Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Project Ten

OK let’s talk transformation. And being a work in progress.

I’m getting ready to post a video of me getting on the scale. Online. Publicly.

I am an open book and share a lot of my personal and health journey with all you lovely people, but the number on the scale has always been a closely guarded secret between me and my doctor.

Let’s be honest … for women this is a HUGE deal.

I’m fine sharing what size I’m wearing. Sizes vary so widely from store to store and brand to brand, and I’m actually pretty happy with the number. Not satisfied or done yet, but happy. (Hello, six.) But my pounds number … well, it’s not quite so small. And granted, I’m tall, but still. Still!

Why would I put myself though this psychological mini-trauma? For accountability. For transparency. Because it’s what everyone I work with is doing. To be a leader and an example. To be real.

Oh yeah, and there’s a contest going on. There’s a drawing for a nice chunk of cash for all who lose ten pounds. Or for the skinny among us, all who add ten pounds of muscle.

I shot the video a couple weeks ago and was giving myself a pep talk about posting it online. And figuring out how private I could keep it while still entering the drawing. Now here I am sharing it with the world, lol. (A little more than what’s required for the contest btw.) That pep talk lasted for several days.

And then … then … while still having that conversation with myself … my skinny runner friends started posting their videos. At a weight less than what I weighed when I was on the track team in middle school. Hmphf! One of my friends may have experienced an uncharacteristically (for me anyway) typical female rant on the subject. Honestly I don’t dwell on the number on the scale, and I don’t compare my number to others because everyone is so, so different. I guess it’s just funny to see how very different we all are.

I’m fine now. And did I mention I’m tall? J

So. Tomorrow it’s going up. I may be certifiable. Or I may just not care what anyone thinks anymore. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


God gave me a big ol’ honkin’ reminder the other day that he’s in charge and he has set me free. I wasn’t particularly expecting it. I mean, I am the eternal optimist, but I tend to be all about expecting the best but planning for the worst.

Contingency Plans ‘R’ Us. J

I’ve always thought that Christianity, secondary to being about love, is about freedom. And when I get a taste of that on this earth … well, I’m just in awe.

I talked to someone who was intrigued by how I’ve done it. How I’ve broken free. Of Corporate America. Of negativity. You can say, “Don’t let the bastards get you down,” but sometimes that’s easier said than done.

How have I done it? It’s all by the grace of God, of course, and I am such a work in progress … but I have practical solutions, too. It starts with recognizing that He’s in charge, and then you’re in charge. You have a choice. There’s always a choice.

So make the correct choice. You know, the one that will ultimately make you happier.

Choose happiness … positivity … to believe you can … accepting responsibility … action … an open mind … helping others …peace … excellence …

Instead of depression … negativity … lack of self-esteem … blaming others or your circumstances … staying frozen in place … a closed mind … focusing on yourself … complaining ... mediocrity …

Usually it really is that easy. Choosing the higher road. When negativity comes your way … smile and say, “Well, bless your heart.” J

When depression and the winter blahs attack … go exercise, just say no to the drive-through, and put on an extra sweater. (It’s been so cold the last two days that I have, in fact, been wearing two coats out and about.) I have talked to umpteen dozen people lately who, when I suggest that they do xyz and break out of the winter blahs, get this look on their face like a light bulb has just gone off. Sometimes it’s just more of an agreeing that the winter blahs are in effect, whether it was in the front of their mind or not. And sometimes it’s a very grateful “oh yeah that sounds like a great idea, and I can’t wait to break out of the winter blahs.” I love those moments. I’m here to serve. And to remind you that you have a choice.

So choose freedom. God gave it to you. Recognize it when it’s staring you in the face. Run with it.

Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, we are free at last. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Soundtrack in My Head

Soooo ... I haven't been feeling the greatest the last few days. Nothing really specific or unusual for me, just a little raspy & tired. I thought a good workout might make me feel better.

I got on the treadmill Monday morning – following a Go shot & a couple hits off the inhaler – and honestly my lungs hurt after the first two-minute running interval. In an ouch-wow-my-lungs-actually-ache kind of way, lol. And maybe in a dang-it-I-refuse-to-succumb-to-the-traditional-February-bronchitis kind of way. (Yes, I realize it’s still January. Things need to brew in there for a while.) I kept going.

And just before I started the last interval ... this song popped up on Pandora.

It's kind of a theme song for me & some of my friends. It makes me smile. This time it was a little message from God saying, “Hey, you’ve got this.” I finished. Followed by the yoga ball workout that nearly killed me last week. OK, the workout itself didn’t kill me, but I was really, really sore the next day.

I'm still breathing.

I like it when God speaks through my iPod. Or iPhone in this case.

The daily devotional I started using has been talking a lot about letting God guide your day. And not stressing so much when your own plan gets changed. I’ve come a long way on that one. I go with the flow a lot better than I used to. But I can always use reminders and practice.

With my professional background I’m all about making a plan and executing the plan and moving on to the next plan.

So I may be biased, but I do highly recommend having a plan. You can’t just wait for the landscaping to erupt into flames and start speaking before you decide what to do for the day, week, etc. Sitting in a lotus position until you hear a Charleton Heston voice … that’s not necessarily what the big guy is intending.

Sure we all need time for meditation and prayer … and then listen to the soundtrack God is putting in your head … and then act. Sometimes that soundtrack is really, really quiet. Sometimes you need to seek it out. Sometimes you need to tune out everything that’s trying to drown it out.

And there are those times when I go for a long walk, keep asking “what should I do about x?” … and it’s almost like he’s cutting me off every time and yelling the answer at me. It’s amusing, actually. And anyone listening to the soundtrack in my head on those days might think I’m a raving lunatic.

Crazy like a fox, baby.

So what’s on the soundtrack in your head today? 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Mental Illness

Along with the obesity epidemic in America, I think there’s a mental illness epidemic.

As I continue on my own spiritual journey and draw closer to God, he has opened my eyes to how seriously messed up many of us really are. And how blessed I am to be as sane and stable as I am. Relatively speaking, of course. I have plenty of my own issues and struggles.

So in trying to assist others now that I have secured my own oxygen mask …

I find a lot of people living in fear. They freely admit they don’t like the status quo, but they are so afraid of change or failure, or both … they change nothing. They stay stuck in the status quo. Honestly I don’t understand.

And it makes me sad.

What I do for a living now that I’ve escaped Corporate America is help people get healthy with better nutrition. An unexpected side effect of better nutrition for me has been better mental health. I think more clearly. I’m optimistic. I’m more alert. I’m happy. I just feel better. Calmer. More at peace.

And I have example after example after example of others who have had the same experience.

I see people in their chicken nugget and Diet Coke fog, and I think, “I can help you feel better!” But the message, no matter how it’s delivered, doesn’t always get through. And wanting change isn’t enough if action doesn’t come with it.

And don’t even get me started on obesity, regular consumption of certain unhealthy foods, and a sedentary lifestyle all being risk factors for depression. They are! Look around you! Maybe even look in the mirror. I have been there.

Maybe God has sent you a helicopter and a rowboat … while you’re sitting on the roof of your house surrounded by flood waters … and you’re refusing to get in because you’re paralyzed by fear, or you imagined your rescue looking differently, or I don’t know, someone enlighten me please.

God could, if he wanted, change your life completely. He could make you the picture of fantastic mental and physical health. But there’s that free will thing and his grand master plan thing at play. He has things for us to do, things for us to learn.

God is the ultimate coach, and when I remember to acknowledge that and act accordingly … peace, love, joy, and happiness dominate my life. When stress and angst start to enter in, I’ve got something out of whack and/or maybe he’s nudging me in a different direction.

When I’m serving as someone’s coach in my own little nook of the universe … and they ask for my help, but then they ignore my advice … at some point (after moving through compassionate, caring, understanding, encouraging, motivational … and eventually to tough love) … I have to throw up my hands and say oh well, I tried. I imagine God does much the same with me at times.

I’ll save the ones I can. J

Unlike the ultimate coach, I don’t get to know ahead of time which are which. It’s a surprise.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Do you set goals for yourself? Do you actually write them down?

I have to admit I’m guilty of not always putting them in writing. And that does lead to leaving them by the wayside at times.

Back in the land of Corporate America I had to write down my goals all the time. It’s what you do. At times my compensation was tied to how well I met my goals. I guess I didn’t realize until recently how many people don’t set goals, let alone write them down.

Every January – or even December for the proactive – I’d go through how I did for the previous year. At one company we were expected to write it up ourselves so our manager would have the start of our annual review. Not a bad thing necessarily … you can point out how awesome you are. 

The more frequently you review your progress against goals, the fewer surprises you’re likely to get at the end of the year. Oops, that project never did get approved … how do I explain that away. Oops, we were two weeks later than we said … and even though the reason is legit and it didn’t matter in the end, am I going to get in trouble for it?

Oh, and everyone’s goals must align. Your goals must support your manager’s goals which must support his manager’s goals and so on, and so on. You didn’t think you actually got to set your own, did you? You might get a gimme or two thrown in under professional development or something, but really one must wait until “the organization’s” goals are published before finalizing the slate of things-someone-else-has-determined-you-must-do.

There was one plant in particular that always made me laugh. The plant manager’s goals were aligned with my goals and everyone else’s goals … and when we started getting close to a deadline I was responsible for … the phone calls would start. Not usually from the plant manager himself, but from his staff. Are we going to meet it? We’re going to meet it, right? What are we doing to meet it? It’s all gonna be ok, right?!? Tell me it’s all gonna be ok!

I may have elaborated slightly on those last couple of sentences.

In setting your goals for the year in Corporate America, you want to make really, really sure they’re achievable. Your bonus may depend on it. Your manager’s bonus may depend on it. Your continued employment may depend on it. So make sure they’re achievable. You may even want to make sure they’re conservative. Basically you’re setting your goals from a position of fear … fear of what-if-you-don’t-meet-them.

In real life and entrepreneurship it’s a little different.

Sure, achievable is important, but conservative isn’t necessarily the way to go. What is it you really want? Say it out loud. Write it down. People setting their goals – or refusing to set any goals at all – from a position of fear or lack of self-esteem just kills me.

Here are some things I’ve heard lately when coaching others on goal-setting …

  • I’ll just see what I can do. (Someone bring me the duct tape so I can wrap it around my head to keep it from exploding.)
  • I’m not really good at setting goals.
  • I haven’t been getting results lately, so I’ll set my goal really low. (I’m thinking maybe look at alternate strategies instead.)
  • I don’t want to miss my goal, so I’ll set it a little low.

Here’s a newsflash. Your goals tend to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. And, as Henry Ford said, whether you believe you can or you can’t, you’re right.

Here’s another newsflash. What’s gonna happen if you don’t 100% meet a goal you set for your own personal life? Are you gonna cry about it? There’s no crying in goal setting!

I think fear and self-esteem issues play a role in not aiming high enough, but cultural and religious influences are present as well. Maybe gender, too … good little girls don’t rock the boat after all. A good puritan work ethic says, well, just do your work, work hard. And wanting more out of life … that might not qualify as humble and meek … if I lay out a bold plan, that might imply I think my plan is better than God’s … and that’s bad, really bad.

You know there’s meek and then there’s meek.

I understand more as time goes on that God wants me to help people. A lot of people. We serve God by serving others, right? I often pray about when I should speak and when I should shut up. When I should act and when I should wait. I do my best to listen and follow suit.

I have the boldness thing mastered fairly well when it comes to reaching out to people, but in order to help a lot of people I also have to help myself to an extent first. (Please secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others …) Physically healthy habits like sleep, nutrition, exercise … spiritually healthy habits like prayer and scripture reading … mentally healthy habits like unplugging now and again. An actual quote from a friend recently … “maybe God wanted you to be unplugged for a day”.

I include all of these types of things in my written goals. This year I have them sorted into business, health, personal / spiritual, and travel categories.

I do pray about what my goals should be. In Corporate America we align our goals with the CEO and the board. In real life and entrepreneurship, I recommend aligning with God. Just a suggestion. Go ahead. It’s ok. One of my goals for this year actually ends with the words, “Let God Lead”. Capitalized and underlined. J

So if you’re a praying Jesus freak like me, pray about your goals. And then write them down. Go, do it now.