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…..

Spend time taking care of yourself, its the best investment you can make!

Dear Readers,

I do a lot of talking about self-care to my coaching clients. The idea normally involves a bubble bath, a cheesy movie or a chocolate treat. Today I am talking about the self-care you can do for yourself that helps your health. Doing something that makes you FEEL good matters. I used to run until I hurt my back so for now I walk. Most recently, I walked 1.82 miles with my husband (proud of you honey!) and that felt good for lots of reasons but mostly because he walked with me and was proud of himself for doing so.

But back to taking care of yourself, so in my journey to feeling better, I tried doing a lot of things. First, I stopped exercising at all, which has the double whammy of not being good for you and making you feel bad (no good).

Second, I went to see a doctor who told me, “you are getting old this is normal” – All due respect to your medical training, doctor but I am 38 and not even close to done working on what I can and can NOT do with this body of mine, thank you. (annoying, and a more than a little condescending, so also not good)

Third, I went to a chiropractor who asked me what do you do all day? Do you sit? Do you stand? Do you stretch? What do you do for exercise? After a few minutes, he was able to tell what was wrong and how to go about fixing it. HALLELUJAH! Now, I don’t want to give the impression that it is a magic wand, and I am all better. Like anything else in life, it’s not that easy. The chiropractor told me that in a few weeks I could go back to walking (I have done so!!!) and in a few months I can go back to running (patience, Iago!) but the biggest thing he shared with me is that I am in CHARGE of stretching, standing and walking and incorporating more movement in my day (hold on, time to stretch) and the people who are the most successful with maintaining health are the ones that manage their own care. WHAT A CONCEPT! Seems simple right?

Wrong. We are creatures of habit, so I have had to break the habit of constantly sitting, and every 30 minutes a timer goes off so I remember to stretch. After a few weeks of doing this, I am happy to report, I almost don’t need the timer… my body is adapting and the lack of pain is helping to solidify the habit. You will note that I said, “almost” because it is not worth it to me to “forget” that stretch so crucial to keeping me aligned and out of pain.

If you are the type to need some science to back up the fact that its bad to sit all the time, here is an article or two for you to peruse.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/killer-chairs-how-desk-jobs-ruin-your-health/

http://www.fastcompany.com/3021985/work-smart/the-science-of-posture-why-sitting-up-straight-makes-you-happier-and-more-product

If you don’t sit at your job and this doesn’t apply to you, great! Likely you know someone who does and this could perhaps benefit them, and help them avoid the issues I experienced.

So back to you, dear reader, what do you do for self-care? What do you do to maintain your health mental and physical? What habits do you need to break? What habits do you need to build? What can you do TODAY to make your life better?

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…..

Meet Yourself Where You Are

Dear Readers,

Last week I wrote about “abandoning the checklist”– Wow, is that easier said than done. It turns out, old habits die hard and what you resist persists.

As many of you know, I have been having back problems, well I recently made contact with a great chiropractor and I feel optimistic for the first time in months that I won’t need back surgery which was a looming prospect.

It has involved adjustments and a change in behavior for me. Every hour, ( I set a timer) I have to get up and stretch. (my job is very sedentary and involves lots of not getting up and moving. I do walk around from time to time, but nothing like this.

Not only do I feel better, I get the chance to support my people better because they see my face, I don’t have it stuck on my monitor all day.

I could beat myself about the head and shoulders for not doing this sooner but I have opted instead to “meet myself where I am”…. So what does that mean?

  1. I will walk when I exercise not run for a while.
  2. I will LET GO of having to do a 1/2 marathon this year.

What do you need to do to “meet” yourself right now? Are you pushing yourself too hard? Do you need to push yourself, is it time to make that decision you have been putting off? Or is it time to give yourself some grace, and make a decision to tackle it anew tomorrow?

Think About It….

Let Go Of The Checklist

Dear Readers,

I have been wrestling with this for a while now and thought it might add value to your life if I shared that struggle with you.

How many of us have a checklist? I don’t mean a to-do list. I mean a life checklist.. Yours might look different but here is a few of my “checklist items” that I have been discussing and other friends have been kind enough to share.

Finish College

Get Married

Have a Baby

Get a job that feels like a vacation

Get over the fact that my family of origin leaves much to be desired

Win an Oscar

Get out of debt

Win a Grammy

Run a marathon

Moving to a new city 

Okay so there are a few problems with a check list – One you feel hemmed in by it.. like that box waiting for the check is alone and chanting at you, “Jennifer, you aren’t done with me yet., when are you going to win that Oscar? Why are you still in school? Why haven’t you had a baby yet? and it all sounds like noise till you realize that this is self-imposed.. No one gave you a checklist.. you wrote it up and are being bound to something that is completely 100% of your doing. Two, its usually too long. There is a finite amount of time you get so a reminder that you should focus on what is truly important is not out of line, I think.

I am not saying goals are not important. They are, but I think its worth examining our expectations and getting them more aligned with reality so as to avoid disappointment.

Case in point, I wanted to run a 1/2 marathon this year. I planned to do it and was excited and scared at the prospect. I decided in March (after running 10 miles) that I could do it. For those that don’t know a half marathon is 13.1 miles which sounds really daunting when viewed that way. Well, as you might imagine, I started to try break this into baby steps. (run a 5K in September) and then do a half marathon by January.. well life (as it so often does) intervened. I pulled my back out of joint in May (but kept stubbornly on running even though I was in pain) and didn’t actually acknowledge how much it hurt until June so went to see a doctor and got muscle relaxers and the orders not to run.. but I could still walk.  On doctors orders, I had to give up running. I could have walked but found myself so depressed I didn’t even want to do that so for a month and a half I didn’t walk, and ate lots of junk food trying to feel better but it wasn’t until last week that I worked out again. So, what has this to do with the checklist idea?

I need to let it go! I may run a marathon but I need to heal my body first and I have to let got of the checklist because it is going to look different than I thought. That is not a bad thing. One of my original checklist goals was to marry in 1999 and had I married the person I was with then, my life would look much different than it does now.

The Checklist can be a help but I find sometimes it can really hurt you to keep comparing yourself to your goals and finding yourself lacking. Progress, not perfection!

Think about it…

7 days to a 10 mile walk…..

Dear Readers,

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!

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