Weigh-in #SoCS

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Sept. 7/19 by LindaGHill

Weigh-in

I looked in the mirror yesterday and saw round cheeks, flabby arms, a jiggling tummy and thighs let’s not talk about the thighs. 

I looked in the mirror yesterday and saw the decline of what once was comforting, soothing, medicating with chocolate, cake, chocolate cake even and fries, just another side of fries please. I looked in the mirror and looked at who I was becoming and frowned because instead of love I saw self-loathing, a hatred etched so deep, with the noise of voices screaming their judgment – all the shoulds, musts, must-nots. 

I stepped away, looked away unable to see beyond the weight, as I climbed on the scale, again, to see if I was making any progress. “Weigh in once a week,” they say – well weigh in I manage to do but that’s all I manage to do, is weigh in. 

I looked in the mirror today and saw a smile, eyes filled with light. I looked in the mirror and saw happiness, love and passion. I saw beauty! I looked in the mirror and saw strength, resilience, commitment. I looked in the mirror today and I saw dreams, I saw hope! Did I mention love?

My cheeks are still round, my tummy still flabby and yet, I am content with who I really am, not a number from a weigh-in. No longer reduced to a size. 

Tomorrow when I look in the mirror I hope I remember who to see. I hope I remember to see me.

Photo by Jordane Mathieu on Unsplash

Post photo by Jennifer Burk on Unsplash

Metamorphosis

I think we have been led to believe that in life we have to follow one trajectory, one path and if that person we try to be doesn’t work out then we have failed; but in truth life has so many diverging paths.  It is when we are  able to embrace the fact that we will change, that we will evolve and with each evolution we will draw closer to our true selves. 

Each new day we a get a chance to do something different, a fresh start. We get to try out something new. Why not then, look at life as a series of beginnings, instead of one road with only one possible destination?

It’s in the times that I’ve fallen down that I have found the need to assess and re-adjust, and it’s in those moments that I see that there is so much out there for me to explore. A metamorphosis of sorts. In those moments I’m also reminded that I can begin… again… as many times as I need to. 

It’s funny how it takes something bad to happen for us to take the time to stop, reflect and reset. Seriously, try it – Reinvent yourself as many times as you need to. It doesn’t matter what people say, (they’ll always have something to say). 

The world tries to box, tries to put us into categories with labels that make sense to them and it’s not for me or you to necessarily try and convince the world otherwise, it’s only for us to silence the noise, to silence that which doesn’t align with who we are. It reminds us to BE! before we do. 

I’ve learnt that the more times you look into yourself and stop, look,  correct and readjust; the more times you will find that you are closer to your true passions and in closer alignment with your true self. 

So I challenge you why not today look at one thing that you’d like to change and take a small step, a smidge in the direction of that change.

Woman, You are… CONFIDENT! Own Your POWER!

Head, raised, shoulders back, broad smile on her face; she sauntered in with poise and although heads may not have turned, the atmosphere in the room change. The energy level went up a few notches, and just watching her made me smile.

What made her special, probably nothing you and I don’t have. What made her special is that she owned her power. All of it!

I am a serial follower of all things positive, encouraging, empowering, motivating, inspiring and (don’t judge me) self-help. I’m addicted to good stories, to women especially, who are shining, leaning-in, thriving and spreading that positivity wherever they go. Have you guessed why I write this blog?

So, back to this awesome woman; I love being around her because she exudes everything I aspire to be. The last conversation we had, she was actually going through a tough season, but unlike many, she didn’t brush it off. She owned her emotions, her feelings and so gave me space to own mine. We have all heard how important it is to be vulnerable and how it seriously opens up pathways to living a more authentic life. If you haven’t gotten on this band wagon – check out Brené Brown. So why is it dear women, that we are still allowing doubt to creep in and lie to us?

Trust me, I struggle with this so much. One day I’m here “doing the thing that made the pots to happen” South African joke*. And the next I’m wondering if I’m too much, or if I said it right? Fortunately I have a support group who tell me to STOP! and I then try (and sometimes fail) to quiet the gremlins in my head. With practice though I’m realizing that the voice of doubt and insecurity isn’t so tough after all, he’s just been wearing me down with his empty threats. When I push back and say; hey – shut up! he usually does. It’s in these moments I’m reminded of that special woman, who I aspire to be like, who I wish could give me the magic formula to her confidence.

Later today, I’m meeting that special woman again because I need a dose of her awesomeness. And in case you haven’t figured it out – you are that woman, I am that woman. That special woman whose smile lights up a room, whose confidence inspires others, whose energy is infectious and whose laughter beams joy. You are that woman; I am that woman who holds her head up high, who owns her emotions and who knows she is powerful because her unique make-up is exactly what the world needs.

*[translation: Making magic, getting things done]

The World Is Too Much With Us

The beginning of the year is usually characterized by a flurry of excitement. People share their goals, resolutions and we’re bombarded by the pressure to “Start now, get it done, to do something, do it differently, anything new…” with the various slogans and fresh start adages as everyone tries to find a sexy & captivating way of spinning the “New year, New you” buzz.

After exchanging the expected pleasantries, this year, I opted out of this frenzy and took on a social media fast. What started off as a 21-day challenge resulted in a 3 month sabbatical from the scrolling timelines of my digital media accounts.


In 3 months I found that:

  1. I don’t know anyone’s birthday anymore – FB has made me so lazy, I seem to have erased the memory file that stored birthdays. To all my January, February & March friends – Happy belated birthday!
  2. Filling idle time with productivity is easier said than done – for the first two weeks, I just wasted my new found time – exchanging the time to catch up on series and tv shows. After 3 seasons of “Love It or List it:, I surmised that I might need to have a bit of a plan. Only when I intentionally chose a “filler” task did I have an alternative for the time.
  3. The world might not be a great place but I don’t need to know everyone’s opinion about it. Part of the fast meant unplugging from News media as well. Now I remember why I’d cancelled news 4 years ago – without the constant flashing of anger, fear-mongering, corruption, intolerance, ignorance & disaster flashing at me in technicolor with emoji enthused effects I felt the anxiety seep away. No longer was I irked by the shocking comments, or hateful spewing or drivel that came out of people’s mouths and minds. This was probably the least successful to avoid completely as people often mentioned something they had seen in the news, and of course I had to keep abreast of natural disasters albeit days after it had hit the headlines.
  4. I’m a sap at heart – I missed all the gooey love filled posts of my friends with their families, or those learning something new, even the sometimes peculiar “I cooked this” food posts. (It’s only rice but who am I to judge?). Yes, I know we all post our best selves- “blah blah blah it’s not the full picture…” but so what, sometimes you need to pat yourself on the back for a job well done and it’s OK to have a few hundred people be part of it and celebrate with you.
  5. I can’t remember half the people on my timeline anymore – are you sure we went to school together? 
  6. Everyone’s an expert! From parenting quips, to health hacks, what’s best for your life is plastered all over with little but 2 minutes worth of evidence. Now I’m not knocking all social media “advice”, merely questioning whether I want to be plagued by all the information that’s out there. The worst for me is seeing friends blast each other for their choices – to vaccinate not to vaccinate, breastfed vs bottle fed, vegan vs meat lover. I’m happy to try new things but please don’t bash me for my choices. It’s just not that serious.
  7. Getting lost in a book hasn’t felt so good – with no notifications to disturb me, wait, never mind my kids still live here. I had to go old-school and get books from the library; which in itself I generally enjoy except I didn’t have my wise “Good Book Appreciation Society” on-hand with a list of recommendations so there were a lot of hits… and a lot of misses.
  8. I couldn’t avoid social media completely – I needed my Monday Transformation Church sermons – so instead of YouTube I opted to listen via podcast.
  9. I learnt “Baby Shark” in Chinese, Russian & I don’t know what other languages – my toddler’s could not be convinced to give up his obsession with YouTube and I wasn’t willing to give up my sanity breaks either.

I could continue to list the many different reasons why my time away from social media was significantly positive, and I really can’t hail the benefits of the break enough, especially to declutter the toxicity that was starting to build as a result of my wanting to comment, speak up, say something against what I believe amounts to injustice.

That would only be one side of it though. There’s a part of me that enjoys being challenged by the varying perspectives and the constant engagement that comes with social media platforms. Being physically far away from my comfort zone, it also feels good to feel connected to what’s happening back home. I definitely had to be more intentional about reaching out in other ways with the humans whom I love.

The most important lesson, though, was that I felt in control of my time again. I’d always been intentional about taking time to enjoy the view, but this was different. I wasn’t itching to know the latest news, or to be the first to post, or even to beat the algorithm at its dirty game. I could live each day in pace with myself. I’m not deleting my accounts and neither do I intend to do so anytime soon, but I’m definitely more mindful of the time I spend scrolling, and with notifications still off – there’s still a little peace to be savoured.


Ikigai

The seeking of Purpose has been a life long pursuit for me, and I believe that it is a journey not a destination as we are so often taught. I have always believed that everyone has something they can contribute on this planet, and if we take the time to listen, we will all be the better for it. Many years ago, as I was starting to pursue my purpose more fully, and was challenged to remove my focus from the ‘what’ and focus more closely on my ‘why’. There are many reasons why we do the things we do; but more often than not despite the blaring pop psychology that tells us otherwise, our careers are driven by survival and not by the illusionary ‘self-actualisation’. Well, what if they were not mutually exclusive concepts, what if we could in fact work to survive, and work to feed that sacred individual ‘why’ that dwells in the core of our souls.

Ikigai(生き甲斐) is a Japanese concept that means “a reason for being.” The word “ikigai” is usually used to indicate the source of value in one’s life or the things that make one’s life worthwhile.

Please indulge me for a moment, and share your ‘why’. Why do you do what you do? Why do you get up every morning? What makes doing what you do worthwhile?

 

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What’s your Ikigai?

PSA

Each day that we wake up is a gift! In the midst of all we are bombarded with from the world, we can get caught up in the inconsequential. And for my friends (and all the other people) who like me tend to overthink, for this moment, meditate on this:

You're amazing

 

Just give up?!

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GIVE UP! Just give up! Isn’t it the logical thing to do? When you’ve tried and tried… and tried. At some point you have to call it.

In my overactive imagination even giving up has a dramatic visual story. Cue lights: Burgundy hues on a man lying in the middle of a deserted road. A cartoon horse (with Mater’s voice) kicks him, the man doesn’t make a sound. “Is he dead?” the horse asks, walks over the body and still no movement. Cue the violins…Fade lights.

CUUUUUT! A shouting voice brings me back to reality.

Reality can often send so many signs from different places telling you, shouting at you to quit, to call it, to GIVE UP!

BUT, you still have the option to choose not to listen. Too often the obstacles can cause such migraine inducing whiplash that giving up seems like the only option. Well, it’s not.

Sit down. Lie down. Cry. Watch the traffic pass by. And then… GET UP!
Part of this adulting life business is self-care. We have to take it more seriously, and we have to remember that even when it’s not going as we had planned, we can always re-focus and course correct.

Cue lights: Blue light on a man lying on the ground, sounds of birds chirping, on a backdrop of clouds and green meadows. While you’re lying there: Look up, take a deep breath and drink in the expanse of the sky; this is a comma in your story not a full stop.

PetrolPumpWisdom

P.S. @PetrolPumpOracle was the best part of my drive to work!

You! Yes, you

If-not-you-then-who_The-Red-Fairy-Project

I’ve often attended events for either business networking, leadership forums and panel discussions on a variety of topics. I enjoy hearing people’s stories, exposing myself to different perspectives and views on certain topics, and also learning in the process. Most of the time, I will find a few people to chat with, or spark up a conversation, share my business card… and at other times I feel completely out of my depth. Doubt creeps in and has me questioning what intelligent thing could I possibly add, and tries to convince me that I don’t belong there, amongst these esteemed humans.

Similarly, following a big decision to do something new; to start a business, apply for that promotion, change careers, leap out of that plane, say that speech, write that book; doubt creeps in. The adrenalin finally fizzles out after setting up office, designing the website, pitching to investors, and finally things start to pick up. Fast forward to the point where your book has been published, you have a steady flow of clients, spoken at three events, and you’re at the fourth when you think, “I can’t speak alongside X. X has more experience than me, has written 12 books, has been named global leader and and and”.

“Imposter syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success.”*

Let me get this right, after all the sleepless nights, 5-level interview process, and the 50millionth draft, the drawer full of rejection letters; you’re here. Here, on a world-class stage, about to share your pearls of well-practiced wisdom and you’re questioning why you?

I am not here to add to the myriad of ‘how to’s you can find out there. I’m merely here to ask: “Why not you?” So what if X speaks 6 languages, and plays golf with the mayor.

You’re amazing! You’re deserving, and you’ve worked your butt off for this. This is not a fluke or some consolation prize, this is what you’ve been waiting for! Now, go out there and SHINE!

Mt5

 

*https://hbr.org/2008/05/overcoming-imposter-syndrome

Water your dreams

I’ve been pondering what happens while we wait for results. What happens when the fun seemingly runs out? Having met my daily targets, and crept slightly closer to the goal, I’ve been merrily rerouting excuses and busting along with time when Boredom decided to walk in. Boredom is Excuses’ cousin and so his presence was a red flag for me. Boredom tried to convince me that despite my checkmarks, and well-meaning progress, the results were not good enough, big enough, just not enough!

Then I came across this quote which seemed fitting:

“Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success. Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream.” ― Lao Tzu

While you wait for results, remember to water your dreams, to expose them to some sunlight. Every bit of progress counts.

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Gym for who?

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Yesterday I went to gym in my pyjamas. I had decided to give in to the long to do list, and I was sitting on the couch, watching my last program before bed; having resigned myself to the fact that, well, I’d make up for it somehow. The excuses had seemingly won, and having had a long day, I really was tired and deserving of some relaxing mindless TV time, when a voice whispered – “Just go NOW.” In my PJ’s?

An internal dialogue began between my new friend ‘Self-discipline’ and my unwanted friend ‘Excuses’:

Self-discipline: You could just go like that, no-one will notice.

Excuses: (laughs and points mockingly) Are you crazy? People will laugh at you? You should just let it go, you can go tomorrow.

I spent another few minutes convincing myself that missing the session really, wasn’t that big a deal. The mere thought that I would get up, trek to the gym, in. my. pajamas was ludicrous, and yet I found myself putting on my sneakers and off to the gym I went. IN. MY. PYJAMAS.

When trying something new, we are hardwired to find the path of least resistance especially in areas where we struggle the most. By putting off, or finding a way to justify not doing something, we train our brains to automatically find an out that panders to our convenience. As easily as we create this pattern we can just as easily disable it by ‘tricking’ our minds into doing the activity merely by circumventing the excuse with an unexpected response. These unexpected responses can be likened to ‘changing the channel’; changing from the voice that has a litany of excuses and instead responding with one unexpected action that gets you moving, doing.

The more creative, and in my case, outrageous, the response, the more likely you are to actually do it. By leveraging this inherent spontaneous characteristic and reminding yourself of your why, you will more likely be more excited to keep going. And everytime you take a different route, and deny the temptation to succumb to the ‘excuses’ the more achievements you’re able to celebrate along the way.

This is similar to the idea of ‘Morning Pages’ outlined in The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron* which encourages writing 3 pages every morning on the path of creativity. When I first started and failed at this practice, I realised that my hyper-critical voice had created an ‘out’ by convincing me that if I hadn’t completed 3 pages, it meant I hadn’t completed the task. So I have altered Julia Cameron’s advice and stuck to the literal prescription of ‘Morning Pages’, I just write in the morning. 5 lines, 10 lines, 1 page, and sometimes the stipulated 3 pages… or 5.

In the instance of gym, for me, any reason not to go, or postpone my workout seems justified because despite the fact that I know I need to be consistent, there are always seemingly more important things to do. Yesterday it was in pyjamas, tomorrow it might be in a tutu, either way I’ll be at the gym.

The key is to act, to do. To those for whom discipline is more foe than friend, this allows for more completions and ultimately the strengthening of those ‘discipline muscles.’ I guess in a sense you could call me an undisciplined go-getter.

It’s time to take the reins and become that #UndisciplinedGo-getter.

———-

P.S. I’m a stickler for grammar and couldn’t leave without noting that the title should be “Gym for whom.” Old habits die hard.

*http://juliacameronlive.com/basic-tools/morning-pages/