The Professor Helps!Professor Jennifer Haston- Author, Speaker, Activist- Accomplice to the Oppressed- helping people live their best lives. Inspiring one person daily!
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
Next Sunday I will walk and run in a 10 mile race. So scary to see that in black and white.. but its the truth, I put my money down, I have trained and prepared and am on the cusp of accomplishing a BIG HAIRY AUDACIOUS GOAL.
In the history of the world, at one time or another there was time that something had not yet been done.
While running a 10 mile run is not on par with discovering a cure for cancer (as yet undone but any day now someone is going to wow us with that one) for my life it recommends a sea change in activity, lifestyle, health and overall goal-setting.
I invite you reading this to approach any goal or change in your life in the same way. Just this morning, one of my running buddies helped me see how important it is to take stock in what you have done, are doing and have yet to DO.
Think about it!
I woke up today filled with inspiration and excitement to talk to you about the new year! What’s that you say? New Years was 15 days ago? Au contraire.. In Jennifer’s world (which, let’s face it.. this blog is Jennifer World) my New Year starts on My birthday which is 1/19/2015 and it got me thinking about the following things
My friends are up to some pretty wonderful things!
One friend is applying to graduate school and I am so proud of him (you know who you are!)
One friend is living in NYC and living her dream of being an actress and REALLY doing it, not just talking about it
Another friend is readying herself to buy a house!
Another friend continues to work on her budget, finances and career simultaneously with specific goals that are measurable and I am VERY Proud.
Yet another friend started a new job and it was hard and difficult to do something new but she is SO glad now.
As for me, I am planning the following things-
1. To prepare a Ted talk and apply to give said Ted Talk.
2. To exercise three times a week no matter the weather or my mood
3. To continue exploring my spirituality in whatever form that takes
4. To find ways to random acts of kindness through the year.
SO here is the point– January 19th is my birthday and also my New Year. What I ask of people is to do one random act of kindness, you choose what and where and who and all I ask you to do is to tell me about it. That is my present from you, pretty simple and no shipping required.
Ready, Set, GO!
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!
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.
I suffered a few setbacks in the world of entertainment lately. The goal is of course to “get the job” but you know sometimes (most of the time) it is not my call.
I, of course, think I am awesomely talented and right for most things (note I did not say everything) so while it SUCKS OUT LOUD to be rejected its a natural part of the process of being a performer so you do eventually get used to it. I capitalize that statement to emphasize how hard it is to be rejected but it really is an inevitable part of the process to be told NO over and over and over and over ad infinitum till you get the lovely glorious YES and trust me when I say its worth it when it comes so right now instead of focusing on the rejections and setbacks my intention is to focus on when the YES comes remembering all the NO that got me to my yes.
I will admit to being in a bit of a funk lately due to this and not so much my smiling happy self and am happy to report I recently snapped out of it with some counsel from wise friends and a liberal application of movie watching and chocolate consumption.. (sounds fancy, doesn’t it?)
It was a refreshing change of pace to move from NO to YES while modeling last week with a really great photographer. Pictures to follow this post and I was reminded of how much fun it is to be praised for having a talent.. who knows, maybe I will get picked up for a modeling contract which will lead to a movie contract and so on and so on.. really anything is possible, not likely but possible.
So if you are reading this, please take heed of my advice and focus on your next YES that is coming and be patient, it is coming, I promise!
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!
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.”
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!
Dear Readers, Today is the day of my week I look forward to the most. Today is cheat day on my diet. Most days I am (along with my husband) eating a paleo diet and I experience the joy of weight loss, energy and overall good health forsaking all those foods that my former fat girl self loved and adored. How did I get here?
I gave up soda. It sounds harder and yet was easier than I thought.
I work in a wonderful place that offers free sodas as one its many, many perks but they don’t have my favourite soda so I justified it like that. I said, okay well they don’t have what I want so I will decide to do without it. After a week without it, I no longer thought about it.
The next thing I gave up was chocolate and the same thing happened. I no longer thought about it after not having it all the time and so on. After we had adapted to the paleo lifestyle for a month, we had a glorious meal full of all the foods we loved and had temporarily given up. It was delectable and oh so very choice. I remember that meal and it was one night over a year ago.
Today, though it is cheat day, I am actually planning to only cheat with one meal instead of three, baby steps, people!
Expand your imagination, and find one thing that you have been talking about doing something about it, today!
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness, concerning all acts of initiative (and creation). There is one elementary truth in ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Do it, and watch what happens.