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!