Freedom Through Discipline

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From fireworks to parades to hot dogs, apple pie, and baseball, many Americans will find a way in the next couple of days to celebrate the freedom this country was founded upon.

With the need to be free hardwired into our operating systems, it’s the rare person who willingly gives up that freedom without a compelling reason. Yet, to achieve almost anything worthwhile, sacrifice is usually required. At the very least, discipline is demanded.

Think about the last thing you wanted to learn, do, or achieve that you knew nothing about. Chances are you did not just do it and become an instant expert.

Say you want to get in shape to run a 5k race in October. If you’ve never run anything but late, then you’ll need a strategy, a training schedule, some dietary guidelines, and basic structure in order for your plan to succeed.

Too often we’re seduced by the idea of easy.

Now I’m all for things being easy, but the things that really matter usually do so because of the time, effort, and discipline required to call forth our commitment and courage. When we can conjure up those characteristics, then unlikely allies and opportunities also arise and ignite a spark we may not have even known was in us.

This summer and fall I am taking on a couple of things are way beyond my skill set. I’m making a video series called Sunday Summer Stretch Series (watch today’s episode here) and hosting a retreat in September called Tapping Into Your Wellpower. (Watch for details posted here this week.)

I refuse to let the fact that I currently don’t have the expertise I would prefer to have to boldly go where I have not gone before stop me from heading in that direction. I have traveled enough to know there will be rest stops, restaurants, and resources along the way. Consequently, I trust I will be okay.

If I let the reluctance to start because I have no guarantees I will succeed stop me, I’d never get anywhere. And, oh, the places I would like to go!!

To me freedom is always hard won. While I’ve never fought for my country as some of you have, I fight daily for my dreams and the privilege to help you realize yours as well.

I’d love to hear how you are not just celebrating your freedom, but finding it through discipline and exercising it by stretching your skill set this summer.

Tell us all about it in the comments below. (Accountability does wonders!)

 

 

 

Here to the New Year in Good Cheer – Day 6 – Plan F

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It’s Day 6 of  the Here to the New Year in Good Cheer challenge. Today’s tension tackling tips focus on the letter “F” and feature five fabulous fingers frolicking and fa-la-la-ing just for the fun of it.

Today is all about freedom, so pick the concept you find most fulfilling, flattering, or fashionable that enables you to forfeit any full-on freak-out during festive gatherings.

If all else fails and frustration sets in, fetch a friend and free yourself from feeling flustered, frazzled, or flummoxed by facilitating a field trip to your family farm.  There you may face fascinating adventures from feeding feathered fowl to following finicky felines as they feign indifference toward their favorite food.

To foster more good cheer you may flirt with flower arranging, or if none are to be found, try arranging the furniture instead for an instant feng shui fix.

If all of this seems foolish, I fear you may have forgotten that time is fleeting and we frequently forgo fresh experiences that allow us to flourish because we are afraid to fumble, fall, or fail.

From Here to the New Year, follow your fascination.  Even if it seems far-fetched, fearlessly forge ahead and let it frame your future. Flamboyantly fake it until you make it, if you must. Just don’t forsake the inner fire that edges you forward.

I love fan mail so please share your favorite “f” experiences with this fantastic flock of followers in the comments below.

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No Matter What – Day 8

It’s Day 8 of the No Matter What Game.  To find out how you can join in, see details below the post.

Crowd of Diverse People

G:  Pick two different coloured crayons (or something similar) at random. Tell us something related to each of the colours.

P:  This reminds me of an exercise we just did at Staff Development Day on Friday.  Twice a year our three colleges come together for day of reckoning and reacquainting.

To prevent us from staying in our comfort zone and sitting with people we already know at our own campuses, the organizers planned a mixer where we sat with others from across the district.  We were then asked to find four things everyone at our table had in common besides working at EICC.

While it was easy to come up with things all humans have in common, I was really hoping we’d dig deep and discover some uncommon commonalities.  Since one of the people at our table teaches Intro to Psychology, I felt certain we had a reliable life guard should we decide to wade into deep waters.

Sadly we stayed in shallow waters, which is always safe at a public pool.  (And a public school.)

But this goes against my nature.  Being the Queen of Quirk that I am, I never play it safe at the public pool.  I’m the one with the zoomers, hand gloves, goggles, and nose plug swimming slowly but steadily in the lap lane in a polka dot one piece.  I show up equipped and ready to make the most of the experience.

In the beginning, it used to make me feel a wee bit self-conscious.  One of the great things that has happened to me at midlife is I stopped caring so much what everyone else thinks and started daring to be my own brand of brilliant and beautiful.

This doesn’t mean anyone else agrees with me.  It just means I’m freer and have more fun than I used to.

This also means I don’t follow directions well and like to make exceptions whenever possible.  So, instead of relating this post to colours (if you are reading this the UK) or colors (if you are reading this in the US) or I’m not sure which spelling you prefer if you are in Australia, I decided to just write no matter what and see where we drifted.

I’m also committed to getting to bed early tonight so this is where I leave you.

Please feel free to answer the prompt in your own way and post it in the comments below. 🙂  Or if you’d prefer Gillian to send you your own prompt, email her at http://gillianpearce.com or https://www.facebook.com/gillianpearcecoach.

8 Excellent Reasons to Challenge Yourself

Comfort Zone/ Challenge Sign Concept

During the month of July I led a  group of through my Get Stuff Done 1 x31 Challenge.    The goal was to do one thing each day for thirty-one days  on our to-do, to-dream, to-become list.  These things needed to be small steps that didn’t require a lot of planning or equipment and could be done within 5-15 minutes. 

While I could go into detail about the impressive things  participants got done, what I’d rather share is why taking on a challenge that catapults us out of our comfort zone and into the “What was I thinking?” zone is so important.

The reason for doing anything that challenges us physically, mentally, emotionally, spirituality, financially or all of the above is because we forget what we are made of.   We lose sight of our superpowers and the only way to reactivate them is not to just dream the impossible dream but actually do something about it.

While it may seem like trying something for a few weeks, twenty-one days, or a month  or two won’t change  a lifetime of bad habits, you may be surprised what a little forward momentum will do for you.

Here are eight excellent reasons to act on your desires and take on  a time specific challenge.

#1 – Focus is required.

Whether it’s 3 days or 30, knowing you have a finite amount of time to achieve certain results definitely clears your calendar of any unnecessary clutter or distractions and allows you to focus on the goal at hand.  If you think you have all the time in the world to work on your website, draw up a will, or lose twenty pounds, that’s how long it will take.  If you have a timeline, a plan, and a schedule that’s non-negotiable, you’ll get down to business.

#2 – Resources rush to the rescue.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” The universe will meet you halfway but you have to take the first step.

When you are committed to the challenge, synchronicities occur.  From random songs on the radio to books that fall off shelves to old friends who suddenly call with the exact information you need, assistance is all around you.  Tune in to it.

#3 – Activation energy is unleashed.

In her TED talk, Mel Robbins talks about “activation energy” or the energy required to overcome the inertia you will experience when faced with the physical reality of changing your behavior.

Whether that’s throwing off the covers and getting out of bed a half hour early to write instead of hitting the snooze button or walking away from the chocolate chips crying out to you from the cupboard, you will feel a gravitational pull to old habits that you will have to conquer as part of your challenge.

#4 – Next steps are revealed.

The great thing about taking the first step is that in order to get anywhere, you have to  take another.  You do not have to know where it will lead or how long it will take to get there.  You only need to pay attention and take the next step when it is revealed.  Attempting to blast through all of the steps at once is not only incredibly destructive but hides the treasures that can only be found in navigating  a tricky terrain.

#5 – Perfection is not an option.

The quickest way to learn a something is to fail a few times.  Just like getting lost will help you find your way the next time, failing is a sure fire way to help you continue to refine and define your reason for wanting to master this skill or challenge.

You don’t know what you don’t know when you begin.  But you get leaner, fiercer, and smarter as you gain experience. Or you soften, become more compassionate, and wise.

As most people training for a marathon will tell you, they are not in it to win it. By qualifying, participating, and completing, they achieve something beyond winning.

You are not taking this challenge to become perfect.  You are taking this challenge to become more of who you know you can be.

#6 – Expect the unexpected.

At some point during the challenge something will surprise you.  Whether it is something you learn about yourself or an opportunity that presents itself, your efforts will be rewarded when you least expect it.

#7 – Freedom comes through discipline.

One of Gretchen Rubin’s Secrets to Adulthood is,  ” What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.” The biggest lesson I’ve learned from any challenge I’ve completed in the last year is this.  Freedom comes through discipline.

Discipline makes those hundreds of decisions that could derail me so much easier to make.  I just say no.  Not for the next 21 or 31 days or however long it takes.  Doing what I need to do every day instead of once in a while or when I feel like it makes all the difference.

#8 – You are capable of more than you imagined.

Until you activate your superpowers, you don’t know you have them.  Until you do what you say you want to do, you’ll never know that you can not only do that, but so much more.

One of  Danielle LaPorte’s truthbombs encourages us to “Love the necessary hard work.”  While it may be difficult to believe in the beginning, you will come to respect this advice. Once you have walked through the fire, felt the heat of the challenge, and come out on the other side, you will not only understand the wisdom of these words, you will be an example of them.

I’d love to hear about the some of challenges you’ve taken in the comments below.

Detox Take Away #1 – Freedom through Discipline

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As a former free-spirit, if anyone dared to suggest my life might be easier by imposing a few more rules or a little more structure,  I would have laughed. Wanting to be free to move at a moment’s notice or leap whether the net appeared or not, I was all about keeping my options open.

Eventually all that uncertainty takes its toll.  Ironically, the kind of freedom I was really craving came through discipline.

Nowhere was this more obvious than in my approach to eating.

Years of pretending to be eating healthy while skipping meals, over consuming carbohydrates, and leading a more sedentary lifestyle was a definite detour from the wellness way I thought I was following.

The detox provided a much needed GPS.  Life became so much easier once I knew what I was going to eat, when I would need to eat it, what I needed to buy, and how to prepare for various contingencies.

Prior to the detox, the daily “What’s for dinner?” dilemma opened the door to all kinds of bad choices, especially if I waited too long to answer it. Then anything and everything was fair game.

The detox forced me to plan my meals, plan my snacks, frequent the grocery store more often (because fresh foods don’t last too long), and bring order to the food court so poor choices were no longer an option.

Once I implemented the plan, I was rewarded with consistent energy throughout the day, an even temperament, and a better ability to find the center of calm when chaos threatened to reign.

Those of you who have been preparing family meals already know the importance of planning. But for someone like me who has been making meals mainly for myself, planning seemed unnecessary.  Especially when popcorn or soup could suffice.

The detox forced me to take a disciplined approach to everything from meal planning to meal timing.  We all know what happens when we get too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. Hangry.  And all kinds of whacked out.

So I got to treat myself like I would treat a small child left in my care.  I had to purchase, plan, and prepare the most nutritious meals I could given a specific set of criteria.

In order to keep it interesting, I placed the food on colorful and appropriately sized plates. I used cloth napkins. I relaxed and tasted the foods, savored the smells and spices, and allowed myself to feel nourished not only by the food but the effort that went into the preparation.

The results were profound.  After one too many meals consumed in the car on the way to a meeting or at my desk while replying to emails or in the kitchen in a quick and unconscious attempt to stuff the stress of the day away, this was a game changer for me. So was salmon for breakfast, but I’ll fill you in on that in a couple of days.

For now, I’ll leave you with this question. What’s nourishing to you?  How can a little prep time or planning pay off  and allow you to feel really nourished by what you are eating?  Especially if you live alone, how can you make meal times sacred?

We all have to eat.  It’s a requirement for being in a body.  Why not make it a pleasurable event?

Next post I’ll share with you Take Away #2 – Eat High Quality Foods.

Until then, eat (good food), drink (lots of water), and be merry (or whatever you happen to be feeling)!

Share if you dare below.  I’d love to hear your questions or suggestions.

Live Free or Die

Possibly the best-known state motto of all, the New Hampshire motto, “Live Free or Die,” is the exact sentiment required for a group of visionaries to cut the ties to the motherland.

A few weeks ago we were changing our wall of fame (aka bulletin board) at work from our recent graduates to something a little patriotic.  We had the background figured out and were looking for something sensational to put in the middle.

We decided the Declaration of Independence or the Bill of Rights and possibly the Constitution would be fantastic.  Much to my delight, I was able to find a copy of all three of these documents on some poster size parchment paper.  Using my Amazon prime, these documents arrived on my doorstop in two days and cost me less than $20.

 

 

I so love getting packages and was super excited to get these documents.  It was thrilling to read the words and touch the names and think about the tremendous courage, vision, and outrage these people must have felt to declare their independence in such a bold and committed way that would surely take its toll.

When I first started looking for the documents I came across this reading of the Declaration of Independence by Hollywood’s finest.  Apparently it was intended to be read aloud to have the most impact.  I must say, hearing it made me appreciate it our forefathers and mothers even more.

It could be that I never actually read the entire Declaration of Independence.  Thanks to School House Rock, I knew a fairly impressive amount of The Preamble to the Constitution, but the only thing I really remember about the Declaration of Independence was the story about John Hancock’s signature.

Our ancestors had to be huge risk takers to even get on the boat, cross the ocean, and arrive in a place where they’d have to start from the ground up.  None of my adventures can compare to that.  Someone always has left the light on for me.  Even if it’s Motel 6.

It’s only fitting that we take a day to commemorate all that has been done, sacrificed, and paid to insure we are a country of people who are free to do, be, and have all that we are willing to fight for or make peace with.

However you celebrate the holiday, you might take a moment to recall the things, ideas, and people you value most.  What would you be willing to declare, knowing it could cost you everything?  What would be willing to sign so that the whole world knew where you stood?

As you know from a previous post, my dad will tell you I came out of the womb with a declaration of independence branded on my being.   Consequently, freedom is a pretty big deal to me.  Fireworks are definitely required.

How about you?  What would you declare?  What would you include in your personal Bill of Rights?

Share if you dare below.