Dream it and then DO IT…

Dear Readers,

It is not enough to say you want to do something. You must put a deadline on it.

If you have a dream to move to another city, state or country. Do what a very famous director in Austin told me when I was directing my first production many years ago –

“Work backwards from opening night.”

Let me be more specific, Write on your calendar “GOAL” and then work backwards, what must you do in each week to get there?

If you want to learn a language, don’t say you are too busy, figure out if its important enough to actually do it and find the time.

Do you want to run a 5K? Don’t just talk about it, join a running group, or even start with a cause you believe in more than the comfort of the couch, that’s how most people do it.

If you want to speak professionally, speak every chance you get and ask for feedback from people who are better than you, join Toastmasters and keep speaking every chance you get so you have every chance to get better.

My blog is all about getting people to live their dreams, not just talk about them, so I challenge you, yes you, reading this.. What do you want to do ?

Make a plan, and get some accountability partners and then GO DO IT.. What are you waiting for? There will never be a better time to start.

Think about it…. EliteSeMpicture

You are doing better than you think, just ask!

Dear Readers,

I am in the midst of taking a course on personal growth and advancement and part of the homework assignment is to ask your nearest and dearest what they think are 3 personal strengths you possess.

The point of this exercise is to get you to see things about yourself that you don’t really see (usually because you are focused on challenges and opportunities) You are also supposed to list what you think your strengths are and not focus on your weaknesses which is where most of us tend to spend the most amount of time.

I don’t know what I was expecting to hear but it was really gratifying and humbling to hear things about myself I have not ever thought of as a strength but

“something I just do”

It reaffirms something I have long believed, we are all much more influential and powerful than we give ourselves credit for being. Put another way, we are our own worst critic. So I challenge you to do this for yourself, ask your circle what they see as your biggest strengths and be prepared to really take it in and not brush aside that assessment.

Think about it!

“When you build on your strengths, the activities using those strengths come more easily to you” -Deepak Chopra

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 about perspective….

Dear Readers,

I talk a LOT about perspective on this blog, but you know its an important topic.

If you are someone who is starting a new diet, your perspective might be, “wow, I have a really long way to” but a better way to look at it is. “I am starting something new that is healthy and will take time for me to figure out how to do well”

If you are someone who is planning to run a 10 mile race in three months (insert scream here) you might say.. “gosh I haven’t worked out nearly enough to get to that goal.. but a better way to say it “I have thrown my hat over the wall and made a financial commitment to be more responsible about my health and that will take time and patience”

If you are someone who auditioned for the show “Chicago” with dreams of singing and dancing to “All That Jazz” and didn’t get a callback or the role, you might think, I should just give up, show business is so hard and its really unforgiving, a better way to look at it is. “I held my own with career dancers and brought it with a song” I may not be what they are looking for right now, but one day soon, I will be, I just need to keep working and playing and auditioning and studying and treating myself as the artist I am and it will lead to wonderful things.

So if you are not feeling particularly Pollyanna or Tony Robbins at the moment, I hear that, (that is kind of why I wrote the blog today to snap myself out of a funk) just don’t stay in the funk, take a beat and think about what you can reframe or change in your kaleidoscope and find the best possible way to look at it and think of this…. and be sure to yell, that is the best part of this advice! IMG_0258

Be BIG, be BOLD, be BRIGHT!

Dear Readers, its 2015! Hooray!

Every year we get a chance to do something new, start over or just plain start.

This year, I am starting off by auditioning for a show I love. It’s absolutely not something that I would have thought possible without the help of my very intense Meissner class over the last year and a half. The instructor said in one of our early classes, “I coach principals” and to clarify for my non-actor readers perusing these words.. that means he coaches Hamlet, not Horatio.

I have worked harder this year on my craft and opened myself up more than I have ever done before and its scary, soul-shattering stuff. In case you thought being an actor was easy, you were wrong. I am living proof.

I find it important to write these words BEFORE the audition when the hope wells up inside of you like a fountain ready to burst forth with all the energy and enthusiasm you can muster. I have auditioned a lot this year and felt good about each and every one but you don’t have control over casting. As a director, I know this but it doesn’t mean I like it. On the other side of the coin, part of being an actor is full-time auditioner, part-time role taker. It really is that simple. A no comes a lot more often than a yes but the no’s make you savor the yes that much more.

I do not know what will happen with this audition on Sunday, I only know that I am preparing myself and working as hard as a I can to be the best I can be and that’s where my control ends.

The thing I hold fast to is these words-

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” -Marianne Williamson

So I hope that by bearing my soul to you, my dear wonderful reader, that it encourages you to shine your light, to be BIG, Be BOLD, and BE BRIGHT!

What do you have to lose? Nothing. What do you have to gain? Everything!

Think about it….

SwirlyGirlJenniferHaston

What

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

Passion! Don’t turn it down, turn it UP!

Hello dear readers!

I have gotten my share of requests to “calm down” , “be quiet”, and “stop being so intense” but you know what? That is a big part of who I am and why I am me and why I have made mistakes (which I have learned from) and why I have had successes small and large.

Saying things like “awesomesauce” and “YAY Rock Star Parking” It makes me a better friend, it makes me a better leader, and it mostly makes me a better human. So in turn, I say to you, be passionate, love what you do and if you don’t love what you do, figure out a way to find things about it that you love and focus on the positive aspects and minimize the negative as much as you can.

My biggest passion in life is not settling and I truly believe that its something we should all aspire to the best life possible.

My passion for life, led me to start writing a blog two years ago and that passion  led me to ask others about their blogs and led to me writing a guest post about my marriage to Jeremy for the wonderfully passionate Chelsea Turner Avery of The New Wifestyle-

Here is an excerpt:

“We both have an incredible work ethic and are not afraid to work or struggle to reach a goal. We communicate very well but even six years later it is still a struggle to navigate that communication and I think that still surprises me. We have a good marriage but we both work hard at it and actively invest (read books, read blogs and listen to other successfully married people) for how to best protect our marriage from harm and to strengthen it for years to come.”

http://thenewwifestyle.com/the-new-wifestyle-profile-jennifer/

So what is the point of all this?

Be excited, be passionate, and remember you are so much greater than you give yourself credit for and people need YOUR passion to help inspire them and in some cases give THEM permission to be their most excited self.

Marianne Williamson said it best-

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Think about it, what would the world be like if we all were liberated from fear?

Imagine the possibilities!