Psst… I’ll Tell You A Secret

Psst… I’ll Tell You A Secret

Image Credit: 123RF.com

When Deb and I sat down on Tuesday, November 8, 2016, to begin our most recent round of coaching, she immediately tasked me with re-creating my “bucket list.”  This was a list of 30 things that I wanted to do, be, or have in my life.  The list could consist of ANYTHING – from huge, Level 1 goals like solving the healthcare crisis in America to super-simple Level 3 goals like getting a new pair of sunglasses.  I had the entire world of options at my disposal.  I came back to session #2 with my list of 30 things and proudly read it to Deb. Like most of our clients, I quickly discovered, much to my dismay, that my list was, in fact, composed of a bunch of very rhetorical statements that I had absolutely no emotional attachment to. Damn!

So, I went back to the drawing board. I started asking myself the hard questions:

  • What do I really want?
  • How do I want to send my days?
  • What feeds my soul?
  • What things/people/events/opportunities will help me live a joyous and fulfilled life?
  • What is my PURPOSE?

So, at session #3 I present Bucket List 2.0, and although I didn’t know “HOW” a lot of that list would ever transpire, I just knew that I wanted them.

Last week, without any warning whatsoever, TWO of my Top 5 Bucket List items fell into my lap.

Anyone who has read more than 3 of my blog posts knows that I have a great affection and respect for my friend, one of the people who inspired me to start training for triathlon, Meredith Atwood.  One of my top 5 bucket list items was to collaborate with her on a program.  I didn’t know what kind of program or what the topic would be. We had kicked the tires on some concepts before, but she is always going Mach 5 with her hair on fire and the timing just wasn’t right; however, it continued to be a goal, albeit a longer-term goal.

Another of my Top 5 bucket list items was to spend my days “playing” on social media and actually get paid to do it!

So, imagine my surprise and delight when I received an email from Meredith last week that started off, “Hey lady! So. I have been marinating on a new program, and I wanted to see if you and Deb might want to be involved with.”

WHAT?

UHM, YES!

And guess what?  The platform of the program is Facebook-based, so I will indeed be spending my days “playing” on social media!

So, this brings me to the distinction between “allowing” and “forcing.” We have to ALLOW the things we want to come to us and know that if they are based in love and are in alignment with our values and our purpose, they WILL come – they might just not come on our timetable or exactly in the way we first envision them.  When we try to FORCE an outcome and exert our will, the outcome is generally not what we hoped it would be.

Now, what is this new program?  It’s called “Your Brave Mind” and you can read more about it here and here. And it’s going to be amazing!

In a nutshell, Your Brave Mind will be a series of online events (hosted on Facebook) that will each cover a different topic in the area of mental toughness.  The first event is on the bully in your brain! Cool huh?

The bully is that little voice that speaks to you whenever you try to step outside of ​the box​, tackle new challenges,​ ​or​ make a ​significant ​change in your life. Everyone has​ tha​t voice, it’s just that some bullies are much louder and meaner than others. In only 5 days you will gain the awareness​ (and tools)​ you need to tame the bully in your brain​. You will discover:

  • What​ (or who?)​ the bully is
  • Why listening to the bully is the absolute worst thing we can do if we want to change an area of our life
  • How the bully got its voice
  • Why the bully is so mean
  • Why making the decision to change will never be enough
  • How to actually change the conversation with the bully in your brain

If you have ever struggled with the mean girl/guy in your head who tells you that you are terrible or that you can’t do something, etc., then this program is for you! Come join us!

  • Cost:  $24.97
  • Forum: Online group coaching via a closed Facebook Group
  • Duration:  5 Days
  • Starts:  Monday, May 8th

Register Now!

 

I can’t wait to get started!  🙂

Self Love… A Bad Thing?

I was doing some research this morning for a new project and I pulled up my go-to word choice tool, thesaurus.com and entered the term “self-love” in the search bar. I was actually taken aback when I saw the top synonyms…

WOW!  “Conceit”… “Narcissism” … “Vainglory” (had to look that one up)… “Vanity” – OUCH!

I certainly recognize that there are people out there who have true personality disorders that take the concept of “loving themselves” to the extreme, but my goodness, is it really so bad to seek a place where you can honestly say “I love ME!”?

Why is it that it seems so normal and no one seems to notice when you loathe yourself on a daily basis, but when you start changing and challenging those beliefs, certain people want to call you a narcissist or conceited or “up on your high horse” (as my Gramma used to say)?

Back in 2010 when I decided to change my life, there was some backlash. There were people in my life who did not like the changes they were seeing in me. There were those who actually felt MY efforts to change ME were a direct offense to THEM. It both saddened and infuriated me at the same time, but I was sick and tired of hating and abusing myself in myriad ways, so I was willing to do the hard work that change at that level demands. I never purposely cut anyone out of my life, but there were definitely those who wanted no part of my new life, and so they fell away, and that still makes me sad sometimes.

Am I perfect? HA!  Soooooo far from it! But I am BETTER! Better than I was in 2010 in a million different ways. And one of those ways is that I have chosen to love myself and to accept myself in all my imperfection and to keep fighting the good fight – to become even better each and every day. Some days I succeed and other days I crash and burn hard, but I’m always striving for better.

So, when I saw the terms above listed in response to my query for a synonym for “self-love,” it was jarring. Has our society and our culture become so jaded that self-loathing is the norm and anyone who dares to drag themselves out of the pit of despair is seen as an anomaly… a weirdo… an outlier? Is that where we are now? What about our poor kids?  Do they even stand a chance if we are into the 2nd generation of self-haters? Who can they look to as a model of a healthy relationship with “self?”

What does all this mean for our future? I don’t have the answers, but I think the questions are worth pondering.

 

Changes…

Changes…

I’ve posted before about the malaise I experienced after Ironman Florida and my efforts to figure out what I wanted and what was next. It’s taken some time and patience with myself, but I’ve decided on a trajectory that will ultimately make me a happier, more fulfilled person (and I’m pretty darned happy as I sit here, so YAY ME!), and I thought y’all might be interested in finding out what that decision is. During the coaching process with Deb, she kept coaxing me to explore what I REALLY wanted out of life… not what I thought I SHOULD want… or what I thought I could get… or what other people wanted for me… but what I really wanted deep down in my soul.

That’s a really difficult exercise for a person like me who is so hyper-focused on the needs of those around her.  I am a “caretaker” by nature.  I like taking care of people and making sure they are happy and that their needs are met – often at the expense of my own goals and desires.  My nature got me in deep trouble in my marriage, because I crossed way over the line of “caretaker” and into the realm of “enabler.” Things can get really bad really quickly when you constantly enable another person’s bad behavior.  I did that for 17 years. 😦

But I digress…

It took a lot of time and persistent effort to begin to discover what I really wanted. Deb has a lot of really great exercises and tools to tease this out of a person. I spent time thinking about when I was the happiest, professionally. What were the things that really lit me up? And the thing that kept bubbling up to the surface is that I just really love to help people get past the bullshit story they keep telling themselves that continually holds them back from achieving the things they want in life. And I am MOST happy, when I do that with people in the area of health and wellness.

A long time ago, I remember my sister and I used to walk around the track at the gym and talk about how great it would be if we could get paid to eat right and exercise. LOL. Of course logic would grab hold immediately and tell us all the reasons why that was a preposterous idea. Today, I look back at all the energy we put into that concept and I know that the decisions I’ve made over the past few years are a subconscious result of all those walks! Karate… Release… triathlon… Ironman… It’s all building to this…

I’ve decided to become a Health Coach.

On May 15th I’ll embark on a one year journey of education and discovery with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a Certified Health Coach.  I know that pairing the education I’ll receive along with what I already know about the mind will be a powerful combination, and that I will be able to help A LOT of people with a boatload of knowledge, passion, desire to make a difference, and “been there, done that” experience.

What exactly IS a “health coach?” A Health Coach is a supportive mentor and wellness authority who works with clients to help them feel their best through food and lifestyle changes. Instead of prescribing one diet or way of exercising, Health Coaches tailor individualized wellness programs to meet their clients’ needs. I love this definition.  I have no desire to sit down and create workout plans for clients – there are so many truly GREAT athletic coaches out there who have that part nailed – rather, I want to work with people who have a true desire to change, but just need some help unraveling all the lies they have been told throughout their entire lives about health and wellness (and maybe even their capabilities). I want to help people get their mind and body in sync with one another, because when that happens, anything is possible!

In this day and age where “healthcare” is anything BUT “health” care and most people are one health crisis away from bankruptcy, I believe that more and more people are beginning to turn away from traditional medical interventions and are looking at what they can do to support their own health and wellness and get away from heading to the doctor all the time. However, when these same people start looking around, they become positively paralyzed by all the information and misinformation that is available.  Combine this with all the lies we have been told about how to be “healthy” and it becomes apparent that people will need guides to help them sift through all the crap out there.  I intend to be one of those guides!

There’s a lot of tweaking that will have to happen and somethings may have to give somewhere along the way, but I’m very excited about this new path.

Here we grow again! 🙂

The Kids Will Eat It Too!

I spend a lot of time on social media.  In fairness, I probably spend WAY more time than I should on social media, but that’s not the point.  I see a lot of my friends who are striving to change their diets and eat healthier, post things like this (not an actual post): Tonight for dinner I ate a baked sweet potato with shredded chicken, black beans, and salsa.  It was really yummy.  I made mac & cheese for the kids.

When I see a post like this I have great empathy for that mom.  I WAS that mom for the first 7 years of my son’s life.  I went through the first half of his life as a short order cook in my own home – I made 2-3 dinners every night: Something I wanted, something my husband would eat (often very different from what I wanted), and then yet a third “meal” for our son. It was exhausting, but that’s what I thought I had to do.

My son’s diet consisted of “kid foods” – pizza, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, PBJ, goldfish crackers, french fries, those disgusting Kid Cuisine dinners, etc.  Of course there were good foods too – he’s always loved veggies.  Anyhow, he had so many respiratory issues when he was little – asthma, allergies, pneumonia (twice) – and it seemed like he always had a cough and a runny nose. I never ever considered that his health issues and his diet could be related, and sadly our pediatrician never even asked about his nutrition because he was a normal sized kid.

Then, in 2010 everything changed.  We moved in with Deb and I had an incredible opportunity to change everything. Deb taught me that the quality of the food we put in our bodies is one of the most important things we can focus on. I still remember sitting down to dinner at Deb’s that first night.  We had roasted chicken, brown rice, and broccoli for dinner.  Josh looked at his plate, then looked at me and asked “Where’s mine?” (assuming I had made a separate dinner for him).  Deb’s daughter’s were wide-eyed. Deb and I explained to Josh that this was a “new house with new rules” and one of those rules was that dinner was dinner. He didn’t have to eat it, but there would be nothing else until breakfast. He looked at the plate, and looked at me, and back to the plate, and said “Okay.” (such a resilient boy 🙂 ) and he ate the dinner – AND HE LOVED IT! After 2-3 days, he stopped looking at his dinner plate with skepticism and started getting very inquisitive about new foods and ingredients.

In the years that followed (he’s almost 15 now), my son has developed the most expansive palate of any child I have ever met.  He loves food!  He is proud of the fact that he will try anything. He still doesn’t care for raw tomatoes or bell peppers, but he’ll eat squashes and brussel sprouts and quinoa, so I’ll take it! And a funny thing happened when we cleaned up his diet… All the respiratory issues vanished – within DAYS! POOF!  GONE!  He has missed exactly 3 days of school in the past 6 years (he had strep throat last year that took him down for a few days) due to illness. Eat well, be well… Who knew?

So, Moms who make multiple meals every night.  I don’t judge you – I was you – but give yourselves a break and let your kids try your yummy healthy food!  They will eat it – maybe not right away, but if you persist (and take away other options) they WILL eat it – and even love it!  Here are just a few tips that worked for me.

  1. Ease into it. Kids are driven by what feels good, so if they are used to chicken nuggets and french fries and you stick a plate of broccoli and brown rice in front of them, expect some push back.  But if you just start crowding out the less healthy stuff with good, wholesome food, all of a sudden they are eating healthier and better – better is a good word.
  2. Dinner is dinner. There are no separate meals – everyone eats the same thing.
  3. Involve the kids. Involve your children in menu planning.  Ask them what they would like.  If they say “PIZZA” – perhaps you could plan a make your own pizza night with sprouted grain tortillas as the crust and lots of veggie toppings. When kids have some say-so in what they are eating, they are more likely to eat it.  Same goes for meal prep. Get the kids involved in the kitchen.  If they cook it, they will probably eat it!
  4. 2-Bite Rule. My mom used this with me and I use it with Josh.  Some foods just look gross on the plate.  It is what it is.  Lots of kids won’t eat something that looks gross.  So, we have a rule:  You have to try two bites of anything new.  If you don’t like it after two bites, you don’t have to eat it, but you have to try it. They won’t automatically LOVE it, but after a few tries, they tend to accept it.
  5. Gag Food. We let each kid choose a “gag food” that they just WILL NOT eat.  For Erin it was sweet potatoes, for Nicki it was rice, and for Josh it is raw tomatoes (I think he may have been switched at birth).  They get a pass on this food, but they only get one and they can’t change it from day to day.  It took Josh 3 years to decide that raw tomatoes was indeed his gag food.

Good luck and healthy eating!

Coming to A Head

Coming to A Head

volcanoLife is kind of coming to a head right now.  There are so many things that are either ending or beginning in the next few days and I’m finding myself feeling a little stressed out over them, so I thought writing about them might help… :/

First, Deb’s dad has been visiting us for the past month.  He’s such a dear, sweet man and we have really enjoyed having him with us. Tomorrow he heads back to Maryland and we’ll be readjusting to a house of three again.  On one hand, I’m sorry he’s leaving – he’s a cool guy and I like him a lot!  But on the other hand, I need to get back to my routine, and eating at restaurants 3 times per week is NOT part of my routine. He doesn’t get our plant-based eating style (he doesn’t like and won’t eat vegetables), so finding things to eat here at home (when we’re not going out) that will work for all of us has been challenging to say the least.

Second, my training plan for Great Floridian Triathlon begins on Monday, and I’m honestly not sure how I feel about it.  I’ve really enjoyed my off-season.  I’ve enjoyed lifting again.  I’ve enjoyed just flying by the seat of my pants and doing what I FEEL like doing instead of being so structured. It’s very different from last year when I was chomping at the bit to get to the training.  I’m sure it’s just a matter of getting back in the training mindset and I’m counting on my body and my mind jumping right back into the groove.

massive-actionThird, the house is still on the market and we are getting antsy to get on with it. There’s no pressure to get it sold, but we’ve found the place we want to move and we’re just anxious to move on to the next stage of the adventure.

Fourth, Unrealogical has gone to the publisher and we’ve already gone through the first round of content review with the legal eagles and are now waiting for phase #2, and that’s a little nerve wracking.

3HUFifth, I start Round #3 of Swim Bike Fuel next week (or Round #1 of 3HU, depending on how you want to look at it) and I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself to really GET IT RIGHT this time.  I’ve had great results with both of the previous rounds, but I get a little loose with the rules sometimes and I really want this to be a “third time’s the charm” type of thing.

excitementSo, lots going on and I just feel stressed out.  I’ve been using all my tools, but my stomach feels all knotted up and I can’t seem to unravel it.  Right here, in this moment, I am VERY uncomfortable.  And when this happens, I get excited, because it usually means I’m on the verge of some major life shift.  Something is out there looming on the horizon – something big – I just can’t quite see it yet.

Stay tuned…

Everyone Needs a Coach – I Sure Do

Everyone Needs a Coach – I Sure Do

Last Tuesday was the final day of my 10-week coaching program with Deb (Cheslow) and, honestly, all I can say is “WOW”! When I had the bright idea in the pool last October to ask Deb to coach me for real again after Ironman Florida, I was really just grasping at straws – trying to ward off the post-Ironman crash what would inevitably consume me without some sort of intervention.

I didn’t know if working with Deb again would/could do that or not.  I didn’t know if we had grown too close to be able to separate all of our different life roles for the sessions to be productive (we have always been very good at compartmentalizing “roles” because Deb was my coach first, then my karate instructor, then my business partner, and THEN my life partner, but it’s been a long time since there was intensive one-on-one coaching between us).  I wasn’t sure that I wasn’t too close to the material to make the process anything more than a rhetorical exercise, and whether I would get as much out of it as someone with less “experience”.  We started the program on Tuesday, November 8th.  I was still riding the high after the IMFL race only 3 days before and I was excited about figuring out my next big obsession.

But then I felt like all my fears were coming to fruition when, just days before Thanksgiving, the Ironman high wore off and I was left wondering what on earth I could ever do to top that day?  The cascade came and even as I felt it coming and was very aware of what was happening, I was powerless to stop it.  It was as if I had leaped off a cliff and gravity was pulling me to the ground regardless of how hard I flapped my arms and tried to fly.

I won’t kid you… I was scared… and worried… What if I couldn’t get my mojo back – for work, for triathlon, for my family, for ME?  My coaching sessions took a more somber turn.  I remember saying, “I just don’t know who to BE…” more than once.  But Deb never wavered.  She shook the program up and did unexpected things to catch me (and my logic) off guard – and there was no small measure of tough love thrown in there too.  There was plenty of her telling me what I NEEDED to hear, rather than what I might have WANTED to hear.  It took several weeks, but suddenly just before Christmas, I had a fire lit under my ass that suddenly had me doing at 90 mph!

Our company had decided it was time to put out a new book in the Spring of 2017.  The way we create new book manuscripts is for me to take Deb’s outline and create a rough draft of content from it. Then Deb takes my draft and completely decimates it – changing almost everything about it in the process.  In the end, the finished product looks NOTHING like my draft, but without that draft the book would never get written.  It’s a process and it works for us.  Anyhow, I was completely unenthusiastic about  starting the manuscript draft of the content sections, and yet it HAD to be written – and SOON!

As November turned into December, and our coaching program continued, I was still trying to identify my “what’s next”.  What was I going to focus on in 2017?  Business? Triathlon? I still felt so lost, and I didn’t want to do much of anything – business, triathlon, or even life in general. Then, during my session on 12/20, Deb said something to me that turned everything around.  I was once again saying that I didn’t know what I wanted and that I was so lost after Ironman, and blah, blah, blah… when she got up in my face and said, “Angie!  You are living in the past trying to train for a race that’s already been run!  You HAVE to redefine the race you’re training for NOW!”

16730679_1259150464168736_8567247102317113881_nSomething about that resonated so strongly with me. And she was right!  It was time to let Ironman go and move forward.  I snipped off my Ironman wristband later that day and asked Deb for a meeting on the new book so I could get very clear on what and how I was supposed to be writing.  I woke up the next morning at 3am and started writing.  I took the week off between Christmas and New Years like I always do, and jumped back into  the book on January 2nd. In only 12 DAYS I created the draft manuscript for the new book’s content – it became an obsession.  I was back! Now we’re finishing up the final edits and the book goes to the publisher early next month.

I had no clue how this coaching program with Deb would go when I initially got the idea in the pool.  But I was desperate!  Not as desperate as I was back in 2009, but still I knew I could not afford a prolonged crash after Ironman was over.  Now that the initial coaching program is over and I look back, I am thrilled with the results!  Was there a crash?  Yes – of course – they can’t be prevented, only mitigated, but I think I did a great job – with Deb’s help – of shortening the refractory period and pulling out of the nosedive in a very short span of time.  I know people who have the Ironman Blues for YEARS, and mine lasted for less than a month.  I’ll take it! It wasn’t a pleasant month, but now I am refocused on things that are important.  I have a great “A” race for 2017 that I’ll begin training for next month and I’m happier and more productive than I’ve been in a VERY long time.

I’ve decided to retain Deb as my “official” coach indefinitely.  And I know there are people who are reading this post right now who are saying, “Yeah Ang, nice for you to have your partner as your coach… everyone else has to PAY for it!” To that I say this… Free coaching never works because there is no skin in the game and when the going gets tough – and it always gets tough somewhere along the way – sometimes it is only the fact that there is money on the line that keeps you moving.  I cut Deb a check every month out of my own bank account to keep me accountable to myself for this process.

I know I will always have a coach – someone to push me further than I believe I can go on my own.  It’s worked pretty darned well for me so far – I think I’ll just keep going!

My To Do List is Ruining My Life!

Image credit: 123rf.com

I am COMPLETELY overwhelmed!

My to do list has 24 things on it and ALL of them needed to be done like YESTERDAY!  I am tired and I am frazzled…

I was literally just down in the kitchen making a burrito bowl for lunch (2 hours late, by the way) and found myself just turning in circles in the middle of my kitchen, not really knowing what to do first.

Then, I returned to my desk, at my lunch (notice I didn’t have any issues with THAT), and looked at my list again…

Okay, first things first… What’s the most important thing on the list?

OH MAH GAWD! There are like 10 things on the list that are all equally on fire! Which one do I choose?

I just sat there blinking at my computer screen, hoping and praying that one of the items will just start flashing or something so I know it’s where I need to start.  But no, the list remains the same… I. AM. PARALYZED by indecision.

Here’s what’s going on in my life right now (and all I have to say is THANK SWEET BABY JESUS that Ironman is done or I would be institutionalized!):

  • I am draft part of the manuscript for Deb’s new book.  I’ve been a writing machine since New Years, pumping out 11 chapters in 15 days, but I have the content for 2 chapters left, then we need to review the whole manuscript, insert stories, edit content, and then get it to our editor by SUNDAY (yes, 6 days from now);
  • Next weekend (Jan 27-29), we are hosting a 3-day workshop up in Albany, New York.  I have to create the participant handout materials and get all the products, equipment, SWAG, etc. shipped out by Saturday;
  • We are launching a new video series later this week and we need to record the videos and set up the delivery mechanism still;
  • I’m updating our website and that needed to be done last month!
  • Our 5K race is only 6 weeks away and there are all kinds of logistics that need to be handled;
  • Of course there is all the day to day email/social media/operations for the business to shoehorn in;
  • And, for the love of all that is good and holy, I need a haircut!

That’s just the critical stuff.  My list doesn’t even fit on my Momentum screen anymore.

When you have too many competing priorities, how do you keep your sanity and choose what to work on first?  How do YOU break the grip of analysis paralysis?

I found a couple of articles that might be helpful if you find yourself in a similar predicament:

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/aug/10/how-to-stop-to-do-lists-ruining-your-life

http://marissabracke.com/best-worst-things-to-do-when-overwhelmed

And yes, for those of you wondering… Writing this blog post was on my to do list!  😉