Friday Fuel! Feminism is for Everyone

Happy Friday!

It’s a great day to have a great day!

In my last Friday Fuel I mentioned that I had the opportunity to spend some time with an amazing woman, however I didn’t get into the details of who she was so let me start there. The woman is Brenda Tracy and I had the absolute privilege of hearing her speak to our student-athletes at Colgate University a couple weeks ago. Brenda is registered nurse, a single mother, a rape survivor and human rights activist. Her story and message is amazing and I encourage you all to check out her website (https://www.brendatracy.com/) and follow her on social media (@brendatracy24). She is changing the world as she works to end sexual violence on college campuses across the country.

During Brenda’s talk she brought up the fact that women SHOULD be able to live their life without concern of being harassed, assaulted, violated or oppressed. Brenda pointed out the simple fact that women have to think about and experience things that men just simply don’t. Like many under represented groups; women have been historically oppressed and had limited access to social, political and economic opportunities. As Brenda and I talked through this on our ride to the airport, our conversation brought us to the topic of feminism. Given the history of women’s right (or lack there of) it makes perfect sense why women joined forces and started a movement for gender equality. In an attempt to unite women and lobby for change; feminism was born.

In my interactions with women, I’ve heard a wide range of responses to the word “feminism” or “feminist” and I’m always surprised to hear the adverse ones. I try to understand why women wouldn’t be in support of a movement that advocates for them. I’ve heard everything from “feminism is for liberal politics” to “I’m not a feminist. I don’t hate men”.  Now, I’m not trying to put labels on you or coerce you into my feminist cult but I do want to unpack the term and see if I can reframe your mindset on feminism (and maybe even convince you that we are all feminist at heart).

I stumbled upon a shirt for sale at H&M this summer that read “feminism is for everyone”. What a concept! I love it. Feminism isn’t just about women, its about every human.

Feminism is not about man-hating, burning bras or putting an end to the male species all together. It’s about recognizing that no person is superior to another – that we are all human and we are all equal – regardless of any identity.

IMG_5702 2.JPGAs Brenda and I talked through this she summed it up perfectly when she said she should start identifying as HUMANIST.

Ahhh, Yes! I LOVE this!

You see, feminism may have started as a women’s movement but it has evolved to a human movement. Simply put; feminism is the advocacy for the equality of every person walking this earth and I think we can all get behind that.

Maybe you’re still not on board with feminism and don’t want to identify as a feminist – that’s okay. But, at least appreciate and respect the woman who have advocated for our gender. As a woman, your life would be a lot different today if not for the great work of women before your time. 

Read on at FridayFuel.org and comment/like/share!

Embrace the day!
Christina
Twitter: @cturner_strong & @Friday_Fuel
Instagram: @ciaturner

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Chumlee and Chase are becoming the best of buds! I hope they brighten your day like they do mine!

Friday Fuel! Send the Elevator Back Down

Happy Friday!

Cheers to making it to Friday! The long weekend is ahead of us so I am sending along some Feel Good Fuel to kick things off  with some good vibes!

I couple months ago a friend shared an article with me from Success.com and I’ve been waiting for the right time to share on Friday Fuel. Today is the day! It’s incredibly timely with the graduation season upon us and lots of young people kicking off their adult journey. The article is short and simple so click on the link and take 60 seconds of your life to read it! It’s worth it!

21 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was 21.

I couldn’t agree more with the advice this writer gives and wish it was shared with me at the age of 21. Even today as a 30-year old I find it incredibly encouraging and applicable! With that in mind, I ask that you think about a younger women you may know that could use this advice and pass it along to them. As you will read, advice #17 is “send the elevator back down” – help lift other women up, share with them and be a mentor. I think we are at a critical time in our world that we need to be supporting other women and lifting one another up instead of stepping over one another in competition. I am the person I am today and I have had many opportunities in my life because of other women “sending the elevator back down” and extending a hand to help me.

“Empowered women, empower women.”

Pass today’s fuel or the article on to another woman! Think about ways in which you can support them and lift others as you rise. If you’re that woman who needs some help, ASK! Don’t be ashamed or afraid to ask another woman for help, support, advice, etc. I guarantee they will be happy to help!

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Embrace the day!
Christina
Twitter: @cturner_strong & @Friday_Fuel
Instagram: @ciaturner

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Friday Fuel! The Power of Resilience

Happy Friday!

“You are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. Like a muscle, you can build it up, draw on it when you need it. In that process you will figure out who you really are—and you just might become the very best version of yourself.” – S. Sandberg

Today I am cheating, I am updating and re-sharing an old post that I think is incredibly valuable and important. I wrote this almost a year ago and this week I felt like I need to post it again. The power of resilience is a very real thing – our ability to overcome, bounce back and move forward can shape our lives in more ways than one.

Life is a roller coaster ride of events, emotions and experiences. Every experience we go through – both good and bad – shapes our attitude and steers our actions. Sheryl Sandberg’s message was powerfully true during her 2016 UC Berkley Commencement speech when she told graduates that when tragedy or adversity strikes we all have the ability to get through absolutely ANYTHING.

Sh*t happens. It’s part of life. Overcoming that sh*t and becoming a better person because of it is the only option to me.

When writing on this topic almost a year ago, it became glaringly obvious to me that resilience is a skill, not a trait. It evolves over time with experience and the development of an intentional attitude towards adversity. One of the most impactful things I read was in this New Yorker article: “Frame adversity as a challenge, and you become more flexible and able to deal with it, move on, learn from it, and grow. Focus on it, frame it as a threat, and a potentially traumatic event becomes an enduring problem; you become more inflexible, and more likely to be negatively affected.”

It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy – our attitude and actions in response to a stressful event can shift the trajectory of our life. So, find the positive even during times of struggle and know that you are becoming a better version of you during your toughest times.

“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” – C. Jung

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Embrace the day!
Christina
twitter: @cturner_strong
instagram: @ciaturner  and @friday_fuel

Friday Fuel! Feel Good Fuel

Happy Friday!

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You did it! You made it to FRIDAY! You’ve got one more day to hustle and grind through and then it’s the weekend! Set your self up for success for next week but using your Friday to get things done and get your priorities set for the upcoming week. Don’t waste the day!

Today’s Friday Fuel is another edition of “Feel Good Fuel”. I am sending loads of good vibes and positivity your way with a few of my favorite quotes, Chumlee glamour shots and some of my favorite latest reads.  I hope this ignites your energy and fuels your day! Make the most of every moment and don’t let this day go to waste!

Check out even more good vibes on FullSizeRender 5.jpgtoday’s FridayFuel.org post and follow Friday Fuel on Instagram! @Friday_Fuel

Check out these good reads and get motivated to take on the day!

Looking for a new book to start reading? Here’s a couple I highly recommend!

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Baby Chumlee! Melting my heart since September 2012

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Embrace the day!
Christina
twitter: @cturner_strong & @Friday_Fuel
instagram: @ciaturner

Friday Fuel! Fear is Bullsh*t

Happy Friday!

Happy International Women’s Month! I think it’s only one day but I’m gonna go ahead and stretch this day over the entire month of March – because, why not? Women are AWESOME – let’s celebrate that as long as possible! Woop Woop!

Have you every wanted to start your own business? Quit your job and move on? Start a new project? Talk to someone you admire?

But you didn’t. You didn’t go for it or do anything. You just continue to dream about it…

Are you wondering whats holding you back? I’ve got a pretty good guess as to what that is….FEAR. Fear is f*cker that paralyzes us and holds us back from pursuing our goals. Fear of failure, fear of looking bad, fear of risk, fear of not being good enough, fear of rejection…the list goes on.

Fear is the one thing that makes dreams impossible to achieve – Paulo Coehlo

When we truly want to do something and don’t – deep down it’s fear that is holding us back. We don’t realize it because we try to rationalize all the reasons why we shouldn’t do what it is we want. We give ourselves concrete reasons as to why we shouldn’t pursue that new job, start our own business, talk to someone, etc. What those reasons actually represent is our deep seeded fears and insecurities. Our mind and body is literally on the defense to not let us experience any pain or discomfort. Fear comes with a lot of physiological and psychological responses that trigger our body to get back to a “safe place” and avoid the anxiety.

Fear is not something that we are born with – we learn fear and develop our fears through lived experiences. Don’t you remember as a kid jumping out of that tree or rollerblading down a steep hill with no fear! Or when we were young and did and said what we wanted – we had no filters – we just said what was on our mind. Those were the good old days! Today, we fear it all – most of all, those things that could open us up to rejection and the negative opinions of others.

It’s bullsh*t…

For me; my fears are just that – I fear not being good enough and fear uncertainty. It’s held me back in many instances but now that I know where my fear is coming from, I can sit with it and acknowledge that the thoughts coming into my head are my bullsh*t fears trying to hold me back.

What drives your fear?

The best piece of advice I’ve heard lately about overcoming fear was to take action. DO – don’t over think. Taking action against our fears is the only way to overcome them. I’ve learned that there are three actions we can take to overcome our fears and move forward with our dreams and goals:

  1. Call out your fears. When you come up with an idea or goal you want to pursue and you start to have those negative thoughts and excuses creep into your head – call them out. Write them down and acknowledge them. Figure out what is driving your fear and then give it the middle finger and move on. 🙂
  2. DO something – take action. GO, GO, GO! Don’t sit on it and wait, find something right away you can do to move one step closer to your goal. Think of it this way; you’re never going to be 100% ready so just get going.That first step is the most important. See a job you want to apply for – start writing the cover letter. Want to ask for a raise? Start planning out your negotiation points. Be a DO-ER not a thinker.
  3. Tell someone. Put it out into the universe. Tell someone you love and trust what you want and the fears you are trying to overcome. By telling someone; you are, in a small way, taking a step in moving forward on your goal or overcoming your fear.

If we don’t acknowledge what drives our fear and take action against them – then our fears will steer the direction of our life. That alone scares me enough to do something.

Fear is bullsh*t – live the life you truly dream of.

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Embrace the day!
Christina
twitter: @cturner_strong
instagram: @ciaturner

Friday Fuel! The Career Climb

Happy Friday!

It’s FRI-YAY! I hope you have a kick-ass day and make the most of it.

I was at an awesome Women in Sports event last weekend and one of the panelist, a producer for ESPN, reminded the group that our career path is not “climbing a ladder” it’s more like “climbing a juggle gym.” We all know the professional climb is far from linear. I myself have tried to map out the play-by-play and kept everything in neat, sequential boxes that I can check off as I move forward. Ha! WRONG. It doesn’t work like that…at least not in most instances.

Our life and careers will take us on a wild ride that rarely puts us in the exact place at the exact time that we expected. Life is unpredictable and we shouldn’t get stuck on this preconceived notion of a one track advancement or linear growth in our careers – a valuable lesson I have learned myself. Say ‘yes’ often and be open to the people and opportunities that come your way. You never know where they may lead you! And sometimes that could mean staying right where you are and moving around within that organization.

My own journey has been one of these juggle gym experiences – I pursued a graduate degree that only made me realize what I didn’t want to be doing. Oops. Rather than pigeon holing myself into a career I didn’t truly enjoy, I have been navigating my way back into college athletics administration and it has been a far from traditional path. You may go from A to D back to B and then end up at S. Who knows! A minor detour could lead you to major opportunities. The most important thing is that you are happy and experiencing growth, value and fulfillment along each step of the journey.

Fear about doubt can cause us to second guess ourselves when there is an opportunity that comes our way – especially when that opportunity does not follow the “typical” career path for your given profession. How do we know whats the right move and when to say yes? It can be challenging to make these decisions and take that leap of faith – here are three questions I’ve asked myself when considering whether to go career “off-roading” and pursue a new or different opportunity.

  1. Does this job/position bring NEW challenges and opportunities that excite me? Does thinking about the job and all that it will entail get your blood pumping and your heart racing? It is something that will truly help you grow – through new challenges/assignments, new people and/or a new place? Our gut reaction says a lot about whether something is right or wrong for us. Sit with your thoughts and really explore your reaction to the opportunity and listen to the things that come across your mind. Do this before asking other people for their advice!
  2. Will this work be meaningful for me? It’s a  pretty simple question so many of us neglect to ask ourselves. With all the time and energy you put into your job, you should feel good about it. Will this new organization/position align with your values and passions?
  3. Am I going toward something great or running away from something I hate? An important question to ask yourself and explore -as to why you are considering this position and leaving your current organization. You want to make sure your leaving for the right reasons, and what I mean by that is you are going towards a great opportunity that will truly lead to growth and development rather than running away from something you don’t like. Are you taking the first opportunity that comes your way to get out of your current position? Even when times are tough, patience can pay off. Make sure you are leaving for the best opportunity not the most convenient one.

Check out the two articles below for more tips on managing your career path.

Ultimately, there is no “wrong choice” or “bad career move” – every decision we make and every experience we have contributes to our career and growth. We may have great experiences, and we may have shitty ones, but all of them contribute to who we are personally and professionally. Don’t over analyze and get caught up in titles and career ladders – pursue the work and positions that will be most meaningful to you and enjoy the journey.

“Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.” – Oprah

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Embrace the day!

Christina
twitter: @cturner_strong
instagram: @ciaturner

Friday Fuel! Confidence

Happy Friday!

It probably won’t surprise you much when I tell you that women tend to have less confidence than men. Are you shocked?! Probably not… but WHY is this?! Most of the research on this has indicated that women are commonly paralyzed by perfectionism and second guessing their decisions and actions. These behaviors cripple us and our ability to bring our self forward confidently. Men are almost always more confident than women, even when the women are equally or more talented. According to research, men typically applied for promotions when they met 60 percent of the required qualifications, while women only applied when they met 100 percent of them. Basically, women are most confident when they believe they are perfect – which is holding them back in more ways than they know.

Women tend to believe that if they work hard and do good work that they will be rewarded with promotions, raises, etc – so we don’t ask, we wait for it to come to us. This is grave mistake on our part – and one that our male counterparts are not making. You absolutely need to do good work and put in the effort and time but exuding confidence is equally important. If you’re confident, you are more likely to get your ideas heard and get more follow-through on them.

Confidence is belief in your abilities. It’s the feeling that you can rise to the occasion when the pressure is on. It not only fuels your ambition but encourages you to set stretch goals. It even has a powerful influence on the results you experience. As the great Henry Ford once said, “If you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”

So how do we build and improve our confidence?!

Confidence is an emotion and skill that we can managed and developed. Sure, it may come natural for some people but for most it takes experience, development and a little risk taking. It all starts in our mind – a lack of confidence is rooted in FEAR. Fear of being wrong, fear of failure, fear of letting people down, the list goes on. To build confidence we need to shift our mindset to accept failures and mistakes. When we can accept and own our mistakes we are more willing to put ourselves out there, try something new or speak up at the table.

We must also be confident with who we are and that means knowing what we value. Knowing your values and strengths shapes your life in more ways than I can begin to write about. One of the biggest examples is the impact it has in our decision making; when we know what our core values are, decision making becomes a lot easier and more efficient. Consider your values a compass for your life and every decision or action you make should be guided by them. Our confidence in the decisions we make is elevated when we are guided by our values – so know what yours are and use them.

Finally, stay positive! Negativity can be a confidence killer – don’t consume yourself with the “what ifs” and possible negative outcomes. Think positive and surround yourself with positive people, too. Learn to catch yourself when you get negative and quickly turn that shit around into a positive. A negative mind will never get you a positive life.

Those are just three quick tips from me but here are a few great articles I have read over the years about this very topic. They not only offer some great insights but helpful tips and strategies to build your confidence.

It the words of Demi Lovato – “What’s wrong with being confident (Ah ha)?

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Embrace the day!

Christina
twitter: @cturner_strong
instagram: @ciaturner

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Friday Fuel! You Are Enough

Happy Friday!

“We all spend our lives kicking the crap out of ourselves for not being this way or that way, not having this thing or that thing, not being like this person or that person.
For not living up to some standard we think applies across the board to all of us.
We all spend our lives trying to follow the same path, live by the same rules.
I think we believe that happiness lies in following the same list of rules.
In being more like everyone else.
That? Is wrong.
There is no list of rules.”
Shonda Rhimes, “Year of Yes”

You are enough. Do not let perfectionism and comparison steal your joy; be YOU and own it.

I’m still hung up on last week’s post and Oprah’s powerful insights. “Your life is fueled by your being and the being fuels the doing.” I read the quote above from Shonda Rhimes’ book, “The Year of Yes”, and I thought it tied in perfectly, so I had to share this week.

There are no set of rules on how to live your life and no set guideline to joy and fulfillment. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is full of sh*t. There is no right way to act, to talk, to be a parent, to be a friend, to be YOU. Screw rules, screw expectations and screw the idea of the “perfect” man or woman.  Stop putting pressure on yourself to be like everyone else and just be YOU.

I’m all fired up about this (can you tell?!) – the revolution that will happen in your mind and life when you let go of expectations, stop seeking approval and carve out your own journey in life – is indescribable.

See for yourself…start living YOUR own life.

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Embrace the day!

Christina
twitter: @cturner_strong
instagram: @ciaturner

 

Friday Fuel! Quit It

Happy Friday!

Growing up I was a tom-boy, I didn’t like the the “girly” things and I was pretty much opposite of my older, super creative and artistic sister, Melissa. My parents were amazingly supportive of my sister and I – I love and appreciate them for enrolling me in any and every activity they could find – I tried it all!  What I love even more about them is that they let me quit the things I clearly didn’t enjoy. My mom enrolled me in dance classes (lasted one day), gymnastics, Girl Scouts (didn’t make it past a Daisy), piano lessons, just to name a few. All of which, were just not for me. Sports were for me – that’s what I loved to do. My parent’s recognized how happy I was on the playing field and that I thrived being part of a team. Rather than forcing me to do a million things I didn’t enjoy, or follow in my sisters foot steps they let me give 100% to the things I loved most and let me set my own path. Reflecting back, I think there is an incredible life lesson wrapped up within all of this. They taught me to try anything and everything but only stick with the things that I truly love and enjoy.

As I mentioned in last week’s blog post, I hope that 2017 (and beyond) will bring you lots of joy. I hope you do more of what makes you happy and cut the things out of your life that don’t. I hope you are not afraid to quit. I know that word has a negative connotation associated with it but quitting can be quite empowering when we are doing it for the right reasons. Hear me out…I am not saying “Quit everything! Quit life! But, I am saying you should quit the things that don’t matter to you. This is highly personal to you and you need to do some soul searching to figure out what that truly matters to you. If something contributes to your big picture goals, gives you meaning and fulfillment then THAT is worth pursuing and persevering through. The things that don’t; should be dropped. I am absolutely guilty of holding on to the things that don’t matter purely because of perception and pride. I don’t want to be a “quitter”. If something/someone doesn’t bring you value, give you meaning and help you reach your goals then you are just wasting time and energy. And for what?! To save face? To not fail? To not be labeled a “quitter”? Don’t let pride and an obsession over what other people think destroy your inner peace and pursuit of happiness. Quitting the things that don’t matter will bring you one step closer to bringing your authentic self forward and living a meaningful life.

Quit the things that don’t matter and give 100% to the things that do.

Here are a couple great blog posts on quitting – check ’em out and start thinking differently about what it means to quit and when it’s the right time to do so.

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(Photo cred to my amazing hubster, Andrew.)

Embrace the day!
Christina
twitter: @cturner_strong
instagram: @ciaturner

Friday Fuel! It’s You Versus You

Happy Friday!

It’s a beautiful day! Freezing cold here in Central New York (-9 degrees) but still beautiful!

We are all compare ourselves to other people – it’s human nature. We measure our own success and self worth based on what others are doing and what society around us is praising. It’s a trap that we have all fallen into that leads us to losing track of who we are and what we value.

Simply put: comparing yourself to others is a waste of time and energy. The time you are spending comparing to someone else is time you could be working on YOURSELF! Sure, we all have role models and professional aspirations but those should serve as source of inspiration, not a bench mark or measurement of how successful we are personally. Everyone’s journey is his or her own and we have to stay true to our self and our own personal values and passions to truly feel joy and fulfillment.

The younger me constantly compared herself to what others were doing and achieving. As an athlete, I was trained to be competitive and took that mentality outside of the game and constantly compared myself to others. I wanted to be as good as the student getting the A’s in class, the basketball player with better stats and recognition, one of the rich kids, the beautiful girl that every guy wanted…I wanted perfection. Constant competition and comparison was stressful and made me miserable trying to be as good as, or better, than everyone else. It took me a while but I learned that we can’t be anyone but ourselves and living a life of comparison will only lead to let downs and unhappiness.

Your life changes when you let go of comparing yourself to others and embrace yourself and your journey. It’s not easy to do with our peers, society and the media constantly telling us what is greatness, success and beauty – especially as it pertains to women. The expectations are unrealistic for us to be the perfect women – beauty, brains, sexy, put together, successful, assertive (but not too assertive), great mom, great wife, funny, the list goes on… Check out this stellar read on “the perfect woman” from Men’s Health (CAUTION: may cause vomiting.)

As I have gotten older, it is the awareness and acknowledgement of these unrealistic expectations and bullshit standards that re-framed my attitude and mindset. I could see how society was demanding perfection of women (and not men) while pinning us against one other as competitors rather than allies. Trying to meet and exceed these standards was setting me up for a very unhappy life.

The sooner we can see through this, acknowledge the unrealistic expectations and give it the middle finger – we will all be better off. So ladies, stop comparing yourself to others and focus on you versus you. Our goal should be to bring our best self forward every day. Success is personal, so define it for yourself instead of letting others define it for you. Figure out what means most to you and get better every day.

Personal experience and emotion inspired this week’s Friday Fuel post and I managed to stumble across a couple articles that were a perfect compliment to what I am writing on. Check out this read on Success.com:4 Steps to Stop Comparing Your Success to Others’  and this witty blog on Huffington Post: How to Be the Perfect Woman.

Comparison is the thief of joy. – Theodore Roosevelt

Chumlee’s weekly glamour shot by the Christmas tree. He loves the holidays!

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Embrace the day!
Christina
twitter: @cturner_strong
instagram: @ciaturner