Category Archives: Life Lessons

Life Lessons

Underestimated is How I Like to Be

If you ever wanted to light a fire under my ass to get something done all you have to do is underestimate me.

I like to be underestimated because I have something to fight for to prove to you and also myself. I like being the underdog because I can break the rules or completely ignore them. Most importantly you will never see me coming.

The problem is when you have proven yourself or gained a certain amount of visibility you can’t be underestimated any longer. People expect something from you. Maybe it’s a certain amount of quality, your product, your productivity or hard work. Maybe it’s all of the above. The once underestimated becomes the person others compete against. You make each other better for it, but there are these things like expectations, pressure and stress. These are things you didn’t have to deal with when you were invisible underdog who took risks and made moves without regret. Risking it all becomes more of a challenge. Everyone is watching or at least you believe they are. You now have a reputation, an expectation and you can either do nothing, fail or exceed your goal or other expectations. Might I suggest that you have another option which is a fourth one.

That fourth option is none of the above. You don’t give a shit about what anyone thinks about you. You do what you want and how you want to do it and quit worrying about those expectations of what people might be thinking of you or saying about you good, bad or indifferent. Just do what you do and know is true. You are the only person you should be considering.

Life Lessons

Finding Balance

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As we were driving to school I told Ry today that I am working on finding balance in my life. Mondays are especially crazy for me. I’m trying to understand if I should just lean in and push through it all or if there is something I’m missing that might help me strike a better balance in my life. I often wonder especially on Mondays when my stress levels are at their highest if there is in fact a better way.

She told me that there is a puzzle inside me and I need to work to fit all the pieces together and when I do, I will find peace. That finding new pieces to the puzzle can only be achieved by doing new things. She told me she’s sharing this with me because I’m honest, strong and I help people.

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It’s a strange feeling when your 6 year old child tells you something that is wise beyond her years and causes you to pause enough to journal and think about what puzzle pieces you might be missing in order to find that balance to make your life all fit. So this morning while waiting for a Monday meeting at one of my favorite coffee shops, I’m doing some self reflection. I’m thinking about what she said and wondering how I can better fit the pieces to my life. I want to question my own personal choices less but push myself more. I want to be a better mom, wife and human being. I want to enjoy life and I want to continue to work, live and dream with a passion. I don’t want to be a robot just going through the motions. I also wonder a lot about how I’m being tested, what lessons I have to learn and what it all really means.

I told my daughter she was a wise girl and what she said gave me chills. This sage advice is coming from a 6 year old. It’s not secret that I love my kiddo, but time and time again she fills up my cup, inspires me and most importantly gives me pause in how I am living.

 

Life Lessons

New Beginnings Are Opportunities Not Endings

Last month I attended one of the two big conferences for my consulting business and blog. It was the first time in 6 years I attended the conference solo meaning no roommate, no bestie or person to hang or connect with during those down times. I walked into the hotel room the first night with just a weird uncomfortable feeling.

Those that know me know that I am a very reflective person. I do incredible amounts of research and evaluation before making a change. I feel in the most control by researching, planning and anticipating the change.

Research serves as my method of control, but it is not a guarantee. Sometimes but not often there are outcomes that I wasn’t prepared for. A quiet and reflective time allows for me to best work through the situation, challenge or problem and move forward with the change.

The uncomfortableness from the conference had me feeling not just vulnerable but I realized it also opened me up to new conversations, friendships and just random meetups that attending the conference with a crew, click or best friend would have kept me from happening. While I love my friendships, I think that they can be a huge barrier to new opportunities especially to someone like me.

Sometimes our friendships and business partnerships not only insulate us but also protect us not from the uncomfortableness but from possibility. And as I sat at the Las Vegas airport I realized that these industry friendships while wonderful and supportive are also keeping me from the opportunities that a meetup of 17,000 industry professionals might bring.

These friendships are most often a barrier not an ally to my business. They are hurting not just my business but are allowing me to protect myself from others and most importantly change.

It’s not just the conference that is bringing out change. My long time contract employee is moving on to what is an amazing opportunity for him. I knew he was moving on from the moment he sent me the text. While I wasn’t surprised,  it was the finality of it that sent me reeling. The unknown that lay ahead.

Opening myself up to new experiences and relationships led me to a fabulous late lunch meetup with someone I have respected for years but known little about. The conversation was well-worth the cost of the cab ride, but I wouldn’t have known that because my besties were influencing the decisions of who I should and should not be connecting which is completely ridiculous and silly. It’s just dumb really.

After not just surviving but thriving at the conference, I am reminded that I can do absolutely anything I set my mind to and while my business, my blog and just life might change, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. And for the first time in a long time, I’m excited to mix things up, change up my business and do things my way. Instead of the way that others expect me to be or the way that I thought at the time would work best for me or the way that resulted from the advice I took from a friend.

Life Lessons

The Corners We Paint Ourselves Into

We are not what we work. No matter how much we want to think it or others believe it. We are more. We aren’t who we are in a single moment. You can’t judge someone by observing them or talking with them for 5 minutes, 2 hours or 3 days.

Over the past few months, I have really enjoyed writing and specializing in a new industry and/or area that I do traditionally which is HR. The industry is niche and to be able to be knowledgable, it requires extensive research and/or the background of having worked in the industry. Most people can’t or don’t go to the lengths to fight and claw their way into an industry they are an interlooper in.

It’s good to mix things up. It’s a great idea to put yourself out there. Change things up and most importantly throw a curveball in the way you are living. These changes don’t have to be big ones. They can be small changes like my mom who after many years is committed to getting up before 8:00 AM. She’s been a night owl since I was a young girl as my dad worked third shift. Around the time I was 10 or 11 years old, he started working first shift and worked starting at 7:00 AM. My mom who has been self-employed or a stay at home mom most of her life, didn’t change her schedule. She always went to bed very, very late. I called her last week at 9:00 AM and was surprised that she had already had her coffee and finished reading her paper. I didn’t expect her to change.

The longer things stay the same the harder they are to change. This is how I have felt about my health and especially my weight. I’ve started traveling again. It’s conference season in the industry and vertical where I work makes it so easy for my healthy lifestyle to go off the rails. Old habits are easy to return to. Most importantly, wine and bad food choices are so easy to make when you are on the road. But now while I’m traveling I am signing up for one pilates class in the city I am at. Two weeks ago it was San Diego and this week it is Indianapolis. And for the first time, I’m excited to do this, and that’s because the change is becoming part of me.

The bad food choices sometimes happen and friends are always a good excuse to order another round of wine. Change is not easy because it’s messy. There is no quick path to the finish line. Once we commit to it, we realize that the process to change is long and often harder than we imagined, but for the first time in a long time I’m excited. I don’t see myself as the person I was. I’m not holding myself back or painting myself into a corner because it’s safe. I like being strong. I like surprising myself. I like the new story I’m painting and creating.

Life Lessons

How I Healed My Pinched Nerve in Neck & Back

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As I quieted my mind, my body shouted loudly. I heard and felt its cries loud and clear. The pain in my back and neck sidelined me for nearly two weeks. I didn’t exercise but focused on eating right, healing and visiting my chiropractor daily. It’s week 12 since I first sat down with the chiropractor and listened to his diagnosis. It’s been 12 weeks since I faced the reality that a pinched nerve in my back and neck were worsening. I needed to be serious about my back and neck or live life as a bent over old lady at age 37 and counting.

My Plan to Heal My Pinched Nerve in Back and Neck

I’ve been extremely transparent about this journey. It’s not about weight loss although it would be great if it was just that. It’s about healing my body, eating right, exercising and strengthening. I want to live a long, healthy and fulfilled life. I have to do this for myself. I want to watch my daughter grow up. I want to be pain free. I want to have another baby.

  • Eating Healthy. I’ve been tracking my calories and eliminating most processed sugars. I have continued eating organic and have been committed to juicing kale, carrot and other vegetables adding them into my morning smoothie routine. I think it’s extremely easy to just drink a powdered shake, however, I prefer keeping it simple focusing on fresh and natural ingredients. At present I use a MyFitnessPal and Shine to track my progress, calorie intake and activity.
  • Increasing My Strength. The pinched nerves are not helped by my underdeveloped core, back and shoulder muscles not to mention my horrible posture. Pilates has helped me concentrate on increasing my strength in these areas while also focusing on my spine as well as listening to my body. At present, I’m doing machine pilates on the reformer and exo chair 3-4 times a week under private instruction and classroom setting. (More about Pilates classes here.)
  • Visiting the Chiropractor. Since early January, I’ve visited my chiropractor 3-4 times a week barring any crazy travel I am doing. At first, the 45 minutes I spent those days seemed to really cut into my work schedule, but I’ve come to realize how much he is helping me. I don’t take work meetings until 9:30 AM most days to make sure I can focus on the chiropractor and healing.
  • Organizing My Calendar. I seem to thrive best in the mode of procrastination. I love working on a deadline or multiple deadlines since I work with multiple clients and projects at the same time. I’ve come to believe this isn’t the most healthy place for me or my body to be. Changing these bad habits has taken time. In truth, I still have a long way to go. I’ve said goodbye to things I don’t have time to do and eliminated meetings on Mondays and Fridays so I can focus on my to do list and tackling projects interruption free.
  • Remaining Mindful. Every morning I’m taking 5-10 minutes to breath and clear my mind before I start my day. Sometimes I focus my breath on the aches and pains of my body, but other times I just relax and think of absolutely nothing. It offers a nice change of pace.
  • Improving My Posture. My pinched nerve in my neck and back isn’t helped due to my poor posture and years of sitting hunched over my computer as I worked. I’ve made small yet simple changes by sitting with my arms back while driving or on the computer. I’ve also invested in a belt often used for waist training for new mothers. I’m using it to gently remind me to tighten my core and sit up straight.

Nervously I visited my chiropractor last week to check in on the progress of my pinched nerve in both my neck and back. In just a short amount of time, he is seeing improvement. We are scaling back my visits to him now once a week and will reassess in 8 weeks.

My New 12 Week Commitment

Over the next two weeks my travel schedule is ramping up which means I have to be more vigilant than ever to just get this shit done. I’m tired of hurting and not being healthy. I have begun to see results from my pilates which is further driving my motivation to these new commitments and change.  I still realize I have a long way to go. I can’t use the excuse that I don’t have time to do these things.

  • More Exercise. Spring has arrived and I’m committed to spending more time walking outside, in the garden or at the gym. I don’t have an excuse not to work out on the machines when my daughter has soccer practice at least once a week at the Y plus games 2 times a week.
  • More H20. I’m just not a water drinker, but recognize that this is key to flushing out toxins, healing my body and strengthening. I am commited to 8-10 servings of water a day.
  • Finding a Hobby. My work and my family is what I live to do. I need decompress and down time away from the endless reading, writing and researching. I really enjoyed rollerblading and want to add this into my exercise and activity routine.

What will the next 12 weeks hold for me? I’m hopeful I’ll be shopping for a smaller pant size, feeling more fulfilled, happy and healthy. Plus, we are traveling a bit for the summer. I want to make sure I’m ready for trips to the beach, horseback riding and more time with family.

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