Worry is a Lack of Confidence (AND an Energy Killer)

Corrie Ten Boom Worry Strength

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.
~ Corrie ten Boom (1892-1983)

I am often described as outgoing, boisterous, happy, and, yes, a bit obnoxiously perky (especially for those not as excited about the earlier hours). And those things (even the tendency towards the obnoxious) are true.

However, those who know me well will also tell you I also have a tendency to be anxious. My anxiety is sometimes warranted by actual causes for concern. More often, unfortunately, it is just a malfunction in the way I am wired; a reminder that I am, in fact, human and should remain gracious to all because we all have our challenges.

Having dealt with this for a really long time, I have gotten really good at talking myself down. I won’t bore you with the ins and outs of mindfulness based cognitive behavioral strategies or how diet and exercise really do matter. I will tell you that while it all works and I am very thankful for it, it is exhausting.

This is primarily the reason I am also know as an optimist. You will here me repeatedly say things like, “don’t borrow trouble,” “make one decision at a time,” “will will cross that bridge when we get there,” or, my favorite, “let’s step back and make sure we are looking at this right.”

Too often we create more worry by entertaining exaggerated worry over situations that actually require little if no worry at all. At which point we then proceed to escalate the situation. The situation needs attention. We worry. Worry makes us distracted, less focused, hesitant, and less capable to employ our abilities. This makes any situation worse. By the time we have worried all over it, we have created something to worry about!

Today I want to encourage you to focus on confidence. The number one reason for worry, insofar as I can tell, is lack of confidence in ones ability to handle whatever happens next. The future is the largest producer of anxiety. This is so unfortunate because the future holds so much hope and promise! The present is where our potential works and the future is the enjoyment of that success! To sabotage that and to steal that from ourselves is all we achieve when we worry. Our strength lives in certainty, assurance, and joy. That’s a much better basket of tricks than worry.

Eaten up from Nose to Tail

RikkiTikkiNagaina

It is the hardest thing in the world to frighten a mongoose, because he is eaten up from nose to tail with curiosity.
~Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Book

Fear sucks. I have experienced my fair share of it and, quite frankly, I can do without it. I understand that it can be a positive motivator for some folks. I get that the rush it induces in some is a welcomed side effect. I am not one of those people.

Therefore, I spend a pretty good bit of time trying to train myself to not be afraid. Sometimes it works. Too often it doesn’t. I can’t function like that.

Just trying to decide whether or not reviving TAT after all the time away was scary.

Then I recalled today’s quote and it seemed to relate.

I am curious about what I would say if I started again. I was curious if others would be interested. I was curious if even I myself would be interested. I was ate up with curiosity about what it would look like if I harnessed the energy it took to put the nouns and the verbs together in this way again.

That’s when the fuller truth in regards to the relationship between fear and curiosity made sense to me. Fear is, for the most part, just not knowing. What if? Who knows? Is it possible? What is it? How can that be? All those questions can be very, very scary (at least they are for me).

Today I am encouraged to fight fear with curiosity. If I have to experience an emotion towards the unknown, I will attempt to do that with the wonder so often displayed by children versus the paralyzation that accompanies adult sized fears. What was the last thing that sparked your curiosity? In our busy lives I have noticed it is sometimes the curious nature that takes the backseat to the tried and true. There is time to wonder and explore. And for me, knowing is a lot less scary.

 

*TAT 1/27/15

Turn Around Tuesday ~ John Smoltz ~ Why Not?

Tuesday’s Thought

In truth, my answer to all these questions is the same, and it’s far simpler than many believe: Why Not?

Why not do what you love for as long as you are physically able? Why not take risks, as long as they are calculated? Why not chase what some see as impossible? Why not believe in yourself? Why not dare to be great…even if it means being different?

Why not?

~ John Smoltz Atlanta Braves Pitcher (ret.)

A Bit of Encouragement… (FILES) This 25 August, 2002, file photo
If you ask my husband why I do some of the things I do, he will say (with a look that may mean either compliment or criticism), “Because she is bored and she needs something hard to do.”

There is some bit of truth to that. I do tend to find excitement in difficult things that appear to have characteristics that make them possible for me. Notice the qualifier that I put right there? It’s an important one. In other words, I am not beating myself over the head trying to win The Voice (you’re welcome), but have toyed with the idea of Master Chef.

Running Ultra Marathons is hard. Heck, some days running 5 minutes is hard. And I love it not for the difficulty alone, but for the treasures found within the difficulty. There is a power there physically when I realize all my body will do. There are mental wins when I push through doubts. There’s a lot of self realization that happens when you are running 50 miles at a time.

Raising four daughters in a culture such as ours is hard. Working full time trying to make a go in this economy is hard. Working on food issues and being healthy is hard. Participating in civic responsibilities with so many other demands on my time is hard.

But I don’t need to tell y’all any of this. The folks I know do hard stuff everyday. Some of it is the same kind of hard. Others tackle their own mountains – caregivers, wellness fighters, social movers, family dynamics, professional feats, economic acrobatics. Sometimes, getting out of bed and facing the world is a major win for the day.

embrace-the-suckI also know you wouldn’t trade the rewards for the world.

Today I want to encourage you to embrace the rewards that others pass up because you will do the things that others won’t do. And I know that sometimes the hardest part is not the thing, but the questioning doubts of those around you about the thing. Why put yourself through that? Why take that chance? Why bother with the amazing when the regular is easier? Those kinds of questions can bust up the truth we already know. Let me remind you. Because you are capable. You are more than capable – you are meant to be better today than you were yesterday. We have a better version of ourselves waiting in the wings to be cultivated and explored. This is a pretty amazing thought since we are already pretty great people. But that’s why we are great – we aren’t settling. We don’t have to.

Turn Around Tuesday ~ Hal Borland ~ Patience and Persistence

Tuesday’s Thought

Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.

~ Hal Borland (1900-1978)

A Bit of Encouragement… 

AnniversaryYesterday September 9th, The Dude and I celebrated our 14 year wedding anniversary. Wait! Don’t click away! I promise I will not get all sappy and spend our coffee telling you how enamored I still am or how wonderful he still is. I mean I could, but I won’t.

I will say that I realize that there have been folks married way longer than us. I also look forward to the day when we too can claim 40, 60, 75 years of martial bliss. But 14 years is still a long time for us.

14 years is still a long time. Period.

I thought a lot yesterday about how much we know about each other, how much better we are at communicating. I thought about the challenges we have overcome and how the experience of those challenges make all the possibilities of what comes next not quite so scary. I thought about our children, how blessed we are to have them, and how close we are to letting the first one go. I considered all the things about life and love that I know now because of the last 14 years.

And I realized that there was nothing on the planet I could have done to make that process of growth happen any faster. It took the time it took. And it will take another 365 days before I can tick it off again – regardless of how hard I work, may want it, or study it.

The truth is that, while there is a time for all of that “nose to the grindstone” stuff, sometimes it just takes the time it is going to take and you just have to trust the process. It was pointless to check out, give up, or rush it along. Making it to and through requires that you take it one step at a time for whatever time it takes.

And we got here. This time next year, we will have done it again.

Today I want to encourage you to question what has been called “the microwave mentality.” Life is not minute rice, challenges are not 60 minute drama series, and microwave popcorn may be quick, but it loses some of its greatness in the process. But you already know this. We see books, kits, or seminars created by folks who have figured a piece of life out and expect to have the results duplicated by the time we get to “The End.” We forget that there were years of working it out and pushing through to get there. The walk on the beach is beautiful not because it was made in record time, but because of the moments our feet were in the sand.

Thanks for the coffee!

Tuesday’s Person of Interest

Krysten Siba Bishop ~ The Misadventures of a Darwinian Fail

Turn Around Tuesday began in April 2007. It is an email delivered newsletter that is typically written on Tuesday morning (my husband says you can always tell how Monday went by how Tuesday reads!) and in subscribers’ email hopefully in time for their morning coffee!

I will post them here one week after they are sent out to the subscriber list. If you want to receive them in you inbox in real time, please click here

Turn Around Tuesday ~ Gretchen Rubin ~ Embrace What Is

Turn Around Tuesday began in April 2007. It is an email delivered newsletter that is typically written on Tuesday morning (my husband says you can always tell how Monday went by how Tuesday reads!) and in subscribers’ email by 6 or 7am. 

I will post them here one week after they are sent out to the subscriber list. If you want to receive them in you inbox in real time, please click here

Tuesday’s Thought

Embrace what is.

~from Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project

A Bit of Encouragement… 

Screenshot_2013-09-10-05-46-39-1The relaunch of Turn Around Tuesday has been met with mostly welcoming arms.

Yeah, mostly.

Not everybody was glad to see it. Interestingly enough, the ratio was clearly in TAT‘s favor. And I really meant it when I said that I too have had to unsubscribe from items like this in the past and I knew it was never personal.

I still took it personal.

TAT never fails to awaken something in me. What that something is may change, but it is usually a sense of longing to fulfill a grand purpose; to be all that I was intended and have the potential to be.

That awakening can be daunting.

I immediately default to all the reasons it will fail, why I am not good enough, how I am not capable, equipped, educated, bright, dedicated, young, attractive, wealthy, mobile, flexible, strong…How I am just not enough.

I look at everything that there is not. Everything that I am not. All the things I will never be and will always be not.

In that frame of heart, the slightest bit of, “yeah, that’s not for me” rocks me at my core.

Until I remember to embrace what is.

I am again reminded that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I have a perspective that, amazingly to me, you find interesting at least enough times to let me come back once a week. While what is said is not new, it is mine, and for my heart, and evidently many others, it feels anew. And that’s just as good.

Today I want to encourage you embrace what is. So many times we are wooed into doubt and despair because of the “not.” The fact is that what “is” tends to be so absolutely abundant that we could spend a lifetime exploring all the greatness. The “not” would never be missed if we weren’t actually looking for it. While I may not be fully prepared to do all the things my heart would have me do today, I am enough to move towards those things. What I can embrace is the opportunity to recognize the journey, enjoy the process, appreciate who I am while moving towards who I am becoming. And the truth is, we are all “becoming.”

Thanks for the coffee!

Tuesday’s Person of Interest

Molly Maher – Stratejoy

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Turn Around Tuesday ~ Thomas Edison ~ Success, Failure, and Giving Up

Turn Around Tuesday began in April 2007. It is an email delivered newsletter that is typically written on Tuesday morning (my husband says you can always tell how Monday went by how Tuesday reads!) and in subscribers’ email by 6 or 7am. 

This is the first installment since January 2011. I will post them here one week after they are sent out to the subscriber list. If you want to receive them in you inbox in real time, please click here
Thomas Edison Success

Many of life’s failures are experienced by people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
~Thomas Edison (1847-1931)

A Bit of Encouragement… 

I currently have Conway Twitty’s Hello Darlin’ playing in my head right now. It has been a long time. And it is nice to see you.

I struggled with putting TAT on hold nearly 2 years ago. It is something that I love to do. Graciously, those whose inbox receive it seem to enjoy it as well.

In all honesty, I struggled with bringing it back. You may have noticed a bit of that in the email you received a few days ago. I was completely prepared to give TAT a complete overhaul – even down to when it was sent out.

The response was fairly overwhelming. So, as you can see, aside from the face lift, TAT is still pretty much the same. And I am filled with gratitude.

Ideas like “failure” and “give up” are pretty interesting to noodle over.

In July, I DNF’d (did not finish) a race. You can read more about that here

I did give up. And, while I justified it in the physical, it was my spirit that failed.

During that same race there were others who wanted to give up as they were physically shot. But their spirit held on and they finished. My spirit is pretty strong too…I was pretty close to finishing…until I just quit.

I learned a lot from them and about myself. I like to think that if I learn anything then the failure has been redeemed. The only true failure is quitting, giving up, and refusing to glean any lesson from it.

Success is also an idea that has to be addressed on a regular basis as there is no dictionary passage that does it justice. What success is, what it looks like, not only differs from person to person, but across situation, point in time, and perspective.  Understanding its dynamic nature cannot be overlooked.

For me, “success” is nearly synonymous with “purpose”. My purpose in my runs is to be better than I was before. Therefore, even when I don’t perform as well I can, the purpose is still achieved and there is the success.

Today I want you to recognize purpose in the things that are important to you but currently feel unproductive, hard, or  just no longer viable. If they are truly purposeless, then let them go (heck, maybe you just need a break!) But give the  ideas of success, failure, and giving up some real consideration. It is very possible that we really are just that close.

Thanks for the coffee!

Living Love Every Minute

There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.
– Albert Einstein

Growing up I had a second family. They are my parents’ best friends. Their sons are my brothers. We fought like it too. Having two moms who knew how to cook everything and two dads who seemed to know everything was an awesome way to grow up – except when it came time to get in trouble. That came in twos as well. However, having brothers that couldn’t routinely beat on the bathroom door was a pretty good bonus.

Thursday, Mike Kelly died at the age of 61 after a valiant stand with Alzheimer’s. 61, seriously.

The funeral was filled with tears and laughter. His wife and his children each wrote loving and funny letters about this wonderful man. I sat there thinking the miracle was he knew all this before he died. This family did not wait for death to understand love and they did not require a crisis to find closeness. I have watched them love – and have been loved by them – my entire life.

It occurred to me that so many of us live our lives as if this one thing today is a small thing. We fail to grasp the wondrousness of having the opportunity to experience the thing at all. I also considered how terrible it would be to mourn the death of a loved one with things left unsaid. Love left ungifted. How awful it would be to wonder if the one gone left knowing just how much they were cherished, loved, and respected.

It is a blessing to know this amazing man did not leave this world that way. It is a blessing that every word spoken for the family was a whole lot of love people already knew about. It is a miracle that still as an adult, after all this time, even in death, Mike Kelly is still teaching me things.

Today I encourage you to consider living a life full of gratitude for those you hold dear. Never resist the urge to pick up the phone, write the note, spend the time, send the message. Smile more. Hug a lot. Sure, for most of us we have a whole lot more time. But it isn’t guaranteed. Besides living one day or a million with that kind of love in your heart makes all the difference in the life.

Thanks for the coffee…

You Have What it Takes

It’s like you are sitting there, getting bored, and decide to yourself,
“I think I will find something hard to do.”
~My Beloved

My husband is known for his over dramatic assessment of my personality on a regular basis. (In other words, he is spot on 99% of the time.) He typical takes an isolated incident and blows it into a full scale character trait of epic proportions. (Translation, he knows me better than I know myself and has the uncanny ability to assess my tendencies.) So, when he delivered the aforementioned declaration, I just pshawed the whole thought and went on about my day. (I mulled over it for days and days and now you will be subjected to some of the findings.)

The truth is, I have been known to get excited about various things. I have embraced a few interests and these I pursue with a passion. It can be viewed as zealous and over indulgent to some. Masochistic to others. However, for myself, it is my attempt to embrace the fullness of possibility, laugh in the face of fear, and prove to myself that I do, indeed, still have what it takes to overcome the big challenges.

How will one know what is possible to obtain if one does not continually stretch the bounds of accomplishment? Amazing records are broken every day – athletics, knowledge, accomplishment, business, endurance. All of these fields are inhabited by folks that get up earlier, stay up later, work harder, learn more, and refuse to be told that the best that has been done is the best anyone can do. And why not you or I? And why should any of us be content to be as good as we have always been because others find it unreasonable to think we can strive to be better than expected? Foolishness.

And there are few things I am more defiant of than fear. Fear, while a necessary emotion for a variety of reasons, cannot be allowed to sit in the driver seat of decision making. If being afraid or unafraid is the sole determiner for our yes or no, we are remiss if we do not quickly reevaluate our standings. This is so much the case when we tackle those challenges that appear hard. Fear of failure, fear of embarrassment, fear of harm, fear of the unknown – all of these forms of fear can be paralyzing if not routinely assessed, processed, and dismissed. This habit is not an easy one for most and must therefore be practiced regularly to maintain.

Today I encourage you, us, to know without a doubt that we do, in fact, still have what it takes. If you exercise it regularly or have been out of practice for a while, there is still no time like the present to work that fortitude muscle out. Pick something, anything, that requires discipline, is greater than something you have done before, scares you just a bit (or even a lot), and sends your heart fluttering into the “hey, wouldn’t that be cool” zone. A bunch of different things can happen, and I can promise that utter failure is probably not one of them. Even if it does, you won’t be the first or the last. On the more likely flip side, you will probably experience some level of success, embrace a new possibility, laugh in the face of fear, and know for a fact, you’ve still got it.

Thanks for the coffee…


**Photo credit ground.zero

Know Your Worth

To have that sense of one’s intrinsic worth… is potentially to have everything…
~Joan Didion

Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!
~Rocky Balboa

Self confidence is an interesting thing. If it is lacking, you have one set of problems. If you have it in abundance (regardless of its merit) you have others. There is a fine line of balance there. And, as difficult as this line may be to tread, it is a necessary introspection. There a few things that damage a relationship more than unbecoming behavior. And there is immeasurable damage done to oneself who has not learned to appreciate their own self worth.

The idea of self worth is one that cannot be taken lightly. In fact, I am learning that it is a topic that must be keep to the mind’s forefront. I amaze myself every time I allow an unfortunate, often trivial, event affect the whole of my mood – even when the vast amount of everything else is going fine. I appear to have a bit of company in this trait. It seems to be more common than ought that we allow ourselves, our moods, and our forward progression to be thwarted by obstacles of the sabotage kind. In truth, crappy stuff happens, we make mistakes, and we are subjected to the mistakes of others. That does not, in it self, describe, limit, or define our own self worth.

Self worth should also not be confused with self entitlement. Not one of us is guaranteed anything – not another day, another breath, another meal, another dream – nothing is guaranteed. We have our potential, our drive, our desire, and our right now. Those things are the raw materials with which we are granted the opportunity to create our best life. Should we under represent or employ any of these materials, our progress will be found wanting. It is not the disparaging nature in the world around us that have created this gap, but our own miscalculation of perception and utilization of our unique gifts.

Today I encourage you to know your worth – and don’t underestimate it. Protect it against the occurrences that inevitably pop up to undermine it. Appreciate its greatness. It is that worth that makes you capable of completing good works. Look for opportunities to make deposits into, grow, and nurture it. Remember, this is a valuable asset to you and your worth is an amazing resource. Use that worth towards efforts of good and be generous with it. It is in this generosity that this becomes one of our most valuable and effective renewable resources. And it is all in you.

Thanks for the coffee 🙂

Photo credit Trippography

Happy New Year!

A happy New Year!
Grant that I May bring no tear to any eye
When this New Year in time shall end
Let it be said I’ve played the friend,
Have lived and loved and labored here,
And made of it a happy year.
~Edgar Guest

I made no resolutions for the New Year. The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my life, is too much of a daily event for me. ~Anaïs Nin

Happy New Year! I want to thank all of you for being so patient with me as I took the holidays off. It was an amazing time of getting settled with my new team at work, enjoying family festivities, filing away all the things of 2011 and really getting ready to rock 2012.

I love New Year’s. It is so conducive to reflection, evaluation, and hope. It has come to be a special time for me. I have joyfully succeeded in taking nearly all the stress out of the holiday.

I do not make “before the end of the year” checklists. Likewise, I do not make resolutions…

Aside – Now I understand that “not making resolutions” has become the hip and “enlightened” thing to do. So let me say, if you DO make them, good for you. There is some real merit in making conscience decisions to modify and change. You, better than a coolio guru, know how your brain works. Always go with that.

…Both of these activities generate large amounts of stress in my life. Who needs that? Moreover, in truth, I already do this nearly EVERYDAY. I have things that need to get done. Some of it has to get rescheduled because I still haven’t figured out how to function with no sleep or add more hours to my day. But there is never NOT anything to do.

And I am consistently looking for ways to move into my potential. There are always skills I am looking to hone, things I would like to learn, habits I am attempting to unlearn. This does not simply happen once a year. It is a daily desire to confess, learn, and try again.

Today I encourage you embrace joyfulness. Be glad in the ability to throw out an old calendar and put up a new one. Enjoy the cleanness a new year brings. Resist the urge to place more stress on yourself than you should. Appreciate the things you do on a daily basis and do not buy into the idea that you have under performed or failed to be all that you should. It is a new day, everyday. Welcome to it.

Thanks for the coffee,