Defined as "mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty," courage is something with which we are all equipped.
We have an endless supply, actually - the trick is learning how to tap into it on command.
Because courage is necessary to face change, and change is necessary for our soul's development during our lifetime, so the more we flex our courage muscle, the better.
Fortunately, opportunities to call upon our own personal stash of the stuff seem to multiply as the years go by.
A couple of years ago I was in Miami for a coaching conference.
The night before it began, there was a little “mixer” in the hotel bar, and in typical Alex fashion, I walked into the huge room full of people I didn’t know, smiled and looked around for about 35 awkward, uncomfortable seconds, then quietly slipped out the door and beelined back to my hotel room, where I immediately put on my pajamas and climbed into bed to read.
No big deal, I figured; large social gatherings where I’m expected to make small talk with complete strangers is a hit or miss scene for me, and that night, it was a miss. It happens.
The next morning, I was recounting the situation with a laugh when something a colleague said stopped me in my tracks, potentially changing the way I show up in my life from here forward:
“But what’s the point if you don’t #participate?”
In my "Non-Scale Victories of Consistent Self-Care" blog post, I provide a comprehensive list of ways to gauge your progress towards a health/wellness goal, and why they are better than stepping on a scale.
Here is that list in a simplified form. Whether you print it out or simply use as reference, I encourage you to spend a few moments contemplating each item and making note where you are at before you begin any new undertaking or challenge or change in diet or increase in movement. Then, use the same list throughout and after your challenge to see how far you've come!
Directions: on a scale from 1-10, with 1 being "Excellent/Not a Problem Whatsoever," 5 bring "Average/Sometimes an Annoyance," and 10 being "Ugh, this is a Daily Source of stress/anxiety/embarrassment/frustration and I'm OVER IT," rate the following considerations before and after your program to measure your progress on your health and wellness continuum.
I am a planner.
I love making a plan - I enjoy creating a vision of an ideal outcome, and then considering all of the necessary components for reaching said outcome.
I find it pleasing to strategize, satisfying to ponder.
I like hammering out logistics, thinking through eventualities, factoring in best practices and creating a clear way to Get. It. Done.
I also find comfort in having a plan in place, in knowing there’s an intentional path at the ready, specifically designed to lead me directly to my desired result.
I like how plans can unite people, allowing them to rally around a common cause or work together towards a common goal.
I use plans to wring excess worry out of a situation and create a buffer around the anxiety of having to navigate brand new or historically uncomfortable circumstances.
But here’s the thing about plans - they are truly only valuable when they inspire actual and consistent #action.
You can have a million plans in place, but if you’re not DOING anything with them, they’re not going to get you very far, amirite?!
So yes, plans are my friend, and I have lots of big ones, but lately I’ve been focusing my energy on what #action I can take to turn my plans into reality.
#Action is where it’s at; #action is what separates the superstars from the rest.
It’s been said that vision without #action is merely daydreaming, but vision WITH #action can change the world.
So while having a plan can be helpful, turning that plan into #action is always where the REAL magic happens.
This week, I invite you to join me in looking for ways to take #action on our good ideas and our best laid plans.
I just know there is magic out there that is ours for the taking. :)
There was a time, not all that long ago, when moving my body with any level of ease was a chore.
Strained effort, discomfort, and frustration were my daily companions as I navigated chronic flare-ups of pain that rotated between my hips, legs, lower back, shoulders, and neck.
My grandmother had suffered similar issues, as does my mother, so I had begun to resign myself to a future stymied with more of the same, chalking it up to the inevitability of my genetics with a shrug and a “Whatcha gonna do?”
Well, PLENTY, it turns out. There was plenty to do, I just needed a good, solid dose of perspective.
You know how sometimes words just stick with you?
The following quote has been a mantra of mine for almost 20 years now; it has guided me through dozens of address changes across five states and an ocean, two broken engagements (third time was the charm!) numerous job layoffs, as well as a cornucopia of other curveballs life has thrown my way.
“I beg you...to have #patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language.
Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them.
And the point is, to live everything.
Live the questions now.
Perhaps then...you will live your way into the answer.”
-rainer maria rilke
Over the years, with this as my guide, I have developed an unshakable faith in the importance of #patience.
Everything happens at the right time.
I truly believe in the idea that my path is unfolding exactly as it’s meant to for reasons that ultimately serve my highest good, even if circumstances seem confusing or frustrating or scary or sad, or like the exact opposite of what I WISH was happening.
“...live the questions now.”
While it’s not necessarily easy to come by, #patience is a lot like a muscle - you have to practice using it to strengthen it, AND just like a muscle, #patience will benefit you in a multitude of ways on any given day.
Because the truth is that life happens any old way it wants to happen, and the only thing we get to consistently be in charge of is how we respond to it.
Traffic comes to mind. So do strong-willed toddlers. Or being in a hurry at the grocery store while the little old lady in front of you asks many, many questions while painstakingly counting out her change (this one actually endears me - I adore the elderly - but it drives my husband bananas.)
It could be anything, really.
For many of us, perhaps it’s our self-care journey with which we have trouble being #patient. Making consistent changes can be HARD, and we want to be rewarded for trying, the sooner the better thankyouverymuch.
Not only do we want to see results from our efforts, we want to be WOWED by them every time. #Patience-smatience, amirite?
With that in mind, I gave my favorite quote a long look and did a little tweaking just for you, my favorite self-care superstar:
“I invite you...to have #patience with every one of your goals, and try to love the self-care actions themselves, as if they were opportunities to practice strength, grace, and self-love.
Don’t search for a finish line, which could not be given to you now, because we are never really finished with self-care and self-kindness while we are here on earth.
And the point is, to live everything.
Live the self-care, and all it represents, now.
Perhaps then...you will live your way into your happiest, healthiest self.”
Be #patient with yourself, my darling - you are doing such a good job!
So, how's your 2019 going?
We're right at that halfway point, which is always an interesting time to do a skosh of reflection.
Think about the kind of vision you had in place for your year when 2019 began, then have a moment of #realtalk with yourself.
Where are you at now?
Were you able to knock out all your goals like you’d originally intended, or were there unexpected twists and turns in your best-laid plans?
And more importantly than following a plan to the letter, were you able to grant yourself grace when you couldn't?
“#Yes I can. #Yes I will.”
This mantra has made its way into my life lately, in all sorts of places and for all sorts of reasons.
I find myself jotting it down on Post-it notes and sticking them on my computer monitor before I begin a big project.
I close each nightly journaling session with it, the entries reading like little confidence pep talks from me to me.
I use it as a battle cry before engaging in a workout that doesn’t exactly fall in my usual purview.
I muttered it to myself repeatedly during my month of Whole30 eating, as thoughts of chocolate ice cream danced in my head.
You see, I’m working towards making some seemingly impossible things possible, and if there’s anything I’ve come to believe over the years, it’s that language matters.
#Yes, I can. #Yes, I will.
What you tell yourself about yourself - the narratives we repeat in our heads - shapes the way you show up in the world.
And when those stories are riddled with things like, “I can’t,” or “I’ve never been good at…” or “I’m not able to...”, all the emphasis goes right to the limitations, leaving possibility struggling to catch up.
Look, I get it. Defining ourselves by our perceived shortcomings is a protective stance - nobody can make me feel bad about myself if *I* beat them to it.
We fear change, we try to avoid failure, and we aren’t too keen on being uncomfortable or appearing foolish.
But don’t block what’s available to you by doubting it’s even possible.
Because the thing is, EVERYTHING is possible, and saying #yes to life is a powerful way to let your goal be realized.
Leading with “#yes” automatically opens up our creativity and innovation, rather than the limitations and stangnacy of “no.”
Saying “yes” helps us get unstuck, it creates momentum, it allows opportunity to make itself known.
I’d love for you to borrow my mantra.
Speak it out loud, write it down, sprinkle it throughout your thoughts, use it to counter any/all negative beliefs about your abilities, whether they come from you or the world around you.
Allow growth, invite possibility, encourage chance.
Is what you’re trying to do hard? #Yes, and we can do hard things.
Does just the thought of the thing feel a little scary? #Yes, and that’s often how we know we’re on the right track.
Is it risky to try? #Yes, and we recognize that risk brings reward.
Might you feel silly doing something for the very first time? #Yes, and we remind ourselves that even experts were beginners once.
Is it outside of your comfort zone? #Yes - hopefully! After all, that’s where the magic happens.
As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “You must do the things you think you cannot do.”
That begins with saying “yes” - to yourself, to your abilities, and to your life.
Here’s to a powerful future filled with fierce confidence, positive forward motion, and GETTING IT DONE.
#Yes, you can, and #yes, you will!
I used to spend (read: waste) a lot of time wondering if I was #worthy of the things I wanted, instead of considering if they were #worthy of ME.
For a myriad of reasons, one of my early beliefs was that asking for things to be the way *I* wanted them to be was an outrageously selfish idea.
I’d be seen as ungrateful for doing it, and hoo boy! There was NOTHING worse than being ungrateful.
I moved through the early part of my life always watching for ways and jumping at chances to alter myself and zip my lip in order to promote harmony, keep balance, and support peace. While harmony, balance and peace are certainly #worthy causes, they come at too steep a price if they cost you the ability to stand up for yourself.