Welcome to Bringing Back Awesome, where we hope to enrich your life every single day with a dash of excitement and a punch of awesomeness!

When the well isn’t deep

wishing-wellAnother year is passing by and the holiday season is just around the corner, which means that many of us will be gathering with family and friends. Spending time with those we care about and doing our level best to make connections with them, deepen our relationships, and make the holidays have special meaning.

 

Turning points

turning-point

There comes a time in every person’s life when we reach a turning point. A moment in time when we can no longer continue on the path we are on. Whether it’s about a job or a relationship or finances or some other thing not covered in those categories. There’s just no way to force ourselves to continue in the way we have been existing up to this point.

That point at which we feel we’ve reached critical mass and maybe even aren’t sure how to proceed. Which direction to travel. We know that something needs to shift – in fact we may feel that something needs to shift dramatically – and yet we may not know how to unravel what really needs to change. Do we just keep hacking away at the issue, the way we always have? Probably not.

In some cases the only thing that can shift or that needs to shift may be our perspective. But how? That’s often where we struggle.

There are all kinds of platitudes we could throw at this about building our own lives, blah, blah, blah, but what does that really mean? How do we wrap our arms around a situation that’s causing us confusion? How do we gain acceptance that something needs to change? How do we turn a corner?

Ask yourself a series of questions that will help you unravel the problem and hopefully find a solution.

1. What do you want for yourself?

Either in general, or specific to the problem at hand, what do you really want? It’s important to identify this answer or series of answers.

Once you identify what you want for yourself, ask yourself this…

2. Do you have what you identified in question #1, or do you have any part of it?

Identify if this is something that you have any part of, or if you’re starting from scratch. Be honest with yourself. Sometimes when we’re feeling down or confused (or both), it’s easy to pile on and do some all or nothing thinking. Don’t slip into that trap, especially when you’re trying hard to identify your needs.

Once you’ve asked yourself questions 1 and 2, ask yourself this…

3. Are these things that I really want in my life?

Do you really want these things? As in really, really want them, at all costs, above all else?

If yes, then continue with this process.

If no, ask yourself why then did you think you wanted them? Family or peer pressure? What you think society thinks you should have/be/do? The path of least resistance? Once you identify the reason or reasons, ask yourself if you really want to live your life for those other people or things and do you want to give that much power to them, or do you really want to figure out this thing called life and live it for yourself?

4. If you haven’t been doing or pursuing the things that you really want, why not?

Do you feel worthy of these things you want? If not, why not? When you meet people who in your head meet the description of having the things that you want, do you feel they are worthy? If not, why not? If so, why are they worthy, yet you are not worthy of the same? What makes them more worthy? (Hint…it’s probably in how you’re seeing yourself, because you are worthy!)

Are you putting up a wall between yourself and these things? If so, why? Perhaps it’s time to start taking down the wall, brick by brick, because you are worthy of living your very best life and living your dreams! Or hell, forget about the brick by brick approach – just smash through the damn thing!

So now, after going through these questions, this exercise in digging a bit deeper, ask yourself again…

5. What do you want in your life that will make you happy?

What do you need to begin to focus on that makes you happy? Not your family, not your friends, not society or society’s version of who you should be…you!  Create a list. Then ask yourself do you have those things? Simple yes or no as your answers. No explanations, no beating around the bush, no weaseling out of an answer. Do you have them, yes or no?

Are your answers different than those you gave in #1? Maybe so…

So now that you have your list, and you have your answers on your list, answer this…

6. What are you going to do about it?

Are you going to take action? Please do. Don’t wait any longer. It’s your time. Turn the corner.

 

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What motivates people

motivation

We never really know what motivates people. What their rationale is for doing what they do. What drives them or inspires them to greatness or not-so-greatness.

People have their own reasons for being the way they are and for doing the things that they do, right, wrong, or indifferent.

Since we’re unlikely to really ever understand the full complement of what motivates a person to act in any particular way, all we can do is be concerned with what motivates ourselves.

It’s really not even our business to try to figure out the motivation of others – that’s their story.

So what does that leave us with?

Our story.

Given that, the best bet is to be true to yourself and to do your level best to ensure that your motivation is coming from a good place.

Simple stuff in way, but not really. Honestly, all we can do is our best to be a good and decent person and live our own life without too much worrying about what’s motivating others to be who they are.

 

Dare to take off your mask

take off your maskWe all wear masks in certain settings of our lives. Perhaps at work you wear a more professional mask. With your friends you might don your more lively social mask. And with a spouse or a lover, in a private moment you may wear a secret, sexy mask. All parts of the whole of you. It wouldn’t be appropriate to wear those masks in the wrong settings, so we tend to follow the rules that society sets about the whys and wherefores of the masks we wear.

But sometimes the masks we wear become too fixed. A mask we wear has somehow become a part of our persona. Who we are.

We somehow feel pressured in certain settings to wear a mask that may no longer be comfortable. Akin to a role we play in certain relationships in our lives. Maybe you’re the caregiver. Or the strong one. Or the emotional one.

Maybe you’ve turned the mask into your identity. Wife. Mother. Boyfriend. Sister. Husband. Friend.

And sometimes the mask that has become your identity can cover up parts of you that you used to know and love. Parts that are now hidden behind the mask.

Sometimes others push us to wear the mask and we acquiesce. Just to keep the peace. Or to make someone else happy.

Other times wear willingly submit to wearing the mask because it’s just easier. The path of least resistance.

Or maybe we just didn’t realize that we had a choice and that we were good enough to go without the mask. That we could be naked and live in our own truth.

It was only recently that I recognized one mask that I’ve been wearing for a very long time. Years. One that I’d forgotten I’d even put on.

I used to be a much more physically affectionate person. Touchy-feely. The brush of a hand on the arm of someone I was talking to. Leaning in to touch someone when we were laughing and having a good time. A spontaneous hug just to let someone know I adored them and was enjoying my time with them.

But it bothered some people. And rather than questioning the warmth and openness of the people who were uncomfortable, I questioned myself. I changed myself. I molded myself to fit their needs and I created a strong and powerful mask of an invulnerable person who no longer expressed herself in the manner that was inherent to her nature. I became someone else. Someone who I wasn’t.

I donned a mask and wore it for a very, very long time. Years, in fact. Until just recently, when something made me realize that a part of me was missing. In fact, it was not something, but someone, mirroring this affectionate behavior to me, who awakened this part of me. Seeing and feeling someone touch me with that warmth and caring of a friend made me remember this part of myself. It reminded me that this more authentic version of myself needed to emerge and discard that mask, even if it made others uncomfortable. Even if the people whom I’ve chosen to be around weren’t used to this version of me. I needed to honor that part of me that spontaneously wanted to reach out and touch others and stop holding myself back from being kind and affectionate.

I decided to discard this old and useless mask. And it feels good and new and warm and authentic.

So what about you? What mask have you been wearing just because it’s what you’ve been doing, maybe even for years? Dare to take it off.

It may make people in your life a bit uncomfortable. Maybe even a lot uncomfortable. But it’s your life, damn it, and there’s no sense in hiding behind a mask and being half of who you were meant to be.

So go ahead. Take off your mask.

Who are we?

we-have-changed

Denise and I were talking on the phone recently, discussing something bloggy, or maybe something personal – I can’t quite recall – but I do remember how the discussion unfolded.

We were discussing a particular situation and both of our responses were so very different than they would have been a couple of years ago. As in better different. Calmer, more reasonable, less reactive.

Denise asked jokingly, “Who are we?”

And I responded, quite seriously, “We are people who have come a long way.”

We have come a long way. We have grown. We have changed. We are better versions of ourselves. We are more open, more honest, more authentic, while at the same time being calmer, stronger, and more able to take on the troubles we may face and embrace the joys that life brings.

Why is that?

Because we want to change and grow. We want to become better, stronger, more authentic people. We want to be true to ourselves, and in turn, we will become more true to others. We are willing to be uncomfortable and shed our skin and grow into our new-found selves.

We are growing into awesome, more and more every day.

How about you? Are you willing to dispense with the old and change and grow into a more authentic you? Maybe you’ve already changed a bunch and come a long way? We’d love to hear your story in the comments.

Travel in the direction of our fear

we must travel in the direction of our fearThis isn’t the first time we’ve talked about fear here. It’s a very real thing that comes up from time to time in our lives. And I’m not talking about fear of spiders or being afraid of heights. I’m talking about the fear of pursuing certain things in our lives. Bigger things. Better things. Or merely things that stretch our understanding of who we are as individuals and where we find ourselves in the world.

It’s those kinds of fears that are giving us a message in life. Telling us that it’s time to erase some of the harsh lines we’ve drawn in our lives. Time to evolve a little. Time to recognize that life is lived more in the grey area than in the comfort of the black and white. Time to push ourselves a bit and stretch our boundaries to experience something greater in our lives.

In other words, it’s time to grow.

When we feel that cool feeling of fear in the pit of our stomachs, it is indeed a message. A statement. It is our soul saying it’s time. Time to morph into a stronger, braver version of ourselves.

So come on now…let’s travel in the direction of our fear.

Crossfit & The Bigger Picture

brainworkout-300x253

Yesterday, I was told by my on-ramp coach and fellow crossfitter that he has never seen someone mentally challenge themselves as much as I do when I walk into the gym. He said compared to a lot of people he knows, athletes included, my mental game is far more intense than any other he has ever seen, adding when he looks at my face he can see my mind change and that he can even watch me psych myself out.

Well, I wasn’t sure if I should be offended or not. And looking back on it, I don’t think he meant anything by it (in fact, he said that crossfit would help my mental game), but I do think I may have been slightly offended, but I played it off like, “that’s just my nature, blah blah blah.” And to be clear, it is a little bit my nature. However, I’ve been told a lot of things about how I look (so intense, stand offish, stuck up), and I put up a guard when someone comments on my character. And the old me would have gone off on him. But I’m a different person these days, and his comments made me think a little. And by a little I mean the 5 mile drive home.

However, it wasn’t until later that day when I saw a Facebook post by my crossfit gym, Crossfit Infernal, that things really started to sink in for me. They asked their followers to comment on the following statement, “However Infernal has helped changed your life lets us know!!”

And right there, it all came together like a wall ball hitting me dead center in the chest, knocking me to the floor. The mental comments and this question! It all just melded together for me at that moment. But instead of writing my comment on their page, I wanted to share it here.

Crossfit for me is more than wanting to look good in the jeans I’ve been hanging on to for 3+ years (yes, I’ve been saving them). And while fitting into my old jeans and looking good in my clothes is a part of why I do crossfit, it’s become much more. It goes deeper than what is on the outside and has really become part of who I am these days.

From the moment my alarm goes off at 4:45AM, my mental game begins. First, it is convincing myself to get up to get to the gym. Of course I’d rather stay at home in my bed for another hour and a half. But I convince myself that I need to get to the gym, although I’m not sure why.

Once I’m at the crossfit gym, the mental game continues, and YES, IT…GETS..INTENSE. And YES, wall walks psych me out. They make me cry. I get emotional at the gym sometimes. And for a while, I was embarrassed by it. But I’m not anymore. Really, sometimes I just can’t hold in the tears. I’m on my own journey there, and it’s very different from everyone else’s journey. And if they see me cry there, it’s because I’ve made a breakthrough, and that I’m comfortable enough with them to share how I really do feel.

Every day I step foot into that gym, I face my fears. Fear I won’t be able to do the workout, fear I’m going to quit, fear of others judging me, and the fear of doing it all on my own. And that is a scary place to be. While I wait for them to yell at my 6 o’clock class to take a lap for our warm-up, I’m really trying to psych myself into doing it. I’m digging deep, and finding the will within myself to just do it, without regrets, never looking back.

The mental game continues throughout the day, especially with me trying to start a new business, being a wife, a mother, sometimes a chauffeur, a cook; you name it, I’m playing the role. There is always doubt and fear. But crossfit has taught me that I CAN conquer my fears. I CAN absolutely get through it all if I take a step back, dig deep, and mentally talk myself through everything.

Crossfit has taught me to love myself and all the layers that make up the person I am. It’s taught me to be strong, both physically and mentally. It has helped me figure out who and what I want in my life. And some of those people are right there in that gym – total strangers who want to see you succeed.

So yes, my on-ramp coach/fellow crosffitter was right when he said he sees a mental challenge going on when I walk through the doors at the gym. It’s me, playing through how I want to see that hour go down. I’m picturing myself completing the workout, not matter how long it takes me. It’s me prepping for how I want to see myself get through the day. And when you take away the intense look, and sometimes the foul language that gets me through it, the mental game is all positive.

I am a lucky person to have found an outlet like crossfit, and grateful to have them in my life.

 

 

Something is going on here

coming out of my cocoon

Something is going on here. Something is happening. Something is afoot.

An ownership of my life that I have never taken before.

Owning my heart and my mind and my soul and my spirit and making decisions for who that person is and who that person is becoming.

Decisions growing out of the bottom of my soul, not rooted in what society thinks is good or bad, right or wrong.

Decisions based on love for myself and love for my body and love for my soul and love for this beautiful and brief life, this amazing but short time we’re gifted on this earth.

Something is happening.

I’ve left the comfort of my cocoon and taken flight.

Are you ready to fly too?

Celebrate the successes of others

high five

Many times we get so caught up in our own journeys – our own struggles and triumphs and tribulations – that we forget how joyous it can feel to celebrate the successes of others.

Just this morning I had a phone conversation with someone close to me who shared a success of hers and the success of a friend of hers and it made me feels so very happy. Made my day, in fact.

This was especially enlightening because recently I’ve been in my own head a lot about things that are going on in my life and have been wondering how to get out of that overthinking rut. Well, one way is to celebrate the successes of someone else. Share with them how happy you are for them.

So today, share someone else’s joy and see how wonderful it makes you feel. It might just make their day and your day!

 

Treading Water

treading waterNo animals were harmed in the making of this blog post

What do you do when you wake up one morning and realize that despite all of your efforts, you still aren’t where you want to be in your life?

It’s not even like anything major is wrong. Nope. More that nothing is great. Things are kind of “meh.” Just moving along. Mediocre. Not exactly awesome.

First, recognize it for what it is. Temporary.

This, too, shall pass. This sense of ennui is just a place you are passing through on your journey to something greater.

Then tread water.

Just get through your day or week or even month.

Many times when we find ourselves in this place it’s because certain things or people have been demanding our attention. Perhaps work has been crazy. Or maybe you’ve been nursing a family member with the flu. Or whatever.

Something other than pursuing your wildest dreams has been sucking up your time. And that’s OK. It happens. That’s the point when we should give ourselves a break and tread water.

In fact, this is the place where I’ve been over the last couple of weeks. A very busy phase at work seems to have consumed my life. At times it left me asking myself if maybe I shouldn’t just give up and forget about my dreams. Just focus on the work I’m paid to do and forget about all of the other stuff. But then I realized that was the busyness and the exhaustion speaking. Not the real me. That I just needed to tread water for a bit and all of my inspiration would eventually come flooding back when my world evened out a bit again. It seems I’m seeing a glimmer of that hope again today.

I’ve talked about treading water before. How it’s better than crumbling and falling into a ball on the floor. And how sometimes it’s the thing that gets you from point A to point B.

So when you wake up on that one very not special day and feel like your life in all areas has come to a screeching halt, give yourself permission to just tread water for a bit.