I’ve had some time to think this past week and have a lot swirling in my head. I’m not feeling particularly inspired to write however, perhaps because a head cold is clouding my brain.
So for today, I’ll just post this reminder to turn off that internal (or external) voice of judgment that might be telling you who or what you should be or do or say, and instead to just be true to yourself — and ever grateful for those who matter in your life.
I’ve just finished reading The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. It’s a simple little book that makes for quick reading and a lot of pondering and I’ll be discussing it with the members of my leadership tribe over the next few weeks.
Most interesting to me was the first chapter on how we humans are “domesticated” and taught stories, beliefs and values that become our unconscious reality as we grow into adults. Ruiz calls these the “agreements” that rule our lives. We learn to be the people that others want us to be and “live our lives trying to satisfy other people’s demands.” We judge ourselves and others against these expectations — often harshly — and we try to change ourselves and others to fit these expectations. Ruiz argues for rejecting those agreements that don’t serve us and replacing them with new agreements so that we can be more free, starting with the four in the book.
The Four Agreements as summarized on the book jacket are:
- Be Impeccable with Your Word – Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
- Don’t Take Things Personally – Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering. Ruiz argues that “there is a huge amount of freedom when you take nothing personally.”
- Don’t Make Assumptions – Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid, misunderstanding, sadness and drama.
- Always Do Your Best – Your best is going to change moment to moment, it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.
I have work to do on each of these. For the short term, I’m trying to be aware of my tendency to “go into my head” and judge myself and others. I’ve been telling that voice to stop, just stop, and instead focus on being present and letting of assumptions and judgments. I’m consciously trying to write a different story in my mind when I start to take things personally or make an assumption about why someone has behaved in a certain way. And when I’m not sure, I’m asking rather than guessing or assuming. I’m hoping that with enough practice these will become new habits and new agreements for me. And maybe I’ll be a little less domesticated!
Posted in Growing, Thinking
Tagged acceptance, change, curiosity, Four Agreements, growth, leadership, Miguel Ángel Ruiz, relationships, thinking, vulnerability
For some reason, one of the top search terms for this blog of late has been “running with a broken toe.” Are there that many runners out there with broken toes, trying to figure out if they should keep running through the pain?
Allow me to save you further sleuthing: Don’t do it.
To recap: I broke my middle right toe in September. Ran a half marathon on it two days later. Took about 6-7 weeks to mend and started back to running. I injured my calf around the holidays and then discovered from subsequent x-rays that the toe had never healed properly (of course, a friend said “why should it heel? It’s a toe!”). The toe was re-broken surgically on March 1st and I am just beginning to resume exercising. Three weeks ago it was the elliptical. The last two weeks I started back to walking, admittedly with a slight limp, while still undergoing physical therapy.
- Sunday: 1.25 miles @ average pace of 20:21. Ugh!
- Wednesday: 1.5 miles @ average pace of 19:02.
- Saturday: 2.0 miles, untimed, but slow!
- Sunday: 3.0 miles @ average pace of 17:07
- Tuesday: 3.5 miles @ average pace of 19:30
- Thursday 2.5 miles @ 16:20, managed 1 mile at 15:22 (toe sore)
- Saturday 3.0 miles @ average pace of 19:20, after 2 miles on elliptical
- Sunday 3.1 miles @ average pace of 17:04, 52:50 5K
The plan for Week 3 is to keep walking and try to do at least three walks of three miles each and then attempt another 5K, hopefully a little faster. I’ll see the doctor this week and am hoping to get cleared to start Couch to 5K as soon as I feel ready.
I’m trying to focus on how far I’ve come and not how far I am from where I want to be. At least I am outside again, exercising, enjoying my tunes and burning some calories.
Happy running marathoners! And really, stay off those broken toes!
One of the things that’s been incredibly useful about coach training is understanding the power of choosing the perspective that you will take regarding a specific situation or set of facts. We really can choose to see the glass half full or half empty… or we can banish the glass entirely and replace it with an overflowing bucket. The choice is ours.
I’ve had a couple of hard weeks at work and have been in a bit of a funk post toe surgery. I’ve decided to call that place “Wallow.” Wallow was a cold and dark place full of self-pity and self-inflicted misery. There was no exercise, no progress on important goals, and everything just felt more difficult than it needed to be. It wasn’t depression, I just felt mired in mud.
Yesterday I decided that Wallow wasn’t serving me very well. So I waged an eviction and decided to shift to the perspective of “Half Full.” Nothing actually changed in my life. The facts were still the same. But Half Full looked at the same set of facts and chose to see them differently – my toe was starting to heal, I really hadn’t gained any weight from not exercising, a huge project at work was behind me, the weather was improving, and my schedule in the next two weeks would give the freedom to begin making progress again.
That was a helpful change of perspective which put me in a better frame of mind, but it still wasn’t moving me forward. So with the help of friend from my coaching class, I moved to a new perspective we called “Running Free.” And I came up with 30 specific things that I’m going to do in the next 2 weeks to begin reclaiming my time, making progress again on the things that matter to me, and asking for support along the way–which I often don’t like to do. Some of these are small and some are pretty big. But I’m excited to be moving in a positive direction again. Also helpful is the fact that I’m accountable. The list is written down and it has been shared. I’ve got eight of them done and my list next to my computer as a reminder. I’ve promised to update her next weekend — and then the weekend after that. Gotta get busy — time’s a-wastin’!
Running Free is lighter, brighter and full of possibility. I’m not actually running again and won’t be for a while, but I’m not going to sit around and feel sorry for myself because of it. I’ve chosen a different path.
Is there a place in your life where you’re stuck or wallowing? What new perspective might you find?
Posted in Growing, Running, Thinking
Tagged acceptance, coaching, commitment, goals, growth, inspiration, life, mindset, perspective, possibility, running injury, thinking
“I am enough.”
A friend wrote these words in an email to me this week and they really resonated. By coincidence, I’m also in the middle of reading “Daring Greatly” by Dr. Brene Brown and she spends several chapters discussing the voices that we carry with us that consistently suggest that we are not enough. Parents, spouses, siblings, bosses… and most of all, that persistent and relenting Inner Critic.
How much time do we
spend waste debating whether we are enough? Comparing. Coming up short. Doubting and criticizing ourselves. The holiday season is riddled with opportunities for self-doubt. Did I cook a good enough dinner? Did I buy a good enough gift? Do I have a good enough job? How does my level of success… my house… my spouse measure up to that of my siblings or friends? Am I who my parents wanted me to be? Am I a good enough parent? Am I thin enough or attractive enough?
Brown writes, “We spend inordinate amounts of time calculating how much we have, want and don’t have, and how much everyone else has, needs and wants. What makes this constant assessing and comparing so self-defeating is that we are often comparing our lives, our marriages, our families and our communities to unattainable, media-driven vision of perfection, or we’re holding up our reality against our own fictional account of how great someone else has it.” And in our comparisons, we are almost never enough.
This holiday season, I challenge you to notice when that tendency to compare is creeping into you life. Banish that voice and stand with confidence in the present, giving yourself the gift of acceptance. In this moment, right now, right here, you ARE enough. Whoever you are, wherever you are, and however much you have.
Really. You are.