Trial and Error

Dear Readers,

I know it sounds like a really bad prequel to “Law and Order” but it’s not.

It’s actually a reference to what we do in life, from the moment we are born.

We try to walk, we fall. We try again and again and again until we do it.

We try to talk, we make a lot of unintelligible sounds and then all of a sudden we sound intelligent.

We attempt something, we fail. We attempt something else.

It takes a lot of courage to do this day and day out and it’s an act of courage to live a life out loud and full of purpose. I don’t know if you have experienced this but when you are enthusiastic and shall we say, loud, it makes waves. People notice.

My advice to you? Be you and do the things that matter to you.

The world is not served by you playing small, or thinking you are less than what you are a beautiful and unique creature designed with a wonderful spark that makes you you.

Sometimes the flame can be snuffed out but if you look for it, it can always come back.

Get off the bench, go make BIG plays. The world truly is yours for the taking.

Be bold, and ask for EXACTLY what you want and if you stumble, try again.

Along the way, if you are disappointed in what happens to you, be disappointed, feel it to the core of your being and really acknowledge the upset and sadness.

As my mother of choice says, “have a pity party, go there, and be there when you are, just don’t stay”- Wise words.

My focus tends to be on the pushing through, the next step, so I invite you to fully explore your feelings about something before “moving on” no matter how much the “world” wants to tell you. “Get over it”

Trial and Error, my friend. It’s a real thing, you live it and do it, every single day.

Think About It. imagejfminc

Good things come to those who wait…

Dear Readers,

I have oft maligned the internet on this blog and the way it distracts us from being “here” now, however, it definitely has it’s benefits.

You never know who might be watching you and inspired by your journey.

You never know who could be listening to you when you give a speech. Your words, your story may be the difference between them fighting another day or giving up completely.

We are so powerful and we don’t begin to grasp how powerful.

You also don’t need to be physically there to inspire or motivate others. GazellesUniteAugust2018

What am I talking about? Well, take this picture for instance, It’s a picture of 4 women who supported each other on the road to debt-freedom. When we “met” some in person and some via the internet, each one of us was in debt and working hard to unshackle the chains of debt that were strangling each of us.

Slowly but surely (like the tortoise winning the race) we all became debt-free.

Let’s take a minute and just breathe that in. WE ARE DEBT FREE!

These women are incredibly inspiring and passionate and have their own story to share, but I will hit a few highlights for you.

Juante is a dear friend who I “met” via the internet and supported her and she supported me as we walked down this road together. She is a soon to be published author and a life coach who inspires other people for a living. She is a ray of sunshine and just having her around enriches your space.

Chrishawn – my sweet friend who is a fashion plate and I always want to wear her clothes. She is a dedicated and passionate paralegal who worked diligently with her husband to get out of debt, and she was ruthlessly organized about it, her spreadsheets and countdowns are a thing of beauty, trust me! She also has a wonderful laugh and tells great stories.

Erin- my lovely friend who home schools her kids and is a passionate crusader against debt, she and her husband also worked their bahookies off to get out of debt. They worked extra jobs and got their kids involved too! Erin teaches a financial class about every quarter to help inspire others. She isn’t naming names but recently some of her students told her that they were so inspired that they were teaching their own class!

All three of these women at one point or another lifted me up or encouraged me as we walked down this road together. One sent me a locket with the date we became debt free on it 11/16/15 to commemorate the milestone. One of them met me for for coffee so we could catch up and she could meet my little girl. One of them sent me a some text messages when we hit a setback. Yes, I am praising a text message, sometimes it can be EXACTLY what you need.

My preference will ALWAYS be a face to face meeting (see picture above for proof)

However, when there is a gap of distance between you that requires an airplane or train or a pretty long drive, a text message, or a well placed message on social media can do wonders for your heart and your soul.

Thanks for pointing that out, Alexandra – “A text message is also a connection”

Well said, friend.

So good things come to those who wait, this picture took 4 years to happen, and it finally did, It makes my heart sing to look at it and see what it represents.

A very public thank you to all three of you amazing, wonderful and supportive women!

Remember, you never know who might be watching your struggle and gaining strength from your successes and failures.

Think About It.

Feedback – Taking it and Giving it!

feedbackDear Readers,

I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word “feedback” I cringe inwardly and usually brace myself to receive the (surely negative) words coming my way.

However, like so many things, it seems to me that it’s all in how you frame it.

If you are expecting negativity, you will likely hear whatever someone says as negativity even if they are pouring sunshine and rainbows your way.

If you are expecting to hear positive things you will tend to frame it that way, even if someone is saying fairly harsh things.

If you are asking someone you trust and admire for feedback and choose to get defensive, you miss a great opportunity to gain something important amidst your own inability to listen openly or your own attachment to your work.

Conversely, if someone gives you feedback that you aren’t welcoming or expecting it can really affect your ability to take it in.

I think there is a very large gap between when you ask someone for feedback and when they just offer it. It’s all about asking for the permission.

Feedback typically means you can’t change the outcome, it’s already happened and that can tend to make you feel pretty defeated. Feedforward has such a proactive stance and it’s absolutely something you can apply.

I can definitely say I feel better about the phrasing, “Something I would try…” or “Based on what I see, I suggest” because it leaves the control in the hands of the person you are advising.

I am in the process of asking for a LOT of feedback on a personal project and it’s a humbling experience to be open and asking people for it continuously, taking the feedback and then applying it, and then asking for more feedforward.

This process is growing me and teaching me things about how and when and in what fashion to give my own dose of feeedback/feedforward when I next get the permission and opportunity.

What do you do with feedback? Take it? Reject it? A mix of both?

Think About It….

 

 

Impostor Phenomenon- Are you a fraud?

 

superhero

Dear Readers!

Today I attended a class featuring the impostor phenomenon. The instructor did a great job of pointing out two things.

  1. At one point or another, there are times when an individual feels like they “lucked” into a job or they snuck in the back door when no one was looking.
  2. Most of the time that feeling is completely false and can be refuted with concrete evidence of accomplishment and merit.

I actually had the thought that I would write about this back in March when I started a new position which I absolutely love but I was scared to share that I was new and didn’t know what I needed to know to do the job. How silly is that? I was new and didn’t know the job but was scared to admit that I didn’t know things.

My good friend and colleague, Dr. Keya Howard likes to remind me that I am human and it’s important to bump into that reality and put down the superwoman cape from time to time. I don’t like this reminder and often bristle against it, and it remains a good reminder. I should say, I have a group of friends I love and call family of choice who remind me of this too, (you know who you are!)

I don’t know why it’s so hard to admit that we aren’t experts at something, but it is.

When I got accepted into Richard Robichaux’s exclusive acting class, I felt like I got in by accident and often gave in to palpable feelings of impostor syndrome. Then last year, when I was up for two roles at once (man, that felt good!) I realized I didn’t get in by accident, I am a talented performer and when I got one of the roles, I used every bit of what I learned in that class and I was reminded of how I felt.

One of the participants in the seminar today mentioned Amy Cuddy, and her Ted Talk which currently has been viewed 48,030,611 times. I have utilized this advice for job interviews and auditions and really any stressful interaction.

Amy Cuddy- Ted Talk  (Interestingly enough, this was the first Ted Talk, I ever watched, thank you, Jessi!)

One of the key takeaways for our class today was that the strongest defense against the imposter phenomenon is to refute that thought with the facts.

As a Mom, I often feel like I have NO IDEA what I am doing.

*For Vivienne, if you are reading this, I love you and I choose you as my daughter even if and when you tell me you hate me. I love you and always will. Nothing you could ever do will make me stop loving you and being proud to be your mom. 

I wish I could tell you I never lose my temper, but I do.

I wish I could tell you that I never say the wrong thing or push expectations on my child, but I do.  This makes me human, not a horrible mother.

All too often I see parents competing with each other and telling stories of what their kid did today and is your kid doing that yet and then we start the comparison game and before you know it, one parent or both starts thinking about what they do to teach their kid and start worrying, “Am I reading the right books? Did we get her the right toys?”

ENOUGH of the Comparison, ENOUGH of the one-upman/upwomanship.

We all do the best we can, and we will make mistakes. Give up the cape, you aren’t going to be perfect, so give it up and embrace that you are not perfect but you are the perfect parent for your child.

Think About It.

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Years of Marriage! YAY!

Marriage2011

Dear Readers,

Today my husband and I celebrate our marriage which occurred on a very very very very very very HOT day in July. (my husband enjoys reminding me of this so I need to be sure to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

I remember being excited about the wedding and happy that the people I loved most were in my wedding party or getting ready to meet me at the end of the aisle.

I wish I could say that I KNEW then that we would be here today, but you don’t KNOW that. You hope that, and you work towards that, AND I don’t think anyone gets married with the idea that “well, maybe it will work out, and maybe it won’t”

What I can say is that I KNEW we loved each other and I KNEW that we were both committed and spent the last 2 and half years planning (7 years married, 10 together) the wedding of my dreams and designing the marriage that WE wanted.

Something my darling husband says to me all the time, especially when we face difficulty (together) is “We will figure it out”. I love this because it reinforces the idea that there is a solvable problem on the table and that WE will figure it out. Not him, not me, but WE.

In looking back on the last seven years, I have definitely learned a lot about our relationship and each other and with this anniversary I have these takeaways to share.

  1. Sometimes it is a better idea to go to bed angry than to stay up arguing.
  2. Remember, you are on the same team, the second you start saying “Well, if he would just…” or “If only she would…” Nope. WE.
  3. You WILL have hard times, remember that you also have each other.
  4. If you are angry now, think before you speak. “will this matter in 2 hours? 2 days? 2 months? 2 years? (I struggle with this and it’s getting better all the time)
  5. Remember that you can “react” or “respond” to what your partner says. Responding is a lot more difficult and ultimately healthier for your relationship.
  6. Have fun, laugh and ENJOY your partner.
  7. Remember, “YES means YES”!!!!- don’t pretend something is acceptable to you if in reality it bothers you. For more on this, see the phenomenal Avery couple talking about the relationship game changer in their marriage https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKyaGBJxCYo

Oh and being from Louisiana, this is the lagniappe ( it means you get it for free )

Be your partner’s biggest cheerleader!

Oh and one more thing- HAPPY ANNIVERSARY JEREMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

Let’s dance in the rain, Mama!

Dear Readers,

My daughter taught me something on Saturday.

I noticed the temperature was a reasonable 80 degrees and that it was our first less than 100 degree day in weeks so I headed to the park with her.

As we pulled up, it started to rain and I thought, well we should probably head home.

Vivienne was trailing her fingers against the pane of the window and smiling so I thought, well why not go play in the rain, after all it’s only drizzling and we have been cooped up in that house for the last month because it was either too hot or we were too sick to go out.

So I got my umbrella and took her hand and we started walking.

I kept being torn between wanting her to have fun and splash in the rain and dirt but not wanting her to be messy (since I had not planned to be in the rain I had no towel) but eventually gave up and let her be in the rain as she wished.

The most fun we had was on the swing, she laughed and I laughed as I pushed her higher and higher.  I realized that it was the first time in a while that we had gone to the park and I made a mental note to do it more.

I am not a professional photographer, but every once in a while I get a few good shots. I am particularly happy with this because it will help me remember, that it’s okay to play in the rain, in fact it’s a good idea to do it whenever you can.

It’s so easy to forget, that I want to say thank you to my daughter who reminded me how important it is to play.

VivienneRainRain

Think About It.

I give you permission to fail.

Dear Readers,

Today I was in an Agile class that I am lucky enough to be taking in conjunction with my job. One of the major components of the Agile methodology is to try something and if it doesn’t work, try something else.

Inherent in that instruction is the idea that not only will you fail, you are expected to fail and are in fact given permission to fail.

This is a concept I learned about a long time ago when I got involved with improvisational acting.  It was one of the first exercises I learned.

You make a mistake (on purpose!!!!!!!!!) take a deep bow and say, “I FAILED”

It was so incredibly freeing and we even called it a “failure bow” so you acknowledged the fail and then moved on with the next scene. It was great!

I think far too often we are so wrapped up in looking perfect and being just right and doing things JUST so, that we miss the opportunity to embrace the unknown, the missteps and the happy accidents that come with experimentation.

What can you open up for yourself if you gave yourself permission to not be perfect, or better yet, give yourself permission to “play” and then it’s a game and if you lose, you learn and if you win, that’s good too.

What do you need to do to unlock yourself from perfect?

What if you thought of FAIL as — “First Attempt At Learning” (like the picture says)

Can you let go of the idea that you have to be perfect? Can you open yourself up to the notion of play and experimentation? What might happen? What can you learn?

I say to you, I give you permission to fail, I give you permission NOT to be perfect, in fact, embrace the opportunity to try something completely new, which by the way, means you won’t be perfect, because you can’t be new and perfect at the same time.

Think About It.

Failfail