Friday Fuel! Single greatest impact of having a baby

Happy Friday!

A little over six months ago I had a baby – ya know that cute chunky kid who’s in my E-Mails and insta posts? Yeah, he’s mine. Motherhood has been a wild and wonderful ride so far. I consider myself the luckiest to have such a healthy and happy baby.

From the first trimester, to delivery day  and 6-months post-partum have, without a doubt, been the most challenging yet rewarding times  of my life. I carried, grew and BIRTHED a human. Mind blown.

While the physical component of having a kid was incredibly challenging – and kind of unbelievable when I think about it now – the mental and emotional aspects were far more overwhelming. I think it’s something people don’t talk about much – we are so focused on the physical because that is what we can see. We see a women’s body change as she gets bigger and bigger – what we don’t see is what’s going on inside her head. The combination of hormones, physiological changes and the sheer fear that arises from the responsibility of keeping this tiny human alive in the womb and then out, is a lot to handle. For first time moms, this is combination can make for a real struggle and for me, it was and still is.

I’m six months into motherhood and I can openning  say that I’m learning how to manage all the emotions and feelings of personal responsibility that come along with the role. I felt, and still feel, open and exposed. My child is my greatest joy and my biggest weakness. If something happens to him, it happens to me and deep down I hate that feeling.

As a woman who has always seen herself as strong, independent and self sufficient this is a shock to the system. On any given day I can go through the full specteum of human emotions; from pure joy to shear panic. I am pretty much in a constant state of uncertainty  and frequently feel the need to ask for help. It’s a whole new world for me.

I feel vulnerable.

And this has been the single greatest impact of having a baby; learning how to be vulnerable. Never before have I ever felt more vulnerable than I have over the last year. In fact, it’s fair to say I didn’t know what vulnerability was until having Chase.

For any other mom out there who can relate, this Friday Fuel is for you. It’s okay to feel vulnerable. I’ve been working through it with a little help (okay, A LOT of help) from good friends and the amazing words of Brene Brown.

Brene Brown’s TedX Talk, “The Power of Vulnerability” was recorded in 2010 and has over 32 million views. Yes, that right, 32 MILLION.

Her message…“We need to lean into vulnerability” so that is what I’m trying to do – and not just as a mother but as a wife, a friend, an employee, a human.

My inability to sit with and accept being vulnerable is not a new problem – it’s just one I’ve ignored until now. No one wants to fail or get hurt, feel pain or discomfort. Our bodies are physiologically wired to run from these emotions and situations – our survival mechanisms kick in and we bolt; both mentally and physically. But when we bolt – we miss out on the opportunity to live.

This not only applies to motherhood. I can think back to many times in my life when I ran, ignored or didn’t acknowledge something or someone because it made me vulnerable. Instead of “leaning in” I chose to back off, wayyyyy off.

I’m learning that I need to live and love fully with zero expectations and with the understanding that this life has no guarantees.  What we have today could be gone tomorrow – in very sense. I’m learning to express gratitude and appreciation for my moments of vulnerability because I am alive and that is amazing. And finally, I am learning to embrace imperfection and uncertainty and to talk about it with others (or write about it on a blog 😊)

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only women who feels this way – mother or not. And in some weird way, putting it out into the universe helps me own my vulnerability and make progress. I’ve got a lot of work to do but that’s okay, I’m actually excited about what this experience is bringing to my life and how it will help me live a fuller and more authentic life.

Thanks for reading and here for any of you that might be going through this too!

Embrace the day and all you the vulnerable moments that come along with it!
Christina
Insta: ciaturner
Twitter: CTurner_Strong

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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! Fall in love with being wrong

Happy Friday!

I hate being wrong. I think we all probably do. Being wrong can make us feel embarrassed, vulnerable and self conscious. It’s a big punch to our ego more than anything else – especially when we are wrong around certain people! (You know who I’m talking about!)

Being wrong isn’t the end of the world – much like a mistake or failure – it is a huge learning opportunity. I’m trying to “fall in love” with being wrong. What do I mean by that? I mean fully accepting myself and my mistake when I make them. Taking my wrong and turning it into a opportunity to learn. When we are wrong we have the chance to accept that and learn what is right. When we make a mistake we have the chance to fix it. This can only happen if we put our ego aside, own our mistakes and put in the work to learn what’s right.

We let our ego get in the way of us becoming a better version of ourselves all too often and when we are wrong, make mistakes or have failures – that is the time when our ego comes through the most. It blinds us from being open and seeing the opportunity to learn and grow. It takes self work and vulnerability to shift your mindset from avoidance of being wrong and/or making mistakes to falling in love with them. Those are the moments that will have the biggest impact on your life but you have to let them.

Here are three ways you can shift your mindset to embracing mistakes and falling in love with being wrong:

1. Adopt a growth mindset. This means fully believing that your ability to grow and learn is not finite, but a lifelong process. Every mistake I make; I learn and experience personal growth. Wholeheartedly believing this helps me put my ego aside.
2. Care less what people think. Our ego gets bruised and your defense mechanisms kick into high gear because we care what other people think of us. Most of the time we are overthinking and overestimating just how much others think about us or how they will respond to our mistakes. It’s simple – everyone is consumed by their own shit, they aren’t thinking about you as much as you think! ((It’s all in your head))
3. Get vulnerable. Vulnerability can be a death sentence for many of us – it means risk, uncertainty and emotional exposure. It’s our natural response to want to know everything and be certain (it’s our safe space). When we open ourselves up to being vulnerable great things can happen. Only once we embrace our own vulnerability can we truly accept and learn from being wrong, the mistakes we make and failures. (I smell a future Friday Fuel topic on this!!!)

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

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Friday Fuel! Feel Good Fuel

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Happy Friday!

“We can always choose to perceive things differently. You can focus on what’s wrong in your life, or you can focus on what’s right.” – Marianna Wiliamson

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, reads and videos.  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!

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How AWESOME is this little girl! I loved this so much I had to share!

Check out these good reads and videos to fuel your day!

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Check out the @Friday_Fuel Instagram and  follow!

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

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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

Want to get Friday Fuel right to your E-Mail? Like/Follow this blog or SUBSCRIBE to my E-Mail Newsletter HERE!

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Friday Fuel! Be Nice to Yourself

Happy Friday!

A few weeks ago I was standing in the kitchen with my husband and started to complain about my body and how “gross I looked and felt”. I was hating on myself for the weight I was gaining in undesirable places during my first pregnancy. After a couple of minutes of listening to my ridiculous body shaming rant, my husband cut me off and said “will you just be nice to yourself?”. He called me out on my negativity and body shaming in the nicest way and I love him for that. It made me realize I do this all too often and my husband is the one stuck listening too it. How annoying is that! Sorry Andrew!

He was right – I was being so hard on myself and judging my body through one of the most amazing experiences of my life – pregnancy. Its been weeks since we had this interaction in the kitchen but it’s continued to stay on my mind and every time I body shame myself in my own mind I hear his words – “be nice to yourself”.

I hear women make negative comments about their bodies all too often. We are so hard on ourselves and have such unrealistic expectations about how we should look throughout every stage of our life. We constantly compare ourselves to others and create these ideas of what we should look like in our mind.

“Comparison is the thief of joy”

Our perfectionist tendencies (yes, ladies we all have them!) drives us to compare ourselves to other women and strive to look and be like anyone but ourselves. Not only is our constant criticism of our bodies bad for our own happiness and well-being; it feeds into our society’s disturbing attitude that a woman’s worth is directly related to her physical appearance.

Bottom line: CUT THAT SH*T OUT AND SHOW YOURSELF SOME LOVE!

We need to be kind to ourselves and one another. Stop body shaming yourself and start calling out other women when they do it too. Extend empathy and good vibes towards yourself and other women instead of judging and criticizing.

How about we compliment ourselves and one another instead of venting about how much we hate every little imperfection we have? How about we stop trying to be like someone else and focus on being our best self? How about we invest our energy into our health instead of a number on the scale? How about we exercise to be strong not skinny?

You’re human. You’re beautiful. You’re a kick ass woman! Love yourself!

Here are a few reads and videos I found that empower women to be kind to themselves and love their bodies. Check ’em out!

“Talk to yourself like you would talk to someone you love.”

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Chumlee doesn’t judge himself or others – he is the best kind of friend! Thanks to my hubster, Andrew, for this week’s Chumlee glamour shot. Check out his photography on Flickr!

Embrace the day!

Christina
Twitter: @cturner_strong & @Friday_Fuel
Instagram: @ciaturner

Friday Fuel! The Secret to a Meaningful Career

Happy Friday!

As a higher education professional, the end of the academic year is always bittersweet. I am feeling relieved to have completed another great work year and made it out alive but as the senior students finish up their finals and prepare to move on from this college, I have mixed emotions.  It’s an exciting time for these seniors to be finishing up their college experience and now they are off into the “real world” wide-eyed and excited for the next phase of their life. As I say “see you later” to the students I am close with, I find myself saying and writing the same message over and over again…“pursue your passions and embrace the day”.  I want so badly for these young professionals to truly do what they love and bravely seize opportunities that will get them closer to a meaningful career and life. It something I hope all of us can find.

Life has taught me that there is no final destination or culminating career move – it’s a journey from start to end. It’s constantly evolving, changing directions and taking us places we never expected. I frequently hear my students say “I don’t know what I want to do when I ‘grow’ up” and I always laugh and respond with “me either!” When we are young adults, like the upcoming class of 2017, we feel we need to know what we want to do and be able to articulate the position, title and our professional aspirations to anyone that asks. I thought I needed to know exactly what I wanted to do and where I wanted to do it at the ripe age of 21. The truth is; we don’t. We don’t need to know as young graduates and we don’t need to know as mid-career professionals. Wherever you are in your career – be all there – and don’t stress about what’s next. Don’t get caught up in titles, status or make career moves to impress other people. Make career decisions based on your passions, values and strengths. This is the secret to a meaningful career.

Today, as a 30-year old woman, my career goals have shifted from wanting to be a “police women” at the age of 5 to a “professional NBA basketball athlete” for most of my adolescent years to a “tenured college professor” upon completing my undergraduate degree and in most recent years a “college athletic director”. Quite the spectrum of career aspirations over 30 years, ha!  Today, my attitude and mindset has shifted quite a bit. If you asked me “what’s next?” or “whats your career aspirations” – I don’t have a position or title in mind but rather my goal is to “work for an organization that aligns with my values and passions.” My career journey has become less about positions, titles and status and more about pursuing meaningful work that gives me purpose, energy and joy. 

So, to the class of 2017 and the Friday Fuel community – no matter where you are in your career and life; it’s never to early or too late to explore your values and passions and pursue the opportunities that align with both of these.  Figure out what matters to you, what you love to do and what gives you purpose, energy and joy. Life comes at us in unexpected ways and you never know where it will take you but knowing what you value and are most passionate about will always take you in the right direction.

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Pursue your passions and embrace the day!

Christina
twitter: @cturner_strong & @Friday_Fuel
instagram: @ciaturner

 

Friday Fuel! Make Every Day Better

Happy Friday!

Every day is a blessing. We get so use to waking up and getting right into our daily routine that we neglect to stop for even a second and appreciate the fact that we woke up, we are alive, and we have so much opportunity in front of us with each new day.

If you’re like me, when you wake up your mind already starts spinning and listing off all the things that need to be done, places to go and responsibilities to fulfill. We rush right into that “to-do list” and don’t look back. I don’t know about you but this often leaves me feeling anxious and busy from dawn to dusk. Before I know it, the day has come and gone and I didn’t take a moment to slow down, appreciate life and do something other than work.

Writing Friday Fuel for the past year and half has helped me discover ways in which life can be better and more meaningful. I’ve learned that my actions and attitude each day transcend to a better and more meaningful life. It’s easy to get caught up in the long-term or future and neglect to recognize this moment, this day, and how the smallest actions can have the biggest impact.

So many famously “successful” people are praised for their daily habits, routines and life philosophies. People like Oprah, Michelle Obama, Tony Robbins, Kerry Washington, Bill Gates – all have their daily habits and personal mantras that set their energy for the day and put them in good health and spirits. Let’s be honest, these people are incredibly busy and likely have a higher workload and potential stress level than most of us. They have figured out what they value in life and how to take care of themselves – I would bet their professional success has a lot to do with it. If they can figure this out, then so can we.

Following in the foot steps of some of the most wildly successful people out there that I respect, I’ve decided to create my own list of daily rules for making the most of each day. So here is my list (so far) of the 5 ways to make every day better for a better life:

  1. Create a Morning Routine – This has become my life blood – my mornings. I won’t shut up about it because I am so in love with mornings and using that time to set my energy for the day. Wake up early, drink coffee, meditate, learn, exercise and map out priorities for the day. This is my routine and when I don’t do it, I just feel off. During my mornings I take care of my mind and body and I slow down and remind myself how amazing life is. It has changed how I approach work, people and life. Figure out what matters to you and start doing it in the morning.
  2. Put People First – whether it’s at work or at home, make time for the people in your life. We all get caught up in our daily tasks but don’t let that consume you. If you’re mid-sentence writing an important email and one of your colleagues walks in to talk – stop typing and make the time to talk. If your trying to clean the house and your partner/spouse needs something – stop and make them time for them. At the end of the day, people are what matter most.
  3. Say “thank you” – be grateful everyday for the life you have and figure out a way to practice gratitude. For me, it’s through my daily meditation – I think about three things I am grateful for and think about what my life would be like if I didn’t have those three things. Make a point to say thank you to people as much as possible throughout your day. Be appreciative of people who help you – whether it’s a co-worker, the barista at the coffee shop or your kids – be thankful.
  4. Laugh It Off – don’t take life so seriously. Make time to laugh everyday. It may be the people around you that can make you laugh or you may need to pull up a funny YouTube video and just have a good giggle. Whatever it is, make time to smile and laugh and don’t take life so serious. (My go to YouTube channels are James Corden and Ellen)
  5. Learn Every Day – learning can come in so many different forms. For me, I love to read or listen to a podcast/audiobook every day and learn from others. Learning can come from failures, new opportunities and/or interactions with people –  be open and eager to learn. A life without growth is a life wasted.
The sun will rise and set regardless, what you choose to do with the light while it’s here is up to you. Journey wisely. – Alex Elle

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

Friday Fuel! Priorities

Happy Friday!

Another week down and 2017 is speeding by – May is just around the corner! Where has the time gone!?! Have you been doing everything you imagined in 2017? On track with you goals or resolutions?

2017 is flying by and I am sure many of you can relate to the feeling of being overwhelmed with everything on your plate and the busyness of life. We have all these things we want to do but yet we don’t do them and site dozens of reasons (excuses) as to why. The number one excuse – time. We have all heard it and/or said it before: “I’m too busy”, “I don’t have the time” or “I have too many other things on my plate”.

I’m calling bullshit. We have the time – we just aren’t using it.

The feeling of being “too busy” means we are trying to juggle too many things that don’t matter. We need to ask ourselves what tasks/responsibilities/commitments align with our priorities. Better yet, we have to ask ourselves  “what are our priorities!?”

I find that when I am consistently responding to people with “I’m so busy” then it’s time to get my sh*t together and start figuring out what doesn’t need to be on my plate or in my life.

“Our actions are a reflection of our priorities.” – Gandhi

What do your actions and the things you spend the most of your time on say about you and what you prioritize?

Are you wasting time and energy on people and things that you don’t truly care about or want to be doing? If so, stop. Stop now. Rethink how you are spending your time and energy and allocate them to the things you want to be doing! As cheesy as it is….you only have ONE LIFE! Don’t waste your time on things that don’t matter!

Stop talking about the things you want to do and start doing them.

Let’s try an experiment…
Write down the 3 most important things in your life – your top three priorities in order of importance. Ready? Go!

Now, right down the top 3 things you spend MOST of your time on? Go!

How do these lists compare? Do you say family/friends are the most important thing to you but you spend most of your time on work? Hint: that’s my list! If you’re like me, I have some things out of wack – and need to align my time and energy with the things I value and prioritize in life.

The reality is we are not that busy – we are just mismanaging our life and not aligning our priorities with our actions. Take a time out to really think through what your priorities – when we clarify our priorities; decision making becomes a lot easier and you will find your time and energy is spent on the things that matter most to you. We stop saying “yes” to everything and start saying “yes” to the things that truly matter to us.

Here are some quick tips for aligning your time and actions with your priorities:

  1.  Know what you value. If you value family time – than that should be a priority. If you value your health and well-being – make it a priority and put some effort and energy into it! Take some time to thing about what matters most to you and write it down.
  2. Learn to say “no”. You can’t do it all. Learn to be picky and only take on the things that align with your values and that you truly want to be doing. Don’t feel bad” for saying “no”!
  3. Stop wasting time. We’re all guilty of it – we say we “don’t have time” but yet we come home from work at night and sit in front of the TV and watch Netflix till midnight or scroll through Pinterest for 4-hours. You have the time -you’re probably just choosing to waste it on other things…

At the end of the day – you are in control of your actions and your time. If you are “too busy” or “don’t have the time” then that is on you and only you. Know your priorities and align your time and energy with them.

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

 

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