Failure is not the end of your story, its just a chapter in your book

Dear Readers,
I come to you today to talk about the journey, not the destination. I think its super easy to say, hey, I did it.. or we did it.. and bask in the glow of success never giving a though to the sacrifices and setbacks you experience among the way. For my purposes, I am going to tell you about a setback we are having right now in our journey to debt freedom.
We had projected by the end of November which is exciting and then Tuesday we found out that the car we are paying off (Murphys Law has a sense of humor) needs some repairs so the money we have been using to pay off the debt at an accelerated rate now gets to go to car repairs so its disappointing. In fact, I was trying really hard to not get excited about the debt free date at the end of November because I kept waiting for something to screw us up. Guess what, I was right. I HATE that I was right. Its certainly not the end of the world, but its worth mentioning because it is part of the journey. . (looking forward to that post when we ARE DEBT FREE) because its still coming, just slightly delayed.
In my career as an actress, I have failed many more times than I have succeeded.
I have auditioned many more times than I have “gotten the part”. As the speaker and writer Jon Acuff says, “Its about making reps”- or repetitions
Showing up to do the work, over and over, makes you READY for when they (the people casting) say YES. At the end of the day, when you get that goal, you don’t focus so much on what rejection has come before, you are so excited that you have won.
I also hurt my back in May and have not been able to keep training for the half marathon I wanted to do in January 2016, but I am focusing on the fact that I am now working my way back up to a 10K. Recently I slow jogged a 5K so 10K can’t be far behind. I am looking forward to the chapter (many months away) that I get to write about that success. Stay tuned, for more on that.
So put another way, if you fail, its not the end, its just a chapter in your book.
I love this quote from Michael Jordan who is undeniably a success story. MichaelJordan
Think about it…..

Social Media- Blessing or Curse?

Dear Readers,

If you are anything like me, you enjoy social media but in our Tuesday night meeting, the Toastmaster posed the question, “Social Media- Blessing or Curse?”

I got a lot of answers to this during the meeting, some of them arrogant and funny and others poignant and thoughtful but it got me thinking..

I say both with the caveat that like everything else, balance is required.

Case in point, Our Toastmaster attempted to periscope the meeting but realized while he was doing that he wasn’t fully “engaged” in the speaker or the meeting. This is a real hot button of mine because I think too often in our “must have it now” society we spend a lot of time comparing our lives to those people we are friends with on social media and not knowing the ins and outs, we judge ourselves and find our lives lacking.

I personally have a love/hate relationship with social media. I love to hate people who use it too much. Okay but seriously, I think it has its place. I have made and maintained many friendships with people online who I have never met and I can honestly say that encouragement helps and that “like” or “comment” (mostly the comments) keep me running or walking when I REALLY do NOT feel like it. So it’s healthy in that sense that we can encourage each other, but the flip side is we can also hurt each other with social media by posting vitriol and racist and really unpleasant things.

So as my husband put it, “Social Media is kind of like The Force, you can use it for good or evil, so on any given day you can choose to be Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader. What will you choose to be ?

one post on facebook talks to you about donating to a worthy cause while another complains about something that while its “trending” isn’t worthy of your time to read about. I guess that’s the point, you decide what you want to use your time and energy to spread in the world.

What will you meditate on? Good or Evil?

Think about it…..

One chapter begins as another ends…

I was casting about for some pithy way to start this post and hit upon this quote

“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

Frank Herbert

I have several friends who are moving into the next phase of their life – going to graduate school, getting married, adopting kids, fostering kids and having kids and changing their career to name but a few.

These are all exciting things to happen but do not come without a level of stress- I learned in college all about “eustress” which is defined here-

  1. Eustress is a term coined by endocrinologist Hans Selye. The wordeustress consists of two parts. The prefix eu- derives from the Greek word meaning either “well” or “good.” When attached to the word stress, it literally means “good stress”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 I don’t know about you but I don’t generally think of stress as associated with good things but isn’t that the ultimate in reframing a situation? I am a big fan of that phrase and practice because let’s face it there are lots of situations in life that are not as we wish them to be, so in reframing you can paint it with the brush you like instead of the brush you have. For instance, I can look at today like, man I am tired and don’t want to go work out today, or as my good friend Jessica says, I have the “opportunity” to be tired because I am busy living a life I love and I have the “opportunity” to work out because my body is a working, breathing instrument that I am blessed to have working for me.                                                                           

Is that a little “being pollyanna” or viewing the world in “rose-colored glasses” YOU BET.. and most of the time it’s how I choose to view my life. Mark me, this does not exclude hard circumstances and real-life difficulty, but there are real opportunities every day to look for the happy rather than the annoying aspect of a given situation.

For example, I could look at my friend going to graduate school and moving away from Austin to become a professor as very sad and focus on the fact that he is moving away.

Yes, there is a level of sadness that goes with it, but I choose to focus on all the students he is going to impact and help live more enriched lives and the things they have yet to experience in his as yet unfilled classroom. This also gives way to the opportunity to stay in touch whether that is by email or even (gasp) a paper and pen letter.

Perhaps we could all stand to have a change like that. What chapter do you need to bring to an end to get YOU to your NEXT chapter?

Think about it…

It’s not hard after it’s done- she says… 10 MILES LATER!!!

Dear Readers,

On Sunday, I ran a 10 mile race. It was harder than I thought and easier than I thought. It should be noted that like so many other things in life this is a baby step of many to get me to that marathon status which is down the road for me.

First of all, I should clarify something, up till Sunday, I had only done 5K’s but after Sunday, I have now done a 15K!!!!!!

a brief recap

Vern’s No Frills- January 18, 2014

Biggest Loser- March 29, 2014

Color Run- May 24, 2014

Casa 5K-September 21, 2014

Holiday 5K Zilker- December 6, 2014

Austin 1020- 10 Mile Run Walk– March 29, 2015

That is 6 different events spanned over several months.. but its worth mentioning that each time I ran (this weekend being no exception) it was different– Vern’s No Frills was crazy cold and and we walked more than we ran but, baby steps. The Biggest Loser was great weather and the run went really well, my partner Susie said she had NEVER seen me run that fast. The Color Run was a LOT of walking.. I just wasn’t in shape for that one.. It was tagged as a FUN run and that was more about me getting out of my comfort zone (see I hate being messy) than a run… CASA was crazy hot and the worst race conditions.. but it was my husband’s first run and super fun to have him there along with Jessica and Adam, Susie, Keely, Michael and CJ.. our team also raised a lot of money for CASA so it was lucrative in other ways. Holiday 5K was actually a 3K but I kept going to make it a full 5K, wasn’t ready for that one either and it was a pretty rough “trail run” and at night.. won’t be doing that again.

So, 10 miles — what can I say about that.. First, I found myself thinking pretty nasty thoughts about the runners ahead of me when I was on mile 4 and they were on mile 8…. ( I think its pretty natural to hate the runner ahead of you sorry but its true… ) Second, the people behind me, I felt pretty good I was ahead of them but was working on keeping myself motiviated.  Flashback to before the race, you know how when a big event is looming and you go back and forth between looking forward to it and dreading it/ getting nervous about it? What do you do about that?

I employed several devices. I asked for support from all my “fans” on facebook and twitter and asked some people for some support and motivational messages. It is HARD for me to ask for help but I really needed it. The response was overwhelming. I had people post to support me that I don’t even know that well and tell me how much what I was doing was inspiring them. It really helped drive home the fact that one person really does make a difference. I also drank water and made the decision that while it would be slow (turtle trudging through mud) I would do it and finish. It wasn’t an option to stop and it wasn’t an option to quit.I also had Susie and Jessica who kept encouraging me through the weeks before the race that I could and would in fact do it.

As I say so often, because it is so true, It is allllllll about the baby steps-

I compare it to our debt-free journey. We have been doing lots of things to get debt-free but there are no short-cuts and slow, plodding, step by baby step, dollar by dollar, mile by mile we WILL get there. At one point during the race, I thought to myself it is funny, when you are in it, it doesn’t seem that hard, but before it you build up all this anticipation about how hard it is GOING to be. Mental note to self- Think less, do more. The person who got me through it when the going got hardest was Jessica, she had a running commentary about how I was getting my money’s worth by taking it slowly and not “racing” to the finish. She joined me at mile 4.2 to keep me going, support me and NOT LET ME QUIT. She told me she was proud of me throughout and it really helped to move me through it. At the last mile, (she went above and beyond by pretending to be a cheetah coming to “get” gazelle me (with sound effects) which helped me put some extra bounce in my final steps. As they say, you want to run to the finish, not walk.

JMac finishes 10 miles!
JMac finishes 10 miles!

I told her I wanted to finish by myself and I did. It FELT INCREDIBLE to take that last stride and finish. I feel extremely accomplished but its important to note, I did not do this alone. I had support and that made all the difference.

Think about it……… and go support someone’s goal today. And if you are pursuing a goal, ASK for help! Sometimes that one encouraging word, phone call, or note can make the difference.

It’s all in how you look at it-

Dear Readers,

Roughly a year ago, I decided to buy a treadmill to take away my excuse to not workout and actually get in shape and be healthier. We already had the healthy eating thing going and were actively working on eliminating debt from our lives.

On Saturday I ran what turned out to be a 3K not a 5K but because my goal was a 5K, even though I saw the cheering fans and signs for beer and water I kept running till I got the 5K done. This sounds really inspiring and it is, but it took someone else saying it to me to get me to see it. Why is it that someone else has to say, “good job” or “Congratulations on that presentation” for us to recognize our worth?

So on Saturday, I walk/ran the 5th 5K I have done in a year. When I consider where I was this time last year, that is nothing short of amazing– a brief recap–

You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great. -Zig Ziglar

The first one was January 18, 2014 – Vern’s No Frill’s 5K- I walked more than I ran but I did run for a while and hey as the guy writing times down said, “last place is asleep”

Second 5K was “The Biggest Loser 5K” and I ran it and walked it with my good buddy Susie Gidseg- my time for that was a little shorter and I felt exhausted after it was said and done but very accomplished

Third 5K was the color run which I ran walked with Jessica, Adam and their son Pierce which represents just a lot of fun, but for me, I hate being dirty or messy so I was breaking past a comfort zone on this one so it was less about exercise and more about mess but came together to represent both–

The Fourth 5K was “CASA Superhero 5K which was a huge milestone because my husband decided to do that with me for his FIRST 5K ever so I actually walked it with him and we created a Team “Haston Helping Hands” to help raise money for CASA http://www.casaforchildren.org It was very hot and probably the hardest 5K I have been until the 5th one.. which just happened-

The Fifth 5K was the “Trail of Lights Fun Run” which I don’t know how I got the notion it was a 5K but it’s not. It was a 3K which I discovered much to my chagrin as I saw the signs for the finish line when the voice in my ear said, “3K completed” “2 to go” so that was frustrating, it was at night as well which made it very hard to see, I was worried I was going to fall down at any moment and it really became the struggle to find a place to run amid strollers, walkers and gawkers! (it is Trail of Lights after all, some of that I should have expected) but I will know better for next time-

At the end of the day, my takeaways from all these are they each represent a 5K that I have completed, I intend to (deep breath) eventually run a marathon but its still pretty far off but as my life of late (baby steps, baby steps) have been celebrating the small steps that we take as we walk nay run in the journey of life. I need to make sure I stop along the way to appreciate that which I wanted to do and worked towards and not keep looking ahead to “the next thing”… very easy to get discouraged doing that so this is my attempt to avoid negativity and be positive. It’s worth noting that this time last year (I checked my social media log) I wasn’t working out consistently and now I work out 3 times a week most of the time.

I could get down on myself for not being further down the track but I am choosing to focus instead on the fact that tomorrow is Workout Day 89 and I am going to keep at it, because every baby step I complete gets me closer to Mile 26.

Think about it! 5KTrailofLights

Modification does not mean FAILURE

Dear Readers, 11 days ago I set out to do a month long cleanse “back to paleo” – with the goal of running continuously in the upcoming Turkey Trot. The reasons for this were myriad but mostly it was because I gained 10 pounds in one week (stress eating and cheat day has become cheat three days and then eat paleo) and it scared me. So I made a decision and after eating one last glorious pint of Haagen-Dazs Sunday, October 26th, and some very yummy cheese I went full on paleo.

Guess what, I am on Day 11 of the all paleo all the time diet and its working but it is easier than the last time we did this.  I realized I wasn’t going to be able to do the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving, I am not going to be ready and we have family coming to visit on that day so I need to be home to work on the dinner (something I never thought I would say) but things change.

So, my new goal is to make it to Day 14 of the cleanse and then eat some stuff that I love.. like chocolate and pasta and other yummy things not allowed on the diet mainly because life is short and I don’t want to deprive myself. I think in the past, I would have regarded this as a failure but now I see it as a modification.

Another modification is to walk/run the Trail of Lights on December 6th. I also think that the paleo cleanse I am on now will help me to eat less of the yummy things on cheat day… but only time will tell… I promise to be real and honest with you, my readers because while I want to motivate and inspire, I also want to be authentic and vulnerable. It’s one thing to say, okay I am going to eat all paleo but to accomplish it that’s awesome and I am patting myself on the back right now. (virtually)

So I pose these questions to you-

1. What are you working on right now?

2. Can you think back to a time you sacrificed ? Was it worth it? Why or why not?

3. Do you find that you have to consciously eat healthy or does it come easy to you?

Think about it!

The Struggle or The Prize?

The Struggle or The Prize?

Dear Readers, It is time once again for us to play the game of … I didn’t do it yet, but I will.
I am in the process of moving towards the goals I want to accomplish and that isn’t a neatly wrapped present with a bow..

When you ask God for patience (like I did two years ago) he doesn’t just give it to you. He provides you with circumstances, situations and people that help you to gain it.

Also, when you shoot for the moon, you can’t get there in a day.. You have to use math and astronauts and science get the guys at NASA to let you play on their rocket. All of these things take time. So while it may look like to you (the person pursuing the goal) that its hopeless and you will NEVER get there.. What is actually happening is that you are taking one step at a time to get there. I share the following picture to illustrate that point. This picture is the before picture of the first 5K where I ran/walked. My goal was to half run, half walk. This picture is a representation of success because it represents the following:

1. I did not sleep in, but actually went to the race.
2. I have others with me, helping me along that road.
3. I did not make my goal of running half but I did not QUIT.
4. I ran more than I had previously which proved to me that I could.
5. Most importantly, it was a stepping stone to the next 5K.

In my acting class yesterday, I was reminded that anything worth doing is worth doing well.
I am often impatient with myself and my progress but must remember that when you are a student, the lesson is the struggle and the prize.

Just because I didn’t write it, I see no reason not to share it. Please click on this link to
read the perspective that inspired me to write the post you just read!

What Students Really Need to Hear
http://affectiveliving.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/what-students-really-need-to-hear/