Tag Archives: courage

Here’s to Those That Matter!

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.

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Throw Yourself

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This feels like an appropriate Seth Godin quote to share as I head off to my first of four leadership retreats and literally and metaphorically “throw myself” out into the open with a group of 25 strangers, facing some very real fears:

“Leadership is scarce because few people are willing to go through the discomfort required to lead.

The scarcity makes leadership valuable. If everyone tries to lead all the time, not much happens. It’s discomfort that creates the leverage that makes leadership worthwhile.

In other words, if everyone could do it, they would, and it wouldn’t be worth much.

It’s uncomfortable to stand up in front of strangers.
It’s uncomfortable to propose an idea that might fail.
It’s uncomfortable to challenge the status quo.
It’s uncomfortable to resist the urge to settle.

When you identify the discomfort, you’ve found the place where a leader is needed.

If you’re not uncomfortable in your work as a leader, it’s almost certain you’re not reaching your potential as a leader.

-Seth Godin, Tribes

And special thanks to the friend who sent me this photo and inspiration the other day:

“The little guy is coming out of his shell to conquer the world armed with all the instincts he was born with.  He’ll (she’ll?) finish crawling out of the egg, scurry around a little, get oriented, then head out to the ocean to start an amazing journey.  Just made me think of you as you embark on the first retreat.”

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First Marathon Pep Talk

b16cb3a55884437a9244e95674feb760 This one is for all you first-timers…and is adapted from a message sent to one of my clients running Boston. 

First, you’re completely and totally physically ready for this race.

Did you hear me?  Read that again… (I’ll wait).

OK.  Now, your head is going to play all kinds of games with you over the next couple of days. Doubts. Fears. Inadequacies. Phantom aches and pains. Worries that you’re getting fat and out of shape in this final week with less running.  All of that is completely normal.  But remember, you’ve put in the miles and the time to train. If you’ve put in 75% of your planned training, you’re ready. You’ve totally got this.

In these final days, the most important thing you can do is to prepare your mind for the race. Because there’s going to come a point where your body wants to quit and your head needs to take charge and get you to the finish line. If you hit “the wall” (and you may not) there is going to come a point where you will question your sanity and swear you will never run again.  Ever. A point where every cell in your body screams for you to stop, sit down and give it up.  At that point your head needs to take over and tell your feet “right, left, right, left…” or perhaps imagine that a cougar is chasing you.  So here are a few things to focus on in the next few days.

Visualize the Finish.  Take a few minutes each day to imagine yourself running the final stretch in front of the grandstands. What will that be like? Who will you see? See it. Hear it. Smell it. The applause. You’re tired, but you’re smiling.  You’re getting your space blanket.  Your medal.  Your water bottle. You’ve done it!  You can’t believe it.  You’re a marathoner. Own that moment for a few minutes!  Let it sink in.

Mantra. Do you have one? Something you can repeat to yourself when you’re bored out of your skull. Or when things get really hard on those final hills. Just a few words that remind you of what you need.  Mine was “Strength. Power. Tenacity. Kick Ass” Over and over. And I wrote it on my forearm so that I would see it and remind myself. And yes, I used it!

Mentally Prep for the Course. Do as much as you can to get familiar with the course. Plan out your strategy for each 5-6 mile segment.  And start off slow!

Cheering. Is your name on your bib? Is it big enough to read at a distance? If not, I think you should seriously consider defacing your running shirt by writing your name in big black letters on the front and something like “Marathon Virgin” or “Jane’s First Marathon” on the back. It helps so much to have people cheering you by name from the sidelines and as they pass. And if nothing else, you can give the people behind you a chuckle.

Self-care.  Take care of yourself this weekend. It’s all about being as ready as you can for the big day. Sleep. Eat well. Stay off your feet as much as possible. Don’t spend too much time at the marathon expo — especially if you go the day before.

Be confident. I know this is your first marathon and that you didn’t “qualify” to run Boston. There are qualifying runners, charity runners, bandit runners, runners who had a friend… and runners who won a lottery.  But when the starting gun goes off, no one cares how you got there, everyone crosses the same finish line, and there are people who qualified who are going to have a bad day and finish behind you.

No matter how this race goes down for you, you are going to remember this day for the rest of your life. The tears, the pain, the sights and sounds, and the utter joy of crossing the finish line. It will all become a bit of a blur and (as I am told about delivering a child), the pain will fade and the pride will be… forever.

You’ve totally got this!

Readers:  Please share any other positive advice you can give first timers in the comments section! 

Guest Musings

This week I thought I’d take a break from writing and just offer up a few quotes and snips  that I’ve gathered in the past few weeks that have gotten me thinking:

“At times you have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition.  What you’ll discover will be wonderful.  What you’ll discover is yourself.”   -Alan Alda

“To be sincerely loyal to yourself is to allow yourself the freedom to grow, change and challenge who you are and what you think at any given moment in time.  The only thing you ever are for sure is unsure, and this means you’re growing, and not stagnant or imprisoned by old ways of thinking.” – Marc and Angel Hack Life

“As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.  And as we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Nelson Mandela

“I doesn’t take as much as we think to step outside our comfort zone, it only takes a willingness.” – Mike Robbins

“Perfection, as it’s revered and pursued in our culture, is an unhealthy lie. A myth. A human construct. A marketing concept. In many cases, it’s a story told by people who want to manipulate your mindset and behavior to buy what they’re selling. And while it means different things to different people, the pursuit of it rarely leads to anything more positive than anxiety, insecurity, self-doubt and misery.” – Craig Harper

Do any of these resonate with you?   How so?

Stinkin’ Thinkin’

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Worrying. Ruminating. Cogitating. Analyzing. Considering. Mulling. Noodling. Pondering. Reflecting. Scrutinizing. Contemplating. Deliberating. Speculating. Wow… we’ve thought up a lot of words for thinking!

Those of who are thinkers tend to pride ourselves on that trait. We look at things from all sides before acting.  We’re careful and thoughtful. Our thinking serves us well… we think. But thinking can easily cross the line into overthinking, especially when it comes to relationships with family, friends and colleagues.

I’m aware of my tendency toward overthinking and my ability to create problems that weren’t there in the first place. I can fill in the white space of silence with a complex story of my own imagining, when the reality is often far more simple or just plain different from what my brain invented. That’s because my story comes from my own perspective on how the facts of a given situation fit together.

I can see this so clearly with people who I am coaching. They invent explanations for behavior that fit their perception of reality. They believe that others have intentionally disrespected them, undermined them, or are purposefully testing boundaries. And they have completely and utterly persuaded themselves of the certainty of their rightness through a series of conversations that have occurred completely in their heads.

Sometimes insight can be found by stepping into a different perspective on a given situation. Simply asking “could there be another explanation that is consistent with the facts that might be true here?” or “why would a reasonable and rational person do what this person is doing?” can bring about a change in our conclusions and can begin to transform a challenging relationship. Even better is when we can have the courage to get out of our own all-knowing heads and have an honest conversation about the situation with the person that is driving us crazy. By inviting them to tell their story from their perspective, we may discover new truths about ourselves.

Next time you find yourself overthinking and lost in wondering about the past or the future —  “why did that happen?” or “what does it mean?” — try to let go of speculation and pull yourself into the present. What will you do today to let go of your stinkin’ thinkin’ and have the courage to step into a different perspective?

Three Words for 2013, Part Two

Recently I blogged about the three words I’ve chosen for 2013.  Today, a little more about the WHY behind those words…

One of my three words for is possibility. That’s because this year feels just brimming with possibility – new opportunities, new learning and new things to explore. A new leader at work, my new business, my upcoming leadership program, new friends, new colleagues, and new goals. I’m trying to step up to something bigger – and outside my comfort zone, maybe something I’ve not yet even discovered. Evolution is a long slow process, but it feels like there’s a big shift just over the horizon as I evolve and let go of old things that aren’t working and embrace the new. Though my coaching, I’m also helping others test the limits of what is possible for them – running a first marathon or racing for the first time. And that is incredibly cool to watch.

Another is courage. For me, that’s a combination of several things, including being willing to take more risk and allow myself to be more vulnerable. My default is to think things through in detail and proceed carefully and cautiously so as to maximize the chances that I will succeed. In 2013, I’m trying to let that go a little. To trust in a way that lets me forge deeper connections with people. To have the courage to listen to my heart and not my head – go with my instincts and see where that will take me. To embrace mistakes and the risk of failure and hope that in doing so, I might exceed my own expectations. And at worst, things will be ok. Courage is here too because 2013 will require me to navigate a high ropes course. And I don’t even like ladders!

And my third word is play. Just because sometimes I need to quit being so damn serious and logical about everything.

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Photo by Greg

My 3 Words for 2013

In his blog, Chris Brogan challenges readers to come up with 3 words for the New Year — words that will define your values and experiences in the coming year —  your bigger story.  I’ve been noodling on this a bit this week and have finally settled on my 3 words.  I’ll be blogging more about why I’ve chosen these and what they mean for me in the coming year, but for today, here they are:

  • Courage
  • Possibility
  • Play

The first two came easily, but I spent some time on the last one which duked it out for for a couple of days with Worthiness.   Since one of my goals in the coming year is to do a better job listening to my instincts rather than over thinking things, I went with my gut on this one.  So Play it is.

How about you?  What are YOUR three words for 2013?