January 1, 2020
Happy New Year!
It’s not Friday but it’s a good a day as any to send you good vibes and well wishes as we kick-off 2020!
You may be thinking I am sending you a message about “New Year’s resolutions”, “goal setting”, “becoming a better YOU in 2020″…well I’m not. For those of you reading Friday Fuel over the years – you know that’s not my thing. The idea that we “start fresh” or can only set resolutions and goals at the start of a new year makes no sense to me. Life is a constant journey of growth and evolution – it happens year-round. The best time to make change is when we realize we need to do things differently if we want to see different results. This can happen at any time of year so why restrict yourself to making change and developing your best self only at the start of a new year? So, no, I am not going to tell you to “set thoughtful new year’s resolutions” and “make 2020 all about becoming your best self”. That’s what every day is for!
The reality, however, is that most of you have already got your New Year’s resolutions planned out and ready to go for today so the one thing I will tell you is this:
do more of what makes you happy.
We all love to set goals and adopt lifestyle habits based on what everyone else is doing at that time. We follow the crowd, latest trends and do what is socially acceptable rather than what truly brings us joy and personal well-being. Are you involved in an activity, group or job that you really don’t love? You have that book club meet up every other Wednesday night but you secretly dread going – then don’t. You wake up every morning and hate going to work for the next 8+ hours? Then do something about it – find another job. Can’t stand that work colleague down the hall who is miserable – then stay away! Training to run a marathon but you hate running? Then change it up – find a workout routine that you enjoy!
It’s simple…stop wasting your time with things and people that don’t bring you happiness. Respectfully decline, quit, or move on – everything will be okay if you say “no”, I promise! Life is too short and too precious to keep doing the things that don’t make you happy and/or surrounding yourself with people who don’t bring you joy.
So before you deep dive into 2020 resolutions try this: take a inventory of everything and everyone you are involved with or doing. Be honest with yourself and which of those things don’t you love doing? Then, make a list of things you enjoy or make you happy. Cut the things out that don’t bring you joy and add more of the things that do.
Cheers to 2020 and all the possibilities it holds for all of us!
Embrace the day!
It’s a great day to be alive!
I had the great pleasure of hearing Dr. Ann Kulze speak last month. Dr. Ann is a brilliant woman and wellness guru who is full of energy and light! Please check her out!
She spoke to a group of executive leaders on nutrition, recovery and mindfulness among other things. Her message was to help these women become “healthier and happier leaders”. Love it!
There was a lot within her talk that was enlightening and educational but the piece that I can’t get off my brain is when she talked to us about solitude.
Solitude…what is that even? A foreign concept for most of us these days but something our mind and body actually craves and needs. Alone time is critically important to our self-care and well-being. I don’t know about any of you but I don’t get a whole lot of alone time these days, especially since becoming a mom. As Dr. Ann explained it, solitude is more than just alone time, it’s unhooking from the busyness of life and all the stimulation that comes with it. It is moments of true disconnection for our BRAIN – that’s right ZERO connection to anything, any device, and other people – pure recovery time for our mind.
Think about – we are stimulated all the time with the people we are around, our kids coming at us, our phones ringing and buzzing and the general activity of the world happening all around us at every moment. Stimulus is constant and our thinking brain is constantly working, processing and reacting.
Our brain controls our entire body – physically and mentally. It’s the “Chief Operating Officer (COO)” of our body, as Dr. Ann calls it. Our brain needs breaks, moments of solitude and time for recovery so that it can help us perform and live optimally. If it’s in constant work mode and never has a moment to rest then you can only imagine how that impacts the rest of our health. Our brain is the gateway to our health which means it needs moments of disconnection from thinking, moments of solitude and a break from the bombardment of stimulus that we are all getting 24/7.
After hearing all this I was determined to find ways to shutdown and give my brain a break. Finding the time hasn’t been an issue but I was surprised how hard it has been for me to immerse myself in solitude. I haven’t quite figured it out yet but working on incorporating some brief moments of quiet each day with the goal of extending it over time. Here are a few ways you can incorporate moments of solitude into your day:
- Go for a walk or run and don’t listen to ANYTHING! (This is tough for me but starting to enjoy it!)
- On car rides, keep the radio and music off. Just drive in silence
- Just sit – no tv, no books nothing. Just be. Stare at the wall or something 🙂
- Unguided meditation – sit and meditate quietly
What I’ve leaned is that the intentional disengagement is what will allow me to be present and more engaged throughout the day. These little adjustments have inspired me to find other ways to give my brain a break – like before bed. Shutting down all the screens and sitting in bed with a book or just being quiet and breathing till I fall asleep.
I always say that the universe makes it obvious when there is something it wants me to learn, hear or share. Well this Friday Fuel message was affirmed when last week I opened up my Calm app for my Daily Calm meditation and the session was titled “solitude”. Ha! The message in that session was timely and perfect:
“Intermittently disengaging is what allows us to passionately reengage.”
This quote has since been my fuel to intentionally unplug, disconnect and prioritize solitude.
Friends, find time for you. In silence. In solitude. Just you.
Embrace the day!
It’s a great to be alive! If you truly believe it is.
Have you noticed lately how much good and abundance there is around us? There is SO much!! We tend to overlook it and dwell on the bad – we get stuck in the negative. You will find what you are looking for – so if you are looking for all that is wrong and bad in life – you will find it, and in no time at all. BUT, if you actively look for the good in life you can find that just as easily. It just takes the right mindset.
The tough times have a tendency to suck us in and get us stuck in a negativity cycle – this is why we need to train our mind to get unstuck and seek out the positive! So, today I’m sharing four quick insights to re-focus your mindset on the positive and help you get unstuck during tough times.
- Know that nothing is permanent. This applies to the good times and the bad, but I find it incredibly reassuring when going through tough times. Time heals and nothing will last forever so don’t let an event, person, etc., suck any of the good vibes from your life. Not for a second. A good question to ask yourself; “will this matter 6 months from now? 1 year? 5 years? 20 years?”
- Be grateful. It is scientifically proven that gratitude is good for the heart and soul and cultivates a positive mindset. Be intentional about showing gratitude and saying or writing down something you are grateful for everyday.
- Stop complaining. Complaining breeds negativity and is highly contagious. Cut the complaints and and cut the people out of your life who are constantly complaining. It doesn’t help the situation; it doesn’t change the situation and it doesn’t solve anything. Don’t go there.
- Bombard your life with good vibes. Develop a routine or go-to activity that helps you get your attitude right for the day and puts you into a positive mindset. Seek out good vibes and inspiration!
Life is full of choices and one of the most important choices of all is our attitude. You can focus on the negative or you can choose to be positive and focus on all that is good in your life.
Embrace the day!
It’s a great day to be alive!
Life experiences are our greatest teacher – what we see, do, feel and experience leave an impression on our mind that we cannot ignore. With every day that passes in life we gain perspective.
Perspective is the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance.
When I was eight and lost the town league soccer championship my life was over. I. mean. over. Cried for days and thought the world should end. It’s safe to say I lacked a little bit of perspective on the situation but after a few days of sulking I learned that losing a soccer game wasn’t the only thing that mattered in life. Ten years later when I applied to college and didn’t get into my dream school – I was an “absolute failure” in my own mind. The story in mind head went something like “ I’m a failure and I’ll probably end up homeless. Because that’s what happens to people who don’t get into NYU”. Again, lacking perspective but learning a valuable lesson – life goes on.
And even just last year when one of my student-athletes suffered an unimaginable health issue – life stopped moving and nothing else mattered but her well-being. Answering emails and crossing something off my to-do list became a lot less important and something I could get to later – tragedy can be one of the best perspective teachers.
In life we climb many philosophical mountains – the mountain of our education, of our career progression, mountains of adversity and more. In the case of perspective, it is not a climb to achieve greater perspective but rather the mountain builds with every experience and day that passes. Unlike the other “mountains” of your life, you are building this mountain beneath your feet, rather than climbing it. With each challenge, failure, tragedy or tough time your perspective mountain gets a little higher, a little wider and a bit more evolved. Time and experience is the best source of perspective.
Pretty cool, huh?
Over time, our perspective mountain cultivates our mindset and sense of awareness. Consciously and unconsciously, perspective drives our attitude and actions but we tend to go through life and never take a moment to acknowledge it. For me, life (so far) has given me the perspectives that “no problem is permanent“, “people matter most”, “you cannot care for others if you don’t take care of yourself” and “everything is figure-out-able”.
What awareness and perspective have you gained with time and experience?
Stand tall on your mountain of perspective and acknowledge how you are able to discern what is true, what is important and what deserves your energy. It’s a gift!
More on this next time, until then…
Embrace the day!
Friends! I’ve missed you. I’ve missed this. Sorry for the long pause on Friday Fuel – life priorities shifted and Friday Fuel was put on the back burner. With that has come many learnings and a renewed sense of clarity on what brings me joy.
As life got busier and busier with all the things happening in my life, I had to make choices on where to invest my time and energy. We all have those seasons of life where there is major change or newness that we need to adjust to. It happens and when it does we shift our actions towards what needs to get done or where we are needed. Truth be told we probably shift our attention and actions to where others need or expect us. The first person we neglect to give time and attention to is our self.
Friday Fuel was/is a highlight for me – it is time for intentional reflection, learning and connection. I love it and it brings me joy to write it and then share with you. As life got busy and I got tired, I convinced myself that I didn’t have the time or energy to write Friday Fuel. In reality, continuing to make the time to write Friday Fuel would have helped me in all the chaos of life when I needed it most.
The learning here is that life will also have times of change, challenges and chaos but when those times come up we shouldn’t give up the things that bring us joy, center us and keep our mind right. Whatever that thing may be! For some it’s exercising in the morning, reading everyday, getting 8-hours of sleep, journaling, etc. Whatever that thing is that you do for yourself- do it. Always.
When I reflect back, I wasn’t that busy. I could have made the time and said no to other things and made the choice to work on Friday Fuel. I didn’t commit to the habit.
So, while I can’t promise I’ll be able to pump these out every Friday, I’m committed to making the time work on Friday Fuel because I know it is good for my soul. So I hope you will make the time to do the things that energize YOU. Start by taking an inventory of your life and see what you have given up for yourself and then be intentional about incorporating it back into your life.
It’s possible. I promise.
“Don’t walk through this world looking for evidence you don’t belong because you will always find it. Our worth and our belonging are not negotiated with other people. We carry those in our hearts.”
– Brene Brown
Embrace the day!
That’s my little guy over there who inspires me every damn day! >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Today I’m going to sell you on spending two minutes every morning on yourself. Two minutes of pure self reflection and intention setting that will help you win the day.
Two minutes. 120 seconds. .01% of your day. Come on, you can commit .01% of your day!!
We’ll keep this simple. Here’s what you need:
- A piece of paper or open up a note on your phone.
- A pen
- A space and place you can be alone without interruption for two whole minutes. For moms and people with family – this might mean setting your alarm five minutes earlier to get some alone time. Or hiding out in the bathroom – we’ve all been there!
You’ve got your paper, pen and space of solitude now it’s time to write. Complete the four statements below:
Today I will let go of…
Today I am grateful for…
Today I will focus on…
This can take as little as two minutes but if you have the time, don’t rush it. Be reflective and intentional. These prompts engage you in personal reflection and will help you set your intention, focus and energy for the day. This is a small way of preparing your mindset for the day and being intentional about what you will focus on, what you have and who you are.
Our thoughts and words drive our actions so be intentional about how you start your day so that you can run the day and win the day. Give it a try…
Embrace the day!
It’s a great day to be alive!
January brought great lessons in perspective and attitude for me. Just one of those lessons came when we had a snow storm here in Kansas City a couple weeks ago. It took out power our for a few days. It’s a big city so it understandably took some time for the lines to get repaired and our power to come on. It was cold. We missed playoff football and the power surge took out a dozen of our favorite appliances – including my new coffee machine 😭
BUT we are alive, we are healthy AND the power was back on in a little over 48 hours! So, the reality – it was no big deal. We had an easy go of it in comparison to some other folks here in the city and in comparison to people who suffered major tragedy with some of the more recent natural disasters all over the globe! We are okay!
The snow storm experience (along with some other minor bumps in the road this month) put things in perspective for me on how we can better handle adversity or occasional inconveniences – we can always consider how things could be worse. In the case of the snow storm – we could have had a tree land on our car or house. We could have lost power for a month. We could have had an electrical fire from the power surge. It could have been worse, way worse and it wasn’t – we are okay!
Amidst the storm and chaos I found myself in moments of frustration and throwing little pity parties for myself. I checked myself by taking a step back and trying to gain some perspective and every time I did the quick fix was considering how much worse it could be. When I thought about all the things that could be going wrong on top of the current situation it quickly made me grateful for all that was going right! It’s a practice I’m continuing to grow into and something I think we all can learn to embrace. I don’t say this to minimize your problems or whatever you’re going through, I say it to share a tool that you can use to overcome adversity and bad days. Simply reframing the problem and shifting your attitude from the negative to a positive can make all the difference in how you come out on the other end of things.
In the words of leadership guru, Cy Wakeman; “suffering is optional”.
Life is awesome and way too short to dwell on the negative.
Embrace the day!
A great read on how you can deliver bad news in a positive way! There is always some positive to every situation – it just depends on how you frame it!
How to Deliver Bad News in a Positive Way