to say no because it shows weaknesses; it shows we can’t handle it all. Here’s a hint everyone: not a single person can handle everything all the time. We must learn to advocate for ourselves and tell our supervisors or co-workers or even family members when we’ve hit our breaking point. If we don’t share with those around us what is going on internally, then how could they know we’re hit our max?

The next time you have too much on your plate, make sure to speak up and ask for help. Everyone has their personally defined limits that should be shared with others. Also, make sure you aren’t trying to control others and set their limits for them. I am so proud of my friend and all she accomplished this weekend and am so glad I was there to experience it with her.

Motivation Mondays: The Stress Factor

Last week, the world lost a Hollywood icon: James Gandolfini. He passed away suddenly from a heart attack while vacationing in Italy with her son and sister. He was only 51 years old.

Gandolfini was most infamously known as Tony Soprano, the lead mobster from New Jersey, on the hit HBO series The Sopranos. He had other movie roles, most recently the C.I.A. director in Zero Dark Thirty as well as a role on Broadway. He was known as a gentle giant who loved his family, friends and being Italian. As an avid Sopranos fan, I was saddened by his death but it also served as a wake-up call.

gandolfiniGandolfini was a younger man, who wasn’t sick and had plenty of living left to do. Yet, in an instance, he was taken away from his family and friends. Anyone who knew Tony Soprano knew he was a big guy.  As an Italian, he loved his pasta and wine too. His presumed weight problem coupled with the stress of being a Hollywood star unfortunately were a lethal combination. I’ve seen this pairing too often in my own life. My grandfather passed away from a massive heart attack at the age of 47. This past December, my 42 year-old cousin died the same way. All were taken too soon.

Weight is a constant battle for me as well as most of my family members. Actually, weight in general is probably something most of the world struggles with. No one should obsess but everyone should be conscious of their weight, cholesterol and blood pressure. Working out regularly and eating healthy helps you maintain a healthy weight. But what about the stress factor?

Stress is almost just as bad as eating poorly and being a couch potato. But, in my opinion, it is not as easy to manage as counting calories or hitting the gym. Stress puts undo pressure on all parts of your body: your muscles tense up, your heart rate increases and digestive problems develop. The longer you let stress affect you, the more prevalent these issues become.

So, here’s the deal: we all need to commit to managing our stress better. A couple of ways to handlestress stress better include:

  • Pinpoint exactly what stresses you out and choose a couple of ways to deal with the problem. Even write them out to glance at when the problem occurs.
  • Close your eyes and take some deeps breathes.
  • Leave your desk and go for a walk.
  • Set boundaries and stick to them.
  • Surround yourself with positive people.
  • LAUGH more 🙂

The death of James Gandolfini should be a reminder to all of us that stress negatively impacts our health regardless of how old we are. Making the changes will be hard but will be totally worth it. Check out the clip below of the gentle giant, Gandolfini on Sesame Street.

Motivation Mondays: Feel Again

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!

Motivation Mondays: Being Intentional

Have you ever playing solitaire on your computer or cell phone? Do you notice what the game keeps score of after you’ve finished? You’ll see your score, the time it took you to complete the game and how many times you when through the card desk. In essence, it keeps track of how many times we drew each card. So, your time and score aren’t the only things that matter. How many times you choose a new card also factor in to your score.

Why am I talking about solitaire this morning? Because when I was playing the game, I thought about just tapping the next card to see if it belonged anywhere. You forget the game keeps track of that. In the same way, sometimes we say or do things just because without actually understanding why we did them. We do these things unconsciously and do not understand the implications of these actions. We aren’t being intentional with our choices.

Think about the last special thing someone important did you for you. You cherished it because it was special and solely for you, right? What if everyone person you passed on the street said “I love you?” Those three words would completely lose their meaning. When you act with intention, those actions become more meaningful, not only for those impacted by them but also for you. Acting with intention also makes you consider your decisions rather than coasting through life, going through the motions.

Everyone gets one shot have making their life all it can be. The choices we make shape our journeys. These choices should be made with intention and reason, just because someone else wants us to. I’m not saying don’t be spontaneous, but live for yourself. When faced with a choice, think about the decision that will make you most happy, that is best for you at that moment. Don’t just tap the card in the solitaire game. Don’t just randomly pick a path. Live with intention.

 

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